Originally Posted by foobar
... why not wish for USB target mode?
Sounds great, but such a mode would require a special cable. USB, unlike FireWire, is very particular about not confusing upstream and downstream devices. If you put a Mac into a hypothetical USB-target mode, where it acts as an external USB drive, it's "A" connector is going to be used in a context where the standard says a "B" connector should be used. You'll need to use a special (and standard-violating) A-A cable, which would not be usable outside of this USB-target mode.
But there are solutions to that problem. One might be to add a USB port with a micro-AB receptacle. (See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univers...cal_appearance
.) This can accept micro-A cables (for attaching peripherals) or micro-B cables (for use when acting as a peripheral.)
And if Apple started using micro-USB connectors for some of the ports, they could cram more into the limited space of a MacBook Air
Originally Posted by solipsism
Ive had Mac OS X on a partition of my external HDD for years now. Have an issue? Just hold down option and choose that partition to boot from. Which is a hell of a lot easier than needing a 2nd Mac and a FireWire cable with the appropriate end connectors for those two Macs.
There are, as you so clearly describe, multiple solutions to the problem of how to repair a computer with a damaged drive.
A hard drive with an emergency-boot partition is one good solution. Target disk mode is another.
Target mode is especially useful for a repair tech who has to work on lots of computers. It's very convenient if you can just hold "T" at power-on time and attach the bad computer to your test-bench system loaded with diagnostic and repair tools. And it's a lot faster than booting the other computer from external media. Especially when you need to support a wide variety of computers that may require different OS releases, and therefore different sets of external boot media.
If you've only got one computer, then clearly this isn't your best solution, but I strongly disagree with your assertion that there's no good reason for anybody to ever want target disk mode. The fact that you have no need for it doesn't mean it's a useless feature.
Originally Posted by solipsism
I know people with Macs, but I dont know anyone anymore with the appropriate FireWire cable. Am I suppose to plan to have the appropriate FW cable with me on vacations, along with an adapter for FW400 or FW800 to make sure my bases are covered, assuming there is someone else with a Mac if I need one?
How about just using your Time Machine drive, or a USB flash drive or a SD card. Those are always in my computer bag and I dont have to rely on anyone to do a simple Disk Repair.
So you have no problem dragging emergency-repair hard drives with you on vacation, but you balk at the thought of carrying a FireWire cable?
I don't think you're seriously interested in discussing the subject. I think you're just emotionally bent out of shape over the fact that some people want a feature you don't use.
Originally Posted by Quillz
Also keep in mind this is only a read-only reinstall. It's still, at least as far as we know, not a sign that all future Mac OS X builds will be released on USB drives.
But distributing Mac OS X on read-only USB drives isn't a bad idea, assuming Apple can get the cost down to something comparable with the cost of today's distribution DVDs. Not knowing what ROM costs in large quantities, I couldn't say how likely that is to be true in the near future.
Since all Mac capable of booting Lion (as far as I know) have firmware that can boot USB devices, there's no technical reason why not. It will all come down to cost.