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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Do we still need a "Desktop" with an OS?

Do we still need a "Desktop" with an OS?
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Dark Helmet
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:14 PM
 
Back in the NeXT days the desktop just held alias's making it more of a full screen launcher with a couple apps on it. Apple was going to do the same with OSX but because of public outcry they chained their minds.They also tried to kill the Apple menu but again there was all sorts of complaining.

Today the only thing I use the Apple menu for is to reach system preferences and to log out.

On 100% of Mac's I see the desktop is nothing but a glorified launch bar and junkyard of files. It seems the only thing it is used for is to quickly save files you don't know where else to put or are too lazy to file.

I for one would LOVE it if the desktop was dead for anything other than a pretty background. A new improved finder can do everything it can do (which isn't much) and actually make things easier to use and neater.

5 years ago I wouldn't have said the same as easily but I have just resented the Finder and desktop in OS9 and OSX. I see Mac users that have had a computer for 5 years and when I tell them to click on the "Desktop" or "Finder" they are like huh? I can't blame them as if they have an app running and click on the desktop it keeps the app windows where they are and only changes one tiny word on the top right to indicate you are now in the Finder. The next thing they do is minimize all the foreground windows so they can see the whole desktop. Yes there is expose and "hide others" but damn if I see the average person use it.

It is definitely the hardest part of the OS to use and understand and it needs to die.

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Gossamer
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:16 PM
 
It's a convenient place to keep in-progress or important files. But as you said for most people it because a giant dumping ground. I'd prefer it stay, though, as I like having important stuff easily available in that manner.
     
Chuckit
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gossamer View Post
It's a convenient place to keep in-progress or important files. But as you said for most people it because a giant dumping ground. I'd prefer it stay, though, as I like having important stuff easily available in that manner.
That's what the right side of the Dock is for.
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Dark Helmet  (op)
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gossamer View Post
It's a convenient place to keep in-progress or important files. But as you said for most people it because a giant dumping ground. I'd prefer it stay, though, as I like having important stuff easily available in that manner.
Can't you make one folder on the computer called "Drop box" or "To file" and get the same thing?
What is the disadvantage to that?

The Desktop metaphor is so dated and pointless on Mac and Windows. I mean how do you have a desktop with "wallpaper"? Why do I drag removable media to the trash to watch it turn into eject?

Even if you take todays finder with its sidebar and stretch it across the whole screen it serves the purpose of the desktop.

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Chuckit
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Can't you make one folder on the computer called "Drop box" or "To file" and get the same thing?
What is the disadvantage to that?
A "drop box" folder is not immediately available at the push of a button no matter what you're doing.

Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
The Desktop metaphor is so dated and pointless on Mac and Windows. I mean how do you have a desktop with "wallpaper"?
It's called a desktop picture on the Mac. Windows has wallpapers.

Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Why do I drag removable media to the trash to watch it turn into eject?
Getting rid of the desktop wouldn't change that.
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:37 PM
 
Why get rid of it ?

If you don't like it or need it, just don't use it.

-t
     
Dark Helmet  (op)
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
A "drop box" folder is not immediately available at the push of a button no matter what you're doing.
Again, picture a finder window taking up the whole screen with a sidebar with this amazing folder that saves you just have to put all your stuff in.

In regards to Wallpaper/desktop Windows, Mac. How does it makes sense to put a "Desktop picture" on something called the Finder?

Apple was also going to change the "Finder" to "Desktop" in the early OSX betas.

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Jan 23, 2007, 07:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Back in the NeXT days the desktop just held alias's making it more of a full screen launcher with a couple apps on it. Apple was going to do the same with OSX but because of public outcry they chained their minds.They also tried to kill the Apple menu but again there was all sorts of complaining.

Today the only thing I use the Apple menu for is to reach system preferences and to log out.

On 100% of Mac's I see the desktop is nothing but a glorified launch bar and junkyard of files. It seems the only thing it is used for is to quickly save files you don't know where else to put or are too lazy to file.

I for one would LOVE it if the desktop was dead for anything other than a pretty background. A new improved finder can do everything it can do (which isn't much) and actually make things easier to use and neater.

5 years ago I wouldn't have said the same as easily but I have just resented the Finder and desktop in OS9 and OSX. I see Mac users that have had a computer for 5 years and when I tell them to click on the "Desktop" or "Finder" they are like huh? I can't blame them as if they have an app running and click on the desktop it keeps the app windows where they are and only changes one tiny word on the top right to indicate you are now in the Finder. The next thing they do is minimize all the foreground windows so they can see the whole desktop. Yes there is expose and "hide others" but damn if I see the average person use it.

It is definitely the hardest part of the OS to use and understand and it needs to die.
I agree.
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Again, picture a finder window taking up the whole screen with a sidebar with this amazing folder that saves you just have to put all your stuff in.
It would be just like the desktop. Only ugly. That's progress?

Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
In regards to Wallpaper/desktop Windows, Mac. How does it makes sense to put a "Desktop picture" on something called the Finder?
You don't. You put it on your desktop, which is managed by the Finder application.
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:50 PM
 
I have to say I agree with SWG on this.

I liked the NeXT file management system much much better. Alas, I was nearly the only person using the NeXTs when the university had them.

The finder is dead! Long live the finder!
     
voodoo
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Jan 23, 2007, 07:53 PM
 
The Finder is so badly implemented in OS X that I hardly ever use it. The Apple menu is neutered. Everything is slow and freeze prone. Networking sucks. The Finder sucks. The Desktop is a folder.

It is the biggest, ugliest and most inconsitent mess ever made by Apple.

I think it should all be redone. Since I need a file browser, I wouldn't want it killed.

Oh and Skywalker: The OS 9 and OS 10 Finder are of no relation, except the name.

V
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:04 PM
 
But what goes in its place? What fills the screen for the finder? Full-screen finder windows like Windows Explorer (sometimes)?

It's fine to complain about what's there now, but what would be a better use of the space? What we have now only makes sense because of inertia, but inertia is better than nothing.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
It would be just like the desktop. Only ugly. That's progress?
You seriously think this is the solution I think is best for it?

No, it was an example to show that even a full screen finder window can do the job better than the "desktop" today.

I mean take a cluttered desktop like 95% of them all are. Now stick in a CD and go on a hunt though all the icons to find it somewhere in the mess. Better yet once that desktop if full new files actually get piled ON TOP of the top right icon which is the hard drive. What in the hell kind of rational and usability is that?

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Dark Helmet  (op)
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Oh and Skywalker: The OS 9 and OS 10 Finder are of no relation, except the name.

V
Doesn't matter, they are basically the exact same thing in terms of usability and purpose. They both stink royally.

Most of the people I know use the open dialog to open pretty much everything. The only thing we need the finder for is moving files and there is much better ways of doing that.

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Dark Helmet  (op)
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
You don't. You put it on your desktop, which is managed by the Finder application.
Say that to a typical Mac user (not the geeks here) and watch the look on their face.

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IceEnclosure
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:14 PM
 
you guys are retarded. finder stays!

voodoo, everything is "freeze prone"? "networking sucks"?
ice
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
. Apple was going to do the same with OSX but because of public outcry they chained their minds..
Did they learn that from the Vulcans?
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:19 PM
 
What's a finder?

*ducks*
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
you guys are retarded. finder stays!
I am not talking about the finder (Which in current form really sucks though) I am talking about THE DESKTOP!

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kmkkid
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:22 PM
 
Getting rid of the Desktop, only to have a finder window always open to a certain 'default folder' would be exactly the same as having the desktop. People would probably also add a background to that window, so now you have a cluttered 'desktop' essentially with two docks, dock.app, and the finder sidebar.


No thanks. Just fix the current finder.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:24 PM
 
I personally have no (huge) problems with the desktop and Finder, but then again, I'm not a very demanding guy.
     
Dark Helmet  (op)
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
Getting rid of the Desktop, only to have a finder window always open to a certain 'default folder' would be exactly the same as having the desktop. People would probably also add a background to that window, so now you have a cluttered 'desktop' essentially with two docks, dock.app, and the finder sidebar.


No thanks. Just fix the current finder.
You're pretty damn unimaginitive.

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Jan 23, 2007, 08:27 PM
 
Let me know when it looks like the stuff in Hackers.
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
You're pretty damn unimaginitive.
Ok. I'll just let Apple make up my mind instead.


     
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
I mean take a cluttered desktop like 95% of them all are. Now stick in a CD and go on a hunt though all the icons to find it somewhere in the mess.
Easy. View > Show View Options > Keep arranged by kind. CDs always show up at the top.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
Ok. I'll just let Apple make up my mind instead.


Trust me, since Apple hasn't even touched the much hated Finder in the recent 10.5 developers previews it means the whole thing is out the door by the next keynote. I'm sure of it.

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Dark Helmet  (op)
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gossamer View Post
Easy. View > Show View Options > Keep arranged by kind. CDs always show up at the top.
Totally. And if you can find 10 macs with it set like that let me know.

Then convince me your mom and sister found the view menu and the finder preferences on their own.

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Jan 23, 2007, 08:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Totally. And if you can find 10 macs with it set like that let me know.

Then convince me your mom and sister found the view menu and the finder preferences on their own.
Mine is set up like that.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 08:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Say that to a typical Mac user (not the geeks here) and watch the look on their face.
Get rid of the desktop and watch the look on their face.
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:22 PM
 
There is already talk of 10.5 losing the finderish desktop. This talk has been going on for about 2 years. This is nothing new.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:25 PM
 
Talk is just talk until something actually changes. I don't see the huge problem, but evidently several people here are really dissatisfied with the desktop.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:27 PM
 
The Finder is serious business.
     
kmkkid
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Trust me, since Apple hasn't even touched the much hated Finder in the recent 10.5 developers previews it means the whole thing is out the door by the next keynote. I'm sure of it.
No, really. I'll just swallow whatever Apple dishes out.!

I AM A MAC USER!!!

     
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:37 PM
 
We all read the Mac rumors sites too SWG.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:44 PM
 
I use my computer desktop like a... um... desktop. I put things on it that need immediate attention or that I don't want to forget about. I also place working files on there if I'm not sure where to put them.

If you don't like placing items on the desktop, make it read only.
     
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
Doesn't matter, they are basically the exact same thing in terms of usability and purpose.
Far from it. I could use the OS 9 Finder while the OS 10 Finder is a joke. Utterly unusable. It's like it was intentionally sabotaged so it would suck.

The OS 9 Finder did what it was supposed to do and did it well.

Note that the Finder is not the OS. There's a difference.

V
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:46 PM
 
I use MenuShade and have my desktop all black, so I'm a bit of a minimalist, but I like the desktop. I have my main volume, Downloaded Files, To File (name Drop Box sometimes), SpotlightFS (new addition!!!). I wouldn't want it any other way.

If someone has a cluttered desktop, well, it's just as if they had a real desktop that was messy. It's up to them (unless the boss says otherwise). I wouldn't want Apple to force it upon us to not have such messes on the desk(top).

The finder, however, I find unnecessary. I only ever use "Go to folder..." or "Connect to server..." which I imagine could be worked in somewhere else. Spotlight of course is great, and I guess one kind of needs the Apple menu. The rest of it could go, I'd never miss it.

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Jan 23, 2007, 09:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
you guys are retarded. finder stays!

voodoo, everything is "freeze prone"? "networking sucks"?
yeah, I've had the entire Finder freeze to kingdom come because of some simple networking timeout. Had to force restart the damn thing.

V
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Jan 23, 2007, 09:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
No, really. I'll just swallow whatever Apple dishes out.!

I AM A MAC USER!!!

Easy on the sarcasm!

V
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Jan 24, 2007, 12:41 AM
 
I would like the option to turn off the desktop as a place to put stuff. Why? So I don't put stuff there. Why do I put stuff there? 'Cause I'm too lazy to sort it. In a way, the desktop is "enabling" my laziness.

Keep the desktop picture, of course.

To answer the question: no, we don't need a "desktop" in an OS.

The "desktop" was a strange metaphor. I mean, who puts their trash can on top of their desk?
     
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Jan 24, 2007, 12:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I would like the option to turn off the desktop as a place to put stuff.
Easy! Do a Get Info on your Desktop folder and lock it.
     
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Jan 24, 2007, 01:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
yeah, I've had the entire Finder freeze to kingdom come because of some simple networking timeout. Had to force restart the damn thing.

V
That's a single issue, and while I'll admit it's a horribly infuriating one, it doesn't warrant making generalizations about the entire network system and stability. If you wait long enough, it will eventually tell you it can't find the server and let you click 'disconnect.' Sometimes it takes several minutes, which is really irritating when I know exactly what's wrong with it. I think you're being a bit of a drama queen when you say "the OS 10 Finder is a joke. Utterly unusable. It's like it was intentionally sabotaged so it would suck." I find that it works quite well, and I'm able to be very productive. It's easy to navigate, I can find my files wonderfully, and I typically use Quicksilver to launch apps. The combination of all of that makes for a good user experience for me.
     
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Jan 24, 2007, 04:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dark Helmet View Post
I for one would LOVE it if the desktop was dead for anything other than a pretty background. A new improved finder can do everything it can do (which isn't much) and actually make things easier to use and neater.
Yes, let's take basic functionality out of the Finder! Why in the world would you "LOVE" to take away a feature that many Mac users use? That's seems rather self-centered.

I realize that sadly, Apple has been moving farther away from the old desktop metaphor at least since the beginning of Mac OS X. The thing is, NeXT wasn't exactly the pinnacle of UI design.

Sure things can be neater if they're all put into folders using columns view, or arranged with icons all equally spaced and in place according to their names or other properties. But neat ≠ human friendly. The ability to put icons where ever you randomly want to, as far or as near from another as you want to, and see and use them without having to open a Finder window is good design, because it is more like the human mind works than directories and subdirectories of lists. "The red icon to the left with the pencil" is more memorable than "File1.txt" under "Letter" under "Personal".

Anyway, I have a Downloads folder on my desktop for... you guessed it... downloads, as well as my drive and network icons and any file I'm working on but haven't finished yet. So, the desktop certainly is useful to me. If you don't like it, uncheck all items in "Show these items on the Desktop:" and don't put any files on the desktop. Then you'll have your pretty picture and those of us that want to can still use the desktop as it was originally meant to be.
( Last edited by Gamoe; Jan 24, 2007 at 04:08 AM. )
     
goMac
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Jan 24, 2007, 04:05 AM
 
Whatever happened to the option to actually disable the desktop? Early builds of OS X actually had this option on by default. The user had to opt in to having a desktop.
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Jan 24, 2007, 04:14 AM
 
I find finder ok, but it could do with more flexibility to display options, etc. (i like to play around with these)

also, it freezes whenever an AFP connection drops
     
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Jan 24, 2007, 04:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by kick52 View Post
also, it freezes whenever an AFP connection drops
That was actually fixed recently.
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Jan 24, 2007, 05:15 AM
 
     
kick52
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Jan 24, 2007, 05:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
That was actually fixed recently.
yeah, i noticed it hasnt happened yet.. but what update was that? i was still runing .8 then. security update?

also, it would be cool if finder could auto-mount network volumes and such when they become available.
( Last edited by kick52; Jan 24, 2007 at 05:41 AM. )
     
red rocket
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Jan 24, 2007, 05:46 AM
 
I use the  menu for one thing only, switching network locations.

The Desktop gets used as a shelf, but I have it hidden via DeskShade. Unfortunately, the items still show up in Exposé, so I tend to keep it clean, anyway.

I rarely use the Open/Save dialogues, so Finder gets a lot of action.

But I still don't know what they mean by this:



The Finder lets me experience the Desktop?
The Desktop gives me a Finder experience?

WTF?
     
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Jan 24, 2007, 06:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by goMac View Post
That was actually fixed recently.
My MacBook is all up to date with patches and I got hit with it last night.

Don't think it has been.
     
 
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