Macintosh’s flawed windows

by Konstantin Weiss on October 6, 2018

Now that I’ve spent quite some time with the original #macintosh and its #os, it’s clear how wrong the concept of movable, arbitrarily resizable #windows is. It’s in such stark contrast to my now main work device, the #ipad .

Surely, showing off a #gui must have been a great gimmick. It was fancy. It was fun. And it was a totally new, fresh approach to interfacing with computers. Look how cool it was to move windows around, resizing them, layering them on top of each other.

But for #focus driven, #task driven #work, to date this is not very helpful. #touch interfaces like #ios do a much better job at displaying single or multiple applications at once. No fiddling around with window sizes just to reach a program window beneath another.

I still don’t understand the window layout of #smalltalk properly, but most probably Steve #jobs and his team misunderstood the purpose of windows. They were blended by the surface and tried to replicate it, hot seeing the purpose of Smalltalk’s window layout as a way of #thinking spatially.

I guess, the #mac was one of these defining moments, defining to go to one direction which determined the next decades of what was perceived as normal. Jef #raskin called out the windows concept as being #modal, and opposed it. If Raskin would have been successful, the whole personal computer industry might have taken a totally different road, building machines for keeping the hands on the keyboard, concentrated rather on a networked, knowledge based #os, more in the spirit of Doug #engelbart .

Macintosh Plus

by Apple, 1986