I’ve tried valiantly, since the day OS X Lion was released, to get used to Versions.
And, I can’t take it anymore. I finally penned Apple a passionate request to offer an off switch.
I do totally understand why Apple does not want to offer an off switch. Apple wants Mac users to get used to handling their files, in the same way iOS does. It’s essential for things like iCloud to take off; you have to get rid of the notions of a hierarchical file system. It’s ironic, since that’s the first letter in the file system Apple uses on both iOS and OS X; HFS+.
But, Apple wants people to not use HFS+, just engineers. Apple wants people to forget about files altogether.
I predict within the next few OS X versions, Apple will strongly, strongly encourage developers to drop the option to Save a file. Each app will likely have its own Home folder, residing probably in ~/Documents/
From there, developers will be told that the folders will be locked bundles, akin to how an iPhoto Library is an opaque bundle folder. From there, files will be permitted to exist as fragments, fragments that can easily be sent off and stored on iCloud, as even large documents are modified. Need to save a file for emailing? Share button. A feature of OS X Mountain Lion…
Email and iCloud will be used to export documents for sharing to others, via Export. Save will be done in the app, but you won’t save a file, just place a marker to checkpoint your changes. Versions will become more prevalent, and you’ll probably be able to delete versions (such as those versions of your corporate memo, wherein you told your boss to take a hike).
And if you don’t think this is the future, look at Windows 8. The future is arriving on Microsoft machines in just a few months. Metro UI makes saving files any other way downright unpleasant. I don’t expect Apple to go that far, developers were able to opt out of auto-save, auto-resume, and versions. There are after all, reasons to do so.
But I don’t expect Apple to ever offer a system-wide opt-out mechanism. I think that decision (not to) will stifle adoption in the corporate world, as we see Google start to position Android as a desktop platform, and as Linux starts to uptick once it gains compatibility with Android applications. Considering Oracle’s recent losses, I think Linux-running-Android is a definite mainstream play, and as Android embraces desktop, so shall consumers start to embrace Linux.
And that’s why I was so passionate in writing in to Apple. Failing to offer an opt-out is the likely conclusion, but it’s also a huge mistake.