Windows Knock-off


Someone said here that compared to System 7, neither OS 9 or X is really "Mac-like." Apple has been integrating interface enhancements from Windows for a while now, but they aren't the only ones. Linux desktops are practically identical to Windows.

Usability experts have been crowing for years about what's wrong with modern operating systems - they're poorly set up and difficult to use. Mac OS X addresses the major concern of stability, but as far as major steps in user interaction and interface go - it's destined to stay a Windows clone. I'm not talking about tinkering with layout or colors, but major steps like a file system where naming isn't required, universal undo, replacement of applications with data transformers and command sets, eliminating overlap between keyboard and mouse commands.

Apple hasn't made any of these changes, and neither has anyone else. OS X doesn't dramatically improve computing, it just gives it a nicer dropshadow.
You make some good points DJE, but to some extent, isn't windows just a mac clone?

As for the dropshadow... you have to admit, it's a nice dropshadow.
We can gripe all we want about OS services but it all boils down to the 3rd party developers.

Apple was able to force developers to adopt the toolbox by not giving them enough RAM to do anything else. Now we have bad ports and not-invented-here all over the place. In the modern OS's we see many behaviors for a simple button - let alone varying asthetics across applications.

OSX takes some steps toward the ideal. How? By providing a set of UI classes developers would be stupid to ignore. As an example, there is no decent "list" object built into the Mac toolbox or Windows APIs. MacOSX has a great one.

Then there are services in MacOSX - which gives global spell checking, address book, and other end-user functionality. All the new services in X depends on developers adapting them. Granted no global Undo but one would have to store undos persistantly and elimate the concept of save to do that correctly.

We cannot also forget that the competer's are becoming more abstract. Why should the user have access to the file system? Cannot it be viewed as an opaque database used by the OS? My point here is that the old UI guidelines no longer apply. The OSs are doing more and therfore abstract the user further from its core. Different rules apply.

Apple tried and failed to answer some of these issues with OpenDoc :-(

Apple's priority right now is, and should be, getting OSX shipped. Mac users have been waiting almost * 10 years * for a PM/PM operating system.

Entirely apart from its looks, Aqua does introduce new UI elements that look to be genuinely useful -- Sheets, Drawers, Genie-ing windows (not neccesarily into the dock; just the ability to do that kind of transformaion. Look at the old movies for single window mode if you can find them.)

And OSX is an outstanding platform to build on - new, clean & unspoiled ground.. I dont think the same can be said of windows ;)
From the beginning, Windows was a rip off of the Mac OS. Granted, according to some sources the Mac OS was a ripoff of a UI developed by people at Xerox, but which the Xerox execs had decided was a dead end. Whether this is true or not, Microsoft definitely joined the party late.

Microsoft has, absolutely, added many worthwhile features to the original GUI, some of which Apple would have been foolish not to incorporate into their own designs (partly because they're good features, and partly because Microsoft rules the waves, and the pressure from Apple's customers compelled them to do so.) But no way do I buy that any version of the Mac OS deserves to be called a Windows knock off!
I will leave the whole argument of UI/FileSystem interaction to the academics where it should be. There could be a major flame war started over wether the UI should completely seperate the user from the file system or mearly be a graphical representation of it.

My take on this thread is this. Mac OS X is not a ripoff of windows. Yes they are both GUIs, and yes they both take the stance of being a grafical representation of the filesystem, but the way they handel work flows is quite different.

Dock vs Startbar
Well they both reside tipiclly on the bottom edge of the screen, but that is about where the simalarities end. Number one, the startbar dosnt look near as cool :). More than that, the startbar trys to get you to work by opening programs with the startmentu, and useing the taskbar to manage running applications. The dock on the other hand trys to get you to work by docking your common apps into it, and launching them from there. You also manage you running apps in the dock. Yes i know you can place common apps on the quick launch, but from the design of the windows interface quick launch is not ment to be you main resorce for starting applicaitons.

Program Files(yuck) vs Applications folder
These two dont really serve the same funciton, but the Program Files folder is the closest thing to being equatable in windows to the Applications folder. The startmenu comes a little closer to the function of the Applications folder, but they are not the same thing on a basic level. If i delete an item in my startmenu, the program still remains. If I delete an app from the app folder... its gone. The startmenu compares more closely to the apple menu. So if we look at the applications folder, we see a place where we can put applications, and if we no longer need them, we delete them; hopefully recovering 90-100% of the harddrive space we gave to the app. If I remove an app from program files, at best I will recover about 70-80% of the hard drive space. If I go about the recommended method, and do a Add/remove on it, I MAY get rid of the app, but I am going to get warnings about "THIS IS A SHARED FILE AND YOUR COMPUTER MAY DIE IF YOU REMOVE IT!" From the average users point of view, the consequenses of removal look a bit scary, and thus... wasted harddrive space.

I am sure someone is planning a reply where they say "I can put a folder in the dock, and in it I can put aliases to all my apps and use it like a start menu..." or "in windows, I can seperate the quicklaunch and place it at the bottom and use it just like the dock". I think what we have to concider here is intentions. Apple does not intend us to use the dock like a startmenu. Sure they will give us the capability, or else someone would complain. Quicklaunch on the other hand was not even encluded with the original release of win95. It was part of a "desktop update" that came with IE4. If we step back and look at the intended workflow for both of the os's you will see that OS X is not a ripoff of windows.

its a ripoff of windowmaker/gnustep which is a ripoff of nextstep which is what os x is based on. (around and round we go) :)

I register my objection!
MacOS is NOT a windows clone!
As mentioned in above posts it is the othe way around.
Take a look at the LUNA interface on Windows XP!
(and the rubber duck icon that was RIPPED OFF OS 9)

zerorex wrote:
I will leave the whole argument of UI/FileSystem interaction to the academics where it should be. There could be a major flame war.

Ahh, come on! Why do you think I posted that message?

As computers become more sophisticated they are becoming more abstact. The streams of binary data represent real world concepts better, through layers.

My father-in-law likes to tell war stories of programming a system with 8 toggle switches and a submit button. In that era data abstraction was well not very complex. Which of course made accomplishing complex tasks difficult.

When using iTunes for the first time I litterally tried to organize my 100-some mp3s into directories. And then tried to mirror them in iTune play lists. Since iTunes is succesful implementing the concept of a play list, an abstraction over the file-system, I did not need to maintain a directory structure.

We are not there yet - but the file system is becomming less of a end-user area. I will be happy to not be concerened about it. Will I want access to it? Yes, just like I use Resedit and the like to access the low level binary data.


Oh and anybody who states that MacOSX is a Windows knock-off really, trully, absolutely does not understand the system architecture of X.

[Edited by jove on 02-28-2001 at 08:56 AM]