Panther: Houston, we have a big (synchronization) problem

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
November 18th, 2003 • 4:55 am

Yesterday, I noted that synchronization problems in Finder windows and Open/Save dialogs when new files are added to a folder appear to be back in Panther.

Today, I have hard evidence of it. Look at the screen shot below:

Open dialog and Finder window not in sync

As you can see, it shows the contents of the exact same folder (called “Uploads”) in two different environments at the same time. The one in the background is a Finder window, and the one in the foreground is an Open dialog box in Camino.

This screen shot was taken at 14:41, i.e. four minutes after the file called “Panther-Open-Columns.gif” was added to the “Uploads” folder. Four minutes after the file was added, it still is not showing up in Camino’s Open dialog.

This is really bad. I don’t really care who’s responsible for this (the application or Mac OS X itself). As an end user, this is unacceptable to me. And I am not particularly interested in waiting until some developer condescends to fixing the problem. This is basic, essential stuff. It’s like putting a sheet of paper in a drawer, closing the drawer, opening it again, and finding that the sheet is not there.

(The only way I was able to make the file appear in Camino’s Open dialog was to actually quit Camino and relaunch it! I suppose I’m going to have to use another browser…)

If something in Panther breaks such basic functionality in several third-party applications, then Apple owes it to us to add a hack in Panther that temporarily solves the problem until all other third-party applications have been properly updated. Because, while developers are busy doing nothing or working on the wrong priorities, the user is suffering. Somebody is forgetting that computers are actually being used to do stuff (like, work, for example) here…

[UPDATE: I’ve just found out that the Ars Technica review of Mac OS X 10.3 actually covers this very topic. And the news is not all bad… I sure hope that we don’t have to wait until 10.4 to have some improvement here, though.]

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