Why does Finder SUCK???

HeliAnimal

Registered
I hear so many people on here complain about Finder and how bad it is. I've only been using a mac for less than a year. I haven't noticed anything horrible with it. Can someone fill me in on the down-sides? What needs to be fixed?
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
Well, you have to understand that a lot of us come from way before OS X and back then every part of the Finder was consistent. Menus, functions, look-and-feel,....everything. Now with the Mac OS X Finder (and more so in Panther and Tiger), there are inconsistencies especially when you tell the Finder to remember certain settings. It doesn't do it all around even when you tell it to. It seems that Apple has gotten a bit slack with it's own Human Interface Guidelines, and let's not even talk about some third party developers. Hopefully this will change with Leopard if Apple has listened to its userbase.
 

Mikuro

Crotchety UI Nitpicker
Just a few very quick things, because I don't want to get into a big rant (it's one of those rare occasions ;)):

The Finder insists on forcing its metal mode on me under seemingly random circumstances. After years of wrestling with it, yes, I can finally predict when it will open with metal and when it will respect my wishes. But it's complicated. Very complicated. And there is NO WAY (AFAIK) to get CD windows to appear with the aqua mode.

The underlying cause of the metal-aqua confusion is that in OS X, folders are no longer tied to their windows. You can have a folder open in a dozen different windows, each with their own views. Which view options will "stick"? And under what circumstances? Well...it depends. It is certainly not intuitive or simple.

File search in Tiger is awful. Just...awful. Spotlight is riddled with bugs, and the Finder's implementation of Spotlight is hackish, weak, difficult to use, and even buggier than it needs to be given the core of Spotlight. (Panther's search was a dream in comparison.) Furthermore, there's no easy way to search the contents of a folder. If I want to do that, I need to first switch to metal mode, then enter a search term to magically change my folder window to a search results window (!?) which will have the options I need. By default, the new search results window is NOT limited to the folder, as I obviously want it to be, but to my whole disk, or the last place I searched, or who-knows-what. As with the metal-vs-aqua problem, this is not consistent, not simple, and just not predictable to any normal person.

File-application linking is handled in many different ways. Not all of them are smart. I'm already ranting too much, so I'll leave details for another day.

There's no way to get a new folder to be created in list view. Until OS X, the Finder was smart enough to make new folders inherit all the view options of their parent. But again, OS X tries to sever that folder-window connection (albeit inconsistently...which really just makes things more confusing...), so I guess this was deemed impossible at some point and nobody ever revisited it. *sigh*

The icon grid is ridiculously large. It makes icon view a chore to use. The classic Finder had a 32x32-pixel icon grid. Yes, with file names you could not REALLY put your icons that close together, but it didn't matter. It was smart enough to use the space sensibly. OS X forces a 128x128 grid, and this doesn't change with the icon size you specify. And when you change the icon size of a window, chances are your icon arrangement will be ruined.

Speaking of the icon grid, it constantly gets "jostled", suddenly making my neatly-arranged icons non-aligned. This happens all the time when you drag files from one window to another, especially if scrolling is involved. And the Finder's "clean up" command never seems to just shift everything back over; it always throws icons into seemingly-random places, sometimes not even respecting the width of the window.

The green expand box is very buggy. Try this: Click the expand box in a window, then move an icon slightly outside its bounds. Click it again. Did it expand to fit all the icons again? No! It reverted to the last size. The same thing happens in list view when you resize columns. (Edit: I actually just tried this and it worked as it should in icon view, although not list view. I know the problem exists in icon view as well, but I guess that's not the way to consistently reproduce it.)

And of course, it's missing a lot of features from the OS 8/9 Finder, like pop-up windows, and non-drag-based spring-loaded folders.

Okay, I ended up ranting a bit more than I wanted. I just can't help it, I guess...
 

macbri

Mac (r)evolution
Awww, I got to the end and was ready to type "what, that wasn't a rant?". Ah well, can't win 'em all ;)
 

knight885

Registered
That explains why I can never find all "thumbs.db" files when copying Windows folders over - the Search doesn't work.

I agree with Mikuro, Finder is counter-intuitive, inconsistent, and inappropriately-named. Windows Explorer is the same - why is one of the most important OS functions written so badly?

Someone needs to port Directory Opus to OSX.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
My guess is that, sadly, Apple intends to - instead of fixing the Finder - make much more use of Spotlight as some sort of replacement. If so, that's probably one of the worst decisions ever to come out of Cupertino...
 

wraith

Rock Dork
All I care about is :

1) Better than Windows Explorer? YES
2) Let's me navigate the file system? YES

Finder is fine. I think only old-school Mac OS 9 and lower users have problems with Finder. (They also had/have problems with the Dock.) Coming from a Linux world, after coming from a Windows world, Mac OSX was the perfect solution for me because it's based on UNIX. I never liked the Mac OS until Mac OSX so I have none of the "I'm used to this, so the new stuff sucks" complaints. (Not that old school Mac OS users don't have valid complaints, I just don't have them because I didn't come from there.)
 

knight885

Registered
Path Finder looks nice, downloading it now.

Finder just doesn't do enough, and what it does it does erratically and inconsistently. No Tree view? Changing view between columns, icons and list whenever it feels like it? Searching for files I know are there doesn't find them? Toolbar only customisable with the least used tools (no copy/paste)? It's the 21st century, and Finder is straight out of 1992 AmigaOS.

I don't think it's better than Windows Explorer, it's as mediocre as Windows Explorer.
 

ApeintheShell

Registered
I think the 'Finder Sucks' complaint comes from the intermediate - advanced Mac OS users. There are some features that those Mac users refused to let go of when we transitioned to Mac OS X.
It actually delayed Mac OS X as people's primary operating system from 2001-2004. Apple kept crippled Mac OS 9 by calling it Classic and emulating it. You had to switch resolutions for games and this messed up everything. Even looking at the Mac OS 9 Apple menu was inconvenient. No wonder people stopped using Mac OS 9 in favor of Mac OS X. It was a forced migration. I dual boot Mac OS 9 for older games or Nostalgia but I wouldn't keep it long because I was an early adopter and thought the change represented my generation of Mac users.
In many ways Mac OS 9 is a more advanced operating system. It is an evolution of a user interface that was consistant and just worked. The Desktop was not a folder. It was used to place your documents, images, and other files you were working with until you could move them to a folder in the Finder. You switched applications using the Multi-Finder, etc. In many ways Mac OS 9 had to go.
People didn't like the Mac OS because it was what they used in elementary school or they had a bad experience with them. Windows 95 was the operating system of choice before anyone knew what an operating system was. The business industry adopted Microsoft and the schools kicked old Macs to the curb. PCs were cheap and you could keep Windows 95 on them for quite a long time. Microsoft Windows would later develop tons of bugs and viruses but Apple did not promote their Mac OS 9 features that made it better than Windows is so many ways on television. That is where the majority of people spend their free time. There was the "Think Different" campaign which alienated a lot of people. Who could compare themselves to Bob Dylan? It might have inspired some people but not the majority. There was also the bias that the Mac was only for "creative people". How many people complained about games, games, games? I never heard the end of it. The Macintosh was one of a kind and it was expensive. If you could buy a PC for $499 that includes a monitor, keyboard, mouse, Microsoft Windows, and plenty of things to get started. What is the incentive to buy a Power Mac and then pay an additional amount of cash for a monitor. Now when the iMac came out it was promoted to death and a lot of people bought the iMac. But it still fell behind the competition and was expensive.
So how does any of this history relate to the Finder? If you have a operating system that is perceived to be for elitist snobs even though it has an easy to use interface and just works than it won't matter if the Finder is the best feature in that operating system.
But if you have a campaign that promotes the positives of the Mac and the Finder is just one of the features included in Mac OS X than more people are likely to buy it. It was a business decision to use the metal interface to make it more familiar to Windows switchers. Thus the reason why new users don't have the same complaint as older users.
 

Yesurbius

Registered
So seriously then, what would be a better approach than Finder? Some things to consider:

1) It would have to run as Finder does - not a windowed app; rootless (ie. Finder *IS* the desktop)

2) It would have to remain intuitive, usable, and coherent with the underlying file system (ie. home directories, etc)

3) It'd need to be visual, have the ability to locate files and apps quickly, while also allowing you to manipulate the underlying file system.

4) It couldn't be too much of a resource hog.
 

simbalala

Registered
I check this thread from time to time just to see what’s being said. There have been some fair points made but I still think the same thing I always think when I read these threads.

What is with you people?

You’d think that people spend their entire day mucking around in the Finder and we all know they don’t. I probably spend all of 10 minutes a day using it, if that. It does the job pretty well and a tiny inconsistency here or there affects hardly anyone. To get past those inconsistencies there is a host of third party utilities, most of them free.
 

Yesurbius

Registered
You’d think that people spend their entire day mucking around in the Finder and we all know they don’t. I probably spend all of 10 minutes a day using it, if that. It does the job pretty well and a tiny inconsistency here or there affects hardly anyone. To get past those inconsistencies there is a host of third party utilities, most of them free.

We may only spend 10 minutes mucking around in Windows (in between getting into our apps), but it doesn't mean we live with it and run windows does it ?? :)
 

sylense

Registered
...I probably spend all of 10 minutes a day using it, if that...

Actually, I would have to disagree with that. If you count up all the times you move files, rearrange your desktop, download files somewhere and then rearrange them, and all that, you would find that the finder is an integral part of using the OS.

Also, Finder is the graphical interface to the directory structure and as such is a primary application.

So, most of my issues with finder have already been pointed out, however, I do have two quick points.

1.) Path Finder is a great application to use in addition to Finder, but not as a replacement (see point 2)

2.) Be forewarned that replacing finder with an app like Path Finder may break things.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
While some people might think the Finder's not so important, it clearly _is_ to many (probably most) users. And those who have a past in OS 8 and OS 9 simply _know_ that the spatial Finder was a truth then and that the OS X Finder, in many ways, is very sloppy about things and often too slow.
If, coming from Windows and/or Linux, the Finder is "okay" for accessing the filesystem, in no way does that make it good enough for long-time (10y+) Mac users.
 

Damrod

Registered
While some people might think the Finder's not so important, it clearly _is_ to many (probably most) users. And those who have a past in OS 8 and OS 9 simply _know_ that the spatial Finder was a truth then and that the OS X Finder, in many ways, is very sloppy about things and often too slow.
If, coming from Windows and/or Linux, the Finder is "okay" for accessing the filesystem, in no way does that make it good enough for long-time (10y+) Mac users.

Doubled. If you see how fast for example PathFinder can handle directory listings and the like, it's a shame that the built-in solution is not as capable.

I agree that probably not many users need all functions that tools like PathFinder have. But for the love of god, it can not be that the link between the UNIX-core and the UI is SO bad as it is now in parts. If one of the long time parts of the system needs attention, then it's Finder. And I honestly hope that it's not going in the "ditch Finder for Spotlight" direction.
 

chevy

Marvelous Da Vinci
Staff member
Mod
The Finder (and Explorer) are too old fashion. They are not made to manage so many files, so much data. Spotlight is just an ersatz.

All files should be managed by a database, indexed, browsable by several complex criteria, including content, date, hierarchy... As an example when I write technical reports I use my data differently from when I write a logbook or when I send emails. Even between two different reports, I may need the data organized by project, by product, by customer, by date or by type.
 

knight885

Registered
Spotlight would be useful - but by NO MEANS a Finder replacement - if it actually found files you search for, but it doesn't. It misses files, and often shows me results from way outside the folder I'm looking at - that's why its counter-intuitive.

To be fair, Windows Explorer does exactly the same when searching for text within files. Unless certain file types are registered (by hacking inside the registry, not exactly a user-friendly method) they won't be searched. Any search function which - by design - DOESN'T search every possible file is useless. In fact it's worse, it's dangerous.

I have two big complaints with Finder. The switching views as you navigate around folders - if I pick icon view, I don't want column view appearing when I change folders. Nor do I want sub-folders expanded in List View as they were when I last looked at it.

The other problem is network connection - why oh why can't it reconnect to my server if its turned on? A simple "Reconnect" or "persistent" option would do. The only solution I've found - an AppleScript application at startup - just locks Finder for five minutes if the server isn't turned on.

As for how long you spend in Finder every day, it's irrelevant. It should do it's job easily and intuitively, just like all the other Apple apps do, whether you use it for ten minutes or an hour. Its just not "heavy duty' enough.
 
Top