towards a redesign of, or alternative to, Apple Disk Utility

Moderators: jhartley, MSR734, nola

towards a redesign of, or alternative to, Apple Disk Utility

Post by grahamperrin » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:26 am

I have, in Ask Different, a question:

What techniques for disk, volume and file system management are possible with OS X, but troublesome within Disk Utility?

Subjective questions such as How would you redesign X? are not a good fit – see the links, within the question, to Discussion in Ask Different Chat. So my question there is borderline and may eventually be closed (fair enough).

Where is this going?

Two directions:

  1. the wish for a redesign of Disk Utility
  2. the wish for an alternative app, with a graphical user interface, that can do – with disks on OS X – what Disk Utility can not.

As (a) is beyond our control, so (b) may come first and for alternatives to Apple's app, I encourage open source.

In my experience, Apple does listen carefully to feedback. Whilst we can neither control a redesign of Disk Utility nor set a schedule for Apple, we can offer facts and reasons to guide the thinking of the company.

Back to the question in Ask Different. I have:

  • only limited experience with ZFS
  • almost no experience with other file systems that are (a) usable with OS X but (b) not natively supported by Apple.

So … I can think about design, but my perspective is limited and if a redesign of Disk Utility is to happen:

  • the redesign must be broad, and as close as possible to future-proof.

Which other file system communities might we poll on this OS X-oriented subject?

The first that come to mind are:

  • ext2 and similar
  • NTFS

How wide should the net be cast?

Or can the thoughts of ZEVO and MacZFS communities encompass everything that might in the future be required from a disk utility?

Thoughts please – many thanks.

(I'll also seed this topic with a few design examples.)

Cross-post to zfs-macos for MacZFS: https://groups.google.com/d/topic/zfs-m ... discussion
grahamperrin Offline

User avatar
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:21 pm
Location: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

design example: ExtFSManager

Post by grahamperrin » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:48 am

Disk Utility's initial view of Apple CoreStorage world is sometimes terribly broken.

Instead, click:

2012-11-12 07-38-16 screenshot.png


For the one disk in my MacBookPro5,2, that is much better than the overview given by Disk Utility.

(An exemplary overview, but not an interface for management of HFS Plus, CoreStorage or ZFS.)

Side notes: I do not actively use ext2, but I do have ExtFSManager.prefPane from long ago experimentation with the the Mac OS X Ext2 Filesystem project. The SSD performance-oriented Apple_Journal slice is present for test purposes but in this particular laptop configuration, not currently used.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
grahamperrin Offline

User avatar
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:21 pm
Location: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

design example: RAID Utility

Post by grahamperrin » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:54 am

My major criticism of Disk Utility, with modern use cases, is its sidebar.

With traditional approaches to disks, it was possible to show belongings in the sidebar. The effect was simplicity – very Apple.

With modern approaches to disks, attempts to show belongings in the sidebar of Disk Utility too often fail. The effects are mistaken, overloaded, omissive, unpredictable and ultimately confusing to end users – not very Apple. I use the word crowbar.

Consider the window of RAID Utility

Click:

the RAID Utility window.png


    Source: 019-1446/2009-02 (PDF, 2009)

In a private discussion on 2012-03-08 I praised Apple's design:

  • an orderly sidebar with good classifications
  • no attempt to crowbar belongings into the sidebar.

Those user interface design principles, and others, could allow a redesigned Disk Utility to work more easily with file system approaches that are both native, and not native, to the operating system.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
grahamperrin Offline

User avatar
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:21 pm
Location: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

design example: GParted

Post by grahamperrin » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:21 am

Food for thought: the GUI of GParted. I have used it often enough to find it very pleasing.

Screenshots at http://gparted.sourceforge.net/screenshots.php are OK, for example –

Image

– but I think a much better impression of the design can be gained through hands-on use. For anyone with an interest, maybe the easiest way to get a sense of GParted is the Parted Magic option in Ultimate Boot CD.

Food for thought because (personally) I don't know whether the GUI of GParted, or of anything similar, can lend itself to management of pools and file systems that span multiple physical disks.
grahamperrin Offline

User avatar
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:21 pm
Location: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

design example: ZEVO Utility

Post by grahamperrin » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:25 am

Full ZFS support arrives on the Mac via third party software | MacNN (2012-02-01) includes a screenshot of ZEVO Utility:

ZEVO Utility.png


(During private beta testing I never saw that app. I did see a different feature that was, to me, more impressive. If you wish to discuss the Platinum aspect of the screenshot above, please aim for editions and versions of ZEVO, community and open source.)
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
grahamperrin Offline

User avatar
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:21 pm
Location: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron