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    It’s really starting to annoy me how certain parts of iOS and macOS updates are merely “different,” not “obviously better”. Windows has been doing this for many years, too.

    In contrast, in all my years of using OpenBSD I can’t recall a single case of a user-visible change being annoying in the same manner for no benefit at all.

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      Doesn’t this really just come down to OpenBSD’s changes matching your personal preferences better?

      I’d argue there’s been recent changes to OS X that are strictly improvements like FileVault2, adding native Notification support and full screen app support (which has gotten a lot better than when it was first introduced.)

      There’s still some stuff that I’d argue is low hanging fruit (like some solid native VPN support and better OpenGL performance) but whatever gets addressed there will always be something else.

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        OpenBSD tries pretty hard to maintain the same feel across releases. Things change in ways that eventually affect all users, from sendmail/bind/sudo to smtpd/unbound/doas. But the user interface remains very much the same. Part of this is “oh, the unix way! for life!” but that’s not really the focus. It’s not that unix is perfect, it’s that even improvements represent change and change itself bears costs.

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          Doesn’t this really just come down to OpenBSD’s changes matching your personal preferences better?

          Windows has changed Control Panel and default window appearance regularly since Windows 95. None of those changes allowed new or seasoned users to do things faster or better. In contrast, you had to remember how each version of Windows had renamed what used to be ‘Add/Remove Programs’ and most other applets. The start menu has also changed a number of times, never to be obviously better, just different. Doing unattended installs of Windows has changed a few times as well and only once do I recall having it be a positive experience.

          iOS and macOS has changed UI appearance a number of times while leaving major stuff like virtual desktops broken, being confused over iPhotos->Photos transition, introducing feature fragmentation (Maps arrived for macOS eventually and Siri will too, but Home, Health, News, Find my iDevice and others are still missing). Mail on macOS or iOS have never been able to handle my mailbox withCertain things on post-PC iOS still require a computer and iTunes.

          pf is obviously better than ipf was. smtpd is obviously better than sendmail was. doas is obviously better than sudo. apache->nginx->httpd was slightly less elegant but left no users hanging (ports were made available). ftp mirrors were dropped in favour of http mirrors. Kerberos was removed. Silly crypto was disabled in SSH et al. While the ipf->pf situation was not planned, every other change appears like a calm, reasoned decision and was flagged well in advance. I lack sufficient command of the English language to properly communicate how much I hate surprises.

          Crucially, none of the replacements in OpenBSD were then replaced or massively tweaked due to some fad or stylistic change.

          OpenBSD is getting consistently better, not only between releases but also every 2-4 weeks in -current (allowing for the odd fallout and rollback). This is not true for Windows, macOS or iOS.

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            There’s a big difference in the parts of the system those openBSD updates affect and the OS X ones. I imagine if you were look at updates to command line utilities on OS X they’ve also been small reasoned changes. I think it’s less a problem with OS X and more a general problem with all desktop environments (gnome shell is guilty of exactly the same sort of thing for example).

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              I imagine if you were look at updates to command line utilities on OS X they’ve also been small reasoned changes.

              More like no change at all ;). There is still the prehistoric bash (if you don’t like the GPLv3, just drop in a Bourne shell that is not frozen or make tcsh/zsh the default shell for interactive use), grep still processes POSIX regexes incorrectly with the ‘-o’ option:

              % echo "abcd" | egrep -o "^.."
              ab
              cd
              
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                More like no change at all ;)

                The OS X CLI userland is a bit of a strange beast. Some software remains out-of-date release after release (some for clear reasons, like bash v4 with it’s Apple-incompatible license), but new software does get introduced. For example, just the other day I found Unbound in base on my MBP running 10.11.

                One would think that every major release they’d baseline third party software against the current upstream release, reapply their inhouse patches and move forward, but…

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                  Indeed, and LibreSSL:

                  % ssh -V
                  OpenSSH_6.9p1, LibreSSL 2.1.8
                  

                  Maybe if it scratches someone at Apple’s itch?

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                    Wow, I’d missed that!

                    Yes, could very well be the case - just a pity more of their developers aren’t itching enough? (or maybe they’re just doing all of their Real Work using VMs of other OSes!)

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                This is true. (One of the reasons I decry “desktop environment”.) A difference being how much choice the user has in interface. It’s hard to use a Mac without encountering the ever changing Mac interface. It’s nothing as drastic as Windows 8, of course. There’s something to be said for a very basic default interface, and then arranging the bells and whistles around it, but not laid on top in an impenetrable barrier.

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                I’d rather my OS not dictate whether I use apache, nginx or httpd. Which one I want to use is going to depend on what I’m doing (though for my personal projects, it’s usually going to be nginx.)

                I think the disconnect perhaps is between your priorities and Apple’s. You seem focused on the system level of the OS and Apple decidedly is not. They will only change the system level when there are really compelling reasons to do so. That’s where you’re looking for improvements and seeing little to no activity. That’s because Apple is focused on user land. Their customer base isn’t going to know that pf, pif, smtpd or sendmail even exist. You could argue that’s all the more reason to swap them out for replacements, but when they do that they have to train all their support people, update their support documents, etc. so they aren’t going to do it unless there’s reasons that will cause benefits their customer base might actually notice.

                As a consequence a system that is stable in OS X^H^H^H^HmacOS generally will stay in place for a long time.

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                  I’d rather my OS not dictate whether I use apache, nginx or httpd. Which one I want to use is going to depend on what I’m doing (though for my personal projects, it’s usually going to be nginx.)

                  OpenBSD does not dictate this, this is just about what comes with the base system.

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              I have been a long time OS X user (close to a decade?) and with the last few releases have found them really unusable for my preferred workflow. I’ve finally bought a laptop to run FreeBSD on it as the primary OS, and except for a few issues that need to be resolved I’m pretty content with it. It used to be that OS X was something that both casual and power users could use. I feel the last several releases have been removing power-user friendliness, IMO, which stinks.

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                I’m curious what specific changes in recent OS X updates broke your workflow?

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                  Mostly around spaces and Mission Control. They broke dual-monitor full screen for several releases. Spaces keep on getting more broken as well. Specifically they used to wrap around, but now they don’t. You used to be able to control the switching time between spaces, no you can’t. They are also beginning to lock down a lot of the tooling that is valuable, making things like dtrace less usable.

                  I’ve gone pretty much the opposite direction now. I run i3, a tiling window manager with very little decoration, and on FreeBSD I can maximize my use of tools like dtrace and the file system is awesome.

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                    Mostly around spaces and Mission Control.

                    I’ve found that TotalSpaces2 does a very good job of remedying most of the issues I have with Spaces (I don’t really use Mission Control). Some things are still broken (eg, I can’t assign a hotkey to a full-screen space, which is really annoying), but for the most part I’m happy.

                    After 7-8 years of fighting with Linux on laptops I switched to OS X around a decade ago and have been really spoiled by things like working suspend/resume, a graphics stack that doesn’t break all the time, etc. Unfortunately Apple have taken the approach of adding some good power user features whilst taking others away during the last ten years, which has been frustrating, but on the whole I’m reasonably happy to continue using OS X.