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It seems like more and more of the work on MacOS is dedicated to propping up iOS instead of simply making a great desktop OS. As someone who does not use or want Apple's mobile devices, it's been hard to get excited about these last few releases.



I like Apple's mobile devices but ever since the iPad turned out to be a giant iPhone instead of a true desktop/mobile hybrid, I'm scared as hell that they will lock down their desktop/laptop ecosystem the way they do with mobile. It's clear now that iOS is absorbing everything Mac.

Now I'm trapped between MacOS, Windows 10 and maybe Google's Chrome environment. Linux, please take off. I wished the open source community had good interface/usability designers.


Designer here. I and a lot of my colleagues love open source and what it stands for, but, the truth is, it is going to be very difficult to convert designers into hardcore open source advocates like coders/engineers can be when the tools we rely on every day are all closed source. Adobe creative suite, Rhino, proprietary render engines, and a bunch of other platforms designers use simply don't have open source alternatives competitive with market leaders, making conversion to open source very difficult for working professionals.

The majority of the professional community for creating UX/UI do not have the tools to work in FOSS, so you aren't going to see many designers working for FOSS projects as result


> The majority of the professional community for creating UX/UI do not have the tools to work in FOSS, so you aren't going to see many designers working for FOSS projects as result

Then put a call out for what tools you need replaced. Maybe even back GNU to hire people to do it. As a free software developer, I have no clue what you need in order to do good design work. From my perspective, inkscape works "good enough for me". But I'm not a designer.

Free software communities require some give as well as take. The fact that there isn't a free software version of $tool is because nobody has given enough of an incentive to replace it (we're too busy replacing other proprietary tools or making our own tools better).


This sounds like a good encapsulation of the reason why Desktop Linux has died - it is good enough for engineering types who get satisfaction and value out of using it, but who have no idea how to make it useful for anyone outside of the programming community.


That's not really a fair statement. Desktop GNU/Linux works for people who don't have incredibly specific requirements (like "Inkscape isn't enough, I have this $5000 software suite that nobody has replaced with free software yet").

LibreOffice + {Gnome,KDE} + {Chrome,Firefox} is enough for quite a few users "outside of the programming community". My girlfriend uses GNU/Linux (she has to use Windows now because my university requires some proprietary CAD software that I don't want to set up with WINE), several of my non-technical friends now use GNU/Linux.

It's dishonest to claim that just because some professional designers aren't happy with the tools we have available right now on GNU/Linux that "Desktop Linux has died because programmers have no idea how to make it useful for anyone outside that community".

I would downvote you if I could.


Yeah i think the problem for Linux on the desktop is not software but hardware.

More specifically the issue of getting preinstalled Linux out on store shelves right next to Windows and OSX.

In large part because there is no marketing machine to match Apple available, nor the deep pockets to get into a war of attrition with Microsoft.

The closest we came was when Asus shipped their original EEEPC. And Microsoft wasted no time offering a specialized license for Windows XP so that OEMs could offer it instead. Keep in mind that MS had stopped offering XP, and was trying to sell Vista at the time.

On top of that most stores have gotten damn used to the Apple MS duopoly. Thus anything thats not an Apple is a MS, with all the customer support problems that entails...


FLOSS always has to start somewhere and there are definitely professional artists and designers that use the existing FLOSS tools.

During the day, do your work with the tools you are used to. During the night, share a few design tips with open source folks and try out the FLOSS tools.


> Linux, please take off.

Sorry, no can do. We have to complete the process of breaking everything with systemd, then as soon as that's done rewrite KDE and Gnome from scratch again.


I swear, I must be the only person on the planet satisfied with the current state of systemd and GNOME 3. Fedora 23 is my main workstation OS and I have the least amount of friction getting my work done on it compared to either Windows or macOS these days. Then again, I mostly spend my day in IntelliJ, DataGrip, PyCharm, Firefox, a terminal, and a Windows VM for when I'm forced to open Visual Studio.


I'm a maintainer of runC and long-term contributor to Docker. From my perspective, systemd has been nothing but a huge pain from a development perspective. Not because of the UX (which is okay, there's lots of odd stuff there too) but because systemd sets up the system in a way that is ridiculously frustrating for people using low-level kernel primitives directly.

If you want to use cgroups and don't want systemd to start messing around with your setup, then you have to go through systemd (which is bad, but it gets worse when you find out that systemd doesn't support all cgroups). Also, systemd has ridiculous defaults. I wrote the pids cgroup code in the kernel, and was surprised when systemd set the default limit for all system services to be 512 tasks and 4096 for all user tasks. Then there's the binary logging format which is such a brain-dead idea, that I'm not even sure how someone actually went through the process of writing the code without ever considering that it was a bad idea.

That's just one example of the things that annoy me with systemd. Things mostly work with it, but if you actually want to do something, using it is such a pain. If systemd had stayed as what was promised (a replacement for init scripts) and hadn't gone beyond that (managing your bootloader, binary logging, abusing cgroups and changing the kernel plans for what cgroupv2 should look like, messing around with coredumps, misusing /dev/kmem to actually spam people who are trying to debug kernel issues, an-almost-but-not-quite reimplementation of ntpd, etc).

If they didn't have such strong views that they were entitled to be the owners of my system, it might actually have turned out as a good project. Too bad that the management of the project has decided that they should "rewrite all the things, but badly".


I concur as a user of Docker. Trying to get a legacy application running on Docker went smoothly. That is until I tried to start a simple rpcbind service and discovered that during my time away from software development and linux that systemd had taken over plain old kludgy (but hackable!) sysV init scripts. Trying to get a dead simple service running took hours because systemd segfaults instead of gracefully handling and reporting errors. In this case, cgroups wasn't mounted, though why a system init system has a hard requirement on a relatively new kernel feature set not needed in this situation, I can't fathom. Eventually I found a shim for cgroups, but seriously it was a pain. I lost half a night's sleep due to shoddy system level programming you mention from systemd. I'm currently highly eager for FreeBSD 11.0 to reach code freeze. It has a new Docker / linux64 layer and _no_ systemd.


> I'm currently highly eager for FreeBSD 11.0 to reach code freeze. It has a new Docker / linux64 layer and _no_ systemd.

For what it's worth, if you find a distro that doesn't have systemd you can run Docker and runC on it -- both use the underlying kernel primitives themselves and aren't wrappers for systemd scripts.


True, that's also a good point. Alas, many of the non-systemd Linux distros have pretty small communities. Do you have any preferred distro's for this?


You should have commented at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11675129 . (-:

Here, however, your audience has launchd, and has had for over a decade, running on top of Mach IPC; and BSD APIs such as kevent() for tracking forking processes.


Hmm, my impression of Gnome 3, so far, is that it's kind of a poster boy for ambitious design gone bad, visual as well as functional. On top of that, it seems to be very unstable (every minor update knocked out most of my plugins and I had to re-scramble to get a working desktop back together) and a security train wreck waiting to happen. Who thought it was a good idea to download plugins from a website that are basically JS code mashed into the existing code? Or has that changed recently?

After approaching Gnome 3, Cinnamon, and Unity with an open mind, I'm a happy Unity user.


Well Fedora is basically systemd central, so no surprises there. Frankly if it continues the way it has, every distro becomes Fedora with the serial numbers filed off...


Count me in too. Among other reasons, because I administer both Linux and OSX systems—and the systemctl(8) utility is basically invocation-for-invocation identical to OSX's launchctl(8), so I never really have to context-switch.


You are not alone. I've been running Arch with GNOME as my main workhorse and I couldn't be happier. It just works.


There are some really great UI/UI designers out there for Linux distros. Check out https://numixproject.org/.


Just because some UI looks pretty doesn't mean it's well-designed. I sat there staring at that page for like 2 minutes, trying to figure out where I was supposed to click to get more information, before I realized I had to scroll down. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I don't consider that good UI.


It's not a solution to all of Linux's problems, but elementaryOS has good usability for me.


try KDE 5 you might like it


Someone's never used KDE.


It's already a great desktop OS. And they did announce some things (file system) that will make it even better.


OSX used to be ahead of the curve though compared to Windows, now...it's falling behind. I think that's where people's frustrations come from.


I dislike Windows so much. It feels pieced together from so many kludgy parts... Anyway, I just don't see it. :)


It feels like a lot of Microsoft software has a very "eh, fuck it, whatever" kind of attitude, especially when it comes to troubleshooting. Lots of good intentions that just never get finished.

Case in point, the "Do you want Windows to search for a solution?" Since the day this feature was added I've never once had Windows figure anything out; I always get "Windows was unable…". In the Win2K/XP days, you could right-click on a network adapter and choose 'repair' to do all the standard stuff (flush DNS, release/renew DHCP lease, etc.) which would solve most problems. They took that out in Vista in favour of the "idk man" wizard, and now you have to do it by hand.

Windows is also full of catch-all error messages, where it says "We couldn't copy the file. Check file permissions, make sure there's free space, and if it's a network drive make sure you're still on the network", as if those weren't things that the computer couldn't check for me in milliseconds.

When people say that macOS is falling behind Windows, it seems to be, at best, a superficial judgement from people who don't use both of them for productive work. Windows 10 has a lot of polish, but it also has two separate control panels for changing settings, apps which don't seem to know what kind of apps they are, and more and more new APIs and features that only store apps can use, in exchange for extremely limited access to the system.

Windows is great for playing games, but for any serious work the overhead of making it work and keeping it working is just ridiculous.


> Windows 10 has a lot of polish, but it also has two separate control panels for changing settings...

I've seen this with every new version of Windows (except Windows 8.x, which I haven't used and instead jumped from Windows 7 to Windows 10). With each new introduction and addition of polish, you still see old dialogs and methods of doing things underneath once you go one or two levels in. Control Panel is the best example of this. Windows 10 isn't even a complete OS yet. As an example, if I go to Settings and search for "proxy", nothing would show up. If I drill down into Network manually, then I can see and change the proxy settings. I'm sure there are many other unfinished things in it. It's as if they released an in-progress OS right in the middle of a development cycle, and I find it both frustrating to use and ridiculous!


Falling behind how?


> As someone who does not use or want Apple's mobile devices

My guess is that most of Mac users do want/use Apple mobile devices, and that in fact the majority of their computing time is now on those devices so it makes sense that the team would focus heavily on the interface and overlap between iOS / MacOS.


Huh, in most of the world the mapping between iOS and macOS users is nowhere 1-to-1. There's huge amount of users who use either one or the other.

Which doesn't really change the fact that even Windows 10 has been starting to pass them by with significant new features.


You'd be surprised.

Actually there are indeed more iOS users than OS X -- but OS X users almost all have an iOS device, which is what's important here.


I would be, because most of the workplaces and other places didn't confirm your observation. With perhaps the exception of SV, which is filled with Apple hardware. Can we conjure any statistics from somewhere to confirm / deny our observations?


I'd think devs would be kin to have a macos computer but no iOS device (android devs would be the obvious pattern, but web devs would also easily be on android)

Out of that demographic, I don't see much people that care enough to buy a mac but choose an android or windows phone.


The macOS users of the past have adopted iOS for its good macOS integration, the iOS users of the current and future will go with macOS for its good iOS integration.

Apple is tying all it's devices strongly together through software and services. This way you have a huge incentive to completely buy into the Apple ecosystem.

This matters far more than something like a new filesystem - a term most Apple customers have never even heard.


Only reason I use OSX is that's what I was issued at work.

I don't own an iOS device, never have, and don't see myself ever getting one in the future.

All of my personal mobile devices are Android, and all my desktops/laptops are Windows.


As someone who has used Windows, Mac and Linux as both personal and work OS for > 5 years each, I'm curious to know how come (you don't see yourself getting one in the future). The two things I have against the Apple platform compared to Microsoft and Google are Apple's bias toward lock-in and their aversion to tinkering. Other than that, I think what they are offering is rather good.


I got a Macbook Pro as work machine in late 2014, having used a Thinkpad before.

1. Mac OS is just too unfamiliar. It starts with the keyboard layout, which I reverted to Windows-style after I went crazy trying to find the square brackets. (Which, probably for aesthetics, they didn't bother to print ont he keyboard.)

2. Mac OS's poor multi-monitor support regularly drives me crazy. To their credit, they have ironed out a lot of the bugs in Mavericks, but there is still plenty of stupid behavior (e.g. screen 1 sliding back to the desktop from a fullscreen app when a new window opens on screen 2, or a messagebox from an app on screen 3 opening on screen 1, completely out of my sight). Windows is somehow much better in this regard (at least, I was not annoyed by it that often), and even Linux has very solid multi-monitor support these days (at least for me, YMMV).

3. The userland is UNIX, but does not match my expectations well enough. It's basically in the creepy valley. For example, I was using units(1) one day and wondering why it gave a syntax error when I tried to use a power operator (like "2^64"). Then I noticed that I was in the Mac terminal, not in my Linux VM (where I usually work), and upon inspecting the manpage, I found that they hadn't updated their units(1) since 1991 (wtf).

4. The company where I work is mostly a Windows shop, so corporate IT is based on Microsoft products (AD, Exchange, Lync aka Skype for Business) all the way through. While there are Office for Mac, Outlook for Mac, and Lync for Mac, these are still no match to their Windows counterparts in terms of polish and OS-level integration.

All in all, I'm already set on going back to a Windows notebook when it is time to get a new machine. (It's not like my Linux VM cares which host OS it runs on, anyway.)


The multimonitor support has fairly recently become passable. It's hard to imagine that it took more than a decade to do that. It used to be almost entirely useless. I think it's a case of overthinking it and trying not-to-be-windows that made it take so long.

I'm not sure it's correct now, but at least it's useful.

The Unix outdatedness is really annoying sometimes. I wouldn't even mind running some kind of big update after getting a new machine and waiting a couple hours for things to improve. The number of Macs I've seen with Linux VMs running on them just to get up-to-date things on them is really unfortunate.


brew install <whatever you want>. I have about 100 packages installed and haven't had a problem in months. Anything somewhat popular is updated within day.

But I don't get the complaint about multiple screens either. It's always been plug in -> desktop extended. I wouldn't even know what to get wrong.


Only since maybe Yosemite has multi monitor support been what I'd call well modeled and decent. It's quite often been plug in -> useless grey screen on the other monitor you can't use, or some other nonsense. It took, what 3 entire revisions of the OS just for that not to happen? For a while, I had apps where I couldn't put different windows of the same app on different monitors, or one of the windows would randomly go away never to be seen again. Other apps would resize to 0,0 when disconnecting and then save the window position so I'd have to either reconnect to the same monitor I was no longer near, or uninstall, reinstall the app.

There was always weirdness about the dock and menu bar that's sort of now settling down, but the dock used to display all sorts of bizarreness, especially when it was set to autohide.

Fundamentally it came down to issues with Apple's way of thinking about workspaces, monitors, desktops, applications and windows. Even now I still have to spend far too much time hunting down things across multiple desktops and monitors. It seemed like Apple was dancing around what should probably just happen in an effort not to too closely mimic Microsoft.

But to get at the heart of it, what happens when you full-screen an app? Apple had no idea what that meant when it was launched in 2011. However, what Apple chose to do in the case of full-screening an app on multiple monitors made absolutely no sense and was absolutely useless: the app would take on the role in the hierarchy of a desktop, and the other monitor would go grey. Why? nobody outside of Apple knows, but it took until 2013/2014 to fix.


"Fundamentally it came down to issues with Apple's way of thinking about workspaces, monitors, desktops, applications and windows. Even now I still have to spend far too much time hunting down things across multiple desktops and monitors. It seemed like Apple was dancing around what should probably just happen in an effort not to too closely mimic Microsoft."

Everything you need to know can be summed up in the fact that, in OSX, you can click the green button with a '+' in it, and that window can get smaller.


> I went crazy trying to find the square brackets.

Apple's US keyboards have them in a good place: on dedicated keys to the right of the 'p' key.

Scroll down a bit here:

http://www.apple.com/magic-accessories/

Like you, I am baffled as to why some of their BSD userland programs are so very out of date.


Apples US keyboards are fine, the problem is their international keyboards are usually bizarre hybrids of the local layout and US layout.

Standard UK layout: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KB_United_Kingdom.svg

Apple "UK" layout: http://i.imgur.com/pIGiilv.jpg (@€#@|\`~ are all wrong)


The worst part is not that they have a "unique" UK keyboard layout, but that they don't support the standard UK layout at all with the built-in keymaps, which is frankly incredible given that every single keyboard other than Apple ones uses it since it's a British Standard and that's what everyone uses and expects.


Yup, after my first Macbook with a german layout in 2009 i only got them with US keyboards ever since.


How are those UK keys 'wrong'? Do you just mean you'd chose to put them somewhere else if you were designing a keyboard?


As has already been said here, there are British Standards covering computer keyboard layouts. There are the several parts of BS ISO/IEC 9995 (parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 11), there is BS 4822, and the BSI also publishes ISO/IEC 15412.


Those standards are just someone else's opinion though. As long as they don't claim to meet those standards then they aren't 'wrong', they just have a different opinion on what's best compared to the standard.


> 3. The userland is UNIX, but does not match my expectations well enough. It's basically in the creepy valley. For example, I was using units(1) one day and wondering why it gave a syntax error when I tried to use a power operator (like "2^64"). Then I noticed that I was in the Mac terminal, not in my Linux VM (where I usually work), and upon inspecting the manpage, I found that they hadn't updated their units(1) since 1991 (wtf).

That's an interesting one. OS X has a BSD user land (FreeBSD to be specific), while Linux is traditionally used with the GNU user land. Looking at the FreeBSD site, they ship the same units version from 1993: https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=units&sektion=1


> 1. Mac OS is just too unfamiliar. It starts with the keyboard layout, which I reverted to Windows-style after I went crazy trying to find the square brackets. (Which, probably for aesthetics, they didn't bother to print ont he keyboard.)

I assume you're using a non-US keyboard? I've been using Macs for programming for 15 years, and I haven't seen this, and I have MacBooks Pro from 2010 through 2016 in our office and they all have square brackets on the keyboard.


> aversion to tinkering

That is my biggest (and really only) complaint against Apple. Sometimes you have to go under the hood and do a few things. I don't know what Apple has against this way of thinking though.


"My guess is that most of Mac users do want/use Apple mobile device"

That's what it is... a guess. Unless you can produce some data to back it up.

There's a huge community (especially outside of US) who use Macs for day-to-day work but use android mobile devices as that's the most sensible choice for a majority of the world.


> use android mobile devices as that's the most sensible choice

That is a highly subjective statement at best.


It's not even a preference thing though. Android phones are absolutely killing the low-end smartphone market and international users are very heavily Android locked-in. I can buy a pretty solid Android phone for 200-300 dollars, even less these days. The cheapest iPhones are 400-500 dollars. It's why Android dominates iOS globally.(https://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp). Outside of SV, Android is still the most common mobile OS (including in the US).


> Outside of SV, Android is still the most common mobile OS (including in the US).

And as a result, the app and services ecosystem supports Android as the main platform in large ecosystems outside the US like China, India and Brazil.


Yep. Macbook + Android here.


What does it not have that you want (and think a lot of other people also want)?


Consider what it does have that you dont want it to have (iTunes Syncing, locked filedrive, etc).


Can't you turn off iTunes syncing? And what is "locked filedrive"?




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