November 18, 2003

ShapeShifter

Mac OS X themeing grew up a lot today: Unsanity released "ShapeShifter" (1.0), which at this point is primarily just a theme switcher that doesn't move files around. This will be such a boon to system stability that it's not even funny. Also, no more Aqua restore, and no more being up the creek when you have an old Aqua restore, etc. Different themes for different users is very cool as well.
OK, I'm wrong on this first reservation. Leaving it here for posterity though.
I do have some reservations, though. BZ explained to me the technicalities of how they do it, and apparently they are patching file i/o (which will definitly be faster than patching drawing code directly, for example). This is all well and good, but my concern is whether or not they did it properly. If you are running something like Photoshop or DVD Studio Pro and ShapeShifter is intercepting (and likely disregarding, since you aren't looking in the right folder) your i/o calls, isn't that going to slightly slow down each call, resulting in larger slowdown when you have bigger files? I don't know enough about this, but it worries me.
This is my real reservation I suppose.
My second concern is the cost. For one, I don't know how that 20$ is spread out. I hope that there is a system in place to give theme designers some profit (rather than, say, swizcore and maxthemes making all of the potential designer profit, which would in the end stifle theme development). So basically there, I want to know who gets what. My second problem is that, since this is one of those collaboration projects, is it 'upgrades for life?'. And given that Unsanity stopped upgrades for life recently, am I going to pay 20$ for this version of SS, which doesn't do much more than theme changing, and then 10$ later when they roll out the SS that can do everything (the proposed feature list rocks -- one click and you'll have all new icons, potentially new images in apps that use images, and potentially new dock icons as well) it is planned to do. I'm just nervous that I'll somehow get screwed over there, which isn't cool. I know the Unsanity people are good guys, but you never know what can happen.

Erik of NSLog doesn't like themes, or ShapeShifter, and he's wrong. So there, I'm right, you're wrong, etc and so forth. Themes rock, Aqua gets boring, Aqua looks bad sometimes! Especially with metal everywhere, I'm happy that many themes get rid of the distinction between metal and nonmetal windows.

shapeshiftericon

Posted on November 18, 2003 06:21 PM | apple | TrackBack
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