Readers letters Naught for Nautilus
From our San Francisco postbag: no Windows clones, please...
[Away from the fervour of the LinuxExpo show floor Andy Hertzfeld tooks us through Nautilus the open source file manager that's the flagship of his new company Eazel.]
Two steps forward....
Hate to rain on the Eazel lovefest, but if there's one thing I find myself using constantly to save time in MacOS it's the "View by 'list'" option in the finder. Why? Because it lets me see the contents of more
than one directory at one time; to any level in any of those opened directories-all the way down. To the best of my knowledge, Windows has never been able to do that and still can't with its bullshit dual-pane
File Manager/Explorer. I still have to bounce up and down the tree and back and forth between those two stupid panes to see how the contents of one directory compares to that of another.
It's both laughable and pathetic that Windows can't show me my environment any better, and it's especially disturbing and pathetic that precious Eazel appears to be wedded to the same ossified path (it's truly disturbing and pathetic that OS X is headed the same way,) as well as most of the X Windowing System file managers for Linux. No wonder I, a loyal Mac user since the days of the LC II, find myself in console mode so much when the G3 is booted into Linux.
I suppose Eazel will tune things considerably before their product leaves vaporware-dom and becomes hands-on real, but in the meantime here are the two best things about it:
#2. My icons will do really cute things, and
#1. Nobody can make me use it.
You're using a command line in a Mac? Shush, you're secret's safe with us.
Take your Picasso...
Do you or Andy Hertzfeld know Aqua at all?
The answer to that question is that either Mr. H or you don't have a clue about what Aqua is and acts like. Quote: "Hertzfeld says he has reservations
too about the single window mode, in which only one instance of the Finder browser is allowed at any one time. Although Nautilus too very much resembles the Aqua Finder window, you can bring another one up too."
You CAN OPEN as many Finder windows as you want in Aqua. Multiple finder windows that could look like a Next-style browser or finder windows like traditional Icon and List views in MacOS, with or without "web browser" buttons on top (completely custom). If there is something about Aqua file navigation is that it beats the heck out of Nautilus (which I have tried already, thank you, and is a Windows Explorer/Navigator hybrid with some simpleton
There is nothing like the multiple-pane browser in Nautilus. This device is simply the most advanced thing for quick navigation of complex data structures available. I have never used it until I installed
DP3 (I come from a mixed PC/Mac environment, no NextStep). In Aqua you have this advanced data browser, and if you want it, the simple, one-window web navigator like approach (like Windows and now Nautilus provide). And of course, multiple window operation EXACTLY like the current Finder.
The question is: Why you didn't point it out in your article? Is this because Mr. H is kind like a legend? Do you double-check what you write? Do you have editors at theRegister?
In your article you wrote 'As much of problem is that Aqua's new icons are photo-realistic, he says, rather than purely symbolic. For example a hard disk icon is represented by... a lovely picture of a shiny new hard disk. Or is it? It could be a floppy, or the underside of a CD-ROM. That's the trouble, he points out, "you just need the general details - you should make icons more abstract"'
IMHO, this last affirmation demonstrates that Mr. H is now in complete out of touch with reality. Sorry, but symbolism and abstraction DON'T have anything to do with making things flat. A CD-ROM is a CD-ROM, a floppy is a floppy, et caetera. There are unmistakable ways to picture objects and actions (even emotions, as painting have demonstrated through the centuries)
with realistic images. It is a matter of working hard enough on it, analyze the message, and materialize it effectively to get the MESSAGE through, like
Picasso did during his synthetic cubism period, or Velazquez did in his royal portraits (where each element and gesture had a SPECIFIC meaning very
CLEAR to the viewer - now that meaning is lost to your average viewer because they don't have a clue about live and politics during the 17th century in
Spain. For a common citizen during that period, though, were obvious and even humorous in some cases).
Hertzfeld may have been one of the _engineers_ of the original Mac, but I am afraid that this Nautilus effort falls very short of his previous work as part of the team who brought to us our favorite computer interface (yet).
One thing is for sure, I would like to see less engineers in interface design and more people with real knowledge about semiotics and human communication processes.
And hey, one more thing: This Nautilus things is nothing new and, visually, it sucks big time. I was certainly looking for a lot more than this variation of the Windows Explorer.
We've received a few email pointing out that Nautilus is just like Windows Explorer. Try as we might, it's very hard to disagree...
In your interview you write:
Hertzfeld says he has reservations too about the single window mode, in which only one instance of the Finder browser is allowed at any one time. Although Nautilus too very much resembles the Aqua Finder window, you can bring another one up too.
The OS X Finder was demoed at MacWorld SF in January as being able to function either in single window mode or multi-window mode as does the current Finder. I trust that I'm not the Nth Mac user to write you about this.
That's enough MacOS Aqua Finder emails - ed.