Post-WWDC thoughts

... my general impression about where Mac OS is going is that Apple wants to turn it into a sort of low-maintenance system. The pretext is security: lock down this and that because it could be exploited; remove this and that because it’s code we can’t be bothered to update or optimise, it could potentially represent a vector for an attack, blah blah. Meanwhile, let’s also use these security measures to make the life of the already stressed-out Mac developers even harder.

In 30 years as a Mac power user, what I have been appreciating about Mac software was the ability to think and act outside the box, so to speak. In recent times, Apple seems hell-bent on keeping Mac software inside the box. The walled-garden model and paranoid security made and make definitely more sense on mobile systems. I appreciate being able to look for and install apps on my iPhone that won’t mess with my device or present a security risk for the operating system or for me as a user (although Apple hasn’t done a great job at keeping scams away from the App Store); but on the Mac I want to have more freedom of movement. I’m an expert user, I know the risks involved. Let me tinker. Give the option to have a locked-down Mac for novice users who expect to use it like an appliance, or in the same way they use their phones and tablets. Leave the ‘root’ door open for those who know what they’re doing.


To be clear. I like my Apple devices. I spend thousands of dollars on Apple products for my family and me. I have the right to complain where I think things are not meeting my expectations. Apple is not infallible.

Since Apple can’t be bothered to update the open-source components of their OS, I am happy they will be removing deprecated software. It is better to see the kids placed into foster care, then watch them be abused and neglected by their parents.

It’s getting a lot harder to defend Apple’s action. Many long-time Mac users that I know — I was the president of the Princeton Macintosh Users Group for about five year - and macOS developers, are not happy. I don’t think the concerns of this user base should be dismissed with a wave of the hand. It tends to get people angry when they feel like they are being told their concerns are irrelevant.

I switched to the Mac platform (from Windows) before it was cool. I switched because OS X was UNIX and because it had a usable GUI and I could run well built commercial software and use (or write) open-source software. OS X was open and I could tinker to my heart's content.

It feels to me that with each release, the *NIX part and the openness is being deprecated.

The list of things broken by the new security model in macOS Catalina continues to grow.

AirMail’s bundle for handling PGP encrypted email won’t load.

The L/R Instagram plugin for Lightroom Classic no longer works. That breaks one of my workflows.

This app packed version of curl won’t run. This is from the LR/Instagram Adobe Lightroom plugin.

I was taken aback, then, when I heard from WWDC that Catalina was going to apply essentially the same security rules to command tools as it does to apps.Howard Oakley

I verified support for my hardware but Sidecar doesn't work with my 2013 iMac and 11" iPad Pro.

The current version of HomeBrew isn't yet ready for macOS 10.15.

There are plenty of changes to security and privacy which you’ll need to check out, but my concern in this article is the effect of Catalina’s read-only system volume on paths – a topic which doesn’t seem to have been discussed much, but which may well break many scripts and apps.hoakley

I would suggest the following class of users avoid macOS 10.15 "Catalina":

  • anyone using open source software
  • anyone using third-party software not notarized by Apple.
  • DJ's and photographers dependant on popular commercial software for those industries.
  • anyone developing using anything that is not X-code.
  • anyone running 32-bit apps
  • nerds and system administrators with custom scripts.