El Capitan es una mierda


… or to put it in English: Mac OS X 10.11 – called „El Capitan“ sucks. Now while you won’t see much of the changes in your everyday life, if you are just an email, internet and office application user – once you drill down a bit, there are a huge bunch of problems.

First, and that is one that deeply annoys me: Photos. Before Yosemite there was iPhoto which was pretty neat already, with all the functions that a hobby photographer would enjoy – face recognition, tags, meta data information, a map pinpointing every photo you took (you could actually click on it and then click on the location and see all photos). It was great.
If you wanted more: Aperture was the power app – being basically like iPhoto, but allowing for more and specialized photo editing, support of multiple libraries, etc.

All that was gone with the last updates. Instead of iPhoto and Aperture, Apple decided to introduce Photos. It is basically the same app that runs on iPhone, and besides a minimum basic things it does not allow you to do anything. All the cool features from iPhoto and Aperture are missing. And while Photos might be great on an mobile device – on a laptop or stationary device this sucks. No album support, just the zoom in and out into a stream of photos, hardly any editing support, no batch support (I mean, wtf? You seriously believe that Aperture users will dig this?). But it get’s worse. While first applauding the simplicity and pointing out that now you only need to know one app, that works on all devices the same – with El Capitan they introduce new features, that distinguishes the OS X version from the mobile version again. And guess what. A few selected features that we knew from Photos and Aperture are now being sold as new innovative ideas. NOW you can filter your photos by location – seriously? Who the hell are you trying to kid, Apple?!

So the new features in El Capitan are – hold your hats – the ability to add and edit location information, to edit meta data in batches, and they re-introduced the sidebar with some „new“ features, including – finally – the ability to have third party editing plug-ins if you are not happy with the limited filters, Apple provide.

But actually I digress. I didn’t want to talk about Photos, and if you are interested in that, there is a tons of places on the net, where professional photographers that where content with iPhoto and Aperture express their feelings towards the new Photos.

Although I handle a lot of photos, that is just a hobby, and if there is some serious editing needed there are alternatives like Photoshop.

For me, the computer itself is the tool of my profession, and I need a lot of things that normal user don’t regard important. One of them being the ability to install additional OSes on my computer. Up to now it was easily possible to resize the hard drive, add additional partitions and boot into them at start up. Not so with El Capitan. In something that can only be described as a cruel joke, Apple turned the Disk Utility app into Teletubby wonderland. Now there is a huge image representing the disk, there are a lot of bright colors, representing what type of data takes up what space. But no way to repartition a disk, no way to delete partitions, to merge partitions, to change sizes of partitions. And once you get stuck with with an error, e.g. disk utility crashes while creating a partition on an empty disk, the up to now really cool tool disk utility will not be of any help anymore. There is no way around booting in single-user-mode and calling fsck -fy on the console. What angers me about this is, that I just don’t get it. Disk Utility was great, it combined both, simplicity with a really powerful tool in a GUI that provided all functionality, yet was intuitive to use. Why the hell remove functionality from such a tool? Why the hell make an administrative tool, such as Disk Utility look like it was meant to be used by people who wouldn’t ever need it anyways?

And by the way, crashes. Yes. Plenty of them. Split Screen is horrible. You need to have two windows, both will turn into Fullscreen mode, you cannot just have one half with an app and the other half free with two or three small apps. Also in Split Screen performance on my machine is bad. And certain apps tend to create errors. But even worse – when wanting to add a bunch of new contact information into Contacts app, using Split Screen, it slowed down my computer massively to the point I could not work fluently anymore. So I used it in window mode. And it crashed. Approximately 10 times in that hour it took me to enter all information. And it isn’t the only app that crashed on me. Calendar did, Photos did once, and Notes did plenty of times.

That not being enough, there is SIP. I would consider myself to be a power user. I need to spawn a terminal easily, and switch between terminal and apps in ideally nothing more than a keyboard shortcut. Therefore I love TotalTerminal, which allows me to do exactly that. Then in the Terminal window I usually need more than one terminal – and while there are Tabs, they are uneasy to switch and I often need to rearrange them in a fast manner. Tmux allows just that. And yeah, llvm is nice – it’s from BSD and it surely has a growing fan community on Linux as well. However, my studies require me to have a gcc ready at hand, and often even a number of different versions. Also I need to be able to use TeX, and there is an excellent distribution called MacTeX, that just offers everything and more that a TeX user could hope for. Those are my everyday tools, and as most of them come from the Unix world they need to be ported to OS X, and to do that in a sane way there is Home Brew which has become essentially to me, too. And I use rvm, that overwrites the cd command with a hooked version that calls rvm, which switches to the right Ruby version, when a directory I change to has an .ruby file specifying the ruby version needed for the software in that directory. As ruby versions and especially different ruby gem versions can be a huge pain to deal with manually, this tool is yet another one that I highly depend on.

I could list a huge number of additional software – but to make it short: None of these work anymore.

This renders my MacBook useless for the purposes I bought it – to have a unix machine for my computer science studies, that offers me all the power I can get out of a Linux with all the comfort an OS X provides.

Yes, there are workaround for Home Brew – but they only work, if your user has administrative rights. My user doesn’t. If I need administrative rights, I check what for. If root rights are needed, I even have to go further, because my user is not in sudoers. So if Software needs roots rights, two different passwords are needed, and I explicitly check why software needs it, and if this is really necessary or if I am getting more than I had hoped for. So the arguments with wich Apple introduced SIP do not count for me – they additionally don’t provide any value. I know what I am doing, so shutting me out, even as root, for different directories and only allowing Apple certified and signed software to change these directories is just a plain annoyance.

Luckily, you can switch off SIP for now. If in future releases this changes, than I’ll have a 11“ MacBook Air + 27“ Thunderbolt Display, Superdrive, Keyboard and Magic Trackpad for sale… oh and then I wouldn’t need my iPhone anymore as well…

BTW: Meanwhile, while still being far from perfect, Microsoft is going in all the right directions with Windows 10. That was an Update that for now actually impressed me. If this trend goes on, I predict that in some years, Microsoft will gain back a lot of users that switched to Apple.

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