The Register’s Tony Smith looks at Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ in depth

In his first article looking at Apple’s new Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in depth, The Register’s Tony Smith looks at Spotlight and Dashboard. Of the latter, Smith finds little use, but Smith writes of Spotlight, “Spotlight is a work of genius… With its own database, it only has to look in one place to generate the results list. It’s also tied into 10.4’s kernel-level file handling code, so whenever files are read or written, Spotlight’s database is updated. Modify a file, save it, and it appears straight away in Spotlight’s listing. Spotlight is not only quick, but it works, and works well.”

Smith writes, “I like the way images can be presented as a slideshow, though the Exposé-style thumbnail code proved a little slow on my 867MHz PowerBook G4. I originally decided I wanted this feature to be directly available at the folder level, in Finder, as it is in Windows. But then I started using Spotlight’s own folder view – selected with Command-Shift-Space, or by selecting Show All from the Spotlight menu’s search results list – more and realised that Finder is now almost redundant… [Spotlight’s] the future. Once all your information is accessible quickly, you won’t need a file manager, you just get your data whenever you want it, wherever it is.”

“If you quit Finder – you can add a Quit option by tinkering with the app’s preferences file or, more easily, by using Marcel Bresink’s useful TinkerTool utility – it stays that way. Previously, Mac OS X would automatically restart Finder. If that’s not Apple’s way of saying you no longer need Finder, I don’t know what is,” Smith writes.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Undocumented Boolean NOT, OR, AND syntaxes for Mac OS X Tiger’s Spotlight search – May 27, 2005
Manually organize dinosaur Windows PCs while Mac users already have the future with Spotlight – May 18, 2005
Microsoft employees claim Apple lifted ‘Spotlight’ idea straight out of early builds of Longhorn – May 16, 2005
CBS News: how envious Windows users can attempt to poorly simulate Mac OS X Tiger’s Spotlight – May 04, 2005 debuts new Dashboard Widgets, Automator Actions, and Spotlight Plugins download sections – April 29, 2005
Thurrott: Apple copying Microsoft’s Longhorn search features with Mac OS X ‘Spotlight’ – December 15, 2004
Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ to contain powerful ‘Spotlight’ search technology – November 11, 2004
Apple Exec: Mac OS X Tiger’s ‘Spotlight’ system-wide search tech inspired by iTunes – July 02, 2004

The Register’s Andrew Orlowski reviews Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger – May 27, 2005
TrustedReviews: After using Mac OS X Tiger ‘going back to Windows XP is something of a joke at best’ – May 18, 2005
Manually organize dinosaur Windows PCs while Mac users already have the future with Spotlight – May 18, 2005
The Butler Group: ‘Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger the best desktop operating system in the world to date’ – May 13, 2005
BBC News: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘the most stable and reliable OS, well ahead of Windows XP’ – May 10, 2005
Windows users show strong curiosity about Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger – May 09, 2005
Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’ – May 07, 2005
EarthWeb: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger is a ‘serious enterprise operating system, a pivotal release’ – May 06, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘Tiger bolsters Mac OS X’s edge as the best personal-computer operating system’ – May 06, 2005
The Guardian: Mac OS X Tiger a powerful solution while Microsoft’s Longhorn remains on drawing board – May 06, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times: Mac OS X Tiger shows ‘there’s never been a more compelling time to switch to Mac’ – May 05, 2005
Dan Gillmor: ‘With Mac OS X Tiger, Apple is plainly in the lead today’ – May 05, 2005
Jupiter Research VP: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘runs rings around Microsoft Windows’ – May 04, 2005
The Independent: Apple’s ‘faster, smarter, simpler’ Mac OS X Tiger ‘a must-have’ – May 04, 2005
Mac OS X Tiger review for a Windows PC audience finds Tiger’s ‘far, far better than Windows XP’ – May 03, 2005
Longhorn mentioned in nearly every Apple Mac OS X Tiger review to assuage Windows masses – May 02, 2005
Boston Herald: Mac OS X Tiger should compel Windows PC users to think about switching to Apple Mac – May 02, 2005
Mac OS X Tiger will likely improve performance of your Macintosh – April 30, 2005
PC World review gives Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger 4.5 stars out of 5 – April 30, 2005
Forrester analysts: Apple should advertise Mac OS X Tiger on television and in movie theaters – April 29, 2005
Ars Technica: Mac OS X Tiger ‘at least twice as significant as any single past update’ – April 28, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘Tiger bolsters Mac OS X’s edge as the best personal-computer operating system around’ – April 28, 2005
Associated Press: Mac OS X Tiger ‘provides another excellent incentive to switch from Windows’ – April 28, 2005
Mossberg: Apple’s Tiger ‘the best, most advanced personal computer operating system on the market’ – April 28, 2005
InformationWeek columnist: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘a compelling upgrade’ – April 28, 2005
NY Times: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger is the most secure, stable and satisfying OS on earth – April 28, 2005
Windows is weak, Longhorn will be cosmetic upgrade; Apple can deliver killer blow to Microsoft – April 27, 2005
Thurrott: ‘Longhorn is in complete disarray and in danger of collapsing under its own weight’ – April 27, 2005
Wired News: Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger ‘full of welcome surprises’ – April 27, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn ‘has the makings of a train wreck’ – April 26, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn demos ‘unimpressive, fall short of graphical excellence found today in Mac OS X’ – April 26, 2005
Apple posts QuickTime movies of Mac OS X Tiger features in action – April 13, 2005


  1. spotlight is good, but im keeping the finder for quite sometime.

    now when are smart folders going to display in the finder like a normal folder? that would make my year.

  2. Wait…this guy says that Spotlight only indexes files when they are created or modified. That can’t be right…can it? That would be the silliest system ever. It indexes files even if they haven’t been opened, I’m pretty sure.

  3. This analysis is much better than the one by Andrew Orlowski (also of the Register), whose one mission seems to be “Above all, free music and software”

  4. An amazing OS – there is no doubt, and Spotlight is great.
    I can’t believe he finds little use for Dashboard – it is as useful as useful could be.

  5. Haribo wrote: ” Spotlight only indexes files when they are created or modified. That can’t be right…can it? That would be the silliest system ever. It indexes files even if they haven’t been opened, I’m pretty sure.”

    Doh! A file only has two states: created and modified. They still have to be created even if they are unopened.

  6. Spotlight starts by indexing everything. After that it re-indexes whenever a new file is created or one is modified so everything is always in there and it is always up to date. This is decidedly better than the google Desktop search tool which is the only similar thing that windozers have at this point.

  7. This may cause problems come backup time when users can’t remember where they saved every single thing that will need to be backed up. Question? Can automator do backups like VERITAS.

  8. So the reviewer was wrong about users needing to open previously-created files in order for Spotlight index them, right?
    Of course, he has to be wrong, but that is a pretty big error in a review focused on Spotlight!

  9. Henry,

    You’re not quite right. A file can be created, modified, or untouched. If I have files on my drive, then upgrade to Tiger, the reviewer is suggesting that Spotlight won’t index them unless I open each file. That’s just gotta be wrong.

  10. O get over the indexing thing. When you upgrade, it index your files, after that the indexing no longer, because the database is updated dynamically. He didn’t exclude first-launch indexing he just didn’t include it. Blah either way it’s nothing to get all offended over. .lol common people.

  11. Not to harp on the point, but there is a pretty big difference to the end user if Spotlight automatically indexes pre-existing files vs. a scheme where users have to open a pre-existing file in order to index it. For somebody unfamiliar with the Mac platform, that sort of misunderstanding could be important.

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