Right off the bat, let me say that this is not about Mac-bashing, or a Mac-vs-Windows flame.
I use Windows, but Susan uses a Mac, so I occasionally am called on to perform simple maintenance on her laptop. This morning, that involved upgrading an application. I like the Mac, and generally find it to be well thought out, and easy to use. But I’ve never understood the application installation process. Here’s what I did to install the application Foo:
- Downloaded FooDownload.dmg.zip to the desktop.
- StuffIt Expander launched automatically, and gave me a FooDownload.dmg Folder on the desktop.
- At this point, nothing is happening, so I opened the folder, inside was a FooDownload.dmg icon.
- I opened that, a license agreement appears.
- I agreed to that, and a window appears with an application icon, and instructions to “Drag this icon to your Applications folder”.
- I have to find the Applications folder, and drop the icon into it.
At this point, the application is installed. To clean up, I had to:
- Close the Applications folder.
- Close the window with the dragging instructions.
- Close the FooDownload.dmg Folder window.
- Get rid of the three (!) things on the desktop: The dmg, the FooDownload.dmg Folder, and the FooDownload.dmg.zip file.
To me, that seems like a lot of manual steps. In the Windows world, you’ll sometimes find shareware where the author gives two options: an installer, or a zip file where you can do everything yourself. The Mac installation process is like the Windows do-it-all-yourself case.
Again, I’m not trying to slam the Mac. I genuinely do not understand why on a platform that makes things really simple, where the mantra is that stuff “just works”, ordinary users are expected to do all these manual steps. Why isn’t the installation process more automated? This isn’t a rhetorical question.
I know someone will answer, “Because you may not want to put the application in the Applications folder,” but really, how many users organize them differently? And the Windows installation wizards often let you choose another installation directory anyway, so that control is not incompatible with automating the experience.
I’m not flaming the Mac.