The Null Device

MacOS 10.3

A list of new features in MacOS 10.3, aka Panther, which is due out by the end of the year. Though I'm still not sure about the brushed-metal Finder. (Wasn't that look just meant for hardware-accessing applications?)

There are 7 comments on "MacOS 10.3":

Posted by: cos Tue Jun 24 12:40:43 2003

You watch. It'll be Mail next.

After that, the UI designers'll probably come up with some doubleplusAqua, and their app dudes will have to convert all their stuff back to that. Woo. Progress.

Posted by: Chandler McWilliams Tue Jun 24 19:03:19 2003

it is actully meant for apps that have a real-world analogue. i.e. iTunes is like a stereo, iChat like a phone (i guess??). Not really so sure about safari.

So by that logic i guess Textured finder makes sense, maybe.

Posted by: acb Wed Jun 25 08:14:27 2003

I think what OSX is missing is themeability, or user textures.

It started as a neat, minimalistic interface, deliberately regulated to avoid the Las Vegas-like clutter of Windows (or, even worse, the myriad WMs and toolkits under Linux). Then Apple (who have absolute control of the window-drawing code; unlike Windows, apps can't override their own window-frame drawing code, or at least nobody has figured out how to do so) added the brushed-metal mode, which is controlled by setting a "k3wl bit" in the window data structure. They sternly told people not to use it except for apps with a hardware analogue -- and then used it for their web browser. So soon every crappy piece of shareware with a name like Fred's Phone Book and Text Editor is going to go brushed-metal. It's the Red Queen Effect: those who stand still end up being left behind.

Apple have opened this Pandora's Box. What they should do is add a mechanism for allowing apps to specify their own texture maps -- and for applying the maps to window

Posted by: acb Wed Jun 25 08:15:20 2003

...and for applying the maps to windows in a reasonably consistent and un-ugly way.

Posted by: mark Thu Jun 26 10:39:40 2003

Uh... Red Queen Effect?

Posted by: acb Thu Jun 26 11:10:07 2003

What it says, i.e., the only way to not be left behind is to keep moving. It's from Lewis Carroll, and was popularised by Richard Dawkins to describe evolutionary arms races. It applies equally to the means of getting GUIs to look "k3wler", where brushed metal is the thing and anything in the formerly "lickable" Aqua GUI is now boring and old-hat.

Posted by: Graham Thu Jun 26 13:39:03 2003

Sheesh. If the punters want garish window themes, let them have garish window themes.

Besides, Gnome and KDE aren't looking too shabby these days, certainly better than WinXP (three tacky themes or the old brutalist look) and especially compared with the auld days of TWM, Motif and FVWM, though I think they're still waiting for the Open Source certified guru for elegant user interfaces. Someone wrote an essay on that, dunno who.