January 19, 2007 --
Until the 1980s, windowing wasn't even a part of commercial
operating systems and didn't become prominent until
Though the Mac OS windowing model has evolved considerably since the OS 7
model on my first Performa, it has never really felt comfortable
with multiple applications.
Today on OS X I seem to work hard to switch
between windows the way I am used to doing effortlessly in Microsoft
The nominal benefit of having the windows of an application be so naturally
independent of each other often makes me hide/reveal windows twice at a
time, once for the application and once for the OS.
Apple may have taken a "if you can't fix it, feature it"
attitude to the problem when they developed and promoted
The problem is exacerbated by the "low" resolution (1024x768) of my
Apple's Exposé screen shots portray a wide monitor,
probably with more than 768 vertical pixels.
With the same 10x7 resolution on the Latitude I do not have similar
problems positioning, sizing and switching between windows.
Nor do I have similar problems in X Windows on Linux or Unix.
Does anyone else agree?
However, just as OS X seems to suffer from windowing decisions made two
decades ago, X Windows seems obsolete in light of 20 years of
To oversimplify, OS X suffers from inflexibility while X Windows
suffers from too much flexibility.
An obvious aspect is the separation of the window manager from the
windowing infrastructure, leading to long history of contending
window managers. Today's competitors include
X has a long history of
but seems firmly entrenched in all of the Unix-derivative platforms besides
Also, Microsoft gradually abandoning keyboard methods for managing
windows has aggravated me. Apparently, Vista makes this worse:
Remember CUA Compliance? Microsoft Doesn't.