What I didn't like with OPs post is that Apple isn't making machine specifically for you, nor for developers. Why their machines had so much success since Jobs return was that they were making machines that were equally loved by music/video/content creators, developers, mothers/fathers/grandparents, students etc etc... If you aren't satisfied with your dev. environment go spin up a VM, rent a server or just get other machine that will fulfill your needs.
Where this post gets right is keyboards. Reliability has been number one aspect that Apple created as part of their brand's identity. I won't buy new machine until they do something about those crappy keyboards. And I would like to see them move from Intel. I would like to see how Apple do their own in-house development on CPU, or go with AMD.
The new MBP seems to be geared towards people who use Macs for Office work, but want the most expensive version of a mac portable they can find. Before writing this comment I was gonna add that Apple's definition of Pro seems to have reduced to people who deal with videos and photos, but if they were catering to that audience they would have left the SD card reader in.
The main difference between the old Apple portable lineup and the new one appears to me that in the old one, the Macbook, Air and the Pro all had overlapping but different design goals. Today's devices all seem to have the same primary design goals, with the differences existing so they can be slotted in different price brackets.
The hubs are pretty small. And fit in travel bags nicely. They actually make pretty good dicking stations too
I suppose cameras may connect wirelessly now (?). Anyway, new format MacBook Pros don't seem to fit this scenario, nor others I see for real professional work portability, well.
Add to that the keyboard. I don't see how one keeps it "dust free" when running around chasing a story -- or work or whatever.
So these pros were all using SD cards and not CF cards? Not defending Apple, but putting in an SD card slot never made any sense to me because at that time the high end cameras often used CF cards. It also made an assumption that SD cards were never going to change. Plus, it wasted space for people who never needed to plug in some media card.
I would have much rather Apple added another USB connection in that space because it would have had much more flexibility.
The CF cards are more expensive per megabyte and less compatible than SD cards.
Many pros shoot SD cards and never reuse them, giving themselves a backup just by copying the pics to their laptop and keeping the cards.
I would still worry about the keyboard situation.
It's so cool to hate on Ubuntu, but it's the best desktop linux experience. You did yourself a disservice.
What shines for linux is the package manager as a 1rst class citizen. I've had all sorts of issues with `brew` and no issues with `apt`
For a work machine, it comes down to reliability and a hassle-free experience for me.
The other one is the limitations of the Finder. There are better third-party apps but they don't integrate as first-class citizens.
MacOS descended from NeXT, which had Application Bundles, but even before that MacOS Classic did the sensible thing and just used folders. You want to install an application, you just put the folder somewhere on your disk. No library conflicts, no web of dependencies to break, and it integrates easily with the file management metaphor personal computers have had since forever. Want two copies of the same application, but different versions? No problem. Want to move the application to another disk? No problem. Uninstallation is one delete away. Want to put it on a floppy and take it to a friend's computer and run it? You get the idea.
Turns out you don't need a package manager unless you intend to over-engineer application management to the insane level that the open source community has.
>Turns out you don't need a package manager unless you intend to over-engineer application management to the insane level that the open source community has.
You don't necessarily need a package manager, but you can't solve the problem with simple folders either.
A.k.a drivers. The app is just a control panel. MacOS classic used "extensions" for this, which were basically just app folders you put in a specially designated folder.
So the modern version of that could just be dropping a folder into a special location there kernel knows to search for drivers, and include a control panel app.
> Or the app itself is a shared library.
A.k.a not an app at all. Shared libraries only really make sense as part of a stable base system that developers can target and depend on, otherwise you get DLL hell and require something like a package manager and all its associated limitations for basically no benefit at all.
If your application uses a library and you don't want to compile it statically, just include a copy in the app folder, secure in the knowledge that it will never cause a conflict or break your application due to an update or some other application replacing it.
> Or multiple users on the same system use the app, etc.
Desktops, a.k.a "Personal Computers", don't really have much of a multi-user use case. They did briefly in the time after the internet became a big deal but before smart phones were invented, but that time is over. Know what we did on Windows 98? We just shared the system, it wasn't a big deal.
Even so, it's not like you need two copies of the application to have two different configurations.
None of this is anywhere near as complicated as the people who promote it like to pretend it is.
Do you mean the kernel is going to load random files from a user writable location? That sounds like a security nightmare TBH. Also, then you can't safely lazy-load kernel drivers because you never know what the user has done to the folder. Or if the OS has to lock access to the folder then the user has no feedback as to why they can't "uninstall" stuff by simply deleting folders, etc, etc. There are dozens of problems. Turns out, people have already thought over those problems and proposed solutions :)
>otherwise you get DLL hell and require something like a package manager and all its associated limitations for basically no benefit at all.
You claiming there is no benefit to being able to install/remove/update third party shared libraries doesn't solve anything.
>just include a copy in the app folder, secure in the knowledge that it will never cause a conflict or break your application due to an update or some other application replacing it.
That assumes you have the rights to distribute the library and that the library is small enough.
>Desktops, a.k.a "Personal Computers", don't really have much of a multi-user use case.
Maybe not for you. For millions of other users, its a very important use case.
>None of this is anywhere near as complicated as the people who promote it like to pretend it is.
Well its certainly not complicated if you re-define the problems as non-problems.
On a server, sure, but on a PC? It's their computer, they should be able to do that. You're confused because permission systems on Desktop OSs are currently based around user accounts, which is silly. If they were based around applications instead it wouldn't be a problem.
> That assumes you have the rights to distribute the library and that the library is small enough.
If you don't, then why is your application using it? As for size, multi-GB applications are pretty common. It's not libraries that bring that size up, it's assets. Some applications have icons larger than most libraries. Otherwise, if your application isn't valuable enough to be worth the size of that library, then maybe you shouldn't use such a huge dependency in the first place.
> Maybe not for you. For millions of other users, its a very important use case.
Apparently not one you're willing to elaborate on. Besides, as mentioned, I believe there are better and simpler solutions to the problem than package management. In fact, how the hell does package management even help here?
A user-writable location should never be used to load kernel modules. This is a privilege escalation vulnerability.
>You're confused because permission systems on Desktop OSs are currently based around user accounts, which is silly. If they were based around applications instead it wouldn't be a problem.
I prefer to deal with the real world design of operating systems rather than imagined ones.
>If you don't, then why is your application using it?
Using an API doesn't give you distribution rights. Copyright law assigns that to the creator of the application/shared library/. Depending on the license you will get different rights to either include a copy of the library, include a separate installer of the library, let the user install it separately, etc.
In other cases, patent law can disallow distribution. To give you an example off the top of my head - MP3 encoding is under US patent law and Audacity (an audio editing software that I use) does not allow you to save to the MP3 format till you install the shared library separately and point the software to its location.
>Apparently not one you're willing to elaborate on.
What is there to elaborate on? Are you not aware that millions of computers used in schools, colleges, corporate offices, server farms, homes, etc rely on multi-user features?
Solving a general problem involves solving it seamlessly for a large number of usecases. Otherwise you end up with a fragmented system that is confusing.
I would prefer they solve it in a perfect manner with perfect compatibility and perfect code with zero bugs, but they wouldn't listen to me. ;)
> I believe there are better and simpler solutions to the problem than package management.
In any case, your folder based idea doesn't solve many of the real problems that users and creators face w.r.t. distributing, installing, and updating software. Before you reject them, its worth thinking about them. Bye!
I almost wrote and didn't, but it's also true, that app stores (whether iOS or MacOS) are also effectively a form of application virtualization/package management.
Last time I used Solaris, around 2004, it had single application packages, like rpm before yum, meaning I had to manually track down the dependencies from Sun repositories.
1. Try to dragndrop content from a child folder to the parent folder. There is a very VERY small area at the top of the window where you can drop your files. (got worse on 10.13)
2. Transfer of multiple files (multiple actions) is not managed successivly but simultaniously.
3. Constant loss of sidebar content, i.e. mounted drives.
4. Info about folder/s inconsistency: Open info for one folder 'Cmd+i', for multiple folders 'Cmd+Alt+i' if you want the overall size (and it doesnt' get highlighted) | Close info window for one folder 'Cmd+w', for multiple folders 'Cmd+Alt+i'.
5. No option to edit file/folder names in Save As... dialog
6. Save As... dialog again: click on a file by accident and your initial file name is gone.
7. I don't understand how people can use the columns sorting but that's personal taste I guess.
8. Missing native window snapping (half size, full size etc.).
MBP 2009 OS X 10.11 & Hackintosh macOS 10.13.4 and my background is years and years of M$.
There are things I love about the Finder, too. :)
There's nothing really bad about Finder. It's just sort of meh for a tool that one uses all the time.
This tends to show up if you're trying to tweak/customize preferences (e.g. from the command line or editing plists directly), since you usually have to duplicate the effort for both places.
Even to call it a "system" dialog is misleading, since it's just a system-provided library that each individual app is, technically, free to use or not use.
I certainly agree that it's annoying when the look, feel, and fucntion of all the apps' common interactions don't match each other. I do recall a time, though, when the system library features were so anemic, that I was actually glad of app's departure from the norm if it provided a useful new feature (e.g. "New Folder" button in a "Save" dialog).
I also agree that makes the suggestion of "use a Finder replacement app" not a solution to your real problem.
Maybe I'm suggesting that, to a nerdy-enough audience, you might have to state your real problem as being with "the Finder and all the system provided file-picking dialogs other apps tend to use".
After an hour of trying to figure out how to connect to my WiFi I gave up -- I was hoping to get a non-technical friend onto Linux on her very old laptop, and I though if I as a nerd can't figure out the most basic thing, the first thing you'd want to do with the OS, well...
Still looking for a Linux for older hardware that will not completely freak out non-technie folks from a Mac background. Xubunto was the same, with better icons.
All you need to do is click on the little wifi icon in the status bar (or go to preferences -> network connections).
This is extremely subjective. I'm a full-time EXWM (Emacs as a window manager) on NixOS user and my environment is customized to work the way I want it to.
Default desktops can work great for you if your mindset and workflow align with the designer(s) of the UI - but in my opinion it is much more valuable to be able to (note: not forced to) customize everything about your environment to slowly tailor it to your needs.
TL;DR - there's no single "best desktop experience".
We're keeping this aura of mysticism around customized computer setups (obviously also because there's commercial interests against them).
I think many "average" people would have no greater difficulty learning a fast, simple, customizable mail client instead of Outlook for example.
Really? I feel like writing the article "The decline of Ubuntu".
Snow Leopard was nine years ago to be fair. The UI/UX of Linux has come a long way since then, but the UI/UX could be optimized further. What is wrong with it?
To cover the common issues first:
WiFi - Was an issue, but hasn't been on my machines at least six years.
Sleep - Was an issue, but hasn't been on my machines at least four years. I've had this machine up to 60 day uptime, so 50+ sleeps, only restarting for the kernel update for example.
HiDPI - Still an issue, but the apologist says "It was new tech! Just like the other two." Progress is being made, but it will be a while until seamless.
Due to my familiarity (with all three OSs) my UI/UX views may be incorrect for new users. I don't want a flame war. I want to know what else needs to be done in Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME and/or Mint/MATE. I'll file issues, create bug reports, and perhaps fix some things myself. It's easier to see this forest from another forest.
Edit: Further down the comments I found "Bluetooth" I'm going to look into it.
When searching for solutions, internet delivers hypertechnical answers that are reminiscent of when I was dealing with a Linux laptop (pmset -g assertions browsing). To me, apple as a "Unix that Just Works" is a failure.
The hardware is high quality, but the brand-and-software premium price has stopped being a good deal for me.
Sleep used to be a problem for me and a lot of others... back in 2012. I would consistently have issues with my MBP "waking up" when unplugging it from the wall but not opening it; occasionally I would close my MBP and coincidentally hear the fans going full blast 30 minutes later. Definitely untrustworthy 5/6 years ago
But sleep is generally a solved problem, so I have to think you're on a pre-Retina machine or running an older OS, or you've got some kexts doing bad things.
Only details. Inconsistent layout, spacing, fonts and icons, animations that don't help and introduce artificial weight and sluggishness. It seems like there isn't much time spend with prototyping, maybe because the prototyping tools didn't exist on Linux (now you can use Figma and others in the browser), and most devs won't switch to Macs for Linux UI design out of pride.
Transitions and stuff like that are tricky, if your UI framework can't handle non linear transitions, better ignore them completely, linearity doesn't work out and will always feel slower and of lesser quality as rendering as fast as possible, or perfectly dialed in non linearity.
I didn't want to do toe-in-the-water trial, so I researched for a while until I settled on something and ended up with a Dell Precision 7710. I really wanted to have a support line I could call if there was a problem and the Dell Developer Edition option has been excellent for that.
It was not easy at first. I experimented with a lot of distros (Arch is not for the faint of heart) and ended up settling on Fedora 25 at the time. I really enjoyed it for about 6 months until I had to upgrade to Fedora 26 and my machine got frozen in this weird between-upgrades state.
After that I decided to give Mint 18.3 w/ Cinnamon a try and I've been a very happy camper ever since. It's been an absolute joy to work with. Timeshift is pretty great too.
19 just hit beta and I'm looking forward to the upgrade. When I have to get on a Mac now, it feels clunky and in-the-way. I was an avid Mac user for 10+ years...even appeared as the Mac in one of those local "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC ads"...but I'll say it right now, it would take a job requirement to get me to go back at this point.
Plus the battery is replaceable.
I love my beast of a laptop with all the interchangeable parts.
Happy with it for what I paid (lot of machine for the money).
I'm hoping this is just a down period for Apple. They have had issues before and corrected them, so we'll see.
So Apple used to make machines that delighted all audiences, they now don't, so one of those audience (developers) needs to get in line and change. O...k?
Apple should actually go out and understand why developers are lukewarm on their machines, and if they're not or just ignoring one of those audiences, then they're doing so at their own peril.
They did but only recently, it's why they've redoing MacPro and released iMac Pro, which was a good step in a way but it didn't help. They've admitted to failing the devs on this in that rare interview last year when they were talking about Mac Pro.
The question is, will they apply the same lessons to MacBook Pro? They need to step up on the next generation and if they fail to do so, Microsoft is getting my money as I liked playing with Surface Book.
The intern who has to make it work in Windows store then having to find and try to boot the iMac to sign the iPhone binaries is the fast death of desktop and the slow death of Apple's profit centers.
I threw some more RAM and a 4 core CPU in a desktop that I'd previously been using as a PVR, and have gotten along with GNOME just fine. While a lot of folks dislike GNOME 3, I actually find it to be one of the more innovative and interesting desktops going around at the moment (including macOS and the various Windows iterations).
Oddly, the main thing I miss is that, while Mail.app has loads of annoyances, it still seems to do better with large IMAP folder better than anything on Linux except Thunderbird (which I find a bit clunky in the interface).
Were it not for music production software, I'd be very tempted to do a wholesale switch (in my case back to Linux, as it's what I used in the decade before I got my first Mac).
If all you need is a terminal and a browser, then sure, Linux has you more than covered, but the apps for just about everything else are either lacking in UX or features or both.
I ran nothing but Linux from 1997 to 2010 and I switched to macOS full time in 2011 when I came home from the birth of my son, and decided to take all of the photos of the pregnancy and birth, import them into iPhoto and use the book designer to order a big printed photo book. It was so nice to be able to do that at all, so easy to do, and the results so pleasing, that I immediately demoted my Linux partition to a VM and haven't looked back :)
Notable there too is that my next Macbook will almost certainly be around €3000. My last one was €1300 plus another €80 to max out the RAM. That's a pretty massive difference for the top of the line 13" model.
Progress has been made but there is still a long way to go.
What I’ve gained is productivity in a whole bunch of non-dev scenarios. People moan about Creative Cloud or Office pricing but I now no longer have to make a hundred little compromises each day.
I am not sure I understand the issue here, but is there some reason that 'open -a "ApplicationName"' does not work for you?
I can think of some things; I haven't tried but the app developer would need to provide an API to handle command-line options. Sometimes I examine an application's Scripting dictionary via the Script Editor or Automator, but in general I am not writing big shell scripts to drive applicaitons.
This is just not true. KDE and Gnome both have a huge app offering.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I much prefer the look and feel of my i3/polybar setup. As a professional developer, I am not the target audience for Apple's UI.
The overall Apple UX is clearly inheriting from the other side of the spectrum. Headless Linux is massively popular among developers for a reason, and not because the average developer is stuck-up.
They really care about the UI/UX that they provide to their users and what graphical tooling and OS APIs can make their jobs easy.
Then there those using Apple computers as pretty GNU/Linux replacements, doing development work that should actually be done in a GNU/Linux distribution.
Developer is not only someone coding away UNIX CLI apps.
Actually, the opposite happened to me: I started really disliking macOS after switching to Ubuntu + i3 on my main development machine. That's on a desktop computer though, not a laptop, so I didn't run into any Linux issues regarding battery & sleep. The experience might not be as good on a laptop, especially if the hardware is worse than my 2015 rMBP, which unfortunately seems quite common for non-Mac laptops even today.
I tried this because my main 2015 macbook pro somehow developed an swollen battery, which has caused the case to warp really badly (wobbles distractingly when typing). There are reports that this swelling can, predictably, lead to explosions . The ETA for arrival+service of new battery was ~ a week, full cost to me, and no loaner program. Pretty ridiculous for a known hardware defect.
Last MacBook I had bricked on me while I was trying to shut it down while at the library. It didn’t shutdown but started heating up in my bagpack. I noticed the smell and was able to take it out and open the lid and let it die naturally.
Best thing about Apple though is still their ethical and generous customer service. Dell customer service is truly disgusting. At least in Germany. Would probably not buy a new Dell laptop but look for something else.
As a developer I am going back to pure window managers without the "environment" of gnome or KDE. For non-developers, Tablets seem to be dieing so I guess you are supposed to keep a larger phone at home.
I shared the sentiments that this post had. Then I got a XPS 15" and booted ElementaryOS on it and trying to deal with the resolution issues from the 4K display was just a huge headache.
Also, say what you will about the MBP, even though I paid $2k for my XPS, it still wasn't nearly as nice as the MBP's touchpad, etc. I would definitely still pay a premium for that MBP hardware.
Jeez. The sentence, "I booted distro-X on it and trying to deal with the resolution issues from was just a huge headache," is still true in 2018. People were saying things like this about Linux 15 years ago!
I find KDE to be fine with a single 4K display. I think the difficulties come with mixing a standard and a HiDPI screen.
This is a more common use case than some folks might imagine. My laptop screen is HiDPI, but as soon as I plug into a projector or screen sharing device that acts as a second display, things get realllllly weird: Linux/X does not know how to dynamically change screen DPI without logout/login. I work around it by just running my laptop screen at "low" DPI. I don't miss it TBH; I suspect that many people who do notice it have better eyesight than me (possibly an age thing).
Wayland is supposed to help with this to some extent, but it's not yet ready for prime time.
This was a few years ago, maybe things have improved.
Fedora still has some issues with mixing 1x and 2x DPI screens, but heh, so does Windows.
And yeah, you still have to manually edit the fonts for the virtual consoles and the GRUB boot, if you care. Otherwise keep a magnifier handy to edit the boot commands. ;-)
Genuinely curious, but why on earth would you install Arch of all things, then? Surely you would have preferred any of the myriad distros that come with a desktop environment preinstalled?
Even on Arch, GNOME is just a pacman command away. You don't have to run i3 with anime wallpaper.
Never looked back - it is excellent combo of graphical environment of ChromeOS which really just works and Debian in terminal with zsh, Vim and all...
I think the real issue is laptops suck. I would rather have a mechanical keyboard, real mouse, and a 24" screen at eye level.
- Touchpad had a very low resolution. This had to be fixed by using a different display server.
- Touchpad had nonexistent palm rejection. I fixed this by turning off tap to click which doesn’t actually fix the problem but stops it from causing an issue when typing.
- Touchpad generally had a very old fashioned layout with large zones for the right click button and scroll bar.
- All of these touchpad fixes had to be done with some strangely formatted text files.
- Key remapping also required diving into a whole set of text files and searching around for incomplete documentation wikis on it.
- Gestures do not work without switching back to the display server with the very low resolution touchpad.
- The windowing and multi desktop system is generally not as well thought out as Mac.
- Bluetooth just doesn’t work well. I need to “forget” and then reconnect to a device to join it again. Feels very buggy.
There are also a lot of other things I’m forgetting right now. Currently Linux does not offer a top tier desktop experience, and it’s been 90% of the way there for like 15 years, so I doubt it’s ever going to get better until the dynamics of the ecosystem change. My guess is that Linux developers don’t want to do boring stuff like fixing obscure bugs for certain peripherals, and they don’t want to listen to designers to create a polished unified experience.
I briefly used windows while installing Ubuntu and it was generally much smoother. If windows can get the Linux subsystem stuff working 100% my guess is that it will start to gain momentum as a developer OS.
I've been a happy Mac user for years now, and historically, on the very rare occasion that I had a problem, it was either fixed near immediately, or solved to 'better-than-satisfaction' levels by the geniuses at the store.
My first Touchbar-equipped MBP has been the most problematic computer I've ever owned. The keyboard, despite that I love the short throw and initial feel of it, just stops working sometimes, or sticks, or becomes weirdly responsive. Five times in six months, I've had an update fail to load, with the system complaining that the OS couldn't be detected. Easy to solve for techies, nearly impossible for the average user. Having to carry three dongles is just an inconvenience, but it's very much inconvenient. The touchbar? I don't even want to get into it. The physical power button has failed -- the whole thing is flaky as hell, and I'm forced to choose between a touchbar system that works when it wants, or a tactile ESC key that is a full 1Ghz slower and arbitrarily feature restricted. So on and so forth.
Beyond that, for each of my many complaints, Genius bar appointments are being scheduled weeks out, and have been providing fixes that recur as quickly as the same day I receive the unit back.
They have problems. And while you're right that the next-best product is still way below the quality of even the worst MBP, that hasn't stopped me daydreaming of throwing this thing out the window and replacing it with a Thinkpad. As it stands, I've retired my old Mac Pro and replaced it with Ubuntu 18 on a desktop. With a standard PC and mouse, the UI polish is still very noticeable, but the usability quirks aren't as apparent as trying to run Ubuntu on Mac hardware.
Right. We may be in a transition now where Apple has given up on the geek market (except for iOS developers), and Microsoft has realized there's an opportunity. I'm also keeping an eye on the upcoming Linux support in ChromeOS.
It has to be a whole lot better than it is now. You know what would be awesome? If I could have something like VirtualBox Seamless mode, but without all of the hassles. I open a control panel, pick from a list of lightweight distros, and the Linux apps appear on the Windows Start panel. I open them from there, and they just open.
The killer would be this: Let me have multiple virtual machines, which I can snapshot, copy, etc, then let me switch between them on the fly. Do this, while letting me keep the same Linux home directory in a way that looks to the guest OS like mapping it as a network drive. (But which is much faster, so I can compile without penalty.)
Come to think of it, a feature set like this could easily fit into MacOS.
GUI's are explicitly not the focus of WSL, and WSL is not VM's - it's running native Linux code on top of the Windows kernel. It is possible to run an X server on your windows and let your Linux gui binaries use that though.
> My guess is that Linux developers don’t want to do boring stuff like fixing obscure bugs for certain peripherals, and they don’t want to listen to designers to create a polished unified experience.
I think OSX offering a Unix-like experience drew away a lot of open source developers to donate their free time and expertise towards a commercial company like Apple rather than the community. If this had not happened, it's possible the Linux desktop experience may have kept up with the times better.
Decade old coreutils is closer to traditional Unix than Ubuntu. Heck, OSX started with tcsh as the default shell. OSX without the magnanimous gift of Homebrew seems pretty garbage.
There are two other ways: the Microsoft way which is to invest billions sustaining an OS and commercial developer ecosystem that does marginally better in terms of working well out-of-the-box. And the BSD, Apple, Chrome way, which is to focus on specific hardware and specific use cases and outright reject everything else.
Pick your poison.
 BSD is a broad brush. NetBSD and OpenBSD are more focused than FreeBSD, which sits somewhere between those two and Linux. NetBSD is more developer focused (always emphasizing the perfect APIs and frameworks) while OpenBSD focuses on functionality, both server-side and client-side. AFAIU, if you buy one of the laptops favored by OpenBSD developers things will work very well out-of-the-box. The downside is that because of lack of manpower if they can't do it well they won't do it at all (e.g. the previous lack of 802.11n Wifi support for many years).
 Obviously it is possible and viable for a vendor to complete that last 20% that Linux leaves unresolved, at least if they very narrowly focus their efforts. But Google is for the most part the only such success; there have been (and will be) many other attempts that will drown in the endless complexity and churn of the Linux ecosystem.
The tragedy of the "Linux on the desktop" coming-revolution-that-never-arrived is most obvious on the laptop environment. The user community, at least when one googles solutions to problems, seems to fall either in the "completely clueless" or the "elite expert who's skeptical of people" categories. It's excruciating to look things up, and 'fixing it yourself' is no longer possible for me given time constraints. Time is money, much more so as you get older.
I'm a sysadmin/sys engineer and not a software architect, but is it possible that a software project that's essentially defining an entire GUI system that apps would have to follow would ITSELF require human centralization at the developer level? It seems what makes OSX's UI so clean is that specific people made specific rules that everyone has to follow.
I don't recall having to tweak the touchpad in any way. I did need to install the correct nvidia driver and use nvidia-prime to default to the Intel video card for best battery life.
I moved to an xps15 over a year ago and am really pleased with the transition. 17.04 and up have just worked for the most part.
The occasional issues that arise usually take deep technical understanding to solve, but that's a price I don't mind paying to have an underlying set of tools and libraries based on Linux.
+ keyboard is great
+ after getting used to the trackpoint, I like it
+ matte screen
+ working in a dev environment that matches your production environment is presumably useful, particularly when working with docker.
+ first class package manager
+ noticeably lighter
- UI isn't as slick. maybe one day I'll try a WM. i3 or something.
- occasional driver issues
You're probably already using a WM (unless you're in tty all the time). Gnome, KDE, MATE are all WM (and more).
A bold claim! I can't be certain either way but Linux has gotten so much better in terms of usability in the last 4-5 years for newer users.
Both my parents and in-laws had issues with Windows, they are up and away on Ubuntu for the last year and I've never had to solve any issues for them with it.
My colleagues that use Macs cling to the old ideas that second monitors, hibernation, gestures, compatibility is poor on Linux whilst ignoring the same issues they have with more recent version of OSX (wifi dropping, failure to sleep).
If Linux Distros can keep improving I think they'll have a small shot but I wouldn't go far as to say that shot is impossible.
Case in point Split View; it doesn't have _any_ keyboard short cuts. In Gnome 3 you can snap a window to either side with Super-Left or Super-right. Shift-Super-<arrow> will move it to another monitor.
You can't do anything like that on macOS without installing third party software like Better Touch Tool (which you have to pay for).
I still don't get why Apple didn't even consider keyboard based users whilst developing Split View. It's like the silly full screen animation you have to wait for every time or having to use the mouse to get a spelling suggestion because there's no keyboard shortcut for that either.
I thought about upgrading it to 18, but I think I'll just ride it out. It's perfect as-is.
I think ultimately Chromebooks with Crostini may emerge as the ultimate dev boxes.
That's like saying a sandwich is ahead of a box of air in preventing starvation. We already know.
There absolutely is a problem with the direction of Apple's pro laptops, though, and that is simply that they've lost the pragmatism of the Macbook Pro line:
A balance of current and future ports is pragmatic. Going from exclusively USB-A to exclusively USB-C is not.
Making the occasional experience of replacing the battery harder in exchange for a thinner and lighter device is pragmatic. Making the everyday experience of typing on the keyboard less reliable for a thinner and lighter device is not.
Adding a novel new mode of interaction to high-end models is pragmatic. Adding the Touch Bar to the base 15" model and increasing the entry-level price point by 20% is not.
There has always been an element of designer vanity to Apple's products, but it has been tempered by pragmatism. The 2016 MacBook Pro marks the point where vanity gained the upper hand – and I hope pragmatism takes it back soon.
I think that the stock apple software is really good. It is simple without lacking usability. It is something that you can really use and, if you need something better or more customizable, you can get third party apps.
I feel like bloatware is something that is very bad and not usable.
Not from Apple it isn't.
* Adding 128 GB to a MPB = $200
* 512GB SSD on NewEgg = $100.
Apple could easily fix this by releasing their software for other platforms, or web-enabling them... but they don't...
To directly address your question, though, I am a fan of so-called progressive webapps and very much not a fan of electron.
Doesn’t it make sense to put the “burden” on folks who need this stuff? I don't want your HDMI. I don't want your SD slot. I don't even want your USB-A or audio-out. Why should my laptop be burdened with all this crap just because other people can’t manage dongles or a port replicator?
Adding a dongle to the mix is something else you might not have with you. Its something else that can break. It adds to desktop clutter.
Honestly i can live without an sd card slot, but that was a nice differentiator for the laptop market. Its also arguably better than usb drives. Just tuck a disk in when you need it and dont worry about sticks hanging off the side of your laptop catching on things. Also many usb dongles are too wide, crowding other ports.
Dongles just dont simplify things and are counter to the older product design focused on simplicity and requiring users to manage less of their computing.
I use both windows and mac. Simplicity is on the decline in mac, but when you see the contrast in complexity your focus is better for a lot of tasks.
The dark side of this is over simplicity which gets in the way of more detailed tasks.
No downvotes, I enjoy different perspectives.
The base model MacBook Pro has three ports; the higher-end model has five. Are there actually Android handsets with more than three ports, and if so...why?
And based on sales numbers it seems like I'm not in a large group there. Which is fine, the Dell is great. But if I were Apple, I'd be doing a lot of research to find out how narrow is too narrow, when it comes to the bulk of their sales.
Trying to connect to a projector is a fairly common use case, so is reading media cards from cameras and phones. Removing them makes them less portable, as they require lugging around a bunch of extra bits. It's basically going back to the 90s where you had to carry a bunch of random PCMCIA cards with you depending on what you wanted to do.
What about the "burden" of watching someone scramble around for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to connect their computer to the projector because they don't seem to have the right series of dongles and cables, because their manufacture decided that less ports was a better aesthetic.
It's basically "I personally don't use these applications" ...and therefore that supports why the MBP is in decline? That's great that he uses Firefox but... who cares? I personally have given it up for Safari and Chrome. Ditto with the rest of the apps; I still use about half of those integrated apps (yet here, too, who cares?).
Additionally, the macOS Messages app is way more capable than most people realize. Of course it supports iMessage, but it also supports sending native SMSs when used with a paired iPhone, either via relay or through WiFi calling with a supported carrier. It also has Hangouts chat support AFAICT, and support for any other (standardized, decentralized) XMPP/Jabber server.
And the majority of the other applications come preinstalled, but can just be deleted.
Every point the author made about hardware was 100% spot on though, and he made a lot more points than just about the keyboard and trackpad. Virtually every change that mac has done to the hardware has made it worse, with the exception of efficiency, and maybe a slight improvement in power. But the efficiency and power improvements are vastly outweighed by the hardware negatives.
And the author is right about the software. None of the software changes they have made over the last 3 years have made anything better. It just keeps getting bigger.
It's definitely a very personal opinion though, hence my disclaimer at the beginning about my complaints being hard to generalize.
It's very tempting to realise you don't use any Apple apps, see how you're paying a lot for last year's hardware specs, throw up your arms and say “I'm done with Apple! I'll get a hacker's laptop!” But — if you've become accustomed to Apple hardware and macOS — the experience felt like a real downgrade to me.
I have a laundry list of Mac niggles, but they're generally in the category of, “I wish I could tweak that behaviour a little” (like fully removing OS-level UI animations beyond what “reduce motion” offers) rather than, “I can't work until this problem is solved”, which is what I saw much more of on Arch, Ubuntu, and Windows (redraw issues that rendered applications unusable, updates that broke critical deps and required rollbacks, and almost daily blue-screening on Windows).
Apple also gets a bunch of things right by default that you miss when you go elsewhere, like their trackpads, screens, and zero-config full-disk encryption.
The Touch Bar MacBook Pro I have now may be worse than the previous model in some ways (I do not like the keyboard or use the Touch Bar), but overall the experience hasn't declined enough to fall behind everything else that's on offer for me.
Please just stop, that never happened, unless you're job is to write device drivers and then it's probably you're device driver that's causing it.
And more recent ones here:
Microsoft told me it was a driver issue but trying alternative drivers did not improve things for me.
I have no desire to slander Microsoft and was only sharing my experience. I very much like other aspects of the Surface Book and would be tempted by a device of the same form factor if stability issues could be resolved.
- Charging/Ports: USB-c is excellent. Used to have two+ cables to connect power and dual monitors. Now its just a thunderbolt cable feeding to an elgato dock. I can also (albeit slowly) charge my laptop with a usb-c power bank when traveling. I've yet to find myself needing a dongle most of the time. Cameras these days have wifi to copy files off and wireless ac is fast enough to not need ethernet. The only time I bring one is when traveling and even then its low profile and half the time I forget its even in my backpack.
- Keyboard: Okay this is fair. Gets really bad as the computer heats up, way more noticeable on normal Macbooks.
- Trackpad: Yeah I don't get your criticism, I love having a large trackpad.
- Touch Bar: I find it really useful and have it customized like crazy using better touch tool. Pretty nifty. I could live without it, but why? Love it.
- MacOS: Not sure how this makes the MBP "decline" as all macs have had this for years.
- Docker: Again not a MBP problem, complain to docker devs.
Biggest problem the MBP have is lack of ram. They absolutely should have sacrificed battery life for the people that really wanted more than 16gb. I'm already hurting my battery life as it is with the radeon graphics card.
Other thing I wish they'd change is round out the corners near the trackpad, they can be quite sharp sometimes.
It's also kind of silly apple hasn't released their own adapter for 4k 60hz displayport.
Update: Just checked and ethernet connected just fine so perhaps it was patched recently.
For example I don't use linux because I need macOS to develop iOS apps. Should I just stop doing it and complain to apple? No of course not.
Otherwise I have to agree with the GP. Most of the complaints about this computer are not valid. E.g. dongles: I upgraded from the late 2011 MBP, which was old enough to have a DVD drive, and I always carried around dongles for video connection. Now it's a different set, but basically the same situation.
I've had to stop working using my laptop on my lap (yes I use a lap-pad/cooler) which I had found incredibly productive in previous years with former MBPs.
Also once you get used to track point you will always look down on clunky workflow with touch pads - moving hands from/to keyboard all the time is worth it only with real mouse.
Other than that it's a great system. The performance I'm pretty happy with, even for gaming.
This might be highly subjective but for me the same font on a Mac looks much more pleasant than on Windows or Ubuntu. It is tempting to understate this as a minor detail but for me text is one of the most important parts of the user interface and I can't understand how the other platforms could neglect their font rendering this much.
Fedora is not perfect out of the box, but it's pretty easy to fix.
1. Install Fedy (folkswithhats.org), provides one click installs for pretty much every application I use that isn't in the fedora repos. It also has a script that improves the font rendering.
2. Install Gnome Tweak Tool, I wish this was included by default. It makes it easy to change themes, keybinds, etc.
3. Install a decent looking theme (I use Arc). IMHO at this point the UI looks far better than my wife's Macbook Air and is significantly more usable (of course that's coming from a long time gnome user).
At that point I'm pretty much done. You no longer need to install TLP or powertop to get good battery life. I can't remember the last time I had a kernel panic (while my Windows 7 machine at work BSOD'd this morning). I vastly prefer the trackpoint on my thinkpad to any touchpad I've used (although my old MBP had the best touchpad I've ever used). As a bonus I spend lots of time at work logged into a redhat server, so having the same CLI on my personal machine is great.
Another point is that you can activate a Windows 10 VM using the OEM key. I keep a Windows VM installed just in case, but I seldom use it.
I will say that I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a T480 and am going to stick with the 1080p display because I've heard horror stories about scaling in linux.
Completely disagree with this. None of these apps are tied to the OS in a similar way IE was linked to Windows, and just because you like Google apps to handle your utilities doesnt mean everyone else will. Some people do want iMovie, Photos or the productivity apps and dont want to share all of their personal data with google to use their suite. Ive never looked at an unused included utility by apple or microsoft and thought this is BLOATWARE!!!
The new macbook pro has plenty of flaws that you can avoid the above point and still make a compelling case. Ive skipped upgrading my 2014 model until I see the next version. I tried a buddy of mine's MBP and the trackpad is pretty bad and in the way of my hands.
I only included that section because my shift from Mac software to alternatives was so gradual that I didn't really realize how complete it was until I started writing this blog post. At which point I wanted to list them out point by point for my own self-reflection.
That aside, a big deal for me is that Mac laptops max out at 16GB. That's perhaps the biggest single reason I'm not buying one now. Hopefully the refresh will fix this.
Another big deal is the general lack of attention for OS X (or macOS or whatever). The exception is the updated filesystem, and even this was an extremely painful transition for me because (although it may be fixed now) Spotlight doesn't work on external volumes using APFS. Or how about some good process/application sandboxing and quota capabilities? Or, my machine with 128 GB (!) of RAM starts out blazing fast, and then slows down: process switching can take a second or two, which is really annoying. How is this happening on a modern OS in 2018? Simple -- Apple is not trying.
Having said this, I agree with some other posters that macOS is the worst desktop OS out there, except for all the other ones. I frequently have to use Windows and I simply cannot make myself like it. I love Linux for its freedom and for its terminal, but none of the desktops are awesome in comparison to macOS. Not many people would say they "love" Windows or they "love" Gnome, but many would still say they love macOS, despite the flaws.
I have an emojibar Macbook pro. Since getting it shortly after they launched, I've had two complete hardware failures resulting in Apple replacing the whole thing. Most of this post's other complaints I agree with but don't feel strongly about, but the keyboard thing is really bad. Specs of dust have caused keys to stop functioning. Trying to fix them, I one day popped the enter key off and broke the plastic clip holding it on. So I bought a replacement key, only to find out that the mounting bracket for the key (which I have to replace) is _glued_ on to the case. So now I have a perfectly functional enter key, except that the entire thing will fall out of the laptop whenever I tilt it sideways.
This isn't the level of hardware quality I've grown to know and love. If they release a new MBP that resolves these issues, I might stick with it. But as things stand, I'm looking at a non-macbook for my next laptop. I really don't want to do that, since I've gotten used to OSX and nothing else compares to the ease of use and the things I have set up. But I'm getting tired of paying thousands for second-rate hardware
I actually happen to like the fact that I don't have to remember the non-essential shortcuts anymore. That, and volume & brightness sliders. Still, it's extremely immature and far from being useful.
Most importantly, a few applications actually support it in any meaningful manner. Most of time, my touchbar is empty, or shows the function (F) keys. Even when app provides some controls, they're usually for from being actually useful, leaving a feeling that they were added in a haste, just to fill "we support touchbar now" tick, without giving it much thought. Rarely I want the buttons app provides by default, and rarely the buttons I want to see are available.
And it really lacks any tactile feedback. The hacks that use trackpad magnets are not working for me - in a sense I don't like how it feels, at all. If it'd work like a trackpad with display - it'd be perfect. Slide fingers across to "feel" the button, then push a little harder to actually "press" it.
In the article, some of the gripes about macOS software is just filler. Safari runs very well on macOS and mac hardware. I know people who prefer the Mail client, Notes, and Reminders over alternatives. FaceTime is way better than Google Hangouts and Skype.
- The keyboard is horrible and unreliable. A piece of dust can render it inoperable and require an $800 repair? Give me a break.
- The Touch Bar is inconvenient, annoying, and ergonomically terrible. It is a problem looking for a solution but instead causes more problems.
- The lack of a hardware Escape key and function row is inconvenient, annoying, and hostile to pro users. I use my Escape key and FN keys multiple dozens of times per day.
- Losing MagSafe is a downgrade with no conceivable benefit
- USB-C is inconvenient and inconsistent
- Dongles required for everything possible is annoying and inconvenient
- 16GB RAM is comical in 2018 for a "pro" machine
If you want a good Mac laptop at the moment, you have to buy 3-6 year old hardware, usually refurbished or used on eBay/craigslist. Think about that for a minute. This sums it up well:
> "Apple has made many great laptops, but the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (2012–2015) is the epitome of usefulness, elegance, practicality, and power for an overall package that still hasn’t been (and may never be) surpassed."
My sincere hope is they actually fix the keyboard (and add the Escape and FN keys back), remove the Touch Bar, give it 32GB of RAM, and re-introduce MagSafe. Getting ports back is almost certainly too much to ask for, I don't think there has ever been a time where Apple removed ports and then brought them back again.
- I like the new keyboards. I hope Apple continues to reduce key travel. Maybe they should move to a glass touch keyboard in future.
- It doesn't concern me that the keyboards have a higher failure rate - mine has never broken down. If it does, I feel that an $800 keyboard repair is reasonable. I don't want Apple to worry about making this repair less expensive.
- I think the Touch Bar is useful.
- I'm glad Apple removed the Escape key. I hope they remove other physical keys.
- I don't want Apple to bring back MagSafe. I can just avoid walking past the USB-C port.
- I've never had any issues with USB-C reliability. People who have problems should simply research USB-C cables more before they choose one.
- I like Dongles. I think Apple should use more non-standard ports. The more dongles, the better.
- I don't want to encourage Apple to build Pro machines that support 32GB RAM. "Good enough" is good enough for me.
Meanwhile I've got a text editor, terminal, and web browser open and it's consumed all 16gb and is requiring 9gb swap already.
I got a 64GB RAM ThinkPad P51 w/ an NVIDIA GPU. Miss the feel and art, but otherwise haven't looked back because i'm so productive at work.
For me, peak-mac was the 2014 MBP with NVIDIA GPU and traditional keyboard.
To be limited to their crappy hardware they've been releasing lately is a shame. I'm ready for an upgrade from my 2013 Macbook Air, but none of Apple's notebooks are suitable upgrades—I refuse to buy any until they either 1) fix the keyboard and get rid of the dumb Touchbar on the MBP, or 2) allow me to buy a Macbook Air with 16GB of memory.
I disagree. I think the current crop of developers cares more about how quick they can get a basic app coded up than how quick it runs. And they definitely don't care about battery, network, etc. because they're mostly using very fast networks and keep their machines plugged in.
Apart from that, this seems like a lot of opinion. My personal machine is a 12" MacBook and I've used it extensively for "real work", everything from professional software development to writing stories and novels (just a hobby, but it makes heavy use of the keyboard). It is my favorite computer out of all that I've owned, but it seems to "suffer" from many of the criticized aspects of the Pro, to a greater degree in many cases.
I guess maybe it's more reasonable to criticise the "Pro" model on the basis of these complaints, but there are still many professional users for whom it's well suited. I know I'd be a huge fan of my work machine, a 13", if not for the Touch Bar.
Installed Arch and xmonad. Learned how to use xmonad.
I love it now, and I might just continue buying used X220s for the rest of my life or until I'm unable to source decent batteries for them.
12.5" screen is pretty small for most people. Having a low resolution doesn't help.
Only some models (the ones that came with an i7 processor, I think) have USB 3 ports, and even those models just have one.
It doesn't have an HDMI port. It's thick and heavy. They have 2nd gen core series Intel processors which are way, way less power efficient than the 4th gen or newer processors.
It's also got slow wifi and it has a wifi card whitelist in the bios, so you can't put a better card in it.
Pretty much the only reason to buy one nowadays is if you need something really cheap that runs linux well, which is exactly why I bought one in 2015 when I was a senior in college and also the reason I stopped using it as soon as I could afford something better.
I have one as my backup Windows laptop, but I couldn't use it every day.
Fortunately it is extremely easy to swap screens on the X220, and the IPS screens are cheap on eBay.
You are dead on about the resolution, though. That's the reason I stopped using my x220.
Assuming you have an iPhone though, right? I am sitting in front of a Mac and don't see any option for this (I use Android).
I don't understand why the 15" MBP with an HDMI and usb ports can't be manufactured with better processors / SSDs / port versions / video cards / LCDs.
Just give me a MBP with an OLED, new SSD/procs/video cards, HDMI 2.0+, and sure maybe a bunch of USB/USB-C. The developers of the world will eat that up.
If Apple cares so little for it's computers, bring back the approved hackintosh.
Don't even get me started about how desktop computing is fundamentally screwed up. Windows died with windows 8. Linux cannot stop reinventing the desktop wheel and busting compatibility every time (Gnome 2/3/Mate/Mint/KDE/Unity is all a big huge disaster). And Apple can't slum themselves to cheap hardware and the CTRL - vs - AppleKey is just terrible for switching between machines.
Intel should have grabbed the reins of OS and partnered with Google for a real Linux desktop. They should have done that the second they saw the Windows 8 tile demo.
MagSafe for charging isn't without it's issues (cable fraying in particular) but it's incredibly convenient and a real nice anti-damage feature.
The lack of other ports on the 2016+ model infuriates me. Virtually nothing I use is USB-C or thunderbolt 3. There's still no real ethernet adapter like there was for Thunderbolt 2. Literally every device I have has to connect via an adapter. The 2012 model did this far better - useful USB ports, a SD slot, miniDP/thunderbolt and HDMI. Yes I had to use a Thunderbolt 2 -> ethernet adapter, but that was only one. It's tolerable. Especially considering the form-factor it made possible.
The new keyboard is atrocious. It hurts my fingers to type on for more than a few minutes at a time, and it's far too fragile. A quick straw poll of my co-workers at work gave ~20% of them saying they have currently or have had a bad key on a 2016 model. That's just unacceptably bad.
Trackpad on the 15" is just too large. It's not terrible on the 13" but on the 15" it's just too big and accidental input is a big big big issue.
I basically never ever use the touchbar ;) It's just an annoying extra cost.
My personal laptop is still a 2012 rMBP that I spent far too much on when it was new - but it's lasted and is still lasting (but it needs a new battery now) - 16G of RAM and a 512G SSD is still a reasonable laptop for most development work.
I'm seriously considering just getting the battery replaced rather than buying a new one. That's how much of a downer the new 2016+ models are to me.
edit: I've considered Linux laptops over and over... what keeps putting me off there is that Linux is still clunky.
Want to have a high DPI monitor? all of your monitors need to be high DPI or you have to do scaling tricks that make text look awful.
Want compositing? Cross your fingers and hope it doesn't crash! I see this regularly on Intel, NVIDIA and AMD hardware.
Want reliable suspend/resume? Go hunting through obscure ACPI issues with the vague hope it'll work some day.
And the biggest issue - touchpads still suck on Linux. Dell make some nice hardware in the XPSes but the software integration is poor.
The apple apps, I get that too.... I use some of them and not others and the ones I don't use feel like bloat...
Then I get to the end, and suddenly it felt like the rest of the article was "fluff" for the author to get their Docker complaint in. Docker is a self inflicted wound, it has NOTHING to do with apple... How many computer users are there vs docker users (directly)?