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Premium Member
1,579 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, here's my theory.
If you want to support 1-button mice, you can't allow true 2-button mouse support.
What!? you say, aren't 2-button mice supported already?
When you click the right mouse button, this is being mapped to something that can be done with a single mouse button plus a modifier key, or to generalize it, a keyboard-mouse-shortcut.
If they allow full 2-button mouse support, then they allow combinations which cannot be done with a one-button mouse:
Let's say they allow this:
Ok, now to get this with a one-button mouse, what do we do? We must add a modifier key. Make Shift+LtClick == RtClick. That gives us:
Okay, now how do we emulate this:
Oh no. Now we are stuck.

So you see, it's not so much a philosophical thing as a backwards compatibility thing. Right?

EDIT: unless you think it's philosophical to disdain putting this disclaimer on everything: "* 2-button mouse REQUIRED for some applications"

[ November 24, 2003, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: elmer ]

Premium Member
5,246 Posts
It is a backwards-compatible thing, at least partly.

Generally Apple cites research with new-to-computer users that indicate they have top-5 issues with multibutton mice.

Not all the newby issues can be dealt with (ie the virtual desktop is fundamental to a GUI but is a hard one to get around when you've never used a computer before) but since you can, if you want, make a 1 button mouse, that's what Apple does.

Microsoft could do it too, if they wanted, but the IBM computers the PC is modeled after already had a multibutton mouse (derived from the 3-button UNIX mouse) so they left it that way.

Both IBM and MS eventually decided that they would reduce it to a 2-button mouse; the reasons are the same useability ones Apple used for it's decision, they just didn't go as far with the solution.

It's possible if not probable that since IBM felt only professionals would be using their PC, these users were already familiar with multibutton mice and expected to see one on a business desktop computer. The idea that you mom would be using a PC some day was too big a conceptual leap for the designers of the original IBM PC.

[ November 24, 2003, 12:43 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
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