Perhaps a little rant about Apple Computer.  Generally I think they rock.  They make some really great stuff.  It's not very often that I complain about anything they do with their computing products.  But today I found something.

Apple's Operating System OS X is just about my favorite thing they do.  I'm a UNiX head and that is what OS X is.  With a pretty MAC interface drawn on top of it.  Very cool.  It is positioned at the end user who doesn't want to know anything about the internals of their system and who doesn't want to have to do things to keep it running healthy.

In the UNiX world we've had a tool to automate system maintenance for years, even in the case where the system is set up as an end user desktop box that is powered off during the normal system maintenance time in the middle of the night.  The tool simply keeps track of the last time those tools were scheduled to run and if the system was off at that time, runs them right away.

But it turns out that Apple failed to include this tool in OS X.  So if you shut your computer off every night it never runs those scripts.  Eventually this allows the disk to fill with old stuff and now your computer doesn't really do anything correctly.  Yucky.

All they had to do was include this free software tool and their really great OS X would have been that much more stable for the end user.

I challenge Apple Computer to go check out the anacron project and especially anacron for MacOS and create a software update for all versions of OS X to add this fine tool with a good default config.

Also of note on this topic is that the error message that lead to this was not adequate.  It said only that it could not save a document.  If there had been any indication that the disk was full it would have saved me getting a call to figure out what was wrong.  It shouldn't take a computer consultant to get a user past a full disk.  And finally, the [command] i info for the disk showed 37 MB of free space during all of this.  That is because the UNiX file systems reserve some space for the administrator.  A user checking free disk space should be shown what is available for them.  This also would have made my trip to diagnose unnecessary.  The first of these is simply a poor decision to protect the user too much from technical info.  The second is just a dumb error spawned from lack of understanding of filesystem fundamentals.