A few days ago I wrote about the viability of Linux on the Desktop. To paraphrase myself a bit I wrote that in my opinion there was no distribution yet which even approached the usability of Mac OS X.
This is of course natural behaviour for a Mac-user. We are all apologists, and stupid to boot, according to a lot of Windows and Linux apologists.
This is, of course, true. As far as it goes. And it's not very far at all (although I balk at the description of Mac users as being stupid). Take the following post from Mezzoblue: Reboot
Dave Shea, he of Zen Garden Fame, wrestles with permissions on OS X. This is a valid point and one I have personally encountered a couple of times with designer friends who are not into UNIX at all, and use a Mac to be free of the complexities of computing.
These people use a Mac because it gets things done quickly and efficiently. I would go further and say they are not into computers at all. They use computers because they are tools that get things done. They don't use computers because they are cool
. If a computer can play a game
they like, so much the better, but it's not a deal-breaker. If a computer can't run Adobe Illustrator that is
a deal-breaker. (Remember, these are designers, these people live
in Illustrator, Photoshop is for amateurs.) If an operating system gets in the way of organising, finding and using files it is a problem. A huge problem. This is why they use a Mac. These are people that need to get a job done.
I have a clipping on my desktop that says the following: Good, cheap, fast. Pick two.
All too often a client chooses cheap and fast, expressing the wish to also get the good part. Getting all three is an illusion.
Designers don't care about
sudo chown my_account:staff /Users/Shared/Pictures
sudo chmod 644 /Users/my_account/Documents/FileMaker\ Files/*.fp7
. They care about an Operating System that doesn't stand in the way. And yes, sometimes Mac OS X does
get in the way. I am tired of explaining to non-geeks what chown
mean. I don't want to bother them with it and they don't really want to know. Apple needs to provide a repair permissions facility that not only repairs permissions for applications but also for documents that are owner-less or belong to users that have been deleted. Overall the system does a good job, but it can, and should, get better.
The addition of a UNIX background with a command-line and its internet services has done a tremendous amount for the geeky Mac users like me. But now that more and more designers are taking the step to switch to OS X it is time for Apple to recognise that most of these people aren't geeks.
They don't want to be and they don't need to be.