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Letters A reader takes issue with our recent description of Darwin's ancestry:-

"Jaguar moves OS X from its ancient BSD 4.2 undercarriage to a lightly-less-ancient 4.4, but next year sees the platform move to the state-of-the-art BSD 5.0, which is currently in beta," we wrote.

And it's a sore we scratched red this week:-

- OSX has never been based on 4.2BSD. It was based on 4.4BSD-Lite2, a ported FreeBSD 3.2 userland, and xnu (the kernel), a mongrel of source from OSF/mk, 4.4BSD-Lite2, and NeXTStep. 4.2BSD contains (allegedly) copyright-infringing code, remember?

- They're not moving to 4.4BSD - they were never using the Berkeley BSD branch in the first place. Jordan Hubbard has been working on merging 4.x code into OSX, but I personally was not aware that it was complete in 10.2.

- There is no product called "BSD 5.0". You are most likely referring to FreeBSD-current branch which will culminate in "FreeBSD 5.0", which is not in what you call "beta", it's still in active development. Please see http://www.freebsd.org/releng/index.html#schedule.

Gladly. Some links by way of penance:
Jordan Hubbard's BSD primer, the Open Group's simple timeline , Ronda Hauben's Unix history, and an interview with Apple's Brett Halle from this year's BSD Con, which goes into Apple's BSD relationship past, present and future
[and conference report].

Meanwhile, one reader objected to our Jagwyre review. He isn't representative of this week's mailbag - thanks to J Kornegay for describing it "the most right-on thing I've read about my beloved Mac in these last few days of Jagwire reporting") - but it's too strange not to mention.


Subject: Lack of Observation Skills

Go ahead, get pissed. I’m not concerned. But you left out a plethora of mitigating details and facts in your report about OS X 10.2

Still can’t sort column view? You must be blind...

Anthony Burns

Which got me excited, because you can't sort in column view, and maybe I am blind, and missed it. Or Mr Burns knew of a secret shortcut. How do you do it, then?

Mr Burns sent a screenshot of the the Desktop Folder in column view, displayed in alphabetical order, with the note:-

The desktop icons are set to be arranged automatically, and as you can see:-

Er, what? He replied:-

Your ego is flat out of control. Whether or not you like the answer, you made a big deal out of small issue. In fact, the list is alphabetized and that is the end of the story.

With a follow-up:-

Shout and scream all you want. You made the errors, ignored the other concerns I brought up and misquoted me. Fix them or not, that is YOUR problem.

Rrrright. (A rude Canadian - very rare). But if any readers know how to sort Column View, let us know, and I'll share the wisdom.


Know what your article reminded me of? - trying to read the Times of India.

The language structure is clearly the same as English, all the glue words - "if", "and", "he", "is" and so on - are the same, quite a few of the verbs are recognisable, but sufficiently many of the nouns are in a foreign language that I end up with not much clue as to what the article is about.

It's not as if I'm young and ignorant, either, having been playing with computers since long before Apple was thought of. So I'm left with the conclusion that what you are writing about is an exclusive religion[1], whose followers have deliberately invented a language of their own to make absolutely certain that the plebs on the outside can't follow what they're on about.

Not a way to join the mainstream marketplace, is it? - but then that hasn't been something Apple has been interested in for quite a long time.

[1] Ah yes, on re-reading I find "heretical thought", so you've spotted that it's a religion.

Tim Ward

Reader Tony Kwok asks what was missing in Internet Explorer in OS X 10.2.

Well in no particular order, a usable browser. I've found it crashes every few minutes; frequently chokes for twenty to thirty seconds, and often chokes indefinitely (obliging you to Force Quit); is much slower than on 10.1; can't render anti aliased text consistently (it "bolds" type next to skyscraper ads); and I can't import an earlier Favorites file as bookmarks, just as a file. From my first few minutes with Mozilla 1.1, I'd certainly recommend investigation: it isn't half as treacly as earlier builds.

As an update to the review, the crickets on Valium have fallen silent - my HD has stopped clicking, and some heavy duty file manipulation between machines yesterday confirmed that Jagwyre speeds things up and smooths things over in all the right places. It's looking very good indeed. ®

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