The Finder is the default file manager used on Mac OS and Mac OS Xoperating systems. It is responsible for the overall user management of files, disks, and network volumes and the launching of other applications. Finder acts like the shell on other operating systems, but using a graphical user interface, and is described in its "About" window as "The Macintosh Desktop Experience". It was introduced with the first Macintosh computer, and also existed as part of GS/OS on the Apple IIGS. It underwent a complete rewrite with Apple's switch to a UNIX-based OS in OS X.
The Finder uses a view of the file system that is rendered using a desktop metaphor; that is, the files and folders are represented as appropriate icons, volumes are displayed on the desktop, and there is a trash can (on the Dock in OS X, on the desktop in previous versions) to which files can be dragged to mark them for deletion. Similarly, recording files to the optical media may be accomplished by dragging them to "Burn Folder" and pressing "Burn" button afterwards. Part of the system core services in OS X, the Finder.appapplication bundle is located at /System/Library/CoreServices/.
Third-party OS X software developers offer Finder replacements that run as stand-alone applications, such as Path Finder, Xfile, and XtraFinder. These replacements are shareware or free and aim to provide the same functionality as the Finder, as well as additional features that the Finder does not include.
Ars Technica columnist John Siracusa has been a long-standing critic of the "non-spatial" interface of the OS X Finder compared with the Classic Mac OS Finder.Daring Fireball blog author John Gruber has voiced similar criticisms. In a 2005 interview he said that the Finder in version 10.3 of OS X had become "worse than in 10.0" and that "the fundamental problem with the OS X Finder is that it's trying to support two opposing paradigms at once – the browser metaphor ... and the spatial metaphor from the original Mac Finder ... and it ends up doing neither one very well." Reviewing the same version of OS X, Siracusa comments that the Finder "provides exactly the same self-destructive combination of spatial and browser-style features as all of its OS X predecessors".