Re: A modest VFS proposal (was: Re: Win vs. UNIX usability )

On 29 Sep 1998 wrote:

> Another point I'd like to bring up is that I have a mac at work.
> There are little things the mac does right that no other OS seems
> to do right (as well as things it does wrong - like cooperative
> multitasking - that noone else does wrong); a lot of this
> seems to have much to do with the structure of applications on
> the OS. While it's as much (or more) of a bug than a feature,
> mac applications seem to be much more monolithic than PC/Windows
> or Linux applications, in that they seem to reside in a much
> smaller number of files, and/or _not_ use shared libraries to
> any great degree. While this may not be _better_, it looks
> _tidier_, and is probably easier for a rank beginner to keep
> track of. I've also never seen anything as good as the extension
> manager setup; files become available for activation as extensions
> simply by being in the right directory.
> Again, I don't know if it's better, but it's simpler.
> For the purposes of unix, this probably can't be duplicated,

Fortunately untrue. In fact, it *was* duplicated on NEXTSTEP (which was
Unix-based). The way it works is clever. Instead of making one big
monolithic file, it actually had one big monolithic directory, called an
app-wrapper or bundle, which contained *all* of the files that an
application needed. The clever part is that it made the directory look
like an atomic entity -- an application object. So if you had an
application called Foobar, it would be packaged like this:            # This is a directory     # The executable # The icon

But all the user would ever see was, which was displayed with
the icon it contained, and when double-clicked would run the executable it

It also had something similar to the extension manager thing, where files
were available as extensions by being in the right place, but this applied
universally to all sorts of plugins. For example, plugins for Foobar would
be detected in /NextLibrary/Foobar/, /LocalLibrary/Foobar/, or
~/Library/Foobar/, and were also packaged in bundles.

David Jeske and I have been discussing how to take this idea and
incorporate it into GNOME. A proposal should materialize in the next few


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