What should Apple do about the Mac OS X Finder?

“To some, Apple has had five chances to build a proper Mac OS X Finder and has failed each and every time. The Classic Mac Finder was a magnificent achievement in software engineering and the Mac OS X version was a pathetic imitation. Their logic has it that Apple should have just ported it over to its “world class” operating system without any alteration whatever. That would have been a great accomplishment and they should not have tampered with success,” Gene Steinberg writes for MacNightOwl.

“I will not, for the sake of this commentary, get involved in any speculation about the alleged desire on the part of the Mac OS X programming team, headed in large part by former NeXT people, to ditch as many traditional Mac elements as they could. That sort of speculation isn’t going to change the situation one whit. Instead, let’s look at the existing Finder, and see if there’s room for improvement,” Steinberg writes. “Some of the folks delivering their own wish lists for Leopard suggest that the Finder is way overdue for a major overhaul. It’s time for Apple to sacrifice some of the needless eye candy visual effects and do something practical that will provide a true 21st century file viewing mechanism.”

Full article here.

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58 Comments

  1. I for one found pre OS X itterations of Mac OS to be good for nothing more than a punch line.

    If Apple can honor the ease of use mentality of the OS then they have achieved their goal, in my mind.

    All Finder needs IMHO is even better Spotlight integration…which I read here last week, is coming in Leopard.

    MDN word: similar

  2. As someone who left the mac when when I moved to a school that didn’t use them, and didn’t come back until OS X. Can someone tell me what was so amazing about the classic finder? What did it do that we still can’t do with the os X finder?

  3. I must admit, I have no problems with the current finder whatsoever… However, I never used a Mac pre-OS X, so I don’t know what the old finder was like. Either way, the current finder beats anything I was using in Windows before I made the switch.

  4. I agree, I like the current finder better than the pre-OS X finder. That said, I would like to see the current Finder improved with some of the author’s suggestions. One thing I really want to see is, in column view, the columns automatically resize to fit the file names. That is really annoying.

    Honestly, I don’t use Spotlight that much. If I absolutely cannot remember where I put something and/or named something I’ll use it in a pinch, but normally I don’t think it’s more useful than the Finder.

  5. The only thing I wish for the current finder is BETTER PERFORMANCE. It’s a dog and scrolling through a long list of files on all three of my machines (Rev A. iMac G5 1.8GHz 1GB RAM 20″; Rev B. iMac G5 17″ 2.0GHz 512MB RAM; PowerBook G4 12″ 1.5GHz 1.25GB RAM).

    But I love my Macs just the same. Just please fix this one thing. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Please spare the flames, but I have long thought that the Win95/98 Windows Explorer was the best GUI file browser I’ve ever used. It was one of the few good things about Windows, and they screwed it up in later versions.

    What was so good about it?
    1) the two windows approach, so I could have a detailed listing ofthe directory in one window while the other window had the directory hierarchy.
    2) it was vertically oriented in browsning the directory hierachy. “List” view in Finder is harder to use, and “Column” view is a pain because it is horizonatally oriented – it speads acroos the screen, and long names require frequent resizing of columns. Just awkward. I never use “Icon” view.

    Now if Apple would make Finder more like early Windows Explorer, and would make windows easier to resize (the limitation of the handle on the lower right corner is also a pain), they would have stolen all the good ideas worth stealing from Windows. (Ooops! Make that “copy”, not “steal”!)

  7. The only thing that I find annoying about the current Finder is that it “cannot” find anything unless there is a Spotlight database. If you disable Spotlight by excluding a volume, and you go to search, it cannot resort to merely scanning the volume to locate files by the selected parameters, even if it is slower..

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