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Windows 7 Taskbar Not So Similar To OS X Dock After All

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-comparison-is-not-like-the-others dept.

GUI 545

cremou brulee writes "Redmond's photocopiers have been unusually busy for the last couple of years, with the result that Windows 7 copies a lots of Mac OS X features. First and foremost among these is the Dock, which has been unceremoniously ripped off in Windows 7's new Taskbar. Or has it? Ars Technica has taken an in-depth look at the history and evolution of the Taskbar, and shows just how MS arrived at the Windows 7 'Superbar.' The differences between the Superbar and the Dock are analyzed in detail. The surprising conclusion? 'Ultimately, the new Taskbar is not Mac-like in any important way, and only the most facile of analyses would claim that it is.'"

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Only the most facile... (0, Troll)

Paladin_Krone (635912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569031)

'Ultimately, the new Taskbar is not Mac-like in any important way, and only the most facile of analyses would claim that it is.' Only the most facile readers would give a shit about an Ars Technica article spread across several pages so full of adds, its not even worth bothering.

The real difference is that (5, Insightful)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569059)

every Mac application is an MDI application, only the outer "application" window is always maximized and always transparent, with its menu always at the top of the screen.

The crux of the issue is that the Mac UI (and the NEXTSTEP UI) has always been application-centric from day 1. All multi-document Mac applications work in the same way: Alt+Tab to switch applications, Alt+` to switch documents.

Document-centric UIs, on the other hand, don't scale well, and that has led both the Windows OS and its applications to try to fake it one way or another, by grouping task bar icons, staying alive in the sys-tray, etc.

Re:The real difference is that (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569379)

CMD+Tab to switch applications, CMD+` to switch documents please.

Re:The real difference is that (0, Offtopic)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569771)

Unless you've plugged in your Vista Business Keyboard becaue the apple supplied one was crap. Than it's 'alt.' PS, Why is the basic Vista keyboard SO much better than the basic Apple keyboard? PPS, If you good folk at apple want to produce a really cool keyboard and have me test it in a production environment, please let me know.

Re:The real difference is that (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569909)

I'm confused, basic Vista keyboard?

Are you talking keyboard shortcuts, or just the quality of the stock keyboards you get with PCs these days?

It's only in the past 2-3 years that the stock keyboards from most OEMs have been any good, in my opinion. Previous to that, you hoarded the good keyboards you found or you went online and bought one you saw had good reviews. But I'm typing this on a Dell stock keyboard and I've had really no complaint with it for three years.

Apple actually makes their keyboards so you can blame them (and associate their name with) their crappy products. But Microsoft is only to blame (or congratulate) for Microsoft keyboards.

Re:The real difference is that (5, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569695)

every Mac application is an MDI application, only the outer "application" window is always maximized and always transparent

I don't know how clear that is to some of us, but regardless of how one switches windows or applications using hotkeys, the Mac windowing system (as the article makes clear) is essentially document-centric - each window corresponds (with some exceptions) to a document, which is sort of why closing the last document window doesn't terminate the application - i.e. it doesn't make this assumption, since your next action might be to open a new document.

This can be a bit counter-intuitive to those of us more familiar with X11 or Windows, but I can see where Apple is coming from. It does at least make for a more compact menu than that huge thing we see in recent MSOffice versions, which has obvious advantages if you are using a laptop.

Look carefully at "Application"... (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569947)

I was using a dock in WindowMaker before I saw OS X -- WindowMaker was, of course, "inspired" by the same source in NextStep.

The difference is, the dock is not only about running applications, it's meant to just be about applications. So, if I want to go to the Web, I click Firefox (or Safari), and if it's open, I get a window of it. If it's not open, it opens, and I get a window of it. I no longer have to think about whether stuff is open or not.

In fact, Leopard seems to even further de-emphasize the ability to know whether an application is running or not.

This is both good and bad -- good, because we really shouldn't have to care; bad, because there is still a concept of an application "running" or not at the Unix level. I really feel that this should be transparent, even to the application developer.

But I digress...

It's not just grouping windows. After all, you can still minimize a window on OS X, and it will become its own Dock icon. And you can put other things on the Dock.

No, it's all about mirroring the way users actually think, which is "I want to go to iTunes", and then "I want to go to Word", not "I want to launch iTunes" or "I want to find the running iTunes window" or "I want to close iTunes, then open Word". They want to go to iTunes until they want to go to something else.

Once they're in Word, then they can think about which document they want to open or find -- but an intelligent application could even hide that. Autosave with a near-infinite, persistent undo stack, and frequent backups, is much better, I think, than save/revert.

Re:Only the most facile... (4, Informative)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569263)

Not that one should take at face value what Microsoft or Apple announce at their conferences, but in their developer conference the MS guys explained this evolutionary path. I saw several videos about it around the time.

The underlying tech is quite different between the Dock and the Taskbar, also they have similar but not equal philosopies behind them. I have been using XP's toolbars in pretty much the way Microsoft has done with the Taskbar.

Re:Only the most facile... (0, Flamebait)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569549)

Ars is a great site, what the hell are you babbling about? If the ads are blinding you, download adblock and stop whining.

Xerox on steroids (0, Troll)

pondermaster (1445839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569033)

I always wondered how they turned photocopies into code.

Windows 7 is not gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569041)

Plus it plays games.

So, it's different ... (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569055)

but is it better?

Re:So, it's different ... (1, Interesting)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569429)

Well, it's hard to say exactly... but so far it hasn't managed to piss me off completely, and OSX accomplished that 5 years ago.

For now the winner is Windows 7... but to be fair, it's still vaporware and has plenty of time to piss me off even more once it hits reality.

Astroturfing (0, Flamebait)

Taxman415a (863020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569079)

I mean everybody has their fanboys, but what is up with all the Windows astroturfing lately? Not just random blogs here and there, but on slashdot, the last bastion of journalistic integrity and safety from MS shills. (for the sarcasm impaired, yeah, it's in there.)

Re:Astroturfing (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569115)

By 'astroturfing', do you mean 'having a differing opinion to the groupthink'?

I'm still yet to see a single mote of evidence that Microsoft bothers to astroturf Slashdot. Can you honestly think of a community of individuals (save, say, BoycottNovell) that are less likely to either:

a) Switch to Windows, or
b) Do anything at all on the whim of a commenter?

Re:Astroturfing (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569225)

less likely

Yeah, we're all Linux zealots here. *rolls eyes* Seriously, might have been true 10 years ago, but today? Not so much.

Re:Astroturfing (2, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569727)

I'm still yet to see a single mote of evidence that Microsoft bothers to astroturf Slashdot.

Nor do I, and I am certainly not going to audit every post to find out. I've got getter things to do.

But in this case it is hardly the point; the article referenced by the OP is actually reasonably balanced, and certainly doesn't qualify as a shill or an attempt to astroturf.

Re:Astroturfing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569117)

Whatever, dweeb. Is every ridiculous "ra ra Linux" article "astroturfing"?

Re:Astroturfing (1, Flamebait)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569223)

"I mean everybody has their fanboys, but what is up with all the Windows astroturfing lately?"

Vista is like George Bush, so awful that any alternative seems wondrous fine by comparison.

Windows 7 is like Obama before the new wears off.

so, to summarize... (4, Insightful)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569109)

..the article in one sentence:
Mac OSX displays a button for each application open, and Win7 displays a button for each document that is open and then groups them by application.

nah! that's not the same at all!

Re:so, to summarize... (5, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569137)

And Windows never had a TASKBAR with BUTTONS for APPLICATIONS before Mac even had a dock.

Noooo.

For god's sake, grow up, OSX is not some holy friggen grail of OSes that everyone copies you know.

Re:so, to summarize... (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569215)

It's called "nextstep". Look into it.

Re:so, to summarize... (0, Troll)

Ironix (165274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569445)

Please oh please mod the parent up.

Re:so, to summarize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569811)

Actually I think it was Sidekick by Borland

Re:so, to summarize... (4, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569921)

It's called "Windows 1.0." Look into it.

I did for you:

http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/e7/WindowsLiveWriter/HappyAnniversaryWindowsontheEvolutionoft_1365F/clip_image002_2.jpg [msdn.com]

See that at the bottom? 1985 called, they want their dock back. (Nextstep "innovated" that in 1989, four years later!)

Wendy's was first (1, Funny)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569383)

Sorry everyone, Wendy's had the Superbar long before anyone else. [findarticles.com]

Seriously though, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Who gives a shit if the "Superbar" looks like the "Dock" or if one car looks like another or if three movies came out this year with suspiciously similar premises.

Re:Wendy's was first (4, Insightful)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569815)

You would care if those three movies that were all similar if those were the only three movies that year.

Re:so, to summarize... (0)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569411)

And Mac had a graphical web browser before Windows ever had graphics.

The point is that we can go all the way back to Charles friggin' Babbage. Each OS has great and horrible things, it's just that on /. you're more likely to get Winhaters than Xhaters. (Even though Xhaters sounds cooler.) I say we move past Win vs OS X.

And yet I will be ignored.

Re:so, to summarize... (1, Insightful)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569447)

And Mac had a graphical web browser before Windows ever had graphics.

I may or may not have been talking out of my ass.

Re:so, to summarize... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569537)

See, this is why you always get ignored =P

Re:so, to summarize... (2, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569923)

I don't know. Jim Carey got a lot of attention by talking out of his ass. I think he tried to make it part of his bit.

Re:so, to summarize... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569603)

Nonsense. OSX is the holy grail of computing. It even cures cancer!

...which, I suppose, means Steve Jobs secretly uses Windows.

Re:so, to summarize... (1, Flamebait)

EMB Numbers (934125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569711)

Mac OS X used to be called NeXTstep, and NeXTstep had a dock which Windows 95 copied to create the task bar. The Windows 95 look which came to be called the Windows classic look which was in fact a shameless but inferior copy of the NeXTstep look from 1988.

Think Windows 95 copied from NextStep, starting with the "Recycle bin" and the recycle logo, the use of a square and a X in the title bar, bezeled window borders, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X_Dock [wikipedia.org]
http://homepage.mac.com/troy_stephens/OpenStep/screenShots/ [mac.com]
http://www.guidebookgallery.org/screenshots/applicationmanager [guidebookgallery.org]

Re:Here's what Apple has copied (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569879)

And Apple copied the graphical interface from Xerox PARC. Safari is copied from KDE's KHTML. Why don't you Mac fanboys ever bring these things up?

And if OS X is so great, why is their big selling point that you can run Windows and MS Office on a Mac?

Re:so, to summarize... (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569729)

But when Apple copies something it's innovation. When Microsoft does it, it's child porn.

Re:so, to summarize... (3, Insightful)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569887)

Personally, I don't necessarily care if one company copies a good idea that another company has. What I don't like is when that company comes out and acts as if they were the first ones to have the idea and that it's better than anyone else's. Going a step farther, if they bastardize what they're copying and still proclaim its greatness, that's just utter bullshit.

Re:so, to summarize... (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569935)

I agree, but enough companies do it often enough that I stopped caring that much. I favor openness and innovation over complete compliance with patent law/spirit of fair attributation, and though I think both are important, I feel it's more important to err on the side of innovation.

Re:so, to summarize... (1)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569893)

No but it had something similar to the start menu and another menu for switching tasks. Was just as functional and less intrusive.

OS X was far more advanced than NT/2000 or Win9x upon release. NextStep was FAR more advanced than WinNT or the classic MacOS which is funny considering the first version was released in 1988.

Windows attempts to reimplement successful features [poorly] of other OS's usually in a desperate attempt to win back users after years of stagnation.

If it weren't for Next/Apple/Sun/SGI you'd still be running a bastardized version of Win3.1 and LIKING IT.

Re:so, to summarize... (0, Redundant)

greerga (2924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569159)

Nope, completely different. Not Mac-like at all. I mean they're nothing like a bar at the bottom of the screen that lets you switch and/or run applications for your documents ... oh wait.

Re:so, to summarize... (0, Redundant)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569507)

Redundant as hell. Gee, if I had modpoints...

Re:so, to summarize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569207)

And the funny thing is that you've just completely proven the article's point: " 'Ultimately, the new Taskbar is not Mac-like in any important way, and only the most facile of analyses would claim that it is.'"

Anyone with any extensive experience using the OS X dock realizes that the similarities to the Windows 7 taskbar (or vice versa) end at a very basic level. Now, something that I will say that I'm really liking about Win7 is how they've finally begun taking serious advantage of the Windows key (win-up to maximize, win-down to minimize, the win-tab flipview thing finally has a decent reason to exist, etc).

Re:so, to summarize... (4, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569265)

Actually no, you're wrong--OS X displays a button every application that you decided to put in the Dock, whether they are running or not. Additionally, there is a document shortcut area of the dock which also shows minimized document/application windows (if document, independent of which app they are part of).

Re:so, to summarize... (5, Interesting)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569843)

The funny thing about this was that the OSX dock concept never worked for me while windows works fine. I was a windows user for years, I'm not even sure if I started before 3.0, but I remember most my grad work being done on 3.1. So Windows is engrained into my skull. When I moved jobs recently they had me use OSX (Leopard). I thought what a great time to check this out. After 1 year I insisted on going back to Windows, and Vista no-less. I'm not saying that OSX was bad, it was in my opinion as unstable as Vista and just as annoying with updates, hibernate, length of time for shut-down/start-up etc. What really did it in for me was the work flow, I was so used to Windows that I could never really jive with the Mac GUI and especially dock. I had lived for years off of the quick launch bar and instant document jumping via the task bar. Now likely I wasn't using OSX effectively, but I can tell you from an empirical 12 month test that clicking on a word tab at the bottom of the screen was more efficient for me than minimizing the document so that I could find it later as it went to the dock or hunting around all tiny images when using the Expose button. In addition the ugliness of having all those application 'listed' along the bottom of the screen by icon was not great either. To me the major space on the dock should have been for very quickly finding the document of choice, and the whole Stacks concept...it was just a fancy short-cut to the desired folder. I suppose that I came to the conclusion that I wasn't "metrosexual" enough to use a Mac. However, there was a bunch of things that Windows should be stealing from the Mac

Re:so, to summarize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569897)

mac has always grouped the documents into the application icon, try right clicking (stolen feature) it,

Its about Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569119)

Remember vista boxes being sold with pictures of Mac OS? Now they can use real screenshots of windows and STILL confuse users.

Disappointing (5, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569145)

Normally Ars stuff is pretty good, but that article is *very* ordinary, with a lot of conceptual, functional and historical errors.

The main thrust is correct, however, the Windows 7 Taskbar is clearly a descendant of its Windows 95 Great-great-grandfather, not the bastard child of NeXT and MacOS.

Re:Disappointing (5, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569455)

As a Windows user, I found this article very informative. Every time I have used OSX in the past, I have been frustrated with the application/window behavior. Understanding the motivation behind the way the operating system UIs work will probably go a long way to reducing my frustration in the future.

Re:Disappointing (5, Interesting)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569761)

Understanding the motivation behind the way the operating system UIs work will probably go a long way to reducing my frustration in the future.

Good luck with that, didn't work for me.
I still use my macbook occassionally and I still hate their separation between window and application switching.
In general, when I "ALT-TAB" (or "CMD-TAB" fwiw) then I want to quickly browse through all windows that are available to me. The UI is invited to provide a smart ordering for me (i.e. show other windows of the current application first) but the mental effort of distinguishing between a "window switch" and an "app switch" never worked for me.

But frankly OSX as a whole just isn't for me - even though I really wanted to like it and literally worked for 2 months straight only on my MacBook in an attempt to learn it. The semantics of the dock are still counter-intuitive to me and showstoppers like mandatory click-to-raise or the absurd "magic titlebar" ultimately made me go back to my linux desktop.

So there's the proof! (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569155)

It waddles. It quacks. It's a camel!

The usuall tech talk (1, Funny)

jaguth (1067484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569189)

This is how the article read to me: cockballs fuckshit windows lickass apple poopsperm paradigm groinsocket different all in all, most obvious comparison ever; thanks for the information everyone already knows.

Pure BS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569193)

The article is BS. The taskbar is a complete copy of OSX and it gives pure excuses that are mostly based on need from MS to support existing application behaviors.
The _visual_ similarities of how they work and the way the user interacts with them, gives more than enough proof that it is a copy that needed to maintain existing software happy.

The only think I can get from the article is that if Windows had to be redone from scratch, they would do what OSX got it right the first time.

Re:Pure BS (-1, Offtopic)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569219)

Have you even used OS X, let alone Windows 7?

Obviously not.

Re:Pure BS (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569855)

The pure BS is it is a complete copy. It isn't. Nice troll Mr Coward, I'd mod you flamebait if it wasn't too late.

Win7 taskbar is not a straight cut copy of OSXs Dock. It has become a little Dockish, but your forgetting quicklaunch has been part of this for a long long time, you can even have large pretty icons with it. It seems to me the boundaries between Quicklaunch, task managerment and the tray have been removed. This does make it Dock like, but these staples of the windows taskbar have been there a long time, predating the Dock by a long way.

KDE (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569199)

Windows 7 - KDE4 for Windows ~

Re:KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569441)

i've been saying this for ages... they stole kicker for their taskbar design.

Fecal analysis? (2, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569209)

'Ultimately, the new Taskbar is not Mac-like in any important way, and only the most facile of analyses would claim that it is.'

If by that he means to say that "the way it looks, feels and acts" are not important criteria for comparing the Mac OS X dock and Windows 7's Superbar, then I have to agree with him completely and whole-heartedly. I imagine the source code of each are completely different right?

Re:Fecal analysis? (2, Insightful)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569403)

If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, and it flies like a duck... then it must be a rare Mongolian tsetsefloofle birdmolester! No way it could possibly be any kind of, you know, DUCK...

Re:Fecal analysis? (-1, Troll)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569471)

the way it looks, feels and acts

If you mean sluggish and bloated, then yes. Microsoft Vista and 7 ARE copying Apple's OS X.

Windows in more environmentally friendly than Mac (5, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569653)

Windows has a recycling bin but Apple still has trash.

"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (5, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569217)

Windows 7 'Superbar.'

I'm going to get rich when I invent a machine that lets me stab people in the face over the internet.

Except there wont be anyone to run my marketing campaign :(

Re:"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569295)

That is FAR AND AWAY the best post on the Internet..EVER. Can I subscribe to get updates on your Internet-face-stabbing machine??

It's not a new idea... (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569431)

<Zybl0re> get up
<Zybl0re> get on up
<Zybl0re> get up
<Zybl0re> get on up
<phxl|paper> and DANCE
* nmp3bot dances :D-<
* nmp3bot dances :D|-<
* nmp3bot dances :D/-<
<[SA]HatfulOfHollow> i'm going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet

Source. [bash.org]

Re:"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569451)

Re:"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569381)

Super Bar....Awesome Bar... can't they come up with they're own names?

Re:"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569409)

A product like that would sell itself.

Re:"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569525)

I would like to believe an OSS equivalent might be called "Open Bar",
but experience tells me it would be named something impenetrable like
"SpackleMonkey" or a difficult to pronounce word from a long dead language.

Re:"Superbar"? Who wants to kill marketroids? (1)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569933)

Oh, it's not a Superbra? I'm no longer interested in this article.

Translation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569303)

We arrived at the pretty much same place after starting somewhere else, so that makes it very, very, very, very different. Very.

It is similar... (4, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569311)

Yes, the fundamental philosophy each inherited is different, but in effect at the 'dock' or 'taskbar' representation, Windows 7 and OSX end up presenting things similarly.

He makes the point that the OSX dock is for applications and that Windows is for each window, though Microsoft is heavily encouraging grouping that makes it seem as much like the dock as possible. True, in Windows this can be turned off, but that doesn't do anything to disprove the intent is to acheive the model the Dock presents. He says that when you close the last application window, it dissapears from the taskbar. The issue there is it behaves the same on Windows 7 and OSX, if an application exits, then the dock icon or taskbar presennce will disappear unless persistantly set.

He mentions things like the presence of the notification area as proof of difference, but all it really proves is that MS had a few different design ideas as they went and they must support all of them as a consequence.

Just like WindowMaker largely deals with non-GNUstep applications and makes them seem NeXT like through some of the best window group identifying methods in an X system, Windows is trying to fight clutter by removing quicklaunch and taskbar redundancy, and enabling the taskbar presence to be manipulated to replace system tray presence.

Re:It is similar... (1)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569359)

Of course the idea is to achieve the Dock in Windows. It's a good idea, it generally works out, and people tend to like it or get used to it.
The only problem I can see is if Microsoft copies it too well, that Apple's lawyers would be on them like ugly on a bulldog.
That would be a fun fight to see.

Then again, what do I know?

Re:It is similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569497)

Apparently you never heard of the "secret documents" that Apple signed, allowing Microsoft to utilize any and all of their product designs. Or that Microsoft owns 49% of Apple anyhow.

Of course, just because they CAN use it doesn't mean they will.

Re:It is similar... (4, Interesting)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569809)

The only problem I can see is if Microsoft copies it too well, that Apple's lawyers would be on them like ugly on a bulldog.

Wasn't the whole "look and feel" thing decided in Microsoft's favor, back in the 90's?

Re:It is similar... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569481)

He mentions things like the presence of the notification area as proof of difference, but all it really proves is that MS had a few different design ideas as they went and they must support all of them as a consequence.

You are exactly right... Apple has the handicap or luxury (depends on your viewpoint) of TWO persistent areas on the screen - the menubar and the dock. Windows has one - the "Superbar". Apple applications could put notification stuff in either the dock or the menubar, and most applications seem to favor the menubar. Incidentally, on my laptop this is a pain since it has run out of room and they don't have a way to unhide icons short of switching to an application with fewer menus!

Anyway, I've digressed... both platforms are slowly moving toward a common paradigm, and that is quite obvious. Heck, even Gnome and KDE seem to be headed this way, though they are a lot more configurable - again a handicap or advantage depending on your opinion :)

Re:It is similar... (1)

m_dob (639585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569601)

One could imagine that there exists an optimal way to switch from application to application, window to window. Neither OS has it perfectly, but in both trying to better themselves, they end up looking remarkably similar.

what a boring article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569345)

can't believe I just read that.

Digg? (0, Offtopic)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569369)

Did Digg get a /. make-over, or vice-versa...?

KDE much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569423)

The first thing i saw when looking at the task bar was KDE 4.

Re:KDE much? (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569699)

But not done as well.

Re:KDE much? (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569789)

That's funny, the first time I saw KDE I thought of Windows 98.

Writeup could have been done better (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569475)

Why didn't the author of the Ars Technica piece write it in such a way that we are in position to easily zoom the graphics? All detail is buried in tiny [un-zoom-able] sizes! I am not happy at all. Heck these are not the nineties.

I blame Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569583)

For my getting herpes.

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569621)

Did they copy it? Did they not? Do I care?

Is it useful? Does it do what it should? Does it make my work easier? That's what I care about. There are things that are clever. And, bluntly, I'd rather have them copy a good concept than come up with a completely moronic one (Office 2007, I'm looking your way!) just to be "different", just to have nobody claim they "Xeroxed something else".

Honestly, why should I care whether Windows, Mac, KDE, Gnome or whoever else copies anything from whoever? Ain't the damn patent lawyers not busy enough already, do we have to start with the same crap? What I care about is whether the system is reliable, fast and easy to use. Where they got the idea for it, I do not care.

Only "super"? (0, Redundant)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569637)

Super? Just "super"? Firefox has an AWESOME bar! SUCK IT, REDMOND!!!!!11

Cripey, what a load of suck (-1, Flamebait)

localroger (258128) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569649)

This is a bad thing. I do not want it. I do not want the cool icons instead of text (I suppose that "by default" means I can turn the text back on for now). I do not want cool apps "pinned" to my taskbar which are not running which look like they are. I want the fucking taskbar to show me what is running and taking up CPU and risking the always-around-the-corner Windows crash. I want that clean empty taskbar to be a signal that it is safe to execute the shutdown sequence, that I won't get caught with any documents open possibly in some application that will hiccup trying to save them. I DO NOT WANT THIS. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS A BAD IDEA. It might not be such a bad idea on the Mac where all app writers know you might kill the machine while their opus is running, but it is a HORRIBLY BAD idea in Windows where so many don't.

TFA is right about one thing, which is that in Windows a Window is an application. So it has been since Windows was DOS and so it should be until Windows is OSX. Meanwhile, it's a kludge on top of a misnomer topped with a catastrophe and I have no desire whatsoever to "upgrade" to this stupidity.

Re:Cripey, what a load of suck (1)

illaqueate (416118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569775)

the only feature I like is the ability to drag tasks around on the bar and that is currently available in vista with third party applications

I also dislike grouping as it increases the latency of switching to different tasks, it kills the ordering of tasks in spatial memory, prevents clustering related tasks together (browser window, explorer window, some other task all being used in one activity, other tasks being used for other things). the problem the taskbar has with spatial memory is that it crushes tasks as you open more and more of them and the only hack job to fix it is to use a double height taskbar but with that said it's better than the horrible windows 7 model

icons are of course much less descriptive than text for different windows and hovering thumbnails requires fishing to find the right one. grouping all tasks of the same type under one icon is a way to solve this however it completely ruins the idea above of different tasks being related to the actual activity you are doing on the computer, ordered in any logical way, rather than grouping stuff just because it's the same application

in other words the windows 7 system is perfect for people who don't know how to use a computer, severely suboptimal for anyone who knows what they are doing and wants to be efficient

Re:Cripey, what a load of suck (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569929)

I had the same feeling, but once I tried the beta I was surprised at how much I liked it. There is still a clear distinction between what's running and what's not, but now it's more like an app having an on/off switch than being listed in one place if it's not running and two if it is.

Then again, I've long since gotten used to the way Macs do it, which is very similar. You may very well end up not liking it but I think it's worth your consideration. I was actually more annoyed by the changes to the notification area.

But I agree with the general statement...they should stick to one model. One window is one application. Great. I'm weird in that I actually like MDI. I hate how Excel does it, where I have to guess whether or not my workbook is in a child window or a brand new parent, since the task bar doesn't make it clear. Makes dragging and dropping individual spreadsheets into a workbook a huge hassle, and I've long since given up on trying to explain it to the users I support.

Windows VII ? (1, Redundant)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569651)

Why is it called Windows 7? The last Windows with a proper version number was 3.11. Since then there's been: 95, 98, 2000, ME, XP, and Vista. By my count that puts the next version at 10 (or X in roman numerals, what a coincidence). To make the next version 7, we'd have to disregard three of the above. Certainly ME because... well, just because. Probably 2000 because it wasn't a "home" product. And finally Vista because... see ME?

Re:Windows VII ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569709)

'Tis about kernel versions

Re:Windows VII ? (2, Informative)

seachnasaigh (835440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569737)

Pretty straightforward, actually. Ignore the 95 - 98 - ME taxonomy entirely. Windows NT 4.0 ("NT4" - at MS) Windows 2000 ("NT5") Windows XP ("NT6") Windows Vista ("Oops1") Windows 7 ("NT7") See how nicely that works? --ckr

Re:Windows VII ? (2, Informative)

bu1137 (979245) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569759)

Actually, Windows XP is NT5.1 and Vista is NT6

Re:Windows VII ? (1)

The_Myth (84113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569797)

XP was Win NT 5.1
Vista was Win NT 6.0

Re:Windows VII ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26569891)

why does every fucktard have to ask this question? worse is that 50 fucktards come along and make really limp jokes that wouldn't be considered funny by anyone with an iq over 35.

why don't you just stick to what you know? stuff like jacking off to pr0n of men getting fucked up the ass by german shepherds, worlds of warcraft and the x-men movies.

Windows never had an "application switcher" (2, Insightful)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569683)

Windows never had an "application switcher". It was always a window switcher. It just seemed like an application switcher when the processes all consistently only put up one top level window.

My wishlist for the taskbar (2, Interesting)

JoeyBlaze (803187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569689)

For as long as I remember now, I've wanted a way to do the following with the Windows Taskbar:

1. Reorganize the order of what windows I have open

2. Send windows to background taskbars (desktops), so I could be using different sets of apps at once

Hopefully they could add some minor usability features like this; I feel like I'm regularly working against the taskbar to get things done.

Taskbar was kinda like this long before Dock.. (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569743)

The windows taskbar has long had the quicklaunch bar, as well as the ability to add other folders as toolbars pointing to whatever folder. So it has been both a application launcher (you could set large icons too) and a window manager for a long time. This goes way back. Now it seems the application launcher areas of the taskbar are less limited. Considering this, the changes in Windows 7 are only a very small step in the direction of the OSX Dock.

Slight exaggeration (3, Informative)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569833)

Windows 7 Taskbar Not So Similar To OS X Dock After All

C'mon, this has to be flamebait. The article pointed out some differences, and mainly tried to make the window-centric-vs-application-centric distinction we all know about already. It didn't say that they "weren't so similar after all", because that's clearly false.

The new taskbar is nice and it has a couple of features that the dock doesn't have and probably won't ever pick up. Specifically, the window thumbnails and the fact that "jump lists" (aka contextual menus) stay behind even when the app is closed.

I'm not accusing MS of taking ideas. I am accusing them of taking too long to implement what was the optimal solution to a design problem. Having an icon on the desktop, in the start menu, the quick launch bar, and possibly the notification area...none of which correspond to the actual open windows, which are instead listed in the task bar: stupid. Not that anyone these days has a problem with it, but still, from a design standpoint it's wasteful and annoying.

Ars is fishing for objectivity points here, and at best is running this as a dog-bites-man story (that is, "we know the new taskbar acts like the dock, and MS has a history of playing catch-up in this area, but you'll be surprised at what we think is the truth"). The fact that the headline on Slashdot exaggerates this further pisses me off quite a bit.

If it looks like the dock, walks like the dock, and quacks like the dock...you know the rest.

Oh come on, now (4, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569861)

The obvious change in the new Windows Taskbar is that there are icons for non-running-applications. I don't care how you try to word it, that is the major difference between the OSX Dock and the Windows Taskbar. So Damn right it is copying it.

But is that really bad? Yes they copied good ideas, and perhaps made their own improvements to it. But that is how we get better software! Is this somehow wrong when Microsoft does it? You mean you really want Look & Feel Patents and Lawsuits? Don't be idiotic!

And the Microsoft astroturfers should not be showing such knee-jerk stupid reactions. Why not say *proudly* "we copied good ideas and improved on them even more!" instead of convoluted arguments that somehow they did not copy it.

They've been listening to user feedback... (1)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569899)

...what did you expect?

Part of the reason I'm moderately optimistic about this OS (other than the improved performance over Vista that I've seen in beta) is that I've seen from reading their RSS feed that they actually have been listening to feedback and are attempting to incorporate a lot of it.

It stands to reason that if a large number of users likes the functionality of a particular taskbar function from a particular OS that they would provide feedback, when asked, to development programs for other OS that would might lead the developers in the same direction. Same goal, different path.

Ah ... hmmm. (1)

seachnasaigh (835440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26569937)

Thanks, botha yas. I was trying to be funny ;) Actually, I thought it was by server kernel on the NT side (with "workstation" versions like NT had) so that Win2K was NT5, Win2KSP4/XP NT5.1, Server2K3/XPSP2 NT5.2, Server2K3R2/Vista NT6, and Server2K8/Win7 as NT7. But hey, how many angels *can* you get to dance on the head of that pin?
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