Mac OS update leaves legacy software users in the dust
October 10, 2019 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Some users of older Mac software are just now learning that their beloved apps — DragThing, for one example — won't work with Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina, which was released to the public on Monday after a customary period of beta testing.

Why don't the apps work? Because after giving end users and app developers years and years of advance warning, Apple finally ended support for 32-bit software in this latest OS version. Many developers are still working on updating their software for the new OS, and at least one seemed to think the OS hadn't been released yet.
posted by emelenjr (193 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Unfortunately for me the list includes one of my most used apps, Aperture. It has tended to freeze and crash occasionally since they stopped supporting it in 2014, but it was still very useable. For me it hit the sweet spot of being more advanced than Photos, but didn’t overwhelm me with features and tools like Photoshop. I have yet to find a replacement, but I guess I’ll have to.
posted by TedW at 2:01 PM on October 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


Ah, Cupertino, where it is always Year 0.

To see which of your MacOS apps are still 32bit, go to:

 → About This Mac → System Report → Applications

I've still got a bunch of niche indie apps this will never be rewritten and it sucks. I'm holding off upgrading until I can figure out a solution. Windows 10 users can still run 30 year old DOS problems with tools like DOSBox...
posted by gwint at 2:02 PM on October 10, 2019 [20 favorites]


There are a few other technologies tossed in the dustbin of history by Catalina as well:

- Safari extensions now need to be released as signed apps, orphaning a bunch of useful add-ons.
- Apps that interacted with iTunes' xml database are SOL, although (as with 32-bit apps), Apple has given developers an alternative means to do the same thing for years.
- Anything that interacted with Reminders needs to be rewritten.

That's what I've noticed so far—I've got software affected by all of these changes. Some of which have simply been abandoned by their authors.

One of my favorite Safari extensions is Tampermonkey, which lets you run userscripts. It looks like the author has rewritten it and is close to having it available.
posted by adamrice at 2:02 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's no so much the 32 bit to 64 bit change. Most software can just be recompiled to fix that, if written properly. Even if there are some 32 bit assumptions spread around the codebase, the conversion isn't that hard.

The big change is that Carbon is gone. Carbon is the layer that let Mac developers pretend they were running on an old pre Mac OS X system with the old APIs. It was only ever meant to be a stop-gap to give developers time to port everything to Cocoa. I know I have not written a line of code that uses Carbon since about 2004, so I'd say people have had a lot of time to make the change.
posted by w0mbat at 2:03 PM on October 10, 2019 [37 favorites]


we’ll I’m still an Adobe CS6 deadender so High Sierra or whatever is where I’m staying
posted by a halcyon day at 2:03 PM on October 10, 2019 [21 favorites]


There's also a fair number of apps that have issues, 64-bit or no. Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Scrivener...
posted by zamboni at 2:06 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Apple announced the the 32 bit to 64 bit change at WWDC in June.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:08 PM on October 10, 2019


For anyone using music software, this is a huge headache. I have a decade's worth of Ableton Live projects, depending on a decade's worth of plugins, some of which will never be updated to 64-bit*. I've spent much of my tooling-about-in-Live time this year going through old sets, seeing what I can salvage, what can be mixed down to audio stems, what can be turned into a workable Drum Rack/Sampler instrument, what can be replicated (reFX Vanguard patches are very hard if not impossible to replicate with other synths), and come to the conclusion that, for the purposes of being able to access old projects, my existing MacBook stays on 10.14 (and, eventually, will join my MacOS Classic Titanium PowerBook and OSX/PPC PowerBook in the old-laptop cupboard). Of course, given that I also write code for iOS/macOS, I'm going to have to move to Catalina at some point, which I'm guessing brings forward the next MacBook purchase. I hope that they bring ones with less sucky keyboards out soon.

Of course, all this will be repeated in a year or two's time when Apple make the move from x86-64 to ARM.

* reFX, makers of QuadraSid/Slayer/Vanguard, have told users of their old plugins to go whistle, while other plug-ins, including things like AAS Strum, were replaced by improved versions which are not preset-compatible and cannot import the previous versions' settings.
posted by acb at 2:08 PM on October 10, 2019 [18 favorites]


Windows 10 users can still run 30 year old DOS problems with tools like DOSBox...

Or even a 20-year old Windows 95/98/ME desktop and programs now. DOSBox is amazing.
posted by bonehead at 2:11 PM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


I was honestly shocked to realize that Carbon was still supported in High Sierra. It was essentially deprecated from the first release of OS X! In spirit anyway, if not in practice. Officially deprecated in 2012, which seems like an eternity ago.

That being said I don't see why they can't release it as a separate, unsupported project and let developers bundle it with their apps. Let's see the Carbon source!
posted by dis_integration at 2:15 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's not surprising - Apple have never, ever cared about backwards compatibility, and there's countless examples of important and useful applications throughout the history of Macs and iPhones falling by the wayside because Apple changed something and expected everyone to do a huge amount of work to keep up - but it still sucks.

Microsoft can't do this kind of thing because they sell software, not hardware. One of the more well-known members of the Windows team explained their reasoning: if a new version of Windows breaks backwards compatibility because an app is doing something it shouldn't, the user can't get a refund on their old app that works in the old version. They're going to get a refund on Windows. Now, this has meant that Windows has a backwards-compatibility shim that lets the very first version of SimCity use different rules for memory allocation, but it's also meant that games and apps from the last decade still work on the latest version of the operating system.
posted by Merus at 2:17 PM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


Windows 10 users can still run 30 year old DOS problems with tools like DOSBox...

Looks like DOSBox is a universal (32- and 64-bit) app for OS X.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:18 PM on October 10, 2019 [16 favorites]


we’ll I’m still an Adobe CS6 deadender so High Sierra or whatever is where I’m staying

Yuuuup. Fcck if I'm going to start renting software I already own. CC isn't that much better than what I have. It's not like professional designers were kneecapped way back there in...2010.
posted by General Malaise at 2:19 PM on October 10, 2019 [10 favorites]


It's no so much the 32 bit to 64 bit change. Most software can just be recompiled to fix that, if written properly. Even if there are some 32 bit assumptions spread around the codebase, the conversion isn't that hard.

If programmers are paid by the hour, there's a Jira board full of tickets, and/or the old software is no longer sold/everybody who worked on it has moved on, reloading the project and hitting Build is in the too-hard basket for companies.

(And if something was last compiled 7 years ago, the odds of it compiling and running on the latest OS without requiring repairs are not great.)
posted by acb at 2:20 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


Of course, all this will be repeated in a year or two's time when Apple make the move from x86-64 to ARM.

I have a theory, which is pure speculation, and not based on any evidence, that when Apple switches to their own CPUs for the Mac, they will run the x86-64 instruction set.

My reasoning is, if Apple were switching to ARM, then why not just deprecate ia32 and x86-64 at the same time? Why go through this exercise twice? Also, Apple would license the x86-64 instruction set from AMD, not Intel, and Apple is on good terms with AMD.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:22 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


Even if there are some 32 bit assumptions spread around the codebase, the conversion isn't that hard.

The problem isn't recompiling, but using an API (Carbon) that was tied to the 32-bit world. One can posit that there was plenty of time to rewrite code to Cocoa (or whatever will follow it to more closely integrate iOS and macOS worlds: SwiftUI, etc.), and I'd agree in principle, but a simple recompile may not always necessarily be possible. For independent developers, effectively writing new code to recapitulate functionality of an old product may not make economic sense (as appears to be the case for DragApp, mentioned in the FPP).
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:37 PM on October 10, 2019


The problem isn't recompiling, but using an API (Carbon) that was tied to the 32-bit world.


I say exactly that later in the same post you are quoting.
posted by w0mbat at 2:39 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


I thought the Classic compatibility layer was called....well....Classic. But maybe that was for Motorola code? It's been gone for a while now.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:40 PM on October 10, 2019


Won't the move to their own architecture be caused by a desire to escape the performance-per-watt ceiling of Intel CPUs? And if so, how much of that ceiling is inherent in the x86 architecture?

As for not going through the exercise twice, Apple's own App Store software distribution system strongly encourages developers to submit their binaries not in machine code (i.e., x86-64) but in Bitcode (i.e., serialised LLVM bytecode), with Apple's distribution infrastructure doing the final compilation step. The main reason I can think of moving machine-code compilation to the distribution phase is to give Apple more flexibility in switching architectures, should they decide to at some point. Alas, this only works for the macOS App Store, which many developers don't use for very good reasons (the mandatory iOS-like sandboxing of App Store apps is a pain, for one), so it won't help your AudioUnit plugins or Steam games.
posted by acb at 2:40 PM on October 10, 2019


> 30 year old DOS problems

This makes me giggle.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


years and years of advance warning

This is the relevant piece of the warning.

Also OSX shipped close to 19 years ago. So if you are a developer that is still using Carbon, you were ignoring a time bomb that started ticking during the Clinton administration.
posted by sideshow at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2019 [29 favorites]


I find myself unsympathetic to the "developers had plenty of time" position. I mean, that's true, and honestly Apple has drawn out some transitions for a what could be considered a generous time.

I'm just not persuaded that eliminating backwards compatibility is really justified. I understand MS and Apple have different incentives and cultures but the MS approach shows that a platform player can absorb the cost of maintaining that to the benefit of developers and users.

Apple's approach either imposes the cost of another turn on the upgrade treadmill on the developer (presumably passed on to users, or borrowed from other things the developer does not do), or it imposes the loss of the use of the software.
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:47 PM on October 10, 2019 [10 favorites]


I can’t upgrade because the one software (Evocam) that does what I need it to do for my outdoor webcam project was abandoned years ago and I have been unable to find any replacement.
posted by terrapin at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


LLVM bitcode is great, but it is architecture-specific around things like word size, alignment, etc. I won't speculate on what uploading bitcode is supposed to accomplish, but it won't deal with 32/64 issues and it won't deal with Carbon/Cocoa issues either.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:53 PM on October 10, 2019


I find myself unsympathetic to the "developers had plenty of time" position.

It's also less than generous to education and non-profits that often have to make that old program/piece of equipment work because there's no room in the budget for a new one. There are lots of papers written using 15 or 20 year old instrumentation.
posted by bonehead at 2:54 PM on October 10, 2019 [14 favorites]


Though 64-bit LLVM bitcode, using current APIs, should theoretically build for x86-64 or ARM64.
posted by acb at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2019


Ooh, foo, Textwrangler is still 32 bit, and apparently I'm supposed to switch to BBEdit. Bleah.
posted by tavella at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ooh, foo, Textwrangler is still 32 bit, and apparently I'm supposed to switch to BBEdit. Bleah.


BBEdit in trial mode is basically TextWrangler, although I pay for BBEdit because it's worth it.
posted by w0mbat at 2:57 PM on October 10, 2019 [7 favorites]


And apparently BBedit is subscription, bleah! Anyone have suggestions for a good plain text editor?
posted by tavella at 2:59 PM on October 10, 2019


Though 64-bit LLVM bitcode, using current APIs, should theoretically build for x86-64 or ARM64.

OK, that seems pretty likely. There's certainly an intersection of size & alignment options for those architectures that are compatible.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:59 PM on October 10, 2019


LLVM bitcode is great, but it is architecture-specific around things like word size, alignment, etc. I won't speculate on what uploading bitcode is supposed to accomplish, but it won't deal with 32/64 issues and it won't deal with Carbon/Cocoa issues either.

Apple just used Bitcode to lock, stock, and barrel move the Apple Watch from the 32-bit only S3 in Series 3 to the 64-bit only S4 in Series 4 without having to rework any of the apps. This was made possible by LLVM and Bitcode.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:00 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


w0mbat, being whined at to buy a subscription every time I open it is going to drive me crazy, plus the moment I opened BBedit, it was instantly using more power than anything else on my system -- the fan kicked on and I checked battery usage. That's ridiculous for a plain-text editor IMHO. TextWrangler with the same set of files open didn't even hit the battery usage list.
posted by tavella at 3:04 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


And it's worth comparing this to the announcements MS made about Win10X a few weeks back, where they are working to make the OS modular so they can use it in a variety of platforms and use scenario - including modularizing Win32 support.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:06 PM on October 10, 2019


Anyone have suggestions for a good plain text editor?
hanov3rs-MacBook-Pro:~ hanov3r$ man vim
VIM(1) VIM(1)

NAME
vim - Vi IMproved, a programmer's text editor

SYNOPSIS
vim [options] [file ..]
vim [options] -
vim [options] -t tag
vim [options] -q [errorfile]

ex
view
gvim gview evim eview
rvim rview rgvim rgview
posted by hanov3r at 3:11 PM on October 10, 2019 [25 favorites]


However, you still can't move or rename an open file in Windows, nor does the search function work with anything like the comprehensiveness and speed of Spotlight. These are real pains for ordinary users and, as I understand it, are a direct result of file management practices maintained for backwards compatibility.

Probably you should not be expecting the latest iteration of an OS to run smoothly on 15-20-year-old equipment.

(I say this as someone who's undoubtedly going to lose some apps to this update. RIP, JumpCut.)
posted by praemunire at 3:12 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's not surprising - Apple have never, ever cared about backwards compatibility

Ugh, you're forcing me to stick up for Apple, but this is an overly reductive statement. When OSX was first released, it came with a classic mode capable of running OS applications. Of course they want people to upgrade, but to say they never cared about it is incorrect.
posted by jeremias at 3:13 PM on October 10, 2019 [17 favorites]


When OSX was first released, it came with a classic mode capable of running OS applications.

The sunsetting of this classic mode (19 years later) is what everyone is up in arms about.
posted by sideshow at 3:16 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Is there a non-subscription version of Office for Mac that's 64-bit? I had been cruising on Mac Office 2008 for, uh, 11 years now. Sad to have to let it go.
posted by GuyZero at 3:16 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


(LLVM) Bitcode Demystified

When you submit an app (including Bitcode) Apple’s ‘BlackBox’ recompiles it for each supported platform and drops any ‘useless’ object code, so AppStore has a copy of the app for each CPU. When an end user wants to install the app - she installs the only version for the particular processor, without any unused stuff.

Makes sense in the context of iOS and macOS devices currently supporting a variety of processors, and lines starting to blur about where apps can run.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:17 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Anyone have suggestions for a good plain text editor?

Textmate 2?
posted by slater at 3:17 PM on October 10, 2019 [9 favorites]


The 32 bit sunsetting makes sense; they did something similar with iOS several years ago. But there's a lot of other changes they made that make the experience worse. Also some outright serious bad bugs. tyler.io has a good list.

I gave up on MacOS and switched back to Windows a few years ago and am mostly happy. It got a lot better about a year ago with WSL, which gives a real Linux environment in the Windows system. Better Unix than MacOS ever was.
posted by Nelson at 3:17 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


For anyone using music software, this is a huge headache. I have a decade's worth of Ableton Live projects, depending on a decade's worth of plugins, some of which will never be updated to 64-bit*

Will any of the existing third-party 32-bit bridge solutions work?

I made the jump to 64-bit Live (which does not support 32-bit plugins without aforementioned third-party solutions) several years ago and it didn't take me long at all a.) to decide that active developers who do not update things to 64-bit deserve most of the blame for it and b.) to decide that most older/unsupported things that would require compatibility software aren't worth it. But I do have some sympathy for people who have some particular piece of will-never-be-updated software they want to keep using.

However the impression I am getting is that this update is going to break a lot of audio software that's not just still living in 32-bit-land and in combination with their rather poor practices in keeping develope docs on audio stuff up-to-date that part I'm plenty pissed at Apple about.
posted by atoxyl at 3:18 PM on October 10, 2019


Hm, Mac Office used to be three computers in the license and not it's just one. Well, I guess I'll have to just live without Office.
posted by GuyZero at 3:18 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ok, seriously, what was the full blown VM environment that ran OS 9 executables called?

Classic, right? And it used.....Rosetta? Or, it appears that Rosetta was distinct and allowed running later Classic apps that used Carbon outside of Classic?

So Carbon was.....the remnant MacOS classic APIs that could be used in OS X so that earlier apps could be ported after VM or emulation support or whatever it was for Classic apps was retired?
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:21 PM on October 10, 2019


I'm just not persuaded that eliminating backwards compatibility is really justified. I understand MS and Apple have different incentives and cultures but the MS approach shows that a platform player can absorb the cost of maintaining that to the benefit of developers and users.

I mean historically Microsoft's approach also led to things being a real mess under the hood in some ways...

The thing about what Apple has been doing recently is I'm just not sure the upside of some of their changes is actually worth it.
posted by atoxyl at 3:24 PM on October 10, 2019


Will any of the existing third-party 32-bit bridge solutions work?

I currently use 32 Lives, which wraps 32-bit plugins in 64-bit translation layers, allowing sets to be loaded in a 64-bit host seamlessly. Alas, it depends on the OS having a 32-bit runtime, and the developers have no plans for making it work on Catalina.

Perhaps some third party will at some point create their own 32-bit binary loader/dynamic JIT recompiler/translation layer for Catalina, which may work. Though then there'd be the problem of plugins using Carbon APIs (for UIs or similar).

The only possible solution I could see would be Apple having a gigantic Microsoft/IBM-scale backward-compatibility team maintaining shims in perpetuity.
posted by acb at 3:27 PM on October 10, 2019


Free plaintext editor? I use BBEdit in free mode. After thirty days of access to all the paid stuff, it just drops down to the free version and leaves you alone.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:28 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


SublimeText is also pretty good.
posted by acb at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


ex/vi/vim has its place and I do use it when doing stuff at the command line, but I want an actual visual text editor that integrates into the test of the system in regards to copy paste and the like.
posted by tavella at 3:33 PM on October 10, 2019


Also, if you have virtualization software, you can theoretically set up a Mojave VM for emergency access to 32-bit stuff. Also, I recommend everyone download and run Go64 to get a good idea of just what they have on their system that uses 32-bit binaries.

Also, you know. You don’t have to run the update at all. Lots of professionals are known to maintain a habit of keeping their MacOS overall six or twelve months behind, to ensure maximum compatibility.

Having not been personally present for either of the previous Macintosh architecture changes (my first was a white plastic Intel MacBook), I’m rather interested to see how this all goes, especially given the all-but-announced ARM transition surely coming sooner than later.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:34 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


In general this problem is only going to get worse, and not just for Apple. Virtualization is going to have to become cheap/free/well-sandboxed because I guaran-damn-tee that should I live to be 100 someone out there is going to still be using an application written in the 20th century for a mission-critical purpose.
posted by tclark at 3:39 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


> Hm, Mac Office used to be three computers in the license and not it's just one. Well, I guess I'll have to just live without Office.

Pages, Numbers and Keynote are free to use and have been for a few years now. Device licenses don't matter for them any more.

> I recommend everyone download and run Go64 to get a good idea of just what they have on their system that uses 32-bit binaries.

You can get this info without installing a third-party application. Click the "System Report" button in the About This Mac pane, then click the "Legacy Software" tab under "Software".
posted by ardgedee at 3:39 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's not surprising - Apple have never, ever cared about backwards compatibility

I guess we can all have our own definition of what Apple “caring” for anything might mean, but “never ever”, really?

1) Dual-booting G3s & G4 Macs from OSX's introduction in 2000 up to 2004,

2) Classic for running OS9 apps under any pre-Leopard OSX (PPC Macs; Intel Macs – introduced in 2006 – can't run Classic),

3) Rosetta to run PPC code until support dropped in 2011 with OSX Lion.

I’m not an Apple apologist/fanboy but it seems to me they cared a little bit! As far as Catalina dropping 32-bit support, You can’t say you weren’t warned; who hasn’t seen those alerts warning about software needing to be updated because it won’t work with future OSX systems?

For anyone using music software, this is a huge headache.

It doesn't have to be – just don't update to Catalina! I know zero music pros that automatically update to a new OSX version as soon as it's released. I'll happily stick with Mojave as long as I need to. If all your music software is working for you, why would you want or need to update anyway? If you're hot to try the new features, set aside a new "container' on your hard drive (the newer APFS method of partitioning where you don't have to pick fixed partition sizes in advance), install Catalina & have fun, or use it as a test bed to make sure your present software runs ok with it.

On another note: the following terminal command is not mine but I'm thinking some in this thread might find it useful. It prints a text file to your desktop listing all the 32-bit apps on any hard drive connected to your Mac:

system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | grep -B 6 -A 2 "(Intel): No" > ~/Desktop/non64bit.txt
posted by keys at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2019 [27 favorites]


I'm not going to upgrade right away, mainly because I will have to start paying $600 a year for Adobe CC. But on the other hand, most of the stuff that is 32-bit on my computer right now is junk. If CC was a little less expensive, or if there were a $30/month PS/LR/ID/AI bundle, I wouldn't mind.
posted by snofoam at 3:49 PM on October 10, 2019


it was instantly using more power than anything else on my system -- the fan kicked on and I checked battery usage. That's ridiculous for a plain-text editor IMHO.

I don't know much about BBedit specifically, but a lot of things have some degree of startup processing that doesn't extend forever. indexing things for search is a big one. maybe that's what it was doing?
posted by flaterik at 3:52 PM on October 10, 2019


I'm just not persuaded that eliminating backwards compatibility is really justified.
Maintaining 32-bit compatibility means maintaining the 32-bit libraries, which adds cost and complexity. Apple's provided plenty of warning here. I've got no real patience with vendors who didn't get with the program years ago, because the writing has been on the wall for a LONG time (and not, as implied above, just since June).

And with all that, add this: you can just stay on Mojave, or even High Sierra (which got an update last month). HS supports hardware from 2009 or later. Ten years is a good support window.

And despite what people like to say, Apple has been very good about providing long runways for its transitions.

For example:
  • OS 9 style apps could run in the Classic Environment in versions of OS X up to Tiger (10.4), which was released in 2005, and supported for years after that (Tiger's last update was in 2007).
  • Rosetta was the layer that allows Intel-based Macs to run PowerPC apps. It shipped with Tiger initially, and was included through Snow Leopard / 10.6 two years later. Snow Leopard got updates until 2011.
re: TextWrangler
I'm supposed to switch to BBEdit. Bleah.
I know it's religion, but I kicked BBE to the curb a long time ago. Try TextMate, or take the plunge to vim or emacs if you're a crazy person.

However, even if you ARE some kind of crazy daredevil person for FUCKS SAKE don't take Catalina yet. Wait a few months. There's really no angle to being first into the breach on a major, disruptive update, especially if you have to, you know, do work.
posted by uberchet at 3:53 PM on October 10, 2019 [15 favorites]


I am so happy that with XQuartz I can still run all the X11 simulation software that I wrote as a graduate student. No idea how long it would take to rewrite all that stuff. Probably wouldn't happen. It would really be a pain if everything suffered from bit rot. I really don't understand this forced-obsolescence thing.
posted by brambleboy at 3:55 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


especially if you have to, you know, do work.

I absolutely agree with you, but amusingly I'm much more tempted to update my work machine than my personal one, which I won't until rekordbox is fixed.
posted by flaterik at 3:56 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


w0mbat, being whined at to buy a subscription every time I open it is going to drive me crazy, plus the moment I opened BBedit, it was instantly using more power than anything else on my system -- the fan kicked on and I checked battery usage.

BBEdit in free mode doesn't nag -- at most you'll get a couple notifications when your trial is about to expire, but that's it. The subscription license is because you downloaded it from the Mac App Store instead of directly from Barebones. Apple, stupidly, doesn't have a mechanism in the MAS that allows developers to offer upgrade pricing, instead forcing them to offer new versions at full price for all users or use a subscription based model.If you want a traditional, non-subscription license buy it direct from Barebones

Also I don't know what's going on with your Mac but I have a 2 MB postscript file open in BBEdit right now and its background CPU usage is sitting at 0%.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:56 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Textmate looks like it might do the trick! Thanks, uberchet.
posted by tavella at 4:03 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


For all the Adobe folks - check out the Affinity suite. It took me a little bit of time to get used to it but the learning curve isn't that steep and you can pick up all 3 applications for $150, permanent license.

+1 on TextMate. If your needs are a little higher than that, VS Code is pretty darn good.

However, I will not be upgrading to Catalina. I still use too many 32-bit apps and the new notarization BS just sounds annoying.

Was anyone else a Mac user back when Apple made the 32 bit transition? The Mode32 control panel? Haha.
posted by jwest at 4:10 PM on October 10, 2019 [9 favorites]


To be fair, others also suggested TextMate; it became the go-to for a lot of folks when BBEdit & BareBones annoyed them, as they were (and presumably remain) wont to do.

For me, it was absurdly hostile support that ultimately drove me away. I kinda felt like BB loyalists tended to be folks who'd always been Mac people, from back in the pre-OSX days. I came over in '99 or so, and used BBEdit (and Fetch and DragThing & etc & etc & etc) as taught by my Mac Mentors, but when OSX happened there were a lot of new players, and I didn't feel the tie to BareBones that some of my longer-term Mac pals did.
posted by uberchet at 4:13 PM on October 10, 2019


Every piece of software I've ever written for any Apple platform has been sunsetted by architecture changes. Except my iOS camera app Argent, which wasn't making enough sales to even justify the $130/year "sell it in the app store" fee.

Even when it's just an OS update, there's often some bullshit that needs to be updated when you push "recompile." It's really frustrating for developers. Having said that, the reason for the frustration is because object code depends on specific architecture things.

Moving away from distributing object code to the bitcode solution is really quite brilliant, and solves much of the problem. If only we'd had it 10 years ago.

I guess I'm much more of a user today than I was ten years ago. Software is just so fucking stupid anyhow. It hasn't gotten any better over the last 35 years. Fancier. But still the same tired paradigms.

My new watch sure is cool though.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:15 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


It doesn't have to be – just don't update to Catalina!

Were I not also an iOS developer, that may be sound advice.
posted by acb at 4:17 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Anyone have suggestions for a good plain text editor?

I like CotEditor. It's a bit old fashioned in that it thinks you want to have your files open in separate windows, which I rediscovered that I often do.
posted by fleacircus at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


I wonder if one can install Catalina on a separate partition, or use a macOS virtual machine in Parallels. That might allow using a newer OS without affecting the current, known-working setup.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2019


And apparently BBedit is subscription, bleah!

This is not the case. Purchased directly from Bare Bones, BBEdit 13 costs $50, once. Upgrading from the previous version is $30. The yearly subscription only applies if you buy it through the Mac App Store, which you do not have to do.
posted by Sokka shot first at 4:38 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


> I kinda felt like BB loyalists tended to be folks who'd always been Mac people, from back in the pre-OSX days.

For a long time, BBEdit was the best programming-oriented text editor on the Mac. Twenty years later the field's broadened so much that "best" can be a lot more subjective and contextual: Eclipse or IntelliJ for old-school or new-school Java development; Atom, bless its quirky damned soul, for being a web front-end dev's swiss-army knife; Textmate for its graceful learning curve; Coda, Xcode, emacs, vi...

I'd been a loyal user of BBEdit since the mid-90s, but a few years back I realized I wasn't using it any more so I stopped updating. And I feel a little bad about that because it is good software, but I can't justify paying for updates on something I don't use. Even the basic "I just need something to slop some words into right now" purpose I relied on BBEdit for has been taken over by Notes.app, since it provides the really wonderful bonus of making the words I've slopped nearly-instantly available on all my devices and, at my discretion, on my partner's as well.
posted by ardgedee at 4:43 PM on October 10, 2019


For all the Adobe folks - check out the Affinity suite

Unfortunately, for as good as the Affinity suite is and the good work they're doing to reach feature parity, printers and clients take Photoshop and Indesign files natively, and PDFs from non-Adobe products are only so good.

I hope Affinity gets network-effected into being taken seriously (because clearly Adobe needs the competition), but it's not there yet (at least for those who work in print).
posted by General Malaise at 4:54 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


> "You can get this info without installing a third-party application. Click the "System Report" button in the About This Mac pane, then click the "Legacy Software" tab under "Software"."
go64 gives you a bit more info which can be very useful helping you decide about some apps.

For example, I had a few (including, IIRC, FCP & Office 2016) which the legacy software list told me were 32 bit when I knew damned well they were 64 bit. go64 showed that it was just a single component (e.g. library or helper app buried in the appbundle), which in most cases was irrelevant.
posted by Pinback at 4:57 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Microsoft Silverlight is on the won't-work list. Isn't that necessary to stream Netflix? Are we headed toward Flixpocalypse?
posted by Beardman at 5:03 PM on October 10, 2019


Netflix moved to a completely HTML5-based solution ages ago. Silverlight has been dead and unused for years.
posted by GuyZero at 5:07 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Microsoft Silverlight is on the won't-work list. Isn't that necessary to stream Netflix? Are we headed toward Flixpocalypse?

Not for years. Yosemite circa 2014 was the first OS X that had a Safari version that could natively stream the HTML5 version of Netflix.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:07 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Beardman: Isn't that necessary to stream Netflix?

Netflix also works in any browser that supports HTML5 so you should be good.
posted by bluecore at 5:07 PM on October 10, 2019


You still have to use Silverlight if your CPU is of a certain age, I forget what. Or had to, maybe, it could be unsupported now.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:09 PM on October 10, 2019


Nth-ing the TextMate recommendation. Probably not a TextMate-exclusive feature, but multiple insertion points felt like a cheat code when I first encountered them.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 5:10 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Much to my amazement, Silverlight only died this year, but browsers killed support for it a while ago. Safari dropped it completely a year ago, in Safari 12. Chrome dropped support in Chrome 45, 4 years ago. Firefox 52 dropped support for it about 2.5 years ago. All the browsers dropped support for NSAPI style plugins as they're a security hole.

Technically Netflix does not work in any browser that supports HTML5 - the browser much also have a compatible EME provider for DRM, which yes, all the major browsers have, but if you went out and wrote your own browser it would not work with Netflix.
posted by GuyZero at 5:14 PM on October 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


OK cool. Although I still think a "Netflix-only Y2K" scenario would make a good Netflix limited series. Kiernan Shipka and KJ Apa just wanted to Netflix and chill, but when they opened their browser, all they got was the spinning wheel, and the next thing you know, everybody's "streaming"... into the streets with torches...
posted by Beardman at 5:29 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I came here to suggest CotEditor and fleacircus beat me to it. If you like tabs, you can easily tell it to always use them in the preferences. BBEdit was overkill for me but I'm used to UltraEdit at work and SciTE on Windows/Linux at home, and CotEditor was the least-friction compromise. Cmd-click gets you multiple insertion cursors, FWIW.

I'm currently trying to figure out what to use for NTFS (buy Tuxera or Paragon's driver I guess, since Toshiba shows no inclination to update their Tuxera version from 2016), and learning that Line 6 and Cubase/Steinberg (both owned by Yamaha) don't have good Catalina support and Line6 may never get it. Line 6's VST plugins appear to only be 32-bit, so I guess POD Farm is out of the picture. AmpKit maybe? That leaves Adobe Digital Editions 2/OverDrive as the casualty list.
posted by sysinfo at 5:31 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


So Carbon was.....the remnant MacOS classic APIs that could be used in OS X so that earlier apps could be ported after VM or emulation support or whatever it was for Classic apps was retired?

Pretty much, yes. The original release of OSX included two main sets of APIs - Cocoa (the fancy new one derived from NeXT code) and Carbon (based on MacOS Classic 8 and 9). Carbon was there to make it easier to port Classic apps to full-at-the-time OSX-nativeness.
posted by atoxyl at 5:38 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Photoshop is the reason we’re still using a Mac. When that won’t run anymore I guess it will be time to switch my wife over to using Linux. Guess we’ll save a lot of money on mouse and keyboard batteries and I’ll be able to upgrade internal drives again. Then Apple can suck it.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 5:41 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also I think someone already said but Carbon has been officially deprecated since 10.8. But it was still there until now.
posted by atoxyl at 5:43 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]




I'm not updating. My current mac can join my OTHER current mac, frozen in amber. That one is a 10.6.8 machine, and one (of many) reason it is, is because I refuse to spend umpty thousands of dollars replacing perfectly good software that still works for me that requires Rosetta because I bought it way back when I had a G4 machine.

I have yet to decide if I'm going to get another Mac, though. Apple has been accelerating towards solutions that I don't agree with for a number of years now, and that shows no signs of abating. I'm not sure if the alternatives are any better for things I do, but you can be damn sure that when some new piece of software comes up that I have to have, I'm going to evaluate a Windows or ChromeOS solution for it.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:55 PM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


for FUCKS SAKE don't take Catalina yet. Wait a few months. There's really no angle to being first into the breach on a major, disruptive update

"Never run version 1.0 of anything!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:57 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


I usually wait until the IT folks at work yell at me for not upgrading MacOS before I bother. There's almost never any new features that I actually care about and always the risk of breaking stuff.
posted by octothorpe at 6:21 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


FWIW I wasn't going to upgrade, planning to wait as usual until things settle down / the whining stops around the first or second point release. But after reading through the Catalina threads on Macrumors and elsewhere, it seemed that the complaints and whining were *mostly* baseless fear of change or doom-and-glooom what-if's.

So I upgraded my laptop (after checking app compatibility). All good, no showstoppers, works for me, with nothing more than a vague sense of loss for the remnants of the Dashboard.

I will have to investigate keeping Mojave around on the mini, probably through an APFS container or external drive dual-boot setup - it's got some old 32-bit-only games my partner plays, as well as some video/audio/radio/tech software I'll have to investigate further.
posted by Pinback at 6:24 PM on October 10, 2019


hope you guys are cultivating your scruffy beard, clipping on your suspenders, and practicing your smug expressions.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:25 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


Apple announced the 32 bit to 64 bit change at WWDC in June.
No, developers have had more than two years' warning.

In Jun 2017 Apple announced that High Sierra would be the last release to run 32-bit apps "without compromise", and stopped accepting new 32-bit apps for the Mac App Store in Jan of 2018.
posted by ArmandoAkimbo at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


My 2012 MBP still has a bootable Mountain Lion partition on its data drive (where the superdrive used to be) but I can't remember the last time I fired it up or why I kept it, aside from not trusting that DisplayLink drivers would be fixed in Sierra (but, hurrah, they finally were).
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:53 PM on October 10, 2019


OK, so can someone tell me how I can prevent my MacBook Air from needling me to update every day?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:07 PM on October 10, 2019


Probably you should not be expecting the latest iteration of an OS to run smoothly on 15-20-year-old equipment.

I'd like to point out that Windows 10 runs just fine on my 2004 vintage Prescott core PC. And it also runs fine on my ancient MacBook which Apple stopped supporting entirely years ago.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:31 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


All the OS updates of the past years have seemed to mostly make it play nicer with iPhones and iPads. Having no iPhone and only an old iPad, which can't do any of the kewl stuff, there's not really any reason for me to upgrade.
posted by signal at 7:32 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


> 30 year old DOS problems

This makes me giggle.


This made my living.
posted by srboisvert at 7:38 PM on October 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


The big change is that Carbon is gone. Carbon is the layer that let Mac developers pretend they were running on an old pre Mac OS X system with the old APIs. It was only ever meant to be a stop-gap to give developers time to port everything to Cocoa. I know I have not written a line of code that uses Carbon since about 2004, so I'd say people have had a lot of time to make the change.

Notably, Wolfram Software (makers of Mathematica) didn't release a Cocoa version of their front end until about six months ago with Mathematica 12.0. So some users are now finding that their very expensive software purchased less than a year ago no longer works.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:39 PM on October 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


A few of the games I have in Steam are listed as 32-bit and will probably never be updated. But more importantly, Steam is also 32-bit.

Apparently the latest update finally fixes this but wow, cutting it a bit close there Valve.

I am going to miss Neko so much. I will also be sad to see Atlantis vanish, it's not like I log into mu*s any more but I have so many characters in there and soooo many triggers that I really don't wanna try to recreate in... I dunno, Trebuchet or something?

Also I guess this is going to kill a little command line utility I use in a script to rotate my screen and Wacom tablet to portrait mode and back in one keystroke instead of fiddling with multiple prefs panes. The source is out there and I guess I could try recompiling it.

I'm gonna be waiting for at least the .1 update, to be honest.
posted by egypturnash at 7:54 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]



can someone tell me how I can prevent my MacBook Air from needling me to update every day?

at boot (/etc/rc.local or similar)
launchctl remove com.apple.softwareupdate_notify_agent
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:02 PM on October 10, 2019 [8 favorites]


>>It doesn't have to be – just don't update to Catalina!

>>Were I not also an iOS developer, that may be sound advice.

Not being a dev I'll take your word for it but I'm wondering how it is that you'd need to update right away – does some iOS development tool suddenly stop working in Mojave, or won't let you write for the latest iOS unless you are working in Catalina?

Also, why blame only Apple when it's the music sw companies telling you not to upgrade? I assume they've been aware of the transition to 64-bit-only for a while.
posted by keys at 8:35 PM on October 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


A few of the games I have in Steam are listed as 32-bit and will probably never be updated. But more importantly, Steam is also 32-bit.

Apparently the latest update finally fixes this but wow, cutting it a bit close there Valve.


Does Steam still not work if the file system is case-sensitive?
posted by Merus at 9:21 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I use PHPStorm most days but I keep upgrading BBEdit because it's got a nice way to generate shells of HTML tables.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:25 PM on October 10, 2019


I have various minor 32-bit apps floating around that I occasionally use. I don't really care whether Apple has been upfront with developers or frankly anything about who is to blame, none of that changes the fact that I have a lot of things that would break with an upgrade, or require repurchasing, work-arounds, researching alternative apps, and a lot of related hassle and time that I don't have. Increasingly I see no reason to ever upgrade apart from buying new hardware. Most new software will work fine with my older OS for some time to come, but the reverse is not true, so it seems like I'm much better off with an old OS and new software than a new OS and losing all my old software. Updating is a huge hassle and I honestly no longer see why it needs to happen more often than every four or five years. It's not like they're adding anything particularly interesting any more, and I say this as someone who does lots of reasonably high-end computer work, loves technology and gadgets, and has read MacRumors for nearly 20 years. Saving dozens of hours of my time a year is worth way more than Dark Mode or whatever gimmick Apple has introduced this year.
posted by chortly at 9:30 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


I run 10.6.8 in a Parallels VM because I'm too lazy to do a ground-up rewrite of the FileMaker Pro database that our business relies on. Runs faster on the newer machine than it did natively.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:26 PM on October 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


10.6.8 was a high-water mark for Mac OS, the same way that OS 9 and System 6 were. I wonder which iteration of the current post-cat series will reach that same high plateau of rightness.
posted by migurski at 10:35 PM on October 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


How long ds we suppose one can keep from upgrading to Catalina? For any practical purpose.
posted by paladin at 1:01 AM on October 11, 2019


How long ds we suppose one can keep from upgrading to Catalina? For any practical purpose.

If you don't particularly care about things like security updates, probably for as long as your hardware survives (possible exceptions exist depending on your specific application software needs). If Apple moves Macs over to ARM, then the day will come when browser vendors etc. will stop producing new Intel binaries for the Mac. But that's a long way off.
posted by jklaiho at 1:09 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


"I’m willing to pay for convenience, but that’s not what Apple is selling."

Not everyone's definitions and scales of convenience align

It's not like I don't spend most days with a shell to a linux server open

But if I never have to configure a window server again it'll be too soon
posted by flaterik at 1:33 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


I joined the public beta around version 3 or so, and installed that on my personal Mac, a 2013 MacBook Pro. At work, they needed some guinea pigs to help test Catalina, so I joined the pilot program there and have been running Catalina for over a month with no issues.

When I upgraded my personal laptop the only two apps left that hadn’t been updated to 64-bit were tiny apps from Clavia, a Swedish company that makes expensive red keyboards. My Nord keyboard is configured just how I like it, so I hadn’t needed to use the sound manager software in over a year. Still, I nudged Clavia about their incompatible software and asked what their plans were. It was partly thanks to me that they even bothered to mention anything about potential incompatibility on their software downloads page.

They eventually asked me to test a beta version of their Sound Manager, which finally runs on Catalina. So saying, Catalina has officially been released, and their official software still doesn’t run. I’m hoping that their interpretation of Apple dropping support for 32-bit apps doesn’t mean Apple dropping support for Mojave, the last OS that can run 32-bit apps. Based on history, Mojave should continue to get security updates and such for another couple years.

I feel bad for any aspiring musicians or producers or engineers who buy a new Mac (with Catalina preinstalled) and a new red keyboard and realize that the software doesn’t work with that OS.
posted by emelenjr at 3:10 AM on October 11, 2019


Turbotax Deluxe 2012 onward shows as 64-bit. Older TurboTax apps are categorized on my system information as not being 64-bit. I presume that means they are 32-bit?

Do I need to go through years and years of old tax returns on the 32-bit apps and make sure I somehow print (either to PDF or hard copy or whatever the software allows) them all?

What practical effect does this change have on a normal non-developer user? Reading all this doesn't help me figure out what mitigation I should do before upgrading.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:38 AM on October 11, 2019


Do I need to go through years and years of old tax returns on the 32-bit apps and make sure I somehow print (either to PDF or hard copy or whatever the software allows) them all?

You should do this anyway. A proprietary application is not suitable as an archive format.
posted by thelonius at 3:58 AM on October 11, 2019 [8 favorites]


If you ever read Soul Of A New Machine, you'll know the backwards-compatibility problem - in fhat case, even the same architectural word-length switch that's at the heart of this thread - has been with us forever. Evolution always brings cruft. (I have a condition that's a result of a bad decision evolution made in, aptly, the Devonian period. Bad ideas have consequences.)

One of my early programming jobs in around 1986 was writing MS-DOS TSR networking code. MS-DOS back then had the same file handling paradigm as used today - you open a file by name, you get passed a handle to that file, and you use that handle to reference read, writes and so on. But it also had FCBs, File Control Blocks, a completely separate system where the app had to maintain a data structure that described aspects of the file state. These were nightmarish in a system where, suddenly, you could have multiple processes looking at the same file. They were horrible to simulate where you could have mixed handle and FCB access to the same file. Just yuck.

A massive pain to get right. A waste of time. Why did DOS have FCBs? Because DOS 1.0 was at heart a rip-off of CP/M and had taken FCBs for compatibility reasons, to make it easier for CP/M software - which was 8-bit code from a pre-PC era - to be ported across. Handles came with subdirectories shortly afterwards, but FCBs didn't die until FAT32, aka Windows 95. At which point Wordstar stopped working. People got annoyed. Boo hoo.


Things breaking are an inevitable cost of change. Windows and Mac and Linux and iOS and Android all deal with it in different ways due to their different niches - Windows/MS has a huge corporate base, for example, which considerably influences the company's attitude to breaking things. But that attitude is also the one that leaves large organisations keeping incredibly old and unfit systems alive, the sort of stories we all laugh about when they're not affecting us.

But you need to break things that are already broken. The word 'security' occurs just three times in this 100+ post thread so far, but it's absolutely central to the idea you need to ditch legacy stuff. If you're carrying 20+ year old code around in your live system, that's stuff that was written in a different age, isn't going to be maintained to current security standards and is going to be a problem. You want it out of your OS, you want it out of your applications.

And the more old stuff you carry around, the more complex your system is and the harder it is to test, the greater the number of interactions are between components, and the larger the problem space is you have to traverse when things go wrong.

There are options - there are always options. You can keep running an old system for as long as the hardware keeps going, mod the ability to connect it to live systems. You can virtualise - I can run LEO software from the 1950s if I like on my quad-core I7. You can build compatibility shims. You can run a mix of all of the above; all computers can run all code, that's one of the rules of the game. But there will be trade-offs, there will be costs, there will be times when you cannot practically carry on doing what you were doing because the overheads are stupid. (I had to EOL my father's Microsoft Works habit a couple of years ago, because I was no longer prepared to go through the pain of supporting the thing on new hardware; if I had been a company with a big enough wallet and a big enough need, I could have hired someone to carry on doing it.)

What you cannot do is expect to have things run the same way forever, for free. I know being forced into a subscription model when you've already paid for perfectly good software feels massively wrong, but in the physical world things wear out and you have to buy new ones, so what is the equivalent business model in the virtual world, once you've produced a tool that works perfectly well and will never break? Where does your cash flow come from?

This is real life in the digital world, and frankly we get superserved in so many ways that kvetching about it is self-indulgence in a grand scale.

TL;DR - suck it up.
posted by Devonian at 4:02 AM on October 11, 2019 [27 favorites]


How long ds we suppose one can keep from upgrading to Catalina? For any practical purpose.

Well...I'm still running 10.9.5 because I'm frozen at CS5, and Illustrator CS5 apparently starts to get a little wobbly in 10.10 (whatever that's called), so here I'll stay. I refuse to pay Adobe a monthly tithe.

So, realistically, you can stay off Catalina for pretty much ever.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Eventually hardware will die (presumably you can't keep patching up an old MacBook as if it were a Buick in Havana), and new hardware won't run Mojave, so there's a limit.
posted by acb at 4:57 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Forget vim! What you really need is NeoVim —a drop-in, plugin-compatible rewrite of vim that gets existing vim users up and running fast while having a cleaner, smaller code-base and fewer bugs.

In conjunction with iTerm2 (which replaces the piss-poor macOS terminal app) it gives you a bunch of useful stuff including (if set up correctly) cut'n'paste and drag'n'drop with the main OS, the ability to resize and reflow windows the way a GUI editor would, and a bunch of happy fun extras.

(Note: advice probably inappropriate for non-vi users. I'm a traditionalist; one of my first jobs as a tech author was writing a vi tutorial, back in 1991.)
posted by cstross at 5:05 AM on October 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


> iTerm2 (which replaces the piss-poor macOS terminal app) it gives you a bunch of useful stuff including (if set up correctly) cut'n'paste and drag'n'drop with the main OS

I often don't get the hate-on people have for the native Terminal app, though I'm willing to give it a pass because I don't lean on Terminal as hard as many people do, and people who use shell environments all day get awfully zealous about them.

But Terminal's always supported copy, cut, paste, and drag-and-drop with the standard key commands and cursor behaviors. Text selection behaviors with the mouse used to be erratic as hell but it's been pretty reliable for a few years now. Certain shell applications will still not deal well when you try cutting text, but I'm not sure that's Terminal's fault, since it's imposing a paradigm that the command-line isn't designed for.
posted by ardgedee at 5:59 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


> OK, so can someone tell me how I can prevent my MacBook Air from needling me to update every day?

> launchctl remove com.apple.softwareupdate_notify_agent

This is a lot more straightforwardly handled through System Preferences: Software Update / "Advanced..." button, and uncheck everything. Managing through the command line is kinda the back-channel approach and is predicated on you understanding what you're doing and knowing how to undo them later when they start causing unintended consequences.
posted by ardgedee at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's also less than generous to education and non-profits that often have to make that old program/piece of equipment work because there's no room in the budget for a new one.

I help out with a non-profit that was finally able to get rid of it's 1993 DOS-based accounting software this year. That's an extreme example. But apart from prohibitive hardware and software costs, there are often also concerns about retraining costs.
posted by Kabanos at 6:14 AM on October 11, 2019


That one is a 10.6.8 machine, and one (of many) reason it is, is because I refuse to spend umpty thousands of dollars replacing perfectly good software that still works for me that requires Rosetta because I bought it way back when I had a G4 machine.
I would gently suggest that this may be taking things a bit far.

I mean, sure, keep doing that until the hardware fails. But then you're kind of screwed. It's entirely possible your migration path out of the PowerPC tools you're using has been, or will soon be, *also* sunsetted, so if I were you I'd be looking into how to make the move well in advance of a forcing event.

I have seen, in my career, a LOT of people get seriously caught out on this problem. A friend and client, for example, used an old school Mac until it was absolutely not viable anymore, and then bought a very fancy iMac. Trouble was, Office had moved on and the new version couldn't open his ancient documents. That cost him a bunch of money and time in conversion software that he wouldn't have had to spend if he'd stayed even a little bit more current.

(Also, 1adam12, I'd be VERY surprised to see anything resembling acceptable performance from Win10 on a 2004 computer. But even if it does, it's because MSFT has been absurdly pathological about backward compatibility, to the detriment of the platform. That's a whole lot of utter shit happening in a Windows system that's down to needing to work with hardware or software choices made in the goddamn Clinton administration, so if the cost of avoiding that cruft is my hardware only lasting 10 or so years, SIGN ME UP.)

Devonian NAILS IT.
But that attitude is also the one that leaves large organisations keeping incredibly old and unfit systems alive
It also allows corporate installations to retain absurdly behind-the-times desktops, which we're running into right now with a customer whose name you'd know. They still have 32-bit 4-gigabyte desktops. The task they want to do, and which our software enables, is very memory-intense. They keep running out of RAM, predictably. Their IT keeps telling them 4GB should be plenty. LOL.

(CStross (wait, THAT Stross?), can you say more about what you hate about the built-in terminal? I do SOME terminal things, and have never felt the need to ditch it in favor of iTerm -- but I'm super curious about what I'm missing.)
posted by uberchet at 6:22 AM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm super curious about what I'm missing.

I'm not a world famous SF author, yet, but take a look at this.
posted by signal at 7:13 AM on October 11, 2019


There is a long thread firing up on the audiophile Steve Hoffman forum. It seems that Catalina is messing up the music files for folks with large iTunes libraries. Keep in mind, these users are extremely fussy individuals with ginormous music libraries.

I'm a PC user who keeps iTunes around for use with our iDevices. I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns.
posted by Ber at 7:17 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Where does your cash flow come from?

Adobe seemed to be making loads of cash money before they went all in on the subscription. I'm not sure they were ever hurting. A better question to ask is: how quickly does your cash flow out when subscriptions are the new default business plan. I can see how developers would love that constant money flow, but it's incredibly hostile to users. Not really something to cheer on.

Anyways, Catalina makes me happy I left the Mac behind ages ago. Perhaps I'm losing out on something by having an OS that can run not only my latest stuff, but also CS6 and games from 1999. But Windows 10, as annoying as it is sometimes, is basically feature equivalent to what Apple does. And I don't have to plan for any substantial upheavals in the near future.

TL;DR - suck it up.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm so fucking sick of this being the default attitude when users have reasonable complaints about what they're losing. Really sick of it. Yes, sometimes changes are necessary. Sometimes breaking stuff is necessary. But it really shows a disconnect between how end users view their machines and how developers do. End users would just like to get their shit done. The OS, and all the associated crap, is just means to an end. It's insanely rude and unempathetic being told to "suck it up" when they're losing access to certain software or have to relearn a process that, in the end, is producing the same output as before. Their frustration is understandable and I wish developers weren't so blind to that.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:20 AM on October 11, 2019 [23 favorites]


uberchat: Terminal only acquired tabs in the past year or so; iTerm2 has had them for ages, and a bunch of other features. (You might want to look at the iTerm2 website for a run-down.) Indeed, it more or less does away with the need for a terminal multiplexer like tmux or byobu. Hatred is over-egging the pudding, but iTerm2 is free—what's not to like about a free upgrade?
posted by cstross at 7:57 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


iTerm2 (which replaces the piss-poor macOS terminal app)

I use iTerm2 for work and love it, but this is still my favorite replacement for Terminal.app.
posted by hanov3r at 8:17 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's also a cross-platform equivalent named cool-retro-term.
posted by acb at 8:24 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm running a 10 year old power mac with 15 year old adobe cs software. Someone's having problems with the new apple os? There's a new apple os? Does president Bush know about this? What about Steve Jobs? Right, gotta get back in my time bubble. Have fun kids.
posted by evilDoug at 8:25 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


And then if you happen to live in a country the US develops a hate on for your product stops working. Hope you can switch in the next couple weeks.

in the physical world things wear out and you have to buy new ones,

They don't have too. Most of the tools in my woodworking shop are older than I am. Their first owners died before they needed replacing; I expect to never have to replace any of them (though I'm considering replacing my uni-saw with a saw-stop; which will then outlive me). That's an extreme case and there is some surviourship bias too.

But more on point I can go out and buy a new table saw today that is system identical to my 50 year old saw. My dust collector, all my jigs, every thing associated with my old saw will work with my new saw. Delta hasn't introduced a new proprietary mitre slot profile so that I have to buy a new Delta compatible tenoning jig or a proprietary plug so that I have to put in a proprietary receptacle. Delta hasn't conspired with saw mills to make some species of wood only cutable with Delta saws.

I'm really glad that the 15 year app I use regularly (AutoCAD) still installs on modern windows machines. I'm also glad that even the latest version of AutoCAD can open my 25 year old files. I really feel for people whose feature complete tool (say CS6) is obsoleted. AutoCAD has a crazy steep learning curve and it would take me years to switch to a new software and it would be a huge hit to my productivity the whole time. Honestly I'm not sure I could ever be as proficient with a different product; I just don't have the time to spend learning it that I did when I picked up AutoCAD. If Microsoft didn't maintain compatibility I'd have a WinXP box hanging around and a stack of spares just to maintain my work flow. (well, actually I'd probably be running it in a VM; I imagine new machines have enough horsepower to manage that decently despite the heavy demands of the software)
posted by Mitheral at 8:37 AM on October 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


Sure, but on the other hand your table saw doesn't talk to the Internet. It doesn't cut wood 1000 times faster than it did a decade ago. It can't store a million times more lumber than it used to and find a specific piece within a millisecond. It's the same old saw more or less since electricity was introduced. Although yeah, that saw-stop sounds like a pretty nice innovation.

Computer stuff goes obsolete so fast because it's developing so fast. Devonian is absolutely right. You can preserve a system in amber and keep using it until the capacitors blow up, like evilDoug. At least until you want to network it with another computer.

This unrelenting change is why I'm a big fan of simple open data formats. I was genuinely surprised by uberchet's story about needing third party software to open old Office documents. That's the kind of thing Microsoft usually does right. And it really should do right. You may not be able to run old software, but you should be able to access old data. Even that is hard.
posted by Nelson at 8:42 AM on October 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


Look, I get the pain, I really do. I'm hurting right now because the BBC has retired iPlayer Radio for BBC Sounds and done a really bad job of it. The reasons the BBC did this are fine and understandable, the way they did it is not.

Likewise I'm not going to defend Adobe's pricing policies. Never have, it's a greedy company which abuses its market position.

Transition is inevitable. Plan for it. Price it in. There are certainly many sins perpetrated when companies retire old platforms or botch an update - as it is written, never be the first to use the new version - and it looks like Catalina may be causing problems. But retiring Carbon (!) after plenty of general, then specific, warnings? That's not a sin.

If you're in an organisation - educational, not-for-profit, what have you - where you can't afford to update your systems or retrain your people, you do not have enough money to do your job. It's like not having the money to pay the utilities, or the rent, or the insurance, or the maintenance on your car. The fact that you can get by for a while without insurance or checking your brakes does not mean you should.

There are plenty of things that hurt when stuff reaches the end of its life. There are plenty of those that are unreasonable because the people driving the end of life process are doing it wrong, and it is fine and necessary to point this out and demand better.

But to expect or demand immortality is as wrong and as damaging in software as it is in life.

Computing is not created by gods, nor is there a heaven for it, and living by prayer does not a strategy make.
posted by Devonian at 9:17 AM on October 11, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think Apple has been pretty good about warning about this, with all the "this won't work in the future" popups. I don't hate them for what they're doing, but they're going in a direction I'm not, so once my 2014 MacBook Pro dies, I'll be done with Apple. About the only thing I'd miss in Windows is the control-scroll zoom function, and I'm sure there's a workaround for that.
posted by netowl at 9:47 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


> Office had moved on and the new version couldn't open his ancient documents.

That sounds odd, because I've witnessed MS Office opening 25 year old Office files, and should be able to open any Office file ever. Was the problem maybe that the disk was formatted HFS or even pre-HFS?
posted by ardgedee at 9:50 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is your regular scheduled reminder that not all computing stacks mandate obsolescence. In particular, IBM will happily sell you a Z-series mainframe that will run the applications your grandparents wrote for System/360 back in the late 60s. It'll cost you an arm and a leg and those legacy apps won't make full use of the more modern features of the mainframe (like ridiculous address space, stupendous i/o bandwidth, and so on) but guess what? That mainframe will also run more modern OSs, at the same time, as virtual machines on the same hardware.

The 360/370 series architecture is pushing 50 years old and x86_64 has roots going back nearly as far (40+ years) so there is no excuse for this shit.

At a minimum Apple could provide containerized builds of Mojave and Snow Leopard to run as VM guests under Catalina. But no: Apple's time frame for support is roughly 5 years to "vintage" status and 10 years to "I've never heard of that; did IBM build it?" ... Which is admittedly better than your typical Android phone, which has a support life shorter than an unrefrigerated yoghurt in a heat wave, but even so.
posted by cstross at 9:50 AM on October 11, 2019 [13 favorites]


I often don't get the hate-on people have for the native Terminal app

Sometimes it's really simple but annoying things. Native Terminal app will pollute your window and tab titles with whatever useless garbage the remote shell is exporting via PROMPT_COMMAND escape sequences to try to be helpful. So instead of being able to see titles you set up, like [Vagrant][branch-4.2][Kub master] etc., you'll eventually just see a forest of [user@serv...][user2@blah...][bash] etc. Terminal provides no way to ignore those. (Workaround: edit bashrc/profile in every server you might log into (and in testing, every time you deploy a new instance of the same container/VM). No thanks.)

iTerm2 blocks that crap and that alone made it worth the switch.

(end rant)
posted by kurumi at 9:52 AM on October 11, 2019


> Native Terminal app will pollute your window and tab titles with whatever useless garbage the remote shell is exporting via PROMPT_COMMAND escape sequences to try to be helpful.

The Terminal preferences allow you to control display of the tab title and lets you enable/disable display of active processes in the tab title. Preferences / Profiles / [your theme] / Window and Tab tabs.
posted by ardgedee at 10:00 AM on October 11, 2019


Terminal only acquired tabs in the past year or so

This is not true - I haven't found when it gained them, but googling around revealed a blog post from 2012 talking about tabs in Terminal.app. There may have been a time when iTerm2 had them and Terminal did not, but it wasn't recently.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:03 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is really a consequence of walled-garden IP. The obsolescence is anti consumer and anti competitive. It's also anti Church-Turing thesis, which is the most galling reason of all.

It's amazing that people just accept this normalized control and domination of software systems by corporate interests.
posted by polymodus at 10:04 AM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


At a minimum Apple could provide containerized builds of Mojave and Snow Leopard to run as VM guests under Catalina.

Treat it as a virtual machine. At the very minimum, you have a VirtualBox VM that virtualises hardware and maps block storage to a huge file on the local disk. Improved approaches for compatibility and usability would include tightly bound VMs like the old Classic mode: you get a 32-bit binary loader, and a well-preserved Carbon API compatibility layer, on the other side of a narrow interface which maps it to the modern OS. The APIs are kept at 10.14.x, which is what it reports to the 32-bit code running on this, and the interface to the modern OS is sufficiently narrow (i.e., for the UI, there is old 10.14 code which does all the drawing and key/pointer handling, and all that gets sent over to/from the present-day side of the wall is pixels and input events) that it won't require constant patching to keep it up to date with the latest and greatest (though it also looks like the old OS it is, which it is).

(Didn't OS/2 do something similar with its Windows 3.x compatibility?)
posted by acb at 10:37 AM on October 11, 2019


We're dealing with this right now in the Library world since Overdrive for Mac doesn't work with Catalina. Except, they stopped supporting Macs completely.

We had a lot of angry patrons, which led to a lot of angry librarians, and then Overdrive changed their course, sort of:
When we decided to end support for OverDrive for Mac, we failed to appropriately gauge the number of users that would be impacted and how. We are sorry for this mistake and the inconvenience it caused for your patrons and staff.

As a result, we are working as quickly as possible to restore the download option for MP3 audiobooks to users running macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave)....Users who upgrade to the newest macOS Catalina will not be able to download and transfer MP3 audiobooks from OverDrive. Those users can listen to audiobooks in their browser, or depending on their device compatibility, install the OverDrive or Libby app (for public libraries) or the Sora app (for schools) directly on their device to listen to audiobooks.

Again, we sincerely apologize for this disruption of service to your Mac desktop patrons. We can and will do better and are committed to providing the best experience for your patrons across platforms.
posted by zakur at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Question for the savvier shell users:

Will the switch from bash to zsh have any practical effect on beginner-intermediate terminal users? Am i likely to even notice?
posted by Evstar at 11:30 AM on October 11, 2019


I'd say "unlikely", near as I know the main friction points moving from one to the other are a bit advanced/arcane. Good news, you get access to package deals like OhMyZSH & Prezto (between the two I prefer Prezto, but it's been a bit since I compared the two so it's worth trying them out and seeing what feels nice to you)

This looks like a pretty good summary of differences, more than I've run into or would want to replicate here
posted by CrystalDave at 11:42 AM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


There has been arguing about 32-bit support in Ubuntu Linux for years now. They dropped support for 32-bit Ubuntu last year, and it sounds like it's only gamers and WINE users (heavily but not completely overlapping groups) that are keeping them from dropping (official support for) 32-bit libraries on 64-bit Ubuntu too.
The word 'security' occurs just three times in this 100+ post thread so far, but it's absolutely central to the idea you need to ditch legacy stuff.
It sounds like this is what has the Ubuntu maintainers antsy too. Their current long-term goal is to push all the legacy stuff into containers, allowing people to run old programs indefinitely, but only in sandboxes that can limit the potential damage from old security holes.
posted by roystgnr at 12:05 PM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Evstar: "Question for the savvier shell users:

Will the switch from bash to zsh have any practical effect on beginner-intermediate terminal users? Am i likely to even notice?
"

The link CrystalDave posted was my question on the same subject, first posted answer is remarkably complete.

tl;dr version: not a problem so far, the upgrade will suggest you switch to zsh but doesn't force it, and after importing my .bash_history and copying .profile tweaks over to .zshrc it works for me.

Nothing critical broke for me. Except CS6, but I've been looking for an excuse to try Affinity anyway.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:22 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Will the switch from bash to zsh have any practical effect on beginner-intermediate terminal users? Am i likely to even notice?

bash and zsh both derive from the bourne shell, so they're compatible in most respects. zsh offers more advanced fiddly bits, but if you're not poking at the fiddly bits of bash, that's not any more likely to come up while using zsh.

That said, if you're thinking about switching shells, I highly recommend trying fish (wiki). The difference in philosophy is that fish has the fancy features configured by default, rather than making you go out of your way to enable and configure them like bash and zsh do.

The major tradeoff is that fish is not syntax-compatible with Bourne shells like bash and zsh. They did this in order to reform the syntax to be more regular and easy to remember and work with. The practical effect is that if you find a one liner online that uses shell features like variables or command substitution, you'll need to either covert it or switch into bash real quick.

If you have a complicated .profile file, or otherwise already dedicated a lot of time into configuring bash just the way you like it, then that may be more of a pain point for you.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Office had moved on and the new version couldn't open his ancient documents.

Or as we call it The Curious Case of the COM Containers (that's probably not right, but is pleasingly alliterative). MS Office for a good chunk of the 90s/2000s strongly encouraged the use of embedded 3-rd party blorbs into office files. When you try to open those files with components that never migrated from windows 98 to W10, there can be a lot of problems, up to and including not even being able to open them. For the few hundred of those we have (old scientific ms with wiredo graphic formats), we've actually looked at getting a data recovery company to try and figure it out. They wanted about $3000 per file and gave to guarantee of success.

In the end, we opted to scan and OCR the paper copies of the proceedings. Even with human redits, it was an order of magnitude or less expensive per paper to do it that way than to try to figure out how to open the older data formats created with 20 year old software.
posted by bonehead at 12:31 PM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm so fucking sick of this being the default attitude when users have reasonable complaints about what they're losing
The point is that a minority of the complaints are "reasonable." Insisting that Apple keep 32-bit support in the OS forever isn't reasonable. It's been a long time coming, and the hassle at this point is mostly down to vendors fucking up, not Apple.

(Yes, I'm implicitly stating that "I love this 32-bit app and there's no 64-bit version and want to keep using it on Catalina!" is unreasonable. Honestly, I think it's unreasonable regardless of platform -- and people make the same arguments for, say, 32-bit support in Ubuntu.)
That sounds odd, because I've witnessed MS Office opening 25 year old Office files, and should be able to open any Office file ever. Was the problem maybe that the disk was formatted HFS or even pre-HFS?
That wasn't the problem. Diving in there -- it was complicated -- is beyond the scope of this thread, but trust me when I say I dug deep and found him the best path forward.
At a minimum Apple could provide containerized builds of Mojave and Snow Leopard to run as VM guests under Catalina.
But why? IBM supports 360 now because it makes money. Apple didn't get where they are by doing shit that doesn't have a financial upside, and the counterexample provide by the "backward compatible but fragile and bloated" from Redmond isn't super convincing.
This is really a consequence of walled-garden IP. The obsolescence is anti consumer and anti competitive.
LOLNO. As has been noted elsewhere, literally the same arguments are taking place in Linux distribution management groups, presumably free of whatever walled-garden IP situation you imagine plagues OS X.
posted by uberchet at 12:36 PM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ubuntu was never serious about its "LTS" builds, par for the course.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:42 PM on October 11, 2019


Huh what? I don't think anyone is taking away 32 it compatibility from existing Ubuntu LTS releases.
posted by Nelson at 12:45 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Terminal only acquired tabs in the past year or so

The Terminal application has grown up, proudly sprouting tabs, window groups, and saved window styles - John Siracusa, OSX Leopard review 2007
posted by Lanark at 1:11 PM on October 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


As has been noted elsewhere, literally the same arguments are taking place in Linux distribution management groups, presumably free of whatever walled-garden IP situation you imagine plagues OS X.

LOL YES. That's cause "distribution management groups" (a euphemism for something) are copying the whole model. OSS is not automatically exempt. And seriously, Alan Turing is rolling over in his grave because of some of these choices.
posted by polymodus at 1:36 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


To be fair, translation or simulation (or emulation as they prefer to say in industry) has polynomial runtime overhead which means this may not be efficient for mobile devices. But for desktops and laptops, with so much unused silicon even as Moore's law has flattened over the last decade, the idea that new hardware cannot handle old software is a socially biased decision, not a physical/computational/engineering one.
posted by polymodus at 1:48 PM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


The point is that a minority of the complaints are "reasonable." Insisting that Apple keep 32-bit support in the OS forever isn't reasonable. It's been a long time coming, and the hassle at this point is mostly down to vendors fucking up, not Apple.

(Yes, I'm implicitly stating that "I love this 32-bit app and there's no 64-bit version and want to keep using it on Catalina!" is unreasonable. Honestly, I think it's unreasonable regardless of platform -- and people make the same arguments for, say, 32-bit support in Ubuntu.)


Why, exactly, is it unreasonable? Note that Microsoft, with their Core OS initiative, is taking the same tack that IBM has - modularizing the Win32 runtime into a sandboxable component that can be enabled when needed for reverse compatibility - so maintaining the capability is reasonable with the will in place.

Choosing to end 32 bit support is exactly that - a choice. And given the number of Apple users disrupted by this choice, I do hope Apple has a better answer than "unreasonability".
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


What we need is something like DOSBox, that like, freezes the old 32-bit Carbon based architecture, so old apps will run forever, maybe it could be called Carbonite.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:52 PM on October 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


The 32 bit cocoa API no longer sparked joy so they threw it out. Their engineers l could solve the problem another was pointed out above; but ultimately Apple’s culture is setup to see these old things as needless complex garbage that muck up their otherwise clean and beautiful design. So they killed it.
posted by interogative mood at 2:56 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Huh what? I don't think anyone is taking away 32 it compatibility from existing Ubuntu LTS releases.

I just meant that not taking pains to carry 32 bit compat forward is what I'd expect in Ubuntuland. In my experience "LTS" releases don't receive actual ongoing support to patch bugs and help keep them in production; important fixes aren't backported like they would need to be if Ubuntu really wanted companies to rely on being able to keep an LTS box in place for a long time with no major upgrades and use it instead of CentOS or whatever.

So it's in character for a company and community that hasn't seemed enthusiastic about devoting resources to keeping old anything going, which is fine, there are better choices for that.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:14 PM on October 11, 2019


Ah, I suspect that “terminal only got tabs in the past year or so” is probably actually in reference to the Windows terminal, which did in fact only get tabs earlier this year
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:32 PM on October 11, 2019


Long time Mac owner here.

I will lose one or two programs, which is mildly inconvenient.

I can't find much sympathy for those complaining about something Apple have been clearly preparing for and warning us about for many years. Nobody can act surprised.

Plus there is the option to simply not upgrade to Catalina at this point.* Apple usually provide support (most critically the security updates) for the previous 2 generations of OS (which would now be High Sierra and Mojave), so you don't have to switch to Catalina for at least another 2 years or so. I am still on Sierra, and will only move up when Apple stop doing security updates for it.

* At least for existing hardware. It may not be an option for future hardware updates, which may require Catalina.
posted by Pouteria at 4:27 PM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


There's an assumption here that the only reason vendors haven't updated their software to support 64-bit is that they're lazy. Here's a list, off the top of my head, of other reasons:
  • The vendor went bankrupt
  • The vendor was a one-man operation, and has left the industry
  • The vendor lost the source code and only has the compilation
  • The vendor is a games company, and thus will have to spend a lot of money for no additional sales (this one is also why, of the Top 50 games of the first five years of iPhone, about three still work)
  • The vendor no longer supports Macs
The actual difficult question here (to boil it down) is what happens when someone stops supporting code, and no-one's interested in picking up that support. Should the end users be shit out of luck, when they neither paid, nor had an expectation for, ongoing support? There's quite a few people complaining bitterly in this thread about having to pay a subscription for software just to be able to use it a few times a year, when that's the closest model to how software actually gets produced. There's a lot of open-source code that's fundamental to the digital world that's supported by one person who feels trapped by their obligation. And Apple and Microsoft have both built business models out of introducing new technologies that they imply everyone needs to start using, largely to stop third-party vendors from having the time to build better versions of core technology that supplant their own control (a technique called 'fire and motion').

There's aren't easy questions, and I believe both sides have good points.
posted by Merus at 5:30 PM on October 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


The vendor is a games company, and thus will have to spend a lot of money for no additional sales (this one is also why, of the Top 50 games of the first five years of iPhone, about three still work)

It's worse than that for games even - a lot of game developers are in the position that they made their game with a particular framework, and they're dependent on the vendor of that framework for 64-bit support. For some, that never happened, and for others there is a 64-bit version of the framework available but it is sufficiently newer and different from the version that the game was developed against that it would be the equivalent of porting the game to a new framework entirely.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:51 PM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


I went on an 32 bit app purge last night. I've been using OSX since 10.0, and moving as much as I could from one machine to the next every time, but there was still only one app - a somewhat sketchy memory card recovery thing - that didn't have an update. Even garmin, that bastion of not keeping up with the present, had 64 bit versions of all of their weird apps.
The only thing keeping me from upgrading is, as I mentioned above, rekordbox, which only needs to read the iTunes library and I'm guessing could have easily been updated to use the API ages ago. But prepping for the next version OSX seems to be somehow against the rules for anything music related so I'll have to wait. Even though that red "1" on the system prefs dock icon is driving me crazy.
posted by flaterik at 6:17 PM on October 11, 2019


flaterik: The only thing keeping me from upgrading is, as I mentioned above, rekordbox

This rekordbox? Because this post from the developer claims it's already 64 bit, but it might be a networking module accidentally claiming it's 32 bit. The free app Go64 gives a little more info for its 32/64 checks.
posted by bluecore at 7:20 PM on October 11, 2019


w0mbat, being whined at to buy a subscription every time I open it is going to drive me crazy, plus the moment I opened BBedit, it was instantly using more power than anything else on my system -- the fan kicked on and I checked battery usage. That's ridiculous for a plain-text editor IMHO. TextWrangler with the same set of files open didn't even hit the battery usage list.

It does not do that.

I am running the current version of BBEdit right now on Catalina. It's sitting there with a window open, using less than 1% of the CPU on my fairly old MacBook Pro.

You do know that the same person wrote TextWrangler and BBEdit, right? They are basically the same app with some features turned on or off.
posted by w0mbat at 8:23 PM on October 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, rekordbox will run, but hasn't been updated to use the iTunes api instead of using the library XML, and I use iTunes for my primary library management.
posted by flaterik at 8:29 PM on October 11, 2019


In conclusion Software wears out like everything else.
posted by interogative mood at 8:34 PM on October 11, 2019


Yeah, it’s been hilarious seeing people talking about this like Microsoft’s strategy of ensuring perfect backward compatibility for software written in 1955 isn’t a significant resource drain and liability in its own way.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:19 PM on October 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Upon reboot into 10.15, the OS told me that a Logitech driver I had installed for a multi-button gaming mouse (Logitech G203 Prodigy RGB, for those interested) was asking for permission to record my screen, which Logitech had never asked permission to do, back when I installed the driver in the 10.14 environment.

What the fuck, Logitech.

So: 1) Thanks to Apple for looking out for my safety and security enough to help me disable that "feature"; and 2) I will never buy another Logitech product, ever again.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:18 AM on October 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


I understand why Apple is doing this, and I'm not mad but I'm not updating.
But that's not odd, I'm still on 10.12 and have only been on that for a year or so.
Most people I know making music are on 10.12. My wife still uses 10.6.8 daily.

10.6.8 was a high-water mark for Mac OS, the same way that OS 9 and System 6 were. I wonder which iteration of the current post-cat series will reach that same high plateau of rightness.

I've been happy with 10.8, 10.10. 10.12.
I don't think I've ever used and odd number OS X release.

But the last few years have been reluctant updates. There are almost no new features I care about for years, but lots of lost compatibility. Such is life.
posted by bongo_x at 1:18 AM on October 12, 2019


I can’t speak to the purpose of the logitech mouse software needing permission to record your screen, but at work I use VMware to run Windows 10 on my Mac. After upgrading to Catalina, VMware showed a black screen until I checked the box giving VMware permission to record the screen.
posted by emelenjr at 4:39 AM on October 12, 2019


Bartender needs permission to “record the screen” because it basically does sneaky wizardry to look at part of the screen and manipulate it. On the other hand… it does seem weird that a mouse driver would need to look at any part of your screen at all.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:01 AM on October 12, 2019


This is probably just feature creep. there's likely a screen capture function for one of the button macros or something, possibly even a "capture the mouse moving on the screen" feature, that some corporate clients rely on for making training materials. IDK but it seems like many of these security things are about addressing an obscure feature that maybe 1% of clients use, but that everyone has to "pay" for in terms of open attack surfaces.

This really needs discipline from the project lead, but you know, every app has to include an email client beyond a certain level of complexity.
posted by bonehead at 7:05 AM on October 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Apple Mail Bugs Can Lead to Data Loss in macOS Catalina. "Moving messages between mailboxes, both via drag-and-drop and AppleScript, can result in a blank message (only headers) on the Mac. If the message was moved to a server mailbox, other devices see the message as deleted. And eventually this syncs back to the first Mac, where the message disappears as well."

Sounds like a good reason to hold back on updating.
posted by ardgedee at 9:20 AM on October 12, 2019


It's unreasonable because it comes with nontrivial costs that everyone must bear because some developers and users refuse to move forward.

I don't want OSX to start acting like Windows in terms of stability over time. One reason Windows is so awful on this point is Microsoft's insistence on perpetual backward compatibility. Not to put too fine a point on it, but fuck that.

If you really must have 32-bit apps going forward, stay on Mojave. Nobody's making you upgrade. You can stay on it for a long time, but there will definitely be an endpoint.

However, it's an endpoint so far away surely you can figure out a soft way to transition to whatever platform you think will treat you "better" on this point.
I can't find much sympathy for those complaining about something Apple have been clearly preparing for and warning us about for many years. Nobody can act surprised.
THIS.
Yeah, it’s been hilarious seeing people talking about this like Microsoft’s strategy of ensuring perfect backward compatibility for software written in 1955 isn’t a significant resource drain and liability in its own way.
Also this.
Sounds like a good reason to hold back on updating.
The number of days since release is a FANTASTIC reason ALL BY ITSELF.

Seriously, even if you're 64-bit ready, absolutely do not take Catalina, or any disruptive update, before it's 3-6 months old.
posted by uberchet at 3:28 PM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it’s been hilarious seeing people talking about this like Microsoft’s strategy of ensuring perfect backward compatibility for software written in 1955 isn’t a significant resource drain and liability in its own way.

Look, I didn’t buy this USB punch card reader to not be able to use it.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:58 PM on October 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


After upgrading to Catalina, VMware showed a black screen until I checked the box giving VMware permission to record the screen.

A mouse driver or virtual machine host would have absolutely no legitimate need to record your screen.

If your software is so badly written you need to record the screen to do tech support, then you need to hire better software developers. Any other reason borders on a precursor to criminal activity.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:46 PM on October 12, 2019


mouse driver ... precursor

I see what you did there.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:55 PM on October 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


If your software is so badly written you need to record the screen to do tech support, then you need to hire better software developers. Any other reason borders on a precursor to criminal activity.

My company, like a lot of web software companies, uses fullstory to record all user interactions (with HIPPA, PII and credit card data excluded) and it’s really a lifesaver when it comes to tricky bugs and also understanding user’s pain points. If I worked on a native app I’d be disappointed if I couldn’t do something very similar (although I would just want an action log that I could feed to a state machine of some kind, which is essentially what fullstory does). Software is hard! Screen recordings do make it easier
posted by dis_integration at 9:43 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


As an addendum, the best part about fullstory (along with our changelogs), is that users lie! They lie all the time, or, in support parlance, are confused or mistaken about what happened. They say they didn’t delete something, but fullstory will show them clicking delete and confirming deletion, etc. It’s great to have a source of truth.
posted by dis_integration at 9:46 AM on October 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


I have a vintage MBP unibody hand me down, and a couple of years ago I had a major struggle with the upgrade wall and classic Apple obsolescence curve.

This isn't even my first rodeo with riding that curve. I've been using Apple products off and on since before Macs were even a thing. I've worked in media and design, so I've had my hands on every era of Macintosh machines from the Classic/512k through the weird 90s shit like MacBook Color Duos, the Newton and on through to the iMac, the shift to Intel and OS X.

I have used a lot of different kinds of personal computers and there is no hell as particularly frustrating and strange as the hell of being trapped behind the upgrade wall and obsolescence curve of a Macintosh.

No matter how many times I did a cloud/OTA restore and tried to start upgrading it was basically impossible to simply upgrade it enough that I could even get a modern, secure, accepted browser to install - among many other difficulties just getting OS X to upgrade and run on it because I needed a modern secure browser but I couldn't upgrade the browser because the OS needed to be upgraded and I was having a hell of a time getting past the UEFI gatekeeping to install anything else.

I eventually managed to get one older variation of Ubuntu installed on it enabling me to regain full control of the drive and bootloader, enabling a full install of something more modern, then upgraded the drive to an affordable SSD.

This 2011 era MBP seems like it's just as fast if not faster, more stable and even more friendly than modern touchbar MBPs running Sierra. For pete's sake a full hard reboot is seconds. It'll churn and burn data on renders and FX - the newer processors in MBPs aren't that much faster than this one. Hell, I've been using it for pretty high res and frame rate 3D gaming and it's a great computer not just for the vintage.

So if anyone wants to keep older Mac hardware alive and highly functional for longer and escape either OS X or Windows, I can now strongly recommend Ubuntu as well as other modern linux desktop solutions.

I used to have personal reservations about linux on the desktop especially for working with media and music because I was missing pieces of my toolchain. Those pieces are now all there. I've been using Ubuntu Studio exclusively for that for something 2 years now. It is way more stable than Windows and likely even more stable and useful than OS X for music production and live performances.

The music tool ecosystem is extremely diverse now, with a choice of DAWs and other tools ranging from REAPER and Ardour to Audacity and lots of really cool tools and toys. If you really need to run Ableton it apparently runs fine up to version 8 or so in WINE and I have heard reports it is possibly even more stable than running it in Windows because WINE is sometimes a bit more efficient and minimal than an entire Windows install.

I think I've played a dozen shows in a year-ish and it's never crashed once. I've never even had a properly configured audio/media application crash at home outside of operator error. I've thrown a bunch of random MIDI hardware at it and I think the only thing I had to install a patch or driver for was my old school MIDI Sport 2x2 MIDI interface. More modern controllers just show up and work, ready to be patched, programmed and routed.

All the fancy MacBook Pro bells and whistles work as intended, too. The keyboard lights, the multitouch trackpad, all the ports, the SD card slot, the media control keys. Right out of the box. System updates are lightning fast, too, and generally free of bloat. And there is soooo much frickin' software out there both in the default Ubuntu libraries and a wide variety of repositories. Snap files and flatpacks are cool and easy, "apt" just works.

The whole thing is so smooth, non-irritating and transparent I forget all the time that I'm running Ubuntu. It feels a lot like I'm running the best parts of the experience of Windows, DOS and OS X when it doesn't/didn't suck, but with way, way less work and system wrestling and tweaking to get there.

If you are not liking your computer's performance and usability right now with OS X you might like Ubuntu. Yeah, there's a lot of really cool interface features with SIerra that you're not going to get with Ubuntu or another linux desktop, but you'll never have to see a beach ball again.
posted by loquacious at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


is that users lie! They lie all the time
Holy crap THIS.

We don't record the screen, but we absolutely do rely heavily on GoToMeeting or other screen-sharing apps, because users cannot be relied upon to document what happened AT ALL.
No matter how many times I did a cloud/OTA restore and tried to start upgrading it was basically impossible to simply upgrade it enough that I could even get a modern, secure, accepted browser to install - among many other difficulties just getting OS X to upgrade and run on it because I needed a modern secure browser but I couldn't upgrade the browser because the OS needed to be upgraded and I was having a hell of a time getting past the UEFI gatekeeping to install anything else
This is exactly what I was talking about before. If you wait out upgrades too long, you'll find yourself in a hole with no easy way out.

Could Apple make that path easier? Probably. Is it a good idea for them to do so? I'd argue not.

Generally, though, what loquacious notes is something I tell people all the time: If the hardware is outliving the software life cycle, your off ramp is a platform shift to Linux, probably Ubuntu. I did this with an old ThinkPad that was so overengineered it looked like new well past the point when running Windows on it was viable.
posted by uberchet at 1:00 PM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


If the hardware is outliving the software life cycle, your off ramp is a platform shift to Linux, probably Ubuntu.

Something I'll consider doing with my 2011 MacBook Air. Thanks.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:49 AM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ugh. I'm going to have to explain why I need increases to the IT budget at the small non-profit where I work just so we can have functioning copies of Photoshop. We had been doing just fine with our heirloom CS5 for years.

I was hoping to get one of my colleagues a new computer in the coming year - she's been limping along on an ancient mini for a while now.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:25 AM on October 15, 2019


The gotcha lurking for your org, Sciencegeek, is that new Macs probably can't run Mojave.

If you can upgrade this person now, before that switch gets flipped, you could be safe for a while.
posted by uberchet at 6:18 AM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


sciencegeek, look at affinity photo.

I did upgrade, probably not the greatest idea but I have no critical 32-bit needs so I can live with it until things settle down.

My main casualty was a Canon printer driver but Apple gave plenty of notice and it isn't their fault if Canon disregarded the warnings.
posted by epo at 10:09 AM on October 16, 2019


I’m sure I have a handful of old unused 32-bits apps, but the one reason keeping me from updating to Catalina is the simple but ever-useful 32-bit Quicktime Player 7.
posted by blueberry at 1:38 PM on October 16, 2019


Oh man, yeah, the Affinity suite is amazing. The only reason I ever use Photoshop at all is because sometimes I need to use layer comps, which Affinity Photo does not offer, but otherwise Affinity Photo is basically Photoshop-but-it-costs-$50-once.

By a similar token, I can switch my day job workflow entirely from Word to Pages as soon as they add change tracking within tables in Pages, but unfortunately that seems like a pretty low priority.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:58 PM on October 16, 2019


So far the only thing I've really missed in the Affinity suite is scripting. Photoshop's scripting was bizarre, slow, and the documentation was kinda arbitrary, but it was at least something.

Acorn accommodates Javascript through a plugin, so I guess I should investigate that more closely.
posted by ardgedee at 5:48 PM on October 16, 2019


uberchet, a few days ago I managed to download the Mojave installer dmg so it was still available quite recently. I got it from apple.com. Whether it would actually work I have no idea, but if it did then it should also work on any machine which was on sale when Mojave was current.
posted by epo at 10:09 AM on October 17, 2019


So far in my office, Catalina has broken drivers for the DiplayLink hubs we use for multi-monitor support and seems to break Ringcentral for some people.
posted by octothorpe at 10:44 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


UGH....DisplayLink just started working well again recently. I had machines on Snow Leo forever for that reason.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:14 PM on October 17, 2019


update for my CS6 crew: I ran the Mojave installer and it doesn't appear to have broken AI, PS, InD, or LR 5.7, all of which I had recently updated to the most recent versions. I just needed to install a 50mb Apple Java package. The only software compatibility warning I got after install was for an older version of Logitech control center, for which an update was available. This is on a 2012 rMBP, so if you have a similar setup to mine and want to keep using non-CC applications, Mojave might be the last version for you.
posted by a halcyon day at 11:44 PM on October 17, 2019


Canon have now released Catalina drivers for my printer.
posted by epo at 11:32 AM on October 22, 2019


anyone know how to tell Software Update not to download the Catalina upgrade pack and mute the notifications? in prior versions of OS X you could shift-delete or something to hide an update stream, but that doesn't appear to work anymore.
posted by a halcyon day at 11:00 AM on October 24, 2019


You could try this to stop notifications (not tested by me). Background downloads can be turned off somewhere in Preferences.
posted by epo at 2:59 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


> how to tell Software Update not to download the Catalina upgrade pack and mute the notifications?

Open System Preferences.

Go to Software Update.

Click "Advanced".

Uncheck all the boxes except "Check for updates" and "Install system data files and security updates". You may have to log in with your primary system password. This allows you to continue receiving updates for Mojave.

(After you have done this, the Software Update panel will continue to say that MacOS Catalina is available. But it will not make notifications about it, and will not attempt to download or install it until you manually trigger it.)
posted by ardgedee at 4:24 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I just read the entire page on what's new in Catalina. There's not a single feature I'm interested in.
posted by signal at 7:15 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


That's how I've felt since 10.10, 10.8?

I like the tags.
posted by bongo_x at 8:51 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


« Older enough measurement systems to fill a Rhode Island...   |   "Off The Hook" is off the air - NYC's WBAI... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments