Windows now “friendlier than the Mac”

You need Soul

Apple's spiritual swami Steve Jobs has robbed the Mac of its soul, writes one Macintosh loyalist as the debate over Mac OS X rages. "Apple arrogance sickens me" writes another. Since we published our AquaRant™, Apple has made X the default OS on new Macs, and the acclaim that greeted the decision from Mac community sites spoke for itself.

Here's a further selection of your letters.

Loved your article. I think you hit it dead on both about the flaky UI and general slowness of X.

I worked on the OS 9 project and we were making great strides modernizing the system for eventual complete preemptive multitasking, but alas, X became ready just before we were finished so 9 development was axed. The rest is history.

BTW, I am a long time Mac user who now works in the Windows world. I have to say WinXP, despite the draconian activation garbage, has a
rather nice UI, not as nice as OS 9, but much more consistent and navigable than X. Sad to see this because this will draw new users away from the Mac.

[name and email address supplied]


I couldn't agree with you more. While I am glad that
Jobs came back and helped get Apple in the black, the focus on useless parts of OSX instead of getting UI right has caused me to erase OSX from my dual 800MHz machine. I still use it all the time for Final Cut Pro, but OSX will have to change dramatically for me to want to stay with Apple. (Although, recent XP experiences have me dreading windows)

One of the things that bothers me the most is that
they spent time and resources on getting dumb ass quicktime movies to play in the dock instead of fixing bugs, making the 'finder' speed usable, or even updating must have features like software base station for airport. Who wants to watch a movie that is that damn small?

It just shows where the company is at right now,
hopefully it will begin to head in the right
direction, but as an OS, OSX is incredibly slow,
unfriendly, and bloated. I can't create my own groups for sharing without logging in as root and using the terminal? My files want to save into a user directory three levels deep? Man, they have a LOT of work to do, and they keep spending time on things that don't matter...

Thanks for the great article, it did make me feel
better knowing that I am not the only one frustrated
and wondering what he will do with his Mac hardware in the future...

Mark Sloan

We like to think we're bringing people together, surmounting so many language differences, into one big forum. Then we get one of these...

+/v8APAAh-DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC +ACI--//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN+ACIAPg- +ADw-HTML+AD4APA-HEAD+AD4- +ADw-META http-equiv+AD0-Content-Type content+AD0AIg-text/html+ADs- charset+AD0-utf-7+ACIAPg- +ADw-META content+AD0AIg-MSHTML 5.50.4134.600+ACI- name+AD0-GENERATOR+AD4- +ADw-STYLE+AD4APA-/STYLE+AD4- +ADw-/HEAD+AD4- +ADw-BODY+AD4- +ADw-P+AD4APA-FONT face+AD0-Georgia color+AD0AIw-800000 size+AD0-2+AD4-Hello Andrew,+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/P+AD4- +ADw-P+AD4APA-FONT face+AD0-Georgia color+AD0AIw-800000 size+AD0-2+AD4-I feel your pain, this is sad and true for me as well.+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/P+AD4- +ADw-P+AD4APA-FONT face+AD0-Georgia color+AD0AIw-800000 size+AD0-2+AD4-Just after reading your article I went to the Apple Mac OS X feedback page and sent this...+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/P+AD4- +ADw-BLOCKQUOTE dir+AD0-ltr style+AD0AIg-MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px+ACIAPg- +ADw-P+AD4APA-FONT size+AD0-2+AD4-I am going to stop using Mac OS X if the next update does not eliminate these problems+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/P+AD4- +ADw-P+AD4APA-FONT size+AD0-2+AD4-- transparent menus are horible, make them opaque+ADw-BR+AD4-- the current application should be highlighted in the dock+ADw-BR+AD4-- command +- tab does not behave exactlly like LiteSwitch in OS 9+ADw-BR+AD4-- the pull-down on the Save sheets does not contain the path+ADw-BR+AD4-- SmartWindow functionality is missing (spring-windows)+ADw-BR+AD4-- the windows controls are all round and all on the left+ADw-BR+AD4-- the dock does not work, it's ugly and unnatural+ADw-BR+AD4-- many little bugs persist+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/P+AD4APA-/BLOCKQUOTE+AD4- +ADw-DIV dir+AD0-ltr+AD4APA-FONT size+AD0-2+AD4APA-FONT face+AD0-Georgia+AD4APA-FONT color+AD0AIw-800000+AD4-But I will not abandon my Mac...+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4APA-/DIV+AD4- +ADw-DIV dir+AD0-ltr+AD4APA-FONT size+AD0-2+AD4APA-FONT face+AD0-Georgia+AD4APA-FONT color+AD0AIw-800000+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4AJg-nbsp+ADsAPA-/DIV+AD4- +ADw-DIV dir+AD0-ltr align+AD0-right+AD4APA-FONT size+AD0-2+AD4APA-FONT face+AD0-Georgia+AD4APA-FONT color+AD0AIw-800000+AD4-cheers,+ADw-BR+AD4-Gabi+ADw-/FONT+AD4APA-/DIV+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4APA-/FONT+AD4APA-/BODY+AD4APA-/HTML+AD4-

Errh, right there Gabriel. I think you're agreeing with me, but unless you fix the formatting I'll be pointing you to the Confused Lounge next time. Suddenly ASCII seems deeply beautiful. Here's more:-

I just wanted to drop you a note and congratulate you on the article.

You're 100% correct and I couldn't agree more.

In fact I keep installing and formatting my separate OS X drive when new updates appear and get further disgusted each time. I've pretty much
convinced myself (and I've been one of the Mac faithful since 1986 and still own my first Mac I bought that year) that once OS 9 (Classic Coke)
is long dead and OS X (New Coke) is all the rage and the must have to run any new apps, I'll probably switch to...lemme sit down here...Windows or Linux. I'll stick with OS 9 for as long as I can though.

Complaint number one: The dock alright. It's like the junk drawer we all have in our kitchens. Virtually Useless. For me the biggest hassle of the
Dock is that when you put several folders in there they all look alike and you have to fish around to find which is which (custom icons aside)
and worse yet, try putting multiple documents from the same app in the dock. They are all identical and again, it's a game of hide and seek to
see which of the identical icons is which.

I'll let you ponder the similarities between the throbbing buttons and Tylenol Gelcaps and um...Suppositories. I just can't look at those
buttons for very long. It's like some aging actress spilled her medication and costume jewlery all over my desktop.

Thanks for the great article. It's nice to know I'm not alone in my thinking.


Ouch. I think Apple wants you to think of them as gumdrops, not throbbing suppositories, but it's a description that's going to be hard to dump, now you mention it. I meant eject. I meant, reject.

Now see what you've done?

But although we focussed on the UI, it isn't just the user interface that troubles this long-time Mac loyalist, but deeper support issues:-

I read your article "How I learned to stop worrying [...]" with some interest and some of the follow-up letters published on The Register
too. While I have also long ago switched back to the classic Mac OS -- version 8.6 in fact since I find it to be more stable.

My reasons for mostly abandoning OS X are completely different. I think that my reasons are much more serious and I cannot
agree with your assessment that "it's the User Interface, Stupid."

My fundamental reason for abandoning OS X is that it is not truly compatible with my Mac despite Apple's claim that it is. In fact, I find this to be the biggest problem with the new OS and a scam of
enormous proportions which almost nobody on the net or in the media has bothered to comment on until now. Allow me to elaborate.

My primary computer (one of four Apple computers that I own) is a three-year-old Beige G3 desktop with plenty of RAM and hard drive space
(320MB and about 50GB respectively). As such, this of course means that my primary ports and peripherals are serial- and SCSI-based. Now USB and Firewire are nice (I have an expansion card to support the new ports), but my SCSI CD-RW and scanner are still very much superior to
the flood of cheap USB replacements that have appeared since the introduction of the iMac.

Well, the side of my OS X box claims that the requirements for using it are a "Power Mac G3, G4, [... with] 128MB of physical RAM." My machine easily meets and exceeds these simple requirements and indeed OS X does _run_ on my machine but it is certainly not terribly _usable_.
And it's lack of usability is not because of the interface or the slowness of the OS which everyone is so upset about (I grew up with an
Apple IIgs and still regularly use Macs older than my G3 and the speed does not bother me -- 10.1 pretty much got rid of the ubiquitous
spinning CD cursor).

The biggest problem with OS X is that Apple left out support for most of the built-in ports and devices on my old G3. My "supported"
machine, while running X, is unable to communicate with any serial
device except a modem, any of my SCSI devices except for the ZIP drive, and even is completely unaware of my built-in Apple-factory floppy

Many of these problems are not just due to the unavailability of drivers. A three-hour call to Apple technical support revealed that there is fundamental lack of support in OS X for printing to the serial port or reading the floppy drive. I was told that Epson couldn't write a driver for my printer even if they wanted to until Apple provides
low-level support for serial printing. My SCSI scanner and CD-RW while they might theoretically be able to work under OS X seem unlikely to
actually ever be able to do so (I certainly can expect that iTunes and the OS X Finder will never be able to find my CD-burner). Andapparently, since new Macs no longer come with floppy drives, they
thought that I would be perfectly happy giving up the use of mine (tech support said the current official workaround is to boot back into OS 9
although I again seriously doubt that a driver will ever be written)!

I love the new Aqua interface.

It is sexy and elegant. I really enjoy using my computer under OS X but it didn't take long for me to realize that I couldn't do anything _useful_ within it (web browsing, reading email, and listening to music top the list of things that work
on my machine).

Apparently, Apple thinks it is OK to sell a product which is advertised to be compatible with my machine and then only provide a half-working version of it. Then they have the gall to charge for
small, insignificant upgrades like 10.1 that do not fix any of the real shortcomings. Apparently, Apple thinks that I should just buy a new Mac
if I really want to use OS X (but why then did I spend the $70 to purchase it?) or at the very least I should junk all of my old peripherals and invest several thousand dollars more in USB and Firewire equipment.

And they are perfectly OK with this. They make false claims about their products and refuse to acknowledge that there are problems with
the OS. They have taken no discernable steps to correct the huge compatibility flaws in OS X. It really sickens me and I find it

Another nod to the huge scam of "planned obsolesence" which the entire computer industry participates in except that this time there
was no warning on the label. I wrote to Apple with my concerns and to express the need for a public statement regarding these issues but as
you can imagine, there has been no response.

My extended family owns over a dozen Apple computers and we have all been very loyal Mac users and customers. Unfortunately, I have had to
start looking for an alternative to Apple for my next computer (although it definitely won't be a Windoze or Intel-based machine) and the options are bleak. Unless Apple somehow dramatically makes up for this, I fear that they have lost my next computer purchase.

Thanks for reading and please continue to write
interesting articles for those of us who struggle with our identities as Mac users.


Anthony Kozar
Toledo, OH USA

I agree with almost all of the points in your article but think that you
have stopped short. I have nine Macs beginning with a 512k to a G4 and
two iMacs. I have tolerated a number of problems along the way which
have been getting worse rather than better with each subsequent CPU/OS.
For example, my G4 with OS9.2, AOL and my epson printer driver [and no
other added SW] crashes daily [or more]. But OSX was the last straw.

I tried the beta version, the official release and the 10.1 update. Each
time I try it I get more frustrated both with the interface, the "features" and lack of capabilities that used to exist. I am in my 50's
and have been using computers [including both IBM and Mac as well as a
host of other computers] all of my working life. I have found OSX to be
the most difficult at figuring out how to accomplish even the simplest
tasks. [and the purported "rock solid" reliability has not proved out as
I can crash the system almost at will]

For the near term I will stick with OS9. In the long term, the PC looks very inviting.

Doug Huebner

In your article about OS 10, I'm afraid you hit the nail right on the head.

I've used Macs for 10 years enthusiastically, but my loyalty was never to Apple; it is to the system that made using a computer simple, easy and intuitive. I too have given up on OS X , gone back to OS 9......and Windows.

I never thought I'd see the day Windows became more user friendly then a Mac! But in my view, that's exactly what's happened. Jobs needs to export OS 9 into OS 10. And since that's never going to happen, I don't think I'll ever buy a Mac again. Yes, the new Macs are very, very cool, but that's not enough. It never was enough. Too bad Apple has forgotten the real reason for its customer base loyalty.

Bring the soul of the Mac back and I'll look at one again.


Thank you for verbalizing what's been bothering me about OS X since I first laid eyes on it.

When I first starting using Macs (6.0.x), it was like a total revelation - Goodbye DOS! Then System 7 came along - yeah!! MacOS 8 made a good thing better, and MacOS 9 while not groundbreaking, did add more of a shine.

Then along comes OS X! My immediate (and subsequent) reaction - ugh!! There may be a lot of wonderful things going on behind the scenes of OS X, but absolutely nothing about the "look and feel" of OS X makes me want to find out what it's all about.

Think there's a chance Apple might keep Classic for ever and always??


Not a ghost of a chance, I'm afraid Wilbur. OS X is a potentially a great OS (I'm using it now between 9 reboots), and if Apple can give the UI a performance boost, and bring the power saving features back to stop it draining the battery faster than MacOS 9, it'll only be a few tweaks away from being tolerable. I've been trying LaunchBar, HotKeys and these make task switching and launching much easier. Until then, pass the ah, Tylenol Capsules.

In the interests of balance, the heavily outnumbered pro-Aqua camp are bloodied but unbowed. There's a staunch defence of the UI here.

And finally, PC bigots are sitting back and enjoying the show. Alas, ...

Subject: Aqua/OS 9 Rants

Oh Schadenfreude! Oh Schadenfreude, how sweet the bliss!

As a veteran Macaphobe your compilation of Aqua/OSX rants warms the cockles of
my heart. Watching other's civil wars is a very pleasant passtime.

Poor Mac users have tied themselves down to a religion and are constantly trying to justify it. A schism just makes for more delicious fun for the
'rest of us.'

W Bulks

Oh dear.

Related Mail

The Aqua Letters (Part One)

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