Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
My in-depth OS X 10.9 wishlist (joshparnham.com)
26 points by _dev on Sept 11, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments

I would already be happy if they allowed me to cut-and-paste in Finder and allowed to turn off my MacBooks internal display when an external display is attached.

Just keep your MacBook closed when plugging in the external display (or wake it up with an external mouse or keyboard), and the internal display will stay off when you open it later (if you need to use the internal keyboard).

This doesn't work anymore under Lion. I now have to use a small magnet to trick the lid-closed sensor.

Either cut-and-paste or a dual pane Finder would work for me.

Cmd-Opt-V (vs. just Cmd-V).

sudo nvram boot-args="iog=0x0" still works on 10.8.

Don't forget to include the request that OS X 10.9 supports your current computer.

Apple has generally been pretty good on this front.

For example, the last PowerPC mac was discontinued August 2006, and the first incompatible OS (10.6) was introduced August 2009. That's three years.

Similarly, the last 32 bit x86 Mac was discontinued August 2007 (Mac mini) and the first incompatible OS (10.7) was introduced October 2010.

And that's the most pessimistic view possible. Looking at typical purchaser lifespans, it seems you can look forward to around three major upgrades to Mac OS X over the life of a particular machine.

Three to four years is an absolutely terrible window. Applecare lasts 3 years and they're introducing OS updates that make the devices obsolete just outside of that window?

Compared to both Windows and Linux, Apple is the absolute worst on this front. They break backwards compatibility and leave old devices in the dust all the time. It gives them the advantage of almost forcing upgrades upon people, and allows them to keep advancing at a fast pace because they don't have to maintain legacy systems. It comes at the cost of early 2008 macbooks with no problems becoming significantly less valuable since they will not longer receive software updates.

What's wrong with it? It keeps system with less cruft, allows the vendor to focus on current attack surface only, and makes everyone stay more-or-less up to date.

Just look at how quickly, relatively, the whole Flashback outbreak simply... died out.

Apple issued critical updates going back as far as Tiger, which is ANCIENT, and barely has 1% of the market.

A 2008 MacBook would easily run 10.6 and 10.7, both of which receive updates just fine.

>Compared to both Windows and Linux, Apple is the absolute worst on this front. They break backwards compatibility and leave old devices in the dust all the time.

Better than having millions of people using Windows XP in 2012, and keeping everybody back.

But it's not like Apple specifically goes for it. They made some major changes that necessitated that: the move to Intel, for one, and the move to 64-bit. I doubt transitions of that scale will happen again soon.

>It comes at the cost of early 2008 macbooks with no problems becoming significantly less valuable since they will not longer receive software updates.

Well, as for resale value, Apple's stuff is among the best of the industry anyway, if not _the_ best. So it's OK some 4 year old laptops getting a resale value hit once in a while.

Plus, they DO receive software updates for security and such, just no major versions.

I am actually completely and almost 100% happy with iTunes. I wish I could stuff more into it. I can basically drag whatever media I want on it and it only takes up one dock icon.

What does absolutely suck in the Appleverse is photo syncing - the one thing Apple has not left to iTunes. You can either use iPhoto or a directory tree on the Mac, and you have the option to build a parallel photo library on your iOS devices with iOS iPhoto. Why can't I delete photos on my iPad and have it synced back to the desktop? Why is the Photo Stream still limited to one device? (iCloud often makes a lot of sense once you start sharing your account with other people).

As far as I understand, the versioning implementation in OS X is built on top of SQLite, which has one-reader/writer-at-a-time-only transaction semantics. I wonder how much this contributes to the beach balls.

Save As must come back.

iCloud syncing of Notes is broken. Notes which are supposed to be in iCloud often get branched to On My Mac without me noticing, where I continue editing them, only to create conflicts.

TextEdit list view should stay open if you want it.

Notes and TextEdit need to be merged. I like the note browser view, but prefer TextEdit's white background.

A package manager as good as apt-get would be great.

I'm not sure what causes the beachballs, I've been meaning to crack open lldb one of these days and try and find out.

As for Notes syncing - I've been making fairly heavy use of it recently and never had a single issue, hopefully that will simply come down to teething problems and be addressed in a 10.8.x update.

Your suggestion about merging Notes and TextEdit is really thought-provoking, probably not entirely possible now - but I can really see Apple doing that down the road.

I agree about apt-get, Homebrew's great and all, but it it's not fantastic. I can't ever see Apple doing this though.

Thinking more about apt-get,

With more care, Apple could make OS X great not just for users but also for developers. Xcode must be installed by default, along with command line tools. A package manager as good as apt-get is something Apple should take as seriously as it does iTunes and the AppStore.

Save As will show up in all apps automatically if you bind Shift-Cmd-S to "Save As..." in your keyboard shortcuts preferences.

Thanks, great to have it back again.

I too would welcome if iTunes could return to be a music player. It must be a huge pain even for Apple to work on such beastly monolithic app that does almost everything except the laundry.

iTunes has become Apple's MS Office: it does too much and it's established it's roots so deep a rewrite would be close to impossible without breaking things.

But Apple users have shown time and time again that they're perfectly willing to live with things breaking for the sake of what they consider progress.

Except iTunes contains two bits of functionality Apple can't afford to break:

- iPod/iOS sync

- iTunes Store

Break the primary route to a user's wallet/content, and the Apple experience starts to fall apart.

Established its roots ? It is just a standalone app and would be trivial to rewrite or split into its separate parts.

The hard bit is in the overall experience. Splitting one app into 5 or 6 was manageable on iOS but could be unwieldy on OSX.

I will be happy if there's a way to sync podcasts across devices.

That seems like such a terrible idea; I love the fact that everything is neatly organized in iTunes.

Think of how terrible it would be for your Apple TV to then break out and have to look at multiple applications for your content instead of one.

I highly doubt apple would make the mistake of creating more mini apps to manage each of the various items; just would be a stupid design move.

>It must be a huge pain even for Apple to work on such beastly monolithic app that does almost everything except the laundry.

For all we know, iTunes could be (and probably is) a fully modularised code base, with minimal cross module dependencies. The fact that we see it as one application tells us nothing about the underlying code.

Even the UI parts for different functionalities can be neatly modularized in different IB files, the only thing they all have to share is the main menu.

Well we needed to define what bloated means. While we have always point to its size. Most of the time it is including too many things we dont need and want while the whole thing is slow and large in size.

If the app with 10GB can open in less then a seconds then i dont think many would have complained. The problem is all these apps are getting slower, even with the Hardware performance improvement, and they take up valuable SSD space.

iTunes is one hell of bloat. Because you simply dont use your Music Player to manage your iPhone! It simply does not make any sense. And telling casual users to install itunes is just making the problem even worst. The Sync Apps should be linked with your Media Player Library or Playlist. But it should not be the same app. As a matter of fact, get rid of Sync with iTunes and use iCloud instead.

There are lots of bits and pieces in OSX that is showing its age. It wasn't much of a problem when Microsoft fail to make decent OS, and Google wasn't doing Android. Now Windows 8 has a shit UI but brilliant Internals, and Android is basically a Linux with cooperate backing. Apple seems to lack enough Software Engineers for an OS internal development.

I'd say relabel iTunes as iSync, remove the media player from it and build one from scratch, something that's snappy as hell and more modern.

Uhh, I was just going to say "Ruby 1.9 by default" but ok.

Adding to this, shipping with modern UNIX utilities. I understand they might face issues with GPL3 but it's annoying that the OS is shipping with UNIX software that's years out of date.

I've given some thought to the iTunes problem. I think the best solution is to break it up into smaller apps. The tricky part is no one wants to have a dozen different apps installed separately so iTunes would have to still be distributed as one big monolithic application. So instead of trying to cram everything into one window I would suggest something like a Springboard style UI to greet the user when iTunes is launched. From there the individual apps would be more like their iPad counterparts. Simple and to the point. Library management could be broken out into its own separate app to avoid a lot of UI clutter in the Music app itself. Going forward this would let Apple easily add or remove things from iTunes.

A springboard on top of a springboard?

Look, it doesn't actually have to be so many apps. I'd split it into "Music", "Videos" and "Devices" for the synched data.

The biggest problem for iTunes is actually Windows. Imagine telling a new, novice user to download and install ten different applications in order to sync their media to their phone, one for their music, another one for their photos, another one for their podcasts and so on. That would be suicide.

iTunes is just bad[1] software.

I personally love it on the mac, but it's gotten bloated with the years. I avoid this problem by mainly using it for music, nothing else, plus I hear on windows is painfully slow. It needs to be rewritten and it's architecture rethought.

[1]bad in the sense that it may be overkill, because it hasn't crashed for me in years. Despite all it flaws, it always works.

They could break up iTunes under the covers and maintain a legacy 'unity' interface for a cycle or two.

And the sync problem is solving itself as iOS devices continue to migrate away from iTunes as the repository manager.

That's what I think they would do. They are going to rewrite iTunes, but nothing radical, and just wait for iCloud to replace it.

My only request:

- Add a wheelbarrow icon to the menu bar.

What for? To drag and drop stuff so I can move them around.

* More explicit: to easily move/copy files from one folder to another. From one app to another. Drag files to the wheelbarrow icon, a red circle shows how many files you're holding. Open an app or a finder instance, then drag from the wheelbarrow to the folder. No need to hold the command key while waiting for a finder instance to open and navigate to the folder I want. There is an app somebody showed some time ago that did exactly that. Something like that but part of the OS.

Draw wheelbarrow icon on your command / apple key. Hold down said key, drag menu bar icons to desired position.

Can you imagine the pain caused by transitioning away from HFS+? Is there something so fundamentally wrong with it to justify all the compatibility headaches of a new filesystem?

Under the hood, there's some low-hanging fruit that I'm surprised Apple hasn't gone for yet:

* Turn off the writing of ALL memory to disk every time a laptop is put to sleep. Got an SSD MacBook Pro with 16GB? Every time you close the lid, sixteen gigabytes get written. Every time.

* Disable file access times so every file that gets opened doesn't need to have the timestamp updated.

Leave both alone. Sorting by last access time is really useful. Saving the memory dump means there's space for recovery when batteries run out while asleep – it just takes a bit longer.

atime is on by default to ensure POSIX conformance. you can disable it by setting noatime which I believe is supported by HFS+ in both it's case and non-case sensitive variants

> does a photo manager have to be 707 MB?

iPhoto 9.3.2 is 1.46GB.

Good god, really? My copy of 9.3.2 appears to only be 707 - http://cl.ly/JO6T

I've asked around the office and on all but mine it's 707, I need to figure out why! Mine is a copy from the App Store, not preinstalled, which seems to be the difference…

Interesting - Mine is preinstalled too, have you had a look around the App bundle to determine where the majority of the space lies? For me, ./Contents/Frameworks/ & ./Contents/Resources/ are equally about ~330 MB (about half of the total bundle size)

> Return Apple to its roots with minimalism - does a photo manager have to be 707 MB? Does a music player have to be 270 MB? If something’s not needed, get rid of it


   git checkout -b dev-10.9 release-10.4

He wants to get rid of Stickies! The only justified response to this is to turn up on his doorstep with a torch-wielding mob.

Some things one agrees with and some that sound like typical non-programmer (and sadly, some-programmer) lists.

E.g "Return Apple to its roots with minimalism - does a photo manager have to be 707 MB?"

Yes it has. People think the binary is "bloated", while in actuality it's mostly templates for photo books and such, that doesn't get loaded or impact performance at all if you don't use them.

>Unix package manager - basically an official version of Homebrew/Macports/Fink.

And what good would that do? Do you really want to wait for Apple to release new versions of third party programs?

>Replace AppKit with UIKit.

Does not even make sense.

>[re: iTunes] Apple, this needs to stop. Even if the segregation of all of these components into separate, modern apps was the only new feature in 10.9, I would gladly pay my money and walk away a satisfied customer.

Really? People keep saying that, to sound smart (in how they condemn "bloat"), but I think it's wrong. You know what is worse than using one app to handle 15 tasks related to your media/app collection? Using 15 apps to do the same. How would that work? At best they can break it down to 2-3 apps --which you would still have to use every time you want to sync your phone.

>We all know the Mac needs a new, modern file system to ditch the ancient HFS/HFS+.

I for one do not know that. What's the problem with HFS+ again? I mean the actual problem that matters for the common user and that ZFS is supposed to solve in a desktop/laptop machine.

Does this guy even know how ZFS works? In a space constrained SSD disk it would be a disaster. And managing logical volumes and consistency with 1-2 drives is not exactly it's core strength. It's design is all about the enterprise and the server space.

Myself being somewhat of a minimalist, I don't really like the idea of the application shipping with its own set of music and other graphic assets i'll never make use of. But I do recognise it's hard to strike a balance between leaving enough of this content in and removing it simply for the sake of storage reductions.

There's a reason I included the idea of a package manager in 'Crazy Pipe Dreams' - I'm not at all thinking this would happen, and you raise a valid point about Apple being the one to co-ordinate releasing the programs.

Have you had any experience with Mac development? UIKit is far more pleasurable and easier to work with than AppKit IMO - I was simply meaning trying to introduce more framework consistency between platforms, hopefully resulting in apps being far easier to be ported to and from each platform.

I didn't say ZFS should replace HFS+, simply noting that Apple promised inclusion of it in Snow Leopard. Although things like snapshots would be a welcome addition to some power users, but I am well aware that ZFS & OS X won't ever really happen.

> People think the binary is "bloated", while in actuality it's mostly templates for photo books and such, that doesn't get loaded or impact performance at all if you don't use them.

A huge hunk of it is in databases for the location features, too.

> "You know what is worse than using one app to handle 15 tasks related to your media/app collection? Using 15 apps to do the same."

Funny, it works out just fine from the iOS side. And that's even when I consider additionally managing podcasts in downcast, comics in comixology and reference PDFs in goodreader.

Because you don't manage them there, you mostly consume them, and one at a time at that. In any case, you do it at your leisure, while delving into them. Consuming them, and mostly one at a time is the main reason for having the iPhone/iPad.

On the contrary, when you want to sync/manage/backup your collections from your desktop to your iDevices, it would feel like madness to have to use 15 or even 8 different apps. You want to be able to backup/sync everything with 1-2 clicks, drag new songs (and maybe some movies), etc.

There's nothing that says an iTunes rewrite would necessitate opening X programs to sync content. It's trivial to envision an architecture where a sync service is aware of and can pull from those X repositories.

In fact, iTunes already works like that with regards to contact sync'ing (from Mail) and the optional iPhoto/Aperture photo sync'ing.

And the only time someone need open those individual apps is when they want to consume or manage that content.

I agree that so many apps would be overkill, but I literally only use iTunes for 1 thing: to add comics to my iPad. The process of doing so is ridiculous in its complexity and lagginess. If they simply let me add files to an iPad via Finder it would make the process 100x easier than it currently is.

Just a couple of points.

1) .DS_Store is necessary for compatibility with UNIX/Windows who do not support the HFS+ resource fork/Finder metadata. There is no way around it and they are optional. Perhaps just add it to your .gitignore like everyone else does.

2) ZFS is unnecessary. Most of the use cases that haven't already been solved elsewhere e.g. Time Machine/Versions are only for super-advanced users. In which case they can download ZFS from a third party. Not to mention that the trend is overwhelmingly towards cloud storage.

3) Splitting iTunes into its parts is not necessarily the best answer. How do you handle syncing ? System wide syncing e.g. iSync was a colossal mess and confused the daylights out of people. Also how do you handle the store ? Separate stores in each app doesn't sound fun.

In what way is .DS_Store necessary? Littering files in visited directories is an unacceptable and offensive way to store user-specific preferences. Put that crap in ~/.finder or something similar.

If .DS_Store is a dependency of HFS+, that's enough reason for me to wish for a filesystem replacement. I don't care if it's ZFS or not.

Obviously, there's a lot of hate for .DS_Store and there has been for years. That Apple has never addressed this is a sore point for a lot of people.

It's a list of feature requestes; none of this is necessary. But ZFS would be very nice to have.

Why? Do you have half a SSD to spare for checksums and additional metadata? Or does the common OS X user have several disks that he wants to see as a logical volume, while also understanding the risks after one of the dies? Do they even have the storage redundancy needed?

Do I want the option to trade disk space for greatly increased reliability? You betcha. Also, snapshotting.

Single drive reliability means nothing. In a SSD, doubly so.

ZFS won't kill the need for external backups, even in the least.

Who said anything about replacing external backups?

You wrote about "greatly increased reliability".

Which you don't get at all out of your 1-disk laptop/iMac with ZFS.

For this use case, both filesystems as just as (un)reliable: a simple disk failure and you're out. So, all reliability comes, as before, from backups, not from anything fs inherent.

You only get to see the ZFS advantage in a much larger, multi-disk setup.

Bring back the Snow Leopard mouse acceleration curve

Bring back the Lion touch scroll acceleration curve

> requiring it to be enabled in WebViews and then only working in Apple’s core apps.

Not true, works in any cocoa app

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact