18 Jul 2006 pcolijn   » (Journeyer)

Reducing Suckiness

If you use Mac OS X try:

export CLICOLOR=true

In your .bashrc. Why this isn't on by default is a pretty huge mystery to me.

Unfortunately...

There's still lots of suckiness left. People often ask me why I don't like Mac OS X. I have some good reasons, but they're hard to articulate. I'm going to try anyway. Also note that I don't mind OS X for stuff like browsing the web, listening to music or managing photos. Since those kinds of things are where OS X is mostly targetted, I'm not claiming OS X sucks in general. I'm claiming it sucks for me.

  1. Not really a feature of OS X itself, but Mac keyboards and mice are annoying, especially if you use UNIX apps. ctrl and fn are reversed, so I hit fn all the time (ctrl is also the way more useful key, so it should be easier to hit). And one button mice.. yeah, lots of fun when you want to use an X11 app. On a non-laptop you can of course just plug in whatever keyboard and mouse suit your fancy, but you're stuck on a laptop.
  2. Window management. In short, it sucks. When you have 4 or 5 terminals, plus a few Vim windows, plus a few browsers, it's really hard to get around. command-tab helps a bit but its semantics for apps that have multiple windows (like terminals and web browsers) are never quite what I expect. Exposé was supposed to remedy this, but when I'm working away I don't want to make my machine swap to disk just so I can see all my windows. Plus, on my MacBook Pro it doesn't work for some reason. I setup the hotkeys I want and they just show some weird symbol I don't understand when I push them.
  3. The dock. Most confusing interface EVER. You can put files, folders and applications there. Some applications disappear from there when you quit them, some don't (yes, I know the rule governing this behaviour, but it's not intuitive). And if an application isn't in there it's a lot of effort to go and find it and run it. Some apps, if they're running and you click the icon in the dock, they will raise their windows. Some won't. So you can't depend on that behaviour from the dock (it does at least appear to be consistent with command-tab).
  4. Speed. This has gotten much better over the years as Apple's hardware has gotten faster and Mac OS X has gotten more efficient, but it still can be an issue. For example, Firefox takes 11 "hops" in the dock before displaying a window on my MacBook Pro after I boot. I have a gig of RAM.
  5. Notifications. When an app wants to tell you it's done something, it bounces incredibly annoyingly in the dock for a while, completely distracting you from whatever you were doing. This often happens for seemingly unimportant things, like "we finished installing your software update." You know what? I don't care. I'll reboot when I feel like it, thank you very much.

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