In the last episode of ATP (at time of printing, as they say) our faithful heroes discuss Catalina being slower than earlier releases.
Allan Odegaard of Textmate fame has written a little analysis of the situation here with numbers and some very detailed and interesting explanations.
I don’t really know how to feel about this. I do know I agree - macos is slower now, and yes it is design choices that have made it this way. But is it worth it? It’s possible I’m not the best person to decide, as I’m lucky enough that my work pays for a really kick-ass Macbook Pro for me.
However, I tried to format that machine just a couple of weeks ago to get rid of what I assumed to be cruft in the system, and it had no effect other than wasting a weekend and forcing me to make some choices about which software to reinstall. The OS is clearly slower than it was!
The increasing reliance of Apple’s OSes on the cloud doing stuff is really irking me. Not everybody has stellar Internet access everywhere and, more to the point, never will, no matter how the technology evolves. What’s the point of having great, local apps doing stuff if you depend heavily on the cloud? In that’s the whole idea, we can buy Chromebooks, they’ll be cheaper.
I don’t think anyone would claim that there are great cloud apps currently that supplant great desktop apps. But that day is coming. In the mean time with multiple devices and OSes and more mobile computing than ever (and more sharing and real-time collaborative work done in businesses and schools) there’s undeniable utility in apps with cloud components.
That said, I appreciate fast apps over slower ones, and I prefer OSes to run faster. But there are trade offs. The fastest macOS I remember using was 10.4, but it was quite limited in its capabilities and had bugginess issues. The last, fastest macOS I used that I enjoyed using was probably Snow Leopard.
I’m not running Catalina yet, but speed isn’t the reason.
Alongside all of these “nickel and dime” delays, I currently have a bug where every time I need to authenticate in Privacy settings to allow one of the dozens of apps I’ve had to install since reformatting - there’s a 15-ish second delay before and after the touch-ID thing comes on. It even happens when locking the padlock again!
In short, I agree with Siracusa(?) that it’s time for at least one QOL version, and perhaps just stopping the yearly version increases and going over to a more modern release process. I’m not asking for daily updates, but clearly you don’t need to invent a new codename every time you add a feature!
(In Macos 3017 Elm St San Diego, CA 92102 we’ve mostly focused on fixing this one bug where if you were on the border between two time zones on the vernal equinox while running counterclockwise, the time would sometimes show incorrectly. )
Apparenlty ‘slow by design’ apparently means that Apple is implementing new, necessary security measures. An Xcode engineer made this interesting statement two days ago:
Xcode (the UI) is able to bypass GateKeeper checks for things it builds.
The “Developer Tool” pane in System Prefs, Security, Privacy is the same power. Drag anything into that list you’d like to grant the same privilege (such as xcodebuild). This is inherited by child processes as well.
The point of this is to avoid malware packing bits of Xcode with itself and silently compiling itself on the target machine, thus bypassing system security policy.
… which give reason for Apple to include notarization checks to scripts and other standalone executables, even if the tradeoff is some speed.
Apple hasn’t opened up about what precisely it’s doing, which has resulted in much gnashing of techie teeth. But there’s a nice overview at Eclectic Light Co.
I think the best thing to come from this (other than Apple goaded into improving transparency and performance here) is wider awareness of the available whitelists. Most people won’t need to visit that pane more than once, either.
Back in the long-ago times, TextMate 2 was announced. And we TM 1 users waited and waited and waited… It did eventually come out, but the delays and Allan’s seeming disappearance left a sour taste in a lot of mouths.
It tells you about syncing operations progresses whether in iCloud or iCloud Drive, but does not offer explanations for issues as far as I can tell (probably because Apple does not expose that information).