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Apple macOS Update Mojave 10.14.6: Tracked

Painless. But a few reflections.

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Our classy Tracker, for some reason completely unique on this system, in this 'world', always does the honours when it comes to system updates. It's nice to see what's happening to one's system, especially when one no longer has control over that system as one once had, not since Snow Leopard.

And because we were able to hop skip and jump around Apple's desecration of the great defaults system from NeXT, Tracker can persist over system boots as well to show us everything that's going on. You just make sure you fire up Tracker and hit that 'Go' button in the ULHC before exiting and letting the system reboot, then pick up your timestamp when you're up and running again. Piece of cake. And even the Test Drive version will do this for you. (For free.)

But the number of files affected... Famed sleuth Daryl Zero said there's an ontological difference between searching for one thing and searching for anything. In the former case, of all the things you can find, only one will be something you are interested in, but, in the latter case, you're bound to find at least a few things of interest.

Daryl knows his craft. And he's right about system update post-mortems carried out by the incomparable Tracker.

We find 37,854 items modified by the 10.14.6 update, and a total of 52,595 items accessed for some reason or other. No new files seem to have been created (if we read that right).

We ran Tracker from root, with root privileges, and we only skipped diagnostics, systemstats, uuidtext, and ~/Library/Developer. (We see now that we should have skipped /Applications/Xcode.app as well, to save a few nanoseconds - that Xcode hive has over 300,000 files and 90,000 directories.)

Going through the text export is a desultory task. There's so much there. There's too much there. Somewhere down the road from Redwood City, this system forgot there's strength (and elegance) in simplicity. We see yet again how different skunkworks create and maintain what must be redundant caches all over the place. Should anyone, at some later point in time, deign to unravel it all...

~/Library/Containers is a gem. How anyone could have thought this would work, that this would be tenable... Here we find over a gigabyte of essentially duplicated files. 1,013,101,781 bytes, with an additional 561,527 bytes in extended attributes. Ah but who cares? No one's going to see it anyway. Just like that .DS_Store thing that's never seen. According to Apple 'evangelists' at least...

√ The actual number of modified files was 12,605.
√ The number of updated binaries in Cocoa application bundles was 146. (Note this doesn't necessarily mean Apple made modifications to 146 applications, only that the update script overwrote 146 application binaries. they could still be identical. That depends on who wrote the script.)
√ The number of code signatures that were updated is 2,712.
√ The number of updated language project (lproj) directories is 2,450.

Otherwise the system seems to be running well. (One diff: Preview retains its info sheet visibility setting.) Nothing quirky's been detected yet. And we are, as always, as all of you: exceedingly grateful to Apple for once again making such a Herculean effort to put out this fine product.

A question: will they ever fix the screenshot format string? It's got an extraneous space character before the full stop. This was fixed earlier. Now it's back again.

Screen Shot %YYYY-%MM-%DD at %hh.%mm.%ss[space].png

And the hour should always be two digits, yes? Then you don't have to rig up your Finder with special sorting algorithms? Yes. Of course. Right on it, boss!

As always, the colours and rendering with Dark Mode are fantastic. One would have hoped for a bit deeper system integration, but that's behind us now.

What wasn't welcome was how they made it all into a sort of mousetrap, with Dark Mode being the cheese: too many quirky changes to the underlying API, and you needed to slalom through them all to get to the Dark Mode cheese and make it back out again.

Too many things are going on in that API. You knew that drag-drop is now frowned upon, and Apple have been deprecating their drag-drop code? Oh yes! Because a badly (misbehaved || disenfranchised) app might try to hurt one of your good apps. And we can't let that happen!

From the Rock Solid Foundation™... to this. One wonders how many remember that 'Rock Solid Foundation™' used to be one of Apple's proudest slogans? Because it was Unix under the bonnet (the hood). Something we should all be proud of. A Good Thing™.

But hardly anyone remembers anymore.

Remember when OS X was the place to be because it was so safe? Don't you find it the least bit curious that Apple's tack of late is now to make you feel the exact opposite?

Anyway. 17,860 items in ~/Library/Containers. Because you have to stop applications interacting with one another. That could be dangerous. Over a gigabloat of files there. But you never see them because Apple closed off your own ~/Library to you. (This could be part of the reason. Of course you don't have to use their Finder, then all those 17,860 files would be eminently visible, but do you care? No you don't. Admit it. You just want your Mac to run smoothly. When your Mac gets tired, you let it take a bit of a nap. You don't need to know anything else. Your Mac is built 'for the rest of us' - for you - and not for 'the best'. That was NeXT - and NeXT is almost gone now, thankfully!)

Of course the underside to all this is that Apple can increase their control of you... On your own computer. The computer you paid very dearly for. So you could join the club. And that control they now have can ultimately net them billions in new revenues each and every year. But it's all for the best! Look at that Dark Mode. Isn't it fabulous? Microsoft can't do that. Linux can't either. No, Mac users are the happiest computer users on the planet - if you consider your Mac a 'computer', which most Apple customers do not. Oh heck - we're happy, why is someone complaining again?

They're all firing guns at Apple now. The wider Unix and open source communities became disillusioned years ago. And now most recently it's the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times before that, and now there's the drumbeat of an impending Department of Justice inquiry. Packaged with an official look into what the people at Google are doing. It seems that high-level execs there are talking about how they're ready for 2020 - how they'll never let '2016' happen again, no more nasty 'Trump situations', whatever that means. Now Apple get shoved into the same jail cell as Google. That's a bit uncomfortable.

Apple once appeared to be the Great White Hope™ - they were the company that would champion an alternative to Microsoft Windows, and all the chills and ills emanating from there. The first years of the New Millennium were a very rocky road. Apple seemed to do more than flirt with open source. Ah, but that was only an illusion. A canard. Yes, NeXT was compatible with almost all systems, including Windows, but why bother? It's enough if it's compatible with the Mac. And now the iPhone. And the iPad. And the watch. Times are good.

10.14.6 yields to 10.15. That will be the sixteenth iteration of OS X. Steve Jobs once said that a software product at this level can have a lifespan of only ten years. So was Steve Jobs wrong?

Oh - try Tracker. It's free (in the Test Drive). At least you can see what's happening to your system. Join our forum if you need any help.

See Also
Industry Watch: The Dirty Word
Learning Curve: Why Darwin Failed

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