Why is Homebrew Cask not the preferred method to install GUI apps?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Muratyqvuz, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Muratyqvuz macrumors newbie

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    Jan 5, 2017
    #1
    People generally prefer AppStore > DMG

    Please state your prefered order and reason
     
  2. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #2
    Homebrew Cask is unstable; they are not reluctant to make breaking changes to the code base. They also don’t care about potentially distributing malware and adware and they do not quarantine the downloaded/installed applications so that they benefit from Gatekeeper.
     
  3. Muratyqvuz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Mac App Store or DMG which one your first choice ?
     
  4. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #4
    It depends. I like to go for App Store applications because of the sandboxing requirements, but in some cases that is not really desirable. I prefer to buy more expensive software outside of the App Store, because I do not like the DRM restrictions that the App Store places on it.
     
  5. Supermacguy macrumors 6502

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    Jan 3, 2008
    #5
    Because its command line. No casual user wants that hassle. GRAPHICAL user interface is why we even use computers so easily. I'm a full time developer and I still prefer ALL GUI apps over command line alternatives. It's just easier for humans to understand.
     
  6. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #6
    Homebrew Cask (v 0.1) only dates to Aug 25, 2012.
    It's still only v0.60.1
    Why would I switch from stable, time tested installation software to something that hasn't even made 1.0 yet?
     
  7. Muratyqvuz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I like homebrew because of its leftover remove ability
     
  8. Tech198 macrumors G5

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    #8
    True... but just like Windows there is allot more switches the GUI is limited by or the user must know about first to add them to the end of a command eg /v etc
     
  9. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    #9
    (1) I hadn't heard of it until now. I had heard of Homebrew and although I currently use MacPorts, I was planning to give brew a whirl next time I do a clean install or break in a new Mac.

    (2) Homebrew/Macports/Fink, solve a real problem: installing and managing cross-platform *nix software, that runs from the command line or via XQuartz. Such software is compiled from source that sometimes needs tweaking or patching to build on Mac, has lots of dependencies to manage and needs to be kept in /opt/local or suchlike to prevent interference from stuff pre-installed by MacOS.

    "Cask", however, appears to be a solution looking for a problem. For native MacOS apps, AppStore or .dmg/.pkg downloads do the job and are ubiquitous - you can grab the latest version direct from the author/publisher's website, so why add a dependency on third-party "Casks"?
     
  10. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #10
    Because you can just type: brew cask install <all my apps> and you are done. No hunting for apps and going through several installers.
     
  11. posguy99 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Why in the *world* would you chance some third-party re-packaging of someone's software vs going to the actual publisher? I'd also ask why those publishers aren't landing on people re-distributing their software via "cask" with both feet... unless it's GPL/BSD licensed, it's likely whoever's doing it doesn't have a right to distribute in the first place.
     
  12. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Sure... after faffing about to find out precisely what names cask uses for the apps (especially time consuming if it turns out the app isn't there), further faffing to find out if there are any installation options to set, then going to the publishers' website anyway to check if cask has the latest version... probably along with a bit of due diligence to make sure you're not getting pirated software (there are things like Adobe CC in the list at https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/tree/master/Casks - how does that work?)

    It's not as if downloading a .dmg and clicking a .pkg or dragging an icon to Applications is one of the labours of Hercules. As I said, when the alternative is building something from a tarball, Homebrew etc. have a use.
     
  13. chrfr macrumors 604

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #13
    This is just the Adobe Creative Cloud installer app, so you'd still need to sign into that app and let it download your Adobe CC apps. In that instance there's not much incentive to use Cask to install the CC installer.
    For me, I'd want to validate each script I'm running before using them to install anything on my computer. It's no more work to just go to a software vendor's site or the Mac App Store and just download what I need without worrying what a third party may have added into my download in their Cask script.
     
  14. KALLT, Jan 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017

    KALLT macrumors 601

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    #14
    There is no ‘repackaging’ or redistributing, all is does it download the vendor’s DMG/PKG from the source and place the app bundle therein into /Applications or install the PKG using Apple’s command-line tools. That is all this does. Think of it as automation of what you are normally doing by hand.

    You type ‘brew cask search’ and ‘brew cask info’ and find the cask in no-time. It is not that much of a problem. Caskroom often downloads the latest version due to lacking versioning at the source (e.g. app.dmg instead of app-1.5.dmg) and is pretty well-maintained, in my experience. If you happen to download an older version, then in most cases you will be notified in the app anyway.

    Caskroom is just convenience. Once you do have your list of apps it can be a very convenient way to set up your system in one go, especially after a ‘clean installation’ that so many people are after nowadays. I like that about Linux as well, you just chain the packages you need into one command and the package manager takes care of everything.

    Simple, they have a policy of accepting downloads only from official, publicly available sources. If the vendor places a directly-accessible download link on their website, then Caskroom uses it.


    I like to add that I am not using Caskroom anymore, I have used it for a while, but their developer policy just put me off. I have explained that in my first post. Nevertheless, what they are trying to do is something that appeals to me. I keep a note of all downloads somewhere anyway.
     
  15. posguy99 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    All I can say is "wow". Homebrew is really trying anything they can to keep themselves relevant. Talk about a Rube Goldberg way to do something.
     
  16. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #16
    I don’t understand the cynical attitude. They are doing this for themselves and they have attracted quite an active community of people who maintain it. If it were fruitless, then nobody would care to pour as much work into this in the first place. Cask is a separate project from Homebrew. Some of the Cask core code was moved into the Homebrew core a while ago, but that is all.

    It is not like Apple has given the App Store any love in recent years. App discovery is still abysmal and navigation is clunky. Many developers have chosen not to use it at all. What remains are dubious websites such as Softtonic and MacUpdate that are now pushing adware to stay alive. Caskroom is a nice alternative IMO.
     
  17. posguy99 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    If I know the application exists, then why do I need this random third-party tool that I have to install? Why wouldn't I just go to the Application web site?
     
  18. KALLT macrumors 601

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #18
    Why do you want to spend time searching the web when you can just type one or two commands and be done?
    Perhaps command line is not your cup of tea, but for people that are used to this it can be a big convenience.
     
  19. Canubis macrumors regular

    Canubis

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    #19
    I prefer getting software directly from a developer's website, or very seldom directly from the Mac App Store. I barely use the App Store just to browse for new things and even less often to directly look for specific tools I'd need. Google is so much faster for that. Usually my use case is that I have a problem (either very task specific or more general, like let's say an alternative to Adobe Illustrator) and would look for information about a fitting solution to it. So there is a lot of information collection involved, looking at screenshots, comparing reviews. Most of that I do either on the developer's website or another page that usually has a direct download link for me. So not sure how a command line install procedure would help here or shorten things in any way. In most cases I am already at the tool's download page when I decide I would install or buy it. But this may vary for people with other use case scenarios.
     
  20. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    #20
    That's unfair: package managers like Homebrew and MacPorts are very relevant & useful for installing and managing crossplatform, open-source, (mainly) command-line-driven Unix/Linux packages that have many dependencies on other open-source packages, are designed to be distributed in source form and feature build-time options that need to be chosen at compile time. However, they're strictly power-user tools for people who chose Mac because it runs Unix. Want to install "ffmpeg" with all its dependencies and the features you want? brew/macports may be the tool for the job. Want to install "Handbrake"? - just grab the .dmg.

    The thread starter asked why people don't use Homebrew Cask and people answered that they didn't want or need such a tool. Maybe there's a "niche" community who are continually installing and uninstalling software (maybe because they're busy developing and testing an installer tool called "cask") for whom Cask is actually useful...

    No, what remains are publishers'/devlopers' own websites, and open-source sites like github. If I want, e.g. "atom" I'll google "atom editor", follow the link to atom.io and be sure that I'm getting the latest official version. If you can't find such a site then it's nature's way of warning you that the software is "abandonware" and you should probably find an alternative.

    No clear preference - I'd usually check out the publisher/developer's website first - sometimes they direct you to the App Store anyway. For paid software, I'd want to compare both the price and the licensing deal with the AppStore - although the AppStore has DRM, the AppStore license is sometimes a better deal because it covers multiple Macs. On the other hand, the AppStore has known limitations when it comes to things like trial versions and paid upgrades (seriously, Apple, get with the program - 30 day trials and discounts for existing owners should be tick-box options for developers).
     
  21. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

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    #21
    Graphical user interfaces are more intuitive and easier to use which is why they become so popular.

    There are niche situations where a command-line tool is preferable for a handful of people, but for the average computer user, a graphical tool is simpler to use. That point seems to be lost on the OP.

    Would your mom like to turn on your microwave oven with a command-line interface or would she rather press the "Plus 1 Min" or "Popcorn" button? Yeah, I thought so.

    Personally, I'd rather have Mac App Store download since mass updating is taken care of by the App Store application using a single consistent interface. I don't have to figure out where in any given app where the update mechanism resides. "Is 'Check For Updates' in the File menu? Or maybe it's in the Help Menu? Or maybe it's in the Edit menu under Preferences? Or maybe the About screen?"

    Also, there are instances of DMG/developer download sites that have been compromised with malware, so the additional scrutiny provided by the Apple's App Store is probably a wiser choice for Joe Consumer.

    As far as I can tell from the meager documentation on Homebrew Cask's website, there is no notification and update mechanism like "brew cask update all" to update all applications previously installed by Homebrew Cask.

    That makes it vastly inferior to the Mac App Store for Joe Consumer who sees a badge, fires up the Mac App Store then clicks on the "Update All" button. That's the other major takeaway that the OP doesn't understand. The Mac App Store is far superior to all other methods in terms of application updating and version control.
     
  22. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

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    #22
    The more I think about Homebrew Cask, the more evident its shortcomings become.

    The first is current version control. The casks themselves need to be maintained which is probably being done by third-party hobbyists, not the actual application developers. That means there's a lag between any new software release and an up-to-date cask. For example, if Google releases a new version of Chrome, there will be some lag time between that release and the updated cask. If I use Homebrew Cask to install the software, there's a certain amount of uncertainty about whether or not I'm installing the latest version.

    The second is security. There's always the chance of malicious Homebrew Cask maintainer pointing the installer mechanism to download a malware-infected version of the software from a different server. At least when you use the Mac App Store or a developer's own download server, you can be relatively assured that you are getting a clean copy. Homebrew Cask adds an additional layer of uncertainty because there is no assurance of the provenance of the software.

    The third is the requirement for Xcode Command Line Tools. The average Mac user doesn't have these installed. Does it make sense to install about ~200MB of command line tool software just for a command line installer based on all of the shortcomings I've listed above? For Joe Consumer, the answer is clearly no.
     
  23. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #23
    Yet most applications distributed outside of the App Store are provided on disk images and the developer expects the user to copy the application to the /Applications directory. I always thought that this is rather obvious and easy to understand, yet it turns out that this is a problem for some people and they instead open the application directly from the disk image and always attach the image, unaware of what they should do with it.

    The App Store is clearly the superior method of installing and updating apps, but due to Apple’s rather strict policies for many still not an option.
     
  24. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    #24
    Well, most .dmgs like that open up a custom window with an alias to Applications and a large, friendly message saying "Drag this to here...". Or, you can ship a .pkg called "Install AppUWant".

    Does anybody seriously think that any user who can't cope with that is going to find it easier to locate and run Terminal* and type:
    brew cask search "App U Want"
    brew cask install Cask-Name-For-App-U-Want

    ...with correct spacing and punctuation?.
    ...and they're certainly not going to be able to cope if something goes wrong and "it says error".

    Anybody with such a low level of expertise is exactly the sort of person who would be well advised to have their Mac set to "only allow Apps from App Store".

    (* remember, if one of the first things you do when you unwrap a new Mac is dive into Applications/Utilities and drag Terminal to the Dock, and maybe install GoToShell or something to boot, then you are not a typical user).
     
  25. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #25
    I am not arguing in favour of the command line here and I think that the question as to why it is not going to resonate with the ‘average user’ has been clearly answered by now. I am saying that the current way of doing things outside of the App Store is still less than ideal. I think that a bit more open-mindedness about alternative ways of installing applications is a good thing, hence why I oppose the overall skepticism here.

    Think also of the possibilities. Assuming that Caskroom manages to provide a solid and secure foundation in the future, which they currently do not, I cannot see why a GUI companion app could not be provided. I think there is something appealing about an automated solution next to what the App Store already offers.
     

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