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Microsoft Businesses Apple

X vs. XP.com Site Launched 200

Posted by pudge
from the i-win-you-lose dept.
Dan Pouliot writes "I've been compiling a shootout of X vs. XP for some time, but I've finally given it it's own domain xvsxp.com. Sure, I prefer Macs, but I've tried to have this site be as objective (and thorough) a shootout as possible."
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X vs. XP.com Site Launched

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  • There's quite a bit in here, not necessarily all new observations but a pretty solid collection of opinions that I think would seem to reflect the bulk of users on both platforms....

    These comparisons are nice but for a significant number of ppl it mainly comes down to what they are comfortable with. If people don't know any better than they really aren't missing much of anything....
    • If people don't know any better than they really aren't missing much of anything

      That's what I've always said about dead people. What's the big deal about dead people? They don't know any better!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @06:22PM (#5488251)
    Should be re-organized more fairly to compare offerings. The "Full" (as opposed to upgrade) figure should be emphasized in larger text, and Microsoft's Full pricing should precede its Upgrade pricing, since that's what compares with Apple's offering. "Family 5 pack" should be renamed "Five Licenses", and there should be a figure that shows how expensive it is to buy a box and 4 additional licenses from Microsoft. If Microsoft does not sell just licenses, then the price / box should be multiplied by 5.

    OS X starts seeming much more cost-effective.
  • Cat got my balls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orangesquid (79734) <orangesquidNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @06:23PM (#5488270) Homepage Journal
    Damn... I thought this was X(11) vs. XP, not (OS)X vs. XP.

    I wanna see a good X vs. X vs. XP shootout. Everybody always talks about the right tool for the job; I want to see a good analysis and adaptable scoring system that shows which is really the best for which jobs.

    But, for this particular thing, my vote's for (OS)X.
  • by jgardn (539054) <jgardn@alumni.washington.edu> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @06:50PM (#5488580) Homepage Journal
    I read through most of the site, and I found it pretty balanced and objective.

    When you compare Linux to Windows XP, it seems that we are not too far from having all the features we need to be wildly successful.

    But when you compare Linux to OS X, it is obvious that we are so far from the goal. Even Windows XP looks like a joke compared to the things that OS X does.

    I'm glad he put together all the little tidbits of the user interface and user experience. I think the Gnome and KDE developers are paying a lot of attention as well.
  • Organisation, Issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:04PM (#5488710) Homepage
    Overall, this site is quite nice. It does seem rather objective to me. My biggest peeve about this site is that it needs "next" and "previous" links at the bottom of each page.

    As for actual content, there are a few things that I disagree with. This person said that they are a Mac fan, so I'm not too suprised at these things. Here is what I see wrong/disagree with:

    • Numlock/number pad - This is listed in the last section as something odd. He complains that you can only use the number keys when numlock is on. His site shows that this was explained to him, but I don't think he quite "gets" it. First of all, you can have the computer start up with numlock on (I do). That said, this is a hardware issue that he's juding on, which he doesn't seem to see it that way. It's tradition (like where the capslock key is, or that there even IS a scroll lock key).
    • He talks about that, but doesn't chide the Mac for having a one button mouse. This is also a hardware issue, but it's rediculous. I have a friend who has used Macs for nearly 20 years and JUST GOT A PC RECENTLY. They didn't know what the 2nd button was for, and it took me a little time to get them to get the idea. But once they got it, they LOVED it. It's SO much more convinent than holding option and clicking. That is there to cover up for the lack of a second button. Everyone I know who uses Macs alot (real computer people, not just people who only use AOL or something like that) have bought 2+ button mice for their Macs, because they are simply superior in usuability.
    • Windows is chided for having a menubar for every application. I think this is a good thing. I find it convinent. When using OS X if I want to access a menu in a application that isn't in focus, I have to switch to that application by clicking on a window it owns, then using the menu bar. In Windows, I can just click IMMEDIATLY on the mendu that I want. That article a while ago that talked about "cruft" explained why Mac did things that way. The windows way is superior (IMHO), but he doens't agree with me. Fine. The option-click thing above is also cruft.
    • Application vs Window. I don't remember if this was mentioned, but this has always annoyed me about Macs. In windows, if I close Word or some other program by clicking on the "close" button on the top right of the window, it closes. On a Mac, the window closes but the application stays open. This wouldn't be a problem for notepad or somesuch, but for large programs like Word, Photoshop, and other things, this can eat ALOT of memeory. This too, is cruft.

    Do I have a preference? I've always liked Macs, but I use PCs because they cost less (I can build a PC for much cheaper than the lowest-end-mac costs). From Win95 on, the IBM/PC has had a superior OS over OS 7/8/9. OS X changes things. It's a great OS. Would I rather have OS X or XP? I'm not quite sure. I'd probably chose OS X, all else being equal. It's done so well. I also don't like alot of the stuff XP does. If the choice was between 2k and X, I'm not sure. I would probably go with X again, but only because of the Unix core; wihtout that it'd be 2k. I use 2k and love it. It's a very good interface.

    Of course, this is just another one of those KDE vs. Gnome (KDE for me), PC vs. Mac (PC for me), DVD-R vs. DVD+R (whichever one someone wants to give me ;), Linux vs. BSD (Linux for me) type things. It has no answer.

    • by ElGanzoLoco (642888) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:22PM (#5488925) Homepage
      I have a friend who has used Macs for nearly 20 years and JUST GOT A PC RECENTLY. They didn't know what the 2nd button was for

      Where was he for the last twenty years? I mean, if he was in a mac-only country where nobody ever has to use a PC, please, tell me so I can start moving there right away.
    • by TwoStep (36482) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:27PM (#5488968) Homepage
      The menu bar for each window was discussed by Tog. [asktog.com]

      Basically, having the menu bar at the top of the screen makes it infinitely tall, becuase you can flick the mouse to the top of the screen and click a menu. It makes a *very* noticable increase in accuracy and speed, especially for expert users.

      The application vs. window issue is something that you get used to pretty quickly. If you use a mac for more than a day or so it seems pretty natural. With a modern OS with modern virtual memory, it doesn't really matter if you leave it open anyway. It actually can be a pretty nice feature, especially on a system like OS X where some apps still take quite a while to start up.

      Twostep
      • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:11PM (#5489357)
        It makes a *very* noticable increase in accuracy and speed, especially for expert users.

        "Expert" users rarely make heavy use of menues - they use the keyboard.

        The application vs. window issue is something that you get used to pretty quickly. If you use a mac for more than a day or so it seems pretty natural.

        I've been using Macs on and off for about 8 years now and as a main machine for the last 2. I still find this behaviour annoying - although not as annoying as the lack of a quick & easy way to switch between arbitrary windows when they are obscured from view.

        • by EricHsu (578881)
          ... although not as annoying as the lack of a quick & easy way to switch between arbitrary windows when they are obscured from view.

          Cmd-` is a big step forward in this. (It switches between an app's windows.) I still find Cmd-Tab unusable.

          I use Windows XP, X11 and Mac OS X, now. My biggest complaint with Macs is not the one-button mouse thing (for god's sake, get a $10 usb 2-button mouse and be happy, or better yet a Kensington Orbit trackball); it's not the one-menu-to-rule-them-all-thing (I don't care).

          It's the lack of good keyboard bindings for menu navigation. even the "Keyboard Navigation" mode doesn't really do it. I've been doing okay with Youpi Key [club-internet.fr] (the best freeware ever). But I miss the glory days of Now Menus or was it Action Menus... I forget now, whichever one automatically added arrow and key control to all menus.

          But when all is said and whinged... I use OS X for everything I can. - Eric

        • >"Expert" users rarely make heavy use of menues - they use the keyboard.

          This is absolutely true, as long as you define 'expert' users as people who rarely make heavy use of menus, but instead use the keyboard.

          Or perhaps you mean to say that I'm not an expert user... after all, I've only been using computers for 20 years, and Macs for 14. And heck, I only started programming professionally 11 years ago, got my BS in Computer Science 6 years ago, and have only been professionally programming Macs full time for four years.

          (I use command keys for quitting, saving, closing windows, opening new windows, occasionally for switching between programs. Almost everything else I use the menu bar, or contextual menus, for.)

          Or, just possibly, what you really meant by the term "Expert" in your sentence was "users who still yearn for CLI"?

          -fred
          • Perhaps I should have said "expert users whose OS caters for extensive efficient keyboard use". But I figured that the context was obviously about Windows and not MacOS. I should also have said, "expert users rarely make heavy use of menus via the mouse" but, again, I though that would be obvious.

            I'd feel quite confident in saying the only reason you use the menus via the mouse extensively is simply because MacOS has lousy support for using them any other way, always has, and probably always will. Or do you really think, for example, it's quicker to mouse to "Insert->Break->Page Break" than type "Alt+I, B, P" (I think that's the right keys to do it under Office on Windows) ?

            Or, just possibly, what you really meant by the term "Expert" in your sentence was "users who still yearn for CLI"?

            No, I mean expert users who like to maximise their efficiency. By the way, there are many tasks for which a CLI or a keyboard are _vastly_ faster than a mouse _provided you know what you're doing_.

        • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @07:14PM (#5498889) Homepage
          "Expert" users rarely make heavy use of menues - they use the keyboard.

          Bullshit. Sure, I have all of the keyboard shortcuts for my favorite development IDE and web browser memorized, so I can do a lot of work without using the mouse. But being an expert user, I also make use of dozens of other programs that I'm half-familiar with, but don't use often enough to have all of the shortcuts memorized. So I use the mouse a lot. The Mac's single menu bar really is easier to use in this case.
          • I also make use of dozens of other programs that I'm half-familiar with, but don't use often enough to have all of the shortcuts memorized.

            Then you're not an expert in those programs, are you ?

    • The numlock is a software thing. The mac ignores the state of numlock. I imagine the numlock is only there for people using Virtual PC or Linux/NetBSD.

      And the reason the menu bar is at the top is easy - that way you can close and open documents without having to restart the application again. Mozilla on Windows means if I close the browser, I have to restart it. The alternative is the convoluted window inside a window technique Microsoft uses everywhere, such as in Word. The menu bar doesn't need to be repeated for every open document.

      Now, if the application is not really document oriented (not all applications are) or if it has features that don't require interaction with the document, that's what a dock menu is for. I don't know if you're familiar with dock menus, but nice authors make frequent commands accessible from a menu attached to the application's icon in the dock.

      Mail lets you check mail straight from the dock, Project Builder let's me make a new component or project from the dock, iTunes not only shows me what's playing, but it lets me pause, stop skip, or go back from the dock. Granted, those are all Apple applications, but Watson lets me check the weather, stocks, news, versiontracker, etc. all from the dock menu. Chimera - correction, Camino (kick ass browser!) lets me call up bookmarks from the dock.

      Not all applications are taking advantage of them, but, the support for it is there, and good programmers will use it those situations for a non-document based applications major functions.

      So, since dock menus reasonably address your need to have the menu bar always present and in the process removes the unnecessary repetition of menubars, I'd argue the single menubar approach is superior.

      Besides, with overlapping windows, most of your menubars will be obscured (at least somewhat) anyway, thereby forcing you to click on it to reveal the rest. The dock is always in the foreground, so dock menus are always accessible.
    • by Dragonfly (5975) <jddaigle@ m a c.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:37PM (#5489064) Homepage

      Application vs Window. I don't remember if this was mentioned, but this has always annoyed me about Macs. In windows, if I close Word or some other program by clicking on the "close" button on the top right of the window, it closes. On a Mac, the window closes but the application stays open. This wouldn't be a problem for notepad or somesuch, but for large programs like Word, Photoshop, and other things, this can eat ALOT of memeory. This too, is cruft.

      Allow me to disagree. First, leaving applications open on OS X doesn't use a lot of memory. For instance, I've had MS Excel running for 6 hours now, using it off and on, and it's using 0.4% of the CPU and 1.8% of memory right now with no open windows. Photoshop behaves similarly.

      Second, why should closing an application's only open document quit the application? What if you want to open another document, or just leave the app open to save yourself the trouble of re-launching it? By confusing Close with Quit MS created yet another confusing UI metaphor, combining two different actions.

      • by drsmithy (35869)
        Second, why should closing an application's only open document quit the application? What if you want to open another document, or just leave the app open to save yourself the trouble of re-launching it? By confusing Close with Quit MS created yet another confusing UI metaphor, combining two different actions.

        On the other hand, why would closing all an application's windows *not* quit it ? It's just another example of how the Mac is application-centric and not document-centric. In a document-centric UI, there should be no real distincion between documents and applications - opening a file should just give you a window with that file in it and no separate "application" icon or menu floating around somewhere. Leaving the application open is, by and large, a historical hangover from when launching applications was quite slow and the performance benefit for leaving them loaded was significant. Leaving the application open may still have benefits, but there really shouldn't be anything in the UI to create a distinction between an application and a document. It also leads to nasty situations where the user isn't aware an app is running and just keeps on trying to launch it (this happens when the developer doesn't have their application do something sensible - like open a blank document - when the user attempts to launch it while it is already running).

        • by afantee (562443)
          >> but there really shouldn't be anything in the UI to create a distinction between an application and a document.

          Why not? An applications can run without any document window, it might be doing some house keeping at background.

          Most of the times when the user closes a document window, he or she doesn't intend to stop the application. When people open and close lots of document windows, it's very annoying that they have to remember avoiding closing the last window and killing the application by accident.

          Plus, due to the excellent virtual memory system in OS X, there is really no need at all to frequently close documents or quit applications - you can hide all the documents of the front application or all the other applications by a single key stroke, and the background apps consumes very little CPU or RAM.
          • by drsmithy (35869)
            Why not?

            Because the application is irrelevant and should be completely transaparent. The user doesn't (and shouldn't have to) care what application is being used to open their documents. All they care about is the data in those documents, and the UI should reflect that.

            An applications can run without any document window, it might be doing some house keeping at background.

            What possible "processing" could an interactive application be doing in the background isn't related to a open document (or analogical equivalent) ?

            In simpler terms, if you have closed all methods of interacting with an app, thus indicating you no longer want to interact with it, what possible processing could it need to be doing (excluding normal startup and shutdown procedures) ?

            Most of the times when the user closes a document window, he or she doesn't intend to stop the application.

            As previously mentioned, the user shouldn't have to think about the application at all. The whole concept is simply unintuitive.

            When people open and close lots of document windows, it's very annoying that they have to remember avoiding closing the last window and killing the application by accident.

            With a decent implementation, this shouldn't be an issue. Particularly in these days of dirt cheap RAM.

            Plus, due to the excellent virtual memory system in OS X, [...]

            I haven't tried to abuse the VM in OS X for a while, but last time I did (ca. 10.1.x), it was far from "excellent".

            [...] you can hide all the documents of the front application or all the other applications by a single key stroke, and the background apps consumes very little CPU or RAM.

            The Mac in front of me has 512MB of RAM and an uptime of less than a day. Thus far OS X has create 3 "swapfiles" of 80MB apiece for paging reasons. All that is running is X11, MSN Messenger, Mail, Safari, Terminal, Word and Excel. That's a _lot_ of memory usage.

            • "Why not?

              Because the application is irrelevant and should be completely transaparent. The user doesn't (and shouldn't have to) care what application is being used to open their documents. All they care about is the data in those documents, and the UI should reflect that. "

              That depends on the way you use the computer. I'm not particularly document-centric, and have a whole six files in my Documents folder, not counting application specific folders like "AppleWorks User Data". This of course doesn't include data types like mp3's, movie clips, and pictures, which are all stored in other folders or partitions. My Applications folder, on the other hand, has 66 items, not counting dozens of games on another partition. But this is a home computer, not somthing out of a cubicle.

              • by davesag (140186) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @06:04AM (#5492351) Homepage
                Because the application is irrelevant and should be completely transaparent. The user doesn't (and shouldn't have to) care what application is being used to open their documents.

                I don't know about you but I would hate it if the many various text files I work with somehow chose their own app to run in. I regularly open tomcat log files in BBEdit for example. I open PDF files in preview mostly but sometime want to open them in smacrobat. I open most graphics in preview but every so often want to open them in photoshop. sometimes I want to open html files in bbedit, sometimes in safari, sometimes in omniweb. Same docs, entirely different applications.

              • This of course doesn't include data types like mp3's, movie clips, and pictures, which are all stored in other folders or partitions.

                Conceptually, from the UI standpoint, these are all "documents". Would the term "objects" make more sense to you ?

                Similarly, if you open something like a Preference Pane, that's a "document" - you don't really care what's running to make the things available to you that the Pref Pane does, as long as they're there.

                Games are the same - the main window you spend interacting with all the time is the "document". Is there any reason for Quake to keep running in the background after you close the game window ?

                Seriously, when you're playing an MP3, do you _really_ care about the name of the program playing it, or do you care about the sound it produces ?

                • Actually, I do care about what I'm playing an MP3 with, and don't care so much where the actual files are kept. There's a world of difference between QuickTime Player and iTunes 3, including some audio differences.

                  Games, save for a few PopCap games I have, rarely have windows to close. PC game ports in particular hide all outside interface elements, and my brother used to complain loudly if he saw a Mac Open File dialogue box to open his saved game.

                  I didn't refer to the multimedia files as documents, since I rarely make any changes to such files, save for ID4 tags in MP3 files.

            • by afantee (562443) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @07:18AM (#5492548)
              >> What possible "processing" could an interactive application be doing in the background isn't related to a open document (or analogical equivalent) ?

              Why couldn't you MS trained monkeys see things from a slightly different angle? A file manager like Finder might have a background thread for content indexing or repairing the file system, even if there is no browsing windows.

              >> As previously mentioned, the user shouldn't have to think about the application at all. The whole concept is simply unintuitive.

              That's just your simplistic world view. People do think about applications, and frequently choose different tools for the same document.

              >> The Mac in front of me has 512MB of RAM and an uptime of less than a day. Thus far OS X has create 3 "swapfiles" of 80MB apiece for paging reasons. All that is running is X11, MSN Messenger, Mail, Safari, Terminal, Word and Excel. That's a _lot_ of memory usage.

              And my 400 MHz iMac with 512MB RAM runs 24/7 for weeks or months as a software AirPort base station for web browsing and for kidds playing games and my wife doing research (statistic analysis, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc). My 700 iBook is used for programming Unix / Java / C++ (X11, tcsh, bash, Ruby, Perl, JBuilder, Eclipse, NetBeans, Project Builder, Interface Builder, etc), web design and graphics (FireWorks, Flash, DreamWeaver), database (MySQL, PostgreSQL), web browsing (Safari, Camino, OmniWeb, IE), networking and web serving (FTP, Apache, SMB, AFP, Firewall, NetInfo, AirPort wireless, iDisk, iChat, iSync, Network Utility), Word, Excel, PowerPoint, QuickTime, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Mail, Address Book, OmniDictionary, World Book, and more. Typically, there are 70 to 80 processes running, and I generally don't quit applications, so they run continuously for days or weeks, and everything remains responsive virtually all the time.
              • Why couldn't you MS trained monkeys see things from a slightly different angle?

                I'm a unix sysadmin by trade and spend most of my time in front of a Mac. I don't really know where you get the idea I'm an "MS trained monkey".

                Additionally, there's more than enough evidence in these threads to demonstrate that the Mac Zealots have just as much difficulty in seeing things from anything except the Apple angle.

                A file manager like Finder might have a background thread for content indexing or repairing the file system, even if there is no browsing windows.

                Firstly, that's not the job of a file manager. Secondly, it's not a function that requires the user to know the application is open, so there would be no reason whatsoever for the Finder icon to be present on the Dock if that was the only thing it was doing.

                That's just your simplistic world view.

                No, it's the underlying paradigm of a document-centric interface.

                People do think about applications, and frequently choose different tools for the same document.

                The point is they shouldn't have to - or, more accurately, they shouldn't have to manually.

                And my 400 MHz iMac with 512MB RAM [...]

                Yes, well, I'm beginning to think the average Mac Zealot has a vastly different idea of what "responsive" is than I do.

                • >> I'm a unix sysadmin by trade and spend most of my time in front of a Mac.

                  Oh, really? But you don't know how to how to keep OS X stable for more than a day - all my machines have an uptime of weeks or months. It sounds to me that you use Windows Explorer cutting & pasting files all day long.

                  >> Firstly, that's not the job of a file manager.

                  Maybe not in your usual black and white view, but there is nothing wrong in principle for a file manager to do a bit more than just browsing.

                  >> Secondly, it's not a function that requires the user to know the application is open, so there would be no reason whatsoever for the Finder icon to be present on the Dock if that was the only thing it was doing.

                  Yes, there are at least two: (1) it indicates everything is alive and well; (2) a new window can be opened quickly without restarting the application.

                  >> No, it's the underlying paradigm of a document-centric interface.

                  It's time to give up your stupid Windows dogma and listen to reasons.

                  >> The point is they shouldn't have to - or, more accurately, they shouldn't have to manually.

                  Again, why not?
                  • Oh, really?

                    Yep.

                    But you don't know how to how to keep OS X stable for more than a day

                    But I do, we just happened to have a power cut to the entire building a couple of days ago.

                    It sounds to me that you use Windows Explorer cutting & pasting files all day long.

                    It sounds to me like you desparately want to flame but can't come up with a cool and witty way to do it. What's next ? Want to pick on my spelling or grammar ?

            • by Anonymous Coward
              This whole document-centric theory is complete bullshit. The user, no matter how dumb or non-expert, very much does care what application is being used to manipulate their document. The average person probably has 3-4 applications that could open common file types (windows has at least three distinct applications by default that could view and html, gifs, jpgs, and text documents, for example) and the application they are actually using makes a huge friggin' difference. This sounds like some sort of budget HCI academic theory that has no value at all in the real world.

              Without even going into how severely this theoretical 'document-orientation' deviates from the actual day-to-day necessities of using real computers to do real jobs, the windows way of doing things is very annoying in the limited way it does implement your ideal.

              I have an OS X machine and a win2k machine on my desk right now. First of all, Windows is completely inconsistent about the relationship between application, taskbar entry, and document. The most annoying example of this (which I face daily) is with Word and Excel (so I'm not talking about fly-by-night shareware here. In Word, every document is its own little floaty bit that sits on the taskbar and takes up space. When you click the upper-right (visually deceptively) Fitt's-law-adhering-to 'close' X, the doc closes, and only the doc. When the last one closes, the start-up time to open a new document is insane, so I have to keep a document open and in my taskbar all the time, but that's neither here nor there. In Excel, you get a little task bar entry and a document window for each of your workbooks, but you also get a little bonus entry for the application. In Excel, though, if you click that same X, the whole application shuts down and closes all workbooks. What the shit? It's maddening.

              So the whole document-centricity of windows is very confusing. Beyond that, document-centricity is the most brain-dead idea I've ever heard. The application should be completely transparent? Why? That's retarded. The application matters a lot. All they care about is the data in those documents? No, they care about *doing* stuff to and with that data, or creating it, or inputting it. The application is a tool that provides all of these capabilities. I would argue that most non-expert users think of their computers in more application-centric ways than document anyway. Think about how many moms say, 'i'm going to go online'. They don't 'compose emails' or 'download webpages', they click the AOL icon, and 'go online'. They are first using a tool, secondly, they are producing or interacting with the product of said tool. I guess it doesn't matter if you look at that XLS file in Access or Excel.

              with a decent implementation

              Well, name an OS that has a decent implementation. It's a real issue on every platform I've used (in addition to my previously mentioned PC and mac on my desk, the Mac is ssh'd into a freebsd box)

              In simpler terms, if you have closed all methods of interacting with an app, thus indicating you no longer want to interact with it, what possible processing could it need to be doing (excluding normal startup and shutdown procedures)?

              Hmmm...be available to compose emails at a hotkey press, receive instant messages, play music, help with OS navigation (like OS X's brilliant launchbar add-on), be available as a drag-and-drop target...

              Also, you argue that given dirt-cheap ram, the relaunch penalty of the app should be very small (basically cause the OS is keeping the application loaded and pointlessly hiding functionality from you). Then, you argue that OS X's doc hiding is bad because it wastes mem and the VM isn't good enough?!?!? Put in the same dirt-cheap ram.
            • I agree with you that the application ought to be irrelevant, but I have yet to find an operating system that agrees with this. OpenDoc was the last real progress in this direction, but that's history.

              The problem is that for heavy lifting, you still need applications, be they Photoshop, FreeHand, Director or InDesign. They are tools, and the OS is the toolbox. (To carry this analogy further, things like FreeHand and Illustrator aren't just tools, but a bunch of tools chained to the particular toolbox. What
        • just out of interest, here is the top readout from my mac as for a few mts ago. I leave almost every program I have running almost all the time. with 1gb ram it's just magic :-)
          PID COMMAND %CPU TIME #TH #PRTS #MREGS RPRVT RSHRD RSIZE VSIZE
          1239 URL Access 0.0% 0:00.23 2 72 109 536K 6.87M 2.58M 169M
          1238 top 6.8% 0:04.50 1 14 18 380K 348K 676K 13.6M
          1237 tcsh 0.0% 0:00.06 1 10 15 340K 596K 780K 5.73M
          1236 login 0.0% 0:00.38 1 12 33 248K 400K 576K 13.7M
          1235 Help Viewe 0.0% 0:03.31 3 80 152 6.62M 7.81M 11.5M 180M
          1232 Fire 0.0% 0:01.80 2 74 202 2.91M 8.57M 7.65M 179M
          1230 iChat 0.0% 0:01.30 3 132 162 2.30M 6.77M 9.46M 175M
          1229 BBEdit 0.0% 0:02.99 4 91 165 3.71M 11.8M 8.43M 184M
          1228 Adobe Phot 0.0% 0:09.61 4 78 594 25.4M 28.7M 40.1M 246M
          1227 Adobe GoLi 0.6% 0:07.94 5 81 426 28.0M 62.6M 54.8M 276M
          1226 Watson 0.0% 0:01.11 3 83 139 2.14M 8.21M 6.34M 180M
          1225 iCal 0.0% 0:02.64 2 83 165 7.14M 11.9M 13.9M 183M
          1223 Birthday R 0.0% 0:00.64 2 62 104 1.55M 5.93M 4.59M 172M
          1175 AEServer 0.0% 0:00.16 2 29 26 264K 852K 960K 143M
          1174 Playalong 0.0% 0:02.56 2 70 165 4.64M 9.15M 8.14M 177M
          1173 iTunes 9.6% 1:57.66 9 150 451 12.3M 12.5M 18.3M 198M
          1165 tcsh 0.0% 0:00.02 1 10 15 368K 596K 828K 5.73M
          1164 login 0.0% 0:00.34 1 12 33 248K 400K 568K 13.7M
          1163 Terminal 68.8% 0:08.59 5 65 173 2.95M+ 11.5M 10.2M+ 180M+
          1162 slpd 0.0% 0:00.48 8 35 31 180K 504K 592K 17.8M
          1160 Eudora 0.0% 4:00.72 10 132 233 9.66M 28.2M 24.6M+ 242M
          1155 lookupd 0.0% 0:02.36 2 32 47 392K 520K 876K 14.9M
          1038 Dock 0.0% 0:42.42 3 153 268 1.94M 21.9M 15.4M 188M
          939 JavaBrowse 0.0% 0:07.55 3 104 227 6.84M 22.3M 23.0M 201M
          872 System Pre 0.0% 0:05.38 3 90 187 5.07M 10.5M 10.0M 179M
          855 OmniWeb 0.0% 0:05.94 16 123 398 9.03M 15.5M 15.5M 199M
          819 OmniGraffl 0.0% 1:22.28 6 117 289 13.8M 15.0M 18.4M 198M
          523 AppleSpell 0.0% 0:00.88 1 52 24 492K 1.08M 1.29M 15.2M
          522 Mail 0.0% 1:05.81 5 167 226 7.17M 11.0M 9.32M 183M
          516 Safari 0.0% 5:30.92 8 392 726 37.1M 22.2M 45.6M 355M
          492 iChatAgent 0.0% 0:00.60 5 65 50 484K 1.74M 1.97M 145M
          491 SecurityAg 0.0% 0:02.70 3 84 126 1.70M 7.74M 3.10M 174M
          480 ssh-agent 0.0% 0:00.00 1 8 14 72K 308K 104K 1.55M
          477 UniversalA 2.0% 1:44.68 2 60 78 768K 4.94M 1.83M 170M
          476 Meteorolog 0.0% 2:25.70 2 63 132 4.04M 5.11M 4.89M 174M
          475 Net Monito 1.3% 7:54.60 3 78 204 2.15M 7.96M 3.44M 176M
          474 MiCal 0.0% 1:25.64 11 203 1112 14.6M 9.24M 13.8M 348M
          473 SSH Agent 0.0% 0:00.95 2 70 107 2.04M 5.05M 3.68M 173M
          468 Finder 0.0% 2:14.31 3 147 244 7.91M 21.0M 16.1M 211M
          467 SystemUISe 0.6% 11:04.20 3 174 273 3.21M 8.82M 5.28M 48.5M
          466 aped 0.0% 0:00.60 1 45 22 140K 688K 592K 14.0M
          459 pbs 0.0% 0:03.85 2 28 31 1.02M 1.12M 1.72M 15.1M
          449 AppleFileS 0.0% 0:02.29 2 31 25 632K 920K 952K 16.2M
          436 httpd 0.0% 0:00.00 1 8 79 4K 872K 76K 15.7M
          432 DirectoryS 0.0% 0:00.86 3 60 137 568K 1.66M 1.84M 21.0M
          428 httpd 0.0% 0:01.80 1 33 77 24K 872K 640K 15.2M
          412 cron 0.0% 0:00.14 1 8 16 68K 328K 132K 13.5M
          410 cupsd 0.0% 0:03.74 1 8 19 540K 516K 652K 3.19M
          408 xinetd 0.0% 0:00.01 1 10 16 36K 308K 76K 1.45M
          406 inetd 0.0% 0:00.00 1 8 14 20K 308K 64K 1.28M
          400 loginwindo 0.0% 0:05.93 4 164 148 2.70M 8.00M 4.11M 182M
          394 mysqld 0.0% 0:00.05 2 29 21 240K 348K 444K 11.9M
          392 ntpd 0.0% 0:04.14 1 8 16 100K 396K 260K 1.52M
          351 sh 0.0% 0:00.04 1 10 14 44K 680K 524K 1.79M
          344 coreservic 0.0% 0:03.68 3 120 112 2.27M 13.2M 3.27M 38.9M
          342 automount 0.0% 0:00.02 2 22 22 124K 392K 432K 14.7M
          331 nfsiod 0.0% 0:00.00 1 8 13 0K 316K 52K 1.27M

          Note not a lot of wasted memory there. Nothing really sucking on my processor, but when i flip to photoshop it's like a milisecond wait, hooray for that. dave

      • by sc00p18 (536811) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @02:39AM (#5491737)
        By confusing Close with Quit MS created yet another confusing UI metaphor, combining two different actions.

        dude, that's ABSOLUTELY correct, I NEVER understood the close/quit thing until I got a mac. Then I realized that Microsoft just screwed it up when they were transferring it over from the mac interface.
    • by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:23PM (#5489482)
      On the subject of the two-button mouse: the Aqua human interface guidelines specifiy that a contextual menu should not be used for any feature that is not also accessible through another UI control. Assuming for sake of argument that all software everwhere follows the Aqua HIG, you never have to control-click on a Mac. Ever.

      On the subject of the menu bar: google for Fitts's Law.

      On the subject of quitting an application by closing its window: some Mac applications have this behavior, some don't. The virtual memory implementation in OS X works in such a way that having extra idle apps open has essentially no effect. One you hit your physical memory limit, those applications get paged out to disk and no longer occupy physical RAM until they're activated again.

      Of course, this is just another one of those KDE vs. Gnome... things. It has no answer.

      I think the purpose of this web site is to demonstrate that this is not merely a question of preference, but rather that which is the better OS can be quantified, and a conclusion reached thereby. All that's left is to argue about the methodology.
      • On the subject of quitting an application by closing its window: some Mac applications have this behavior, some don't.

        IME, the Mac apps that quit on close are utilities that people can be assumed to be finished working with when they close the primary window-- Calculator, Disk Utility, Key Caps, etc. Like, when I'm using Calculator, I switch away from it if I need to refer to something else. When I'm done with it, I close it. I think this fits the desktop metaphor well because switching away from the calculator is analagous to leaving it on the table in front of you, and closing it is like putting it back into a drawer when you're done with it.

        Plus most of them are so small in size that they can be relaunched just as quickly as switching to them and spawning a new window if they were still active.

        ~Philly
    • by mikedaisey (413058) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @09:50PM (#5490121) Homepage
      "Everyone I know who uses Macs alot (real computer people, not just people who only use AOL or something like that) have bought 2+ button mice for their Macs, because they are simply superior in usuability."

      One of the reasons Macs rock is that application designers are forced to design for a one-button mouse--not hiding vital features up in contextual menus that only show up when your mouse is in a certain part of the screen. That's one of the biggest unsung reasons Macs will stay defaulting to one mouse--it makes better design.

      And as you point out, it's a whole $10 to get a different mouse, depending on your preference--it can be more, but it doesn't have to be. So I can't see this as a serious "problem" with the platform.
    • by u2mr2os2 (81332)
      Re: One button Mice
      Let's just agree that different people prefer different things. It's not like the Mac doesn't support multi-button mice and scroll wheels. And if you're going to argue that Apple not including one causes an extra cost to get one, then I'd say that probably quite a good deal of PC users go buy another mouse from the typically crappy one that came with your typically cheap PC, causing an identical extra cost.

      Re: Menubars
      True, the Mac menubar system was probably greatly influenced by the small screens we all used a long time ago, but it still very true that it has a great advantage from Fitts Law. I don't buy the idea that not having to click on a background window to select a menu item for it is an advantage. That only works when the menu item is not covered by another window and when the application does not implement that stupid metaphor MS introduced of a background app ignoring the first click as a command and just using it to bring the window to the front. This metaphor is only stupid because they only implement it in some of their apps and not system wide, so you get inconsistent behavior, which is far worse than consistently using either method.

      The other thing is the damn MDI (multiple document interface). Within an application using this mode, you get a one-menu system, which is like a Mac, and it invalidates the multi-menu-is-better argument unless you throw out MDI apps. The problem with MDI is that the windows are trapped within the host app, so most apps like this are used with the document maximized within the app (also since the MDI window management functions are lame). Now combine this with DDE or "smart" apps that open documents I click on as a new MDI window in an existing instance of the already open app, and I see the document open, but then unless I look, I don't know if its a new application window that I can just close or if its a new window within the existing app. Many is the time I've closed the app, thinking it was a new app window for the document, but it was really just a new window in the existing app, and I just closed the handful of other documents it had open. True, I'll not lose data, but I'll lose several places where I was. So now I have to have the habit of closing the MDI document window first, then see if there are any more - if none, then I can close the app window. This doesn't even start to talk about the fact that an MDI app cannot have document windows mixed with those of another app. In fact, MDI causes the app to have a filled background behind its child windows that obscures things behind it. This kind of thing is what makes the Windows way completely app-centric and totally unfriendly to a doc-centric way of thinking. And this even within the supposedly "integrated" office apps!

      Re: App not closing when last doc window closes
      I agree that it takes getting used to on a Mac the app not closing when the last doc window closes. A PC user would really like to have an app close button on the menubar, but this is again just a holdover from app-centric thinking. A PC user thinks that they are thinking "I'm done with Acrobat Reader - close Acrobat Reader", but they are really thinking "I'm done with this document". It's just that it's actually easier (ironically via Fitt's Law) to close the app rather than the document because the app close button is in the top right corner of the screen (not always if the window is not maximized, but many people do have their apps maximized), or if the app is not maximized, it is visually the primary "x" button, so you are drawn to click it first, which is made even easier since they tend to be right next to each other. This gets back to my previous point of MDIs - I wind up closing the app and every other possibly unrelated document that app had open. This is hardly acceptable UI behavior.

      What has been the complaint about older Mac OS versions, is that there was no immediate visibility of apps that were open with no documents unless they were the foreground app. The app list was a drop down list, so you couldn't see the others until you dropped it down, and since there is only one menu bar, then you don't have other menubars in the background to give you a clue (but then if you had minimized a Windows window, you would not see a menubar either). Windows had a similar problem prior to Win95 with minimized apps because they went to the "desktop" behind other windows. But now Mac OS X gives visibility to the open apps via the dock so that even if they have no open windows, you know they are open. So let's not beat up OS X for a shortcoming of OS 9 and prior had, which seens to be all that many ex-Mac users seem to remember because they don't think that things may have changed with OS X. Many only remember and criticize the cooperative multitasking of OS 9 and prior while forgetting that Win 3.x used exactly that, and Win9x still used it when 3.x programs were running (did you know that Win95 could have two 32 bit programs running but be cooperatively multitasking because they were thunking down into 16 bit code a lot of the "32 bit" code just called down to 16 bit code?).

      Re: Having those unclosed windowless apps open in the backround does not affect performance
      I mostly disagree with this. It is true that in general, this makes opening a document for one of the open apps load quicker, but as you have enough apps open to commit all your physical memory, then opening other apps will be slower because the system will have to page out the idle background apps to make room for the new foreground app. If the OS were to implement a policy of paging out apps that have been idle for a while, then you would not have to wait for a pageout to make room when opening a new app, but you would have to wait for the idle app to be paged back in when you opened a document for that idle app. However, this would be faster than reloading the app from scratch due to not needing to initialize the app.

    • Everyone I know who uses Macs alot (real computer people, not just people who only use AOL or something like that) have bought 2+ button mice for their Macs, because they are simply superior in usuability.

      BS. Real computer users don't care how many buttons they have on their mouse because they use the keyboard almost exclusively.
      • So do you browse Slashdot without using a mouse? Sounds like the hard way of going about it.

        I do know one computer user who uses the keyboard exclusively, but then he's blind, so the mouse doesn't help him much.

    • One of the really annoying aspects of having a menu in every window is that sometimes you go for the wrong menu (bringing the wrong document or instance of the application forward). Admit it, you've done it!

      I think more needs to be made of the Windows tendency to waste vertical screen real estate. Once you've subtracted status bars, title bars, menu bars, toolbars, etc. from your screen, particularly on 1024x768 or smaller displays, you've got very little usable HEIGHT. But height is what you crave for most purposes. It's particularly galling to waste space in MDI for nested title bars and status bars AND a task bar. We're taking a serious fraction of your screen showing absolutely nothing useful.
    • Allow me to disagree...

      "Windows is chided for having a menubar for every application. I think this is a good thing. I find it convinent. When using OS X if I want to access a menu in a application that isn't in focus, I have to switch to that application by clicking on a window it owns, then using the menu bar. In Windows, I can just click IMMEDIATLY on the mendu that I want. That article a while ago that talked about "cruft" explained why Mac did things that way. The windows way is superior (IMHO), but h
  • A couple of comments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cbuskirk (99904) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:47PM (#5489152)
    First I will steal a comment from a Macslash poster and say that each of the different categories should be weighted differently. The ease with which the average user can network two computers should carry more weight than out of the box chat capabilities.
    Second I am so absurdly tired of anyone who mentions anything to do with one button mice. If you are reading slashdot you are probably a computer geek. As a computer geek you more than likely know lots of stories about that idiot that can't use their computer. That is why there are one button mice! Most people are the idiot that can't use a computer. I don't think I have ever used an out of the box mouse from any PC manufacturer simply because I spend enough time using the computer that I really appreciate a mouse that is comfortable. Maybe Apple could be a little smarter and have a check box on the Apple Store site that allows a user to select their choice of mice.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:28PM (#5489527)
      First off, I am *not* an average PC user.

      Since 1978, my fingers have been tickling keyboards of various shapes and sizes, QWERTY to Dvorak.

      I've used Macs off and on sinec 1985, Apples since a few years before.

      I have eight PCs in my home, (2) FreeBSD boxes, (1) Linux box, (1) Toshiba Laptop (Win2k), (1) Sun UltraSparc 10, (1) TiBook, (1) iMac, (1) Dual G4 Power Mac.

      As of today, my *NIX boxes are all headless .. sans one ..., no mouse, no keyboard (serial console access) and all access is via either my iMac or PowerMac ... with Apple's included one-button-mouse.

      Even navigating X-Windows, the 1 button mouse is NO BIG DEAL. In fact, it's so intuitive that I catch myself alt+clicking and windows+clicking when I'm at work on my Win2k Desktop there.

      The one-button mouse is more ergonomic, comfortable, and efficient that all this hullabaloo about multiple button mice is older then last week's dishwaster (and needs to be thrown out with it just as well.)

      And for the record, before the workstations were headless, they were connected with a standard AT-101 keyboard + Logitech 5 button trackball.

      Now all my servers are quitely running from my garage, and no matter where I'm at, whether it be the Living Room (iMac), Office (PowerMac), or back patio (TiBook) I have ready access to anything.

      Maybe when you've been typing and using a mouse for 20 years and have carpal tunnel in both of your wrists you'll appreciate the value of ergonomics some day.
  • Some errors (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @09:53PM (#5490143)
    "Login":

    This is because Windows has been historically extremely vulnerable to viruses that take over the boot sequence and steal your login.

    This is not true at all. Windows is no more vulnerable to viruses that take over the boot sequence to any other OS and login and/or password hijacking programs have never been common on Windows. The Ctrl+Alt+Del for login has been in NT from the start (ca. 1993) and is simply part of the secure login facilities that NT was *designed* with.

    "General Interface"

    XP routinely fails to notify the user if the system is busy. It doesn't give ANY feedback when launching Internet Explorer.

    I've not seen a system for some time where IE startup wasn't so fast that feedback is required - but that's not the point. XP does give feedback - when the system is processing in the background, the cursor changes from an arrow to an arrow+hourglass icon. This includes (or should) the time while programs are loading and not displaying anything to screen. Unfortunately I don't have an XP box handy to test this with right now, but it certainly happens with Win2k and was also present in Win95.

    Something else that isn't commented on is how often applications block (the beachball), particularly the Finder. It happens *way* too much and on tasks that really should be quick or multithreaded.

    Whenever a window accidentally gets moved completely off the screen, the Size and Move keyboard commands can be invoked, and the window can be moved back onto the screen via the keyboard

    I can't see how a window could be "accidentally" moved completely off screen. I can see how it could be done programmatically by the application, or deliberately by the user - but not "accidentally".

    Dragging and dropping content from one app to another involves dragging the app down to the Task bar onto the button that corresponds to the window you want to drag into (even though the cursor switches to the Cant-Do-That icon), then finally drag the item back up the screen to the location you want to drop it. Not impossible, but not too practical either.

    Cumbersome it may be, but it is infinitely better than the complete lack of equivalent functionality in OS X.

    Corners are better used: the Start Menu is always placed in a corner, which makes it a very easy target.

    This is only true if the taskbar hasn't been made larger than the default. If it is, the Start button moves out of the corner (what it should do is expand to fill the entire space).

    Dragging test between windows is something that it is up to the application to implement on both OSes. Notepad is not a good example to use because it isn't really an app, it's just a text-control widget wrapped in a window.

    "Drag & Drop"

    More than one PC user has mentioned that they prefer cut and paste. And on Windows XP I prefer cut and paste too, not because cut and paste is an inherently superior method, but rather because XP's poor support for drag and drop has trained me avoid it altogether. But on Mac OS X?which has more thorough support for drag and drop?I use each method interchangeably depending on what best suits the current situation.

    I prefer to use Cut & Paste for file management as well, and I'd prefer it in OS X to drag & drop. Unfortunately, the Cut & Paste functionality in OS X for this purpose is inadequate.

    "Navigating the file system".

    IMHO OS X loses out here completely because it doesn't feature the classic directory tree + file list style of GUI file management which I find to be the easiest and most efficient to use (when partnered with good keyboard shortcuts).

    "Dock vs Taskbar"

    One of the Dock's most impressive features is it's advanced real time application feedback.

    Visually impressive it may be - however, functionally it's fairly pointless. Apart from the *massive* overhead involved (a busy minimised terminal window will drag the entire GUI to a crawl) the utility is fairly limited - for preview icons to be useful, they have to be huge, chewing up yet more valuable screen real estate in a GUI feature that already wastes more than it should.

    "Keyboard application switching".

    He forgot that Cmd+` will cycle between the windows of the foreground app. Also, a big weakness in OS X's keyboard switching IMHO is an inability to quickly & easily move to an arbitrary window (particularly without having all the app's other windows obscure the rest of the screen).

    "Keyboard Shortcuts".

    Some of the keyboard shortcuts are just flat out wrong. The standard shortcut for "new file" on Windows is Ctrl+N. Win+E is a shortcut for launching explorer. Although he rightfully picks up that there is *still* no shortcut key for creating a new folder in Explorer. The shortcut for "opening a file" in Explorer is Enter. Using Alt+F,O is the long way to do it. He also does not say anything about a shortcut that is seriously lacking in OS X - one to quickly go straight to the Desktop. This area is a big win for Windows IMHO, since it's possible to do anything from the keyboard in Windows quickly and easily with no extra configuration necessary.

    It's also troubling that XP relies on the Windows key for system shortcuts, since not all keyboards have a Windows key (my IBM ThinkPad lacks a Windows key).

    No ! This is exactly what it *should* do. All the keyboard shortcuts should be Win+ or have a programmable modifier key. Using the control key for shortcuts was a Really Bad Idea.

    "Networking".

    The network browser in OS X is really bad - although not as bad as the nightmare that was Chooser. You can't access anything on a remote machine without mounting it's share, searching for or connecting to specific machines is clumsy and opening up the "Connect to Server" dialog BLOCKS THE WHOLE FINDER.

    Connecting to remote machines in Windows is vastly superior. You can navigate directly to machines, the shares they have and manipulate things in those shares - even launch programs - all without having to map or mount the share.

    "Power User".

    I'm not quite sure why "screen capture" is in this section - I don't think I've ever wanted to take a screen capture in my life, let alone cared about how flexible the builtin tools to do it are.

    "Booting from alternate drives". This is a hardware issue and has _nothing_ to do with Windows or OS X. Just as there are PCs that require fidding in the BIOS to boot from anything except the first hard disk, there are also machine that let you hit a key on bootup to get a nice little menu of all the bootable devices the system knows about. It really doesn't belong in this comparison.

    "Misc"

    XP Home Edition doesn't support multi-processors.

    That's because the audience it's targetted at won't be running machines with multiple CPUs.

    You can only use your numeric keypad in XP when num lock is turned on, even with full size keyboards.

    This has already been commented on, but it bears repeating. This is *precisely* how the system should operate. Not only that, but most PCs default to having the Num Lock on at boot - and if that isn't enough, Windows will remember the state the Num Lock key was in the last time you logged out.

    Apart from these errors, which seem mostly to do with a lack of experience with Windows, lack of knowledge about it's history, and/or simple personal preferences, the site seems ok.

    • Re:Some errors (Score:5, Informative)

      by afantee (562443) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @10:46PM (#5490479)
      >> IMHO OS X loses out here completely because it doesn't feature the classic directory tree + file list style of GUI file management which I find to be the easiest and most efficient to use (when partnered with good keyboard shortcuts).

      What the fuck are you talking about? The OS X Finder does have "the classic directory tree + file list" called list view, and is miles ahead of Windows Explorer in at least 6 ways:

      (1) Column View is the best feature for file browsing not available on any other OS.

      (2) Spring-loaded folder makes it possible to drag and drop files to any depth without opening lots of windows.

      (3) Finder toolbar is much more configurable than Windows Explorer.

      (4) Music, graphics and movies can be played or viewed right in the Finder preview pane without starting applications.

      (5) One-click search by content, size, type, date, extension, or visibility.

      (6) Automation with AppleScript.

      Oh, if that's not powerful enough, there is always the Unix terminal to play with: csh, tcsh, bash, Perl, Python, Ruby and lots other tools all preloaded. Windows is not even remotely close.

      >> Connecting to remote machines in Windows is vastly superior. You can navigate directly to machines, the shares they have and manipulate things in those shares - even launch programs - all without having to map or mount the share.

      Do you know anything about networking at all? Windows only understand Windows or SMB, while OS X can handle Windows as well as NFS, UFS, HFS+ and SMB. What do you mean by "without having to map or mount the share"? Surely you still have to login to a remote machine before accessing it. And OS X comes with Rendezvous ZeroConf so that devices (not just computers) can discover each other.

      • (1) Column View is the best feature for file browsing not available on any other OS.

        This is good as an option in Finder, but I think it's a mess in open and save dialogues. It reminds me of Greg's Browser from OS 7 or something; it was a great finder alternative for power browsing multiple large directories. But in the open/save dialogues it is sheer agony, especially since there seems to be not much rhyme or reason as to how things jump around. I tried Default Folder X for a while but it didn't help much; it had a few options that made things easier but I just feel like columns are kludgy when you're opening or saving.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      One of the Dock's most impressive features is it's advanced real time application feedback.

      Visually impressive it may be - however, functionally it's fairly pointless. Apart from the *massive* overhead involved (a busy minimised terminal window will drag the entire GUI to a crawl) the utility is fairly limited - for preview icons to be useful, they have to be huge, chewing up yet more valuable screen real estate in a GUI feature that already wastes more than it should.


      I could take you to task on many of your points, but this one is grossly inaccurate, and something has to be said.

      I don't know how you could use OS X for more than a week and still think dock feedback is mostly pointless. Let's take the prime example: Mail. Even if my Mail icon is tiny, it still tells me if I have unread messages by displaying that tiny red star on Mail's "stamp" icon. If I have magnification turned on, I can see how many unread messages have just come in. If you can't see how that is useful, then there's no reason to waste precious CPU cycles explaining it. :-)

      Besides Mail, there are dozens of other apps that provide Dock feedback (CPU Monitor comes to mind), save me keystrokes and reduce the app's interference with my workflow to a single glance rather than a click, a glance, and another click to go back to where I was. Print Center shows me when my print jobs are going, and when they're finished, or if they've encountered any errors. It even shows me how many pages still have to print! And I don't have to open a single window to get that information. There are dozens and dozens more examples where these came from. And none of these examples require the icons to be huge. You can get one level of usefulness with the dock minimized, and another level if you choose to magnify it, which can be done with a simple flick of the wrist.

      How can you possibly support that the dock feedback feature isn't useful with all that evidence?
      • How can you possibly support that the dock feedback feature isn't useful with all that evidence?

        Sorry, I should have been more specific. I meant the type of eye-candy feedback I gave as an example (eg: minimised terminals updating, DVDs & Quicktimes playing minimised, synamically updating document thumbnails, etc) and not the simple things like the number of unread messages in the user's inbox which are quite useful and informative whilst having little impact on system performance. It might be better in 3 - 5 years, when Mac hardware has gotten fast enough (or OS X has been optimised enough) such that a single rapidly updating terminal in the Dock grinds the whole system to a halt - but right now these things need to be an option.

        • I'mma agree with the other person responding to this. I have a DP 800 with a GF3 (at 1600x1200 @ 75hz) and I suffer pretty much no slowdown (that's noticeable) with a minimized terminal. I can even make it transparent and drag it around the screen and it's not too bad. I think most of your other points are pretty valid, but I just don't see the problem with this one.
        • I don't see much slow down either.

          What's wrong with these stupid Wintel users? All they care about a computer is GHz that is mostly unused and idling, but they are constantly worried about using a few CPU cycles to make things more beautiful. When you spend hours in front of a computer, you do deserve the pleasure of eye-candy which is mostly designed to have a function value as well.
      • Don't forget Photoshop. When I'm applying a filter to a 400MB file I'll switch over to Safari to surf the web for a few minutes (I'm using an ancient G4 450) and the progress bar for that filter appears on the Photoshop icon in the dock, so instead of switching between apps, I can see how far the progress has gone and when it is done.
    • I can't see how a window could be "accidentally" moved completely off screen. I can see how it could be done programmatically by the application, or deliberately by the user - but not "accidentally".

      Actually, I have seen this a lot. One of the guys that I work with has placed the taskbar at the top of his screen. What happens is that somehow a program manages to get a window's menubar underneath the taskbar and then the window can't be moved or its menus accessed. The cure is to hide the taskbar for a second and move the window down but it is a pain in the butt, especially since this person is pretty clueless on how to fool around with the taskbar.
      Dragging and dropping content from one app to another involves...
      Cumbersome it may be, but it is infinitely better than the complete lack of equivalent functionality in OS X.

      It's pretty easy to drag-and-drop from one app to another in MacOS X. Simply start to drag from one application, hit command-tab until the other application comes up, and then drop the material into the document. Works like a charm.
      Dock vs Taskbar
      for preview icons to be useful, they have to be huge

      That's what dock magnification is for. Set the magnification for max and you will get a pretty good idea what is going on in that window when you mouse over it in the dock. Not only that but the program itself can change its icon to represent what is going on. Take Mail for example, if there is mail for you then the icon for Mail will have a red badge on it with the number of messages that have not been read yet. This number does not need to be huge since it is a simple graphic and does not have so much clutter obfuscating it.
      • Actually, I have seen this a lot. One of the guys that I work with has placed the taskbar at the top of his screen. What happens is that somehow a program manages to get a window's menubar underneath the taskbar and then the window can't be moved or its menus accessed.

        Ah, ok, I've never seen the Taskbar used at the top of the screen before which is probably why I've never seen this happen. It's definitely a bug - the GUI shouldn't let applications open windows behind the taskbar.

        It's pretty easy to drag-and-drop from one app to another in MacOS X. Simply start to drag from one application, hit command-tab until the other application comes up, and then drop the material into the document. Works like a charm.

        Yes, exactly the same thing works in Windows as well, but that wasn't what I'm describing. In Windows, you can drag to an arbitrary window, even when it is obscured just by holding the mouse cursor over the taskbar button for the window and waiting for it to come to the front. With OS X, to do that requires manual keyboard intervention in two different ways (Cmd+Tab to the app, Cmd+` to the appropriate window if necessary). A reasonably workaround to this (IMHO) would be for the app's Dock menu to appear if the cursor was held over the icon for long enough, and from there the object could be dragged to the appropriate window.

        The point I was making is that he was complaining about something that was "slow and cumbersome" in Windows, but completely lacking in OS X - even though the ways you achieve the equivalent in OS X are also available in Windows.

        That's what dock magnification is for. Set the magnification for max and you will get a pretty good idea what is going on in that window when you mouse over it in the dock. Not only that but the program itself can change its icon to represent what is going on.

        Trouble is then you have to "scrub" across them to figure out which is which.

        Take Mail for example, if there is mail for you then the icon for Mail will have a red badge on it with the number of messages that have not been read yet. This number does not need to be huge since it is a simple graphic and does not have so much clutter obfuscating it.

        Yeah I should have been more clear about this. I was more referring to the eye-candy style previews rather than the simple, symbolic stuff like Mail.

        • With OS X, to do that requires manual keyboard intervention in two different ways (Cmd+Tab to the app, Cmd+` to the appropriate window if necessary). A reasonably workaround to this (IMHO) would be for the app's Dock menu to appear if the cursor was held over the icon for long enough, and from there the object could be dragged to the appropriate window.

          I agree that would be a nice addition, maybe make it like spring-loaded folders. If you drag over a dock item then the menu will pop up after a small delay, or you can hit the spacebar to make it open immediately. That would make drag-and-drop easier. Hmm, looks like I've got a suggestion to send to Apple's UI feedback!

          The important thing is that Apple does take suggestions very seriously. They have made huge changes to MacOS X and applications simply because a bunch of people asked for them. Take Safari for example, Apple was pretty set on not having tabs in their web browser but it now looks like they are going to be part of the browser because so many people asked for it. The same thing goes for spring-loaded folders, the Apple menu, and a ton of other improvements. If you don't like something that Apple makes, send them a suggestion on how to improve it, they seem to be listening.
          • I agree that would be a nice addition, maybe make it like spring-loaded folders. If you drag over a dock item then the menu will pop up after a small delay, or you can hit the spacebar to make it open immediately. That would make drag-and-drop easier. Hmm, looks like I've got a suggestion to send to Apple's UI feedback!

            Unfortunately I think you'll have Apple has some UI guidelines that say it's a bad idea. Something like menus should be "read only". Please excuse the vagueness, it's been a long time since I've looked through them.

            [..] the Apple menu, and a ton of other improvements. If you don't like something that Apple makes, send them a suggestion on how to improve it, they seem to be listening.

            Oh I do, and have in the past. Indeed, I'm still complaining about the neutered and largely useless Apple menu that OS X was given :).

  • by wirelessbuzzers (552513) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @10:26PM (#5490380)
    Of course, the site layout was annoying, but here are my obligatory complaints about the site's content:

    ? Use of Internet Explorer as a benchmark of dragging support. For both OSX and XP, they docked points because Explorer didn't do something (such as drop text on the desktop as a clipping), while noting that Mozilla or Opera or some other browser did it correctly. If you're going to use specific software, test Safari Beta vs Explorer (the "beta" part gives Explorer the advantage, of course); otherwise, use several browsers.

    ? He could have mentioned OSX's annoying method of converting / to : and back in the filesystems.

    ? Search on Mac has a similar annoyance in screen real-estate to that in Windows: the default position of the path drawer is too high, making it impossible to read long paths.

    ? OS X help system is slow as sin. And although I don't need it, the red-ink-circled buttons in OS 9 help were very useful for beginners.

    ? Mail: Mail is a much better tool than Outlook, in my opinion. The spam filter is excellent and it's more secure, especially by default. It also has better plug-in support. The "number of new mails" indicator in the toolbar is also very nice.

    ?Browsing: I like Safari and Chimera (err Camino) much better than IE for the Mac, or IE for anything for that matter. Maybe just a personal preference.

    ? iChat has lots of bugs and missing features, and its interface, while neat, is a bit bloated (what do you mean, only one line of text?!?). Adium has fewer bugs but more missing features (file copying comes to mind... you can't scp to a windows machine). AIM for Mac is slower and clunkier than for Windows. I use Adium, but it could use improvement (we'll see when 2.0 comes out).
    • I agree with you 100% on the Mail vs Outlook thing.

      The author seemed to focus on Outlook's ability to easily produce html mail - the thing I do my very hardest to weed out before it hits my inbox!

      Fancy colours and text formatting might be fine for an email to granny, but in a professional environment I can't see its place. An email should be plain text only, with attachments.

      The article didn't mention Mail's adherance to email standards, re the proper handling of email attachments, but then I suppose with Outlook doing it the wrong way and having 90% of the market share I guess MS have suceeded in brute forcing the official standard out of the way.

      I love Mail's streamlined look and feel too, much better than the bloat of Outlook and Outlook Express and the Mac version, Entourage.

      People complaining about Mail not being powerful enough just aren't giving it enough time. You can't call Applescripts from within rules, which is a shame, but the rules you can set up are extremely powerful in themselves, and the junk filter is very good at what it does.
  • just not three dollars cool. I think its great you put this info together, and im sure it took a fair ammount of time, but im never going to pay that, so dont expect it. If your going to charge then, charge. Or just charge for the pdf version, like most 'news' sites do. But dont try and make me feel guilty for viewing your site.

    But im a fair guy so heres my site, that i put a lot of time into with my girlfriend. vidgame.net [vidgame.net] Use all the bandwidth you want, if thatll make you feel better.

    That said, i thought it was a fairly thourough overview and commparison. As stated, weighted scores would help... alot. I use both OS on a regular basis, and although XP is better at many a task, OSX just 'feels' better. Quantifying a feeling is a hard task, but id say XP is about 80% there, they just need to fire the smurfs and hire some graphic designers.

    The glory is the ability to choose, and not be confined to a single OS, OSX, OS9, OS8.6, OS6, XP, BeOS 5, and several 'flavors' (on multiple architechtures) of Linux are all within arms reach in my computer room!

  • defrag (Score:4, Informative)

    by oyenstikker (536040) <slashdot@sbyrn e . o rg> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @11:46PM (#5490889) Homepage Journal
    XP wins Disk Defragmenting. Does OSX's filesystem need to be defragmented?

    I remember finding out that ext2 doesn't get fragmented, and doing a happy dance. Not having to defrag beats the best defrag utility in existance, even if it checks email and handles buggy IMAP servers.
    • I remember finding out that ext2 doesn't get fragmented, and doing a happy dance.
      If this is the case, then why does fsck show the fragmentation percentage of an ext2 partition after checking it? I think that the ext2 FS code minimizes fragmentation by placing files intelligently, but it doesn't eliminate fragmentation altogether. This seems to be the case with HFS+ as well...
    • OS X supports several disk formats. HFS+ ( and legacy HFS) can become fragmented although I have never really had problems with this. Apple UFS does not get fragmented but could have difficulties with legacy Mac files.

      Typical advice is to use UFS for a server box and HFS+ for a workstation. Since my main box does everything, I split the difference by having a main drive formatted HFS+ and then a second HD formatted UFS used only for VM spooling, Photoshop scratch, browser cache and stuff like that. It works out very well for me.
  • Sorry, but (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @12:34AM (#5491124)
    Comparing X & XP is only good for starting arguments. What's the goal? ...to get someone to switch? I don't think so. To apologize to the Windows world? Not again... Why is it some OS X users continually apologize for their OS choice? Bad form if you ask me. Bad form to lower your OS to comparison to the diminishing world of non-UNIX based OS's as well.

    Otherwise, it's like comparing treehouses with daydreams. One seems to have a great view, but watch out you don't fall, and the other (OS X) feels good because it feels good. OS X is a state of mind and XP is...well......not.

    I use OS X (and Mandrake 9.0), and I couldn't care less how X compares to anything non-UNIX. Oh, and I don't beg for money on my Apple related sites:
    • Why is it some OS X users continually apologize for their OS choice? Bad form if you ask me. Bad form to lower your OS to comparison to the diminishing world of non-UNIX based OS's as well.
      Well, Dr. Freud, since you ask... Have you considered the possibility that, unlike yourself, he feels no exaggerrated personal identification with his OS, and therefore is just doing what people do all the time -- rationally comparing alternatives without larding the discussion with emotionalism?
      OS X is a state of mind and XP is...well......not.
      See above.
  • by rdarden (87568) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @01:03AM (#5491269)
    I use PCs all day at work for embedded development, testing, etc., and Macs at home for video, audio, software dev., etc. I can accomplish anything I want to on either platform but what irks me about the PC (Windows 2000) is user interface consistency. Not just keyboard shortcuts and such, but smaller (more meaningful, to me) things like:

    - Placement of menus.

    - Drag and drop behavior: copy and paste a full line (including the newline at the end) in multiple apps and see what I mean. What the hell did Outlook do with the newline? I guess it decided I will never need it.

    - Select all (CTRL-A) in file browser, web browser location, etc, broken half of the time.

    - Clicking in an application's window sometimes absorbs the click, only changing focus (and raising the window). Other times the app accepts the click, moving the cursor. I can't keep track of which app does which, and I waste lots of time either hunting for the title bar or repositioning my cursor.

    - Different file browsers in each program, none of which I particularly like. I imagine this is a legacy (Win 3.1?) issue that can't be easily solved.

    - Some programs treat the cursor as a Mac does when you've highlighted some text. Hit cursor-right and the cursor moves to the end, hit cursor-left and the cursor moves to the beginning of the selection. Most programs don't do this.

    I can't think of the others right now..I'm getting frustrated just thinking about these things.
    • You left off three of (what I consider) the worst UI factors. First, fact that Undo works differently when typing in different apps - some undo 1 letter at a time, others undo everything typed since the last time a control was focussed on. And those usually don't have a 'Redo', so if I'm not paying attention I'll undo the last five sentences instead of my typo.

      Another inconsistancy that's always biting me is double clicking on text - some apps grab just the words, some grabs symbols, some grab everything between spaces. (I'm not going to get into how much I hate auto-selection that never seems to go away.)

      Something that's just annoying is that the cursor never leaves when typing. I think this is the most annoying lack ever - I start typing and have to move the cursor to proofread.

      Not to mention that if you're at the top of a text window and hit the up arrow, Windows yells at you (read: plays your system beep). Though, some OS X apps have learned this behavior and need slapped. Actually, it's worse at the bottom of the text hitting the down arrow - OS X will go to the end of the text, Windows just bitches.

      (Disclaimer: This was all true Win95-2000. I haven't yet been cursed to work in XP, but I'd be surprised if any of these changed.)
  • File searching... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PKFC (580410) <pkfc.hotmail@com> on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @05:51AM (#5492318)
    One thing the article fails to mention is how deadly slow Windows finds files compared to macs. Windows scans every single directory and macs seem to just find the files instead of scanning the directories :P No idea why it seems so much quicker though...

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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