Even the usual suspects, VMWare, Vagrant/VirtualBox and Homebrew survived the update just fine.
I see no crashes (at least not more than the usual once-every-two-months need to reboot), nor other weirdness. Compared to Mojave, even the random Bluetooth disconnects I had with my Magic Trackpad stopped happening.
Of course this is total non-news and I’m not going to publish a blogpost saying that Catalina is fine for me nor would that reach, much less survive on, the front page of any news aggregator if I actually were to write such a blog post.
Unfortunately, we only read about people having issues and we conclude that everybody must have problems.
> I didn’t even have to debate too much whether I should upgrade or not. The answer is no. The reasoning behind it is quite simple, actually, and it boils down to this: what Catalina takes away from me is more than what it gives me.
And that seems to be the case for me, even though I have no Catalina problems. Lost MS Office 2011 on that machine. Gained... I can’t think of a single thing off the top of my head.
Thus, wish I hadn’t upgraded.
Let's hope it was all worth it and Catalina is indeed a transitional release that serves no other purpose than laying some under-the-hood groundwork for the next release.
I wouldn't say "wish I didn't upgrade" because both my 2018 Mini and 2015 MBP are working fine, but I agree with the general sentiment that from an end user perspective there really isn't any reason to upgrade, and apparently many cases not to considering the issues reported by others.
Now that I'm typing this one thing that Catalina improved comes to mind: I have less issues driving my 5K LG screen through my BlackMagic eGPU. With Mojave, rebooting or losing the GPU connection would regularly result in black screen, and only a complete shutdown and cold restart would fix it. Don't have this problem anymore...
Only complaint is Apple seem to ignore long-standing bugs that have been there for years, like monitors switching around every time you dock your MacBook. They should make a Snow Leopard-like release and clean out their bug tracker.
We actually had a Snow Leopard-like release just two years ago: High Sierra. It had some new features—as did Snow Leopard—but not many. (Lest we forget, Snow Leopard introduced Dock Exposé and Exchange support, just to name two.)
And High Sierra is hands-down the best version of macOS since Mavericks. But afterwards, things regressed pretty quickly.
The real problem here is the annual release cycle. The entire concept of a transitional release is misguided. If it's transitional, keep it internal to Apple until it's ready, and let Mojave live out another year in the meantime.
Much worse is that sometimes (once a month?) during this process macOS completely messed up all my open windows: they are all resized to a tiny size. And I have dozens or hundred of them open. This is horribly annoying, and didn’t happen to me before (in 10.11; I skipped 10.12 and 10.13, for reasons similar to the OP. Before that, I went from 10.8 to 10.11; before that, I never missed a release, often was running beta of the OS etc.; but starting with 10.9, too many issues made this undesirable).
I dread switching to 10.15; unfortunately, I will get a new MBP 16” from work, which normally I’d relish, except that there seems to be no way to use it with anything but 10.15. I’ll see if I can delay it until 10.16 is out and will pray that they started to prioritize bug fixes again, but I have little hope that’ll actually happen.
I've previously had these problems, and they were made dramatically worse on Catalina. Each monitor has about 50% chance of correctly loading in, on what used to be 90%. My USB mouse (which is plugged in to the displayport monitor) also loads the incorrect drivers until I unplug and replug it.
Another option is to use the left side ports at work and the right side at home.
The AirPlay icon in the menu bar also flashes between Sidecar, Airplay, and nothing at all. I had to remove it for my sanity. Speaking of Sidecar... performance is abysmal. Not on Sidecar itself, which is actually really snappy, but it brings everything else to its knees. Probably because windowserver goes nuts with CPU usage...
My monitor isn't correctly detected when using an eGPU, but it works fine with Thunderbolt. I had to create a custom EDID with known good values for it to work properly. Luckily this was something I could fix on my own.
Oh, and every few weeks Finder will just give up and die, which has the interesting effect of preventing the Feedback application from gathering logs. Nothing will compel it to come back to life and rebooting just sits there. The only way out is to hold down the power button. This one might be SMB related, as I have a lot of shares going on and Finder might not like something that is happening with them at any given time. I've never quite isolated what's going on.
I also get T2 crashes every few weeks. They must be making progress, though, because it seems like every update the crashes get further and further apart.
Other than that... it's the same old macOS as before for me.
I have two external monitors, an Apple 27" and a Samsung 32. Sometimes the mac won't wake up my Samsung external monitor and it needs re-plugging to get it recognised (re-arranging my windows in the process).
Also, if the laptop sleeps and puts the external displays to sleep, when the laptop is then woken up there's a high chance that the non-Apple external display won't wake up in time for the OS to think it's there and it will temporarily remove it, re-arranging my windows again. These issues only happen on my non-Apple monitor, and happened the same when I had a Dell monitor too.
I used to have Finder isses too, though not Mojave related. I solved it accidentally by switching from Chrome to Firefox. YMMV.
Strange about Chrome! I've always been a Firefox user, so I never had that particular issue. Unless the billions of Electron applications count...
Nothing terrible but lacking in some Apple polish.
The access prompts were a little annoying for the first two days but once everything has run and requested access it's fine. A few apps I have had to specifically give Full Disk Access as it seems every update it asks again and again and again.
But like you said stability is as solid as Mojave. However I don't use any legacy 32bit apps or extensions so haven't run into issues with regards to that. I feel most of the complaints I read are related to some old 32bit app which no longer works.
That said, I had been a lifelong PC user until 2015. I decided to buy a Macbook, the first model to use the reviled keyboard. Everything I read online said it wasn’t worth paying a premium for. Nothing I read said buy it. I bought it, and it replaced my 3 monitor PC with no loss of productivity. Everything I did ran better than I had expected (no gaming.) It was a vastly better experience than the Surface Pros I had used prior.
You have to make your own judgements. Most people that used the old keyboard hate the new one. MacOS has issues, but so does Windows 10. I’m comfortable using Linux, but that is a whole other dimension of complexity on keeping everything working (but still vastly better than it was trying to use Linux as a consumer OS in the early 2000s.)
I do however dislike Music. I added iTunes back with Retroactive
I still use Music.app for my Apple Music streaming though.
Other than that, things are fine. Not annoyed by the security, and Apple is clear that they're doing the security and privacy warnings across all platforms (same deal with iOS contacts and locations), so I do appreciate knowing exactly what each app is accessing.
It's embarrassing how long its taking apple to fix this. Apple's audio doesn't exactly treat me well either.
It feels like we're starting to reach a point where linux 'just works' more often than mac.
> The remaining 2% [of messages I've received] are neutral. They’re from people who simply wrote me to let me know they have upgraded to Catalina and ‘survived’, and that they have no issues to report so far.
> It’s interesting to me how — apart from the usual fanboys — I still haven’t seen any unequivocally positive feedback about Mac OS Catalina. I still haven’t found someone saying, Oh man, everything is so much better after upgrading to Catalina. I can take advantage of these new features, and my workflow and productivity are so much improved compared with Mojave or High Sierra. I’ve either read people saying, Yeah, I upgraded and nothing broke, thank goodness, or complaining about something they’ve lost or having changed in a disappointing way. What I haven’t seen is something I used to see more frequently in the past when a new major release of Mac OS X was introduced — enthusiasm.
I think it's safe to assume that 2% statistic is lower than it should be due to response bias—"everything is basically okay" isn't usually worth writing about. But his point about Catalina lacking positives seems very salient.
I think I’ll just stick to Mojave until the next version comes along.
Had similar issues with my 2018 after upgrading to Catalina. After rolling it back to Mojave they all disappeared. For me Catalina has been the worst MacOS release I've seen in 15 years of using Macs.
But I do agree, that there's real no reason to upgrade. "If it ain't broke, don't upgrade"
I think this whole "System <PutYourOsHere> is shit" is more of a user problem than a software problem ;-P
It stops random data exfiltration and ransomware dead. I don’t know why people are complaining about it.
You can still install your own bash now, or even continue to run the old, obsolete version. But yes, it won't be the default.
I don't use macOS as pretty UNIX, rather for XCode, testing Websites on Safari, doing iOS stuff.
So when something doesn't get used, the exploits don't matter that much.
> BAD MAGIC! (flag set in iBoot panic header), no macOS panic log available
Having said that, Im curious if these folks went in blindly with no upgrade plan. ANY time you update ANY OS, you should do a bit of recon to know what you can and cannot live without, and take a safety copy of those items. The referenced email shows that maybe the person was a bit careless and over-reliant on the process "just working".
Re: barrage of security pop ups? I see the usual suspects (kernel extension needs approval, can the installer access an external drive, etc) but weren't most of these in previous versions of MacOS? Also, do you want Apple to choose for you? Unfortunately, there is an entire industry of shady individuals, companies and nation states dedicated to exploiting software. I dont think any software vendor enjoys worsening the user experience because the world contains @$$holes. I dont see a way around this for any OS.
I admit I jumped to Catalina on Day 1 but only after taking a backup of what I needed and ensuring I could wipe and revert to Mojave. Surprisingly, even apps that I had that were not Catalina compatible mostly all worked fine. I did lose a few 32 bit apps, but nothing I couldnt live without or didnt have an equal substitute for.
I only use a mail client for work email and that is outlook. I havent used the mail app in 10 years, and it sounds like it was the source of frustration for this user. I do think Apple should do better vetting upgrades.
iTunes split- I don't really notice any difference save for the UI. I dont have strong feelings about this app other than when I forget to specify a launch app for an audio file Im working on, iTunes is the default(I should change that...) and it is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW to launch. Im guessing the music library database is the culprit here. Maybe they could async that part and just call the music library offline/verifying so that you can play the single file you clicked quickly...
The "Part 1" article in the series addresses this: yes, we techies understand that we need to do this, but most people are not techies. Most users of Macs are not techies. They expect upgrades to Just Work, and they expect their machine to always take care of their data. That's a lot of what they think they are buying from Apple, which is not unreasonable given that that is (or at least used to be) one of Apple's main selling points as compared to Windows: they carefully integrate the hardware and software to make sure everything Just Works.
If Apple is no longer making that guarantee, why would you pay all the extra money for a Mac?
The only issue I have with Catalina is that I can't figure out how to disable password auth for sshd since the config is basically read only now. Ended up using Wireguard and disabling external SSH access.
I was able to do `sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config` then save it
Once saved, it looked like this: https://imgur.com/CGh4cB0
Funny thing is, I tend to forget about the graphics problem, because how often do you print anything with graphics in it? Then along comes a boarding pass and oh yeah other computer.
I also find it annoying that it obsoleted a bunch of my software, like MS Office, and constantly asks for permission to use my Desktop.
But other than that, seems fine! And I do like the new XCode goodies!
It should not have been released in the state it was in at the time.
On my newer laptop, with Mojave I had a few Touch Bar related panics. I think they resolved that before Catalina came out.
My work laptop is Mojave. It still has the issue where it will lock up if I connect the external monitor while it is suspended. And recently it does this thing where the WindowServer task starts spinning and continues even if I kill off all the apps.
There were initially some issues with excess resource use by some system process relating to text input, fans spinning and all. This seems to be gone for a while now.
Two-screen setup with Sidecar is worth it!
I’m sure that people do have legitimate issues, but Catalina doesn’t seem nearly as bad as some previous releases, such as 10.5 Leopard (or Leper as we knew it).
I don’t even mind the security pop-ups - it’s reassuring that not everything has access to anything without my say-so.
Then again, I have a 2017 MBP and none of my daily apps (mostly developer related tools) were all 64 bit compatible from the start.
I imagine other people in certain industries weren’t too happy when their outdated 32 bit applications created by defunct companies no longer function.
You know... plus the normal random osx crash that we're used to. Windows and Linux are more reliable these days on the desktop.
Apple and any hint of problems seem to be clickbait fodder these days. Almost seems like a coordinated pr effort.
Good for you that you don’t have any problems, others do. Regression type problems.
Oh great, other people are having this too. Assumed it was only me.
> But I don’t know a single expert Mac user who is not seriously annoyed by the heavy-handed security design of Catalina. Not one. Every single expert user I know is annoyed. That is a bad place for MacOS to be. MacOS 10.16 needs a serious course correction to fix this, and if 10.16 goes the opposite way — growing even more heavy-handed in restricting professional Mac users from just using their machines as they want and expect to — I genuinely fear for the future of the Mac as a platform for serious computer users.
I've wanted more restrictive and granular permissions for a long time. Web browsers don't need unrestricted access to the entire file system. Neither do games. Preview doesn't need to access the microphone. Word doesn't usually need to record the screen. PowerPoint should not be sending email or accessing the camera. TextEdit doesn't need access to my contacts or calendar. And I don't want any of these programs interrupting me with stupid notifications. Maybe some people want to give these extra permissions, but I want them to be off by default.
My complaint is that permissions don't go far enough; for example I never want to be interrupted by software update notifications, but there's no way to turn them off.
I'd prefer sensible (silent) defaults, such as disabling PowerPoint's access to my webcam.
Like Apple, you are thinking App-centrically. Stop. Apps are not the center of the users’ universe. The users’ own tasks are.
Therefore you need to think task-centrically—i.e. What does the user need/want to do?—and structure your security model to enable and support that.
This is the case on _every_ OS that lets users install applications.
So, how can we make sure users doing tasks aren't afflicted by applications that want to sneak in? You're saying to "structure a security model differently" leads me to think maybe users shouldn't have admin access on the machine? But then you get all the critiques people have of iOS.
I'm honestly asking, what's the alternative here?
Locking down the entire UX doesn’t work because day-to-day operations become onerous while the constant spew of “Are you sure?” dialogs teaches users to click OK without thinking.
Instead, put the sensitive stuff into its own “secure desktop”, and police all movements between that and the “standard desktop”. Even stick in an “unsafe desktop” for doing risky stuff, and encourage users to install new/untrusted software there; e.g. let them install and run anything without nagging, but keep apps completely sandboxed. Boundaries should be clearly delimited, e.g. give the high-security desktop its own window chrome and fixed background image that can’t be mimicked on the others.
It’s deliberately coarse-grained, unlike the current mess, and that’s the point. That makes it easy for users to mentally model and match scopes to tasks, and limits nagging to where it really matters: when crossing scope boundaries with data in tow. Simply switching scopes and working within a scope should not nag, however.
Look, I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to work. But at least I’m thinking about it from the point of view of end-users, not vendor developers and lawyers. It’d need prototyped and tested in both lab and real world, and sure as guns users will discover exciting new ways to screw things up; which means learning and adapting to account for that.
But that’s UX. Either do it right, or go get a job flipping burgers where the worst you’ll do is hospitalize a few dozen locals with E. Coli. TWO BILLION now trust large chunks of their lives to their “personal” machines. That is a lot of people to screw up.
As an "expert" software engineer, I completely trust absolutely zero software running on my computer, in my browser, or basically on any device anywhere. I begrudgingly put up with it all because there is no alternative. Adding friction is good because it will eventually push (force?) developers to use more modern, safer development patterns.
I have a bunch of Applescripts which start with:
tell application (path to frontmost application) to
Since Mojave, any time a new application happens to be in front, I get prompted to give Bash permission to control that app. And then the entire set of approved apps seems to get wiped sometimes when I edit the Applescripts. There's no way to approve apps ahead of time, and there's no way to blanket approve control of any app.
Good point. Apple doesn’t care. If they did, they would’ve put some fricking effort into it. Not only is 10.15’s “Automation” security model pathetically thin and annoying (I’ve used those APIs; they’re crap), it doesn’t even protect users as it claims.
Allowed a script running in Terminal.app permission to access your Contacts? Great, now ANY script that runs in Terminal can do whatever it likes to your address book.
Once again, anything that does not fit cleanly into Apple’s naive App-centric model gets neglected, overlooked, or stomped on.
Honestly, I think now they’re just waiting for AppleScript usage to die out on its own, so they can kill off the old and crusty (but very powerful) Apple event IPC system entirely. So it goes.
TL;DR: Apple is in the commercial business of selling Apps. So where’s the benefit to them in you making your own?
Or more likely it forces the retirement of known good software, and requires you to use unknown, newer tools that have had much less time for security and behaviour auditing my the general community over the years.
I haven’t reenabled it yet, and I don’t think I will be doing for the time being. Apple’s gone too far here. Protect me, sure. Make me take an extra step to run an unsigned binary. For critical modifications like installing kernel extensions, make me run a terminal command, that’s fine. These measures would assist me in maintaining my own security, and they certainly shield my computer illiterate mother. But treat me like a hostile actor on my own computer and strip me of my superuser privileges? No.
I’d rather be a pirate than join the Navy.
Similarly, an excess of popups doesn’t increase security. It annoys users to the point they stop thinking about individual security decisions.
There’s an important intersection of security research and HCI that doesn’t get discussed as much as it needs to be.
It's particularly annoying b/c there's a subset of craftsmen developers who pay close attention to this problem, who realize these cures are worse than the disease, and who reverted years ago to not using these flawed security patterns. Many here on HN, for example.
And then there are Apple engineers who seem to be so far behind the curve that they're just now discovering and implementing patterns that others not only discovered and tested years ago, but discarded years ago.
It's like corporate 9-to-5'ers with no pride of craftsmanship or motivation to stay current with their field made these decisions. Either that or clueless management ordered it, which in any other company besides Apple would be my first guess.
QFT. Because there are not enough upvotes in all the world.
The annoyance is still there/potentially larger, but it's easier to make an informed decision about something specific, rather than the usual "enter your admin password to allow... potentially anything, probably persistently. Or don't, then no app for you." binary which seems easier to just blindly go along with, since auditing is the only way to find out what exactly the privileges are for.
The question is rather where sheer request volume overwhelms gains from actually knowing what's being asked for, but better tools letting user set a base comfort level as far as common requests like disk access etc should help with that.
I am however struggling to articulate my opinion in a way that doesn't boil down to essentially "the issue with the dreaded Vista popup was that there weren't ten different varieties!", heh. Nah, just comes down to asking once vs. every time.
It's not exactly new in Catalina, but it's worse. Apple just does not even think about the fact that you might want to do things remotely or automatically.
The execution is where Apple is fucking up, yet people are hating on the concept, as if poor UX is somehow mandatory for something like this. Worries me a bit.
I believe there should absolutely be intentional, physical, steps to allow full remote access. Intentionally setting the terminal for full disk access is no less crazy than intentionally exposing a port through your firewall.
I'm not "upset" that it needs authorization. I think it's a design flaw that you can't do it via a terminal, you don't even know that that's why your process has stalled, and you have to click a box every time.
The problem I see with these current changes is that they appear to be reactive—“X, Y, and Z are potential threat vectors, so we need to lock those down”—rather than taking the long view—“what does the future security model need to look like and do?”—and plot a clear, reasoned course to that from where we are now.
The result is an Application-level security model, when what users need is Task-level security. Users still get all of the pain of change, yet none of the intended benefits—all that’s happened is we’ve gone from one unfit-for-purpose platform to another.
For instance, just consider high-security operations such as internet banking. No way on Earth should we be using the same web browser application for sensitive financials as we use for reading all the daily gossip, browsing teh prawns, etc. Split that out into a dedicated, hardened version with no support for extensions, external automation, and its own isolated password managment. Whitelist security-sensitive URLs so that they open in that version, and restrict opening common-or-garden URLs to the low-security version only.
Isolating sensitive User Tasks within their own “high-security desktop” environment would take a lot of the security pressures off individual apps, obviating the need for these endless “Do you want to grant permission for X to access Y to do Z?” requests. Which, as any security fule kno, are worse than useless at protecting users; protecting only the platform vendor from taking the blame when the inevitable fuckups occur (aka Blame the Luser).
That’s the user-security model Apple ought to pursue, but they’ve been stuck so long in their classically atomic Application-centric view of the universe I don’t think they can imagine a platform where atomic Apps are subservient to the big smooshy probability cloud of user tasks that surrounds them. Partly because that nice simple neatly-packaged atomic App model is what generates revenue, but also partly because it requires giving up control; and both developers and marketeers like keeping control very much, and fear very much ceding it to anyone else.
That takes courage, and Apple hasn’t had that sort of courage for a decade.
But putting Control into the hands of Users, in a form that those users can use, is the very core of UX, and nowhere more important than protecting users from “themselves”.
You'd figure the people writing these articles wold leave for other platforms, and those that remain should be less likely to do hot-take duty next year, considering they didn't feel the need to this year?
Unless there's constant renewal in the pool of people-with-something-to-say. I guess today's worst-MacOS-ever is their future good-old-days-of-quality.
I haven’t been in the Mac ecosystem for some time now, but I can say for sure that no one was writing these articles until Snow Leopard at least.
I thin what has led to the prevalence of these articles is Apples shift to an annual release cycle for their Mac OSes. It used to be well known that you didn’t upgrade to an OS until the .1 version at the earliest, and it was only until .3 or .4 that a new OS X would be absolutely stable. Unfortunately with the annual release cycle the OS isn’t stable for even a few months before it is replaced. And I’m convinced that the fixes aren’t as good anyways because as soon as one OS is out, many devs are likely working on the next one.
Catalina itself appears to have become a bigger disaster due to what may be considered good decisions, such as better security and killing 32 bit, but done in a way that reminds people of Vista. With nag screens and a poor transition path. That’s why the noise against Catalina has been even louder.
Perhaps they should reconsider the yearly release schedule. Either go back to a more conservative one, letting things settle after many point updates and enjoying the achieved stability for longer, or adopt a continuous evergreen model, like Chrome and Firefox.
The difference was that the non annual release cycle meant that the .0 version was a significantly smaller proportion of Snow Leopards life cycle, than is the case for recent annual releases of OSX.
Let’s assume Apple takes 3 months to stabilize an OS right after release. If you’re always up to date, an annual release cycle means that for 25% of your time, you’re using an unstable version of the OS. A 2 year cycle would mean that you’re using an unstable version for only 12.5% of your time. That’s a very significant change.
And in practice I think it’s worse because with the non annual release cycles, most OSX devs would use the time right after release to stabilize the OS. Whereas with the annual release cycle, it’s apparent that most devs’ priorities shift to next years OS instead.
Exactly. That’s what I meant.
Maybe that had something to do with it?
Snow Leopard was "better" in that it wasn't so terribly broken, and they eventually got it working decently.
From then on, the only complaints were about how locked down each new version was, what was no longer supported, and how many new annoying dialogs they'd introduced... UNTIL Catalina.
Now we're back to the Leopard problem again. Plus more annoying dialogs.
What I mean is that Apple used to actively support a very long legacy of backwards compatibility, and since the switch to Intel seems to only care about maintaining as much backwards compatibility as is strictly necessary for ordinary users to accept.
With 10.15.3, it's a bit better but I still see the spinning spinning wheel of death way more than I used to, and my computer completely crashed once with the fan turning on very quickly and the screen becoming completely gray... I don't think it's production ready yet.
As an aside not being able to run 32 bits applications is really annoying to me. I like to play old games, and not being able to annoys me. I can use crossover with the windows version of the games but it's a hassle. Just for the 32 bits issue, I wish I could install Mojave on my mbp 16 inch.
So, yes, worst os upgrade in a long time... I'm now dreading the os update that will disable kernel extensions and stop me from having Little Snitch and Karabiner. If that happens, I'll probably switch to Linux for my personal computers.
Surprisingly, I'm less bothered by the Permission popups, and while I don't care about apps having access to Downloads and Desktop, I do care about them having or not access to Documents. I see this is as a complement of Little Snitch. So this is for me the only positive of Catalina...
Sure, part of that was just easier in the beginning: 10.0 started out with a lot of issues, and just getting rid of most of the CRT-focussed UI elements (heavy zebra-striping, gum-drop buttons) took several releases (I do miss drawers, though).
But that still left you with quite a few innovations: FileVault, Spotlight, Expose, Time Machine, Dashboard, Spaces etc.
I was a lot more excited about the zoological releases than the geographical ones. Cross-pollination with iOS didn't produce something exciting, either.
Dropping compatibility once again would sure be a better sell if expectations of the future would be higher.
(In contrast, my Windows machines are stubbornly reliable, even the one running Insider builds. Which is a wild inversion of the reasons I started https://taoofmac.com 16 years ago...)
My internet is weak, not as great in speed and bandwidth as US so it downloads 4gb and then fails. Then it starts from 0 sgain.
I expected Apple of all companies to cache downloads.
Frankly, it caches only the first 500MB. I do not know why.
Has always worked fine.
It's main purpose is to allow for running macOS on unsupported Macs, but it also can download the original unmodified version. I've only used the unpatched Mojave version myself and I have no idea how well it supports slow/unstable connections.
If your mac is a production machine, don't jump on any of the updates, decide if you need the update then check your programs one by one.
If you can, pop into the Apple Store to test the system.
I'm not defending Apple, I'm not victim-blaming, it's just an advice to avoid the misery of going past the point of no return.
If it hasn't been upgraded yet, then it's never going to be. The Mac isn't like iOS, it's pretty niche. You can't just throw all the software under the bus every few years and sit back smugly expecting either developers to fix all their old software or the market to create new software to fill the gap.
It probably isn't helped by the current MacOS business model. MacOS needs to focus on things that help sell new Macs because that's where the money comes from. Back when you'd drop $129 every few years the focus could be more on the OS itself. Not that it didn't also have to sell Macs, but the OS itself was product and it isn't any longer.
Been a fan of Macs for 20 years but becoming more jaded with Apples approach to the platform.
I'm not saying it's good or bad, just explaining why (in my analysis).
Regarding Windows, I think we have yet to fully see how the movement toward "the operating system is free" will affect it. For one thing, OEMs and businesses are still paying for Windows. I'd guess direct revenue from Windows is dropping and is expected to continue to drop. But that's not the same thing as the $0 that MacOS makes (directly).
But, yes, if you want to run software from the '90s and not in a VM, then Windows is probably your OS (I think businesses are the reason for that. They have a lot of software in use that would be very disruptive/expensive to replace or move to some visualized environment.)
The cost benefit analysis should be as follows: if I know Apple is going to kill compatibility with a large range of software on a whim (ie, not because of a huge and unavoidable underlying hardware transition), I'm going to stop investing in Apple's platform, and by extension stop buying new Macs.
This is in fact what I'm doing.
Now is the first time in years where it is valid for Windows fans to mock those who use their Macs for games as it truly isn't for a majority of games that used to work just fine. Though a few games that run through the equivalent of Wine wrappers are again working.
I often argued with apple fans, and one thing that was clear to me, is that people that tried apple products around 2008 or so often would just love it, and many would become apple fans too.
I used my first Mac around that time, and although I found some stuff just silly (mouse with only one button...) I overall liked it.
Fast forward to launch of Touch Bar...
Now I see lots of division and love hate relationship with apple... Still, my sister moved to US to be a researcher, invited by top universities (she even did a 6 month stint in MIT, at their request!) And was offered to pick a computer. She always liked Apple and other "fashionable" brands and picked up a machine with touch bar and would get mad at me whenever I pointed out it's flaws (like the impossible to repair keyboard), until the touchbar suddenly died and the machine would not boot anymore... She took it to Apple and they just swapped the whole machine.
Then keyboard broke... Another swap.
Then the fact upgrading it's RAM was unecessarily hard and expensive and needed urgently (an app to analyze microscope data was outright refusing to run).
Then she came to me, sheepishly, to ask me to recommend a non Apple computer, and said Apple was worse than what I said...
Thing is, it is not just her, I have the impression that current Apple is opposite of 2008 Apple, instead of making weird but good stuff that create hardcore fans, it is creating products that are just bad and makes haters stop hating, and just ignore the company, and fans start hating...
FWIW the stereotype of Apple targeting "beginners" who are after "fashion items" is ridiculous. There are millions of "professionals" using Macs. It's a fully functional Unix with a GUI that gets out of way.
Pick any project you consider excellent, and you'll find someone working on it that uses a Mac, even the Linux Kernel. Now, try to argue against that person's reasons, not some figment of your imagination rendered into a sack of stereotypes.
Apple does not do improvements, it just forces changes!
When was the last time the changes were dominantly necessary for the sake of users? It was more like marginal in the past 10+ years. Instead doing excessive actions for the sake of questionable features mostly created for the marketing department and the clockwork keynotes!
Revolutionary keyboard, charging, touchbar, blooming of adapters, eliminating connectivity, sacrificing usability for the rampage of thinness, force touch, new UI for the sake of new UI just to name some of the biggest issues!
Apple well deserve the condescension!!
(not the Apple users! They are just unfortunate trusting Apple)
I am a Designer and I have an animation degree, there are lots of Macs in the field, and they are not for "professionals", but for actual professionals, the computers I mentioned I used were MacPros that were actually rather interesting machines, and it was sad when Apple decided to stop making them (now they are making them again but with ludicrous prices).
What I DID mean, is that my sister is prone to being a "fan" of a company, instead of choosing only for the product quality, and this was a factor in choosing Apple's stuff, and more importantly, a factor in her being defensive about the company.
What I mean is: Apple attracts certain types of people, including some that become fans, but they are not stupid, if products are bad they start to hate the company instead, and Apple is attracting their hate right now with crappy products.
Sometimes things even shift in a single product over time: establish a good reputation, then water down the product a couple years later. All the die-hards leave, and the rest are none the wiser.
IMO $6k is just too much for a Mac Pro, except if it rocked a 3990X (do it, Mr. Apple!). It might actually be worth the money, even still. Apple seems to support Mac Pro OS upgrades for ~10 years after release.
While I was never an Apple fan, I started to respect their products after my android-linux-hacking phase (Couldn't find better words for that period of my life).
Up to the point of considering getting an iPhone since I don't fool around with my android phone anymore, but what I wanted the most was to have a MacBook.
They've always looked so sleek and overall good looking, including the nice looking OS which seemed to have a functional GUI over a Unix core. And then I got one.
Last year my current job assigned me one to contribute to our mobile codebase. It's a MBP 2019, 15 inch.
From a hardware perspective:
+ Excellent screen
+ Good looking design
+ Nice speakers
+ Touchpad is nice
- The touchbar exists
- Low key travel (bad keyboard experience overall)
- Lack of non type-c ports (dongle land)
As for the software, my first MacOS experience was Catalina and the only issues I've had I'm not sure if I should blame Catalina or the software per se.
I use Emacs for my text editing needs (and more) and it has been nothing but pain (Some outright freezes, buffers have chopped display sometimes).
Docker experience is just bad. Since It's not natively implemented it has to run up its own vm to work and having any small container running will turn up the overall heat on the machine which, thanks to the bad keyboard, I can feel at my fingertips.
Homebrew is painfully slow.
The GUI is fine, but with the recent advancements on the other DEs (specially KDE) I really don't see any advantages.
Overall if Linux had better support on Apple hardware, I'd have a partition with it and only boot on OS X for mobile dev.
Isn't it impossible? It's soldered to the board.
Then we have Catalina, Catalyst apps, the breakup of iTunes that’s turned out to be messier.
Except for iPhone hardware and wearables, Apple has failed to demonstrate innovation, honesty, integrity and responsibility in other areas.
The Six Colors Apple Report Card for 2019  provides some scathing feedback from some well known names who live, breathe and talk Apple. It’s mild in some places, but never have so many people from this background been so critical on so many things (as I recall).
And I hate Apple products too.
I've boiled it down to- it can compile iOS apps, and you can use Unix commands. The first is Apple intentionally being anti competitive, the later is a genuine benefit that I nearly am unaffected by being a Windows/Linux user.
However the strangest thing came up in my research, the number of SWE that said they liked the way it looks. It's shinny.
I genuinely don't know what to think about Apple users decision making.
1. The most important reason is that the Mac UI is generally consistent and powerful: both the appearance but also keyboard shortcuts, modifier key behavior, etc. Neither Linux nor Windows has both of these. Linux has never had a consistent UI and Windows is just a mess (e.g. two control panels in Win10).
2. Compared to Windows, vastly less of the advertising and key-logging nonsense. No Candy Crush ads for example.
3. Compared to Linux, better software availability and quality. There's the obvious big players (Photoshop, Office, etc), but Apple's own apps are quite good. I'll take Keynote over Google Slides any day. In general Linux software is also available on the Mac (VLC, Gimp, etc) but the reverse is not true.
4. iOS integration is sweet: Reminders, Notes, Messages, etc. It's awesome when a 2FA text message arrives on my phone, get forwarded to Messages on my Mac, and then Safari offers it in the text field. (Can I do this anywhere else? Honest question.)
5. For me, Linux and Windows upgrades have been more problematic than my Macs. For example, Ubuntu 16 upgrade left a broken glibc and I had to reinstall.
I believe that Apple's software quality is trending the wrong way, and am very suspicious of Catalyst, so there's cause for worry. But I still very much prefer to use a Mac today.
It also doesn’t seem that you have “tried very hard” to understand the benefits of a Mac. “you can use Unix commands”? That’s the big benefit you discovered?
I'm genuinely trying to figure out where I'm wrong.
Years ago I learned to disable automatic system updates and to stay 1 major OS version behind. Let the enthusiasts, fanboys and early adopter pawns work out all the bugs in the current OS X version, install it only when the next version nears or launches.
For months ext monitor support was buggy, touchbar stopped working daily (related to ext monitor bug) and restarts were necessary in order to go back to stable state. Since a couple weeks things improved a lot and I am back to my default state: I dont care about my OS nor about any Apple app, just let me use my IDE and browser without annoying me. I think that the wise thing here is to never ever upgrade OSX until a couple minor releases are out. Bugs eventually get fixed and security patches are important! This reminds me of Cassandra where x.y.6 was the right version to use :)
The issue is: every year at WWDC they announce a bunch of (way too many) features.
Then, they only have ~3 months to actually complete the features. But crucially, betas are only made available after WWDC. So they get a ton of bug reports that they can't possibly really fix by release.
- The split of iTunes into Music, Podcasts and TV (and system integration for iOS synchronization/backup) didn't bring about significant user-visible benefits. I think there was an issue with content not being available in iTunes under 4k the was solved, and Dolby Atmos was added.
- Catalina is not really a user-level feature. The apps which are created using Catalina aren't really draws - Find My is probably my most used, and I could just use the website if it wasn't an app.
- Reminders got a big refactor and new functionality, but the in itself is a limited draw.
- A few smaller changes to Notes, Photos, and Safari, but nothing I couldn't live without
- Screen Time - perhaps useful in families, but my understanding is that the conceptual differences between iPhone usage and Mac usage weren't accommodated for.
There was the delayed release, impact to polish, and removal of features like iCloud Folder Sharing (which I've indirectly been told were all the same issue - that folder sharing was not stable enough to be integrated into the tree and it impacted other development). It was a much rockier-than-normal update.
You also have the anti-features of 32-bit support being removed, and additional privacy-consent-for-access prompts for screen sharing, sensitive folder access, etc. The prompts are IMHO overblown - they are one-time and many of them have gone away as software has been updated for Catalina (as in, there was no legitimate reason for some particular application to be scanning the Desktop to begin with). This doesn't change that there isn't a big draw.
If there is a big feature for macOS Catalina, it would be SideCar. This adds a second screen to the Mac, it enables pencil usage, and perhaps even provides a slight bit more justification to Touch Bar functionality. This is still limited as it is an ecosystem feature - IMHO its real value comes when you are using an iPad Pro.
I'm in a similar position, having several music apps I bought a while ago that won't work in Catalina. But I have to upgrade because it's my development machine. So far my plan is to upgrade my MacBook Pro to continue develop software, and leave my Mac Pro with Mojave to compose music. I wonder how others deal with this.
Thread on Catalina bricking Macbooks.
This was a short term blow to productivity since I had only made external notes on about half the difficult command line tasks I’d completed since getting this MacBook in 2017.
How do people generally go about backing up this file? Or do most people not
If you use Time Machine it should be backed up.
I have two hard drives I rotate on and off my computer regularly for Time Machine for redundancy, it’s always worked well so far.
So different story here: using Catalina on two Macs since the betas - zero issues. Really, Zero Issues. It all just works. I use it 8+ hours a day - Browsers, terminal work, Mail.app, lots of third-party applications, Xcode.
Ok fine, Xcode can be a PITA sometimes. But Catalina .. my workhorse since the betas. Never lets me down.
There just seems no upside to upgrading - I just wait until either I'm forced to or starting a completely new project just to pay off a tech debt of sorts. I'll caveat this by saying I don't work in the Apple ecosystem so don't have any dependencies there, the tools I run are orthogonal to MacOS specific features, so I don't really care about them per se.
On the other hand, the weather widgets in the dashboard have now stopped working, and nobody seems to care, because that's not a cool feature anymore.
Having said that, I simultaneously develop on Mac & PC and right now don't have an iOS project - so I took the leap. No issues with Catalina with Unity. However there are a few other minor annoyances; finder seems a bit unstable with network drives (force restart is your friend), time machine corrupts NAS backups, and the occasional mess-up with my dual monitor setup. Other than that it's been fine FYI.
Catalyst has brought a handful of new macOS apps for me to use that were not available previously. Several that I use on a daily basis.
And I haven’t experienced any bugs or issues.
So I guess your mileage will vary. But if you hate macOS enough to write TWO blog posts about it why don’t you just switch to another platform???
Edit: 2000s not 2010s
With updates apparently sometimes crashing after being only partially applied, even the most diligent research into application-specific "will I be able to run XYZ after upgrading" might not be able to save you from having to reinstall from scratch.
This is the kind of low-quality handling of software updates that I never imagined coming from Apple.
I upgraded when it came out, had no issues, and only a few prompts. Because the machine was entirely new to me anyway (inherited MBP2016), I couldn't imagine having anything to lose. But on my older machine? Still have not upgraded. Don't see a reason to, until they've ensured higher quality.
I have the idea that there's currently an atmosphere where it's fashionable to repeat other people's bad experiences. Regardless of one's own experience.
So there really is no way to know what packages are supported. Unless homebrew has a way to check..... I've never checked to see if it has a "compatibility check for catalina" mode
It's basically like the prompts you get on iOS. I don't have a problem with these either.
I appreciate the security, I'm happy that many of the apps don't get to shit all over my Documents directory as easily anymore.