An interesting UI design article

I found the following article in OS News which I consider it interesting from UI design perspective.
I had used Snow Leopard back in the day and I very much agree with writer’s conclusions.

Sharing with the community:
A retrospective look at Mac OS X Snow Leopard:


Too bad the comments are disabled.

The follow-up article says at the end that the author is taking feedback via email or Twitter:

Me too. I found Snow Leopard to be the best OSX Version I used, UI wise. And I was using Windows 7 at work at the same time. Definitely a good period for software UI design.


I also agree, Snow Leopard was fire. I see the point behind the Big Sur redesign, but it’ll at least take two more releases to polish it.

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I used SL long and i liked it. It was nice, clear, and usable.
I left the ecosystem after they renamed it to MacOS. Idk what version was that, i dont care.
But articles like this triggers the “pragmatic-me”. Everything was better back then? Good. Have you went and made a street-block to enforce the usability as they changed things? No.
Have you called the customer support to complain? No.
Have you switched to something else? No.
But the author now makes an advertisement for mac nevertheless. Keep in mind, bad ad is still an ad.
One should just send back the install media with a small notes: “No.”
Anything else is just advertisement.
Even this comment. linux and windows does the same. I hate reading nostalgical articles, because it tells me nothing except we are sheeps. As i told i am pragmatic, if i feel mysels used i just say: fck it. The author hovewer made clicks and income. I hate that too.

Nothing to say against a good rant :wink:
I’m usually not one of “everything was better in the past” crowd, but as far as Mac OS UI is concerned I stick to my previous statements.

By the way, you answered the first 2 questions correctly for me. My answer to the 3rd question is “yes, at least in part”. I do use Windows 10 (for stuff that only runs on windows) and OSX Yosemite (for music stuff) however. For everything else I use Linux (and of course Haiku where it is possible)

Also the author is the kind of people who will (probably, this is an assumption) tell “lets just use linux instead”. Which is obviously a solution, and obviously the worst possible. No, the users must keep their mouth closed, they never should critize the company, we should only be nostalgic what was back then, and we should just use linux instead.
This is bad.
apfel should not exist, ms should not exist, linux and bsd should be the past, just like x11 and everything *nix, as we know, unix was a mistake.
But interestingly the linux supporters, who says everybody should learn linux are the ones who cannot learn anything new, they are cemented themselves so deep into the ecosystem, there is no way out. “This pays my checks!” or “It does the job”, which means a wannabe-mainframe kernel is definetely the best pick for desktop use. And i am the santa claus (which i am, but thats not the pont).
I still think gnu and linuks were a mistake and a they and their users are the biggest harm for the humanity in the modern history.
(Sorry, but i am even against to use their names, because the harm they made.)

My pragmatic way is just to drop everything you dislike, even if partially dislike it. There is nothing kept at the end? Good. Just build something from scratch. But NOOOOOOOOOOOO, you can’t reinvent the wheel, it must be posix compilinat at least or your project is dead at birth. Which is a way to keep the tradition, eg. they don’t have to learn new things, only the users. Which is nice.

So writing things about how nice apfel was back then is futile, and shouldn’t ever done. Some will argue: “But UX! Haiku can learn from this!” If the Haiku devs are not stupid (and i think they are not) they know how to do things. Also they have mouth to ask the other devs and users. Change for the sake of change is not a solution and never was. It is just a marketing tool. We don’t develop things for the end user anymore, we develop things for the marketing people to make them able to say: “Our stuff can even do this and that!” When was the last time you asked: “Who cares about that stuff?”

Humans were maybe a mistake too.

The author does seem to be a bit of an Apple fanboy, but at least he is a fanboy who will call them out when needed. I read the article linked here, the follow-up to that, as well as his article complaining about Big Sur. I think they were all good to read, and even if in the end he will still be an Apple fanboy there are things we can learn from these articles.

I do think even after all this time it has been in development, Haiku still has some relevance, as most of us sticking around in these forums would agree. With the way things are going with Apple and Microsoft, and Linux still being a complete mess on the desktop, the time is still great for an alternative like Haiku. No other alternative OS is even close to where we are, even with our relatively meager resources and small development team. Whatever we are doing we seem to be doing right, even with some mistakes along the way.

To get back into the topic of the article, Haiku still has plenty of ways to improve its UI and UX, and I think it is a reasonable goal to have Haiku embody some of the nice experience of Apple in the past, and of course the things that make BeOS special. I at least have a big interest in that, not just “pretty” UI, but also user experience and as I get back into Haiku development I will try to work on some of that.


I’m running elementary OS and its well matched with a BEOS theme.

Thinking that if Haiku were more up to date, this is how it would look.

Simple and intuitive. Not that MacOS is bad.

Its UNIX but its not Linux and the interface is well designed.

Quoting from the website:

Our platform itself is entirely open source, and it’s built upon a strong foundation of Free & Open Source software (like GNU/Linux). Plus, we actively collaborate within the ecosystem to improve it for everyone.

It is a Linux distribution. Wikipedia goes farther saying:

elementary OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu LTS. It promotes itself as a “thoughtful, capable, and ethical” replacement to macOS and Windows and has a pay-what-you-want model.[3][4] The operating system, the desktop environment (called Pantheon[5]), and accompanying applications are developed and maintained by Elementary, Inc.[6][7]

The problem with elementary OS and others like GNOME that try to have vertical integration in pursuit of consistency at the expense of user freedom and interoperability is that they can never truly come close to achieving it, since Linux desktop systems are inherently composed of parts from different teams put together. They will always feel inconsistent to some degree. Meanwhile, their insularity is a major irritant for users and other projects related to Linux that want to collaborate.

Haiku in contrast may actually come anywhere close to having a properly consistent and integrated desktop system, since the kernel up to the apps are developed by a single group with a shared vision. At the same time, the project is still more collaborative with other projects. It also acknowledges other toolkits that are available and tries to make them feel like they belong (especially Qt).

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Considering that enlightenment, or efl, powers most smart fridges and car entertanment systems i’d say that is not completely accurate. But then those aren’t general purpose systems
. (and especially for car UI you just pick carplay or android auto if you want a somewhat consistent experience)

Yes, I meant in the desktop context. Made some edits to the previous post to make that clearer.

With all the drawbacks of Linux, it supports modern Internet protocols and apps just work.

Haiku still can’t run modern browsers like Firefox, Chrome and Edge.

That’s a serious limitation and then too all the code has to be ported and there’s no easy way to update browsers to fix security vulnerabilities and ensure they they conform to current Web standards.

When Haiku solves that issue, it will be ready for general use and its still a long way from getting there.

We already have a modern browser, it’s called webpositive. Why waste timing trying to port firefox, chrome or any of these other horrible browsers?

This really is a solved problem, the only thing that is potentially missing is one or two more sets of hands to maintain our webkit port. If there isn’t that is fine too, it will take a bit longer to resolve some issues but eventually one of the two or three people currently working on haikuwebkit will get to it.

(I am currently upstreaming some of our webkit work rather than fixing specific issues, but that will also help the port)


Linux, or Windows, also cannot run X or Y if the people that wrote these softwares will not port them .

Same as for Haiku and the browsers you refer to. Haiku has its own browser, healthly developed. If people from chrome , firefox or ( argh ) Edge want to, they can just port their software here.

The reckless, infinite scope of web browsers says it all

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Haiku could run these perfectly fine. It’s just that Mozilla, Google and Microsoft did not do their part of the work to get their code running. There is not a lot we can do about that on our side.