I am awed by the fact that we manage to release any software at all, let alone functional software.
The biggest problem is communication. No one fucking communicates.
- No communication between orgs. Tons of bureaucratic tape to cut through just to get a hand on someone working on a different product
- Barely any communication between teams. Literally every group of 4 people is in a little silo with no incentive to go outside it
- Broken management structure. I have had many managers (a red flag in itself) but even worse none of the managers take suggestions from engineers. Everything is purely top down. If an engineer realizes there is a problem on a macro scale they cannot fix it. It is literally impossible to unite more than 1.5 teams to get anything done.
- So what happens is that you’re working on a product that’s part of another product but you never talked to any other teams or orgs on how to make your product fit in
- 10 different teams working on the same products and services. Zero unification means you are literally wasting developers and internally fragmenting every tool. Even worse, these teams compete for internal market domination
- Culture of secrecy means nothing gets fucking done. You file a bug report and you can’t even see it any more for some orgs
This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are fundamental and serious problems at Apple that no one in management gives a shit about solving. Any time engineers try to congregate or work on anything constructive with another team, they are shot down.
The only time I have seen cross-team developers working together has been to deal with critical bugs.
Because of the lack of communication, none of management’s goals align. They are all out of sync and poorly thought out. So year after year your manager has something they want you to implement but the feature for the year is bullshit because it makes no sense and is just there to pad the manager’s resume.
And you can’t speak out about this. Apple doesn’t take well to employees complaining. Even then, because of the lack of organization there is no one you could raise these issues with.
Any company larger than a few dozen people is entrenched - there will be a hierarchy and the top will dictate the order of things. If they are paying you to write pointless software then you are either content with the paycheck and probably a lot of free time at work if nothing really matters or can go somewhere else to find meaningful work.
But seriously, the larger the company the less you should ever consider thinking yourself as some engineering talent can change the system. You change the system in those circumstances by realizing the failure, networking with your peers, and starting your own company to do it better. Assuming you didn't sign a deal with the devil by noncompeting your way into being stuck. You were hired to write code, not fix corporate culture. Largely because most large corporations have layers of management dedicated to insuring it is not fixed.
As time passed, it gradually became apparent to us mortals that he wasn't just being humoured - the people he was contacting came to respect him and even consider him their man "on the inside". He ended up doing pretty well - not promoted instantly to senior management, but certainly promoted faster than me (and ended up moving to sales).
Now admittedly lots of things are different from what your comment is suggesting. That company was big, but not as big as Apple (?) and intra-company communication nowhere near as bad by the sounds of it. This guy also didn't try turn over the whole company culture; for the most part he just spoke to the right people to progress things within our team's products. And finally, a key ingredient was him; if I made a conscious decision to act like he did, I'm sure it would not have gone well.
But my point is just that you shouldn't always write off fighting the corporate hierarchy. For the right person, in the right situation, it can actually make sense.
And thats all predicated on you succeeding, of course. You weren't offered the responsibilities to fix corporate culture, and thus trying to do so in the first place often just serves to piss off your higher ups who feel you are disrespecting their authority to do it themselves.
i think a lot of developers are used to wielding great power with technology, getting immediate visceral feedback, shipping, and whatever else. this gives them an impression that fixing people problems is just as easy - the equivalent of opening up the ol' IDE and rocking out for 8 uninterrupted hours, getting an MVP up.
the differences, though, are crucial. the compiler doesn't lie to you - you missed a semicolon; that's not the case with people. the in memory database doesn't have another agenda; again, not the case with people. the UI doesn't aspire to be something greater, or protect itself; managers often do.
i really appreciate that individuals try - i just don't think it's really worth it, if the org is > 15 or so people.
Well, in California it's basically impossible to enforce a non-compete, so there's that going for anyone who wants to do this as a current Apple employee.
To a point, but have you ever tried changing something purely through a dictate from the top? People will just say ‘Yes boss!’ and then keep working exactly as they had been.
It always felt like we were in a mission to ship Mac OS together. What Apple did do back then was create these special versions of the OS that had a few key hidden/secret products that SJ was going to demo, like iTunes or iPhoto. So while I could install the latest internal developer build of the OS, it would have a feature or two missing. You would then get radars that mentioned the code-name and explained a bug that you had to fix for the feature, but you had to fix the bug blinded and send the bug back to verify. (Radars could never be closed until the original creator verified them) The secrecy didn't really get in the way and it made for an interesting culture.
Then it all started to change when Forstall was promoted to VP of the iPhone effort. He took what was probably meant to be a short term secret launch team culture and expanded it to create this massive secret island in the company. The program office and by extension, the original founding engineers were all promoted to management that expanded on the secret culture. I think if management meant to open the culture back up to the same level as Mac OS in 2009, they would have been burned by Samsung and Palm WebOS making exact copies of the software coming out at the time. So the hyper locked down culture persisted and SJ passed away. Then Forstall was fired and Federighi was promoted to replace him and merge both the Mac OS and iOS orgs finally killing off any of the remaining openness that once existed.
Then came all the ridiculous tools such as checking someone's security clearance when you had a meeting with them. [Apple Confidential] :-P
I’ve been interviewing with other teams, but with this disaster of a release and us demonstrating that our corporate values are just empty words in the face of opposition from China, it’s likely time for me to make my exit.
The overt sexism that I’ve been witness to in iCloud management certainly doesn’t help either.
Yikes! Is this something you could share the nature of?
In one section of iCloud, there’s zero female managers in a 200+ person org. In another, after recent re-orgs, there’s only one remaining female manager in a 600+ person org, and even then, she only has a small team of engineers. No representation in upper management whatsoever.
With multiple recent re-orgs caused by poor management, there has been ample opportunity to address this imbalance, but upper management has doubled down, cancelling nearly every project managed by a female manager before the changes, or giving their projects to male managers.
I raised this as a concern with HR months ago, but they have yet to take any action or even follow up.
All of the engineers I’ve met here are smart and innovative. Only if we could organize, things would be much better.
Elon Musk says something interesting about this here:
"Product errors reflect organizational errors."
He's specifically talking about how the product subsystems are effectively mapped out by the product departments and that they should try to interface with each other with minimal constraints.
But, my take was that there needs to be a LOT of communication between departments and an ongoing debate between them as well.
Edit: The more that I think about it...
This might a big reason why Musk companies defy the odds, and why it is so difficult for incumbents to catch up.
The over the air updates of Tesla are a good example of hardware & software departments working together to make something very difficult to compete with (if you're a regular old school siloed company).
Crap >> Team >> Crap
Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864), ch. 5 "Difference Engine No. 1"
I'd like to work with these folks again* but the incredible secrecy would bug me. I understand that some things have to be secret, and I don't at feel I need to know what that group over there is doing but I'd like to talk with my (NDAd, same company) friends about what I work on! So I don't even apply for a job there. But some people seem to consider it OK.
* The subset of friends there who used to be colleagues of mine, I mean.
I'm surprised to read this, because I've always thought tight integration and clever synergies between product lines were precisely one of the things Apple excelled at.
And I was wondering how exactly they managed to make that happen in such a famously secretive organization, where very few people have the 10.000 feet view required to come up with these ideas.
How do you make Mac Catalyst or Sidecar happen with 4 people silos who hardly ever meet and adjust ? How do you redesign the iOS photos app to the capabilities of the new hardware, in a way that will make sense once software+hardware become a product ? How do pictures of unreleased Airpods end up in recent iOS beta releases ? I mean, at some point you've got to make these things work together, and one decision on one side that's oblivious to the other side's constraints might make things impossible to them, and they'll want to push back. This is how "normal" companies function.
One more example, not something especially clever but more something that would have been a huge bummer if it hadn't happened : it seems like the Pro Display XDR has charging capabilities way beyond what any current Apple device might require, and it's speculated that it's for the upcoming 16" MBP : https://www.macrumors.com/2019/10/04/16-inch-macbook-pro-96w...
Again, how do you even achieve that if people don't communicate ?
Through extremely well defined internal interfaces and specs ?
You don't. What happens is those features are broken or just barely work, and only once they become public can Apple finally get them working. Look at the new iCloud shared folders that's now been pushed to next Spring after early Catalina betas were wiping out people's iCloud.
Edit: you can see this explained in one of snapples sibling posts.
By the OS Mastering team dropping the ball…
Managing 20 people on-site at Apple is different from managing 20 off-shore cheapos (even though they could potentially be just as skilled).
It's not like cross communication doesn't happen it's just via a formal process.
This thread is really helping me understand why I can never see eye to eye with anyone on Hacker News. What I had assumed would be engineering companies are companies with engineers but without engineering culture, and there is zero autonomy to be had without getting into management in an over-stratified org-chart.
"Do exactly this, I can't give you context but it'll make sense on release day" ? Sounds like extreme Fordism (and basically a hellish way to work for creative minds) and a great way to prevent people from spotting problems early.
I mean, he got music folks talking to computer folks.
But I think he did this on a smaller scale every day and that might have been his secret sauce for apple.
It sounds quite similar to what OP was experiencing i.e. lots of siloed, secretive teams across a very large, 100K employee organisation.
We all laughed when Tim Cook said that Apple will double-down on secrecy. Who's laughing now? Turns out he was dead serious.
Don’t throw your managers under the bus, stay optimistic, anchor your message in whole company success. You might be surprised at the impact you can have & the replies you’ll get.
Here’s a formula you can try...
At <company presentation> you talked about <goal>, which I’m excited about!
I/we’ve been experimenting with <new approach>. We’ve seen <results>. What other teams should I/we collaborate with to help Apple get to <Tim’s goal> faster?
1) You seem credible.
2) There's not really a mad rush for questions.
It seems like the magic really is over. ( :/ )
Not judging, but I am genuinely curious about what drives engineers to stay.
Apple doesn't give good offers although, so I took another one at a company / team I also really liked with a better offer.
The cleverest way to get rid of bad bosses (besides moving to another group yourself) is to get them hired by another company or promoted to irrelevance (though both strategies can backfire.)
> And you can’t speak out about this. Apple doesn’t take well to employees complaining. Even then, because of the lack of organization there is no one you could raise these issues with.
Sounds similar to a cult.
Why would we expect that organisation, as a whole, to be above average?
I don't work at Apple, but this part hit home for me. In the past few years my jobs have revolved around shipping features at all costs with zero regard for engineering feasibility.
We all like to criticize CEOs for prioritize short-term stock prices over long-term company goals, but I'm beginning to think the average employee or middle manager has even more perverse incentives to make poor short-term decisions. I've seen a lot of engineers and managers swing for the fences to deliver headline features that can't possibly be completed on time with any standard of quality, testing, or long-term support. It doesn't matter, though, if your goal is to add that accomplishment to your resume so you can pivot into the next higher-paying job elsewhere. After that, your mess becomes someone else's problem and you're off the hook. Up or out.
A choice excerpt:
> The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.
I guess I post this here as a means to say, while what OP is talking about certainly sucks, Apple seems to have a long history of this. Doesn't make it better, and certainly what he's outlined seems extra bad, but not completely unexpected.
And a public beta that will mess your files on other devices(!?)
Steve, and others like him, do make me wonder. On the one hand, I work four days a week, never stay late at work, and live a good, steady life. But on the other hand, I see these super-stars, these drive-people-to-the-edge, sleep-on-shop-floor types, and see how much change and drive they create, it makes me start to think that maybe I should work _much_ harder. But then again, I quite like all this time I have to think on things. And of course, we don't get all the details about how this style of work _really_ affects home life; I'm sure we'd have much less respect for these super-stars if we knew they _all_ had screwed up lives away from work.
Thing is, there was nothing really special that Adobe did and I haven't witnessed elsewhere. Extensive testing, pre-releases/ getting the most loyal users involved early. Waterfall, yes - but "waterfall done right" (I don't think the overhead was too onerous). What they probably did "specially" though, even though it sounds mundane and boring... was to relentlessly cut scope. It was no shame to do less than what you initially planed for - but it was a crime to not say ASAP that you may not be able to do what you promised. I know personally of a feature that didn't ship in CS5, at all, because it was deemed "not ready" (even though at the start it was deemed as "required"); almost brought down a development center (that was supposed to ship it), and their biggest sin was not that they weren't ready, but that they didn't say so until it was too late.
The short version of all this, I guess, is that cutting scope can do miracles. I'm surprised that it's not used more widely - and somewhat saddened that even Adobe lost its skill at this (from my pov, the cloud has enticed the management to ship features that are not quite ready yet, and counter-intuitively, I think this actually slows them down now).
The problem is deeper, it's psychological. At the level where full time, professional management begins it starts to become very unclear how to judge a manager's success over short/medium periods of time. Yeah in the very long run "is the product a success" can be used to judge, but that captures a lot of people who aren't the manager and may take years to figure out. You need to evaluate their performance before then.
So people come up with heuristics, like "does this manager meet their commitments". But software is inherently unpredictable so the answer to this question is always random. This results in managers trying to look like they're doing a good job by forcing early releases: they are thus seen to be "meeting their commitments" and must be good managers, with the quality issues showing up much later at which point they can just shrug and say, well, all software has bugs. Unless a layer of management higher up digs into individual bug reports and investigates really deeply to conclude, no, you forced an early release before it was ready, they won't be held accountable.
Every employee knows that they're going to stay for 5 years max because companies have made it impossible for there not to be a massive market disparity if you keep stable employment. There are no perks to long-term loyalty and thus no reason to consider an employer's long-term interests as identical to your own. The outcome of this is the predictable situation we see now.
Like it or not, the company's culture comes from the top down. If the boss doesn't know or care whether the product is substantial, people who do will eventually be replaced at least until the boss is duly insulated from them. No one wants to rain on the parade of the guy who holds hire/fire authority.
There's a wider thing here too, which is that the market doesn't know or care about any of the technical details either. You need the touted features to work correctly just enough to create sufficient ambiguity, probably about 10-15% of the time. If you invest enough engineering effort to get them working correctly 90%+ of the time, that's a great deal more money and time spent on engineering for no market benefit. A competitor who dumps that money into marketing and sales will come out far ahead because technical quality and reliability simply doesn't drive sales.
Same short term thinking, same self-aggrandizement, same convincing yourself of how rational you are, when most actions are driven by emotions, but with more casual clothing.
I strongly prefer Apple ship functionality incrementally. No more big bang.
Especially be more cautious with new kits (core libraries). Just one or two end user facing features on some fraction of hardware. Then expand over time.
With Apple's installed base, it's an engineering marvel there's so little drama. But I want no drama, which means waiting a bit longer. Which is fine.
Source: Ecstatically happy Apple fanatic.
Quite a lot of that, in my experience, is driven by fear of losing their job in an at-will employment environment.
Go back and watch old keynotes with Steve. Almost always, whenever he’s talking about a new feature or piece of hardware, he starts with the “why.” Not everyone will agree with the “why,” of course, but it’s still given.
Why do we want to get rid of the CD drive on MacBook Airs? (We see OTA software updates and media downloads as the way of the future and it wastes space.)
Why do we want to migrate from PowerPC to Intel? (We need better performance-per-watt so we can build MacBooks that have better battery life and don’t overheat.)
Why do we want to not have a physical keyboard on the iPhone? (Because the buttons and controls can’t self-specialize for each application.)
There are obviously exceptions to this rule, but by and large it’s fairly accurate. Now, watch the most recent keynotes. Has there been even a single second dedicated to WHY we need Apple TV+? Apple News+? Apple Arcade? Thinner keyboard mechanisms?
No, and it’s because we all know what the answer is.
Ive created some amazing hardware, but I’m excited to see where the next few product cycles go.
A very good point in the context of neglecting the Mac, the primary tool used to make software for all the other prioritized hardware devices.
If they lose the developer community, who do they expect will build software for iOS, or the iPad that Cook loves so much? Seems very shortsighted.
I think Steve really did give them the edge with design and innovation. Right now there's just no leadership with that kind of bold intent of any one thing in particular. Apple have sort of blended into other premium brands as well as premium brands copying a lot of what Apple do (Matebook X, every phone that copied the iPhone notch).
Are they re-architecting MacOS to be more secure as they've currently pushed for? Or are there middle managers at Apple who are measuring engineering by the number of commits their engineers do per sprint. Only time will tell - If they don't do this right (as with the butterfly keyboard) they really risk damaging their reputation as a premium brand with high quality.
I have two users on my machine.
1. I "lock screen" from the Apple menu and close the lid.
2. I reopen the lid and it does not ask for password.
3. I start using laptop and lock screen suddenly pops up, but asks password for the wrong user.
4. I hit random key and the screen goes away, and i can continue working.
Also, it looks like a lot of settings don't work on the lock screen / choose user screen. For instance, the pointer speed doesn't match what I have set, font sizes don't match either, and the resolution looks wrong.
In all... It feels like windows?
As said elsewhere, locking X is really hard, and xscreensaver architecture doesn't help. This week I managed to crash xscreensaver login prompt twice, unlocking the desktop without entering my password, and that was the last straw, I switched to xsecurelock which separates the login entry into another process, making such bugs much less severe.
Unfortunately I can't reliably reproduce the crash. A hardware fuzzer (also known as a faulty ThinkPad keyboard) was involved, and I don't possess the device any more. I think what it did was press certain keys very often — the keyboard matrix is sampled at 125 Hz, so I'm guessing it was pressing the keys about 60 times per second, but I'm not sure which keys they were. If anyone manages to reproduce this, please do give me a shout. :-)
That is how it is implemented (in X11)
Warning: copy-paste this link, if jwz sees an HN referrer, you won't be happy.
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen what everyone is talking about and it’s bothered me a little too (granted, my machine is configured in such an undiscoverable way that just opening an xterm window is obscure enough to be nearly equivalent to a very short pin, and then you need to know bash. Now that I’m not in college and don’t have anything important that’s probably good enough even without xcreensaver.)
It's a joke but sometimes I really do wonder.
> Right now with screensavers under X it's basically capturing the input and continually redrawing over the display.
> With Wayland, Kristian plans for the lock-screen to be part of the Wayland compositor. In having the compositor handle the screensaver role, it can ensure that no window can appear atop the screensaver surface, it can properly detect idling and grabs already, and has complete control over the screen. Unlike the X design, there wouldn't even need to be a screensaver "window" that's on top but the compositor could just keep painting a black screen. For those interested in a "fancy screensaver", a plug-in could be used or an out-of-process Wayland client for drawing whatever you desire.
* Non-consensual insertion of Windows Update latency into my schedule. Often I don't mind. Sometimes, though, I really, really do.
* Said updates failing but giving no indication of failure other than taking infinitely long.
* Keyboard layout sometimes gets swapped back to QWERTY with no visual indication. This interacts especially poorly with stringent Active Directory 3-try-lockout policies.
* Network hiccups + active directory (or something) can cause login to spin indefinitely, requiring a restart.
* Login screen background occasionally changes to a random picture from my computer. Usually a wildly upscaled application resource. I haven't entirely ruled out my own clumsiness as a contributing factor, but I've also seen this in the wild, so it's at least a UX issue somewhere.
None of this is as bad, in a theoretical sense, as Apple's no-password fiasco, but it has resulted in a far larger footprint on my day-to-day activity.
When Cortana was introduced, they had some issues of being able to launch the browser while the machine was still locked (though as the user that the computer was locked by). You couldn't do much as the previous bugs as the lock screen still covered everything.
To be fair, it was also vista...
Of course it didn't have all the features that were introduced since, but it also didn't have as bad a UX as the more recent versions.
I haven’t used it on a personal computer since XP though so I guess you’re not far off.
Gah... i hate computers.
I must say that Windows has... changed... In a good way. But that's not even the point. The point everyone keeps forgetting, is that OSX is tightly coupled with native Apple hardware, while Windows has to work on a zoo of devices.
[*] I actually blogged about this here, sorry for a shameless plug: https://www.jitbit.com/alexblog/277-back-to-pc-after-14-year...
Sure, minus the fact that my Windows box would be _spying on me_ if I wasn't a very technically capable person. That's a non-trivial driver for a lot of folks when they decide to pick Apple products. Or, at least, it was until recently with the iCloud / China debacle.
But I still really don’t consider windows or Linux as legitimate alternatives because of the ecosystem log in.
Yes, macOS has its downsides. But what keeps me from even thinking about Linux are all these little niceties:
- copy something on my iPhone, paste it on the Mac (still regularly leaves people speechless when they watch me do it: “what!? You can do that?”)
- my watch unlocks my Mac
- my desktop is always in my pocket, all files sync’ed per default, zero config
- Start Reading something in safari, Hand it over to my iPhone in a second and walk out the door
- All my browser tabs synced across my Mac, iPhone and iPad
- I can curate my TV Watchlist on my Mac and it’s automatically available on my AppleTV when I get home that night
I could go on with dozens more of these little things that I can’t imagine living without anymore. I know that it’s probably possible to achieve most or all of this with a Linux/Android/Chromecast Setup. But every time I watch some of my friends do it, it just looks like so much work to set up and maintain.
The only argument I understand here is the joy of tinkering and that feeling of achievement when you get it to work in the end. Apple is a bit boring in that regard. A lot of the integration stuff just works (yeah, yeah, sure not all, but still more so than on any other platform I know).
I’m not 20 anymore and I just prefer to spend my time with other things these days than tweaking my OS.
So although I wish Apple would invest more into quality on macOS again, for me the walled garden just totally works, and I’ll stick with the lesser evil.
It's the barrier to entry and knowledge. I agree for tab sync but for most things it takes a degree of setup and also knowing that the feature even exists to set things up, but even casual Apple users seem to know about and use these features
iOS13 comes with a load of breaking changes in iCloud. iOS12 devices and macOS apps (e.g. reminders) no longer sync with iPhones until you upgrade.
And there's nobody else to blame for that -- we've known for ages that 4K and fractional scaling was going to be a thing, just like we've known for ages that touchscreens were going to be a thing.
But nope, let's just measure everything in pixels. It's like the majority of native developers on Linux all looked at responsive design on the web and thought, "I'm pretty sure that's just a fad." Everybody just dug in their heels almost on principle or something and refused to make it a priority, and now we're behind both Windows and Mac when it comes to high-resolution touch devices.
And I still run into people who argue that what we should just scale the physical size of a pixel for the entire desktop by a percentage, just so we can keep building fixed layouts that absolute position all of their elements. At a certain point, it feels more like a cultural problem than a technical one.
Everybody else is doing responsive design. QT already supports `em` units (well, sort of). We could be using them on Linux.
GTK3 and Qt5 software works great, anything else is a pot shot.
So thanks for the idea - it truly had never occurred to me (oddly).
Step 1: put 'xrandr --dpi <your actual DPI>' in .xinitrc
Step 2: Use QT applications (Plasma is a fantastic QT desktop)
Step 3: Enjoy your reasonably sized everything.
"Scaling" is a broken concept to work around applications assuming 96 DPI (which is considered scale=1). You don't need it if you use programs that actually respect your real DPI. Unfortunately X11 doesn't properly compute DPI settings, even though EDID information generally contains the screen size - I imagine, for fear of breaking stuff.
(You can correct GTK3/GDK applications by setting GDK_DPI_SCALE=<actual dpi / 96>, but in my view it's a sin that you need to do that)
However, this is all assuming that 2x scaling is fine for you, support for fractional scaling is not great yet.
From the simple (boot screen runs at 1x so text is unreadable) to the wierd (VirtualBox tangle of bugs), to the frustrating (dolphin file manager, which I use to avoid UI bugs in the gnome file manager).
I found workarounds for some issues, and maybe they are fixed in the next LTS, but there is no way I could recommend 18.04 with 4k to a non-professional.
I find this surprising. I'd say anyone who does any serious amount of multitasking (whether a Linux dev or not) would easily want one. I think people do care but they are just waiting on better pricing/availability.
I would have thought so too, but this isn't my experience. The smartest developers I know at my current job still develop with old laptops with awful 720p screens (I mean, awful beyond just the low res) and can't be bothered to attach an external Full HD monitor, let alone ask for a 4K one. And still they are brilliant, produce great software, and are key when planning profound software changes in the company. These are people who I deeply admire and from whom I always learn something valuable when they speak. Keep in mind they are also developers, not "whiteboard engineers".
My conclusion is that we nerds tend to overestimate ergonomics, because they are easier to see ("pff, I can only type with a mechanical keyboard!", "how can people code with fewer than three 4K monitors!"), but the actual bottlenecks and difficulties of building complex software lie elsewhere.
I still can't stand 720p screens though.
This is far from true. Gnome shell itself is mostly OK (if buggy), but only a minority of real apps work properly. The standard Gnome apps (Nautilus, Gnome Shell etc) are fine, but that's where the support pretty much stops.
(writing this from a 23" 1366x768 desktop monitor)
And honestly a lot of things are so broken in hidpi anyway that i do not see a reason to bother.
I've had a 4k 27" monitor mixed with 1080p and 1440p monitors of varying sizes for years and have managed to get 90% of software working great, and whenever I dip into Wayland get to use the fractional scaling there it goes up to 99% of software.
At least XFCE just works
It isn't simple? no. You have different env variables for QT, GTK and xrander can set its own DPI as well. It is kinda a mess, but I use i3 so I figure I'm in for whatever pain I put myself into.
I've been running Linux on HiDPI devices for a couple of years now and I've got things sorted to where it's no an issue on any new device. I need to give Wayland/Sway another shot at some point. I hope it has better native zoom support than X11.
Sure, I had to put in a bit of effort, but now that I have the results are excellent, there's no scale jumping or even the weird rendering MacOS does when moving windows around.
Now that I'm older, it's just a waste of time.
It's worth it to me and like I say - it works better than than windows or even OS X on the same screen setup.
If that's of no value to you, that's up to you I guess. I'm in my 40s so no spring chicken...
xrandr --output HDMI-0 --mode 1920x1200 --pos 0x100 --scale 1.5x1.5 --output DP-4 --mode 3840x2160 --primary --scale 1x1 --pos 2880x-150
AFAICT this effectively renders the smaller screen as if it had a much larger resolution (2880x1800), then downscales, giving a good quality image, and then positions the 4k screen to the right of it. The key is the scale factor compensating for different DPI on the different screens.
I tried scaling the other way first, by giving a sub-1.0 scaling factor to the 4k screen, but that meant rendering a lower res and then upscaling, which looked terrible!
The only annoyance now that I have this set up is that occasionaly driver updates change which output is which and I have to update the script so it works again.
I also use 2 different resolutions without problems
KDE plasma gives you fractional scaling
I've heard Wayland supports different scalings on different monitors, but I'm on Xorg so I can't say if it works
Sorry but I don't have time for this anymore. I would have on my SUSE box in 2003.
Only a few apps have given me trouble in recent times.
Printing, wifi/vpn, keyring, graphics drivers... everything just works.
But the original post is very sobering.
I left OS X a few years back when the new laptop came out. Partly the whole USB-C thing I suppose, but I felt that there was pretty good hardware around and the new MBP didn't really shine (and was fiercely expensive). So I made the move to Ubuntu on some new Lenovo hardware (Carbon X1).
I really look forward to the twice-yearly Ubuntu releases. More of the same, rarely any huge new surprises and just generally more polish. I upgraded to Ubuntu 19.10 immediately once the 19.10beta came out and it seems speedier.
I'm sorry to see Mac users get so badly burnt but I'm very glad I made the decision to leave when I did.
For the touchpad I am undecided how much here is software and how much is hardware. E.g. install ubuntu on a macbook, is the touchpad still great or just average?
> There are no unnecessary frills.
My macOs machine doesn't have them either.
> It just gets the job done.
Mine does as well.
Do you want to talk about frills?
2) For the first time in my 10+ years supporting Macs at an enterprise level, I’m holding off on upgrading my company to 10.15.
I’m genuinely pissed that there’s an over abundance of annoyances when upgrading that it’s not the Steve Jobs experience. Yes he’s gone, but his spirit and ideals for what brought Apple back from bankruptcy 20+ years ago.
I’ll veer off of Catalina into a Steve Jobs decision that made sense in 1997. Apple had too many products and it was too confusing. Steve said two types of users. Consumer/Pro. Two types of computers for them, portable/desktop. Now we have five different iPad lines. Multiple iPhone lines. What made things simple to focus on at Apple have gone away to colleg grads with no experience.
rather the decisions have went to the business people, and that's why Apple went bankrupt the first time around
I can't get Chrome desktop notifications to work anymore, but the worst thing is that all my Apple Music playlists have disappeared from my iPhone.
They do exist in the Catalina Music app, but not on the phone where I need them. I suspect it's because my iPhone 6 isn't supported by the latest iOS release and there appears to be some iCloud version incompatibility that was triggered by Catalina. The iPhone Music app has crashed a few times as well.
They do warn me of just such an incompatibility when I open the Reminders app (which now has a far more convoluted user interface for no apparent benefit). I get the feeling that my decision to just keep using my iPhone 6 until it's not longer good enough will be difficult to sustain.
Catalina also randomly stalls for a second or two and some mouse clicks just don't register for a long time until they eventually do. This seems to have gotten a bit better now so I'm hopeful that it was related to uncached data.
Well, it detected I had an iPad but the connection would time out every single time. After rebooting both the Mac and the iPad (another wild guess) it kind of worked - very laggy and couldn’t use the Mac properly as clicking in e.g. System Preferences would open Finder to show me the app under Applications instead of the actual system preferences panel because of reasons.
It’s truly broken and felt like an alpha version. But this has been the trend with macOS and guess it’ll stay like this unless someone high enough at Apple decides to wake up.
Did you try connecting to it with a cable?
Yeah, these bugs are bad, but to me articles like this really feel a lot like a broken record. Every September and October, when the major releases come out, there are bugs. And then by the time you're on 10.xx.2 or iOS xx.1.3 a month later they're just a bad memory.
If you don't want bugs, don't upgrade right away. That's not an Apple-only phenomenon - remember the Windows 10 October 2018 update that had to be entirely retracted?
10.14 is still supported. 10.13 is still supported. 10.12 is still supported. Keep using those if you want.
I will “resist” Catalina as long as I can, for the simple reason that it will kill tons of much-loved software (from major games like xcom to small little opensource apps that may or may not ever get an update). But I already know at some point Apple will tell me that I have to move on just to keep some stuff working as before.
Unfortunately, not well enough. Catalina contains security fixes that apparently  haven't yet been backported to Mojave, let alone the others. I wonder how early or late into the beta those bugs were fixed; potentially, they've been patched for months.
As are your files. The author states that some of these bugs are causing file corruption.
And what about people who buy new laptops? They're just screwed?
And, your new laptop hoses your iCloud so you lose functionality on your old laptop.
And, 10.12 claims to be supported, but you can't run the latest versions of some software (like Xcode). So, it's "supported(don't read the fine print)".
iOS 13 shipped with the Mail app broken. That's almost as bad as not being able to make calls.
Would a BlackBerry ever ship with a broken email app?
These games are not even that old, released from 2010 to 2016 or so. And Catalina won't let me play them, because some asshole decided that I'll be fine without them, and removed 32 bit support from the OS.
Meanwhile, I can still play games from 1995 on Windows 10 without any problems.