John Siracusa's Jaguar review

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
<a href="http://www.arstechnica.com/reviews/02q3/macosx-10.2/macosx-10.2-1.html"; target="_blank">Dig in.</a>



Not a very positive review ... basically he says OS X is improved, but not nearly improved enough.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    I agree with him on all points except his views about Apple breaking 3rd party software, namely the .menu hacks.



    One of the top "features" on Mac OS X is its rock-solid stability. Things like unsanity's haxies and the 3rd-party .menu additions gradually eat away at that stable core. I have personally experienced several major slow-downs and system bugs cause by said haxies and .menus. I, for one, am GLAD that Apple forces developers to make it *very* clear to users that they will have to do some funky, unsupported stuff to the system if they want to start killing its stability.



    The LAST thing I want for OSX is to return to a CDEV/INIT hell that was Classic Mac OS.



    - plink plink -

  • Reply 2 of 46
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    My two gripes with his review are minor.



    1) He is entirely incorrect about Mac OS X web browsers and rendering inline PNGs. IE, OmniWeb and all the gecko based browsers render PNGs absolutely fine. The only problem with regard to PNG is IE's ability to show a PNG by itself. In fact, the most glaring PNG support issue in any browser is a bug in IE 6.0 where transparent PNGs do not display correctly.



    2) His comparison of a Jaguar menu and a 10.1.x menu is misleading because he is clearly using sub-pixel font smoothing in the Jaguar screenshot and standard Quartz AA in the 10.1.x shot.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    [quote]Originally posted by Eugene:

    <strong>2) His comparison of a Jaguar menu and a 10.1.x menu is misleading because he is clearly using sub-pixel font smoothing in the Jaguar screenshot and standard Quartz AA in the 10.1.x shot.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I understand your point, but I'm not sure that negates what he was trying to say about menu opacity.



    [ 09-05-2002: Message edited by: CaseCom ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 46
    [quote]Originally posted by Eugene:

    <strong>1) He is entirely incorrect about Mac OS X web browsers and rendering inline PNGs.</strong><hr></blockquote>Aye! You are quite right about that. I don't know ow I could have missed that one. I suppose someone should send him an e-mail correcting him on that note. I already sent one to him about the Myriad font right after the article was published.



    [ 09-05-2002: Message edited by: Brad ]</p>
  • Reply 5 of 46
    [quote]Originally posted by CaseCom:

    <strong>I understand your point, but I'm not sure that negates what he was trying to say about menu opacity.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I think the reviewer's point was that the change in transparancy caused an increase in contrast for the menu text. Different text-rendering could also have caused this effect.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    In the article he says:

    [quote]

    While there are no public APIs for Dock-replacement applications, there are public APIs for some other OS extensions. Developers can create new menus in the right side of the menu bar using the NSStatusBar API, for example. But Apple's iconic menu bar items, called "menu extras", use a different and more capable API. The Apple-supplied menu extras (e.g. sound volume, monitor resolution, etc.) can be rearranged by dragging and can be activated or disabled by dragging them onto or off of the menu bar.

    <hr></blockquote>





    What version of Jag does he have??? I certainly cannot move around the sound and clock on the menu bar!!
  • Reply 7 of 46
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    [quote]Originally posted by ZO:

    <strong>

    What version of Jag does he have??? I certainly cannot move around the sound and clock on the menu bar!!</strong><hr></blockquote>



    try pressing the 2nd bottom key from the left (uhm..), then move them around...
  • Reply 8 of 46
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    [quote]Originally posted by ZO:

    <strong>In the article he says:







    What version of Jag does he have??? I certainly cannot move around the sound and clock on the menu bar!!</strong><hr></blockquote>



    hold down command
  • Reply 9 of 46
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    whhheeeeeeeeel i'llll be aunty Bay's squeelin' piglet! that there is some nifty stuff.
  • Reply 10 of 46
    Wow.



    I've agreed wholeheartedly with his reviews of previous OS X incarnations, but this one seems to focus too much on nitpicking.



    Menu Extras? Watson vs. Sherlock?



    I agree on the metadata issue; I agree that the Finder still needs work (p.s. whoever designed the 'refresh' widget for finder-search-view should be fired immediately); and I agree on the questions of brushed-metal appearance's application.



    However, being the optimist that I am, I think that some of these inconsistencies are definitely there in the current OS *entirely* as a result of things to come; iChat is brushed metal because it *will* interact with a digital device/emulate a real-world object (videophone) in the near future, etc.



    Oh well.



    I just don't see the page of ranting about the changing of the MenuExtra API (fully within Apple's rights, mind you, to keep a private API private) and the Sherlock vs. Watson situation... (again, really tangential to the OS itself, and just a second instance of ranting about Apple's developer relations)





    PS: the reason that Watson looks like Sherlock is because Watson uses standard Cocoa classes, so does Sherlock... i mean, if they really wanted to 'copy' Watson, they would have used the willy-nilly, ridiculously stupid drawers that are omnipresent in Watson.



    <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 11 of 46
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    Yes OS X MUST be getting better if JCS has time to devote a page to Menu API's.



    I'm glad you guys are chiming in because this was a nonissue to me as well.



    Sherlock vs Watson is as well. Other than Interface I can hardly see either company taking credit for repackaging 3rd party resources into a useful UI.



    As for Metadata. I'm extremely encouraged by having Be OS former employes in Dominic Giampaolo and Pavel Cisler(Be Tracker) on staff. I agree that I expect a huge change to come to the FS in the future.



    This was still one of the more comprehensive review and I appreciate that.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    [quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:

    <strong>This was still one of the more comprehensive review and I appreciate that.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Indeed. I didn't make enough reference to this in my post.



    If every site wrote reviews as detailed as this, perhaps we'd see a bit more active changes from Apple.



    Plus, that fish desktop is really cool
  • Reply 13 of 46
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    10.3 = 64bit + Be FS enhancements?



    would be nice...



    [ 09-05-2002: Message edited by: ZO ]</p>
  • Reply 14 of 46
    [quote]Yes OS X MUST be getting better if JCS has time to devote a page to Menu API's.<hr></blockquote>



    ...or perhaps I've already covered all the bad parts in earlier articles?



    Anyway, I was indeed thinking of IE's PNG configuration problems on OS X, but I made it sound worse than it really is. So I just removed the part about OS X browsers and PNGs.



    As for the API wars, I think I said everything I have to say in the article. I'll just add that I don't think things like haxies will "gradually eat away at [OS X's] stable core." A bad driver (which likely runs in kernel space) is much more likely to panic your OS X box than any haxie. Should we outlaw non-apple drivers in OS X too?



    [ 09-05-2002: Message edited by: John ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 46
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    On technical matters, Siracusa's reviews are without peer. Comprehensive, lucid, and a pleasure to read.



    On more subjective matters like UI, though, he can be frustrating. I still can't shake the feeling that he's someone closes all the toolbars, goes to list view, and tries to use the OS X Finder like it's the (imo) always-spatial-but-jump-through-these-hoops OS 9 Finder. Which you're free to do, of course. But there's an entire extremely well-thought-out, valid browser-based navigational system there for anyone who cares to try it. JCS himself isn't crazy about it, and practically ignores it. (In fact, he does say "It is not always obvious 'where I am' in the column view control," w/o mentioning the new subtle feature of white-outline arrow/solid arrow that addresses exactly this issue.)



    Anyway, it's always a pleasure and frustration reading his reviews, and I suppose it wouldn't be any other way.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    I think what the last poster Hobbes said is true for me also. Reading these reviews is a mixed bag.



    A lot of his negative comments about the UI are very subjective.



    The comment about the UI speed was also this way. He claims that booting into OS 9 gives one the impression of blazing speed by comparison. Well for me OS X is fast enough for most things now and what he doesn't say is that booting into 9 gives one the impression of an antique software.



    At least that's what it does for me. See, subjective.



    He does make a comment about the technical superiority of OS X but what I'm talking about is that it just looks old over all. Still if I was commenting on this statement if it came from someone else I would label it subjective.



    A lot of the gripes he has like the position of dialog boxes have never bothered me in the least.



    In comparison to other OS GUIs ( and I use Windows at work ) the fit and finish of OS X is head and shoulders above them for me.



    [ 09-05-2002: Message edited by: jimmac ]</p>
  • Reply 17 of 46
    [quote]On more subjective matters like UI, though, he can be frustrating. I still can't shake the feeling that he's someone closes all the toolbars, goes to list view, and tries to use the OS X Finder like it's the (imo) always-spatial-but-jump-through-these-hoops OS 9 Finder. Which you're free to do, of course.<hr></blockquote>



    ...but you'll be thwarted at every turn by the toolbar that won't die!



    Seriously, I do use browser-mode windows all the time, but there's tremendous room for improvement on that front as well.



    [quote]But there's an entire extremely well-thought-out, valid browser-based navigational system there for anyone who cares to try it.<hr></blockquote>



    That's basically the only system that's there. Every Finder window is really a browser-style window, regardless of view settings, since there is no longer a 1-to-1 correspondence between windows and folders any window can show the contents of any folder.



    [quote]JCS himself isn't crazy about it, and practically ignores it.<hr></blockquote>



    Like I said above, I use it, but it could be a lot better. There are so many browser-style features that the Jaguar Finder lacks (see a web browser for some examples). I wouldn't hold the OS X Finder up as a stellar example of a browser-style interface.



    [quote](In fact, he does say "It is not always obvious 'where I am' in the column view control," w/o mentioning the new subtle feature of white-outline arrow/solid arrow that addresses exactly this issue.)<hr></blockquote>



    ...probably because it was so subtle that I never even noticed it. The current input target should be a lot more obvious than that. I have yet to find anyone who routinely and fearlessly navigates open/save dialog boxes in OS X using only the keyboard. Try forcing yourself not to use the mouse in open/save dialog boxes in OS X for one week and tell me how it affects your efficiency
  • Reply 18 of 46
    Agree, mostly. He seems very objective, and he can highlight a lot of good points, and some of the bad. Too much nitpicking on the menu things.. the Terminal bits I can understand and echo his sentiments, I can't believe a whole section of the story was all about the stupid menu apis. What confuses me is how he can be so positive about all of the features, speed, improvements, etc, but at the end of the story his synopsis of Apple's growth with Jaguar doesn't sound as positive as the rest of the article did. Sounds like somebody doesn't want to give Apple credit. But I can understand that too, he knows Apple and the Mac-using, feedback-sending public listens to his reviews thoroughly, so he doesn't want us to get comfortable just yet.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Oops, I feel like I was talking about someone at a party, only to turn around and find him standing right behind me.



    self:

    [quote] But there's an extremely well-thought-out, valid browser-based navigational system there for anyone who cares to try it.<hr></blockquote>



    John:

    [quote]That's basically the only system that's there. Every Finder window is really a browser-style window, regardless of view settings, since there is no longer a 1-to-1 correspondence between windows and folders any window can show the contents of any folder.<hr></blockquote>



    Yes, there's a shift in philosophy in the Mac OS X UI -- from spatial to browse-in-place. And it's no secret that browse-in-place is favored over spatial: the toolbar is crammed with all kinds of goodies to make you want to keep it there. (You can of course always override this in forcing to always open in a new window in Finder Prefs.)



    What I think is left out in your reviews, however, is that many people who have thought long and hard about user interface are arriving at the conclusion that spatial navigation is not perfect, and in some significant ways has not aged well. It was originally an important and powerful feature of the Mac OS, almost twenty years ago, and aided enormously in reinforcing the ( then) startingly new and different desktop metaphor. But as time as gone on, and hard drives have filled up and muliplied with stuff, and folders upon folders of stuff, using the spatial Finder has become increasingly vexed -- especially for novice users. (But even also for more experienced users, like many on these forums, and yours truly.) This is one area where Windows has actually been ahead of the Mac for some time now, and it's very good to see finally come to the Mac. Personally, I find Column View far, far better than any other browse-in-place I've seen or used before.



    Of course, having both browse-in-place and "spatial" in the same UI is, as you point out, that the 1-to-1 correspondence has to be lost. That's a trade-off with browse-in-place; you lose the dear 1-to-1, but gain (imo) increased functionality, speed, and control, as well as the ability to view a set of a data in multiple views (for whatever that's worth).



    Again, I'm sorry that this loss makes you so unhappy, but I don't see what the alternative is, aside from dumping browse-in-place altogether. I don't think the many users who prefer browse-in-place would be very happy about that.



    Anyway, this is real holy-war territory, very polarized and subjective, so I'll leave it there...



    I'd just like to note that I use both as well (at work I'm using OS 9, so the majority of my time is spent there) and while I prefer browse-in-place, each do have their pros and cons.



    [ 09-05-2002: Message edited by: Hobbes ]</p>
  • Reply 20 of 46
    [quote]Originally posted by Hobbes:

    <strong>Oops, I feel like I was talking about someone at a party, only to turn around and find him standing right behind me. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    What a good way of putting it. I didn't notice that John was the John Siracusa until after I made my post, now I feel I should have censored my opinions more.



    Anyway, John, I really do appreciate all of your technical explanations for Quartz Extreme. I have seen nothing that puts it all together so well, sensibly, or logically, until now. And you do ask some mindblowing questions towards the end.



    I do love your reviews, except now when I read reviews elsewhere they all pale in comparison and seem rather, well, boring and one-sided. I'm spoiled.
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