Archive for the 'macOS' Category

Sep 18 2020

Apple Silicon: We’re done here

Published by under macOS,Thoughts

I still have a Mac Pro 6,1 – the “trash can” Mac – at work. Since Monday last week, it’s running Windows 10 natively and it also has a VM with Ubuntu 20.04.1 on it.

macOS is gone from that machine completely.

Apple is moving to ARM-based CPUs, and that CPU architecture doesn’t work me on a desktop system. Your mileage may vary, but that’s your mileage, not mine. x86/AMD64-compatibility is a requirement for me on such a system, one of the reasons being that I run virtualized versions of 64-Bit-Intel Linux distributions and Windows 10 in parallel on a desktop system for development and testing purposes.

Big Sur will be the last version of macOS that will run on Intel CPUs. With the timeline that the Apple executives have outlined, at the end of 2022 the transition to ARM will be completed and as we know from the PowerPC-to-Intel transition years ago, the version of macOS after Big Sur will be ARM-only.

Big Sur will not only be the transitional first version of macOS to officially support ARM, it will also become even more restrictive than Catalina, and Catalina already was an overly controlling bitch to work with. Apple not only killed the fun in their platforms, they’re turning them more and more into straitjackets. When your main job is to support the IT needs of hundreds of scientific users, every single day brings you a new example to prove that macOS is the worst platform to support. No, in the reality of a huge work environment, Macs do anything but “just work”. In fact, they are the oppsite of systems that “just work” – and they don’t play well with others at all.

And with the “Apple Silicon” announcement, over night, Intel Macs have turned from a support nightmare to a support nightmare that is also dead meat. If you’re thinking about buying a Mac now, save your money — you will be investing in the past and your new Mac will be short-lived. (But what is not short-lived in the Apple ecosystem?) In two years time, you won’t even get a new operating system version for that box anymore. You’ll be lucky if you still get security patches. Despite all their marketing, Apple has always sucked at long term support.

I decided to pull the plug now. Other members of my team must support the Apple platforms, but I have the luxury that I only need to observe this from a distance. I won’t invest my own time in Apple computers anymore, and I also won’t buy another Apple machine for myself at work. The Mac Pro is now a beautiful designer PC, but it’s no longer a Mac. And believe it or not, that machine feels twice as fast under Windows 10 than it felt when it was running Catalina. I will upgrade the RAM one last time on that system (to 64 Gig), and I will keep using it until it dies of old age (but probably not for very much longer as my main work horse).

Throughout the last 15 years or so, I’ve spent A LOT of my own money on Apple equipment – more than the nominal capital of a German GmbH, which is an insane amount of private money. Luckily, I have given up spending my own money on Apple products years ago already. I’m not trolling when I say that I have written off a large personal investment.

Using Apple systems at work is another story, because I work in a multi-platform landscape, so I still needed to buy and use Macs. As a group leader, I’ve decided to hand that baton over to my younger colleagues: Let them deal with a platform that constantly moves from migration layer and restrictions to another migration layer and more restrictions, and let them try to find a fix for something that worked in the previous release and that Apple decided to break or remove in the current version. I’m tired of it, I want to spend my time on more interesting things.

Apple, we’re done here.


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Jan 07 2017

Apple is killing the Mac

Published by under Hardware,macOS,Software,Thoughts

Two more years, and macOS and the Mac will have entered the eternal hunting grounds. Apple is killing the Mac, and they have been doing so for years already. If you haven’t noticed the signs, then it’s because you intentionally chose to be blind to them.

The “pro” applications have been killed or turned into consumer products. They turned Final Cut into an iMovie-wannabe, but the best example is Aperture. Aperture, the best thing since sliced bread for putting huge amounts of digital photos in a library, along with nice processing and editing capabilities, has been brutally murdered by Apple and instead they gave us a toy software called photos that, pardon my French, cannot do shit. If anything clearly said “get the heck out of here”, then it was this message.

Apple couldn’t care less for their deskop hardware. The Mac Pro is hopelessly out-dated and, let’s say you want to play games on that machine once in a while, it cannot even compete with a 1,000 Euro Windows PC anymore. At the current pace of updates, the Mac Mini will soon be out-performed by a Raspberry Pi. And the iMac… Well. At least it’s thin. Because that is all that matters in the fashion world of Apple, right?

Now the notebooks. Oh, the notebooks. They got a touch-bar. You know, a touch screen that kills effective usability by making you focus on the keyboard instead of the screen. Because, well, real touch screens are no good with macOS, so they have to come up with an excuse for their lack of interest in developing something that might actually be useful and usable with a desktop OS. After all, they only care for iOS and want you to go there and be locked into their tight and fully controlled iOS ecosystem.

So why is there still a Mac at all? Xcode. They still need to give developers a tool to write iOS software. They don’t care for macOS software, because iOS is what brings the big bucks.

I’m not sure which way they will eventually go, but here are a few possibilites:

  • iOS will become “self-hosting” and there will be a developer version of iOS with an iOS device that can run Xcode and compile software. Think of a larger iPad Pro with an external keyboard and maybe even proper mouse support (Android can do it, so could iOS). They could then kill the Mac.
  • Or they will port Xcode to Linux and simply kill off macOS and discontinue the Mac hardware. (I doubt they would ever port Xcode to Windows.)
  • They sell the Mac unit to someone else and put macOS on extended life support until the first option – self-hosting iOS – becomes feasible. So someone else would have to fight with the hardware business and they just keep supporting the macOS software half-heartedly.
  • I doubt Apple would ever fully open source macOS. That’s just not in Apple’s DNA. But, of course, it would be the most desirable option for all Mac users. At least the platform would stay around.

Whatever direction this will go — the Mac has been demoted to be a “surf-board for Starbucks customers” and does not have much of a future left.

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