Top X List of Mac OS X Annoyances

12 Feb 2006

As far as desktop operating systems go, they all suck, and Mac OS X sucks the least. Although I use Linux as my primary desktop OS, that's because it has been the best choice for me - a software developer (primarily interested in server-side technologies) who wants a decent desktop.

Lately, I find myself considering an exclusive use of Mac OS X on the desktop. Now, I don't consider myself a power user. (That's a term for people who are proud of their desktop OS expertise. They can fix your printer.) I really only use four desktop apps with any frequency:

Of these, about 80% of my day is spent in a terminal. In other words, I think my needs are pretty basic, so it should be pretty easy for me to switch to a different OS, right? Well, I hope so, but there are still some things about Mac OS X that annoy me, and I've taken the time to come up with my Top X List of Mac OS X Annoyances:

  1. Separating Menu Bar from Window Is Stupid.

    Usability studies supposedly disagree, but I don't care - having the menu bar miles away from your focus is stupid. This should be common sense. It's annoying enough on a 12" screen. I'm sure it will seem much worse on a 23" screen. (Usability studies can be wrong by focusing on general ideas out of context. Location consistency is usually good.)

  2. Apps Don't Really Close When You Close Them.

    When I close the last window of something, why is it still running? I know the command-Q shortcut, but that's a dangerous habit. Using the shortcut instead of clicking close just means that I'm more likely to accidentally close another window of the same app, not realizing that I still have it open. Computers are supposed to keep up with this stuff for us. That's their job.

    (My Linux desktop has more than a hundred processes running, and they don't screw up my desktop experience, so you'll have a hard time convincing me that this is a feature.)

  3. Maximizing Is Broken.

    How hard can this be? Seriously. If you want to be different, that's cool, but not when it means being broken. When I maximize something, it should take up the whole screen. Get it? Leaving little gaps everywhere just means that I'll bring another app to the foreground when I accidentally click on it.

  4. Alt-Tab to a Minimized App, and It Stays Minimized.

    (Yes, I know it's really command-tab, but who says that?) There are lots of reasons why alt-tab on the Mac sucks, and this is one of them. Combine this with the fact that apps don't really close when you close them, and the result is alt-tab pollution. You switch apps, but nothing happens. Is the app closed? Is it minimized? It is just the damn Finder again?

  5. Too Many Option Keys.

    Function, control, alt, option, and command (which used to be called open apple and is sometimes referred to by its symbol). Which one do I use to right-click again? Which one makes the delete button delete? Surely we can get rid of one or two of these.

  6. No Dedicated Page Up, Page Down, Home, or End Keys.

    I didn't realize how much I used these until they were gone. Can't we get rid of some of those option keys to make room? Even if we can't, do we really need two command keys? And how about that extra enter key? Get rid of those, and at least give us home and end.

  7. Only One Desktop.

    Only one 12" desktop. Yes, Expose is cool, but it's no substitute. What's wrong with having both? Microsoft is finally adding tabs to IE - surely we can have a few desktops.

  8. The Clock Sucks.

    It really sucks. Sun 10:00 AM. I want to know the date - I know it's Sunday, for crying out loud. Maybe I can change the format. Let's go look. Nope, but I can add seconds or flashing separators. Who needs the date when you can make those colons flash?

    (My Linux clock not only shows me some useful information, but I can also get a quick glimpse of the calendar by clicking it. Sorry Mac, but the Linux clock kicks your clock's ass.)

  9. iPhoto Sucks.

    I know pictures are big, and I know it's tough to manage thousands of them, but damn, figure it out already.

  10. Safari Sucks.

    Safari was released three years ago. I still can't tab to a select list. But, to be fair, that's probably really hard to do. (Update: See Adam's comment below.)

I hope you enjoyed my list and had a few laughs. Feel free to point out ways to get around these annoyances, and of course, let me know if any are just a result of my own ignorance. :-)

Have a great week!