Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I discovered a problem recently on my MacBook (MacOS X 10.5) where the default browser and default RSS reader would get reset to Safari each time I'd reboot. It was getting a bit annoying, so I dug around online to see if other people were having the problem. To my surprise, I saw a lot of people having this problem.

Consensus was that it's a known bug and happens when you are using the built-in disk encryption in OS X. I'm using that because I wanted to know that if someone ripped off my laptop, I'd at least make it more difficult for them to get in to it.

Apple users tend to be different sorts of problem solvers than Linux users. As a Linux user, I expect to find a patch or be able to make a patch myself and recompile the software. Apple users don't really do that, they tend to find workarounds in other ways.

The recommended workaround was to use Automator to open Safari (which controls the default browser and rss reader settings), open the Preferences window, select Firefox for the browser, and NetNewsWire for the RSS reader. Save the resulting script from Automator and have it run when you log in.

While this solution is clunky, it does work (it's also amusing to watch the script launch when I log in. It's like someone else is controlling my system for a minute). What was more interesting to me is using Automator. It's a drag and drop scripting environment for the GUI. I was able to script mouse actions using this system. I think this is pretty cool. It hides everything from me and just lets me graphically put together a script.

My question for Linux users is do we have anything like Automator for GNOME? Or really any desktop environment?


ivazqueznet said...

I've been coming up with ideas to use D-Bus and fin together, but nothing concrete.

slashdotaccount said...

Linux has too many different UI toolkits to have the same thing.

Kevin Kofler said...