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A world without the Mac Pro (marco.org)
113 points by Shank on Nov 5, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 184 comments

"Linux can solve some pro needs, but not most. It’s a fantastic server OS but a miserable desktop one, and that will probably never change."

When I switched in 2005 I had to convince friends I wasn't crazy. I advocated for the platform. I suffered weird incompatibilities. I dealt with bad updates. I found work arounds for non-multi-platform tools I had to run. But look how stable, how much less restrictive the platform was, I said! And it was!

The platform I switched to in 2005 wasn't Linux. It was OS X.

In 10 years the world has changed and today if you are in most of the "creative" professions, not using a Mac is the exception. You can today make a lot of arguments against desktop linux, yet for the past several years I've run it exclusively on all my main systems (laptops and desktops, work and home).

10 years ago, plenty of Windows users couldn't imagine a world in which Macs were where they are today. I mean couldn't imagine. The way Mac enthusiasts can't imagine desktop linux today. The parallels aren't exact. They don't need to be. I am neither predicting success or failure. I am simply pointing out that imagination fails and it is a mistake to say "that will probably never change."

Virtually all of the rendering heavy lifting and many of the desktops in the world of cinematic VFX are Linux. Have been for years. Even Pixar has a Linux desktop fleet.

> Even Pixar has a Linux desktop fleet.

And those machines are terrible. Teradici thin clients streaming Red Hat from a closet somewhere. The latency on those things was significant, and the fonts unreadable. The hardware was really buggy, the monitors were really low resolution, and there was some irony on typing on a broken Dell keyboard in the Steve Jobs building. The crappyness of having to sit in front of those machines for 10 hours a day was a significant part of my decision when I left Pixar.

DreamWorks Animation/PDI gave their crew decent HP x86 RHEL boxes. Desktop and farm Linux is a necessity in these fields.

> Desktop and farm Linux is a necessity in these fields.

Howso? I was working with animation tools developed entirely internally -- last I checked C++ and Qt work fine on OS X.

Linux system engineers and administrators are a bit more common to hire for than OS X engineers, not to mention that the ecosystem is mature and healthy.

That is subtly incorrect - what they are is "cheap generic x86" (or x64 now), that's why all those SGIs and Suns were dumped, the price/performance of the hardware. Linux just happened to be the x86 Unix around at the time. It could just have easily been FreeBSD or (if Sun weren't so short-sighted) Solaris x86.

Would anyone have ditched IRIX to run Linux on their MIPS kit? Of course not because it was never about the OS in this space, it was about FLOPS/$.

> It could just have easily been FreeBSD or (if Sun weren't so short-sighted) Solaris x86.

What exactly did Sun do wrong with their x86 and x86_64 versions of Solaris that you call "so short-sighted"?

They were afraid that x86 hardware would eclipse SPARC hardware, so development of Solaris x86 lagged behind "real" Solaris, and the HCL was always very small. They wanted to sell you expensive hardware, not a software license.

What actually happened was that x86 hardware eclipsed SPARC hardware... And organisations that would have been happy to refresh the hardware and keep the same OS and just recompile their apps found that they couldn't, so they jumped to Linux instead... And the rest, along with Sun itself, is history. I was working for a big Sun customer during this transition, we begged them to make Solaris x86 a first-class citizen, and we had a lot of support within Sun too but the SPARC Mafia won the day and with regret, our next big order was (IIRC) with Dell and SUSE...

Right place at the right time. That's half the battle.

I installed Ubuntu on my Macbook Air a couple of days ago. After making some adjustments for the hardware everything works. It's faster and smoother than current MacOS. It also looks better (after slight GUI tweaking).

Granted, with Linux you will often have to do a bit of setup initially, but after that you don't need to touch the innards of the OS again if you don't want to.

I don't think MacOS is a superior OS compared to Linux anymore. However, MacOS does have an ecosystem of some very good apps that do not have their equivalence in Linux. Hopefully that too will change.

Out of three daily desktop drivers, one is an XPS 13, one an old repurposed T3500 xeon, and one a Mac Pro 2011 tower. Arch runs faster and smoother on that Mac Pro than OS X.

I only really miss Adobe, but I was a heavy user of it. VMs/Wine aren't the same.

what about close-lid-to-sleep?

what about battery usage?

what about heat?

My first Mac was a TiBook, which I bought to install Yellow Dog Linux on. I switched to OSX at 10.1. I worked from 2001-2005 at a decent-sized network software firm in Ann Arbor. Within a year or so of arriving, much of the office had converted to Macs.

I don't think having a Mac in '05 made you too much of an outlier --- at least, not if you worked in technology. By 2005, Apple had already started the switch to Intel!

This would be nitpicking, except that the timeline matters here. It's not a 10 year gap, just by your own numbers. But it's not 12 years, either. It's more like 16.

Let's also remember that Linux has been an unreasonable mass-market desktop choice for a lot longer than 16 years. "The year of Linux on the desktop" is a nerd joke for a reason.

In 05 I was based in Asia. Macs were edge cases. From 99-03 I ran online ops for a large ad agency network in Asia. PCs were by far the norm outside of the video departments. By 07 I worked in the states for a mac software firm, so I was definitely no outlier by then.

I copied that exact phrase to create a comment around the fact that the phrase is utter nonsense. It's a not a black-and-white situation. I switched back and forth between OS X and Ubuntu, mainly when changing jobs (I was always saying 'ooo, I can get a Mac' at the new job.) But this has stopped for me. I do not like dealing with the subtle issues with Mac OS X anymore. I'd rather deal with the blunt oddities I see in Ubuntu if it means I get a consistent environment through the years (which it has been after they switched to Unity as a default.)

My much more powerful Macbook Pro provided to me from my job sits and collects dust as I use something that I actually feel more productive in.

By the way, I am a software engineer. People use software to reach their goals and if they choose Mac, Windows, Linux or BSD or whatever, God bless them.

I've been using Linux exclusively for three years now, and I don't see that changing, probably ever.

I'm way more productive on my Linux Mint Cinnamon setup than I am on anything else. And I can make it look beautiful with 5 minutes of tweaking.

I keep an OS X partition on my MacBook Pro, just for the off chance that I might want to do iOS development at some point.

Arment is way too positive on the Mac Pro's thermal design. Recently I worked on an application where we had about a dozen Mac Pros doing heavy video encoding workloads. Four of these computers started having GPU overheating issues, and turns out that this is a common occurrence on the 2013 Mac Pro. Apple has been quietly replacing units over the years (searching for the specific console error message reveals that it's common among Mac Pro owners).

My theory is that the Mac Pro hasn't seen an update because Apple knows that its current thermal design is a lemon, and they don't really want to sell any more of these because the replacement rate is so high.

Can confirm, had a similar set up with six Mac Pros for video processing and compression. We had to replace every single one of them at least once, and some 3 times and still we feel there are heat-based performance issues that Apple hasn't addressed.

Also, I think Apple will have to come out with a new display to go with the Mac Pro.

> Also, I think Apple will have to come out with a new display to go with the Mac Pro.

I must be missing something. If a new Mac Pro ever came out wouldn't it use USB-C and be fine on the new LG displays Apple sells (price dropped by the way)?

There's no press release, but they've told at least one journalist there's no more displays: https://9to5mac.com/2016/10/28/apple-standalone-displays/.

It was already evident from the Anandtech review, where the 12 core model was reaching around 100 C (CPU and GPU) under stress load. Anand tried to downplay the issue somewhat, but the numbers speak for themselves, it's not a computer you can rely on for prolonged high loads.

Apple could give it a secondary function as a tea kettle... Then the design would finally serve some purpose. Just needs a samovar-style tap.

Sounds like an opportunity for someone to create after-market coolers.

MacPro "SubZero Edition". :)

> Linux can solve some pro needs, but not most. It’s a fantastic server OS but a miserable desktop one, and that will probably never change.

Depending on which pro needs We're talking about, I don't believe this is true anymore.

I was a Linux user for many years, then an OS X user for over a decade, and earlier this year I'd had enough with being annoyed by OS X & switched back to Linux. I am extremely happy I did.

If you want beautiful GUIs or do video/audio/graphics editing then, yes, macOS is still superior. If you are a developer who spends most of your time split between the terminal and the browser, then Linux is not just an acceptable substitute, but can in fact be a superior replacement.

> If you want beautiful GUIs or do video/audio/graphics editing then, yes, macOS is still superior.

Adobe porting their Creative Suite to Linux and maybe even releasing their own branded AdobeOS Linux distribution would seem to be a massive existential threat to Apple and Microsoft both, and would give Adobe a possible "out" to the world they live in right now, where Apple tries to do their best to keep Adobe "in check". Seriously: every single one of these threads ends up in the holding pattern of "we could all be using Linux tomorrow if we had [software which is almost entirely controlled by Adobe and which is already designed by them in a way where the UI seems to be an in-house toolkit and which would be trivial for them to port to Linux]"; that would effectively just leave "office productivity" as the only class of software where Microsoft (and to a lesser but still noticeable extent, Apple) would be able to hold people on their platform (and OMG: a future where the next Adobe CS release was a word processor... that would be brutal).

>Adobe porting their Creative Suite to Linux and maybe even releasing their own branded AdobeOS Linux distribution would seem to be a massive existential threat to Apple and Microsoft both

And if my aunty had bollocks she'd be my uncle.

I am going to assume you are trying to say that would never happen, but suddenly going into the operating system market with a Linux distribution is not unprecedented (Google Chrome OS) and doing a simultaneous pivot to take over a related space is not either (Amazon AWS).

Not a chance in hell Adobe is going to do that. It'd increase their costs and the complexity of releases, and all for a platform with 1.x% share and with a culture of not paying for softare

That's like saying Google releasing Chrome OS and Android while porting their software the Linux was dumb because it just increases their costs for a platform that no one uses while totally missing the part that Google now controls an alternative platform that people actually do use... do you really not see how Adobe seems to hold almost all of the cards needed right now to take over as de facto operating system?

There is a big difference between what Adobe and what Google do. Adobe is nowhere near being an operating system, they build application platforms. If anything they are moving towards making all their apps web based.

I can relate. Since I setup a Linux desktop PC running Arch & bspwm, I feel less productive in macOS. The only other desktop UX tool I use is dmenu.

It feels like when I first moved from Windows to OS X. Makes sense, since back then OS X felt minimal compared to Windows, and a bare tiling manager over Linux is the ultimate minimalism.

Proper window tiling was one of the annoyances that prompted me to switch!

I used dwm at first when I switched back to Linux, but found it still doesn't handle multi-head very well, so now I use XMonad (with dmenu), and have been very content with it.

Arch Linux + XMonad is the way I run my stuff.

I still have a MacBook Air lying around that I use when I'm on the road. The amount of visual clutter, annoying UI animations, the nagging from notifications and alerts surprises me every time. I didn't notice it before I started using my current XMonad setup. So either Apple is making it worse or you just don't see it when you don't have a clean and minimal system as a comparison.

There are professional crews running Linux and using either Krita for art / comic work or Blender for modeling and 3d animation. The only industries really lacking right now are video editing, which I believe Kdenlive is making great inroads on, and professional audio, which is the only major field that Mac Pros can target that is not really having their needs met at all (Ardour can be... something, but its UI is barf and the prerequisites to using it are fairly high).

I guess we are also missing professional photo editing to match photoshop (Krita isn't trying to be one, and Gimp is kind of a mess) and 2d animation (in a world of toonboom and flash, synfig is a poor substitute). Freecad is also not a very effective substitute for CAD workstations, but to my knowledge those users have never left Windows for OSX in the first place.

Frustratingly, the brilliant Davinci Resolve has been half ported to Linux. The backend will run on Linux to allow for rendering clusters, but the UI is Mac and Windows only.

Ardour is only half the equation for audio production on Linux, even if it didn't have serious shortcomings. Professional users need an extensive suite of plugins, the vast majority of which are proprietary and have no good Linux alternative. There's no good pitch correction plugins for Linux, no Kontakt compatible sampler, no mastering suite, no restoration and repair suite, no good metering tools.

My Pro needs are iOS and OS X development, in no way Linux can solve that.

How is Linux now on things like suspend/resume and wireless networking these days? I was using Linux for my primary dev laptop until 2010. Once I realized I could shut the lid and reliably wake it up -- something I have yet to see a Windows or Linux laptop do -- I switched over. (But I still use a Linux VM for the actual dev tools).

Let's put it this way: We had someone in to demo a piece of software (webapp) this week which we were considering licensing, they had a Linux laptop (Ubuntu). They weren't able to connect to our corporate wireless and the meeting was delayed almost 40 minutes (ultimately we loaned them an in-house Windows ultrabook to do the demo). I felt embarrassed for them.

I've not seen sleep issues on MacOS or Windows for over ten years. You close the lid it sleeps, you open the lid it wakes. Seems reliable.

I've never seen OSX sleep issues. I have seen Windows sleep issues, but less than for Linux. I'm hoping things are better now in 2016. But yeah, I got OSX because I know OSX can talk to everyone.

My company-issued HP laptop running Windows 7 does not reliably wake from sleep. I have to use hibernation instead.

Just curious, is that because of VPN?

No nothing I posted about has anything to do with VPN.

The user wasn't able to connect to our guest 802.1X (EAP, 802.11n) wireless network using their Ubuntu laptop. MacOS clients and Windows clients have no issue (it is a guest network, non-employees use it often).

The only time I've ever had an issue connecting to a network with Linux was with a specific university network, which (forgive me if I mangle this because I'm not very familiar with networking protocols) used WPA2, PEAP and MSCHAPv2 and required a username and password to authenticate. The only tricky step was you needed to indicate to the network manager to use a certificate at /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificate.crt

That was a pain to set up, and I switched to their alternative network that permitted whitelisted MAC IDs pretty quickly.

Also, I've noticed that recently, when I connect to certain guest networks at office buildings and libraries and so forth, there is a "login" page where you consent to not look at porn or whatever on their connection that you are supposed to be automatically redirected to when you first connect and try to load a page.

Sometimes the redirect doesn't work, and you are forbidden from loading pages until you've clicked the button on the page it failed to send you to. Going to or or some variant usually finds it.

But for the most part! I have not had any issues with normal "type the password into the WPA network" or "associate with the unsecured network". See my other comment in this chain: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12881305

And in the worst case, I always have my phone with me, rooted with unlimited 4G and a USB cable to tether it with.


As you've probably noticed in the other replies here, opinions vary widely :).

These kinds of things are also part of why I switched to OS X in 2003-ish, so I understand the hesitation.

In my experience, Linux is perfectly fine nowadays for these things. I've been traveling a bit recently (and so have been using a lot more random WiFi access points, tethering with my phone, and relying on battery for power), and everything's pretty much just worked for me.

My company's development team is just about 50/50 Linux/Mac now, and I haven't seen any real difference between the two sides with issues for WiFi. In fact, I've probably seen more difficulty on the Mac side recently: I feel like the last few versions of OS X have had the habit of randomly dropping WiFi connections sometimes. One of my friends has an MBP that will drop a connection & refuse to reconnect until restarted (or at least he hasn't yet found a solution that doesn't involve restarting).

It's possible a lot of the issues people report might be down to hardware/distribution choices: not all hardware support is equal, and not all Linux distributions are equal. FWIW I use Arch Linux on a ThinkPad.

That all might sounds a little "works on my machine", but I'm not trying to say that the contrary stories of people having a terrible time aren't valid concerns. What I am saying is that many Linux users have perfectly stable & pleasant experiences, and many Mac/Windows users don't have stable/pleasant experiences, so ultimately YMMV regardless of what setup you choose.

That sounds like it's worth for me to try again if that is the case. Maybe I can find some decent hardware that works well. Thanks for sharing.

The flip side is for the work I do nowadays, I usually use a Linux VM on something like Digital Ocean. There was at one point I was using a 2011 11" Mac Air to dev work.

It does come down to the hardware. I have had no problems with wifi, video, suspend/resume, hibernation etc since a laptop ago bought in 2007. I have been buying the Thinkpad T series with all Intel components. Especially the wifi and gpu are Intel. Everything worked with Ubuntu.

If you have Nvidia or AMD GPUs, some other wifi vendors (cough broadcom cough) then there can be issues due to drivers, firmware, binary blobs etc. They manifest as suspend/resume issues, wifi flakiness etc.

So yes you can do it by selecting component vendors, but in general 100% of systems will not be robust.

A lot has improved in the recent years for Linux on the desktop. If you have very new devices, it is recommended to run the newest kernel. Suspend works fine for me.

Even today the only way to make this work in Linux is to run Windows or OSX on the hardware, then VirtualBox or VMware, then Linux full-screen. Let the host OS do the tricky stuff like power management and networking.

That was what I ended up doing. Dev work in VM, and let OSX be egregriously good at talking to people. After I switched to a cloud machine for the Linux dev and started using mosh, I don't really notice that I am not working on a cloud machine. Though if I want to say, take a 3-month coding cruise or travel by train across the US while coding, that might be different.

>Even today the only way to make this work in Linux...

What? I'm running Arch with i3 right now, and networkmanager (with nm-applet for my tray) is doing just fine at finding and associating with networks. `systemctl suspend` suspends my system as desired. I'm sure if I spent some time looking, I could bind it to my power button or laptop lid.

If your complaint is that user shouldn't have to use the command line to suspend their device - I've used Ubuntu versions since 12.04 and they all have this sort of thing built in and intuitively accessible.

Were you referring to something besides network and power management?

I have never encountered any wireless issue.

Suspend works fine.

(IIRC suspend issues are mostly due to proprietary drivers, which is basically nVidia and AMD to a smaller extent (AMD's open source drivers work well))

I have, back in 2002 - 2010. That was when the fulltime job I signed on for issued me a MBP. Suspend and wake was terrible. I've had Linux geek swagger in there claiming they could fix it, and then running away when they realized, there was no fix.

That was why I was asking if the state of things for Linux has improved now that it is 2016. Thanks for sharing.

And if you split your time between the terminal and the browser and want what amounts to a built-in IDE, OpenBSD is a great answer.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "what amounts to a built-in IDE"?

I like the BSDs, and considered doing that instead of Linux.

My company is a heavy Docker user, though: dealing with docker-machine & running Docker via a VM on OS X was one of the final straws that caused me to switch. Given that FreeBSD's Docker support is pretty recent (and was still considered beta when I was deciding to switch), and OpenBSD doesn't have any native support at all as far as I know, I felt that the probability of trading one annoyance for a similar one was too high, so Linux was the right choice for me.

> Microsoft is boldly experimenting with PC hardware, but Windows and everything around Windows is woefully inferior to macOS and the Mac software ecosystem. Even if Microsoft did everything right, it would take Windows at least a decade to catch up — and they won’t do everything right.

So, if you have everything already on macOS (I still hate that name change), I can get not wanting to switch. But what on Earth is it doing so much better than Windows that at minimum a decade would be required for it to catch up?

* The windows registry vs the OSX defaults system

* Constantly changing APIs based on Microsofts internal politics vs. the very stable Cocoa

* HiDPI that always works or has good fallbacks

* Touchpad / gesture support that is actually pleasant and precise to use

* Battery life

* Multidesktop

* POSIX scripting (that one is slowly coming to windows now)

* Can be restored from another computer in a matter of minutes (see also the first point)

* PDF support baked into OS

* Constantly changing APIs based on Microsofts internal politics vs. the very stable Cocoa

Really? I can run Windows apps I bought 10 years ago easily, whereas many Mac apps seem to break with every OS update. It's also extremely hard to build apps for older versions of Mac OS X, as Apple hide the older versions of the SDK.

I think m_mueller's comment is more from a developer's perspective than a users. Microsoft has done an amazing job of preserving compatibility. Its not that Microsoft gets rid of APIs (they don't), but that they haven't stuck with a "one true" API to program Windows in[1]. Their switching of what tech you should use to build your apps is problematic.

Cocoa has been a long path, but my Windows friends have had a constant churn of the latest API to use.

1) I am talking about the stuff we are supposed to use above the base Win32.

A key difference with the Microsoft approach vs the Apple approach is that on Windows the API that exposes every single feature is such a beast that developers are expected to work at a level above that API.

Whether it's WPF, WinForms, WinRT, or whatever the new flavour of the day is, it's always a layer on top. And that layer is never perfect, because you still have to do the occasional [DllImport("Kernel32.dll")] interop reference.

Here are the currently supported ways to deal with windows on Windows:


* System.Windows.Window

* Windows.UI.Xaml.Window

On OSX, you use Cocoa. When Apple introduced Swift, they didn't have to layer on top of the API accessed by ObjC. When you write Swift code, you call the exact same APIs as you would have done with your ObjC code.

Here are the currently supported ways to deal with windows on the Mac:

* NSWindow

You use Cocoa in 2016.

There was the Object Pascal Toolbox, replaced by C Toolbox (MacApp), replaced by MPW, replaced by PowerPlant, replaced by Carbon, replaced by Cocoa.

I can list many other examples, even Cocoa has lots of deprecated APIs since OS X 10.0.

Sure, but the Windows APIs that I mentioned aren't historical. Those are all currently supported APIs. Carbon/Cocoa was the last time that OS X has had a dual-API situation but even then, Carbon was always referred to as the transitional library and Cocoa was always referred to as what you should use for new code.

While Apple floundered during the 90s with their OS strategy, their API strategy in OS X has been absolutely rock solid.

It's now 2016, Carbon has come and gone as it was intended to and Cocoa is still around and is still the API you use for working with the Mac. If you're trying to do something on the Mac, there's going to be a single officially supported way to do it and that's it (if it's supported at all).

Meanwhile, there are three totally different frameworks on Windows that you can use to do the same thing, all of which are officially supported and none of which are deprecated.

> It's now 2016, Carbon has come and gone as it was intended to and Cocoa is still around and is still the API you use for working with the Mac. If you're trying to do something on the Mac, there's going to be a single officially supported way to do it and that's it (if it's supported at all).

There are quite a few 32bit apps making use of it and they will never be ported to Cocoa.

> Meanwhile, there are three totally different frameworks on Windows that you can use to do the same thing, all of which are officially supported and none of which are deprecated.

Win32 and MFC are deprecated for new applications, the way forward is UWP with XAML.

Project Centipede is just for porting existing code into UWP world.

Windows Forms was officially deprecated at BUILD 2014.


> Sure, but the Windows APIs that I mentioned aren't historical. Those are all currently supported APIs.

That's not a bad thing. It means if I wrote an app 5, or 10, or 15 years ago, I can keep working on it and updating it without having to throw most of the code away and start again.

I suspect this will change under Nadella. Things just feel like they have a better vision to them.

1) Do people still face Registry issues anymore? My ME system was hosed due to a minor registry corruption, but I haven't heard about Registry complaints in a decade (to be fair, I was completely in the mac camp, until a few months ago, so I may simply be unaware).

2) Applications written in the 90s still work on Windows 10. There was a short period (around Windows 8) where MS started dropping all their old APIs, but Windows 10 has stabilized that.

3) Yeah, screen resolution stuff is finicky on Windows but this is largely due to legacy apps. Modern apps don't have issues with this.

4) The Microsoft Precision touchpad APIs solve this problem. Admittedly far too many manufacturers are still using the old system (which pretends the touchpad is a USB connected mouse) but the ones that have switched to the Precision APIs are really nice, and keep improving with each Windows update. I expect very few non precision trackpads to exist come 2017 models.

5) Windows Laptops have as much, if not more battery life than Mac laptops. (The surface book gives you a 16 hour option). I don't think this is very valid anymore.

6) MultiDesktop - If you mean virtual desktops, Windows's Virtual desktops are no worse than MacOS's. Neither are close to what Linux offers. And if you are talking about multiple monitors, simply the presence of Win+Direction Keys makes Windows superior.

7) POSIX scripting - This is huge. It's why I usually run a Linux VM in my Win10 machine for most of my programming. Good thing that MS is improving, but I am not convinced the Linux Subsystem will ever be as good as being a POSIX OS in itself.

8) I have to strongly disagree with this one. Time Machine corrupts far too easily. You can theoretically restore from elsewhere, but the failure rate is way too high for anyone to trust Time Machine as a backup system. Windows backup while far less user friendly, is more reliable. If you are referring to more UNIXy solutions (which might be the case considering you refer to point 1), you may be correct.

9) Windows 10 has native PDF support.

> Windows's Virtual desktops are no worse than MacOS's.

Bit late but just to chime in on this, to my knowledge on Windows 10 you cannot:

- Save desktop arrangement so your setup persists through shutdowns.

- Assign apps to specific desktops so they always open straight on that desktop.

- Assign keyboard shortcuts so you can jump to specific desktops rapidly without sliding through or using the mouse, e.g. ctrl + 1-9.

If you can do any of these, then I would be genuinely grateful to hear how as I'm evaluating returning to windows as my main OS. Without these Windows virtual desktops are more of a proof of concept and are lacking the tools needed to make them actually useful and productive.

> Windows 10 has native PDF support.

All of my PDF's seem to want to open in Edge by default, which is a web browser. On macOS they open in preview, or quick look.

1) Hosing the registry is not the big issue. The issue is that distributed config with centralised UI >> centralised config. On OSX, if I want to reset an App to factory I delete a .plist and maybe an application support folder (always in the same place). I never had to reinstall a single application in 11 years of using OSX. Moving to a different mac? Migration support just does a file based copy of your apps, plist files and support folders and everything is exactly the same as bevore. Want to copy an app without config? Just copy the .app file. These are all things that registry + complex program folders with write access make impossible.

8. I believe the tool of choice among Mac users is Super-Duper. It creates bootable clones. Time Machine isn't that well regarded.

The asr and ditto command line tools work very well and cost nothing.

Why would most macOS users care about the Windows registry, Microsoft APIs, OS level PDF, or POSIX? Perhaps a programmer, but not an end user?

Seems like I would take a super powerful Windows or linux server any day over a lower powered Mac Pro just because of the OS if hardware specs were that critical.

Taking 10 vs 1 minute to render would be way more important.

BTW, Windows 10 has multi desktop and most apps work fine with high DPI.

You wouldn't be commenting on things working at high DPIs on Windows if you've been using a Mac for the past few years. It's really one of those things where a lot of Windows users think that it's fine, but once you see how well seamless and fully supported things are on OSX you realise just how much there is left to do.

Every single app integrates well and the scaling is flawless even for the few that don't support 2x mode. I have never dragged a window between screens on the Mac and seen it appear at the wrong scale.

I've done it about 50 times in the past week at my day job on my Windows machine. To be fair, that Windows machine drives a VR headset that you just can't use on OSX because no Macs have the compute power needed - there are definite wins to going with Windows.

It's just that the Windows mentality is to just get most things working and assume the rest is just something that most users won't care about, whereas the Mac mentality is to get it all to work together seamlessly.

I've never dragged a window between screens on Windows because that's not something you do on Windows. You use win+direction. Something sorely missing from osx and third party software is nowhere near as good as the native Windows solution. I use both OSs almost everyday. Mac for work, and win for home. The fact that you mention dragging windows (a necessity on mac) in Windows shows that you probably don't use it very much or don't know how to use it conveniently.

I enjoy both OSs (the UX is basically 90% the same btw), they're fine. And there are areas where one works better than the other. By focusing on the issues with one of them without realizing the issues of the other just shows that you're probably not familiar with the other.

I'm not disputing your point, just showing your partiality. I've literally not had to "manually" resize or drag a window in Windows since Win7, but I do it everyday on mac. The Windows model for window management is just better, but you'd never hear it in these comments.

Actually I can't use Win + direction anymore because on Win10 it immediately nags me to pick what other window should fill the other half when I don't want to do that.

I use Windows more than OS X these days.

Not everyone uses the short cut keys. I never use them but I know they exist.

I have seen that on Windows when dragging between monitors, but only if they are different resolutions. At work I use 3 monitors all 4k and they work flawlessly.

But yes some windows apps still leave a lot desired on 4k if they haven't been updated.

Regarding high DPI, I beg to differ. A lot of Windows applications look like shit on high DPI.

Some of these are valid, but:

* My Razer Blade 2015 has no problem driving its hidpi screen and my lodpi monitor, even at the same time

* My battery lasts 8 hours with a VM running, which is about as good as any MacBook I've ever had

* Multi desktop exists in Win10, Win+Tab lets you switch desktops

Windows isn't perfect, and I spent a long time on a combination of Linux and Mac machines, but my daily driver is Windows with a Linux VM for programming now and I'm perfectly happy.

And you don't notice any issues when you drag windows between the two monitors?

One of the developers at my work can't do fine tuning of our styles because his Windows multi-display setup won't re-render apps at 1x when he drags them to the lodpi monitor. Instead it renders the app at 2x and downscales it to 1x, blurring everything.

I'm actually not sure, I'll have to try that when I get back to my office. I always have a VM on one monitor and Windows on the other, so I never move things around. I might have to eat my words...

> Constantly changing APIs based on Microsofts internal politics vs. the very stable Cocoa

Really? Mac OS also has a very long history of deprecated and thrown out of the window APIs and SDKs.

I don't like Microsoft and I like Apple about as much, but I have to be fair: almost everything on that list can be solved in two weeks if you distribute the tasks. Give it another month for polishing and testing.

Now fill the other 9 years and 10 months, minus two or three developers that are still working on some of the bigger items for another couple of months at most.

Everything you listed as either incorrect or extremely insignificant. I don't have time to correct you right now but please, you're really reaching on quite a few of those.

Edit: maybe it would help you to level out your perspective by thinking about some reasons why almost every business on the planet runs Windows and not Mac.

> maybe it would help you to level out your perspective by thinking about some reasons why almost every business on the planet runs Windows and not Mac.

Every is a bit strong, but...

Well, IBM wanted to use an OS called CP/M and was buying a lot of products from Microsoft. Something stupid happened and then IBM bought their OS from Microsoft. Microsoft was allowed to license it and Compaq figured out a work around for the BIOS issues. Thus DOS became the big thing because of IBM then all the other PC companies. Apple totally flubbed the Apple III, and Commodore didn't retain their leading market share. IBM then completely failed to follow-up with OS/2 (seems working with Microsoft to compete against Microsoft Windows is not a healthy move).

DOS begat Windows which begat Windows NT, and the software was good enough. I can buy a PC from more than one company and they have a lot of non-technical, business support. Microsoft doing a bit of cheating probably helped. It actually helps sell support contracts to have some problematic areas in your software which generates an amazing ecosystem that businesses understand (paying someone to be responsible is understandable).

A lot more people drive Kia than BMW, but I really wouldn't argue Kia is a better built car.

* Touchpad / gesture support that is actually pleasant and precise to use

* Multidesktop

* PDF support baked into OS

He's right with these.

I now solely use the touchpad on my MBPr. I cannot see myself ever switching back to a mouse. Having been a mouse user for 16 years!

The ability to do a 3 finger swipe and switch to another virtual desktop in a split second is awesome. Is this possible on Windows? I don't know.

I was working on a Windows 10 machine yesterday and PDFs opened with Edge. Again, I don't know if it's right or not.

To be fair to Microsoft, Adobe threw a bit of a fit when Microsoft tried to add some basic PDF support that Apple already had. https://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-adobe-squabble-over-pdf/

The abillity to have multiple desktops came with the anniversary update a couple of months ago.

I'm pretty sure Edge has PDF rendering built into it. It keeps trying to smash the default file association I had for Foxit.

Latest Windows insider build have DrawboardPDF app preinstalled. So no more dependence on Edge anymore.

Well, that was a convincing argument.

Edit: Every business on the planet runs Office, and they used to all run Exchange, Outlook and SharePoint. They got Windows as a side effect.

They still do run all that stuff, they are just letting Microsoft administer it for them increasingly, rather than fiddle-frig around with on-premise deployments. Office 365 is exploding.

Many corporations do, but Exchange and Sharepoint are no longer practically a "given" like they use to be.

So what you're saying is that no other OS has any programs that can compete with Exchange, Outlook, Office and Sharepoint.

I agree. :)

Maybe those other shitty operating systems makers should try harder if they want to replace Windows. It won't happen though because none of them care about their business customers as much as Microsoft does.

Without getting too much into what side wins, "my opinion is correct but I can't be bothered to express it" is one of the least convincing arguments I've ever read.

I expressed my opinion quite clearly, thank you very much.

Here it is again: Everything that person stated was either incorrect or extremely insignificant because obviously none of those reasons have affected Windows very significant market share.

EDIT: What I don't have time for anymore is refuting every person's laundry list of nit-picks.

I didn't need a restatement, it is simple enough to understand. Your opinion is a lot of words to say "I think you're wrong" in the form of a bare assertion with nothing supporting it. Why would you expect anyone to care about reasons you could not be bothered to express?

That's what bothers me about the article. I can't think of a single piece of professional production software that is Mac only, apart from Apple's own apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic. Those are great apps but they have equivalents on Windows, and some of the Linux pro audio and video apps are getting really good.

As for web development, there is nothing you can do on a Mac that can't be done on Linux or BSD apart from testing in Safari, and Safari has a smaller user base than IE/Edge. Hell, even Windows is improving in this space.

I guess one could argue that macOS is a more aesthetically pleasing environment to work in, to which I counter that I'd rather work in BeOS/Haiku as I find it more aesthetically appealing than any other OS. In other words, that's purely subjective.

The only one I knew of was Sequel Pro. But JetBrains' DataGrip now fills that void.

* Free OS updates.

* Better touchpad support throughout the entire OS.

* Vastly superior HiDPI support (especially if you're using a multi-screen, multi-DPI setup). I cannot stress how poorly Windows 10 performs in this regard. This has been a solved problem on the Mac for years.

* Better colour management through the whole UI stack.

* Better tablet support (OSX has had integrated support for tablet events since 10.4, on the Windows side there were still apps that broke when the Surface 3 launched almost a decade later due to using a third-party API for tablet events that needed custom drivers)

* Core Audio. OS X has had the same set of audio APIs since 10.3, and they've been well regarded for years and years. It wasn't until Windows 10 that you could argue Microsoft had finally caught up, and there's still people with ASIO driver compatibility issues. That's literally 12 years it took for Microsoft to catch up.

* OS X had scrolling of inactive windows for over a decade before Windows caught up. I actually think it's something that was there in 10.0 but I only started using Macs at 10.3 so I can't be sure.

* Spotlight. Spotlight is almost the perfect analogy of the difference between OS X and Windows, and I'm just going to look at one tiny feature of it. If you want to do some math on Windows at a single keypress, you need to turn on Cortana which only became availble in Windows 10. Cortana isn't even available in every country. Meanwhile OSX has had that built into Spotlight since 10.4 and it works on every Mac ever shipped since then, no matter what country you're in.

* File tagging. OSX has had this for over a decade, and you still can't do it in Windows.

* An integrated C/C++ runtime library, like every other Unix ever. It wasn't until Windows 10 that you could ship C/C++ code without worrying about whether your end user had the right msvcr/msvcp DLL installed on their machine.

I'll stop here, because there's so many things that OSX has had for a decade or more that Windows still hasn't caught up with that I wouldn't be surprised if Windows doesn't catch up after another decade.

* Windows has free OS updates

* Precision Touchpads are equally well supported in Windows.

* HiDPI is better on the Mac

* I don't know much about this.

* Are you referring to Wacom style tablets? Not sure about that, but if tablets in general, OSX tablets don't even exist, so it's irrelevant.

* Windows Audio APIs are as good as Core Audio now.

* This really isn't that big a deal. In Windows it leads to different benefits, where my mouse could be anywhere, ubt I could still scroll the page I was reading.

* Cortana is better than Spotlight now. I didn't know that Cortana would be completely disabled in countries that aren't supported. That sucks.

* Windows has had file tagging since Win 7.

There really isn't that much of a difference. There are places where Mac OS is better, and there are places where Windows is better.

* You're right, but it took how long to get here?

* The APIs are there now, but the hardware isn't on many machines.



* Yes, I'm referring to graphics tablets. I've had to deal with the APIs for that stuff myself and what was about 10 lines of extra event handlers on OSX ended up being well over 200 lines on Windows.

* There's still driver issues that aren't present on OSX.

* You've got to realise that anywhere where you think "this really isn't that big a deal" it's actually a huge deal to the people who use OSX daily and want a better Mac Pro because Windows doesn't care about the small things.

* Cortana isn't better than Siri though, which is what it's actually meant to compete with.

* To be fair, the feature was so undiscoverable that it took someone on Hacker News telling me about it before I knew it existed.

A lot of my post was pointing out things that have been better on OSX for literally more than a decade before Windows finally caught up in a few areas.

HiDPI is probably the biggest thing that Windows just won't catch up to for a while. The API compatibility requires Windows to support APIs that will stop HiDPI from working well, because old Windows had the ability to set DPI that affected certain UI components but not everything.

But that's the point. MS is catching up very rapidly now, while OSX is stagnating.

My point about the scrolling isn't that it's not a big deal because it's a minor deficiency. My point is that it's a design choice, and many prefer the Windows method. Neither choice is inherently better.

Despite having come in much later, Cortana is at worst about as good as Siri. For one thing, on the desktop, I can actually type in my Cortana requests. The fact that Cortana combines Siri and Spotlight makes it far more powerful and useful. It's kind of insane that Apple thinks people want different information when they ask the same question when they type it, or when they speak it.

Windows has been a lot better than OSX in many ways as well. Especially since Windows 7. For one thing, it will take until next year before Apple gets a decent File System, instead of a kludgy mess.

What's worrying for Apple is that Windows is improving a lot faster than OSX. The gap between them is narrowed very significantly, and personally, for the past few months, Windows 10 is a much nicer environment than OSX (and I've been using OSX exclusively for over a decade).

I think the idea that Windows is so far behind OSX is just not true. Part of it is that this has been true for so long, and Windows 8 was so bad, that people believe it instinctly. Part of it is that people moving to Windows want it to be like OSX, and anything that is different is considered worse.

> If you want to do some math on Windows at a single keypress, you need to turn on Cortana which only became availble in Windows 10.

When I've wanted to do some quick calculations on a Windows PC at a single keypress, I've pressed the calculator button on my keyboard and a calculator has come up. And this has been true since the turn of the century (for me personally; for Windows for several years longer than that).

Yeah, I don't really get that either. I have been using Windows, OS X (I mean macOS) and various Linux distributions for years.

Each one of them comes with their own particular set of quirks/warts and I can't objectively say one is so superior that I'd rather use it to the exclusion of the others.


Windows 10 has Linux subsystem now, which is Ubuntu 14.04. I would say it's at least on par now with MacOS.

Believe me, it's not. Even when the userland gets updated to 16.04, it's still heavily dependent on the Windows kernel, and the networking stack (for example) will not be the same.

The WSL will never replace a native Linux OS. Period. But it will be pretty useful for some lighter use cases. As a dev, I'm still not convinced it's good enough, given the recent issues with Ruby and Node.

What issues are you talking about? I was about able to run a full Rails installation with MongoDB, Redis and Sidekiq without issues.

But, I kind of agree actually, the only true issue was advanced socket issue with PhantomJS. Like for some reasons, Capybara/Poltergeist can't connect to it. It's the only reasons I am back to MacOS. But, I think I will switch as soon as it fixes. It should be soon.

Probably this, which has since been fixed:


I'm running current stable (full disclosure: MS FTE here), and there are still a few hang-ups that I know are being addressed (and some already fixed) in the Insider Previews.

I had to leave the Previews because I needed to pin down a few things, and mostly use Docker for Windows instead of WSL for work. WSL will not run Docker containers directly (for instance), but I managed to get the CLI to run in WSL to control them inside the Docker VM. Well, until the last Docker upgrade reset the configs... :)

Enjoy running those 10 year old GNU Utils that come with your Mac. LOL

Meanwhile Windows now has everything Ubuntu does.

Thanks Open Source!

I'm fine with Unix support not being as good as native Linux, but is it as good as MacOS?

macOS runs a BSD-like userland atop a Mach kernel. It's not Linux, but it is a damn sight more field-tested and reliable than the Windows kernel...

I'm actually surprised at the question, considering the number of devs who work on macOS (and I'm not talking about front-end folk).

Windows also has an annoyment-subsystem now, reminding you to use Edge once a day when you start Chrome. That is why I am switching my last desktop to Linux in the minutes I write this post. I will not accept an OS that tells me what I should use.

I am also a Windows 10 user but I have not been asked this way to use Edge or IE. Are you sure it happens even after setting your default browser to something X?

Can't tell you, Edge has been my default because it is ok, but I use Chrome sometimes.

Of course Google also throws up annoy-popups every time you go to their site from a non-Chrome browser.

That is annoying, too. But it is not "in my system".

I saw this while using Firefox on my wife's Windows laptop yesterday. "Firefox is using 75% of your battery. Switch to Edge." Notification pop up from the battery indicator. Really obnoxious dark pattern.

Edge uses less power than Firefox for similar browsing patterns. Why is the OS monitoring your battery life and making suggestions to improve it (this is not the only suggestion it will make) a "dark pattern"?

It does similar things with boot times (measure and report about slow startup apps) and IE add-ons. I want my OS to make suggestions about changes I could make to improve my experience.

Because it wasn't measuring and making suggestions, it was a scare tactic. I should have screenshotted the notification - I've seen notifications before like what you're talking about, 'X program is causing Y system issue, consider Z.' That's not what this was. It was more along the lines of those bouncy 'Your Computer Has A Virus! Click here to Scan!' banner ads of yesteryear.

I feel like I'm living in a crazytown where nobody sees what's so plainly obvious. Doesn't anyone remember when IBM wasn't able to deliver chips to Apple on the schedule they demanded, and customers were complaining, and they were taking a drubbing in the press for it? And Apple let their existing product line stagnate for a little while, and then we got the Intel Macs?

Well, this time it's Intel and not IBM, except Apple owns their own chip designs and has 200 billion dollars laying around.

What others are seeing that you aren't is that (a) Unlike the PowerPC days when the Mac gave Apple over 90% of it's profits, it now probably accounts for closer to 10% of Apple's profits (b) The Intel excuse seriously does not fly with the Mac Pro. (c) The CEO has openly wondered why anyone would buy a PC. Some have argued he meant Windows computers, but it doesn't inspire confidence (especially since he has stated he uses an iPad pro for most of his work) (d) Clearly Apple's top priorities are making things smaller and lighter. This is out of step with a lot of "Pro" users' needs. Compare the new Mac Pro to its previous incarnation, and the changes in design priority could not be more obvious.

Apple has indeed some great chip designs available. But one should not forget that the switch to Intel not only gave Apple nicer CPUs but also made Apple compatible to the rest of the PC world. You can run any x86 application on a Mac via VMware or Parallels. Moving away from Intel would kill this.

I've been wondering, is it practically possible to have a dual arch hardware + OS?

The kernel would run on an ARM processor, along with all the supported software. Any x86 binary would be offloaded to the intel cpu. Sharing RAM and even the remaining hardware would be nearly impossible I guess. Not sure though. This way it can be like the integrated / discrete gpu design and switch can be done a lot less painfully.

I've been wondering, is it practically possible to have a dual arch hardware + OS?

Yes of course, we were doing it back in the 1980s with hybrid 6502/Z80 systems, the Z80 side running CP/M.

Note that many operating systems today are already multiple architecture. It may not seem like it, but for example x86 and AMD64 are different architectures, just as 32 bit ARM and 64 bit ARM are different. The operating system has to define system call interfaces for them, have copies of libraries for each architecture, ensure the processor(s) are in appropriate modes when running the applications, provide inter-process interoperability even when different architectures etc.

Apple could make the equivalent of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_(software) to run x86 apps on non-Intel Macs. But the thing is, Apple has no good reason to make a different type of computer, considering computers are not that important, at least to Apple.

Rosetta worked, because the Intel chips were a lot faster than the Power PC processors they replaced, and it ran on single applications, not whole virtual machines. Considering how much Apple wants to optimize power usage for the laptop lines, emulating Intel seems to be counter productive to that.

Intel can certainly deliver chips to Apple to make better MacPros. I've got a hackintosh that I built last year which will easily outdo an Apple MacPro. Apple could decide to not be clever and just ship a pretty standard looking desktop computer with the latest chipsets and CPUs, spacious memory expansion and a couple expansion slots for GPUs and crank out a new rev every year and it would keep the people buying the MacPros happy and Apple wouldn't have to invest a ton of money overdesigning the thing -- and Intel would certainly be able to keep up with the demand easily.

The territory that they'd concede though is that expandability and people buying CPUs, RAM, drives and GPUs from non-Apple vendors. But that would buy them continuing to tie professionals down to macOS and then selling them laptops and building hype. Instead I think they're going to ditch macOS and switch to iOS on desktops and laptops and you'll see their laptop and desktop sales shrink and they'll be become entirely an iphone/ipad company. I don't think this has anything to do with supply chain and this is entirely self-inflicted damage because they're prioritizing their walled garden strategy above all else.

>Well, this time it's Intel and not IBM, except Apple owns their own chip designs and has 200 billion dollars laying around.

And? If any of the handful of people on the entire planet capable of building an ARM capable of rivaling Intel's current x86 designs were hired by Apple, it would be all over the tech industry news sites instantly. 200 billion doesn't mean a thing if it isn't applied properly.

This time Apple's explicitly saying the iPad Pro is their next personal computer so I wouldn't bet on that transition to ARM including macOS!

The only piece missing is creating iOS apps on iOS devices, for which they've already created a language and an app to learn programming, then everything we do and know and learn just to keep our computers running is kind of legacy stuff.

I think the Mac will be around for a while, but I strongly suspect that it will be running iOS soon. It won't be difficult for Apple to add Windowing to iOS, and mouse pointer and keyboard support, and replace MacOS with iOS.

The only issue will be major apps like Adobe CS and Office, but even those have iOS incarnations that can potentially reach parity with their MacOS counterparts.

I suspect a Mac running a KBM and Windowing friendly iOS would make a really nice machine.

What's wrong with Intel? They release new processors every year. Apple could easily update every mac every year with new processor, they just don't care.

Intel releases have become stretched out a bit, and they do no longer renew the whole processor lineup in parallel any more. It took Intel almost a year to finish the transition to Skylake - the late 2015 iMac already has Skylake processors, but the models needed for MB Pro only became available not too long ago. The 32g ram support for laptops seems to depend on the Kaby Lake earliest - while the ultra low power versions have been released, the more powerful versions are going to be released all over 2017.

Intel's problem is power consumption.

Is there any evidence that ARM processors doing the same things Intel processors currently do have better power efficiency?

> We can’t just buy hideous Xeon workstations from Dell and install macOS on them.

Sure you can. Or rather, you can install the [free] VMWare ESXi hypervisor on said hideous box, and then install macOS on that. The ESXi hypervisor is an officially-supported macOS hardware configuration. Apple want you to only run macOS guests through ESXi if you're on macOS hardware, but there's literally nothing stopping you from doing otherwise.

Default new USB device attachments to the macOS VM; add a USB Bluetooth dongle; use SR/IOV to feed the VM a dedicated video card, and plug your monitor into that. You'll never even know ESXi is running.

Side benefit: cheap sibling Linux VMs!

> The ESXi hypervisor is an officially-supported macOS hardware configuration.

ON APPLE HARDWARE. If you run MacOS on non-Apple hardware it isn't officially supported at all, effectively piracy, and you need to hack ESXi to make it work at all (ESXi Unlocker, etc).

> but there's literally nothing stopping you from doing otherwise.

Except the license agreements (both Apple and VMWare), and the fact that ESXi won't do it unless modified.

> If you run MacOS on non-Apple hardware it isn't officially supported at all

By "officially supported", what I mean is that Apple supports VMWare in developing drivers for ESXi, so neither new versions of ESXi, nor macOS updates, will suddenly break macOS ESXi guests. You can put the same expectations on the stability of the ESXi hypervisor in running Apple software as you can on Apple hardware in running Apple software. (This contrasts with the Hackintosh driver ecosystem, where every time macOS updates you have to figure your compatibility out all over again.)

Now, the other half of that—the stability of your hardware in running ESXi, etc.—is up to you. Obviously, you can't take your Dell into an Apple Store and expect support.

VMWare sort of does support you, though, insofar as it's the free-tier support (you can get better if you pay for VSphere), and insofar as whatever problem you're facing is a problem with ESXi—or a problem in your hardware's ESXi compatibility—instead of a problem in how ESXi handles macOS guests. But, as I said above, the latter is Apple's problem to worry about; such bugs get fixed, to support the people who are virtualizing macOS on Apple hardware.

> the fact that ESXi won't do it unless modified

Not actually true! ESXi won't create a macOS guest without hacks. It's perfectly happy, however, to import a macOS VM created using VMWare Fusion. There's even a quick menu-action to upload VMs directly from Fusion into ESXi.

> Except the license agreements (both Apple and VMWare)

A license agreement doesn't stop you from doing anything. It doesn't have hands to restrain you from typing the commands that will install macOS. You stop yourself, because of a license agreement. Or you don't. Up to you, really. It's not like either Apple or VMWare is going to stop selling you their products, let alone sue you, for what you do with their software on your own computer.

(Now, if you're an employee of a company, then the licence agreement might indeed have "hands" to stop you with: the hands of the lawyers of the company, enforcing the company's agreement with VMware/Apple. This is why https://macminicolo.net/ exists, instead of just being an ESXi farm.)

I'd love to run macOS on my NUC with 32 gigs of ram for iOS development instead of buying a shitty Mac mini. This sounds pretty awesome but I only understand a fraction of what you're talking about. Is there some kind of tutorial for setting this up?

Not that I know of. I mostly pieced the process together from disparate sources. Let me try to give you a brain-dump:

First, a point of note: one funny thing is that the VSphere ecosystem assumes, is that the ops people deploying VSphere use Windows. So the tooling around VSphere—even the unofficial community tooling—are Windows programs.

Besides the server computer I was setting up, I only have a MBP (with no Boot Camp partition), so, "step zero": I installed VMWare Fusion, and downloaded a Windows evaluation guest image from Microsoft.

The rest of this assumes you have Windows:

1. Install http://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer-ps.html, and use it to generate an ESXi ISO customized for your machine. (Add network-card and storage drivers, essentially.)

The generated ISO doesn't "burn" onto a USB correctly using regular tools for some reason. The recommended Windows tool is called Rufus. I couldn't use that from a VM without a lot of hassle, but it turns out the ISO is essentially an ISO9660 export of what was a FAT filesystem, including UEFI boot files. So:

2. Extract the ISO onto a FAT-formatted USB stick. Plug it into the new machine, and pick the UEFI file in your BIOS boot manager. The installation proceeds a lot like an ncurses Linux install (e.g. Ubuntu Server.)

3. Once the machine is running, it shows a URL you can reach its web client interface at. For managing the hypervisor, this is mostly fine. (You can also enable SSH from this web console, and then SSH into the hypervisor.) For setting up new VMs, however, I found the [free] VSphere Client (https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?langu...) a lot more powerful. Install that if you like. Again, though, it's Windows-only.

4. Create a macOS VM in VMWare Fusion. (It assists you in doing this; it just requires that you have a recovery partition on your Mac.)

5. Find the menu option in VMWare Fusion to "Connect to an ESXi server"; specify the IP the server console provides, and the admin user/password you provided during installation.

6. Go to the VM library window, right-click the macOS VM, and one of the options should be "Upload to an ESXi server". You can then pick one of your connected servers.


One thing VMWare wants you to do, that you shouldn't do (for a home lab, at least), is to install their Platform Management Controller, "VSphere VCenter." (You might be tempted, because that's the only way to get their modern [horribly-janky] web-app interface that exposes all the VM configuration options like the Windows client does.) The VCenter VM appliance is ridiculously bulky: it takes ~16GB of RAM and two dedicated vCPUs just to run it. It's designed to consume one whole ESXi host node of a VSphere cluster, not to assist in the maintenance of a single-node ESXi setup.

Sounds interesting. Does this introduce any latency for the UI? I can't stand using anything besides a terminal in normal VMs like virtualbox.

As a software developer, I can't say I really care about the Mac Pro.

It's not to say that I don't care about performance, I have a MacBook Pro bought by my work that's about 5 months old and it's great.

But honestly, I run the hell out of this thing and I never really notice a slowdown.

I can have Chrome open with a bunch of tabs (I probably limit it to a dozen before I force myself to start reading/closing them), multiple VM's spun up with vagrant/virtual box, a Windows 10 VM via Parallels, an entire linux software stock via docker-compose, Sublime Text, Slack, SourceTree, PostMan, 4 or 5 terminals, a VPN manager, multiple web servers and not notice any slowdown whatsoever.

If a new MBP came out and offered 32GB of RAM, I'd take the option. But do I really have any reason based on reality that I need more than 16GB of RAM? No.

Would I ever buy a 4K or 5K Mac Pro? Unless I had some sort of big data or scientific computing need, no. And even then, wouldn't I have a cluster somewhere else for that? Probably.

"Linux can solve some pro needs, but not most. It’s a fantastic server OS but a miserable desktop one, and that will probably never change."

Miserable is a strong word. Ubuntu is hardly miserable. Chromebooks are pretty much guaranteed to be able to run Linux without worry, and installing Ubuntu on them shouldn't be much of a hassle.

I personally run Fedora on an XPS 15 and have had very few issues with it, which is crazy since I'm bleeding edge everything by that count (hardware and software).

I'm sorry to pop your Apple bubble, but I find Ubuntu much better than macOs.

And RIP Apple hardware, I give you the Hackintosh!

This was interesting until he got to the unsubstantiated (maybe he elaborates elsewhere?) partisan jabs at windows, linux and Google.

Yup thats typically this guys MO. Him and Grubber make it pretty lame to be a modern Apple fan. They whine about Apple not doing what they want, they whine about people critiquing Apple, and then they make up or spread nonsense about Apples competitors. They are the "Macs can't game" Windows fan boys of the 90s.

I would be surprised if he's ever really given Ubuntu or Fedora a serious chance. I think he thinks Google's Android and Kindle Fire have the same UI. I listened to him once bitch about Windows and it was so obvious he hadn't installed it properly.

Hey! Thanks for the link. I don't really want a completely PC-like box (I have a mini, and want to upgrade that), but I do want something that can be expandable somehow.

I'm pretty sure I won't get it (or worse, that I'll have to pay through the nose for it at Mac Pro-grade prices), but I'd really like to get a more modular Mac.

I don't think that Apple will do it, though. Jony "VP of Narration" Ive has a thing about unbroken surfaces, and even though I like Apple's overall aesthetics, I don't think there's any way a modular system fits into the Mac "look".

Any particular reason why Apple should sell Macs at all, given they make almost all their money from other products? Besides Xcode, is there any other app (or equivalent) that can't be had on other systems?

First of all, Apple is making more money from Macs than iPads. In the last quarter, they had ~$6B in revenue from Macs versus $4.2B from iPads (~$7B same quarter last year). Are you seriously suggesting that Apple should drop that kind of money just because the iPhone had ~$30B instead? (Source: http://images.apple.com/pr/pdf/q4fy16datasum.pdf) They're not going to make macOS a paid OS for sale on other hardware, which means they'd lose $4-6B per quarter, that's $20b revenue a year they can use to improve all products.

They're not going to keep making that much money from iPhone forever, it will decline eventually as competitors keep getting better and better. Google is entering the market with products that finally rivals iPhones and Microsoft/HP/Dell with Surface/Spectre/XPS products that does rival Macbooks.

This is Apple, they want total control of the entire stack and the only way to do this is to do it themselves. macOS will not survive on other hardware with questionable QA. I started hating W10 simply because of its driver issues, automatic brightness stuff that I can't turn off on SP4. Same Win10 on my Macs, it works much better and consistent. There's no way Apple will do this to macOS.

Five years down the line Macs will be an even smaller piece of the pie. The way Apple has been neglecting Macs has me concerned of a not too distant dystopia where Apple decides that Macs and macOS are not worth the trouble any more. Sure they will still use macOS internally for development that they can run on older Macs or generic PCs themselves. Swift Playgrounds on the iPad will be the way most developers get to make apps. Larger and more prominent developers like Adobe, Microsoft, big name game publishers etc. get some sort of special treatment, e.g they get to buy iOS "devkits" (2013 Mac Pro preloaded with Xcode or some sort of macOS VM) from Apple for a lot of money.

If you know what you want a workstation for, you probably have enough know how to get a Supermicro barebones system and stuff it with the exact CPUs, GPUs, RAM, SSDs, and ANY peripheral you want. More flexibility and cheaper. There are even outfits that will build it for you if you're feeling lazy.

And when Linux breaks, there is a wealth of knowledge on how to fix it. I have found OS X's community to be plagued by the opposite.

This article is ridiculous.

> Nobody else can make macOS hardware. If Apple doesn’t address someone’s hardware needs, there’s no alternative.

So that's a bad thing right, the closed ecosystem?

Oh no wait.

> Microsoft is boldly experimenting with PC hardware, but [even] if Microsoft did everything right, it would take Windows at least a decade to catch up

Talking about which, that decade an entirely unfounded claim. It doesn't even attempt to make arguments, instead waiting for the mac vs windows users flamewar to start. Then to add some fuel, it says linux sucks as well, not backing up that claim either, inviting anyone using a linux-based desktop (and by extent, the rest of the open source desktop community) to add to the flamewar.

And it's all for nothing. The article is telling about how bad it would be not to get another mac pro, using a hundred arguments that come down to "I like OS X software and software that runs on OS X, and the pro hardware is better than the consumer version [duh]". Apple cannot possibly not have thought of this yet.

PS. My memory must be wrong but I thought I remembered a different company boldly (bravely?) experimenting with hardware.

A strange fact is that many modern PCIe graphics cards work with MacOS, despite the last extendable Mac Pro being sold years ago. Also, Apple knows exactly what hardware they have sold over the years. They could put a whitelist in their OS to prevent Hackintosh or make it at least a lot harder (almost everything can be patched out of course, but it is funny that you can open "About my Mac" and it happily shows configurations that have nothing to do with a real Mac).

I take this as a hint that they secretly tolerate hackintosh at a small scale. They can't allow it altogether, and anyway it is nothing for most Mac customers (who want the "it just works" experience), but some people in the "pro" segment who need the extra power and don't fear some hacking can be satisfied that way. I'm thinking especially about small iOS or macOS developers, or people who work with audio/video, who need a beefy macOS machine.

The problem with this article is that Marco presents a rational argument for the need of a Mac Pro, but Apple is way past rationality in their view of the future; they are engaged in a holy war against local computing, against ports, wired connections, and against being tethered to a desk.

What is irrational about this?

While there is no doubt that Apple did neglect the Mac Pro, I am quite hopeful that it gets a significant refresh in the spring. As with so many Mac releases, Apple is limited by the Intel release schedules. That is why the Mac Pro has to wait till spring for a refresh. And that the Mac Pro has not being bumped in smaller features points to me to a rather larger change.

And it would make a lot of sense to go back to a bit more "PC" like design like the predecessor of the current machine. That would mean that Apple has less pressure to update it frequently, it would be sufficient to have updates whenever Intel releases new CPUs, but all the other stuff, especially graphics cards, could be updated independent of Apple releases.

> Linux can solve some pro needs, but not most. It’s a fantastic server OS but a miserable desktop one, and that will probably never change.

I disagree! A Linux desktop gets as good as your customization.

For me nothing can replace my setup: Debian + custom Stumpwm window manager

Pro users want flexibility.

I think for some people customisation is a pain, especially when you have to workarounds bugs or find some hardware configuration incompatibility.

Not saying there's anything wrong with people enjoying tinkering with their setup, but I guess the advantage OSX offers you is most of that is taken care of you on the desktop, you just install your apps on top

It is a misconception that mainstay Linux distributions have any sort of hardware or software incompatibility (aside from Mac- or Windows-only targeted software). That said, you are correct that people use OSX because it's literally 0 set up and configuration.

There's a lot of incompabilities on new hardware. Usually Linux kernel needs about 6 months to catch up with latest Intel or NVidia products. Also, try to use an iPhone with Linux computer - it is a nightmare. I have Windows installed in VirtualBox vm solely for iTunes's sake.

I think this is the first article on HN that touches on the real problem with the Mac lineup. It's not that the notebook aren't powerful enough (they're notebooks, not desktop replacements) it's that there isn't a viable Mac backend to do the heavy lifting.

They discontinued the rackable servers, yet require developers to do software testing and compiling on MacOS. On what? Racks of macbooks and imac mini apparently.

What backend are we supposed to render on? A single, 3 year old Mac pro?

I get wanting to only sell in highly profitable segments, but maybe they should give developers a little sugar

Stop begging to get crumbs from Apple. They are big company run by adults. They've been exploiting our desire to get their computers for a long time.

They make some really nice computers, but the whole point is that there are others. I really miss times when I would assemble my own computer. Obviously you can't do this with laptops, but I still miss freedom it gave me.

I am exploring how to get my work done on something else, for start on desktop, some nice linux machine for start.

I tried several times in the past, but without us actually using linux, there will never be real need to fix issues that it has.

3. “Hackintoshes” aren’t good enough. ↩︎

Is this really true? Yes, there are currently support issues, but this would seem to be because Apple exclusively makes its own hardware and doesn't legally permit running their OS on anything else. Might macOS thrive if it was retargeted to (or at least officially permitted use of) high-end 3rd-party hardware? Microsoft doesn't make their own high-end workstations, and Windows seems to be doing just fine.

Marco does iOS development, and there are a number of features that simply won't run on a Hackintosh. Anything involving crypto is dicey, and stuff that relies on (for instance) having an official serial number (like iMessage) will also fail.

But that is irrelevant for a lot other use cases.

I believe the iMessage issues have been resolved now.

Hackintoshes are getting better, but Marco is fundamentally right. Any OS update could break your system, which means you need to wait before installing an update, which opens you up to security and/or professional risks (for example, if it takes a couple of months for the newest MacOS to be made suitable for a hackintosh, that's a couple of months where you cannot update your iOS apps with the latest features, since XCode versions also tend to be tied to OS versions).

>and stuff that relies on (for instance) having an official serial number (like iMessage) will also fail.

Which is not true. I have gotten my iMessage to work without having to clone a serial number.

I'm curious about that, since iMessage and iTunes Match have been a constant source of trouble to one of my colleagues. He also mentions that the device is flagged as "Untrusted" in Find My Mac...

The idea is to generate a valid serial number (in form) that is not used by someone else. Not sure if things have changed, though, but I used this last year and it worked. It still shows up on my account as an iMac 2013.


Not sure what the author point was. He told us that chips aren't getting faster, so the only way to add speed was to add cores, then he told us that we can get 22 cores from a Mac Pro. As far as I know no other desktop can deliver 22 cores, so what is he griping about? Is he upset that Apple hasn't released a Pro with 48 cores?

You can only get maximum 6 cores from a Mac Pro currently. He is saying that the modern processors they should be using have 22 cores.

You can custom order a 12 core Mac Pro from the Apple Store.

> Microsoft is boldly experimenting with PC hardware, but Windows and everything around Windows is woefully inferior to macOS and the Mac software ecosystem. Even if Microsoft did everything right, it would take Windows at least a decade to catch up — and they won’t do everything right.

A whole decade to catch up? I use Windows and macOS on daily basis for web development and various other tasks. I find macOS inferior to Windows in many ways. For example, window management on macOS is terrible and the transitions are nothing but annoying (personal preference) . Can't cut and paste with keyboard, can't lock your screen with keyboard, finder, itunes, and the task manager are all garbage. There are many other examples. That's not to say there aren't many things that are better than Windows or other operating systems, but the statement above is exaggerated.

> Can't cut and paste with keyboard, can't lock your screen with keyboard...

Uh, are you using some weird KVM or something? There are keyboard shortcuts for both of those.

I assume he's talking about files in Finder, where you can't just CMD+x, CMD+v like you'd expect (though I think there is some kind of CMD+SOMETHING+V shortcut that will move a file after copying it).

Can't cut and paste with the keyboard...?

For every 'pro', how many people buy a Macbook/MBP for the logo and use it as a glorified Facebook/occasional assignment machine. It's an easier audience to keep happy and probably more profitable.

Is the 2013 Mac Pro the best performing Apple-supported Mac computer? Or are there older full ATX Mac Pros with dual CPUs or something that would outperform them?

I wonder if it's possible to offload the stuff that requires a heavy CPU load to the cloud. Spot instances on aws are really cheap per hour.

If I were "Pro" relying on OS X, I would build good PC compatible with macOS and just install hackintosh. Much better experience.

I personally don't really care how nerdy criticism sounds like to me. MacBook Pro still the best developer laptop I have ever use. Even, you just keep a closed MBP on everywhere in your house, it looks so like a piece of fine art rather than an electronic device to stand out.

Really, say what product I personally like get down vote?

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