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Do you write much system-level software? I feel like Apple's changes don't affect the XCode crowd much - but under the hood, things are slowly getting worse for command-line developers.

How about when Apple removed /usr/include in its entirety from Mojave? Or when they decided to make the root filesystem read-only? Or when they removed the ability to permanently disable the "only run verified apps" option? Or when they even made that the default in the first place?

How about when they stopped supporting or updating the MacOS X11 server, which doesn't have proper GPU support and probably never will?

How about when Apple replaced gcc with a thin wrapper around clang, so that /usr/bin/gcc generates identical code to /usr/bin/clang? Or how they froze all GNU tools (including bash) at the last-released GPLv2 version, just so that they could retain the option to lock you out from modifying your OS install?

How about the fact that Apple has officially deprecated Python on MacOS?

How about the increasingly slow filesystem access? Not a big deal for app users, but terrible for shell-scripts and system software kind of generally.

How about when Apple removed the ESC key from two generations of Macbook Pro? And also how they replaced the function keys with a touchbar?

Did you know that Apple will soon be using zsh for /bin/sh? Without much regard to how many shell scripts have a #!/bin/sh hashbang and some bashisms in them? You can call those scripts buggy or poorly designed if you want - but they're plentiful and widespread, and will be broken so that Apple can steer clear of GPLv3 code. All so that they can block you from modifying your OS installation.

MacOS was a Unix nerd's dream 10 years ago. It was fast, reliable, and it had a good terminal paired with amazing hardware and software that "just worked". Over time, everything that attracted me to the platform has slowly eroded. I stopped buying or recommending Macbooks in 2016, and only use one now because my employer is an Apple shop.






> Did you know that Apple will soon be using zsh for /bin/sh? Without much regard to how many shell scripts have a #!/bin/sh hashbang and some bashisms in them? You can call those scripts buggy or poorly designed if you want - but they're plentiful and widespread, and will be broken so that Apple can steer clear of GPLv3 code. All so that they can block you from modifying your OS installation. MacOS was a Unix nerd's dream 10 years ago

Yep. Sorry. I’m struggling to connect “Unix nerd” to “thinks /bin/sh and /bin/bash are the same”, especially as that’s very much a Linux distro created problem, and (the clue’s in the name) Linux Is Not UNix.


Interesting analysis, thanks for sharing.

command line apps installed via home-brew don't have gate-keeper/notarization though.

I don't know why ppl seem to think they do...

What am I missing? I'm on the latest Catalina and, for me, anything installed via home-brew / scripts/c++/python/rust I write and run/compile myself, just run.

I also don't see any time different between my apps on linux and macOS.

I use itemr2, with Fulldisk access and it's specified as a devtool in privacy.

What am I missing that's a big problem here?


Maybe you're missing to foresee the future step in Apple's strategy which will make it harder if not impossible to run something like Homebrew? As far as I know there is no such thing on (non-jailbroken) iOS. Apple seems be be steering macOS in that direction, a curated platform instead of a general-purpose computing device.

You realize Apple employs engineers right? The same engineers who use homebrew for their own job? If they go down that route, it's likely they'll need to support something like homebrew or similar.

Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if it just meant distributing package via homebrew means signing the package, much like any other package manager. Yes, you can get something similar with checksums, but it doesn't provide any method of authenticity of the distributor.

Is it friction? Hell yeah. A pain? Yes. Is it purely bad? No. Does it have positives? Some. It's not black and white.


If they do that, I am gone. Parent mentioned that they feared that though 10 years ago and it never really happened.

Apple seems to be trying to walk a line with MacOS and keep all of its user bases happy, but it's a hard line to walk.


Agree with you completely.

I would move to Arch or Debian.

That said, how can they lock it down? You need macOS open to develop apps for their other devices.

They can’t get rid of homebrew et al, as they’d lose their iOS developers! Don’t you agree?

The fact they explicitly have a “Dev tool” category you can use here says a lot about their approach being open for power users.


By writing system level macOS software, although I think you mean old style POSIX UNIX stuff.

Here is a thing, already with NeXTSTEP, UNIX support wasn't never something worthwhile looking for, NeXTSTEP was used for its Objective-C tooling and frameworks, like Renderman and Improv.

The UNIX stuff was just a solution for having a quick ramp up for their OS development, and just like Microsoft with Windows 3.1 NT, to have a tick in the box when selling to the government,

Their famous commercial against Sun, hardly touches on UNIX like development.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGhfB-NICzg

You aren't going to see a CLI on that NeXTSTEP screen.

Just like the SDK is all about Objective-C related stuff, even the device drivers were written in Objective-C.

https://www.nextop.de/NeXTstep_3.3_Developer_Documentation/

The only fouls here are those that keep giving their money to corporations instead of supporting Linux OEMs, as Microsoft cleverly discovered.

In fact, had either A/UX not been discontinued or Microsoft seriously supported their POSIX personality, Linux would never taken off, as the same crowd would be happily using these systems.


I feel everything you say, and still don't see a better alternative. They're just too good at the hardware and integration.



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