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macOS: More Perfection?

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CUPERTINO (Rixstep) — Apple had a bit of a crisis the other day. Luckily, recovery was swift and mostly painless. But before getting into what happened and why it happened, let's look at yet another pet feature of the new macOS - Unified Logging and Activity Tracking (ULAT). For if something went yet further south in this California town, ULAT may encapsulate it.

Let's try and see what happens with Apple's Unified Logging and Activity Tracking on a cold boot.

Let's start by using the built-in functions to completely clear the data in the system.


Then let's verify that there are no further statistics remaining in the system.


This can also be seen by taking a look at the pertinent directory listing which shows things are essentially thread-bare.



Then let's start Tracker and set a stamp prior to the cold boot. And once back up, we'll run Tracker from root.

[One thing you'll notice immediately is that readdir no longer returns entries in alphabetical order with APFS, something that can be quite confusing and counterproductive. What you see in Tracker's status bar is the actual directory order in secondary storage. Given the nature of the readdir call, there may be no easy workaround. Further down the line, APFS should address this anomaly. Ed.]

The Tracker results are meagre, and that's a Good Thing™: the ULAT system hasn't yet had time to waste too much more time (and SSD space). But the damage is still on the far side of obscene. Remember: this is a system where all ULAT data was purged before the cold boot, and where Tracker was called into action immediately after the cold boot, meaning the following represents shenanigans for that thin time slice only. Let that sink in.

/private/var/db/diagnostics/Persist
/private/var/db/diagnostics/Persist/000000000000001c.tracev3
/private/var/db/diagnostics/Special/000000000000003e.tracev3
/private/var/db/diagnostics/logdata.statistics.0.txt
/private/var/db/diagnostics/shutdown.log
/private/var/db/diagnostics/timesync/0000000000000002.timesync
/private/var/db/uuidtext/01/FCD2A00AFC3C3BA9AFCE431C972F30
/private/var/db/uuidtext/02/3CA8443C7A3A3CADBD449B9260AAE8
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/03/8119539B593936B9613FA749707DED
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/05/65805ABBFF30C2BA95AAF7B184DDD3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/05/BC317ECDDB37A289D4FA4451C2B472
/private/var/db/uuidtext/05/FC87E8B78E319EAF080EBDA16094CE
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/0A/89F5F2B9633BDCB612FDC5985B9391
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/84/DA1F9AC7C23BE7B72B186ADACB0D3E
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/87/0873DE88FD3CF3B78F005D0DE54034
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/88/75CF842C163B569B5A50C2D14716AD
/private/var/db/uuidtext/88/B93EF824723A39926DBD8B364DF65C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/89/5C2C3460B23A0088EA36FB7C398B51
/private/var/db/uuidtext/89/FF171B22DA3FDB88D495D5DB286C85
/private/var/db/uuidtext/8A/2059C7CBA53837802D5BEC5782F4B6
/private/var/db/uuidtext/8A/4402E90E2A3FB78E60A950C2B3B1B8
/private/var/db/uuidtext/8A/AFACCEA05331B4858CDDB501C31CEC
/private/var/db/uuidtext/8A/B8333286B63DD38F1DDC669DFDAE65
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/8D/5BB5868B9F378799227670C849BE31
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/90/0AD5D2F3C33BEF9F5A81B682CDD22A
/private/var/db/uuidtext/90/98F9A2498936AD9E26951B674B945F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/91/60DD4135A537B5A7F558D8863FAECA
/private/var/db/uuidtext/91/C8F90257BF31BF89C2BE732E265A97
/private/var/db/uuidtext/91/F3525B0AD6367DA40A8F8215671B69
/private/var/db/uuidtext/92/6C6A05E81F3002B109EC563540523E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/93/06F430B8ED306C99E99C4C58C0991E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/93/D205A0CB893661916452C412DF576C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/94/8705C9926435A2B841DEF857612930
/private/var/db/uuidtext/94/917C062499393EAB174D167DFAB0FD
/private/var/db/uuidtext/96/604594756B37EA9A243500A4F60756
/private/var/db/uuidtext/97/1C64B1B55D3413B428F4A15017094E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/97/E8FF339E4D38BC84CD026C0812CCF1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/98/3B3D7861103A0DB4F03C798DC7DB3A
/private/var/db/uuidtext/98/DE7E68D1E836AABCC6874D85068282
/private/var/db/uuidtext/98/FED5D7E7173A8180F8059CE1BB5D07
/private/var/db/uuidtext/99/55A6BADBDE3D2EA5BBC97A9863E2D7
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9A/257D6B65F533BBAB9A1B2300B0D635
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9A/7ECC563DCF3ABF9220401230846869
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9A/FEC461DBAA3057BDA81C108D652DFA
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9C/35108DE9E43169BE83EAE1E8212EC0
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/9E/41890FCE5E398ABD454F7CE89A7EE1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9E/5B1713854A32DC89E7E1765F4B3AE3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9E/637FBEE9B1388DBD0E77308583D4EE
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9E/A20CD150533446926C5584610077F9
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9E/D68760EA363D0E8F112387E89A5EE5
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9F/09CC9C7B983AE5B30B153D3D22BDBD
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9F/6D8809138F34708D067DD3EFF31959
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9F/809136BF02396FB7414F6F875674E7
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9F/A176AFE76735DB8C49AAC886212BB3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/9F/D8D630B5353B2A86FA25F9291D8DF5
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A2/31E6AF88ED34AA8D30C0087CA78FD1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A2/E12F34C30A325782F335D6167A8D2E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A3/56A07417E43021A2E9E9AB52B98BC8
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A3/C5CF169AC83A3CB18E951880009AB7
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A4/CD96E39E373714ACA792864C132508
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A6/1200BA3CAD3E94A477B226B83BBB5E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A7/B864F156373C0D9AF5692DA6913EFC
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A7/F589DDC64A360A94CF696189954A9F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/A7/FCD74848413B528366B422C1F60AA0
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AA/1ABCA3EE103EA58CD5FBF820D2AA4E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AA/B346F1E59133CA9BBA3EDB9488AD12
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AA/E63798380F3516AAB4FE8C9E370A97
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AB/5D4D29DB9E383BABAAFA8AC25ADC53
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AB/E995F094CF3F6B91B3C8CC5255FBDE
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AC/CF8343E11B3A698E6302C2A43D6C4B
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AC/E5FAE767623B1AB09156A611D2D34E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AE/59079F4FA433E986340EF309683DE3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AE/CACDD0E53E3AEE81BC4E396275BBF4
/private/var/db/uuidtext/AF/394B0D0B9739E896815A2B25034DBE
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B0/C809E5B5CB362DBFFFF31EECB6579E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B1/4FE5C463533A5BA950B2D0C31039B1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B1/A72E94F42034C8AE3AC4833D3C5438
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B2/D51EE7E0ED375DB8C1D387DFEC9172
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B3/0100D6AFB33A8C9C5C4BC0BF5245EB
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B3/4A9110B3AB3236942C81979734E71C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B3/5594861AC3355CB5ADB675C59C8174
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B3/8C757D22EC3DD8AF7FAE9E16C1DEB2
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B4/2D4190EE0733EE981FCDBDD2E97111
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B4/C15027257637F1BEBCE25A03E00D37
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B5/FE6D7C8ADF39AEA4A4B47ACF3794B8
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B6/06D510CD2C326B98F23C3E5A959812
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B6/7DD3A1E6163B32A6FC4E37F56493E9
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B7/3EB177938B3A989405789F729A0C3B
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B7/4038E54A0B37EEBDCB61A827F7568F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B7/82C036893F3A5680295E30BB50DAD4
/private/var/db/uuidtext/B8/82E495534B38458F5827DAA652CCA2
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/BA/C13166EEF63C10AFE63A2BF1133F25
/private/var/db/uuidtext/BC/2F65AACE553FA78E7FAD8FC9A256ED
/private/var/db/uuidtext/BC/437051A03A3BFEBD82FC91A7D1039F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/BD/FC67DC86DC3DB4AD4B90445CB6EB49
/private/var/db/uuidtext/BE/081F5681543D3E9F9FD749D7CEF9A3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/BF/CBFC5B748A30B582C2ECD6A64FC16B
/private/var/db/uuidtext/BF/E21AFEC26B38D6AD770B8C36F148A7
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C0/EDB0F6B11E3ACB8041F38AA158CDC8
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C1/FE88B89CA832418B41283BFD401F51
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C2/3017B3E8773608986892EEF27A55CD
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C2/ABDF0FF697341EA0E5F69C04E09855
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C2/EBD04DFEA9321FB8C1328145CD478E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C4/4A37BF75F031F0B02E3B32CE56F59C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C4/A5F92AC8763F45878E7A4A1640E3A9
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C5/32E7C6F7CF3B849FFF87BF73A2DEBB
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C7/7CF4C4315D3D028C3B899CE6AF8D13
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C7/841680F2D9307E932C3C867FC82752
/private/var/db/uuidtext/C9/94FE4A28A73E679B43EEE30F8DA2FB
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CA/359A78A7FB33DA825EA500DA78BCA2
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CB/23FD6439D231EDBC5F6669D4F73729
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CB/45902F91FC3A339DDD5D5B2569923D
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CB/5847C6936A37C09C50EE24A118D0EF
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CB/8CE325E9F93CA595A685B9E3FFBD22
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CB/E56568AC913F56A06E9A29D6F70BDA
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CB/EAB5FFFFF53F0E9A052ACD81733C26
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CD/0DABCC89C73147B3559D3F450301E0
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CE/28F2D93D0934289FD7023941B584F0
/private/var/db/uuidtext/CF/15C302437E30B4A23DD2E348C8443D
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D1/063D96A3F33AFF912D48BC84ED993C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D2/208693E1FA3882922E5D23B6AA6DC5
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D2/F2FBDF4EE438BA99F5B699F886F413
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D3/1D09FA7EEA386A8D67BA2F17672DFA
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D4
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D4/B670EBF73D3A109149685F3FBAD95D
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D8/B531CC95223D8894EECA2CAE03690D
/private/var/db/uuidtext/D9/9EC0D5E2BC31FFA7FFBBE3D4FF8EA8
/private/var/db/uuidtext/DB/E1EA415B4039E4ADAF8CE477EEAA3F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/DC/157ED2FD563F9DA50CBFFF0D30ED07
/private/var/db/uuidtext/DC/167F6C9E543F62B19941F3975964A5
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/DD/B1258BDFD73687928AABBFA36CF582
/private/var/db/uuidtext/DF/9C6746724238F4A65A2B3D774FABDA
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E2
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E2/3FB19BA2983A28A82B8ED6C35631C3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E2/480916E5D936B9857325E1134F99A7
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E2/485CDCDDBA344D82DCAC192D7B0A96
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E2/6BE4B77BAD3CC19689E317EDC8FED1
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/E3/B7BC9D533F35908321867AE6F49FA4
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/private/var/db/uuidtext/E7/D68C0505323B688D6A73DEE9D2C4E0
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E8/0F56EFBCBC31E49A8E1C9095F267FF
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E8/956062313A3784B434B413FDFE2882
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E8/DC2496ACB532FBB0FB58BA8EC104FD
/private/var/db/uuidtext/E9/71B570708B3459BFF623A5ADCD910A
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EA/558F59BDB83BE0A77E231D62054A1D
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EA/D643D925ED375283651EB416314F0A
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EA/DEB8FEB412348C8E1CB23AD4BCF904
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EB/F0DE28FE113F978DEBB14B9F2A9029
/private/var/db/uuidtext/ED/A1E0A61E143B29987826FC5CEE6FBB
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EE/782C1224A034E48F328A440FCF9D21
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EE/7B82F9F4B139F59CE802661C018C68
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EF/114A35899D30A0A88FD78EA4C01D97
/private/var/db/uuidtext/EF/4146FF9E6C3B839BD7FE6756DE36D9
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F0/032349B3483F269128AC29644255A0
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F1/CDFC1949BF35BC8038B82DF8C30BDE
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F2/4D09629E84301F863948900D78DC60
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F2/80BF472533395A985C3E2B303C0BA3
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F3/60A31C399435EEB6FE923034D20ECE
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F3/65FEB22729305BB84687F709D181A8
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F3/AC999A975D3D0182D48ACCB4A885B1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F5/804A85D734352695A67B8FA67A405E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F5/8DD86BCA5B35C7985CFF5FE072F6B1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F6/A5330B0C7F3B17867780613A28DE3C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F7/1B60DC303734C3ABB4B011CDF19866
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F7/44D08603423A0E879359DD9962CB35
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F7/750192B6D93B7784A0646A892F4F04
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F8/4E99C5F04A37698F18D71AE6EE8F44
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F9/4A5FBEBA78356FA1718F019CC0CB5F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/F9/E58567407B3CE7998A57C4DFD5B828
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FA/067DCDB6293476AA02ABA90AA700BF
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FA/240B97E31B309FAD87CA34FCE501D4
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FA/B8063B96663D3A9C7B26381A52BAD1
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FA/BE90BB344632C89E3DFE354AD40E6C
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FB/DBFF919C8037B587C253699505A36E
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FB/E793DD96B339B583B49C193D110068
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FC/4D4E5C00ED332CA09913551A995EC0
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FC/BCAB92B9C73B32980D30FB8028A55A
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FC/F3BC37EB81363CA3524EBE63CCC93F
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FD/7BC5B04E783CADA99F27F987919707
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FE/D52073611933968BB43B657D134380
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FE/E17F9597B83E238CEB3A77FF7C4DF6
/private/var/db/uuidtext/FF/411ED5752232B5934C55CB7E584AC3

There are 430 uuidtext entries. This on a system purged immediately prior to cold boot. So why does this matter? Haven't the ULAT team done a magnificent job?

[Yes, those files (or many of them, or many similar to them) may have existed prior to the boot. But those are modified files, meaning ULAT's already been at it, either immediately prior or after the boot. Ed.]

One-Man System

The origins of NeXTSTEP are somewhat shrouded in history, but that OS descends from FreeBSD, which in turn descends from BSD, which is the Bill Joy project inspired by the Berkeley sabbatical of Ken Thompson, of the two authors of Unix, as well as its principal creator.

David Neil Cutler, the man whose coming OS (VMS) took too long to market for the Bell Labs people, professedly hated Unix, calling it a product 'written by a committee of PhDs'. Although this is strictly speaking not true - it's the command line utilities that were written by colleagues at Bell Labs, not the system itself - it serves to illustrate a point.

Cutler believed that an operating system must be the brainchild of one person.

And although Cutler's 'NT' was travestied by the mongrels at Microsoft, his initial idea - and his initial system - were sound.

Apple no longer care too much about macOS, formerly known as (Mac) OS X, to the extent that the system no longer has a dedicated team. All the eggs are in a single basket - as the stockholder must appreciate. All the money is in iPhone. That's where the investments go, that's where the money comes in.

macOS is not the brainchild of one person.

The original Unix was so good, and proved itself so well over time, that its dozens of flavours couldn't dilute it beyond recognition and to a dangerous impasse. Unix went on to power the Internet we use today. And so forth and so forth. It's the classiest, most durable, and most flexible system we have. It certainly beats the pants off Windows.

The decision by NeXT (and Steve Jobs) to use one of the Unix descendants - FreeBSD - to power their new computer was a good one. But that was then and this is now.

Apple call their kernel 'XNU' - which stands for 'OS X is Not Unix'. It's no secret that the crew in Cupertino - as opposed to those from Redwood City - have traditionally had little regard or respect for Unix, possibly preferring Pascal-powered beige boxes.

The very fact that Apple still won't accept collaborative work 'out of the box', but submit modules to unnecessary (often wobbly and highly questionable) modifications, says all.

See Also
Industry Watch: Oops, Apple!

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