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back to article How Apple's Lion won't let you trash documents

Apple's Mac OS X 10.7 is branded Lion. The Lion may be king of the jungle, but from where we sit, it's the king of bungles. A case in point. Someone emails you a document, and you open it in, say, Apple's Pages app for a look. You read it through then, having done with it, you quit Pages. You no longer require the document so …

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FAIL

Apple owners == idiots

therefore need protecting from themselves... It a shame nobody is protecting them when they walk into an Apple store....

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Anonymous Coward

So all Apple owners are idiots

Every single one? I think we all know who the idiot is!

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Anonymous Coward

^ Troll

Don't feed it.

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Joke

Yes

Because windows users never make mistakes.

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Version Control

Have you ever used version control such as CVS or SVN or even SourceSafe?

In those, when you delete something it just gets removed from view. The actual file and its history is not removed permanently.

How many recovery tools are there on the Internet for recovering deleted files? quite a few I imagine. I wonder why that is? I would image that is because people delete things accidentally.

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Re: Version Control

I've used version control, Source Safe (ugh!) specifically, for years and you can delete files - permanently. It's not obvious, but the UI allows for it.

While I agree that there are lots of "un-delete" programs out there, in the last 13 years I've only ever needed to use them twice (once successfully, once partially), yet I think in the last 13 *hours* I have deleted more than two files absolutely positively 100% deliberately.

I don't want the OS holding on to files I don't need indefinitely against my will. If I want version control, I'll install it.

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Unhappy

This feature / bug would have saved my life this weekend

when I deleted what I thought was an old spreadsheet off the network drive, then emptied the trash box then heard the wife in the living room saying "Andy, where's my spreadsheet?"

I had to grovel like mad since we placed it on the network drive so she could use it on her netbook or the home PC AND yes, we had a backup, on the network drive of course (which I also deleted since I was trying to free up some space to make a new backup!)

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Joke

Re: This feature / bug would have saved my life this weekend

So you must be the ghost of Andy O'Rourke?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh yeah?

I can't help but feed this troll!

Yeah, after 24 years in IT and working from ICL System 25, MVS, Dos 2.0 up to Windows 7, from Linux ( Yggdrasil build 0.96 ) through to Solaris 2.3 to Solaris 11, AIX on RS/6K and IBM-70s, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Ingres, MySQL, C, Perl, C++, Pascal, Shell and finally to owning 7 Macs at home.

Yeah I'm a fricking idiot who knows absolutely nothing about computers and needs someone to hold my hand so I can start the machine and send an email!

Troll-boy ( no doubt you are male as no woman I know would be such an ass ) you'd be surprised to learn how many very, very savvy IT techies, way more techie than you, use Macs at home as they want an easy life at home when they knock off work. When you grow up and maybe move out of your bedroom, you'll learn the world works in ways the internet forums can't quite comprehend.

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There's your problem

See Mr AC your problem is you WORK in IT - you don't enjoy it... try it the other way around, get a less IT-involved job, something a little fluffier in graphics design or marketing maybe - THEN you'll appreciate wrangling a Windows system for the challenge at the end of the day ;)

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Bronze badge

Ah...

Obviously, your successful IT career has made you wealthy enough that you can afford to indulge yourself with an easy-to-use Macintosh, instead of suffering like the rest of us with cheap generic Windows machines.

You must forgive those envious people who assume that everyone who has more money than they do also has more money than sense - unlike yourself, who clearly has plenty of both.

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N2

Use Mac as home

and everywhere else

and those domestic support calls have all dried up, thankfully

Now anyone wanting assistance with their PC/server can pay the going rate or fuck off and leave me alone

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Quicklook?

if you just need to check a document and not to keep it, then Quicklook is built into Mail.

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FAIL

Yes, Lion does seem to be a Vista.

I've been using Lion now on a bunch of machines since release and, to be honest, it's a bit of a Vista.

It's far slower than Snow Leopard on the same hardware and the re-implementation of the Finder is clunky. Mission Control takes Spaces and removes the ability to use spacial memory to locate your applications.

It's a bit of a road crash really.

The only up-side is the increased intrinsic security against buffer overflow attacks (which is probably why it's hugely slower and more clunky than Snow Leopard).

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Anonymous Coward

Unjustified comparison

@Stephen Usher: "It's far slower than Snow Leopard on the same hardware and the re-implementation of the Finder is clunky"

All speed comparison tests published to date setting Snow Leopard and Lion head-to-head show no appreciable speed difference between the two. In some tests, Snow Leopard was slightly faster, and in others Lion was slightly faster. None of the differences were statistically significant. If you are seeing poor performance with Lion, I can only conclude that you have a problem with your installation.

I'm not reading reports (or experiencing) a "clunky Finder" either. Please elaborate - do you dislike the design, or is this related to the same performance problem you're having?

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Christ

"it's a bit of a Vista"

Ouch

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Vista indeed

I have to agree- every time Lion asks me a question that I shouldn't have to answer (of course I want to unlock this file- that's why I opened it) it feels a little more Vista like.

The point has been made before that Lion isn't for the power users it's for the wider audience and Apple aren't afraid to annoy the power users if it opens MacOS up to a wider audience.

However it seems to me that this is a step too far, if we learned anything from Vista it is that there is a dumb-floor that you just don't want to go below.

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Not a Vista for one important reason...

... its perceived faults haven't dented its sales figures. I wouldn't consider the comparison to be appropriate if the company doesn't see any response to its decisions.

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WTF?

Of course not! Apple doesn't give users a choice... I *assume* Lion comes with all new Macs, correct me if I'm wrong. Vista had to compete against XP. Plus, OSX upgrades are $29 so users figure "what the hell, it's worth a try" unless they've been burned before...

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@tnovelli

You're quite right — no matter how much someone might want to buy a new Mac with 10.6 or earlier on it, nobody is able to supply that. So customers can't react to Lion in the same way as many reacted to Vista. However it's still worth drawing a distinction because most of the Vista story was customer reaction.

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Stop

The Perennial Question...

...whenever you want to do something on a Mac or with Apple software that Apple wouldn't like you to do: "Why would you want to do that?"

-How can I activate my iPhone without hooking it up to a computer?

-How can I add music to my iPhone/iPod without using iTunes?

-How can I install iTunes without installing Safari?

-How can I transfer my music back to my computer off my iPod?

-How can I add useful gadgets, such as an RSS feed or a weather display, to my iPad's home screen?

-How can I run the previous version of OS X on my new system?

And now: How can I turn off this latest method of protection from myself?

Hackers continually find ways around these seemingly arbitrary design restrictions, and sometimes Apple acquiesces (right-clicking, the terminal, etc), but that doesn't make them any less annoying, especially for people interested in switching. "Different" isn't always "wrong".

By the way, if you're tempted to answer any of the above questions, you've missed the point.

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Anonymous Coward

Slogans

Microsoft: Where do you want to go today?

Linux: Let's design and build a complex bridge and road network to get from A to B. It'll take a while to get the hang of, but subsequent journeys will be faster and better organised. (catchy slogan....)

Apple: <schoolmistress voice> Now, kids, where are we all going today?

They'll all get you from A to B, but the Apple route inevitably leads to a more "luser- friendly" environment with workarounds for actual work as opposed to one that works properly. Microsoft tried that route with Vista and look at the mess they made!

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This isn't a way of protecting you from yourself

It's a versioning system, tacked on in such a way that the writer has found it to have at least one significant flaw. Apple's intention isn't to save you from accidental deletion, it's to retain extra historical information much like a common or garden source control repository. They just seem to have done a less than spectacular job of the implementation.

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yes, botched

I agree. The data is for version control, not to work as an "unerase" function. Since this essentially breaks the Finder's "Empty Trash" function, I'm sure it isn't intentional. Hope so, anyway. If not, then they really need to fire somebody...

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Bronze badge

Less than spectacular?

Consumers are no doubt ungrateful spoiled brats, but they tend to expect from major corporations like IBM, Microsoft, and Apple products that are polished and professional - rather than ones that add new features that come complete with hidden traps.

Of course, this particular mistake is not unique to Apple. Thus, back when Microsoft Word for Windows version 6 came out, it thoughtfully embedded all previous revisions of every word processor document in that document by default. Which could have amusing consequences if you E-mailed out the computer files themselves, instead of printing them and mailing out the paper copies.

But of course no one would do that, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Happy with it...

Having pretty much lived with CVSing all my documents in the past, I actually feel this is a nice system. You just need to get used to it's interface.

You CAN delete all old versions of the file by going into "Browse All Versions" mode (drop down menu on the right side of the document title) and then Option (alt) click the previous revision's title there. It will then say "Delete all past versions".

It's all there in the filesystem anyway, and accessible via the underlying Unix system for the shell script power users or utility writers.

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Re

Not that big of a deal, huh?

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Shadow Copies

Correct me if I'm wrong but this sounds very similar to shadow copies on Windows, saved me having to dig through backups a few times when a user has rung up to say they have deleted a file by accident, handy feature, no? However at least on Windows you can set a max amount of space to be used and optionally turn it off, can this be done on the mac?

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Mac versions

The difference is, shadow copies keeps copies that you SAVE. Versions on Mac just decides to save every now and then, even if you don't want it to (say you open a picture & crop it a little to print one bit; yup, it's just saved the crop; hope you didn't want the rest).

As for options (what are options?), no you can't turn it off.

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Flame

You mean...

Apple are selling a feature that's been in other OSes (and office suites) for years as a new, revolutionary feature? Nah, that'd never happen!

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, but

Yeah, but: Windows shadow copies are elective, you have to set them up, they aren't there by default.

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Happy

@Yeah, But...

Nope! Sorry. On by default.

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Gimp

Versions eh?

VMS had this when I was still in short trousers.

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VMS versions

I'd happy kill someone to have VMS versions on a modern OS.

I'd hoped that shaddow copy in Windows would do this, but no. I've been waiting for a way to get it on Linux, and do it in the background on a Linux file-server as a way to get it in windows & Mac.

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Yes but VMS did it properly

With VMS the versioning was there for all to see, nothing hidden and when you choose to delete an older version it was deleted it didn't hang around to catch out the unwary.

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Facepalm

Yes but VMS did it properly

Much to the annoyance of the dickhead (and everyone else) I was in college with, who had a brain fart and wondered if he could fill up the print queue by writing a script to continuously print a file that contained a single form feed.

In the best traditions of BOFH, he tried to do this on a Friday night, so when the printer started spewing out blank pages it was switched off, when the admins came in on Monday morning it was nearly two days before the printer was usable again :-)

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Coat

I smell a LAWSUIT!

Maybe DEC can sue Apple for misappropriation of DEC's intellectual property.

What? Waddyamean Dec is no more? But...but...but.. they're COMPAQ?!?

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Happy

Ah, yes. VAX/VMS versioning

That was a really nice feature. It didn't get in the way or anything. You simply had FILENAME.EXT;1, FILENAME.EXT;2, FILENAME.EXT;3 and so forth, with the option to limit the maximum number of versions to be kept around (my uni gave you 3 by default, but the version limit was part of the folder's directory metadata and could be changed on a per-file basis). You could even specify a negative version number, which would be interpreted relative to the latest -- so FILENAME.EXT;-1 would be the previous version (that you thought you'd overwritten).

Might be worth suggesting to the ext5 developers :)

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WTF?

Extra screwed ...

if you send your Mac for servicing thinking that you have safely removed your confidential docs, finances, porn etc.

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Un-Extra Screw... Go Multi-Disk Systems

One way Apple could deal with this perceived or actual problem is to make the user data go to a physically-removable medium, one that is EASY to remove and is USER-findable. When the machine goes to service, ALL the user should need to do is to pull the data disk out. The system disk remains. It, too, could be removable, but at least for privacy, the data disk should be removable so it can be owner-scanned off-line, too.

This is why I like laptops with dual bays. Ideally, i'd use one disk for data, and one (however much space is lost since the OS won't likely use 50% of the "OS & Programs Disk".

But, the developers of apps need to be flogged to re-write apps to refuse to run on a system disk and to install ONLy on a data disk. Well, that would require all manufacturers to provide dual-disk as a default, not an option. It'll sell more drives, but the consumer will pay for it. But, when flash drives take over, there'll be no excuse for not permitting the user to take the data out of the chassis, and for not rewriting future programs to behave as progs on the system, data on another medium.

This admonition applies to Linux and Windows as well.

But, at least ONE major player will not like this: Law enforcement. That community will likely demand that compressed, encrypted, disavowed shadow copies be kept no matter what the legal ramifications.

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Anonymous Coward

"This admonition applies to Linux and Windows as well."

Linux and UNIX (and therefore Mac OSX, maybe, if they've not disabled it) have been able to do it for years. Simply mount your /home on a different partition.

If you're terribly paranoid, just plug in a decent sized SD card (on the inbuilt port on laptops, or an external/add an internal mount) and mount your /home to that through drive mounting directly or symlinking. For example, you could make /home/dssf a symlink to the mounted SD card, and then /home/missus on the OS drive or the home partition. So then, if you're paranoid about her gettin your files, just log off, unplug the SD and keep it in your pocket til she's done!

(not sure if symlinking your entire /home would work, but I would think so. You could just encrypt your /home instead.)

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Holmes

Actually....

Was Time Machine turned on in the test machine? That type of document retention seems characteristic of Time Machine, which is designed to keep that extra copy around for a while.

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jai
Silver badge

open an attachment in Pages?

if someone emails me a document and i want to take a look and read it before deciding if i want to keep/use it, i use the QuickLook option to read it, instead of firing up a full blown application for the minute or two it takes to read the doc.

not saying that the way Lion allows apps to keep a Version copy of a deleted file isn't a problem, but i would suggest you're not making the most efficient use of the other features that Lion (an even the previous OS X versions) provide.

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CCD
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Autosave without versions - a disaster

On an network where just about all folders are NFS-mounted from a central server to Mac and Linux systems, and shared via Samba to Windows, Apple's implementation of autosave without versioning is a nightmare. If my cat walks over the keyboard while I'm briefly out of the room, Lion has kindly saved gibberish to my documents without my knowledge or permission, and without saving the previous good version. I can't recall ever losing a document because I forgot to explicitly save it, but I make changes to documents that I end up not wanting to save at all on a daily basis, e.g. just to see how changes to a web page might look, or to experiment with a graphical image, only to change my mind.

I can see the advantages of autosave + versioning in a 1-computer consumer environment, but those of us who work in IT, and have to use a mixture of Mac, Windows and Linux systems, what Apple have done with Lion is more than a minor annoyance, and the fact that we can't disable autosave feels like Apple is insulting our intelligence.

With Snow Leopard, we were close to making OS X our main desktop platform, but having tried working with Lion, we are retreating back to Linux and Windows. Sad, because we are big Apple fans, and think iOS is brilliant, especially on the iPad. But a desktop PC for serious use is not just a giant smartphone.

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Autosave

Yes, and autosave the way that MS does it is fine (shudder!). Autosave the document to an AUTOSAVE file, not by overwriting the bloody original. URGHHHHHH

I picked a really bad time to change over to Mac :(

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Anonymous Coward

Ummm..

Undo a few times. Yeah, all that autosave stuff also creates a lovely persistent undo buffer.

Really, folks -- seems like this is a whining and whinging session, not commentary from experienced folks.

I love the feature. I am very much an advanced Win/Linux/Mac user. My hard drive is encrypted to a fare-thee-well. I LOVE having document versioning to go back to, without having to do a "svn ci -m 'Required Comment'" every time I want a version. It smooths my workflow. Not to mention simplifying life for the nontechnical users in my home. Not all of us have time to be neckbeards.

Seriously. Deal with the fact that the implementation of this feature (while not brand new) is superior to any other I have seen in practice. Get used to the new pattern of operation:

* If you didn't close the document, it's not closed.

Simple, right? Took me about 10 minutes.

You can only get access to the cache if:

1. The document is still open

2. You have root privileges

Not quite so insecure, right? All the caches are stored and referenced via GUID.

Not perfect security, but certainly not unreasonable for document storage. And... to get rid of it:

1. Go to System Preferences > General

2. Untick "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps".

3. Then reboot.

Oh, noes! Too hard!

Cheers.

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well, maybe you are perfect and never make mistakes. Having to dig through versions in the silly starry version thing to retrieve something that would've required a simple "Revert to Saved..." before gets old pretty fast. I often compare old versions of documents, documents I do not want changed in any way, with the new one I'm currently working on. Browsing a document without saving is now impossible, that's just ridiculous.

I'm sure there are people who might benefit from this, but power users working together in a network environment should have the option to disable this downright dangerous feature.

OS X has always had a sort of undefinable quality where the OS is working with you. Anyone who's never used OS X for at least few weeks straight has no clue what I'm talking about. Sadly Lion has adopted the absolute worst aspect of Windows; it's in your face. It's constantly actively interfering with the way I think it's best to something.

Needless to say, I reinstalled Snow Leopard from my Time Machine disk.

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FAIL

Pointing out the bleedin obvious

Firstly anyone sending confidential info via email is an idiot to start with. ANYONE allong the delivery route can read it.

Secondly under Snow Leopard you have exactly the same problem if TimeMachine has picked the file up. Windows users need not look smug either, it's quite hard to irretrievably delete from that also.

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Windows

Hard in Windows?

Right click on recycle bin, choose 'empty recycle bin'

Alternatively, shift-delete will force a delete rather than a shove-into-recycle-bin.

If you mean the files can be recovered later, that's a problem that any non-encrypted filesystem would have.

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FAIL

@Steve Todd

Surely you've heard of S/MIME, PGP/GPG, etc?

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