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Yosemite Woes & 10.10.2

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Macworld reported yesterday that Apple may have fixes for a number of issues with their Yosemite. Seeing a headline with 'WiFi woes' months after a system is released is not encouraging.

But Apple's discussion forums continue to attract Yosemite users who still, after all these months, cannot get their WiFi to work properly. Macworld will now claim that yesterday's 10.10.2 release can finally solve the WiFi issues.


10.10.1 was supposed to fix the WiFi too, but it didn't. One thread Macworld mentions, with 707,191 views and 2,250 posts, has now been branched into a new thread that requires login to even read.

And judging from the latest posts yesterday, not everyone is yet a happy camper. One of the more irate users expresses it thusly.

Bit insulting isn't it. We, Apple customers, have made them the most wealthy company in human history, but they do something like this. 6 months of disabled computers. I heard today that 73% of Apple's profits come from iPhones. Yosemite was free... Obviously they aren't too concerned about supporting something that makes them virtually no money.

Another user, responding to a query on whether one should stay with public betas, answers in plain text.

Stay on seed. 10.10.2 still has my wi fi BROKEN!

It's a bit rough when three months after release something as critical as WiFi still doesn't work right.

A Break with Appearances Past

Yosemite meant a break with appearances past. The man who'd shepherded the iPhone and iPad was suddenly put to pasture (after spending a final year in the corral with Tim) and former bathroom designer Jony Ive became his replacement. There's been a lot of discussion about this, and the rationale behind the change is apparent: traditional graphics don't look quite as cheeky on a portable device. But the change has stirred deep emotions at times.

I just don't get why we had 'flat' designs 15 years ago and we are now design-wise at the same point. I mean seriously?

Just as a side note, whoever was in charge of making OS X Yosemite look so butt-ugly should have been fired on the spot.


But GUIs are relatively easy to change. Not so the inner workings. And it's the inner workings that are really screwing up.

I upgraded my MBP (2012) from Mavericks to Yosemite, and it slowed my computer down to the point where it became unusable. I repaired the permissions, and even reinstalled Yosemite, but it didn't help. My MBP is crawling and I'm hoping someone can walk me through a solution.

PopUpBacker wrote a letter to Apple.

Dear Apple,

Your music on hold sucks. I had to listen to it for 15 minutes and gave up trying to get my computer fixed.

I guess I will have to take a day off work and drive to one of your Apple stores, but I bet there are thousands of people waiting in line.

I bet this would not have happened if Steve Jobs was still alive. He would not put up with this kind of crap.

Sincerely,

Nick Gatel

PopUpBacker also suggests Googling for 'OS X Yosemite is slow', which at time of writing yields 949,000 results.

Clearly something is very very wrong. And don't blame Jony - Jony designs bathrooms and unibodies, not kernel code.

Yosemite is now at 10.10.2 after 3.5 months, more than a 1/4 of its predicted cycle. With a reported 70% of revenues coming from portables, with Scott Forstall deliberately leaving the 'less gifted' at OS X when he recruited for the iPhone... So how good can Yosemite - or any OS - get in a year, when things start so poorly?

IBM introduced their System/360 on 7 April 1964. The project was led by the legendary Fred Brooks who wrote the equally legendary 'Mythical Man-Month'. Brooks estimated that a system of that complexity could not be released with less than 1,000 bugs.

But it wasn't until 30 June 1970 that IBM announced the successor System/370. For over six years, Big Blue kept at the same system, fixing things, tweaking things, improving things. Their market was big business - not consumer electronics. IBM's clients demanded reliability - not flash flip & dazzle.

System/370 went on for twenty years - twice as long as Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite together.

10.0Cheetah2001-03-24
10.1Puma2001-09-25
10.2Jaguar2002-08-24
10.3Panther2003-10-24
10.4Tiger2005-04-29
10.5Leopard2007-10-26
10.6Snow Leopard2009-08-28
10.7Lion2011-07-20
10.8Mountain Lion  2012-07-25
10.9Mavericks2013-10-22
10.10  Yosemite2014-10-16
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System/370

Add to that the 'merger' of NeXT and Apple in January 1997. NeXT may have been minuscule in comparison, but they were at least in the black and not threatened by Chapter 11. And NeXT had products that generated revenues, including the seminal NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP, and these were finished and fancy products already on the market and used by the likes of WorldCom, Dell, and Wall Street.

Yet it took (at least officially) until 24 March 2001 (over four years) until the 'Apple' version of the 'steps' made it to market. (The NeXT products were discontinued; most NeXT clients jumped ship when they heard of the merger.)

Actually the transition took a bit longer - until 24 August 2002, when the first 'complete' and 'satisfactory' version of the successor was released (Jaguar). Those 5+ years represent a very long time. And Bill Gates wasn't using that time to pluck lint from Steve Ballmer's navel. That was the period when Microsoft, for once and for all, established global hegemony.

Don't blame Steve Jobs. He was proud of the work at NeXT. Blame the legacy app developers and Apple employees who hated NeXT. NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP was completely dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up. And that's where we get to the crux of the issue.

Separated at Birth

Macs don't work the same way other computers work. They never have and likely never will. This is part of the reason it took Apple - with guiding hands from NeXT engineers - so long to get the product to market. Apple's file system intrinsics - they're incompatible with almost everything else on the planet. The meanings of 'copy' and 'move' are so totally different that the Apple community have had to develop their own terminology to explain why and how all other systems are different. And heaven knows Apple have had their share of embarrassing file system fiascos. Claiming Apple engineers 'just don't get it' when it comes to Unix file management is not at all going far out on a limb.

Apple's Finder (what an ironic name) can't really find anything, and certainly cannot - not even for advanced users and professionals - reveal what's going on under the bonnet. You have to go to the command line for that. In fact, squeezing the square peg of a legacy Apple file system into the round hole of a standard Unix file system was a feat of legend - but incomplete. The brave soul who adapted HFS to the world of Unix took things as far as he could. Complete compatibility was impossible.

And that's only the file system.

Acknowledgements

Most Mac owners know by now about the contents of the file at this location.

/Library/Documentation/Acknowledgements.rtf

It's the list of required acknowledgements for all the open source components in your OS X. The file is massive.

'Open source' can often be 'cookie cutter code' - overly simplistic and not particularly inspired or efficient. But it has one great advantage: someone else writes it.

And using that is one of the three main precepts of good coding according to guru Brian Kernighan of Bell Labs. Except Apple don't follow that good advice.

Things may have changed in the past few years, although it's unlikely. But the traditional way for Apple to incorporate open source code into their system is not to simply plug it in (and let their engineers worry instead about the 'glue'). Open source code gets channeled to particular groups who are in charge of 'reworking' the code before the other teams get to use it.

This is a very dumb move. It is highly inefficient. It also leads to bugs and vulnerabilities, which in turn lead to bad press and user dissatisfaction.

When your schedule is so tight that you have to have at least two OS teams at any one given time, one working on the current release and one working on the coming release, and when you expect to achieve a modicum of stability, reliability, and thereby generate genuine customer satisfaction in such a short time... You don't get twenty years like IBM got for their System/370. And you really can't afford the 1,000 bugs that Fred Brooks wrote about. You need something that 'just works'.

See Also
Ars: Google drops three OS X 0days on Apple
iMore: Apple releases OS X 10.10.2 with fixes for Wi-Fi, Spotlight issues and more
Macworld: Mac OS X Yosemite features, system requirements, bugs: Apple issues 10.10.2 update to solve WiFi woes

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