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Old Feb 11, 2013, 10:15 PM   #1
zephonic
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Core Rot at Apple

I just found this blog post and it sort of voices a few of my own gripes. Thought I'd post it here so as to get a discussion going and hoping that Apple will somehow take notice.

http://macperformanceguide.com/AppleCoreRot-intro.html

Excerpt:

Quote:

General working theory


All this is not all right, but not all of it is wrong either. There is room for disagreement, but there are general rotten spots at Apple that cannot be denied.

OS X is degrading into a base for an entertainment platform. As it stands, the trend is entirely downhill for serious work (albeit a mild grade so far, but steadily downhill nonetheless).

OS updates are fast and furious— a lot of hype but little of real value and a lot that degrades value, improvements to stability running in reverse, core performance stagnating, followed by a scattershot approach to fixing new bugs introduced in the new haphazard and hurried release that was made to match the next model, not to provide serious deeply considered benefits.

Core operating system quality is declining as resources are diverted to software development in more profitable lines: iPhone, iPad, iHaveNoRealWorkToDo products. Apple forgets its history and leaves it core professional base twisting in the wind.

We begin to tread in dangerous territory: potential data loss in some cases due to haphazard design and apparently no testing in key areas outside a very narrow scope of usage (“who would make any changes to the awesome setup for novices that we Apple Geniuses provide?”).

Developers are forced without recourse (by API changes and Apple Store requirements) into costly and arbitrary updates which themselves carry the risk of new bugs.

Apple, a leader in pro graphics, still has no 10-bit video card drivers. This was an issue 3-4 years ago, but the joke has now worn thin . PC users are laughing at Mac users.

Useful functionality is prohibited in the name of security. No choice— comply or you’re not in the Apple Store and it doesn’t matter if your users demand the features or not.

Outright removal of an API in a minor release. Deprecation with threat of removal of robust long-standing threading APIs with rewrite required. This is a major burden on some developers, a pure cost, and every such change carries the risk of new bugs.

Censorship is the wrong term (censorship applying only to the state against its citizens), Apple’s iron hand over what constitutes a “right and proper” application leaves no room for disagreement— Apple is lord and master and final judge on what is “acceptable”, both in design and content.

Hardware for professional use is released in 3-6 year cycles (Mac Pro), or is dropped entirely (XServe and related). My MPG Pro Workstation (based on Mac Pro) gets the job done every day, but I want current chips, not 2.5-year-old performance which is little different from performance 4+ years ago.

The trend to a new breed of “shallow” features: those useful only for beginners and entertainment, coupled with serious bugs or workflow impairments for everyone else. Makeup over pimples.

The general dumbing-down of features in every Apple OS X program. Arbitrary removal of functionality such as keyboard shortcuts, or simply removal of features entirely.

The general trend to introducing stupidly inappropriate iOS-isms into OS X (e.g., Mission Control).

The OS X donkey cart is getting loaded with ribbons and flyers and decorations and marching band, but getting real work done is getting harder due to having to work around “improvements”.

So-called OS X “upgrades” now consist largely of ill-conceived dilettante eye-candy features that reduce usability, clutter the user interface and introduce scads of new bugs. No true upgrades have occurred for at least two major releases.

The real talent at Apple has probably been diverted away from OS X to iP* development, leaving incompetent and truly reckless programmers working on areas they have no business touching.

Existence proofs

As of early 2013.


iTunes — a nightmarish kitchen sink design cluttered with dozens of tabs and modes and animations and clutter, all mixing highly variant purposes Fortunately, Walter Mossberg likes it (but it’s time for him to hang up his jockstrap).

iCloud — a organization-destroying bug-ridden unreliable disaster.

OS X Finder — damages the system, can’t copy files reliably, can’t do useful things it ought to do at all, hides key files, rife with bugs.

iPhoto — arbitrary removal of keyboard shortcuts and similar made a slightly useful program into a useless toy.

Aperture — so full of display bugs on dual-display systems as to be unusable.

Time Machine — auto-excludes critical data from backup, silently.

Disk Utility — under some conditions, destroys arbitrary numbers of volumes, no real upgrade for years, took two minor releases to fix RAID support.

File system — continued use of HFS Plus instead of robust ZFS.

That’s just for starters, OS X Lion had its share of hairballs, many of which still exist.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zephonic View Post
I just found this blog post and it sort of voices a few of my own gripes. Thought I'd post it here so as to get a discussion going and hoping that Apple will somehow take notice.
Apple does not go to user2user forums and looks for possible problems. If you find a bug, report it here:
http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by zephonic View Post
This is more or less, unfounded nonsense.

Here are a few examples:
Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
OS X is degrading into a base for an entertainment platform. As it stands, the trend is entirely downhill for serious work (albeit a mild grade so far, but steadily downhill nonetheless).
You can still do all the serious work on Macs. And btw, It is not the fault of the manufacturer, if the customer uses the wrong tool for the wrong task.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
Developers are forced without recourse (by API changes and Apple Store requirements) into costly and arbitrary updates which themselves carry the risk of new bugs.
APIs on the OS-level change from time to time. The other choice is: No new APIs, no new functions, no development of the platform. All large software developers and a lot of small software developers (see MAS), have no big problem with the API changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
Apple, a leader in pro graphics, still has no 10-bit video card drivers. This was an issue 3-4 years ago, but the joke has now worn thin . PC users are laughing at Mac users.
Apple is NOT “a leader in pro graphics”. And btw, only a handful of people need 10-Bit/channel, and have the appropriate equipment (supported displays, for example).

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
iTunes — a nightmarish kitchen sink design cluttered with dozens of tabs and modes and animations and clutter, all mixing highly variant purposes Fortunately, Walter Mossberg likes it (but it’s time for him to hang up his jockstrap).
I use iTunes since v1.0, and used SoundJam MP before iTunes. The only thing which is buggy in the current version (and previous versions) is the MP3 encoder. The GUI is much better, than in previous versions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
iCloud — a organization-destroying bug-ridden unreliable disaster.
No one forces you to use iCloud. Use the countless alternatives, if you really must use cloud-based services. The world works also without cloud-based services.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
OS X Finder — damages the system, can’t copy files reliably, can’t do useful things it ought to do at all, hides key files, rife with bugs.
It is unlikely, that the Finder damages a system, because he runs with the access privileges of the current user. In many cases it is a hardware issue (cable problem, SATA problem), if a user can not copy files reliably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
iPhoto — arbitrary removal of keyboard shortcuts and similar made a slightly useful program into a useless toy.
iPhoto is a tool for non-pro users. That is not new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
Aperture — so full of display bugs on dual-display systems as to be unusable.
Use Adobe Lightroom! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
Time Machine — auto-excludes critical data from backup, silently.
Such as!? Time Machine should not be your only backup solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macperformanceguide.com
File system — continued use of HFS Plus instead of robust ZFS.
ZFS is robust on the Mac platform!?
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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ZFS issues had to do with licensing from Sun/Oracle, in that that's why we can't have it. ZFS is a way better filesystem than HFS+, even if the current OSX implementation isn't fantastic. His complaint is valid because apple isn't advancing it's filesystem like it can be.

I'd have to think you must live on another planet if you don't see where the OP is at least coming from.

As a professional working with macs, apple isn't doing me too many favors by rapidly releasing OS upgrades that provide very little in the way of features, but kill software compatibility and arbitrarily restricts older hardware. Want to run server 10.7? Too bad!!

Your line-by-line quoting is a bit much. It's kinda hard to respond to as I don't want to get myopically out of context, but you kinda prove his point with many of your responses. "Use a different tool?" - well, none of them integrate with OSX well because apple didn't release a useable API for 3rd party developers. Nothing integrates with OSX the way iCloud does and everything else requires a bit of manual labor - there is no comparable other product.

Time machine shouldn't be your only backup solution? Ok - what does Apple recommend? I'm sorry guy, but you are kinda full of it
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news...ia-and-hp.aspx

Red giving up on Apple
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freejazz-man View Post
ZFS issues had to do with licensing from Sun/Oracle, in that that's why we can't have it. ZFS is a way better filesystem than HFS+, even if the current OSX implementation isn't fantastic. His complaint is valid because apple isn't advancing it's filesystem like it can be.

I'd have to think you must live on another planet if you don't see where the OP is at least coming from.

As a professional working with macs, apple isn't doing me too many favors by rapidly releasing OS upgrades that provide very little in the way of features, but kill software compatibility and arbitrarily restricts older hardware. Want to run server 10.7? Too bad!!

Your line-by-line quoting is a bit much. It's kinda hard to respond to as I don't want to get myopically out of context, but you kinda prove his point with many of your responses. "Use a different tool?" - well, none of them integrate with OSX well because apple didn't release a useable API for 3rd party developers. Nothing integrates with OSX the way iCloud does and everything else requires a bit of manual labor - there is no comparable other product.

Time machine shouldn't be your only backup solution? Ok - what does Apple recommend? I'm sorry guy, but you are kinda full of it
ZFS wasn't just about licensing. I know because I tested it for almost a year.

There was more to it than licensing.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 03:53 PM   #6
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http://arstechnica.com/apple/2009/10...ensing-issues/

the licensing issues are what prevented apple from continuing development on the project - obviously there were issues

unless... are you referring to secret rumors I haven't heard? Do tell!
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 05:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freejazz-man View Post
No real loss, because brightsideofnews.com lied:
Quote:
Originally Posted by brightsideofnews.com
While Apple is a powerhouse in eyes of consumers, the company decided to give a silent treatment to its core audience, designers and content creators.
Designers and content creators are not the core audience of Apple. Proof:




----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peace View Post
There was more to it than licensing.
Yeah. ZFS or other “new” file systems require updates for the EFI, the kernel and other OS parts. Not likely.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 05:12 PM   #8
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you seem to be missing the point

you know... it used to be called Apple Computers, right?

I don't think measuring the amount of iPhones they sell does anything but prove the point the OP was trying to make.

And yeah, no duh you'd have to update the kernel to handle a new filesystem - that's what OS upgrades used to have, changes to the kernel. That's the point. Apple isn't willing to do anything that isn't rolling out a new product, limiting access to an older one, or arbitrarily changing a GUI.

I work in the photography and printing industry and these guys have been using Macs since day one. These are the people that are complaining about not receiving the kind of support, or attention, from apple that they used to. Clearly Apple has moved onto other things. That's the exact point of the OP.

What don't you get?

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Old Feb 13, 2013, 07:54 AM   #9
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I can't blame any company for following the money. There are a lot of historical examples of companies that were loyal to their little itty bitty niche markets and went down when others came along and outdid them.

Apple is part of that history. Palm buried the Apple Newton then sat on its laurels while RIM and Windows Mobile softened Palm up for the knockout punch delivered by... Apple iPhone.

My most useful computer right now? It's a bit of a toss up between my iPhone and my iPad mini. The best camera in the world is the one you have with you. The same is true for computers. I'd love to see Apple take better care of its long loyal creative professionals customers but I don't blame Apple for neglecting the source of 10% of their revenue to lavish attention on those users that are providing 83% of their revenue (iPhone + iPad + iTunes Store). That is the way the free market is supposed to work and happily for those of us that want to see Apple succeed, it's working at Apple quite well.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 02:06 PM   #10
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Do you think that the concepts are mutually exclusive?

Apple isn't going to maintain it's outrageous mobile share for very long, and certainly not if they don't provide the other products for the life of the device.

If you think 10% of Apple's revenue is insignificant, then I don't know what to say
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 08:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freejazz-man View Post
ZFS issues had to do with licensing from Sun/Oracle, in that that's why we can't have it. ZFS is a way better filesystem than HFS+, even if the current OSX implementation isn't fantastic. His complaint is valid because apple isn't advancing it's filesystem like it can be.

I'd have to think you must live on another planet if you don't see where the OP is at least coming from.
Well, hang on. Let's talk about this a little more in-depth.

What happens if Apple changes their file system from HFS+ to ZFS? What does that do to backwards compatibility? What does that do to third party utilities? How big of a change is it?

Secondly, what are the potential performance gains by making the change?

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by freejazz-man View Post
And yeah, no duh you'd have to update the kernel to handle a new filesystem - that's what OS upgrades used to have, changes to the kernel. That's the point. Apple isn't willing to do anything that isn't rolling out a new product, limiting access to an older one, or arbitrarily changing a GUI.

What don't you get?
So, what file system changes have happened to Darwin apart from that used by Apple since 2000? Is it using ZFS?
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 02:01 AM   #12
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Designers and content creators are not the core audience of Apple.
Without content creators (at least developers) iPhones and iPads wouldn't be very useful. And the iPhone would be no where near as much revenue for them if it wasn't subsidized by the phone companies.

I wonder how many professionals are waiting for a REAL update to the Pro before upgrading. Also, I know a number of Mac fans that won't give up Snow Leopard, and have to this day put off buying another Mac. They used to upgrade regularly. Snow Leopard seems to still be the favorite OS Apple has released to date.

Eventually iPads will reach market saturation. That 10% CPU Sales is going to grow. It might not ever be like it was, but I think there are a number of things Apple is doing (or not doing) to itself thats preventing that number from growing. You can't even create an iPhone or iPad app without a Mac right now. It would be a shame if Apple neglected the Mac platform for too long, as it will affect their iPad and iPhone business eventually.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 11:47 AM   #13
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I'm pleased to see Apple bringing in these new initiatives like CoreRot™, CoreStorage, CoreAudio and other APIs. They really help programmers write exciting new code for innovative products.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 05:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mr. Retrofire View Post
Designers and content creators are not the core audience of Apple. Proof:
You know the content creators that not only buy a substantial proportion of the iPad,iPhone and Mac Sales. Are the ones buying Apple creation software in other. But are one producing the content that then move not just more iPads, iPhones, iPods that make up the bulk of the revenue, but the 7% iTunes is what Apples split of the 30/70 for sales of the content produced.

That makes Designers and content creators look pretty important. Ok sure more as a supplier group than customers. So yeah not "core audience", but as a strong attractor to that "core audience".
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 09:49 AM   #15
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Well, hang on. Let's talk about this a little more in-depth.

What happens if Apple changes their file system from HFS+ to ZFS? What does that do to backwards compatibility? What does that do to third party utilities? How big of a change is it?

Secondly, what are the potential performance gains by making the change?

----------



So, what file system changes have happened to Darwin apart from that used by Apple since 2000? Is it using ZFS?
Is there a reason why an operating can't use more than one filesystem? OSX supports HFS, HFS+, fat16, fat32, and many more with fuse (NTFS, ext3/4). So I fail to see your point.

If you don't know what ZFS is look it up, there are a number of advantages to using a next generation filesystem.

Not changing the filesystem since 1998 is my exact point, thanks.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 10:31 AM   #16
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Is there a reason why an operating can't use more than one filesystem? OSX supports HFS, HFS+, fat16, fat32, and many more with fuse (NTFS, ext3/4). So I fail to see your point.

If you don't know what ZFS is look it up, there are a number of advantages to using a next generation filesystem.

Not changing the filesystem since 1998 is my exact point, thanks.
Hey, I'm not trying to bait you or be disrespectful, as I wouldn't know one file system from another.

So, when I ask those questions, I'm sincere in my ignorance of the answers.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 03:42 PM   #17
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Yet all current video/audio pros use Mac Pros or high end iMacs. They laugh at PCs.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 05:43 PM   #18
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Yet all current video/audio pros use Mac Pros or high end iMacs. They laugh at PCs.
A lot of that in the past has taken place on Linux, so I'm not sure about laughing at PCs. Some 3d apps aren't even made for OSX.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 06:18 PM   #19
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If you don't know what ZFS is look it up, there are a number of advantages to using a next generation filesystem.
There are significant advantages in using a proven, reliable file system, designed with the requirements of the end user in mind. It's very easy to read about all the advantages of the next great thing; but only as long as you are not the one who needs to implement it, who needs to make it absolutely bullet proof, and who needs to make sure that all the existing software works.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Secondly, what are the potential performance gains by making the change?
I'd ask: What is the cost? Development time by Apple, development time by third party developers, and cost of data loss when things go wrong? What is the upside? How many Macs will Apple sell more because of ZFS? My estimate is: Close to zero.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 07:41 PM   #20
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What a poorly written article. The author I doubt has even ever used a Mac.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 09:23 PM   #21
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What a dumb article... Obviously the easiest measure to see whether Apple is heading in the right direction is to ask yourself "Who is making the money?".

As for the criticisms that Apple has dropped it's professional market, there is definitely a bit of dumbing down going on, for sure, but 10-15 years ago the video production market was very different... The equipment needed to shoot, import, edit and produce a professional looking final product was much more complex and expensive then which meant that Apple made tools that were available for the limited market that could afford it (and consequently, because the size of the market was smaller, they charged a lot more for it to cover their R&D costs).

Today, people are happy with the concept of "video for the masses"... Today, the cost of equipment required to produce something of even a slightly professional looking result costs many many times less than it did 10 years ago. As a result, more people are getting into the game and can do so only because vendors like Apple have dumbed it down enough so that even people with only moderate skills can produce something that at least looks reasonably presentable. There is nothing wrong with this and Apple is simply filling a market of which there is huge demand. In fact if anything, the market for that ultra-high-end solution that Apple traditionally had is declining and is best left to specialist companies... Why? Because today, Apple is a brand for the masses, not a brand for the niche like it used to be.
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 12:51 PM   #22
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What a dumb article... Obviously the easiest measure to see whether Apple is heading in the right direction is to ask yourself "Who is making the money?".

As for the criticisms that Apple has dropped it's professional market, there is definitely a bit of dumbing down going on, for sure, but 10-15 years ago the video production market was very different... The equipment needed to shoot, import, edit and produce a professional looking final product was much more complex and expensive then which meant that Apple made tools that were available for the limited market that could afford it (and consequently, because the size of the market was smaller, they charged a lot more for it to cover their R&D costs).

Today, people are happy with the concept of "video for the masses"... Today, the cost of equipment required to produce something of even a slightly professional looking result costs many many times less than it did 10 years ago. As a result, more people are getting into the game and can do so only because vendors like Apple have dumbed it down enough so that even people with only moderate skills can produce something that at least looks reasonably presentable. There is nothing wrong with this and Apple is simply filling a market of which there is huge demand. In fact if anything, the market for that ultra-high-end solution that Apple traditionally had is declining and is best left to specialist companies... Why? Because today, Apple is a brand for the masses, not a brand for the niche like it used to be.
This is a poor compass for direction.
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 01:42 PM   #23
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There are significant advantages in using a proven, reliable file system, designed with the requirements of the end user in mind. It's very easy to read about all the advantages of the next great thing; but only as long as you are not the one who needs to implement it, who needs to make it absolutely bullet proof, and who needs to make sure that all the existing software works.
Right - and we don't have ZFS because of a licensing issue - so figure that out for yourself

Apple had ZFS developers, they contributed code to the open source project. They couldn't secure a deal with sun/oracle to include it in OSX, in the end.

You guys clearly don't even know what you are talking about if you think that ZFS would be incredibly difficult to implement in an OS. It isn't. It runs on production servers all over the world (which have much more stringent requirements for 'costly' data loss, and everything else you've mentioned). ZFS does what timemachine does except in much less time and with much less storage requirements. This is exactly what apple had in mind when they first tried to get ZFS in OSX. So I don't think the idea that it would or wouldn't sell more computers is irrelevant when they ended up with a less advanced solution to the same problem simply due to corporate license judo.

Is there a place to have this discussion without people chiming in about how their iPods are great so therefore Apple (formerly computers), is doing well? I'd love to debate this, but it's kinda worthless if people are going to make nonsense points like "changes to the OS cost time and money" and "buuuut the iPhone sells reaaally well". None of that touches on the premise in the article which is that that's the problem.

Of course changes to the OS cost time and money - that's why they charge you for 10.8. That's why it takes time to come out. The point is that these OS updates have been coming out more and more often with fewer updates to anything that isn't some sort of skeuomorphism or other graphical frill.

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Old Feb 19, 2013, 03:07 PM   #24
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Read the article and then read some of the comments from other readers. Seems the author is being called out on his article and there are links that prove he is wrong about RED ditching Apple. Very interesting to say the least.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 12:44 PM   #25
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This is a poor compass for direction.
In this case? Please explain how.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by freejazz-man View Post
Right - and we don't have ZFS because of a licensing issue - so figure that out for yourself

Apple had ZFS developers, they contributed code to the open source project. They couldn't secure a deal with sun/oracle to include it in OSX, in the end.

You guys clearly don't even know what you are talking about if you think that ZFS would be incredibly difficult to implement in an OS. It isn't. It runs on production servers all over the world (which have much more stringent requirements for 'costly' data loss, and everything else you've mentioned). ZFS does what timemachine does except in much less time and with much less storage requirements. This is exactly what apple had in mind when they first tried to get ZFS in OSX. So I don't think the idea that it would or wouldn't sell more computers is irrelevant when they ended up with a less advanced solution to the same problem simply due to corporate license judo.

Is there a place to have this discussion without people chiming in about how their iPods are great so therefore Apple (formerly computers), is doing well? I'd love to debate this, but it's kinda worthless if people are going to make nonsense points like "changes to the OS cost time and money" and "buuuut the iPhone sells reaaally well". None of that touches on the premise in the article which is that that's the problem.

Of course changes to the OS cost time and money - that's why they charge you for 10.8. That's why it takes time to come out. The point is that these OS updates have been coming out more and more often with fewer updates to anything that isn't some sort of skeuomorphism or other graphical frill.
Why does ZFS matter?
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