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YouOS
December 28, 2006 8:50 AM   Subscribe

YouOS.com - A javascript powered web-based desktop operating system.
posted by blue_beetle (95 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
They couldn't just call it "YourOS"? Because all the bad grammar is really annoying.

To surf the web, open up you browser!
posted by rafter at 9:01 AM on December 28, 2006


i really can't wait until google does this well
posted by localhuman at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2006


They couldn't just call it "YourOS"? Because all the bad grammar is really annoying.

Probably that domain name was taken. All the domain names are taken.

i really can't wait until google does this well

They're already doing a lot of that, it's just all Ajax. Also, it wouldn't be difficult for you to roll you're own if you can spend $20/mo on a virtual hosted box.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on December 28, 2006


WebOSes will bring the old-school thin client back into style.

The large problem to overcome will be trust. You're storing your documents on a third-party's server. Do you trust they'll leave it alone or will they scan it, maybe use it to target advertisements or some other purpose?

Convenience versus privacy. It always comes down to that it seems.
posted by ruthsarian at 9:18 AM on December 28, 2006


Youos guys, dis is an operating system! Hooboy!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:19 AM on December 28, 2006


Is it really an "operating system"? I'd say it's more of a desktop enviroment running in a browser.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on December 28, 2006


An OS runs a computer. If I have to run another OS to get to the "OS", it isn't an OS, it is, at best, a graphical shell. Like Windows 3.1.
posted by QIbHom at 9:29 AM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Indeed not an OS, nor a thin client. Still trying to emulate a real application experience over HTML 1.0 forms, i.e. a terminal protocol.
posted by jouke at 9:35 AM on December 28, 2006


The abuse of the term "Operating System" is going to lead to a lot of confusion in the future with people who aren't computer savvy. Also, it's incredibly annoying.

They should call it the "web desktop," or something along those lines.
posted by spiderskull at 10:03 AM on December 28, 2006


It's not very impressive. (I think the applicable snark on the blue is meh) and it's definitely not an OS.

My Yahoo and any number of customizable portals do this stuff. Google Docs and spreadsheets allow you to work online from anywhere (and with a good interface).

I don't know if this is possible as I'm not a tech guy (so back off you misanthropic sys admin types :-) ) , but it would be a good idea if a windows (or Mac) machine could access it through some app that could be installed in machine language or DOS or what ever the hell is running on a computer with no OS and snap it in. It would be an even better idea if you could use that same remote OS to install some user-friendly stable version of Linux. Which would make this "OS' redundant and well...there you go. Full circle. This would could be best used to help people install Linux or some other good free or cheap OS.
posted by Skygazer at 10:08 AM on December 28, 2006


The UI sucks. There are much more efficient/usable ways of collecting together the tools they offer without the clumsy "desktop" metaphor.
posted by chasing at 10:09 AM on December 28, 2006


They couldn't just call it "YourOS"? Because all the bad grammar is really annoying.

It's a competitor of

It's a competitor of
EyeOS.
I hear AyOS, EeOS and OhOS are gonna be fab.

so much for previewing :P
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:12 AM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


it seems to be a very complicated AJAX chat app.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:15 AM on December 28, 2006


Also, it seems to become unusably slow once you launch the YouOS desktop within a YouOS browser window in a YouOS desktop within another YouOS browser window in a YouOS desktop. Unacceptable.
posted by chasing at 10:16 AM on December 28, 2006 [4 favorites]


I think they mean to say that it's an OS that You run, not that the computer runs... Or something.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:19 AM on December 28, 2006


When ggogle get it right, as they will; I think companies like this will unfortunatly find life increasingly difficult.
posted by kissol at 10:33 AM on December 28, 2006


And what's with the process killing in the command line? Do they expect one part of it to hang?

I buy the "very complicated AJAX chat app" theory.
posted by niles at 10:34 AM on December 28, 2006


i really can't wait until google does this well
posted by localhuman at 12:02 PM EST on December 28


Yeah, because Google Video, Orkut, and Gmail were great successes. Google hasn't done anything well except search and Adsense.

A web desktop? Thomas J. Watson famously said there was a world market for about 5 computers. What he was referring to were the huge room-spanning proto-mainframes. But change computers in his quote to data centers and you have what everyone seems to be cheerleading for and what google seems to be building. Centralize everything and access it through dumb terminals. Welcome back, 1975, we missed you.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:41 AM on December 28, 2006


That POS crashed my browser.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 10:45 AM on December 28, 2006


I figured they'd have given up after BeOS, but they're all the way up to U already?
posted by Malor at 10:47 AM on December 28, 2006


I suppose I can see the appeal of this for some people, but it really doesn't do much more than solutions I already have
(Remote Desktop/ VNC and gmail), the difference is that with my setup, I'm not totally reliant on someone else's servers to store (or scan, or sell) my documents.

Still, for people who don't want to maintain their own server, I could see this as being somewhat useful.

I'd hold of for the google version as well though.
posted by quin at 10:48 AM on December 28, 2006


I love the web browser feature.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2006


Who weeps for inferno?
posted by cytherea at 10:52 AM on December 28, 2006


A web-based 'OS' is pretty much going to start to mean that you can do pretty much everything you want to do through your web browser... that's going to be the 'future' of computers... for the most part. People are still going to keep confidential stuff on their local machines... again as others have said, the whole 'privacy versus convenience ' idea.
posted by triolus at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2006


The WhereWolf browser in YouOS can't run YouOS. I like that.
posted by mortimer at 10:54 AM on December 28, 2006


I signed up for an account on this 9 months ago, used it to edit one document, and then never touched it again. Google docs does the same document stuff now, and I didn't see anything else worth using. I don't know if the idea is ahead of its time, or if its time has passed, or if it's just a bad idea, but one of those.

Pastabagel: gmail wasn't a success? (this is a serious question)
posted by pinespree at 11:02 AM on December 28, 2006


Everyone I know uses Gmail. I'm chatting with two people via gmail right now.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2006


Pastabagel: I feel Google has something else in store rather than Gmail. Also, Google has had other hits. Google Maps is the best (double true!). Google Reader seems to be gaining ground rapidly. Blogger is hardly unused.

Gmail is a fine product. It does precisely what it says it will do. The fact that it hasn't garnered the 14-22 set with their 15 email accounts/aliases each doesn't mean its a failure.

The value of Gmail is when it gets integrated with the rest of what Google has planned.

The funny thing is, it is not particularly hard to see where this is headed, as Google is not hiding their hand at all.

Gmail, along with their online versions now of Calendar, Spreadsheet, and Word Processing adds up to covering probably 75% of non-browser activity on computers. Then throw in Picasa.

When the Google browser comes out, then you know you're 1 step away from GoogOS 1.0.

There is no doubt, no doubt at all, this is where they are headed.

If this ever caught on, then Windows would become... *SHUDDERS* a gaming OS!
posted by Ynoxas at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


It'd be nice to package up a suite like this that you could unwind onto your own server with a single install script. It'd be great for household use or for organizations like nonprofits without an IT budget and with heterogenous equipment. I'm sure it's possible and it's all out there, someone just needs to do it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:20 AM on December 28, 2006


George: I think eyeos does that.
Their downloads page.

Though, I think it distinctly lacks the groupware element you're thinking about.
posted by Freen at 11:32 AM on December 28, 2006


There is no doubt, no doubt at all, this is where they are headed.

You're missing the one critical piece. For a lot of small companies, I think this can be a very compelling alternative to Exchange/Groupwise/etc.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:46 AM on December 28, 2006


A web-based 'OS' is pretty much going to start to mean that you can do pretty much everything you want to do through your web browser... that's going to be the 'future' of computers... for the most part.

Yup, just like when the internet killed off paper.

It'll be so much fun to initiate a paint brush stroke in Painter then while it's processing that, switch over to iTunes to play one of my 30MB Lossless AAC tracks and while that skips and pauses and Painter is still trying to catch up with my brush stroke, I'll switch over to iPhoto to look over my 15,000 reference pics to pick which one to use in the image I'm working on in Painter and after initiating a page down scroll and waiting for the app to update I check on the progress of that brush stroke only to find that my Comcastic connection has gone out, all my work has been lost and now I don't have access to any applications, which will give me the opportunity to have a coffee break. True multitasking!
posted by effwerd at 12:01 PM on December 28, 2006


YouOS -- the OS is YOU!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:04 PM on December 28, 2006


Oh come on! A browser!

I'm having trouble deciding if that's delightfully ironic, or stupidly ironic.

Leaning towards the latter.
posted by adoarns at 12:14 PM on December 28, 2006


Sure, I'll just give them all my documents to hold for me. They wouldn't be at all interested in the contents. Of course not.
posted by spitbull at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2006


eyeOS Downloads

eyeOS is easy to download and install.... The preparated packages are packages for specific platforms will install eyeOS and everything you need to run it (basically, Apache Webserver + PHP).


Eh?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:18 PM on December 28, 2006


My problem with this and the Google stuff is connectivity. Google has some nice apps and services, but I'll be damned if 2 days out of the week I can't get to either my Google home page, Gmail or Blogger for a period of time. Other sites load fine.

So, if the kings of internet can't keep it up, how does that bode for a smaller operation? If they could get a better uptime, they might actually get a share of the market.

It's the only thing keeping me from seriously using most of what Google has to offer.
posted by dozo at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2006


adoarns: I don't consider a Google browser to be crazy talk. Do you believe the browser is at its technological summit? Do you think Firefox is, indeed, the evolutionary end of the browser, and no further refinement is possible?

I would hope that given the talent and bajillion dollars Google has that they can make a completely new product to replace what we now use as browsers.

Of course, the same could be said of Microsoft, and, well...
posted by Ynoxas at 12:39 PM on December 28, 2006


um, gmail rocks.
and for that matter, im a pretty big fan of docs/spreedsheets. there is no fucking way i will every buy office.
posted by phaedon at 12:42 PM on December 28, 2006


I hear the new Google browser will come in either a topical solution or a highspeed suppository.

(Talk about your Butthole Surfers!! Yeow!)
posted by Skygazer at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2006


Blogger is hardly unused.

Google bought blogger, and they've done hardly anything with it since.

I'm sorry, I love Google for search, for maps, for Gmail, but they've built a lot of small disconnected widgets that they seem to lose interest in almost immediately. The idea that this desultory performance to date makes them the natural success when they do decide to "do it right" just doesn't wash.

Anyway, I think the web desktop has great potential but a somewhat limited target audience in practical terms. It's much more useful for collaborative types of applications. As of now there are a number of such apps with only limited interfunctionality. 37signals is doing OK, jotspot has some mindshare, but there's a great opportunity here and even if YouOS isn't it (stupid name notwithstanding), they could be.

Truth is, I expect that somebody is going to come along and do this right someday, and eat everyone else's lunch, and sadly, that somebody is going to be Microsoft.
posted by dhartung at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2006


Didn't google just do a major update to Blogger?
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on December 28, 2006


'Probably that domain name was taken. All the domain names are taken."

clownpenis.fart, anyone?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:36 PM on December 28, 2006


dhartung, you're right, except I think you're not looking at the big picture.

All the little tools and widgets they are making seem disparate to us now, but I am sure in some design document at GoogHQ it is all rolled up in one, big, elegant solution, maybe even with a low-level OS/bootstrap loader. Could you imagine?? I bet Google can. Although the smarter/easier would be for them to pick a *nix and go that route/build on top.

Microsoft is moving hard and fast towards this as well, as you allude to, and for some reason it seems to be getting little attention. The newest Office is built from the ground to be web aware/present, and the Live Office stuff is starting to become interesting.

"You mean I could have my Outlook and Word and Excel on any computer without hauling around my laptop?" That gets people's attention.

This area is moving so fast its hard to keep up. Computers on a USB stick. Virtual machines that are hosted invisibly on any hardware then removed without a trace. Web-based Desktops.

The only thing for sure is this area is far from resolved. We're in for some exciting things as long as we don't get blindsided by somekind of standards war or similar.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:49 PM on December 28, 2006


Whatever its other merits, at least this OS was Time's OS of the Year in 2006.
posted by Kwine at 1:52 PM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


[many]: ... google gets it right ....

Nitfilter: Google seldom gets it "right." What google does is get it "sexy."

Much like MS, they become the standard. It's not so much that things have to measure up to them, as that things have to be measured against them. If they don't match, they are insufficient, unacceptable, for the most part. It really wouldn't matter whether they were "better" or not (whatever that means).
posted by lodurr at 1:53 PM on December 28, 2006


dozo: My problem with this and the Google stuff is connectivity. Google has some nice apps and services, but I'll be damned if 2 days out of the week I can't get to either my Google home page, Gmail or Blogger for a period of time.

I was working in a coffee shop yesterday. Normally I can get a decent connection there and work on whatever I want to, more or less (though with the connection shared among 20-30 people, it can get a tad slow).

Yesterday, I couldn't get a decent connection. So I was limited to working with the applications that are actually installed on my Powerbook. Now, I know this is tres unfashionable, but I do happen to have Office and MacJournal installed on my hard drive. That meant that I could actually work on the stuff I went there to work on (revising a story), instead of farting around on the web or on email.

So, I'm going to see dozo and raise him/her: Apps or environments that require a connection are pretty much useless. Contrary to popular wisdom, connectivity is not ubiquitous, and won't be any time soon. There will continue to be a need for offline working.

Outfits like Zimbra* understand this. They've built their entire mindshare on the sexiness of their web client; that's pretty much all people talk about when they review Zimbra. But the whole reason for their increasing business is that it works with a wide variety of fat clients, that can take the messages offline.

So, here's my sweeping and arrogant pronouncement regarding how this web-based collaborative applications thing is going to play out: The players that will own this space will be the ones that can give you off line capability. Right now, that means Microsoft. As I think Ynoxas is pointing out (though I may have her/him wrong), it wouldn't be terribly difficult for Google or someone else to cook up a method for making this work with (almost) entirely web-based apps. Zimbra's done that, why couldn't Google?

Of course, then they'd have to put Writely/Google Docs head to head against Word, which is a non-starter -- a bit like entering a Formula Vee car into Le Mans. But if the price were right, they could eat away at a lot of MS's base.

--
*I would really like to love Zimbra, but it just doesn't work well for Mac-using groups. Its sync is just too damn flakey. That might actually be a problem with Apple's toolkit, but the net affect is the same: It just doens't work for us.

posted by lodurr at 2:10 PM on December 28, 2006


Wikipedia has more web desktops, as well as rather confusing articles about Web Operating Systems and Online Operating Systems.

The whole mess probably requires someone who is far more of a wiki nerd than I to sort it out.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on December 28, 2006


there is no fucking way i will every buy office.

True enough: You'll probably get your employer to buy it for you. When you inevitably need to use it to work with other people who have document needs more complex than Docs or Spreadsheets can meet.
posted by lodurr at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2006


They should call it the "web desktop," or something along those lines.

I dunno ... web and desktop seem like opposite concepts are are likely to be even more confusing. Like an OpenClose or an OffOn.

Egads. Dr. Seuss has arrived in web nomenclature.
posted by Zinger at 3:13 PM on December 28, 2006


This is why computers will never be fast enough. Are there any Palo Alto mefites available to give these guys a cockpunch?
posted by ryanrs at 4:16 PM on December 28, 2006


Javascript sucks. Ajax sucks too, but a bit less than if everyone independently handrolled their own asynchronous communication layers.

The ideal universal thin-client technology doesn't seem to exist yet. If Java or dot-NET don't get their acts together soon, Flash is gonna sneak up the middle to become an app framework.

(I'm only being half sarcastic)
posted by Artful Codger at 4:38 PM on December 28, 2006


"When ggogle get it right, as they will; I think companies like this will unfortunatly find life increasingly difficult."

I think companies like this are sort of depending on Google for life past their first 15 minutes of fame; YouOS got its start from Y Combinator, a VC firm whose exit strategy of choice seems to be acquisition. As long as there's enough proof-of-concept for someone to buy them out, maybe YouOS doesn't care that their product is kludgy?
posted by thisjax at 7:07 PM on December 28, 2006


The fact that EyeOS' documentation is available in two forms, PDF or plain text, is utterly bizarre. Um, excuse me but aren't you supposed to be in the web-delivered apps business? Wouldn't it make sense to offer your web-delivered documentation in a WEB-FRIENDLY format?

And the fact that the product is apparently written in that PlaySkool programming language PHP is not at all encouraging.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:44 PM on December 28, 2006


I've seen demos of this kind of thing as far back as 1998.

I don't think it makes any more sense now than it did then, but when we get to the Gibsonian point where massive-bandwidth ubiquitous connectivity is seamless, the physical devices we use can reliably ignore distinction between local and network, strong encryption is baked-in, what we traditionally think of as applications are swappable tools that are made to work with data in ways that the data defines (rather than the application), and it's all commoditized enough that storage, bandwidth and toolsets are relatively free (so if you pay at all, you pay for elegance and design (that is, the chrome and leather seats)), we will start living most of our digital lives and working in the cloud.

All big ifs, of course. I'd give it, say, 15 to 20 years.

Groove, built by Ray Ozzie 6 or 7 years ago, then bought and made irrelevant by Microsoft (it's a Microsoft Office Tool! Fucking idiots.) was an early, interesting and elegantly engineered harbinger. Google's taking tiny babysteps in the right direction, in a different way, but I am extremely distrustful of Google. We need more new ideas.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:13 PM on December 28, 2006


sstavrosthewonderchicken wrote: All big ifs, of course. I'd give it, say, 15 to 20 years.

Quit thinking like Microsoft (and Sun). The only reason they've gotten away with releasing slow, bloated software is because chips keep getting exponentially faster. But that huge growth is starting to disappear as we approach fundamental physical limits. And bandwidth never had that kind of growth in the first place.

Bandwidth, battery life, disk i/o, display res, price, reliability--these are improving incrementally, not exponentially.
posted by ryanrs at 10:06 PM on December 28, 2006


youos manifesto.html: YouOS ... lets you run diverse applications within a web browser ... Large applications like word processing, mp3 players, and instant messaging.

youos faq.html: How much space do we have for YouFS?
250MB of disk space and 1GB of bandwidth per month. This will probably be expanded in the future.


Um...those are small apps. Photoshop and Warcraft are large apps. But nevermind that. I'm sure my 250 song mp3 ration will keep me entertained all month.

...although with 250 MB of disk it's more like 60 songs repeated four times each. Still, a week's worth of music between repeats ain't bad.
posted by ryanrs at 10:38 PM on December 28, 2006


Prof. Farnsworth: There’s one problem, though. This app will never meet performance standards.

Mom: [Slaps Farnsworth] Crap spackle! We'll just call it a sport utility app and classify it as a light truck.
posted by ryanrs at 10:49 PM on December 28, 2006


Quit thinking like Microsoft (and Sun).

Explain yourself, sir, or face my wrath!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:24 AM on December 29, 2006


Tsk, tsk, the hive mind is slow on the uptake today! The only actual browser-based OS: JS/UIX. Sigh, operating systems are so much less exciting in the hands of computer scientists instead of marketing people...

Now all we need is a microprocessor that implements a javascript interpreter as its instruction set. Each individual chip will take up an entire silicon wafer and will need a liquid nitrogen cooling system.

If Java or dot-NET don't get their acts together soon, Flash is gonna sneak up the middle to become an app framework.

(I'm only being half sarcastic)


Oh, pardon me, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. You've obviously never used Macromedia Flex. (Or maybe you actually have and are a fan. If so, sorry.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:46 AM on December 29, 2006


It goes nowhere on a Mac:

"You are using Safari 312.

Warning:
Your browser will most likely not work with YouOS."
posted by MinPin at 1:07 AM on December 29, 2006


** I've got it! YouOS, I can solve all your problems!

Hang on while I write up a patent. I'll post it below once it's been submitted to the USPO.
posted by ryanrs at 5:03 AM on December 29, 2006


George_Spiggot: ... that PlaySkool programming language PHP is not at all encouraging.

"Your Favorite Programming Language Sucks. (Because Even though it's the most widely-used language on the web.)"
posted by lodurr at 5:18 AM on December 29, 2006


It goes nowhere on a Mac:...

Mac people who insist on using Safari have to get used to this. If you use Safari on a Mac, you are using the choice of something less than two percent of browsers. From what I can tell, only about a quarter of Mac users regularly use Safari. So there's very little incentive for developers to accommodate its idiosyncracies.

Switch to Firefox. 2.0 is stable and doesn't run away with memory the way that 1.x did. You'll have a much more pain-free computer using experience.
posted by lodurr at 5:25 AM on December 29, 2006


Web 3.0, you saw it here first!

Method and Apparatus For JavaScript Acceleration Across Ad-Hoc Peer Networks

Claims:
[1a1] A Network-Accessible Virtual Acceleration Engine (NAVAE) consisting of
[1b1] an HTML document with embedded JavaScript or
[1b2] JavaScript source code or
[1b3] precompiled or encoded or transformed JavaScript, that when run:
[1c1] advertises its presence to JavaScript Virtual Acceleration Engine Enabled Network Applications (JVAEENA) by way of
[1d1] one or more Shared Resource Advertisement Servers (SRAS) or
[1d2] direct JVAEENA to NAVAE communication or
[1d3] multi-way n-JVAEENA to m-NAVAEs communication, then
[1e1] receive from JVAEENA clients work requests in the form of
[1f1] SOAP Protocol communication or
[1f2] other data exchange network protocol, containing a work payload of
[1g1] JavaScript or
[1g2] precompiled or encoded or transformed JavaScript, then
[1h1] execute the contents of a received work request by
[1i1] passing the work request executable code directly to the host JavaScript Execution Engine, or
[1i2] executing the work request executable code by way of an interpreter procedure function of the NAVAE, and
[1j1] transmitting the work request execution results to the initiating JVAEENA client using
[1k1] SOAP Protocol communication or
[1k2] other data exchange network protocol, containing
[1l1] results of successful work request execution, or
[1l2] error indication and diagnostic information in case of execution-time error, or
[1l3] runtime-exceeded error information in case of excessive runtime.

[2a1] A JVAEENA in the form of:
[2b1] an HTML document with embedded JavaScript or
[2b2] JavaScript source code or
[2b3] precompiled or encoded or transformed JavaScript, that
[2c1] consists of a user-interactive JavaScript application or
[2c2] any other JavaScript,
[2d1] said code suitable for remote processing or
[2d2] suitable for parallel independent remote processing, and
[2e1] additionally containing code to locate one or more idle NAVAEs based on NAVAE advertisements (see 1d1-1d3), then
[2f1] transform code to be executed into one or more work requests, then
[2g1] transmit one work request to each NAVAE (see 1f1-1g2), then
[2h1] receive work request execution results from each NAVAE (see 1j1-1l3).

[3a1] A Combined NAVAE-JVAEENA (CNAVAEJVAEENA), able to
[3b1] perform the functions of a JVAEENA when
[3c1] responding to user interaction or
[3c2] performing other computations, as well as
[3d1] perform the functions of a NAVAE when otherwise idle.


YouOS, let's talk licensing.
posted by ryanrs at 5:25 AM on December 29, 2006


The only actual browser-based OS: JS/UIX. ...

This made me chuckle. Folks, he's not kidding:
JS/UIX is an UN*X-like OS for standard web-browsers, written
entirely in JavaScript (no plug-ins used). It comprises a vir-
tual machine, shell, virtual file-system, process-management,
and brings its own terminal with screen- and keyboard-mapping.

For an overview of implemented commands have a look at the
complete > JS/UIX-Manual-Pages; see also the > Version-History.
posted by lodurr at 5:30 AM on December 29, 2006


ryanrs, did you just write that up?
posted by lodurr at 5:31 AM on December 29, 2006


lodurr wrote: Switch to Firefox. 2.0 is stable and doesn't run away with memory

Does it still break every single interface guideline? 'Cause if I was into that sort of bullshit I'd be running Linux, not Mac OS. And the 2+ year old SOCKS5 dns leak--is that fixed too?
posted by ryanrs at 5:34 AM on December 29, 2006


lodurr wrote: did you just write that up?

Either that or it's a real patent I pulled off the USPTO web site. Hard to tell, isn't it?
posted by ryanrs at 5:39 AM on December 29, 2006


Does it still break every single interface guideline?

Whose guidelines? And what are they? Hard to tell, since you don't link to them.

If they're Apple's guidelines, then I don't see what the problem is. Apple's user interaction people don't seem to comprehend the difference between a task and an operation, so I don't really see why I should take their guidelines very seriously.
posted by lodurr at 5:44 AM on December 29, 2006


Copy the Safari UI exactly. Implement the exact same hotkeys, the same prefs (add a few more if you must), and the same UI. Once you achieve a perfect match with Safari, your UI match every other app on the system as well. Until then, I won't use Firefox.

But honestly, I still probably won't bother. I have a recent version of Camino installed, and I never use it. In fact, my system has fairly recent versions of Firefox, Camino, Opera, and Safari. Safari never gives me any problems, so why change?
posted by ryanrs at 6:00 AM on December 29, 2006


But Safari just did give you a problem.

In my experience, people who say "[software x] has never given me a problem" are almost invariably exercising selective memory. It's experimentally demonstrable that people will reatain more negative memories about things they don't like than about things they do.
posted by lodurr at 6:11 AM on December 29, 2006


What problem? I haven't even tried to use YouOS. I know it sucks a priori. The burbling noise you hear means I'm full of snark, not curiousity.

Maybe you're thinking of MinPin?
MinPin wrote:
It goes nowhere on a Mac:
"You are using Safari 312.
Warning: Your browser will most likely not work with YouOS."

And Safari really never give me any problems. It might annoy me once a week, but that's it. Maybe it's because I never read the links. I come here for the flameouts. Best of the web, baby!
posted by ryanrs at 6:32 AM on December 29, 2006


Maybe you're thinking of MinPin?

Yes, I was. My apologies.

Safari annoyed me several times an hour. That's why I never use it any more. Firefox only annoys me several times a day.
posted by lodurr at 6:43 AM on December 29, 2006


The thing that bug me most about Firefox is its insistence on using custom UI widgets for things like Find and the Address Bar. Those standard widgets keep things consistent, don't change them!

Apple Human Interface Guidelines

Take a look at Part III: User Input / The Keyboard. There's about 15 pages describing different modes and key combinations. Firefox doesn't even try to get this stuff right. Nobody on the project gives a shit. But if vi or emacs dropped half their key bindings, those same developers would be out for blood!

(I have to head to work, sorry to leave mid-talk.)
posted by ryanrs at 7:06 AM on December 29, 2006



If Java or dot-NET don't get their acts together soon, Flash is gonna sneak up the middle to become an app framework.

(I'm only being half sarcastic)

XMLicious: Oh, pardon me, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. You've obviously never used Macromedia Flex. (Or maybe you actually have and are a fan. If so, sorry.)

Guess I should have been a bit more than a half sarcastic. Yes Flash was, and still mostly is, this overgrown animation framework with a Javascript-y language bolted on. But every year, they improve the programming model a bit, Flash gets used more often for site basics like navigation, and the number of users with the Flash plugin creeps towards 100%.

To me the ideal client would be a Java-based web browser with a safe but useful API that the server app can leverage. Not a plug-in for applets, but something built into the browser. But Java isn't evolving fast enough, and MS won't ever let a successful Java browser happen on their OSes, and likewise a dot-NET based browser won't find universal acceptance.

Meanwhile, Flash just plugs along. It does run everywhere (assuming a current enough plugin). Some companies are already comfortable with doing simple webapps like signups or contests with a Flash "client". If Flash adds the right set of functionality, and they or 3rd parties release some reuseable objects or libraries for validation and data exchange, it will just be a matter of time before some company tries a more elaborate webapp in Flash... and if they're successful and the sky doesn't fall, more apps will follow.

I'm not a big Flash fan, but I do see this happening if something better doesn't come along. AJAX ain't it...
posted by Artful Codger at 7:43 AM on December 29, 2006


I don't know why people expect cross-platform apps to conform slavishly to the idiosyncratic local requirements of a specific OS. Firefox is consistent with Firefox, within the limits imposed by the windowing systems within which it operates. That's better and more important than being consistent with the host OS, AFAIAC.

Also, since Apple's UI API and conventions are so different from everyone else's, it takes some significant work to make a cross-platform app work using the Apple API and conventions. That adds development time and probably breaks the internal API, which is a big deal for Mozilla apps. So, aside from breaking the plugin architecture, you'd probably be adding significantly to the time required to bring out Mac builds of each new release.

And I have a really hard time with people holding up Apple as a model for UI execution to begin with. These are the people that insisted on one-button mice for a decade and a half after it became clear to every thinking person that two buttons were better. For a graphical OS, it's remarkably keyboard-intensive (which is a special problem in view of the fact that Apple keyboards have typically been so effing crappy): You can't do anything efficiently with Finder without using the keyboard -- if you have to use a one-button mouse. (Of course, that's semi-moot, now that Apple has introduced their [amazingly clumsy] "mighty mouse" with its ambiguous controls and tiny tiny tiny scroll-ball.)

On a slight tangent: Why is it, indeed, that people are so ardent about consistency? If the model is bad (and as far as I'm concerned, Apple's model is bad) why is it important to be consistent with it? As Emerson (who doubtless would have used a Mac) once said, "A foolish consistency is the hob-goblin of narrow minds." ("In Emerson, the Americans -- lost a philosopher." -- Nietzsche)

All of this is beside the point, of course, because one tends to either be on the bus or off it w.r.t. Apple's Way. I'm off it, and always have been -- even though I currently use Macs more or less exclusively (and have for almost two years now), and have used them extensively off and on since 1987. Macs are only different, not better. OS X improves the situation primarily by making it more difficult for Apple to dive into its own navel and ignore the rest of the world. (Specific versions of OS X are more stable than specific versions of Windows. Panther was a train wreck, from a stability perspective, when compared to Win2K -- though it compared moderately favorably with WinXP. I will concede that Tiger is generally pretty darn stable, though.)
posted by lodurr at 8:05 AM on December 29, 2006


But every year, they improve the programming model a bit...

It's that "a bit" part that I find frustrating -- and, in a way, encouraging, because I really don't relish the idea of a world where Adobe gets to have any significant degree of control over web standards.

If Ajax and Ajax-like libraries can be packaged for easier deployment and development, then I'm quite happy to completely forget about Flash.
posted by lodurr at 8:07 AM on December 29, 2006


lodurr: Firefox on OS X sucks. It sucks a lot. It's ugly, slow, stumbling, and stupid. Basic user interaction stuff is totally broken. I don't even have it installed anymore. I'll crash it, hard, in a day or two of use. That's unacceptable.

I alternate between Safari (with Saft) and Camino as my primary browsers, and only ever use Firefox on Linux/Windows. WebKit is fast and beautiful if you haven't noticed.

Firefox is marginally better on those platforms (though it ships with retardedly confusing middle-mouse button defaults in X Windows), but not by a huge margin. I've been using it since Firebird v.0.3 (I switched from Opera), and I think they were pretty much finished with development sometime around v.0.8 when the extension format got stable. Firefox 3 looks somewhat promising – they're finally going to change things under the hood – but I don't really trust them to pull it off anymore. They're drowning in their own hype.
posted by blasdelf at 8:11 AM on December 29, 2006


Firefox on OS X did suck. It does not now. It is no longer slower or harder to use than Safari. It hasn't been for a long time. If you think those things are still true, you probably haven't used it since before version 1.5. Version 2.0 came out a month or two ago, and it's even more stable and fast, and crashes less and loads more websites than Safari.

I have NOT noticed that Webkit is "beautiful". In fact, I have noticed that due to Webkit/KDE's implementation of CSS, it fails to properly render a lot of stuff, unless the designer was careful to work around those idiosyncracies. I have also not noticed that it is noticeably "faster" than Firefox, especially FF 2.0.

As for where FF is going -- well, there I have to agree with you. The current management of the team appears to be corrupted by tech-machismo. They're much more interested in scratching their alpha-coders' itches than in actually fixing things that bother users. But then, that pretty much makes them more like Apple....
posted by lodurr at 8:19 AM on December 29, 2006


Why try to be consistent with other apps on OS X? Because your app sticks out like a sore thumb if you don't.

Firefox goes partway towards fitting in on OS X. It doesn't run in X11 or XULrunner or anything. It tries to fit in – It has a menu bar, text selection is anchored at both ends, etc. Because the interface does differ, a whole lot of extensions just don't work at all on OS X. Firefox just doesn't go quite far enough in either direction – towards fitting in or being cross-platform.
posted by blasdelf at 8:28 AM on December 29, 2006


Well Blasdelf, sorry it isn't working out so well in OS X, but on Windows XP, Firefox is superb. The best browser hands down, in terms of speed and functionality and extensions that are constantly coming online let you hot rod it in all sorts of surprisingly useful and excellent ways. I keep thinking they're gimmicky, but then I end up serendipitiously making, some, an essential part of my browsing. I don't know where they're going with FF, but I like the open source method and feel optimistic about it. Anyhow, I've found Safari to be pretty excellent, so it seems you're all set until FF works out the kinks for OS X.
posted by Skygazer at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2006


I do think Firefox still sucks on OS X. They did make some improvements in 2.0 (I did do testing, I have to deploy it to 60 Macs I administer). It is still quite slow and uses way more memory under very heavy use (I abuse the hell out of browsers in my normal usage.). It is still pretty awkward compared to Safari. And Safari is extremely fast (though it's JS runtime could use some work), and very elegant. I often use it to download large files instead of curl or wget because it can download very large files at a megabyte per second without hitting the CPU at all on my Powerbook.

Look at text rendering in Safari vs. Firefox. Take a screenshot and compare them. Firefox is ugly as sin in comparison – it's using the ancient Quickdraw frameworks instead of Quartz. That will change once they're using the next version of Gecko, but only because they have to (Quickdraw is being deprecated, hard, in the Resolution Independence future).

Pretty much the only idiosyncrasies in Webkit vs. Gecko are because of a few missing Javascript functions in Webkit. The big remaining one is the styled text field stuff necessary for Rich-Text Editing. There's a couple other wacky js functions that I run into occasionally in broken embedded web interfaces.
posted by blasdelf at 9:00 AM on December 29, 2006


I do admit, the extensions are really nice. The whole browser would be a lot nicer if they admitted that most of the features they have added in the last three years are functionally equivalent to extensions, and made them optional checkboxes in the preferences, or even just bundled extensions. I currently just end up using dillo a bunch on lower-powered *nix boxes.

There's a dearth of options as far as browsers go on Windows: Firefox, Opera, and IE7. Maybe Maxthon, Flock, and Seamonkey if you're generous. That's it. There's no native XUL-less Gecko browser like there is on OS X (Camino) or Linux (Galeon, Epiphany, etc.). Opera is generally quirky and odd – over-featured in the extreme. IE7 is actually decent, especially if you disable most of the 'grandma' features.
posted by blasdelf at 9:16 AM on December 29, 2006


Pretty much the only idiosyncrasies in Webkit vs. Gecko are because of a few missing Javascript functions in Webkit.

Wrong. Treatment of "width" properties on some containers is still the inverse of what it is on IE6, Opera and Gecko, and it is still funky with regard to the indentation of list items and presentation of list item markers.

These are solvable problems, of course, but they do entail the extra work to support a tiny percentage of the browser market.

I didn't even mention the fact that Safari is much, much harder to extend than Firefox. Sure, you can install Pith Helmet (at a cost) and turn on debug mode (after you download some special shareware that lets you do that), but there are so many other things you'll just never be able to do with Safari that it's not even funny.

As for text rendering: The last time I took screenshots and compared them was about two months ago. I didn't notice a difference. That could have been because Preview is broken and has been for some months -- it's nearly impossible to get it to actually render bitmaps at actual size for some reason that I don't understand, which can create the (false) impression, for example, that a JPEG of a text screen is clearer than a PNG of the same screen.

I also can't corroborate your observations regarding speed and memory. The last time I checked (probably three months ago), Safari still had a nasty habit of running away with memory, and would lock up if you had too many tabs open. (So does FF, to be fair.)

Safari is fair as an embedded browser (i.e., in its Webkit incarnation). But it's just not good enough for the whole web. I prefer to actually be able to use most sites without having to load a third-party browser, and on the Mac, Firefox is the only browser that lets me come close to that ideal.
posted by lodurr at 10:20 AM on December 29, 2006


Turning on the debug menu is just an unexposed preference that you can change with the standard utilities – it's just "defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1".

It is harder to extend than XUL, but so is just about everything else ever written (especially other closed-source GUIs). Almost everything the Firefox team has added in the last three years has been XUL frippery on top of the same base code. Because Safari is pretty pure Cocoa, it's not that hard to mess with dynamically via the Input Manager hooks if you have a freaking clue. My roommate wrote a dynamically injected SIMBL plugin to keep his friend from trying to visit digg in less than an hour. There are plenty of people doing that sort of thing.

I can run Safari with a hundred tabs open across a few windows for weeks (going through ten thousand pages in that time) with out it choking, and could go even further if I wasn't using Saft (which uses up swap space with it's open page caching). Camino is not quite as resilient, but fairly close. Firefox would crash hard in the first day or two of such treatment, and that's with no extensions.

As for Preview.app, it's probably paying attention to erroneous DPI metadata in the image file, and rendering at some percentage of real size. I hate that. You can tell it not to respect DPI metadata in the Preferences (under the Images tab), and then it will display images at their actual pixel size.
posted by blasdelf at 2:39 PM on December 29, 2006


lodurr wrote: I don't know why people expect cross-platform apps to conform slavishly to the idiosyncratic local requirements of a specific OS.

But my computer is my slave! So it's perfectly appropriate for me to demand its slavish devotion. Give me with perfect, relentless consistency. Computer are supposed to be good at that.

Google Earth is another cross-platform app with plenty of rough edges. The UI widgets always feel a bit kludgey. It kind of feels like it's a Linux app skinned with a Mac OS X theme. Which is probably the case.


Skygazer wrote: sorry it isn't working out so well in OS X, but on Windows XP, Firefox is superb. The best browser hands down

The difference, I suspect, is that Mac software needs to be quite a bit more polished than similar apps running on Windows. We Mac users are a fussy bunch, spoiled by years of using pleasant software. We try not to be smug, but Lord know it's hard.
posted by ryanrs at 11:04 PM on December 29, 2006


... needs to be quite a bit more polished ...

That depends on what you call "polish." The Mac's UI conventions are highly idiosyncratic, that's for sure. When I most recently started using a Mac again, two years ago, I experienced it as a lack of polish -- by comparison with Windows 2000.
posted by lodurr at 5:47 AM on December 30, 2006


It took me a couple years to adjust. It's temporary.
posted by ryanrs at 3:51 PM on December 30, 2006


Like life?
posted by lodurr at 6:22 PM on December 30, 2006


I've never known anyone who died.
posted by ryanrs at 10:59 PM on December 30, 2006


I hadn't known anyone well who died until about a year ago. It probably makes a difference if you're over 40.
posted by lodurr at 7:36 AM on December 31, 2006


I love it when things I heard about six months ago turn up on Metafilter and aren't promptly deleted for being old. It makes me feel so ahead of the times!
posted by etoile at 8:37 PM on January 4, 2007


Oh, get with the program. Jadedness is so two weeks ago. As for myself, I shall maintain that the fault lies not within ourselves, but with the star.
posted by lodurr at 2:29 AM on January 5, 2007


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