Report-an-Apple-Bug Friday

Thursday, 2005-08-18; 23:50:00

OK, I'm going to follow in the tradition of Dan Wood. Every Friday on Technological Supernova is going to become Report-an-Apple-Bug Friday. Besides Dan, the only other member of the Mac blogging community that seems to be following in the footsteps of Dan is Brent Simmons. (Both Brent and Dan have done their second RAB Friday, too, so I'm only one week behind. I might decide to catch up, but whatever.)

I've found a bunch of annoying bugs even in Tiger on many occasions, but I often put off reporting them because it takes a few minutes to do the report (especially when following Apple's reporting guidelines), and because the bugs only come up every once in a while. Doing RAB Friday will encourage me to keep encouraging Apple to fix the bugs in the Mac OS.

I've filed a few bugs in the past:

-- (unknown bug number, not listed in my problems anymore): editing table-views in Interface Builder was incredibly annoying back when we had Project Builder 1.x
-- (unknown number): previous versions of Xcode also failed to produce build errors/warnings when the path had a slash in the name of one of the folders in the path leading to the project file -- and by a slash I mean a slash in the Finder, which actually translates to a colon in the UNIX layer
-- 4215588: hard drive statistics on the desktop don't automatically update (it's been closed as a duplicate)
-- 4145629: the Command-Tab switcher doesn't honor the selected keyboard layout (annoying, also closed as a duplicate)
-- 4145635: disk space and number of items in a folder should be stored as metadata in the Finder so it doesn't have to "prepare" to empty the trash and calculating folders in the Finder will be instant
-- 4145625: CD/DVD burning creates a coaster when initiating an intensive file copy (this did create a coaster for me once in Mac OS X 10.4.0, but I haven't encountered it since mainly because I haven't tried to do anything like that again for fear of creating another coaster -- so I can't really say whether this was a one-time failure or not)

I encourage everyone reading this weblog to participate in RAB Fridays. This concept is not to show that the Macintosh operating system is riddled with bugs; rather, it's to make it so it is virtually bug-free (which it certainly isn't at this point). I still love Mac OS X so much more than any other operating system, so I think it's not too much to ask to give some bug reporting back to the great developers at Apple. If you want to participate, just go to , login with your Apple ID (which will be the same as your .mac account info or your Apple online store info), and then start reporting bugs! Please remember to follow Apple's reporting guidelines -- when you click on the "New Problem" tab, there's a link to the "description format" for bug reporting (it's right under the Problem Details subheading).

Please note: if you can't find any bugs other than the ones that are already posted on weblogs, feel free to re-report these problems. Lots of reports on the same bug will help spur Apple to fix that particular bug. (Another note: if you are using an outdated version of Mac OS X, it doesn't help to report bugs, since many of them may already be fixed in a later version. Sorry to you Cheetah/Puma/Jaguar/Panther users.)

OK, now to my bug. It's now logged under number 4223711. This only happens under any version of Mac OS X Tiger, but never under any previous version of Mac OS X.

I regularly use the Dvorak keyboard layout, but sometimes I want to switch to the QWERTY layout for whatever reason. Well, in Tiger, using the Keyboard menu (activated by going to [System Preferences --> International --> Keyboard Menu --> Show keyboard menu]) to switch layouts is inconsistent. When you switch it to a new layout in one app and then switch to another app, the keyboard menu often reverts the setting to the previous layout. It's quite annoying for a few seconds, because you realize you're not typing in the layout that you chose just a few seconds ago. You can get the setting to stick by choosing the new layout, switching to another application, and then choosing the layout again. After two switches, it seems to stick.

This bug is also inconsistent. It seems to happen the majority of the time, but sometimes it does not. But it's still there and I've still encountered it many times in Mac OS X 10.4.2.

[UPDATE: Hmm, riccard0 in the comments has made a quite astute observation:

OK, despite the fact that the majority of the behavior that I observed can be explained by this new setting, I still believe what I was observing was a bug. This is why:

With the latter setting selected, each document does indeed have its own keyboard layout (each document in TextEdit can have its own layout, as well as.. color me a bit astounded.. each TAB in Safari, not just each window -- so when Apple says a different input source for each document, they really mean it). There's one important exception, however: some apps don't really have a concept of a document. For example, the Finder has different windows, but I don't think any reasonable interpretation can construe each Finder window to be a different document. Same thing goes for System Preferences, but in this case, it always only has one window.

In this case, no-document-apps actually use the most recently used layout from ANY document. So for example, if you're in the Finder and you set it to use keyboard layout A, switch to TextEdit, create a new document, set it to use keyboard layout B, and then switch back to the Finder, the Finder is now using keyboard layout B. This is bad behavior.

Basically, the one-layout-per-document behavior needs to fall back to a one-layout-per-application behavior for those applications that don't have documents. That's what I would have expected to happen.

(Incidentally, it appears that the one-layout-per-document behavior is default, which I also consider to be a bug. This is very strange behavior until you have the setting specifically pointed out to you... *sheepish grin* ... so the default should be the one-global-layout behavior.)]

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