Well, that was then and this is now. Starting with Lion I began to spend an increasing amount of time fighting OS X instead of getting work done. I'm now using Mavericks and have not seen much improvement, in fact quite the contrary. Here are just a few of the problems after the Lion to Mavericks upgrade:
- Spotlight indexes destroyed; need 2 days to regenerate
- AppleMail access to Gmail IMAP broken
- Time Machine stuck in preparing phase
- Keynote saves presentations as directories, which makes email and cloud storage difficult
- Java installation removed
First, Mac OS X is simply buggier than it used to be. Features like Spotlight indexing and email have had problems for years. Apple has been painfully slow to address them, and some of the third party apps seem to have been a little tardy as well in adapting to new releases. Second, Apple is aiming at a consumer mass-market with converged operation of phones, tablets and laptops. Here are a few examples of how this impacts laptop usage:
- Automatic file versioning and locking features - Great if you have no idea what a file is, but a constant impediment if you are used to managing documents directly.
- Notification center - Generates constant interruptions and distinguishes poorly between things that are important (software upgrade notifications) and those that are not (the next song playing on iTunes)
- Closed hardware - I need 16GB of RAM to develop and run business apps simultaneously and have for a long time. Macbook Air, a genuinely excellent laptop, comes with only 8GB with no way to change it yourself. MacBook Pro likewise seems to be going back to the same locked model where you cannot upgrade or replace SSD drives.
Which leaves the question where to go next. Here's one idea. Linux is on its way to slaughtering the competition on servers, mobile devices including tablets, and perhaps even gaming. I doubt Linux will win as a desktop OS any time soon but for developers like me it's starting to look very tempting on a laptop, especially in combination with servers running in Amazon or a colo. Lenovo with Linux, anyone?