I agree with much of what you say.
The Panther Finder has many faults, some added by Apple, and some which remain but should have been fixed by Apple.
To wit: We refer to the Panther Finder as THE NANNY FINDER.
BTW, we are a business, and not a "small shop." So, we are most definitely a "business customer" of Apple Computer. We are the kind of operation that Apple wants very much to seel computers to, but Apple continues to err, in that, Apple believes its product is to blame for low sales, when for the most part, it is Apple's sales plan that is to blame ... but that is another story.
For now, here, I want to address the problems of using Mac OS X - Panther in a business environment, where we produce files, we have many files, we must keep track of our files, and we must back up our files.
We produce many files during the day; hundreds of Microsoft Word, Excel and some other applications' documents.
We visit many, many websites during the day, and we save the webpages and/or bookmark the sites.
We have, all through the day, these files accumulating, and we must keep them organized as they pile up, so to speak.
As it is true for the real paperwork that is produced, additional papers to and from the company, and all other such documentation of the company, we deal with thousands of files in a day --- and it must be organized in almost the same manner on our computers, as it is in our various types of filing cabinets.
No business can operate long, and well, without keeping this information so ordered, in both the real cabinets, and aboard the computer systems.
Then comes Panther Finder, where files are seemingly only a button or two or three ... away?
Well, no "one-button rule," and no "two-button rule," and no "three-button rule" that are affected by however Apple re-shuffles the deck of its Finder's features, removes in any way, the requirement that the user of the computer systems must know where all these documents are.
Practically any successful business can relate to this hard fact, that there is No NANNY OPERATING SYSTEM and No NANNY DATA SYSTEM that can replace the human need to constantly monitor it and all the data anyway.
The net of much of this is, that the Jaguar Finder worked good, but Apple has in the new Panther Finder, stripped away some of what worked good in Jaguar --- when they could have well enough let it alone.
Better yet; how about a button: "IF you want to stay with the Jaguar look and feel, click here:"
So that after learning the new Mac OS X, a user who has learned the layout of the files and folders --- and the company has paid a lot of money for all of us to know this --- we might remain very productive.
I cannot say enough about that point, and that, it constantly escapes Apple Computer's sales, marketing, and senior exec's.
Look, Jaguar was a big seller for businesses who understand cutting costs by smoothing workflow --- we use the Mac OS because of this, and we are most definitely not using it as a toy, a game, a music box, a camera, or some other appliance for our entertainment.
We use the Mac in order to cut costs and maintain productivity; again, that which Apple's sales plans cannot grasp.
They, Apple, might finally wake up to having Microsoft Office installed on the Macs in the stores, and having around somebody who actually knows how to use the applications and can demonstrate them, so that when a business customer comes in to see what Apple has to offer, at the door, the customer is greeted with knowledgeable people about what businesses need, in order to work well ... instead of greeted with the useless, "Have you seen iPhoto?"
Our reply, "Have you ever been in the business environment where we must meet productivity requirements? We use Microsoft Office and AppleWorks, but today, we'd like to see a demonstration of Excel on that G5 over there."
To which Apple Computer responds, "We ... uh ... duh ..."
That's it. That's their sales pitch to business customers.
Now, they have dumped in our laps, Panther, wherein, we find that some Jaguar Finder features are gone, in addition to some quirks that do not work, and in addition to Panther Finder features that are counter-productive and exhaust more time than "click - click - click" --- in other words, work flow is being interferred with, by the Panther Finder.
We are wrestling with the Panther Finder's elimination of how the user could sweep over a list of files with the tip of the mouse arrow.
We are wrestling with the failure of the "View Options" for a window, which, when set for "All Windows," does not take effect for all windows.
We almost always use the List View and never the Icon View to read many files. We constantly match up two volume's windows alongside each other in order to compare file names and dates.
We now spend a great amount of time fiddling with Panther's Finder windows because THE SETTINGS DO NOT STICK!
The "View Options" SETTINGS DO NOT STICK!
We adjust the width of windows, but THEY DO NOT STICK!
When changing filenames, the width of the field for the filename, when highlighted, as been shrunk by a few pixels, significant, those few ... by Apple, so that it is more difficult for people to set the cursor down in there at the end of the filename ... and so we must click in the name and then find the Right Arrow button and then click click click or hold it down, when previously we could land right on the end of the filename and add to it, promptly, by simple placing the tip of the arrow there.
All over Panther --- the Finder --- there are many such small instances of Apple Computer driving up the cost of operating a computer in a business environment.
The price tag of Panther, rightly or wrongly set, is nothing compared to, having invested quite a lot of money in new machines and Jaguar, the cost to us, of wrestling with Apple's re-arranging the furniture and obstructing the flow of work.
We understand that Apple might add features, or might move the control of a feature from one Control Device App. to another, but Apple's insistance on removing features that work and worked well, has hurt us.
And it's going to hurt Apple, as they interfere with productivity and ultimately with the cost of backing up data, because their new NANNY FINDER has been designed to "help" users toward dumbing down their proper file system discipline.
The data must be backed up. It must be backed up at least to to separate hard drives.
We use many backup hard drives, attached by SCSI and by FireWire. These drives have many partitions. We have a Mac, 1GHz, running with 38 partitions that occupy 2/5ths of the screen.
We have Mac's and PC's and Linux all networked, thanks to Jaguar 10.2.8, SharePoints 3.2, BatChmod 1.32, settings in the smb.conf file, use of NetInfo, Directory Access, the Network Preferences, etc.
We pump a lot of data.
We are a real business.
We have to know where ALL our data is.
The Panther Finder is not as productive as the Jaguar Finder.
We have put on hold, further purchases of Panther.
We're sticking with Jaguar, because it works very well.
We did not have to try and make the Jaguar Finder work.
We find that we have wasted time trying to make the Panther Finder work.