Lloyd Chambers on Apple Core Rot
The discontent is spreading. In his most recent post, Lloyd Chambers of the Mac Performance Guide site outlines his concerns with Mac OS X and Apple’s policies of late. He’s no dilettante, having been the developer behind the innovative DiskDoubler and AutoDoubler compression products from the 1990s, now focussing on topics of interest to advanced and professional photographers.
This is scary for even semi-professionals like me. As I sit here typing on my 5 year old MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard, it occurs to me that even though my critical work is done mainly with BBEdit, Interarchy, AppleScript, and FileMaker Pro 10, all stable programs, when my trusty computer finally grinds to a halt I will have little option but to get on the latest OS X train and hope that it doesn't derail.
And when that happens you'll be fine. ML is just as stable as SL when compared feature for feature. The only real weak spot of ML is iCloud document syncing (other aspects work just as well on ML as on SL).
Personally I find articles like this pure FUD.
Not to mention shortsighted. It's like the 1% complaining when 1% of what they have isn't as perfect as they would like. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them.
I've got four computers on ML and couldn't be happier. And there are many great quality-of-life improvements that make things easier for both the 99% (i.e. my father-in-law, my children) as well as the 1%.
I'm glad to hear that everything is working well for you, Bryan, but the increasing number of people who are speaking up and saying that they're not happy says to me that things are not wonderful everywhere.
I personally don't have many stability issues with Mountain Lion, but there are things that irk me about it, even little things like the screen saver no longer being able to handle nested folders. And when I upgraded my parents to Mountain Lion so they could run some new software, it caused significant consternation - I'm still trying to get them functional in iTunes 11.
It is important to understand that criticisms like Lloyd's and ours are not just whining - they're meant to be constructive. If everything was hunky-dory, we wouldn't be saying anything. We are speaking up because we're having problems, and we're worried that Apple doesn't seem to be paying attention to these kind of issues.
The main problem I have with Lloyd's article is that he makes it sound like the problems he's experiencing are universal truths. That, and there is a lot of stating opinion as fact. There comes a point where the FUD in articles like that become counterproductive. Just look at he original comment here. He is afraid of ML, and how is that a good thing?
It's certainly true that some of Lloyd's criticisms would seem to be limited to his experience, but he's a long-time developer and professional user, so I tend to take them as examples, rather than universal truths. It is extremely difficult for anyone outside Apple to evaluate just how common a problem is; we tend to go on the number of comments we get, or the length of discussions in the Apple Support Communities, since those have proven indicative in the past.
Personally, I'm seeing more problems on the iOS side of the house, and more of my general concerns (which Lloyd echoes) surround Apple's policies toward developers, which have trickle-down effects on the entire user base.
The article was bitchy and short on citations for problems. For example: I've not had any problem with the Finder doing file copies. But there ARE issues with the Finder, lots of them.
I think Mr. Chambers could have made his points better by supporting them which he does not. So it's just a rant. If he wants to make an impact then go down that list, item by item, one blog post at a time, and talk about them at length and in detail. Then there will be real ideas and facts for us to ponder and to talk about. Otherwise, no matter his experience, the rant comes across as shallow and unfocused: just the problems he's saying exist at Apple and with Mac OS X.
As an avid digital photographer, I used to follow Lloyd Chambers closely and subscribed to his website. Over time, though, I gave up and dropped out. He seemed to have little constructive to say, preferring over the top rants and outrageous generalizations, into which he would mix his political views.
Ultimately I decided I was better served by going out and taking photos, rather than by reading rants about this camera, that lens, or whatever.
Interesting to see his style hasn't changed.
I'm not sure that the discontent is spreading, and why Chambers thinks this era worse than those that preceded it. Apple has produced bad software and made stupid decisions well before OS X. Mature products like Claris/AppleWorks were redesigned and left to die; Internet, and later, cloud services were mediocre from the very beginning (from .mac, a clone of AOL, all the way to iCloud); decisions about critical file systems, network systems, even (recently) UI decisions seemed like internal political battle won, not on quality, but on power.
Maybe we have to wait another year or so until Tim Cook sorts it out, including the purchase of more companies, using its vast cash reserves, that will provide solutions and engineers to solve the obvious problems (and not just skeumorphism).
Now that Apple is so successful, let's not ignore the fact that we were pretty disappointed with them when they weren't doing so well, too.
Perhaps there's a sense that things have changed because in the past Apple didn't have infinite cash/resources, the way they do now. When the company is a collection of mere mortals working with constrained resources, and when they're doing the kinds of things only a dominant player can do (c.f. App Store policies), they get less slack.
But let's assume you're right, and this is nothing new. Is there any reason to believe that Tim Cook will sort it out, particularly if there's no annoyance from the community to make it clear that there are methods of feedback other than money that Apple should pay attention to? Apple has been making money hand over fist for quite a few years now, and yet for many of us, the sense is that things are certainly not getting better, and may be getting worse.
So as long as Apple sees itself as successful purely based on positive financial results, I see no reason we'll see anything change for the better with regard to quality problems that clearly aren't hurting sales. And that I find troubling.