17 November 2007

Whatever cat the latest version is

Today I finished my upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard.” So far I haven't encountered any features I can't live without (I don't have Time Machine set up; I use an svn repository for my personal documents). Indeed, I've already found a few things that seemed more limiting than previous versions, especially in Spotlight-based “smart folders.” You can no longer choose what columns in list view are available inside a smart folder: you can only see the name, kind, and last opened date. Unless I'm missing something, this means that you can't sort a smart folder or search option by modification date. Additionally, you can no longer choose which folder or volume to search via a new query. It's a kind of hit-or-miss thing where you must click on the folder you want to search, and then use the search item in the toolbar.

Another thing is that it doesn't seem as stable. I spent half an hour trying to track down a Finder crash related to modifying permissions. It turns out that it's a problem related to ACLs (access control lists) and the more full integration with the new system. Finder apparently balked at using folders with standard UNIX permissions. Changing a parent directory's permissions and telling it to apply recursively solved the problem to an extent; apparently you can also use chmod to change ACLs without having to mess with the Finder.

The translucent menubar doesn't bother me; my backgrounds are usually pretty uniform and dark along the top edge. I have also changed the dock to the less visual distracting uniform grey via this hint.

It's not all bad though. Spotlight is significantly quicker; the quick preview thing is pretty handy, and it's nice to finally have a unified appearance.


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