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It’s been less than a week since I installed R. Galza’s ‘Panther’ theme for Jaguar, and suddenly the UI of a stock–installation Jaguar seems… jarring. Jaguar’s pinstripes feel too stark, its titlebar transparency too overzealous… in short, I’ve become an “I can’t wait for Panther” guy. Quick comparisons between Galza’s theme and officially–published (and unofficially–published) Panther screenshots show a close correlation; he or she has done a very good job. Quick comparisons between Jaguar and Panther (like the one below) are, again, jarring.

The UI differences between Jaguar and Panther are subtly astounding

Of course, not having paid for my Apple Developer Connection membership I don’t have access to the developer seeds, nor was I at the WWDC; so this theme is all I have to cherish until 10.3 drops. Yes, I appreciate how lame that sounds. No, I don’t care.

I will say this, though: one of the greatest visual effects of Mac OS X (to my mind) is the window shadowing; the foreground window has a ‘higher’ drop shadow, indicating that it is ‘closer’ to the viewer than the background windows. In keeping with this stack order/distance analogy, background windows should be darker… as if dimly lit. Jaguar does a fair job with this by making its background–window–titlebars mildly transparent. More often than not, they inherit a degree of darkness from the desktop background they inhabit. Panther, however, has no such transparency and the background–window–titlebars are lighter than their foreground cousins, to boot. It is my humble opinion (and experience, given this last week of Jaguar–imitating–Panther fun and foreplay) that the practice of presenting foreground windows with titlebars darker than their background compatriots is completely counterintuitive; and though I doubt that Apple, in its magnanimity, will deign to alter their design decision any time soon, I sorely hope this changes before Panther’s gold master. That is all.

Now I sleep, for tomorrow we Western Australians celebrate the Queen’s birthday. And by “celebrate” I mean “don’t work”, even though I may still be working… hospitality ‘n all.