Operating Systems

6 ways how Mac OS Finder could be improved

Posted on December 14, 2008. Filed under: Mac OS | Tags: , , |

While I only have limited experience with Mac OS, I have some suggestions to improve one of the core applications of Mac OS: Finder. I have a Windows XP and Linux (Ubuntu, Redhat, Suse) background, and there are a couple of things where (for example) Windows XP Explorer works much nicer than Finder. So, I’d thought to compose a list of some improvements, which would hopefully be implemented in a new version of Mac OS.

  1. Cut and Paste in Finder
  2. Merging of directories while copying files
  3. Opening of directories with Enter
  4. Consider casing when opening directories
  5. Make Cmd-Z a bit less destructive
  6. Add an address bar

Cut and Paste in Finder

I’ve already written about this, and the lack of Cut and Paste, like in any OS I’ve encountered so far is not something to get use to: it’s just a lack of functionality. I cannot imagine this functionality would be  to hard to implement, and it would make some things, like moving large amounts of files over a network much easier.

Merging of directories while copying files

Until now, Mac OS Finder can not merge directories. Instead, the contents of the directories are removed and replaced by the new directory. To me, this sound very unlogical, and doesn’t sound like copying it all: it has serious side effects, and can result in the loss of important data. Merging directories from two loctions without this functionality is very difficult, and can, AFAIK, only be solved by using the command line.

Opening files and folders with Enter

Maybe Enter is called ‘return’ in Mac OS, I’m not sure, but if it was called Enter, it would be most logical to ‘enter’ directories and files with the Enter button. At least, it would to me. Remapping the key would also be nice, but renaming with Enter just sounds strange to me. I’m not saying F2 would make more sense (maybe Cmd+R would, or something), but Space should be used for previewing (which is really nice), and enter for opening. It would also save  button and make opening files much more accessible.

Consider casing when opening directories

It’s strange (I consider it a bug) that an OS based on Unix doesn’t handle casing well. When having directories on a case sensitive network drive, with the same name, but different casing (for example ‘mp3’ vs ‘Mp3’), opening the ‘Mp3’ directory is not possible at all (not even with Cmd-G): the captital Mp3 directory is ignored, and the ‘mp3’ directory is opened instead! Like I said, I find this strange for an OS based on Unix, but even an OS which doesn’t embrace Unix as much as Mac OS, for example, Windows XP, doesn’t have any trouble opening either directory. So, it would be nice if this would be fixed in  next release of Mac OS.

Make Cmd-Z a bit less destructive

After copying a big Linux ISO over wireless network with Finder, I was looking for my original Finder window, so I could remove the ISO from the source. So I pressed Cmd+`, I thought. I didn’t: I pressed Cmd+Z, which undid my copy, and removed the file, without any confirmation or whatever. It’s not really a problem, but I did hurt. So, Cmd+Z removing files is fine by me, but a Confirmation dialog would be nice. Or just enable the Cut and Pasting of files, so I wouldn’t have to search for the original file to remove it.

Add an Address Bar

It’s just feature I miss from Ubuntu and Windows XP: the address bar. I use it often, because it allows fast navigation through your HD without the need for a mouse. I’m mostly using the Terminal for this now, because, in my experience, typing with directory and file completion is usually much faster in navigating the HD, and I don’t have to move my hands from keyboard to mouse, or visa versa.

In conclusion: I miss some functionality in Mac OS. Some more than others, but if the above could be fixed, I know my overall Mac experience would be even more pleasant!

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Cut and Copy in Mac OS X Finder

Posted on December 12, 2008. Filed under: Mac OS | Tags: , , , , , , |

I know things have been said about this before, but today I experienced it again:

The total lack of a decent Cut and Copy functionality in Mac OS.

The Cut was not implemented because it could be destructive, or something. Or it might just be a forgotten bug, which makes more sense. It’s quite easy to mark the files to be cut (it works the same a copying files), copy it, and for each copied file, delete it. I feel stupid for explaining this. I cannot imagine this is left out because it would be destructive, cause Copying(!) files is a lot more destructive in Mac OS.

Copying files from one location to another location can lead to a loss of files. This happens in the not so special case when the name of a source directory is the same as the target directory. In an “toy OS”, like Windows XP, this works like you would expect: Explorer gives a remark about it when overwriting files, lets you choose if you really want to overwrite, and merges the source and target directory. So in fact, it c-o-p-i-e-s (I spell it out here) files. Really it does, while Mac OS ‘thinks’: “Hmm, this guy wants to copy stuff. Lets just delete everything here, to make some room. That will give him a happy user experience!”. Right.

Now that I think of it: it’s actually as destructive as double clicking (beware!) on a ZIP file. If for some strange reason (Note: users should never do this! It’s not Maccy) “change” (woooooooo!!) something in a unzipped directory, clicking on a ZIP will…hmm….’restore’… the ZIP directory. So, all your scary changes have been instantly removed.

I’m lucky Steve thinks for me, so I don’t have to anymore!

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Installing Tomcat 5.5 or Tomcat 6 on OpenSolaris

Posted on December 4, 2008. Filed under: Open Solaris |

Thanks Willi Schiegel on the OpenSolaris mailing list, I managed to install Tomcat 6. Ofcourse, it’s pretty easy, once you know how to do it.

These are the steps involved:

Download the Tomcat package, unpack it:

bunzip2 CSKtomcatbundle_1.3.1_i386.pkg.bz2

And install it like:

pkgadd -d CSKtomcatbundle_1.3.1_i386.pkg
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Setting up a static ip address on OpenSolaris 2008

Posted on December 4, 2008. Filed under: Mac OS |

Yesterday, I found out that my OpenSolaris installation keeps renewing it’s IP address. It should, because by default, it’s configured to be using DHCP. While more of my machines do that, this is the only one which gets a new IP address. A bit annoying, but, since I was already planning on using a static IP address, this was a nice excuse to start on it.

So, with a bit of help (thank Cesar!), I found this page: http://blogs.sun.com/observatory/entry/beyond_dhcp_with_dns_and , which explains clearly on how to setup static ip addresses on OpenSolaris. In short, you need to do the following:

(optional: create a snapshot: zfs snapshot rpool/ROOT/opensolaris@before_static_ip)

Change /etc/nwam/llp to include your new static ip, so it looks like this:
iprb0 static 192.168.1.170

Then, restart the NWAM daemon:
svcadm restart nwam

After that, your DNS and routing doesn’t work anymore. This is fixed by doing a:
cp /etc/nsswitch.dns /etc/nsswitch.conf

Check that the nameserver is here:
/etc/resolv.conf

And create a file /etc/defaultrouter, with the following content:
192.168.1.1

Then, restart the routing:
svcadm restart network/routing-setup

And you have a static ip address. Now, isn’t that much easier that using the X configuration panel……

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Installing GlassFish on OpenSolaris 2008.05

Posted on December 3, 2008. Filed under: Open Solaris |

Today, I tried installing SqueezeCenter and Tomcat. Both failed, and until now, I haven’t found a solution. I did, however, find a workaround for the Tomcat installation.

Probably I can install Tomcat by downloading it from the Tomcat site, unpack it, and run it, but I don’t want to do this: I’d rather use the OpenSolaris packaging system. However, it seems there isn’t a package available for Tomcat. Atleast, I haven’t found it. So, my initial thought was to install JBoss instead. I’ve good experiences with JBoss, and for me, JBoss is a good replacement (or superset) for Tomcat. However, I also couldn’t find a proper download for this. So, why not install GlassFish then?

I’ve never worked with GlassFish before, but installing and configuring wasn’t a problem at all. I just followed the instructions I found here, and did the following steps:

1) pkg set-authority -O http://pkg.opensolaris.org:80 opensolaris.org
2) pkg refresh
3) pkg install glassfishv2
4) Then run the command to create a default domain1

/usr/appserver/bin/asadmin create-domain –user admin –adminport 4848 domain1

During the creation of new domain
a)type (typical default) admin password : adminadmin
b)type (typical default) master password : changeit

5) Then run the command to start the newly created default domain1
/usr/appserver/bin/asadmin start-domain –user admin domain1

6) Now you should be able to access the GlassFishv2 on OpenSolaris

GlassFish Admin Console
http://hostname_or_ip_address:4848

GlassFish HTTP
http://hostname_or_ip_address:8080
https://hostname_or_ip_address:8181

And it all worked. I love when things just work!

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cpuinfo and top on Solaris

Posted on November 13, 2008. Filed under: Open Solaris |

There are some differences between Linux and Solaris commands. I’ll try to give a brief overview here of the differences, starting with two commands I encountered yesterday.

Linux Solaris
cat /proc/cpuinfo psrinfo -v -p
top prstat

When I find more, I’ll put them up here. Suggestions welcome ofcourse!

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Logging in on Unix without a password, aka public key authentication

Posted on November 12, 2008. Filed under: Open Solaris |

My progress of my OpenSolaris configuration is going at a steady pace, and it’s now time to do some migration of data. It has been written a thousand times before, but who cares, I’m going to write it again:

I want to login without passwords, so I can copy stuff using my laptop, but it in the background and get some well deserved (and needed) sleep.

It actually kinda easy, if you know how to do it:

On the machine which needs access:

ssh-keygen -t dsa
scp ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub username@server.com:

And, on the machine you want to access:

cat id_dsa.pub >> .ssh/authorized_keys

Is it that easy? Yes, it is that easy!

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Configuring Open Solaris 2008.05

Posted on November 12, 2008. Filed under: Open Solaris |

This is my first blog item on this blog ever, and it’s not about Groovy, nor Grails, nor Java. This one is about installing OpenSolaris 2008.05, and some of my experiences while doing so.

First a small disclaimer: my current OpenSolaris knowledge is limited, and I have only started playing with it for around 20 hours or so.

My goal is to build a media server, which should serve my Squeezebox. For that, I’ve bought some hardware, including:

  • 4 x 750gb Samsung HD’s
  • ASUS Stuff
  • 2 GB ram
  • etc..

Which should result into a Network Attached File Storage with 2 TB of HD. This is accomplished by using RAID Z on a ZFS filesystem, but more about that later. I thought about using Ubuntu + LVM + RAID 1, but I heard that it promotes datacorruption, since it doesn’t do checksum’s like ZFS does, so I skipped that idea and went straight to OpenSolaris. Well, almost straight anyway: I first tried Solaris 10, but since that one didn’t boot (Image doesn’t fit memory error or something) I decided to go for OpenSolaris. Never worked with it, and a nice learning experience, so I thought.

ZFS
What I first wanted to do, is to format all the HD’s, partition them, mount them, and put them into a RAID something configuration. Well, it turned out I was quite wrong here.
1) Partitioning is something which is apperantly not done in Solaris
2) Formatting IDE disks is something from the past?
3) Mounting them….well, I don’t think so!

What I had to do was: type format, which resulted in this dialog:

-bash-3.2# format
Searching for disks…done

AVAILABLE DISK SELECTIONS:
0. c4d0
/pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,2/ide@0/cmdk@0,0
1. c4d1
/pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,2/ide@0/cmdk@1,0
2. c5d0
/pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,2/ide@1/cmdk@0,0
3. c5d1
/pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,2/ide@1/cmdk@1,0
4. c6d0
/pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,5/ide@0/cmdk@0,0

and press CTRL+C after that. I needed that for a listing of all the available disks, which are identified after the number with the dot. In my case, c4d0, c4d1, c5d0, c5d1 and c6d0 are my disks, where the last one is my boot disk.

To make this a RAID Z ‘cluster’, I only had to type this:

zpool create tank raidz c4d0 c4d1 c5d0 c5d1

(Thanks rskelton!!)

After that was done, I needed some quotas. So I created some filesystems:

zfs create tank/media
zfs create tank/applications

And the filesystems were created. Easy as that! Next, the quota could be set, since I don’t want my media to overrule my running applications. This could be done with the following command:

zfs set quota=1.95T tank/media

and can easily be checked with the following command:

-bash-3.2# zfs get quota tank/media
NAME PROPERTY VALUE SOURCE
tank/media quota 1.95T local

The next thing I have to do, is to install some applications on it, but first disable the GDM/X graphical login window. This can be done like this:

svcadm disable gdm
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