2007-10-31

Mac OS 10.5 First Glance

I spend most of my time in an Ubuntu VM, so I don't use many of the features of my MacBook Pro's host OS.  But I upgraded to 10.5 yesterday for dtrace and checked out a few other features in the process.

Spaces

Spaces works about as well as VirtueDesktops.  It's easier to configure, and it's less crashy, but it doesn't let me give my spaces names, which has been a palpable visual cue in VirtueDesktops that I've landed on the right one.

And although moving to the right of the rightmost space usefully wraps around to the leftmost one, the transition animation shows me moving left (but not across the intermediate spaces), which confuses me every time.

But most significantly, like VirtueDesktops it makes navigating to a window even more complex than it already was, with three somewhat-overlapping keyboard shortcuts: Control-ArrowKeys to change spaces, Command-Tab to change applications (across all spaces), and Command-BackQuote to change windows within an application.

I'm constantly hitting the wrong key.  Maybe I'll get used to it, but I think I'll continue to prefer how I've configured multiple desktops in Ubuntu, where one shortcut (Control-Alt-ArrowKeys) switches between desktops and another (Control-Tab) switches between windows on that desktop.  I wish there was a way to do that on Mac.

Time Machine

Time Machine looks like it could replace the manual backups I currently do with SuperDuper!.  It seems to lack a "back up everything now" button, which I want to press before leaving for a trip, but perhaps its automatic hourly backups are good enough.

Nevertheless, it's unclear when and how it'll back up my 40GB Ubuntu virtual disk file, which is almost always open.  Maybe I could exclude that file from Time Machine backups and then back up the files inside it from within the VM.

Unfortunately, there's no Time Machine (or even SuperDuper!) for Ubuntu, as far as I can tell, just a hundred blog posts describing how various smart folks have used some arcane combination of tar and rsync commands to back up their systems.

Networking

The Network preferences dialog is much better organized, which is nice, since I seem to visit it more often than I'd like.  But perhaps I'll be visiting it less now that Mac OS X no longer turns up its nose at my home network's WPA personal security after every taste of the office network's WPA2 enterprise security.

The WPA2 enterprise username/password dialog also no longer goes away while I'm in the middle of filling it out if I take more than three seconds to do so, a welcome change.

VMWare Fusion

VMWare Fusion has a few minor issues in 10.5.  It no longer resizes my Linux VM's resolution when I plug my laptop into my external monitor, nor does it recenter the desktop when I go from the external monitor back to my laptop's display until I switch from full screen mode to window mode and back.

And using Command-Tab to go to Fusion alternates between open Fusion VMs on two different spaces instead of taking me to the last one I used.  Plus the tools need some munging to properly integrate with X.

But on the whole it still works fine, and I can continue to live in my full-screen Linux VM (from where I'm typing up this blog post now).

Appearance

I like the new darkness, with its multitude of gray tones.  But I bemoan the addition of even more rounded edges, like those at the bottoms of menus.  I prefer sharp edges in both virtual designs and physical ones (like cars and clothing), and its too bad everything has become a blobject since computers made it easy to draw a spline.  Bubble buttons, bubble cars, bleh.

6 comments:

Sheppy said...

Regarding appearance, the Mac has always used rounded edges on everything they could get away with. The menu bar has always had rounded corners, except on laptops, until Leopard. The edges of the desktop were even rounded off until Mac OS X. Buttons have of course always been rounded off on the corners.

Anonymous said...

Right click on the Time Machine icon and there is is back up now option.

Max said...

I use Brackup [http://search.cpan.org/dist/Brackup] to do incremental backups of my local desktop, my servers, and landfill. There's a script that shows how I use it in /root/bin/backup.sh on landfill.

-Max

Myk said...

Anonymous: thanks for the tip!

Max: thanks, I took a look at it, and it might serve me just fine, but at first glance it looks like it requires more configuration than I want to do.

My needs are actually really simple. I don't need to pick which files to back up or how often to back up, I just need something that backs up everything (or everything that should be backed up) on some recommended interval.

This is the kind of use case that can be easily met with a predefined backup configuration like the "Smart Backup - All Files" one SuperDuper! provides on Mac OS X or the default configuration in Time Machine.

And I suspect most users, even most Linux users are like me--they don't want to configure anything, they just want it to work, at least initially. I wish Linux developers focused more on such simple use cases.

Ben Gertzfield said...

You mentioned that Fusion on Leopard has trouble resizing the VM when you plug/unplug monitors.

Sorry about this. We introduced this bug very late when working around Spaces' brokenness on Leopard. (It's actually present on Tiger, too.)

The reason for the change was because Spaces can reposition windows willy-nilly when you zoom out with F8; the user can drag windows around, and Fusion normally has no say about the matter. This is really bad for Unity windows and full-screen windows.

bluemaex said...

Ubuntu is currently developing a TimeMachine alternative called TimeVault.

For more information just look here
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/TimeVault