Re: Some thoughts on hiding the file system, (and an OS X anecdote)

On Mon, 2004-12-13 at 07:07 -0500, Carl Worth wrote:
> On Sun, 12 Dec 2004 12:01:21 -0500, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> > > The Unix file system isn't a design implementation that shouldn't be
> > > exposed, its an inherent and deeply ingrained design choice that cannot
> > > entirely be eliminated from the UI without a massive amount of pain.
> > > Even MacOS exposes some of the nature of the file system. 
> > 
> > But OS X also does exactly what I am advocating ;-)
> And I think the hiding in OS X already causes confusion, and as such is
> not an ideal model for emulation.
> Here's an actual experience that occurred last night. My wife
> (non-"technical" user of OS X), was burning a CD of photos for my
> sister. I had some of the photos she wanted on my (Linux) laptop so I
> (being the nefarious shell-user of this thread) did the following:
> 	rsync -avz photos herlaptop:/tmp
> And I said, you can find the photos in "slash T M P".

In all honesty, I'd say the problem has far less to do with OS X's UI
and more to do with your lack of experience with OS X.  ;-)  Just
because /tmp exists doesn't mean that it's something normal users should
be browsing around using.  In fact, it shouldn't.

While OS X may be based on UNIX, the experience it provides is _not_
UNIX.  It isn't intended to.  I wouldn't want it to.  The native file
system is _not_ designed around UNIX, it's designed around NeXT.  The UI
is not designed around UNIX, it's designed around NeXT.  The fact that
UNIX runs the system *is* an implementation detail - the same user
experience could be delivered without UNIX, and OS X is designed around
the user experience.  UNIX is used simply because it was an existing,
stable OS on which to build the rest of OS X.

By your using rsync to copy files to /tmp, *you* broke the rules of OS
X.  It would be no different than me copying a file on a Linux box to
"c:\Program Files\Stuff" and telling you that the file is in the Program
Files backslash Stuff folder on your C drive.  Until an experienced user
came along and recognized that there *is* no C drive, and the file was
in fact in the sending user's home folder with the name "c:\Program
Files\Stuff", there would be a lot of confusion.

Use the appropriate mechanisms that OS X provides for file sharing
instead of the UNIX mechanisms of file sharing, and the problems you
describe won't happen.
Sean Middleditch <elanthis awesomeplay com>
AwesomePlay Productions, Inc.

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