Lion Launchpad = Windows 3.1 Program Manager?,

published at 1:07pm on 07/22/11

I just saw OS X Lion this morning for the first time, and when I looked at the Launchpad, I couldn’t help but think back to the Program Manager from Windows 3.1.

When I first started using Windows after using my Apple //gs, the first thing I remember was how the Program Manager made absolutely no sense to me. I was used to navigating my directory structure like a tree, collecting like-apps in folders and roughly knowing the layout of my hard drive. The Program Manager threw all of that out and gave me one “launch” window that contained links to all of my programs without any context. I was immediately confused – these weren’t files that were the programs I wanted to run, they were merely pointers to the programs that lived elsewhere on the drive.

Eventually, I got used to this structure and I found myself creating groups for my games, my utilities, my graphics programs. Windows 95 had the same structure, though it was moved from Giant Window to Start Menu. Finally, I got my Titanium Powerbook running OS X and I was back to the Applications folders where I would navigate my computer’s directory structure to find an actual program file to run when I wanted to run a program. Well, except for the Dock.

And now, with Lion, Apple is taking a cue from Microsoft and is decoupling the actual running of programs from the location of the program files themselves. Everything old is new again in computing, eh?

OS X 3.1

Filed under: Technology

At 2:23 pm on 07.22.11, Danielle said,

Windows 3.1 could play DVDs?

At 2:25 pm on 07.22.11, Angus McIntyre said,

Is it Windows 3.1 reborn – or is it the Launcher from System 7 back again? See

At 2:27 pm on 07.22.11, Jesse Chan-Norris said,

Good point – I completely forgot about the launcher!

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