I don't need a widget for that, though
August 2, 2005 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Is Mac OS X Becoming Crufty? I definitely think so.
posted by nthdegx (55 comments total)

 
Wow, I have the power of a God!
posted by selfnoise at 11:11 AM on August 2, 2005


Until these anecdotal quips are at least semi-scientific speed comparisons between old and new versions, I wouldn't really pour too much piss into that glass.
posted by angry modem at 11:13 AM on August 2, 2005


p3t3's comment also resonates for me.
posted by nthdegx at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2005


Link is dead for me. Now I'll never know what crufty means.

Crafty? Crusty?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:28 AM on August 2, 2005


Wow, I had no idea people actually used Mail. I tried it a couple of times and pretty much threw it in the garbage.

I get the sleep disorder thing too, about once every ten or twenty attempts to wake from sleep, I'll have to force a full reboot which is pretty damned annoying. I'd just let the computer rest if I knew it was going to crash like that on me.

And FireFox will fold on me every so often, Macs and Java still do not get along all that well.

But I think its just as likely that I've got way too much running at once, even with 2 gigs of RAM.
posted by fenriq at 11:30 AM on August 2, 2005


Cruft:

/kruhft/ [very common; back-formation from crufty] 1. n.
An unpleasant substance. The dust that gathers under your bed is cruft; the TMRC Dictionary correctly noted that attacking it with a broom only produces more.
2. n. The results of shoddy construction.
3. vt. [from `hand cruft', pun on `hand craft'] To write assembler code for something normally (and better) done by a compiler (see hand-hacking).
4. n. Excess; superfluous junk; used esp. of redundant or superseded code.
5. [University of Wisconsin] n. Cruft is to hackers as gaggle is to geese; that is, at UW one properly says "a cruft of hackers".
posted by adzuki at 11:31 AM on August 2, 2005


oh bother...
posted by bobloblaw at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2005


Is it oh-es-eks or oh-es-ten?
posted by 517 at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2005


the sleep thing for me happens constantly but resolves itself -- it looks like the system has locked, but instead it just re-enters sleep mode. then i just unsleep it again and everything is fine.

y.m.m.v.
posted by spiderwire at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2005


Me too! Let me get in on this cross-platform smackdown!

Quick - someone give me something to denigrate!
posted by ToasT at 11:52 AM on August 2, 2005


I'm in the same boat as the article's author. I've got a clean install of Tiger on my PBG4 667 with 512MB of RAM. Not a lot of machine, but I'm not doing Photoshop, iMovie or other things.

I spend 90% of my time with iTune, iChat, Mail, Safari, Terminal and TextMate or SubEthaEdit going. In 10.3 I had more than enough horsepower for all that, in 10.4 I am becoming increasingly vulgar towards the spinning beach ball. It is swapping like a mofo, or at least as I'd presume a mofo to swap.

I'm just happy that someone else is getting pissed off at Tiger's usage hogging. Between this and the DRM thing, it may be time to head back to Linux before the Intel boxes even arrive.

(Oh, and if you think I should buy a better system:
1) For text editing and web browsing!?
2) Buy a PPC when the Intel boxes are running way faster than the G5s!?)

posted by revgeorge at 11:55 AM on August 2, 2005


Hot chicks! I'm telling you!!!!!
posted by fungible at 12:00 PM on August 2, 2005


revgeorge, that's a wonderful way of putting it "becoming increasingly vulgar towards the spinning beach ball".

I have yet to "upgrade" to Tiger as I've not seen any real return on investment.

And, as a counterpoint, my Dell at work has bigger speed numbers but spends most of its time waiting to open files, folders, move cursors and the like. Megahertz are a really poor way of measuring speed, its like counting the splatted bugs on your windshield to determine how powerful your engine is.
posted by fenriq at 12:01 PM on August 2, 2005


Paging jessamyn... clean-up on aisle 3!
posted by spock at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2005


Is it oh-es-eks or oh-es-ten?

I say oh-ess-eks, but I seem to be the only one. The reasy being, if I read OS X 10.3, I am not gonig to say oh-ess-ten, ten point 3...
posted by nthdegx at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2005


It's just more evidence you shouldn't automatically upgrade your OS. I stayed on Panther. None of Tiger's features looked appealing, and Panther was getting the job done. As an added bonus I didn't have to pay for updates to PGP Desktop, QuickBooks, etc.
posted by hyperizer at 12:12 PM on August 2, 2005


Off-troll, you know what I've found causes the most problems in OSX? Sub-standard RAM. I know we all like to plug into our machines whatever we darn well please and pretend it will work as well as the more expensive stuff, but OSX seems to prefer the more robust kind. I had the sleep problem for a while myself, and then I went and swapped out the MacMall RAM with stuff that actually came from Apple (damned if I know where they get it), and presto, problem solved.

As many people are complaining about the alleged DRM in the upcoming MacTel boxes, I believe it's just intended to keep you from running OSX on any non-Apple-approved PC. Which makes sense! If Joe Hacker tries running OSX on his $250 no-name configuration, and finds it doesn't work, he shouldn't be clogging up the tech-support lines of people who actually paid for a proper system. Sorry if that sounds elitist, but it makes sense.
posted by fungible at 12:16 PM on August 2, 2005


fungible : "If Joe Hacker tries running OSX on his $250 no-name configuration, and finds it doesn't work, he shouldn't be clogging up the tech-support lines of people who actually paid for a proper system. Sorry if that sounds elitist, but it makes sense."

Er...then they shouldn't offer tech support for people who just purchase the OS and not a system, no?
posted by Bugbread at 12:20 PM on August 2, 2005


BTW, since the poster's link is dead, here's DrunkenBlog's Tiger complaint post from yesterday (with lots of tired SNL references).
posted by hyperizer at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2005


If Joe Hacker runs OS X on his $250 no-name box, and calls tech support, the first question will be "What is your Mac's serial number?" Every Mac has a unique serial number and I can't imagine they'd agree to support a system with a spoofed serial number.

On preview: bugbread, the OS isn't licensed to run on non-Apple hardware. If you buy it and install it on, say, your Xbox, you're technically pirating it even though you paid for it.
posted by revgeorge at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2005


Ah, ok, thanks revgeorge. I don't own a Mac, so I didn't know how the licensing works, and fungible kinda misled me.
posted by Bugbread at 12:41 PM on August 2, 2005


Hackers don't call tech support.
posted by telstar at 12:46 PM on August 2, 2005


That does it: my new sock-puppet account will be called "Dong Cruft".
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:48 PM on August 2, 2005


"If Joe Hacker tries running OSX on his $250 no-name configuration, and finds it doesn't work, he shouldn't be clogging up the tech-support lines of people who actually paid for a proper system. Sorry if that sounds elitist, but it makes sense."

Tell that to the other 99.5% of the civilized world running some flavor of windows or linux on whatever the hell hardware they want.

Only Apple could get away with building an OS so shoddily that it only runs successfully on pre-approved hardware and then treat it as a "feature". And only Mac geeks would let them get away with it.

(I say this as a computer consultant who works mainly in pc-land, but is also a fairly proud owner of an apple cinema display, a mac mini, and a pismo era bronze powerbook)
posted by stenseng at 1:00 PM on August 2, 2005


I was going to add the drunkenblog link, but now hyperizer's done it I'll just add that Tiger has made this Mac mini (with only appleā„¢ brand memory in it) a sunny, sunny beach. (With lots of beachballs)
posted by bonaldi at 1:12 PM on August 2, 2005


I am certainly getting tired of the random UI design, it seems like every version since 10.1 has been uglier than the previous one. I find Spotlight pretty slow, although the improved BSD subsystem in 10.4 was worth an upgrade.
posted by arete at 1:14 PM on August 2, 2005


Stenseng: That's the whole draw that Apple has - a compatibility between hardware and software. You see it as a drawback, I see it as a really frickin' obvious advantage.

One of the reasons Microsoft has been so slow and difficult has been that they HAVE to make their system run on shit hardware, compatible with thousands of third-party drivers (including the badly-written ones), and backwards-compatible to the point of ridiculousness (I tried running MS-DOS "Snipes" on my Windows machine and it worked! It was written in what, 1980?) And I sympathize with them - those are difficult things to do. No wonder they have trouble meeting deadlines.

Apple, the other hand, worries about none of those things. Not that Macs are perfect - they're computers, ridiculously complicated things that will never, ever be 100% free of bugs. But by controlling more of the hardware/software interface, they manage the whole experience better.

(BTW, most benchmarks have shown that Tiger actually increases the speed of Macs over Panther, even old G3s. Just don't go widget crazy, and I think you'll be fine.)
posted by fungible at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2005


I would agree that they need to lose the spinning beachball, though. Nothing's more aggravating than something that makes you wait, but doesn't actually tell you if anything's happening.
posted by fungible at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2005


Are my problems sending mail in the OS 10.4 Mail application through a .Mac account caused by a bug, or some unobvious misadjustment of the account settings in the application?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:25 PM on August 2, 2005


The only really annoying thing I've noticed since upgrading to Tiger (directly from Jaguar) is that I have to keep rebooting because swap files will fill my hard drive after about a day of use (though I think removing the extraneous Dashboard widgets I had is helping).
posted by oaf at 1:28 PM on August 2, 2005


So we're playing smack the Apple with blog posts? Cool, I can do that. This one's more interesting - it's about Trusted Computing on the new Intel-based Macs. It's not conclusive but I was betting it was gonna happen anyway.

Seriously I pretty much agree with most of the complaints about Tiger - I fear Spotlight - though I don't have much perspective on the beach balls because my G4 has suh-ucked for the past six months from back when it had Jaguar and I have no real idea why, just suspicions.
posted by furiousthought at 1:29 PM on August 2, 2005


Now I'll never know what crufty means.
Fear not!
posted by nlindstrom at 1:42 PM on August 2, 2005


furiousthought & revgeorge, now i myself don't claim to know this, but don't you think that there's gonna be a fairly easy way around DRM by modding the mother or with a small piece of reverse engineering that will presently appear like wallpaper covering the corners of the dear internet? i'm guessing it won't be that hard.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 1:45 PM on August 2, 2005


So what should i use instead of mail? I've tried thunderbird, but it's kinda clunky.
posted by Freen at 2:15 PM on August 2, 2005


Metafilter: where the fancy words live.

P.S. I'll take Tiger cruft over the troubles I had before with 10.2 Just be sure to run with at least 512 megs RAM and reboot once a month so the OS can run its repair and maintenance scripts and you might find fewer..err...crufts.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 2:19 PM on August 2, 2005


stenseng: Tell that to the other 99.5% of the civilized world running some flavor of windows or linux on whatever the hell hardware they want.

Only Apple could get away with building an OS so shoddily that it only runs successfully on pre-approved hardware and then treat it as a "feature". And only Mac geeks would let them get away with it.


Well, actually that is how most of the computing world, including a large number of wintel clone makers have done it throughout history. In the old days, you got the software for free, and paid a lease on the hardware. Digtial, IBM, Sun and Sillicon Graphics, and HP sold workstations and servers with their own little operating system. The Wintel clone makers also came with their own little DRM that even extended as far as print drivers. (I had to buy a new printer because I lost the driver CD that came with the Compaq bundle.)

Windows hardware support has more to do with the efforts of hardware vendors rather than Microsoft. A typical XP install for me usually involves at least three downloads and CDs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:39 PM on August 2, 2005


Freen I've tried thunderbird, but it's kinda clunky.

Clunky as in interface, or clunky as in "it looks like crap?" If it's the later, there are numerous skins (I like pinball) for Moz/Fire/Thunder-bird.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:54 PM on August 2, 2005


Re: Mail sucks... Mail 2.0 is fine... I use it daily to manage 5 IMAP and 3 POP accounts. It's quick, the searches are fast... I'm happy with it. If something else works better for you, great.

Re: Thunderbird v Safari. Safari renders things prettier. It's not a skin issue, it's the actual pages.

Re: Macs suck because____. Nobody cares. People who like macs will continue to like them. People who don't will also not be swayed.
posted by mosch at 3:19 PM on August 2, 2005


I tried running MS-DOS "Snipes" on my Windows machine and it worked! It was written in what, 1980?

That's a good thing. A very good thing.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:07 PM on August 2, 2005


Is it oh-es-eks or oh-es-ten?

I say oh-ess-eks, but I seem to be the only one.


Everyone I know says "oh-ess-eks."

posted by mrgrimm at 4:10 PM on August 2, 2005


I run Mail 2.0 under 10.4.2 with no problems. . . well, just one: at irregular intervals, it refuses to accept mail and tells me my Home Directory is full. I then close the app, restart, and the new mail comes in. Go figure. . . .

I have had generally good luck with 10.4. I use Safari and Camino 0.8 (which works great, BTW) Safari refuses to digest the NYT webpage on anything resembling a regular basis. What's up with the NYT? Judy Miller as Webmistress? WaPo comes in fine, every time.

My BTO system is robust (2x2ghzG5 w 1GB Apple RAM). I have only 2 widgets up on a permanent basis. I have gotten a few kernel panics associated with running that verdammte Virtual PC.

I have found that Processor Performance (Energy Saver Preference Panel/Options) should be set at Highest for best performance under Tiger.
posted by rdone at 4:20 PM on August 2, 2005


mrgrimm: (re:Snipes) Oh, I was impressed all right. It is pretty amazing it still runs. Question is, what sacrifices were made in developing later versions of Windows in order to make that happen? And how important is it to the modern user?
posted by fungible at 4:31 PM on August 2, 2005


don't you think that there's gonna be a fairly easy way around DRM by modding the mother or with a small piece of reverse engineering that will presently appear like wallpaper covering the corners of the dear internet?

Possibly. I hope it doesn't involve "modding the mother," as you so casually put it, like you do that shit before breakfast; I am not that technically proficient, I don't think.

But then you have to worry about will this update break my system and all the decisions that go along with that. I don't know, I think what'll happen is I'll keep an older Mac around as a bridge system, use it to rip CDs and whatever else I don't want DRM touching - I don't know. Really hope software or firmware patches work for that, though. I personally am going PowerPC as long as I possibly can.
posted by furiousthought at 5:49 PM on August 2, 2005


Freen, I use Mailsmith, but there's lots of other options. I believe Entourage, Eudora, GyazMail, and PowerMail are pretty popular.
posted by hyperizer at 6:14 PM on August 2, 2005


The Asteroids widget sure is a lot of fun - that alone is worth upgrading to Tiger.
posted by disgruntled at 6:23 PM on August 2, 2005


I actually have a funny story about the cruftiness of OSX. First, let me explain how I take a look at software. Generally, when a new version of the OS comes out, I ask around about it, about the new features and so on... In the case of 10.4, I learned that one of the truly exciting things was the metadata model underlying the file system. Since I enjoy that world, I decided to give the OS a chance and asked a friend if I could test out his copy (I wasn't sure whether to buy it or not yet and wanted to play around with it first). I got a copy, made a clean install on an old iBook and started playing around. The first thing I noticed was that it was dead slow. The second thing was that a lot of the features were not working on that 5-year-old iBook. 3 days into it, I reformatted the drive and reinstalled my legal copy of 10.3, safe in the knowledge that I would not have to fork over for 10.4.

At this point, I'm looking at the $350 operating system and, for the most part, it does the job. How did I arrive at that figure, well, let's run the numbers:
10.0 - $129
10.1 - Free
10.2 - $129
10.3 - $129

10.4 would have added more costs and it's just not worth it.

However, between the DRM stuff and the directions in which the OS is headed, I'm starting to think of a switch-back. My wife, the hardcore "I never will use Windows, ever, ever" Mac user upgraded from OS9 to OSX and has been screaming about it every since. While she got me into the Mac camp, she and I are starting to take a serious look at those nice Sony laptops. As she put it "there's no real reason for me to be on a mac anymore". This coming from someone who's never used any other type of computer. This coming from someone who's a designer, once upon a time the kind of person that Apple courted (granted, once those people all bought iPods, it was time to leave them behind).

So all and all, Apple's recent moves are making it increasingly likely that formerly core users would depart. I talked to designers (who now feel left behind) and geeks (who currently are the new core due to the BSD subsystem) and both groups are starting to feel slightly hurt by Apple. It seems that Apple fans are now suffering from abused child syndrome, where they know they keep getting beaten down by Apple marketing but don't know any better than to go back and hope that this time, yes, this time, things will be different.
posted by TNLNYC at 7:01 PM on August 2, 2005


10.4's a dog. I wish it would just go away. And that I wouldn't have to fix that F12=HappyFunDashboardTime bullshit whenever I have to make a new login. F12 means "color palette in Quark", Apple (among other things!) Not "queer features of our stupid OS rub in your face and you'll take it because you're in our cult, dingus!"

And I have to make a new account fucking weekly now, so I reassign my dashboard keys A LOT. I've started making two user accounts at once because my pref files get corrupted so much!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:19 PM on August 2, 2005


I still like 9 better, and it took ages to get to a really stable 10.3. I'll never go to 10.4 i don't think.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 PM on August 2, 2005


As someone who used to peer through the grime-caked windows of Cruft Hall at Harvard University, with a sort of delighted shudder to see all the cruft inside, I can comment definitively here. The answer's no.

From a much older, less-abridged version of esr's Jargon File that's been quoted without attribution above:
This term is one of the oldest in the jargon and no one is sure of its etymology, but it is suggestive that there is a Cruft Hall at Harvard University which is part of the old physics building; it's said to have been the physics department's radar lab during WWII. To this day (early 1993) the windows appear to be full of random techno-junk. MIT or Lincoln Labs people may well have coined the term as a knock on the competition.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:03 AM on August 3, 2005


I currently use WinXP at home, WinXP at school, and at my 'job' on the school newspaper as editor/designer/writer/anything else, I use OS9. Yes, we're still back on OS9.

We haven't moved to OSX for many reasons. But basically it boils down to the fact that while Apple supports it's own hardware for what feels like forever when compared to PCs, their support for the software is greatly diminished, due to the major differences in OS9 and OSX. And it's not just Apple. Everyone involved seems to want to pretend OS9 never happened.

I can go online and find software that will run on Windows 95, but if I want to find something for OS9... well, it just ain't gonna happen.

I'd like to find a new non-IE browser for OS9, but even Firefox (which seems to support every OS known to man) doesn't support OS9.
posted by aristan at 4:15 AM on August 3, 2005


Mail.app just ate six months of my email yesterday.

That's right. Gone. Without warning, without hope of recovery.

This is the second time it's done that to me.

Given that "First, lose no data" really ought to be not only the motto but the FIRST F*IN' LAW OF ROBOTICS for a mail client, I'm somewhat upset. Also, the fact that it's gotten *harder* to use and configure and slower on each release from 10.1... well, it's time for Thunderbird or Evolution, methinks.
posted by weston at 11:13 AM on August 3, 2005


aristan, this (Opera 6.03) fits 2/3 of your requirements, namely "non-IE browser" and "for OS9."

...but it misses that "new" thing by about 2 years.
posted by bachelor#3 at 11:18 AM on August 3, 2005


mozilla 1.2.1 is almost as good as firefox in os 9.2.2 -- has a great splash screen too! and what drunkenbatman posted... very happy with 10.3.9 here.
posted by indices at 6:44 PM on August 3, 2005


Apple has a catch22 on their hands. I'm sure for every person upset the new os update isn't fully baked, there's several happy for every new toy.

And all the love for os9? Been a while since I've heard that one. Either upgrade or go to windows. You're on a sinking ship, and so was apple with os9. X made me switch. 9 made me laugh (most of the time).

Wow, I had no idea people actually used Mail. I tried it a couple of times and pretty much threw it in the garbage.

I really hope that was just a lame attempt at humor.
posted by justgary at 6:34 PM on August 5, 2005


I'm on 9 and 10 at work for various things, and even the system hogness is a giant pain. I have no clue why 10 (and 10 apps) need so much free space just to work normally.
posted by amberglow at 7:10 PM on August 5, 2005


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