Why Macs suck, or, The reason I believe the Macintosh platform not to be enginereed to my taste.
Bear with me, I'm going to vent a few frustrations I had while I used a MacBook Pro a few months back for work.
To be honest, all of this might not still suck, as I was using OS X 10.5 Leopard. But from what I gathered, 10.6 Snow Leopard was mostly a stability and optimisation update, not a usability one, so Mac Apple PCs probably still suck.
Also, this was compiled as I went along, which should explain its bullet
It's a bit dry, as it is… well, a bullet list, and contains hardly any pictures.
Pas beacoup d'images as French kids would say.
Some of it is probably just frustration talking too.
Well, with the minimum in terms of intellectual honesty out of the way, here
we go for the brushed aluminium shitlist.
Remember, this was compiled some months ago, which is why it's in the present tense (no, I don't feel like rewriting all in the past surprisingly).
- It might be the MacBook Pro I'm using, but damnit it's slow slow slow.
- Updates: downloads are huge (hundreds of Megabytes, that's why there not an option for third world countries I guess), you have to reboot after each of them (wait, what?).
- Considers you're an idiot: no way to see hidden files, doesn't show you speed of file copies and
transfers (does 'em fast at least, that's good).
This is good for “idiots“ on the other hand though.
- Can't switch windows easily, the window management is application-based
rather than window-based, which is very annoying if not all the apps are
designed for it (and they aren't of course).
An example of this is downloading files from a website with Firefox.
As you save a file, the download manager shows up. Trying to alt-tab back to the main Firefox window to select the next item to download, you actually switch to the last used application (say Thunderbird), instead of switching to the last used window (Firefox's main window). The keyboard shortcut is useless, so you have to get the mouse and waste time. Which brings us to:
- Impossible to operate without a mouse: opening directories and files sucks
(have to use space instead of enter) and tab doesn't always let you reach a
file you want to open. Also, tab often does not let you move from field to
field or through pop-up answer buttons, and arrows don't seem to do it either.
Which is enough to drive most people bonkers.
You have to use a mouse for anything, even just a pop-up that says cancel/yes, it's stupid. You also can't open right-click menu via the menu key as it doesn't exist, so mouse again it is.
(you know, this one on regular keyboards)
- Did I mention slow? Not specially fast booting up. Crap shutting down.
- Freezes. Regularly. While. I'm doing stuff.
- I may have told you it was slow. Apps take a shitload of time to open up. This includes Word, Firefox, Entourage.
- Software installs: not 19th century bad like Windows (playing hide and seek
all over the Internet) but still 20th century style.
Dude, where's my repo? Oh yeah, you can't really do that, you might have some licensing problems cause it's mostly commercial, non distributable stuff. Or wait, you could, what's the Appstore but a repo?
Well looks like it's going to go that way with 10.7 in fact, only problem is there will only be one repository, Apple's Appstore. The rest of the World is not welcome anymore, thank you very much. Yes Adobe, it looks like that includes you.
- iTunes, seriously. Reads 3 codecs, wants to copy everything to the library
all the time and wants an iTunes account all the time
Doesn't open .m3u playlist items in any logical order, and then can't even reorganise the playlists? WTF.
Great shop front end though, but bad, bad music player.
- The keyboard. Not the layout (that can be modified thankfully), the
Delete is backspace, but fn+delete is delete. No home or end, only cmd+left or right, which sometimes actually does something else.
Can't page up or page down easily, as there are no dedicated keys, only fn+up or fn+down. Shortcuts using these keys screw up, obviously, it would be too easy otherwise (ie: switching between tabs in Firefox with crtl+pg up/dwn)
- As I was saying, it's easy enough to change the layout and get my dear French bépo Dvorak layout, but then I can't get to some keys as OS X doesn't answer to the full layout.
- No wheeling to change sound volume, switch tabs, etc. Needs to take a leaf out of Gnome's book here.
- The Finder can not do tabbed windows. That is, one Finder window contains
one directory at a time, unless you want to use the breadcrumb view, but that
still gets you the parent directory(ies) at best.
So you need to have more than a Finder window to do any real file management. C'mon Apple…
Combined with how hard it is to change windows quickly, it makes file management a delight. Also, one can't always make a Finder window focus when dragging & dropping, another great aspect of easy file management.
- In the finder, in icon mode selecting files doesn't give you any relevant info (size at least? nope). Details is ok, columns annoying as the columns are always too small to show anything useful, and Coverflow™ is pretty but not usable for anything but pictures.
- The Dock isn't great, least I can say is that it doesn't make window management any more convenient. Quite the opposite, minimising to the dock sucks.
- Desktop files don't update size. At all. Nice one.
- Accessing fileservers isn't much fun. Always have to go back hunting to where they hide the “Connect to server” settings/bookmarks. Also, OS X can't deal with SFTP on its own, needs third-party software for that.
- Small but annoying thing: when creating a new file with the same name
(unarchiving for instance), version numbers get incremented instead of a clear
suffix being added.
Not clear? Well a file called bla-v0.5.7z gets extracted the first time to bla-v0.5 and second time to bla-v01.5 instead of bla-v0.5-1.
Will fuck with your brain.
- Opening the laptop: far too hard to do with one hand, hard enough with two, but this might be the one I had, as this is supposed to be something Apple hardware does nicely.
- Battery: supposed to be killer but I get one hour-ish, on power save settings. Meh. Though again, this probably has something to do with the fact that the computer was been used a lot before before I got to work with it.
And last but not least, the most annoying thing:
- Installing anything not part of the Apple way of Life, especially anything non-commercial, often requires you to sign up to Apple, promise to give them your soul, download the massive Xcode –at the right version, which isn't available on Apple's website of course–, promise another part of your ethereal body in order to install Xcode, install MacPorts, and more.
This is crazy. I'm pretty geeky, but I gave up compiling large projects from
source on OS X, it was just too frustrating to do it without a looot of
time.. I'm probably not hardcore enough obviously.
Granted, this is clearly an extreme example as not everything is that complex, but generally speaking, it is such a pain to do anything that wasn't envisioned by the Apple engineers that tinkering with Debian makes it look like child's play.
Now could this be deliberate, to keep users tied to the maker of the platform and not try and stray from the path… I wonder?
But basically, OS X works well with stuff designed by and for Apple
(remember how all the slow loading, oft-crashing apps I cited were not shipped
with the OS?), but the problem is that users usually need more than what just
ships with the OS.
Apple wants you to do it there way, and if you do it's a descent platform, and rather easy to use. But the moment you want to do things your way, OS X becomes a tougher beast than Windows or, especially, Linux distributions (which are intended for you to modify to your liking).
The premise that you won't ever need access to the “complex” stuff, the actual underlying OS (remember the hidden files?) goes out the window the moment you want to use your computer as a computer and not as a “device”.
Oh by the way, there a few things on the “good” list too.
Hey, can't say I'm not being fair!
- I liked my desktop wallpaper! (but I changed it, does it count?)
- Moving windows between workspaces with exposé is nice.
- Suspend and hibernate are quite fast, very useful.
- It's stable, well more than Windows.
- Unmounting/ejecting stuff by dragging it to the Garbage bin.
- The downloads folder updating in real time in the Dock, and expanding as a stack.
And even a great one!
it's awesome. Well ok, not “awe-inspiring” but bloody brilliant.
The bad side is I tend to play with it when the computer slows down…
So there you go, to all of you who like Macs, insist on differentiating them
from PCs even though they are the same hardware  and are
convinced that everyone who doesn't own a Mac “just doesn't get it“,
The white plastic and brushed aluminium cult is a scary one indeed, and I for one, wouldn't want to fall into it.
There there, go get an iPad, you'll feel better.
The rest of you, I'll see you on the Internet, trying to make stuff better.
 Apparently this is because of the post-install triggers that some users never let happen in the past as they never rebooted as requested, which messed up some of the updates. So now it's compulsory reboot after each and every update… Great, thanks for giving us the choice.
 You think I'm kidding? try to make .files show up right now and tell me if you find an easy way of doing it. In Gnome it's ctrl+h by the way.
 This is, pretty much exactly, what happens when you try to install Amarok when you become fed up with iTunes. Installing Darwine is fun too, but at least that worked out well in the end.
 And it is,
sudo aptitude install
 Damn, now that I've read the criticism on the Wikipedia page, MagSafe doesn't seem that awesome anymore… :/
 I hear the most nit-picky ones of you telling me “EFI is radically different from the BIOS, it makes them completely different machines!” from here…