On Sept. 27 I listed (http://macte.ch/IRxgk) some of the features I wanted to see in Mac OS X 10.8. Robert Meyers had some interesting feedback on my ideas that I’d like to share with you.

I wanted an expanded Disk Utility that can optimize and defrag Mac volumes. However, Rob says Apple doesn’t see the need for optimizers/defrag utilities (see http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1375). So don’t expect to see this feature built into Disk Utility any time soon.

I asked for the ability to start up from a Time Machine back-up and carry on working, like we can when using SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner. In other words: system cloning. Rob disagrees.

“Yes, Apple should provide an easy way to clone a system be it from another hard disk drive, a Time Machine backup, or even a different computer,” he says. “However, I wouldn’t want Apple to provide a way to take a Time Machine backup and allow you to use it as a working drive. Time Machine backups are intended to be backups only — a means by which you can restore your data to another drive and then go back to work. Allowing a user to take a Time Machine backup and use it in its existing form as a working drive risks disaster. What if the problem that caused you to go to your backup isn’t a drive issue and affects your time machine backup? Not only have you lost your primary data but you’ll have lost your backup data, too.”

He notes that another significant improvement to Time Machine would be the ability to limit how much space is used on a given drive for Time Machine backups. Currently, Time Machine literally takes over the entire target drive. In other words, once Time Machine starts backing up to the drive, it doesn’t start the revolving aspect of the backup system until it runs out of space.

“I’d like to be able to tell Time Machine to use only ‘x’ gigs of space on Y drive and store all of that backup data within a single folder on the target drive,” Rob says. “This way, if you only have 120GB to backup, you can tell Time Machine to use only 120GB of space on the target drive. Likely, with 120GB o backup, I’d set aside at least 250 to 500GB but that’s a different matter entirely. So, once Time Machine hits that limit, it starts over again, leaving the balance of the drive available for other purposes.”

I want Receipts in Mail so you know when sent email has been read. Rob says that
Return Receipts aren’t an Internet standard. So, Apple could implement thi,s but it will work only when both the sender and the receiver use email packages that support a common version of the feature. Otherwise, it isn’t going to work and will be useless.

I also pondered what Mac OS X 10.8 will be dubbed? Sabertooth would be the logical follow-up to Lion, but that’s probably best saved for Mac OS X 10.9, with Mac OS X 11 starting a new codenaming scheme altogether.

Rob says there are still lots of cats available — cheetah, bobcat, puma, mountain lion, just to name a few. Well, I gotcha here, Rob (well, sorta). Mac OS 10.0 was codenamed Cheetah and Mac OS X 10.1 was codenamed Puma. However, Bobcat and Mountain Lion are still unused.

So how about Mac OS X 10.8 (“Mountain Lion”), Mac OS X 10.9 (“Bobcat”) and Mac OS X 11 (“Sabertooth”). After that, Apple can move to another codenaming scheme.

And thanks, Robert, for the well-thought-out ideas.

— Dennis Sellers