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Subject:  Snow Leopard is back! Date:  11/25/2012  12:48 PM
Author:  LorenCobb Number:  61507 of 72088

When Lion (Mac OS 10.7) appeared, Apple removed Snow Leopard from the Apple Store. This was a pity -- Snow Leopard (10.6.x) is not only a great operating system, it also represents the pinnacle of development for a particular user-interface philosophy. After Snow Leopard, Apple began to evolve a very different philosophy: one driven by gestures on a track pad or touch screen rather than mouse clicks, and informed by the radical file-structure simplification pioneered by the iPhone and iPad.

I have to admit that I like the gestural thing -- there is no going back after experiencing the Magic Mouse -- but the new ways of interacting with the file system leave me cold and angry. To my mind it represents the worst of Microsoftism -- the part in which the user is treated like a dummy. To see where we are headed, open TextEdit and type in a few words. Now quit TextEdit. There is no dialog asking you if you want to save your work! Open TextEdit again, weeks or months later, and there is your file. But WHERE has it been, really? You don't know! Worse, Time Machine has probably archived a copy of it somewhere. Had you wanted to write a secure note for your eyes only, that security is just completely gone. In the old pre-Lion days, anything you type into TextEdit remains in volatile RAM memory until you explicitly save it, and it goes only into the saved file -- whose location you know. That's gone, and more changes like this are in the pipeline.

I understand that many users of computers are in fact elderly or brain-limited, and that they need something simpler than the old ways of interacting with the file system, but let's keep the old way available for those of us with no such limitations, and let's keep security in mind.

Okay, enough of the ranting already. Getting to the point:

Under user pressure, Apple has quietly put Snow Leopard back in the Apple Store, for just $20. That's a terrific price for a stable, efficient, and well-designed operating system. Since Snow Leopard is the last of its breed, it might be a good idea to keep a physical copy around, in case Apple goes completely off the rails with these "new" ideas.

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