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OS X Upgrades

Spotlight Improvements In Leopard 356

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 Cheech Wizard ( 698728 ) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @08:47PM (#17977038) Homepage
    I've used File Buddy exclusively since spotlight became the standard OS X search. I've only used spotlight couple times and I hate it.
  • by fontkick ( 788075 ) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:12PM (#17977244)
    Searching offline files can be done with CDFinder: []

    It's an excellent volume catalogue utility. I use it to search through the 1000+ CDs and DVDs that we have burned for backup. Searching the entire catalog produces almost instantaneous search results.

    It can also be used as a replacement for Spotlight by dragging your hard drive icon into the main library to make a catalog of it. Searching by filename is also extremely quick - the fastest I've used on any platform.

    I've had Spotlight turned off for a year ever since I figured out that you could disable it. Frankly, I think Spotlight sucks. 95% of the time when I want to search for something, I already know the name of it (because I name files well) and I just want a basic file search to open the containing folder.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:56PM (#17977554)
    Er, indexed search is exactly what Windows Desktop Search and search in Windows Vista do.
  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Sunday February 11, 2007 @09:56PM (#17977560) Homepage Journal
    Examples? Queries can't start with a wild card,

    Incorrect []:

    Leading wildcards (e.g. *ook) are not supported by the QueryParser by default. They can be enabled by calling QueryParser.setAllowLeadingWildcard( true ). Note that this can be an expensive operation: it requires scanning the entire list of tokens in the index to look for tokens that match the pattern. Currently this code is in the Lucene development trunk but is not yet in any release.

    queries cannot comprise of a NOT clause by itself,

    Are you sure? BooleanQuerySyntax [] in Lucene is indeed a little odd, but I'm not sure you're right.

    results are stored in an immutable data structure that does not support merging,

    Incorrect Lucene supports merging & has done for years. Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

    Meh, I don't think you've used lucene for years!
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Sunday February 11, 2007 @10:26PM (#17977866)
    The majority of Vista is an indisputable clone of OS X features that Mac users have taken for granted for years, from hardware-accelerated desktop compositing to vector-based graphics APIs to non-admin user accounts to shiny two-tone plastic highlights and translucencies.

    Christ, even the filesystem layout was shamelessly cloned from OS X.

    I don't even know where to begin with this, but to say...

    Your facts are really, really wrong.

    OSX only has a bitmap composer that does nothing more than use the GPU textures for double buffering, it is NOT 3D accelerated, nor even 3D rendered. (Vista is BOTH.)

    OSX's vector based graphics API is EQUIVALENT to GDI+ that has been available in Windows since 2001. Go look this up, please. Additionally, the Vectoring API of OSX is NOT EVEN close to the WPF vectoring concepts in Vista, from animation constructs to true 3D rendering and hit checking and is TRULY 3D accelerated.

    Non-Admin accounts... Hmmm. Windows NT 3.1 (which is what Windows is based on, has had non-Admin accounts since 1992.) Far before Apple even moved from the 'single' user metaphor of their System software of the 90s. Old school Windows NT users have ALWAYS setup their company and user accounts in non-admin modes, just like *nix people have as well. It was WindowsXP and its use in the Home market where it became 'normal' to run under administration level, even though if anyone had any sense they would NOT let even their family members have Admin accounts on XP either. (This is NOT about MS not having the functionality, it is about end-user education that failed, hence Vista forces it.)

    The FS was NOT cloned from OSX. Have you ever used anything but a freaking Mac? The only reference I assume you are referring to is MS changing the name of the "Documents and Settings" folder to "Users" to make it easier and it does borrow the name "Users" from a *nix standard that has been used for a LONG LONG time. However, there is NOTHING in this that comes from OSX.

    Please do your own research, don't even believe me, and certainly stop believing the crap facts you would find in a normal Mac Site Forum.

    PS There is so much to Vista that is far beyond OSX, it is really sad that Mac and other closed minded *nix users will NOT GET IT, until MS leverages these technologies to once again ensure their market dominance. Little things, like how the new Video subsystem in Vista can easily scale across multiple GPUS without SLI or Crossfire types of technology, making the new ATI multi-core GPU cards only workable on Vista without 'specific' application coding for the cards. Vista users and games will automatically just get access to the extra GPU power even on their OLD games.

    (See Vista already multi-tasks GPU and GPU RAM on single core cards, much like the jump to preemptive multi-tasking CPUs had with OSes in the 90s, which to date is something no other commercial OS can do. As an example, OpenGL as OSX uses exclusively, is just now starting to take advantage of multithreaded OpenGL, which is just starting to take advantage of multiple CPUs, let alone multiple GPUs.)
  • by Ankur Dave ( 929048 ) <> on Sunday February 11, 2007 @11:23PM (#17978320) Homepage
    Sorry, you're mistaken. I have 6.10 and there's no Beagle.
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @01:26AM (#17979208)
    OS X's vector graphics API? You mean NSBezierPath? That's been around since NeXTStep, which far predates Windows XP.

    Almost as long as GDI from freaking windows which is the base vector graphics API. Go look it up, please.

    Just because I was talking about GDI+, because it has the anti-aliasing and translucency features added in OSX, does not mean Windows didn't have a freaking vector language prior to that. In fact there is stuff from the original GDI of Windows in the 80s that is STILL not in OSX.

    The compositor uses the GPU, which is 3-D acceleration. And QuartzGL, the fully 3-D rendering pipeline, was in Tiger in development form.

    There is a difference between using 3D textures for window composition and actually using functions of the 3D library for accelerating the drawing inside an application and the desktop.

    Vista also has a Vector composer to further speed up Vista and WPF applications, this is why you can remote desktop 4000 miles away to a Vista machine and STILL have 3D accelerated drawing on the remote screen. A Mac doesn't even have 3D accelerated drawing on screen in front of you if you are sitting at the freaking computer itself unless it is an OpenGL application.

    Understand the difference?
  • by Mongoose ( 8480 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @02:02AM (#17979478) Homepage
    Actually, beagle is installed by default now. Your bitch is moot anyway, since Ubuntu even has something even easier than synaptic -- Add/Remove Applications. You just browse/search, click, and go. It'll even install applications like vmware player and opera. It handles everything else for you.

    Once Ubuntu has ClickNRun bundled you'll even be able to BUY and INSTALL things like Crossover Office with the same system more or less. Tell me how are you going to beat that for usability?
  • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:51AM (#17980072) Homepage
    You obviously dont know what the middle mouse paste is then.
    Its not a normal clipboard.
  • by yo_tuco ( 795102 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:00AM (#17980108)
    ...wishing they would add things, like OS integrated multiple desktops..."

    If you have a PPC version of OSX, multiple desktops [] has been around quite awhile. But it's an add on and it has cool switching effects to select from.
  • by Ibiwan ( 763664 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:58AM (#17980390) Journal


    PathFinder is an amazing peice of software, that for many people could well replace the Finder wholesale (they even have unsupported directions for doing so...)

    This chunk of bits does everything the Finder used to do, tries to do, and should do, plus quite a few things I'm not so sure it should do -- pdfs, text editing, web browsing, shell command entry, search, word doc display...

    These are just off the top of my head, I don't actually USE PathFinder because I'd rather keep the memory free and do most of my file manipulation in Terminal or with Spotlight anyway. BUT, go give it a try, you may well find yourself ponying up the reg fee once the demo period ends!

  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:30AM (#17980542) Homepage Journal
    but I think the original innovator was Google with "Google Desktop Search"

    You're not even remotely close. Beagle predated both spotlight & GDS. I think even Vista's desktop search was demoed prior to GDS.
  • by steeviant ( 677315 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:37AM (#17980568)
    The first "live query" desktop search that made it beyond proof-of-concept was in BeOS, made possible by a ground-up rewrite of the file system which blessed BeOS with (in the words of BeOS's lead file system engineer) "database-like" features, though I can't remember exactly which version of BeOS BFS first appeared in.

    Google Desktop Search, MSN Desktop Search, Beagle, Tracker (no, not the BeOS file manager), Apple's Spotlight, the Start menu search box in Vista and to a large extent Microsoft's never-ready WinFS next generation file system all borrow extensively from BeOS's original implementation.

    Not entirely coincidentally, the principal developer of BFS Dominic Giampaolo now works for Apple as a file system engineer.
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:33AM (#17981084)
    Actually, GP is correct, QuartzGL, which uses the GPU to render the desktop (not just composite) was in 10.4. It even renders font glyphs on the GPU. Not enabled by default, but I guess it should be in 10.5.

    I was actually refering to Quartz Extreme, as prior it is OSX did double buffering in freaking System RAM.

    However, what you and the GP seem to be missing, is that EVEN WITH Quartz Extreme it is NOT using 3D acceleration to speed up the 2D vector drawing engine. It is ONLY USING 3D TEXTURES from the GPU Via OpenGL to COMPOSE the Screen, so that the Window Textures are mapped to a Polygon and rendered with the Video Card directly via OpenGL.

    This is STILL Just a BITMAP Composer, using OpenGL to store and render Textures on a simple Polygon surface for each Window.

    Vista on the other hand does 3D acceleration even in the 2D GDI/GDI+ drawing by utilizing the GPU of the 3D card, and additionally for Vista and WPF fully accelerates ALL THE 2D and 3D application drawing. This means Vista is using 3D acceleration to draw Fonts faster, anti-aliasing using GPU features, etc before the application EVEN CREATES the Bitmap or Vector drawing it passes to the Composer.

    This is why in Vista, even if you have an OLD video card that ONLY supports DirectX7, applications will get a performance boost even if your card is not PS 2.0 compliant and supports Vista Glass because of its need for the PS 2.0 blurring.

    Even on WindowsXP WPF(Vista technology) applications are accelerated by any 3D GPU in the computer if it supports DirectX7 or newer. So Vista is using 3D to accelerate even basic GDI/GDI+ and WPF drawing operations on older 3D Video cards even when Vista does not even use the Desktop Composer(Glass/Aero) on these older cards.

    Anyone that doesn't get this, load Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw with a complex drawing on Vista and time how fast the screen renders(Zoom in Out, Pan, etc), then do the same on XP and then on OSX. Vista will at the minimum be 10-20x faster in displaying the image because it uses 3D GPU features to accelerate even LEGACY applications that have NO CONCEPT of Vista.

    And sadly Vista will STILL be this much faster than OSX even with 10.5 because Quartz Extreme does NO vector acceleration in hardware unless the application is already OpenGL.

    Here is the best way to lay this out so people understand from both MS documentation and the current notes on Quartz Extreme in OSX 10.5 that are available.

    OSX No Quartz Extreme
    Quartz2D-QuickDraw/Software Rendering/Buffer/Software Rendering/Quartz Compositor/Software Rendering/Frame Buffer

    OpenGL/Hardware Rendering/Buffer/Software Rendering/Quartz Compositor/Software Rendering/Frame Buffer

    OSX With Quartz Extreme
    Quartz2D-QuickDraw/Software Rendering/GPU Store/Hardware Rendering/Frame Buffer

    OpenGL/Hardware Rendering/Surface/Hardware Rendering/Frame Buffer

    Vista without DirectX 9.0 Card
    GDI/GDI+/Software Rendering(Some 2D GPU)/Frame Buffer

    WPF/Hardware Rendering(3D GPU)/Frame Buffer (Same on XP)

    Vista with DirectX 9.0 Card (Aero/Glass/WDDM)
    GDI/GDI+/Hardware Rendering(3D & 2D GPU)/Vector&Bitmap Buffer/Hardware Rendering/Composer/Frame Buffer

    WPF&Vista Apps/Hardware Rendering(3D GPU)/Vector&Bitmap Buffer/Hardware Rendering/Composer/Frame Buffer

    Notice that Vista has Hardware Acceleration from the 3D GPU to help the application drawing, not just at the end like OSX.

    Vista also doesn't double buffer like OSX does, this is because the composer can do the application buffering and since it is essential a 3D manager then it directly writes these textures on two triangular polygons to the screen for each Window. This also increases the video performance. As long as OSX has to double buffer to acheive the same tear-free results, they will not be competitive when it comes to Composer managed Gaming or 3D application performanc
  • by metroplex ( 883298 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:44AM (#17981134) Homepage
    "but the middle-click-scroll feature is pretty handy. I doubt it will appear in Mac OS X anytime soon --"

    fyi, middle-click-scroll works out of the box with a three-button mouse in Mac Os X in Firefox. You just have to middle-click (anywhere on the page but NOT on a link, in which case the link will be opened in a new tab) and scroll away. Since it is feasable in an application, I suppose implementing it system-wide shouldn't be too complicate. I am not a programmer, though.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @10:40AM (#17982432) Journal
    BFS was first found in BeOS Release 3, in 1996. It was developed in six months by two guys (one of whom wrote a superb book on filesystem design using it as an example, which is now out of print and available for free download in PDF form). BeFS was fairly close to classic UFS (although used B+ trees in a few places where UFS used lists and implemented journalling), but with two key differences:
    1. You could add arbitrary (typed) key-value pairs to a file's inode. This made looking up arbitrary metadata for a file very cheap (no extra disk reads).
    2. You could create virtual directories containing indexes to metadata attributes that were automatically updated whenever a file had a specified key updated.
    BeFS is actually a pretty simple FS to implement. HFS+ has similar capabilities in terms of searching, since all metadata is stored in a central location. The author of BeFS went to work for Apple and implemented Spotlight. Oddly, Spotlight doesn't actually use many of the features of HFS+ that would be useful; presumably this is so it can work transparently across UFS/FAT/whatever filesystems.

    I don't know why TFA is listing remote searching as a new feature; it was in the Tiger betas (I haven't tried using it, but I'd be surprised if they removed it).

  • by alanQuatermain ( 840239 ) on Monday February 12, 2007 @11:14AM (#17982860) Homepage

    Actually, aliases are designed to try to cover all bases.

    An alias can be created in either full or minimal forms. The exact internal makeup is something I've not had the need to really go into, but for example a minimal alias will contain the current path for the item and that item's file number in the volume catalog, and also something describing which volume it's on (a volume number perhaps, but not enough information to go and mount that volume if it's not already available). A full alias can also contain enough information to go & connect to a shared resource for you.

    Generally, the alias resolution will involve checking the encoded path to see if the item is still there (or if it's been replaced), then looking for the file number. A full alias can also contain some further search criteria which would be useful in locating an atomically-swapped file (overwrite A by writing B then deleting A and renaming B to A) which has later had a separate name change. In the network case, it can make use of a URL to determine some means of mounting the network volume containing the target file, such that double-clicking the alias will cause a server logon (unless the password has been saved in your keychain, or unless you have a Kerberos ticket) to appear, requesting a password. It'll then proceed to mount the volume and open the target item.

    The problem you've described regarding renamed old versions of files is usually solved by resolving based on path/URL first, before looking at the File ID. Things like being able to create an alias which will mount a shared volume for you, and aliasing files which you might personally move from one folder to another (by archiving to an 'old projects' folder, perhaps) are usually deemed important enough to make aliases useful. Especially when those aliases point to an application somewhere: drag Calculator to your Dock. Then drag the app onto your desktop. Click the icon in the Dock and it still launches -- this is because the Dock will use FSNewAliasMinimal() to record the location of the item, along with its URL (a hangover from the NeXTStep days I believe).


The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine