Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Jul 2018 19:01 UTC
Mac OS X

In some ways, the narrative is out of Apple’s hands. The myth of Snow Leopard is bigger than life, a cultural reference rooted in nostalgia. OS X Lion succeeded 10.6.8 in July 2011 - closing in on 7 years ago. At this point, millions of Mac users have never even used Snow Leopard, and can’t attest to its reliability.

However, a kernel of truth persists underneath the mythology. Improvements to iOS and macOS, no matter how small, contribute to a better experience for everyone. Fixing bugs might not be as marketable as shiny new Animoji or a fresh design, but maintenance can only be deferred so long. If Apple can knock stability out of the park in 2018, maybe the legend of Snow Leopard can finally be put to rest.

There's a tendency for people to fondly look back upon older releases, whether warranted or not. Since I switched away from the Mac before Snow Leopard came out, and was a fervent Mac user during the PowerPC days, my personal Snow Leopard is Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which I still consider my personal best Mac OS X release. Mac OS X is obviously not alone in this; Linux and Windows users will also have their favourite older releases after which supposedly everything "went downhill".

It's just human nature.

Order by: Score:
Both Ways.
by ksec on Fri 6th Jul 2018 19:14 UTC
ksec
Member since:
2013-04-04

I think the problem is it was comparatively good. When you look at your Snow Leopard, and then look it Windows, you sort of think OSX is still miles ahead.

Now the same today when you are comparing to Windows 10. I argued Windows 10 is rock solid. But as Steve has said, M$ biggest problem is taste. And 20 years later they are still the same.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by tidux
by tidux on Fri 6th Jul 2018 19:23 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

Snow Leopard was also the last release before they changed UI direction to flatshit, version-froze the GNU tools out of fear of the GPLv3, started locking down the root filesystem for no good reason, and generally shat on the idea of OS X as Unix. Windows 10 with WSL gives me a better unix environment than MacOS does today, let alone a proper Linux distro.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by tidux
by Drumhellar on Fri 6th Jul 2018 19:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by tidux"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

started locking down the root filesystem for no good reason


How so? I haven't experienced this

and generally shat on the idea of OS X as Unix.


To be clear, High Sierra is UNIX 03 certified.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by tidux
by rleigh on Sat 7th Jul 2018 09:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by tidux"
rleigh Member since:
2014-11-15

What exactly does that certification mean? And which version of the certification is it...

Look at the tools provided, and note that most of them were last updated in 10.6. The dates for most of them are over a decade ago.

The lack of basic maintenance here is becoming a burden to interoperability. At my previous job, we were running into several problems due to MacOS lacking features present on every Linux and BSD system for the last 8+ years. Simple stuff like "readlink -f", which required writing blocks of Perl inline in shell scripts to work around the deficiency. It was added to FreeBSD nearly a decade back. MacOS still doesn't have it. It's one tiny feature, but multiply that by a decade's worth of advancement and bugfixing across all of the base system, and MacOS is missing out on a lot of stuff.

I get that this lower level stuff isn't Apple's user-facing focus. But they have let this stuff rot. MacOS X used to be a decent GUI desktop built on top of a solid, if not slightly quirky, UNIX base. It's now a lacklustre desktop built on a largely unmaintained and bitrotting base.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by tidux
by kurkosdr on Sat 7th Jul 2018 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by tidux"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

I get that this lower level stuff isn't Apple's user-facing focus. But they have let this stuff rot. MacOS X used to be a decent GUI desktop built on top of a solid, if not slightly quirky, UNIX base. It's now a lacklustre desktop built on a largely unmaintained and bitrotting base.


There is no such thing as "Unix" besides an ancient standard called Standard Unix Specification. There is only Unix-like. Apple has no interest in following upstream. They don't care about people programming Unix-like command line utilities, so if you went to OS X to have an updated Unix-like OS, you bought the wrong thing. Likewise, not treating OS X as an OS in its own right and instead expecting your FreeBSD or Linux source to just work is a mistake. Allocate some time for porting and if your boss isn't comfortable with that tell him the only alternative is to stop buying show-off employees Macs. Or to buy everyone a Mac.

Edited 2018-07-07 13:18 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by tidux
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 6th Jul 2018 19:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by tidux"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I agree with the general assessment. While OSX technical passes the Unix tests, its not unix in spirit.

I'm not really sure Snow lepord was the turning point. I kind of agree with Thom about Tiger. Although, I kind of feel it was before tiger.

Back when OSX could run KDE. Man those were the times, I tell ya! it was a KDE box that also had MS OFFICE!!! ... and apple talk was there too..

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by tidux
by Drumhellar on Sat 7th Jul 2018 08:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by tidux"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Can it not still? Components at least run - there are a few KDE apps packaged for download for macOS, including Krita and Kate

There are build instructions. Maybe sometime this week I'll give it a shot, see how far I get...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by tidux
by FlyingJester on Fri 6th Jul 2018 20:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by tidux"
FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

I'm curious what you consider important to a good Unix experience.

Reply Score: 3

v RE: Comment by tidux
by weckart on Sat 7th Jul 2018 19:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by tidux"
Tired of the Continual Needless Changes
by walkerdude on Fri 6th Jul 2018 19:34 UTC
walkerdude
Member since:
2017-07-31

I want an OS that works. Snow Leopard was that. It did what was necessary, ran programs fine, and was reasonably bug-deficient.

Yet, rather than stomping out the bugs that were there, streamlining the code, and making incremental changes for the sake of utility, they gave us Lion, the worst Mac OS since 7.5.5. They started by fouling up multiple desktops, and proceeded to go from there, leaving piles of bugs unstomped and more strewn behind in the OS developers' wake.

People probably wouldn't be so upset had things not been removed over the course of time — you probably have your own favorite. Disk Utility, for instance, has become far stupider than any of its predecessors. Yes, the command line can still do All The Things, but there was no reason to nerf the GUI.

So, Apple, please stop adding things until everything else is up to snuff. Give us a rock-solid system that uses minimal resources, instead of pointless and platform-killing ways to run iOS software.

Edited 2018-07-06 19:35 UTC

Reply Score: 4

computrius Member since:
2006-03-26

I would also add: Apple, stop removing things where there is nothing wrong with it. Just because one or two Jimmys might not understand what it is for, doesn't mean there is no place for it.

The more you dumb down software, the more you are going to have to dumb it down in the future. Similarly, the less people are expected to know, the less they are going to know.

The "bar" is in free fall right now because of this.

Reply Score: 1

Mac OS 9
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 6th Jul 2018 20:09 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I know a few people that assert Mac's have been all down hill since 0S 9. Its kind of true that the UI polish was pretty high there. I think if you read the ArsTechnica reviews of OS X they were always compared to that as a high water mark. Slowly OS 9 features were added back, until Apple just gave up. Probably around the time of Tiger.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mac OS 9
by Flatland_Spider on Sat 7th Jul 2018 22:24 UTC in reply to "Mac OS 9"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

The OS vendors giving up on trying to enforce any sort of UI standard at the turn of the century is a valid point. GUI designers threw out years of research to do whatever they felt like, and the field of UX is just now recovering. I mean they are just rediscovering everything people knew in the '80s and '90s, but that's progress.

Reply Score: 1

My move away from Mac OS X
by boing on Fri 6th Jul 2018 22:19 UTC
boing
Member since:
2007-05-22

I had Snow Leopard running on my Mac Pro 2006 until like a year ago. Snow Leopard (10.6.8 v1.1) was solid and it allowed me to run my old PPC software. Subsequent versions after Snow Leopard seemed to remove things (like Rosetta) or change things for the worst (Mission Control instead of Expose+Spaces) or add things I didn't care for (iOS feature integration into Mac OS X). Eventually this computers role became a file/media/VM server (added 32GB to it for cheap) and continued to run Snow Leopard without any issues at all until last year. In 2017 I decided to upgrade Snow Leopard because newer versions of Plex didn't support Snow Leopard, so in the end what forced me to upgrade from Snow Leopard was not anything I needed in the newer versions of Mac OS X, but because the software I ran no longer supported it (web browser support ended also). The problem I ran into upgrading the Mac Pro 2006 was that I was stuck at OS X Lion unless I did some EFI tricky to make it run newer versions of Mac OS X. Rather then implementing some EFI hack I decided to try putting Windows 7 on it. I was able to burn Windows 7 64-bit to a disc and install it on the Mac 2006 without any issues (no hacks at all). I was amazed that it was much easier to install Windows 64-bit on my old Mac Pro 2006 then Mac OS X (come'on Apple). In addition by running Windows 7 as my server I got stable SMB/CFIS (newer versions of Mac OS X have lots of issues since moving from SAMBA to SMB2/SMB3), access to more latest versions of software (Plex and PlayOn), and useful features like file server based "Previous Versions" of files. So my new Snow Leopard on my still fully functioning Mac Pro 2006 is Windows 7. I ended up virtualizing my Snow Leopard install, and run it in VirtualBox on my Mac Pro 2006 running Windows 7 so I can still run some of my old PPC software (go figure). Runs great.

My desktop became a Macbook Pro mid 2012 non-retina. I got this model since I wanted to be able to upgrade the SSD (put 500 GB Evo into it) and memory (added 16 GB) myself, and I also wanted a optical drive (yes I still use it a lot for ripping or throw away media data exchange). I ran Mac OS X on this machine but started having issues once I added a 30" Dell monitor to this machine. The monitor would randomly go off and on. I took it to the Apple store several times and even got hardware replaced on it without success. I tried using different ways to connect the monitor without success. I tried everything without success. I even reported it to Apple and never saw a fix across multiple Mac OS X versions I tried. My last test was to install Windows 7 (boot camp). Guess what, the issue went away. I eventually used the free upgrade to Windows 10 and today my Macbook Pro 2012 runs Windows 10 100% (still have MacOS X to boot into if I wanted) of the time without any issues at all. Windows 10 is very stable on my Macbook (I think these old Mac's run Windows better then a lot of PCs), runs fast, and seems to multitask as well as I enjoyed with Mac OS X (Windows 8/10 core multitasking seemed to improve from 7).

So here I am today, a old time Mac OS X and Apple fan running Windows on both my old Mac systems and couldn't be happier. All the complaints I had with Windows 10 I eventually found alternatives or compromises too. I turned off all the privacy stuff I could, set the Windows updates to business branch and delayed updates to max times, disabled Cortona, and replaced built-in Windows software I didn't like with alternatives. I thought Windows 10 Explorer was unstable and acted weird at times, so I replaced with Directory Opus which IMHO is the best file manager around. I didn't like Windows Mail (or Outlook), so I replaced with EmClient which IMHO is the best email client for Windows. I wanted a more advanced SSH client, I use SecureCRT (another one of the best apps IMHO). That is the one good thing about Windows, there is so much good software out there you can probably find an alternative to anything in Windows OS you don't like (like adding a start bar to Windows 8). Doing all this, I find Windows 10 VERY good on my Macbook 2012, and don't see myself going back to Mac OS X anytime soon on this computer. It is also very nice having Previous Versions that is available on my Windows 7 file server (from above). I do use a Macbook Pro 2013 at work running El Capitan, but since using both all the time I prefer my Windows 10 setup overall. In addition a lot of apps (Chrome/Opera, Photoshop) just seem to run better on Windows since it seems like Mac OS X support is a after thought. For example browsers like Chrome/Opera supporting Profile Guided Optimizations (PGO) for Windows.

I found the old Mac software and hardware some of the best around, but the newer stuff I have not been impressed with. The only thing I could recommend from Apple is the iPhone 8/X since it finally matched the hardware features of my Samsung S7 (water proof, wireless charging, etc..) and I think iOS is better then Android (speed, battery, and security updates). I am happy with my Samsung S7 (recent Oreo update breathed new life into it), and I moved from a old AppleTV to a new FireTV because it was easier to side load Kodi on it and cheaper. I couldn't be happier with how all my old stuff is operating and see no need to replacing it until it breaks, and even then I would probably buy something used to replace it to save money. So to me, everything since Snow Leopard has not offered any must haves or overly impressed me. It seems like Microsoft is adding more to the game then Apple now in days (Surface Pro 2 and things like Windows 10 Linux subsystem).

Edited 2018-07-06 22:31 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Ahem...
by kurkosdr on Fri 6th Jul 2018 23:21 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

... Windows did go downhill in its latest release aka Windows 10. The "settings" screen is poorly integrated with the Control Panel, to the point that changing your computer from "energy saver" to "high performance" from the taskbar involves a large number of clicks (basically going through the Metro "settings" to reach the functionality you actually want in the Control Panel). Shovelware like Candy Crush keeps coming back, touchpad settings get reset after updates.

But what I couldn't tolerance is those updates which install without any way to stop them and literally hold your computer hostage while you try to shut it down, pack it up and leave. Or just sleep. And some of those "updates" are actually upgrades, and they take forever.

"Oh gawd make it stop, I want to sleep and this thing wants to make a vacuum cleaner impression for the next half hour or so!!" That's what I said and went back to Windows 8.1 Pro. At least on 8.1 update shutdowns don't take too long.

So don't tell me it's just a feeling...

Edited 2018-07-06 23:26 UTC

Reply Score: 1

v RE: Ahem...
by Flatland_Spider on Sat 7th Jul 2018 22:13 UTC in reply to "Ahem..."
RE[2]: Ahem...
by kurkosdr on Sat 7th Jul 2018 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Ahem..."
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

Windows 2000 had numerous security vulnerabilities built into the design, everything from allowing USB sticks to autorun exe files, to having a brain-dead firewall, to giving admin access to exe files by default (even the ability to install kernel-level code to mess with the OS itself, think how Sony XCP rootkit worked). Not to mention the user didn't get a warning when double clicking an exe from an unknown publisher, which allowed malware writers to camouflage exe files by using a PDF document icon to fool novice or simply distracted users.

Let's not look fondly to that era of Windows... IMO Vista was the first secure Windows.

Edited 2018-07-07 23:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Regards:
by kurkosdr on Fri 6th Jul 2018 23:24 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

As regards OS X, Apple is charging users for what is essentially maintenance releases with some emojis added, and even Apple users won't bite.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Regards:
by andywoe on Sat 7th Jul 2018 01:33 UTC in reply to "Regards:"
andywoe Member since:
2018-05-18

What do you mean, charge? macOS is free.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by raom
by raom on Sat 7th Jul 2018 04:46 UTC
raom
Member since:
2016-06-26

I've yet to encounter a BSD hermit who says their OS has gone downhill

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by raom
by Flatland_Spider on Sat 7th Jul 2018 22:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by raom"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

4.4 is last great FreeBSD release. ;)

They've definitely lost a little bit of focus. The handbook could use some love, and they could sort out the userland admin tools to make them more consistent.

I've started using OpenBSD, and it's still super tight. The team does a good job of staying focused.

Reply Score: 3

Panther v Tiger
by IndigoJo on Sat 7th Jul 2018 15:31 UTC
IndigoJo
Member since:
2005-07-06

My first version of Mac OS X (as was) was Panther and I upgraded to Tiger when it came out (which cost money back then) and was really disappointed. I had a 1GHz EMac which had run Panther very efficiently; the installation of Tiger took an extremely long time, including one very long pause when it appeared to have crashed, which I was later told may have been because it was indexing everything on my hard drive for Spotlight or whatever it was called. I found it slower and less efficient than Panther and the "new feature" was the desktop widgets that were based on Konfabulator, which Apple just copied.

I never used Snow Leopard as I got my next Mac in 2011 and Lion was the OS that came with that. But Panther was my favourite version of OSX. It was feature-rich but fast and not bloated. Tiger and Leopard were the era of fat binaries and bloat.

Reply Score: 1

aquaherd
Member since:
2018-07-07

... was NT4 with service pack 4.

Everything went downhill since and never recovered.

Reply Score: 1

macOS is fine
by Flatland_Spider on Sat 7th Jul 2018 22:42 UTC
Flatland_Spider
Member since:
2006-09-01

OS X 10.4 was my first Mac OS, so it holds a special place in my memories.

However, MacOS is the same as it's always been. The stability is good, and oddities which should be fixed aren't being fixed. New features have been added, and some of them are really nice. It's still the same OS it's been since it's inception though, which is good since it was a major upgrade over OS 9.

Apple being fixated on shiny bobbles isn't new. It's just that more people are getting exposed to it outside of the core base. "No new features" in Snow Leopard didn't mean they were fixing issues. It meant they were working on something else, and were selling the lack of enhancements as a feature. This was just the first time MacOS went into maintenance mode after years of feature releases.

If you want to see how people react to stability, ask geeks about RHEL/CentOS. People will either have a violent reaction against the stability, or they'll understand it but wish for more updated libs.

Reply Score: 2

Subjective and objective
by M.Onty on Sun 8th Jul 2018 00:28 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

Windows users will also have their favourite older releases after which supposedly everything "went downhill".

Exactly. Its amazing how many Windows users don't realise how subjective their particular favourite is, and even fail to understand that actually it was immediately after my favourite, Windows 2003, that everything objectively went downhill.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Subjective and objective
by kurkosdr on Sun 8th Jul 2018 15:35 UTC in reply to "Subjective and objective"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11


Exactly. Its amazing how many Windows users don't realise how subjective their particular favourite is, and even fail to understand that actually it was immediately after my favourite, Windows 2003, that everything objectively went downhill.


NT6 brought lots of security enhancements and limited how much third-party products like drivers and AVs can mess with the OS, which in turn improved stability.

People who look fondly at NT5 are either troglodytes still mourning about the loss of that Pentium 4 with 512MB of RAM, or people who don't get the negative security implications of being able to double click an executive and have it magically install unsigned drivers or being able to install apps that make deep modifications to the OS with a single click.

Windows 10, on the other hand, and its habit of mandating huge upgrades at 2:00AM when you want to shut down the computer and just go to sleep is objectively bad.

Edited 2018-07-08 15:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Subjective and objective
by M.Onty on Mon 9th Jul 2018 11:44 UTC in reply to "Subjective and objective"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Why do I get the impression that post was taken way too seriously? For the avoidance of doubt; I am fully aware Windows 2003 is not some sort of shining light in the darkness. It was a joke. About subjectivity.

Reply Score: 1

10.4
by uridium on Sun 8th Jul 2018 02:42 UTC
uridium
Member since:
2009-08-20

Still running 10.4. It was the last time apple made reliable and sensible lovely RISC workstations running an O/S that was vaguely recognisable as a pleasant UNIX.

launchd didn't require 'too' much cringing but I wish they'd stayed with 10.3 BSD init.

Still running it. Still loving it. 10.5 and on.. runs terribly on dual 7447b's@2.25ghz.

10.4 is the end of the "Golden Era".

Reply Score: 1

Just say no
by dhaen on Sun 8th Jul 2018 16:02 UTC
dhaen
Member since:
2015-10-26

When my Mac users say they'd like an upgrade, I say "are you really sure?"
Unless there is a pressing need - a new app or new attached hardware, it's really better to let be. Those I've "upgraded" are always less happy with stability.
This is not only a rant at Apple. Microsoft break our PCs on every W10 update.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Just say no
by kurkosdr on Sun 8th Jul 2018 19:20 UTC in reply to "Just say no"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

When my Mac users say they'd like an upgrade, I say "are you really sure?"
Unless there is a pressing need - a new app or new attached hardware, it's really better to let be. Those I've "upgraded" are always less happy with stability.
This is not only a rant at Apple. Microsoft break our PCs on every W10 update.


Amen. You know things are bad when Google software is considered the pinnacle of reliability. Blame the "10x programmer" culture and CEOs who think a baby can be had in 7 months if everyone involved has the right "culture".

Edited 2018-07-08 19:21 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Just say no
by kurkosdr on Sun 8th Jul 2018 19:38 UTC in reply to "Just say no"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

That said, I would take the latest versions of Mac OS X over Windows 10 anytime. This whole "we 'll upgrade your computer at 2:00AM whether you like it or not" is pure evil. I understand doing this for security patches, but for OS upgrades is unacceptable. Although buying a £30 Windows 8.1 Pro license key from Amazon proved to be more cost effective than buying a Mac. I now have my computer back.

Edited 2018-07-08 19:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1