Mac OS X v. Linux (Was: Re: Ubuntu Boot Up Logo)

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at
Thu Jun 23 18:38:10 UTC 2005

On 6/23/05, Michael Beattie <mtbeedee at> wrote:
> > Expose (it's what the "temporary tiling" is called) is awsome!  You
> > have the option to tile all apps or all the windows of a current app.
> Exposee is garbage compared to a real task bar.  You have any idea how
> many times people switch between windows in a day?
> With a task bar you can just look at it and then click on the one you
> want.  With exposee it's a key press or moving the cursor to a corner
> waiting for them to tile, then looking and selecting the one you want,
> then waiting for it to come back to the front.  I would guess/estimate
> that exposee takes 5x longer than a task bar and requires more key
> presses or mouse actions.

Task bars suck HORRIBLY. The Dock sucks nearly as badly. The whole app
switching paradigm is an impossible one to get right as NO ONE, and I
mean NO ONE has come up with anything good!

Apple did have a fairly good set up going (IMHO) with OS 9. They had
both an application switching menu and a little task bar-like
application switching menu (which used a lot less screen real estate
than the task bar).

The only problem with that set up was that there was no easy way to
access menus from outside an app. The Dock was an extension of that
paradigm in that it allows access to windows, but, unfortunately Apple
dropped the option for text in favour of graphics only. The taskbar
(in LInux and Windows... they're the same beast essentially... no
creativity) works well for window switching but it falls down in the
realestate or fixed location department.

Expose is STUNNING in its utility. It does its job extremely well
which is expose ALL windows instantly. No fuss, no muss. I don't have
to bother hunting for the stupid app on the taskbar (WHICH ALWAYS
MOVES in Linux) and then clicking on the right window.

Anyway, your (Michael Beattie) vehement rejection of Expose appears to
be rooted in lack of experience. It took me years to start to
appreciate the Dock's finer points and I still hate it. Expose found a
home in my repertoire of tools IMMEDIATELY. It was brilliant in its

Now, all I ask is that a hybrid Dock-task bar be created and I'll be
really happy (the Docks works, sometimes and the Taskbar works,
sometimes but neither work all the time).

PS Multiple desktops (or whatever it's called) is a neat feature on
Linux but, in all the time I've used it I've found it about as useful
as mouse gestures. They're neat but they don't really help me work

>  Also, with a task bar windows of
> applications remain in the same place.  You know that the first thing
> in your task bar is your email, lets say.  With exposee it puts the
> tiles in different places based on how many windows are open, where
> they are on the screen and how they fit best.  So you never know where
> you are going to have to click.
> Sure it looks nice, but in reality Apple should have just bit the
> bullet and made a task bar.

This is a false benefit (fixed place in a menu). With taskbars you
have to (a) click on the application's icon and (b) get it to open up
the pop-up-list and (c) FIND the right menu from the list (and, if in
Firefox you have multiple web pages open for the same site chances are
you have to switch to each one anyway to find out which one you
wanted) and (d) select it.

Plus, the fixed place in the pop-up menu CONSTANTLY moves as you open
and close windows in an app and the app's location on the task bar
moves between launches (and, sometimes you end up with multiple
instances in the task bar).

The other problem with task bars is that there's little rhyme or
reason in Linux and/or Windows as to when exactly a pop-up menu will

Apple has put a *lot* of good thought into their Dock + Expose system
and it works fairly well. The Dock is not a perfect solution but
neither is the task bar. Sometimes I prefer the task bar to the Dock
but most of the time it's the other way around now. Expose has really
made working with multiple apps and windows easy.

PS The effectiveness of Expose is probably dependent on how well you
are at visualising things. I seem to be able to quickly find the
window I'm looking for based on the contents than on the name.

But, anyway, the point of my whole long diatribe is that the
effectiveness of these tools varies wildly based on your experience,
way of working and NEEDS. Virtual desktops and mouse gestures are
wasted on me and I wouldn't ever *dream* of introducing a bog-standard
computer user to them, however, some of you will swear by them.

I think you'll find a lot of people would really appreciate
Expose-like functionality (though, I don't know if Apple has a patent
for that so it might get a little sticky) because people are more
adept at recognising shapes and pictures quickly than they are text.


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