Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Review: Mac Os X steps ahead of Windows

Filed under
Mac
Reviews

Tired of waiting while your PC slowly scours its hard drive for a document you stashed somewhere six months ago? Sick of having to change how you work to conform with the computer's rigid way of organizing files? Bored with the flat look of the desktop's graphics?

Microsoft's next-generation operating system for Windows, code-named Longhorn, is supposed to address such digital woes. It may even be released in time for Christmas 2006.

But if you've got a Macintosh computer, or plan to buy one, those issues have been tackled. They're amply addressed in the latest update of Mac OS X, dubbed "Tiger," goes on sale Friday.

Despite a much smaller user base, Mac OS X has been steps ahead of Windows on key fronts since its first release in 2001. It's got more advanced and polished graphics. It's less prone to malicious attacks. And Macs look better than nearly all Windows PCs.

Until recently, Apple has been dogged by a reputation for high prices. Its computers now start at $499, and the number of programs that run on them has grown dramatically. Tiger provides another excellent incentive to switch from Windows.

I've been trying out Tiger on a borrowed an iMac G5 and my own dual-processor Power Mac G4. New Mac users will get it with their systems; existing customers must pay $129 for the upgrade. (The update was simple, taking about an hour.)

Topping the list of 200 or so improvements in Tiger is a built-in search tool that goes a long way toward relieving one of the biggest headaches that's plagued computers.

That is, as hard drive capacity grows and our digital universe broadens to include text, music, video, e-mail, pictures and everything else, information gets lost in the shuffle of folders scattered across gigabytes of hard drive real estate.

Operating systems have been designed to pigeonhole that data into a hierarchy of folders. But what if a document, song or picture fits into five or six different categories, each with its own folder? If you choose one, how will you remember it a year from now?

Tiger addresses both problems with a search technology, called Spotlight, that also enables a new way of organization, called Smart Folders.

Accessed by clicking small magnifying glass icon, search results fill in as you type keywords. Spotlight doesn't just search filenames. It also looks inside files - into a document's text, a picture's caption or tags linked to a music file, for instance.

Spotlight's speed, even on my older Power Mac, is impressive. Results were on target, too.

Like the desktop search tools available on Windows PCs from Yahoo, Google and MSN, Spotlight relies on an index that's created when it's first installed. Instead of having to scour an entire drive in search of something, it just looks it up in the database.

Indexing with Windows add-ons is a more computer-intensive process. Most are smart enough to do their work only when you're not working on something, but that means new information isn't always available. I have also found their range of files to be limited.

After the initial index is built in Tiger, changes are made to it whenever a file is changed - whether it's saved, deleted, moved or modified in another way. I noticed no performance hit and, despite my repeated attempts to trick it, Spotlight never missed a file change.

I actually found myself using Spotlight to launch programs.

And there's more. Searches can be saved and the results turned into folders that run a query each time they're opened, fine-tuned to display only certain types of files. Time variables can also be set.

There is room for some improvement, however.
Spotlight only searches for files on the local computer, not networked hard drives or remote shared folders. Network file searching is something that's expected in Longhorn, and Apple hasn't ruled it out as a future feature.

Tiger - like previous versions of Mac OS X - also sets the bar high in the graphics display area.

In its "Dashboard," small programs called "Widgets" overlay the screen at the punch of a button. They such display information as the weather, stock prices, flight information and calendar info. More can be added, and they pop open with a rippling flourish.

But Tiger is about a lot more than look and feel. It's also about looking at more people than ever on your video screen live.

With Apple's iSight camera ($149) and Tiger's new built-in iChat AV program, you can set up and participate in video conferences with 10 people. It's visually stunning, with each person showing up in a panel, their animated faces reflecting against a black background.

Of course, it's impossible to judge how Tiger will compare with the next-generation of Windows since Longhorn isn't available.
As more details come out, additional complaints of Microsoft copying Mac OS X will surely be heard.

Both Apple and Microsoft are trying to address the same problems: sifting more quickly through more and more data. The onus is now on Bill Gates & Co. to see if it can one-up Steve Jobs' shop.

MATTHEW FORDAHL
Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Audiocasts/Shows: Linux in the Ham Shack and Linux Headlines

  • LHS Episode #302: The End of Kenwood

    Welcome to Episode 302 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short topic episode, the hosts discuss the potential end of Kenwood in the amateur radio market, emcom in Montucky, Storm Area 51, HF on satellites, a huge update for PulseAudio, the Linux 5.3 kernel and much more. Thank you for listening and have a fantastic week.

  • 09/19/2019 | Linux Headlines

    Fresh init system controversy at the Debian project, a more scalable Samba, and a big release for LLVM. Plus GitHub's latest security steps and a new version of OBS Studio.

Android Leftovers

When Diverse Network ASICs Meet A Unifying Operating System

And it has also been a decade since switch upstart Arista Networks launched its Extensible Operating System, or EOS, which is derived from Linux. [...] The cross-platform nature of ArcOS, coupled with its ability to run in any function on the network, could turn out to be the key differentiator. A lot of these other NOSes were point solutions that could only be deployed in certain parts of the network, and that just creates animosity with the incumbent vendors that dominate the rest of the networking stack. Given the mission-critical nature of networking in the modern datacenter, it costs a great deal to qualify a new network operating system, and it can take a lot of time. If ArcOS can run across more platforms, qualify faster, and do more jobs in the network, then, says Garg, it has a good chance of shaking up switching and routing. “That totally changes the business conversation and the TCO advantages that we can bring to a customer across the entirety of their network.” Read more

Server: Kubernetes/OpenShift, OpenStack, and Red Hat's Ansible

  • 9 steps to awesome with Kubernetes/OpenShift presented by Burr Sutter

    Burr Sutter gave a terrific talk in India in July, where he laid out the terms, systems and processes needed to setup Kubernetes for developers. This is an introductory presentation, which may be useful for your larger community of Kubernetes users once you’ve already setup User Provisioned Infrastructure (UPI) in Red Hat OpenShift for them, though it does go into the deeper details of actually running the a cluster. To follow along, Burr created an accompanying GitHub repository, so you too can learn how to setup an awesome Kubernetes cluster in just 9 steps.

  • Weaveworks Named a Top Kubernetes Contributor

    But anyone who knows the history of Weaveworks might not be too surprised by this. Weaveworks has been a major champion of Kubernetes since the very beginning. It might not be too much of a coincidence that Weaveworks was incorporated only a few weeks after Kubernetes was open sourced, five years ago. In addition to this, the very first elected chair of the CNCF’s Technical Oversight Committee, responsible for technical leadership to the Cloud Native Foundation was also headed up by our CEO, Alexis Richardson(@monadic) (soon to be replaced by the awesome Liz Rice (@lizrice) of Aqua Security).

  • Improving trust in the cloud with OpenStack and AMD SEV

    This post contains an exciting announcement, but first I need to provide some context! Ever heard that joke “the cloud is just someone else’s computer”? Of course it’s a gross over-simplification, but there’s more than a grain of truth in it. And that raises the question: if your applications are running in someone else’s data-centre, how can you trust that they’re not being snooped upon, or worse, invasively tampered with?

  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 15 Enhances Infrastructure Security and Cloud-Native Integration Across the Open Hybrid Cloud

    Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 15, the latest version of its highly scalable and agile cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. Based on the OpenStack community’s "Stein" release, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 15 adds performance and cloud security enhancements and expands the platform’s ecosystem of supported hardware, helping IT organizations to more quickly and more securely support demanding production workloads. Given the role of Linux as the foundation for hybrid cloud, customers can also benefit from a more secure, flexible and intelligent Linux operating system underpinning their private cloud deployments with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

  • Red Hat Ansible Automation Accelerates Past Major Adoption Milestone, Now Manages More Than Four Million Customer Systems Worldwide

    Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that more than four million customer systems worldwide are now automated by Red Hat Ansible Automation. Customers, including Energy Market Company, Microsoft, Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Surescripts all use Red Hat Ansible Automation to automate and orchestrate their IT operations, helping to expand automation across IT stacks. According to a blog post by Chris Gardner with Forrester Research, who was the author of The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation Platforms, Q3 2019, "Infrastructure automation isn’t just on-premises or the cloud. It’s at the edge and everywhere in between."1 Since its launch in 2013, Red Hat Ansible Automation has provided a single tool to help organizations automate across IT operations and development, including infrastructure, networks, cloud, security and beyond.