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OS X Upgrades

Spotlight Improvements In Leopard 356

Posted by kdawson
from the following-spot dept.
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is set to feature several new enhancements to Spotlight, Apple's desktop search, and ComputerWorld outlines them. The improvements include searching across multiple networked Macs, parental search snooping, server Spotlight indexing, boolean search, better application launching (sorely needed), and quick-look previews.
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Spotlight Improvements In Leopard

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Sunday February 11, 2007 @07:25PM (#17976894) Homepage Journal
    From tfa One of the biggest advances in Spotlight is that it will be able to search remote computers.

    Beagle [beagle-project.org] has done this for a while.

    Also from tfa As powerful as Spotlight is, it actually offers a somewhat limited set of search options. (then detailing the new, 1996 search engine style AND/OR/NOT operators).

    Beagle's also ahead [beagle-project.org] here:

    Beagle supports a search syntax similar to the major search engines you are probably familiar with. If you see too many results for a query, consider refining your search.

      Required words: By default, Beagle will return results containing all of the words you specify, with the exception of common "stop words" such as "a", "the", and "is".

      Phrases: To search for specific phrases (one word next to another), place the words in quotation marks. For example:

                        "White Album"

      Partial words: Beagle supports partial word searches using asterisks as wildcards. For example, to find words like "black", "blackbird", and "blacksmith":

                        black*

      Excluding words: To exclude a word or phrase from your search, prefix it with minus sign ("-"). For example, to find items with "Beatles" but not the word "George":

                        Beatles -George

      Optional words: To indicate that the word A or word B be in results, use OR, i.e. to find items which contain either "George" or "Ringo" (or both). The OR is case-sensitive.

                        George OR Ringo

      Property queries: By default, Beagle looks for your search terms in the text of the documents and their metadata. If you want to search for a specific property, use the format property:keyword. You can find a list of supported properties by running beagle-query --keywords. Property queries follow all the rules mentioned above; so you can search for properties by phrase, using wildcards, exclude terms, or provide optional terms. For example, the following query will return all of your Beatles MP3s or Ogg/Vorbis files that aren't on the Abbey Road album:

                        artist:Beatles ext:mp3 OR ext:ogg -album:"Abbey Road"

      Searching file extensions: You can use either *.mp3 or ext:mp3 to search for documents by file extension. (In this example, MP3s.)

    I guess sometime's Spotlight's ahead on features & at other times Beagle's ahead.
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @07:35PM (#17976938)
    ...it'd be great if they also indexed your offline media too?

    The number of times I have to swap out CDs trying to find an image file or an old piece of code - it drives me nuts! Now with DVD it gets worse, HD-DVD, Blu-ray - forget it, that's a needle in a haystack. How difficult could it be to have the drive index offline media too - a bit like some tape library software or the like? Maybe it could index when you burn? The last time I saw something like this was when I got a Zip drive back in 1997 and some nifty free software came with it. Now, it seems that you can only search your local drive - a bad idea when removable media is the norm.

    So, at the risk of sounding like a total banana; why doesn't anyone do this, or am I missing some glaringly obvious checkbox somewhere in OS X/XP/Fedora/Vista?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 11, 2007 @07:47PM (#17977040)
    Sorry, but with the exception of network search, Spotlight's search query engine has been able to do *all* of those things from the beginning, the difference is that this is now supported in the blue menu at the top of the menu bar (not jsut from the command line or code). You can perform incredibly complicated queries in Spotlight that you simply cannot do in Beagle.

    Why? Because Beagle uses the Lucene search engine. Speaking as someone who uses Lucene every day, has written numerous analysers, query parsers and filters, it doesn't come close to Spotlight's engine. Examples? Queries can't start with a wild card, queries cannot comprise of a NOT clause by itself, results are stored in an immutable data structure that does not support merging, queries containing wild cards and ranges of values get translated into an enormous query with an OR clause for *every term in the index*. Thats fucking disgraceful. Lucene is also *much* slower then Spotlight, and contains numerous memory leaks relating to index readers and writers.

    Lucene is exceptionally easy to use and develop for, and Beagle ain't half bad, but Spotlight is superior in every way (except being closed source, yawn).
  • by mkiwi (585287) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @08:19PM (#17977280)
    One thing to note about Spotlight is that you can hook it's network capability into Bonjour (zeroconf) and we can find all sorts of fun applications for that. As for all the AC Microsoft apologists, Windows Search is nowhere nearBeagle or Spotlight. The windows search is more like what was available in Mac OS X 10.0-10.3. The ability to open up a window and do a search of your documents by looking at each and every single file on your hard drive. The thing about Spotlight is that it caches metadata about the files so instead of searching your entire hard drive for an instance of something, it searches a quickly available index.

    Now, if you are in a 4Gb/s network or in some kind of Ultra320 SCSI setup, you might not experience any difference in performance. However, if you are on a *normal* computer that has 7200RPM drives, spotlight is much faster than traditional search. Remember- it's the indexing that makes it fast. Windows does not do this.

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @08:20PM (#17977302)
    With all the shameless cloning in Vista, it's just really hard to overlook when comparing it to OS X. Blame Microsoft. Being demoed a year ago doesn't mean much since Apple demoed these things too. Vista only just came out for consumers, and Leopard is due out any month now. No doubt Microsoft will install it on their Macs (ex-devs have admitted they were looking at Macs when designing Vista's interface) and try to find new things to clone in Vienna. It's pretty clear that's how Microsoft operates today under the Steve Ballmer Marketing Regime. Until you guys get rid of him as CEO, you'll continue down this path of lameness. Excuse me, I meant to say "Windows Lameness Home Premium Limited Signed Edition SP2."
  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday February 11, 2007 @08:36PM (#17977420) Journal
    example:

      prompt% ln -s /tmp/already.exists /path/to/symlink
      prompt% mv /tmp/already.exists /tmp/this.is.a.new.name

    The symlink is now screwed. An alias set up to point at /tmp/already.exists would work just fine and peachy when the file was renamed (or moved elsewhere on the disk) as above.

    Simon.
  • by DurendalMac (736637) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:01PM (#17977588)
    If the elimination of filesystem lag when opening folders is any indication, then Spotlight should be much faster as well.
  • by Tyrdium (670229) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @11:17PM (#17978760) Homepage
    How do you use that to easily install random binaries you've downloaded? Can you double-click a binary package to launch an installer?

    (Note: this is an actual question; I haven't played with Synaptic outside of installing things in repositories.)
  • by Mr_Matt (225037) on Monday February 12, 2007 @02:42AM (#17980024)
    Does Beagle even run in OS X?

    No, thank Christ. Round our office, first thing we do with new Linux boxen is uninstall Beagle, 'cause if you don't the goddamn program will easily spend the first day or two of the box's life eating half of your CPU indexing where your 82 brazillion files are, even when a user has a priority process running. The *last* thing I wanna do is have to renice a bunch of processes because some idiotic GUI finder program wants to index files.

    Beagle sucks. So does Spotlight, but at least Spotlight doesn't suck in a resource-wasting way.

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