For years the defacto operating system for web development has been macOS, the craftsmanship of apps and support from the developer community turned hardcore linux developers into macOS users. However, with the current release of High Sierra I have to admit; the state of macOS is not where it used to be.
Note: Updated on January 31st, 2018.
Talk about timing, AppleInsider released a video tutorial on how to downgrade from macOS High Sierra, and 9to5Mac published an amazing article about Apple’s last great macOS release: Snow Leopard!
I’ve been a mac user since my childhood years, throughout elementary and junior high school I used a mac. I still vividly remember (during my teenage years) when my older brother in 2003 brought home a brand new 17″ inch PowerBook G4 with OS X Panther. I was blown away by the aesthetics of the notebook and the aqua interface; it made you want to lick the screen! Since then, I’ve been an avid mac user myself.
My professional web development career began with the mac in late 2008, a year after the original iPhone was released. With the rock solid foundation of UNIX everything seemed to work right out of the box! Unfortunately, after Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) the developer community began to see a shift from Cupertino. Since early 2010 iOS has been the priority for Apple and macOS has suffered! Slowly, developers have seen the quality and reliability of macOS go down, some have suggested that macOS is rotten at it’s core. Others believe that with every new major release of macOS lies an aging collection of UNIX tools; essentially Apple is putting lipstick on a pig.
Note: I am not criticizing the work of the macOS team, I understand that Apple’s upper management (Tim Cook) has iOS as a priority. I mean it’s business and business is good, Apple sold close to 47 million iPhones in their last fiscal quarter of 2017. Versus the 5.3 million mac’s sold in the same quarter.
macOS High Sierra promised a radical new foundation: advanced technologies, a new modern file system, better graphics, virtual reality and machine learning. I believe Apple promised a lot and under achieved, macOS High Sierra has been the worst upgrade that I’ve done on my mac ever!
From day one upgrade, new unwanted features (bugs) plagued my experience. Apple’s own support page was not a help, and me seeking help from a few macOS engineers that I follow on twitter; they kept quiet. I was able to fix and also provide the same fixes to others, by reaching out to the great indie developer community:
Seems like running:
sudo fdesetup remove -user Guest
Fixes the issue I’ve been seeing. Thanks to @kevallrod for the link to the fix! https://t.co/ZuIcoSvDbE
— Tony Arnold (@tonyarnold) October 9, 2017
Also, let’s not forget the ‘root password’ debacle:
“Why <blank> Gets You Root” https://t.co/mtFTsUpIcG New blog explaining (what appears to be) the root cause of Apple’s #iamroot password bug 🍎👾 tl;dr od_verify_crypt_passsword rets !=0, so system updates account w/ attacker specified pw 🙄
— Objective-See (@objective_see) November 29, 2017
Let me get back on track; ha.
When Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) was released, that’s when I first noticed I spent a lot of time ‘tweaking’ settings to get my local web development setup to work. Things got a little better after a former co-worker of mine introduced me to Homebrew! Though, with every major release of macOS I would spend countless hours fixing both homebrew paths and my setup; that’s when I decided to switch to docker containers. Best decision ever, I was able to keep my sanity!
Apple’s recent announcement about macOS Server deprecation of technologies and services. Is what motivated me to write my rant and question if macOS is still web developer friendly! The obvious answer is yes, web developers on the mac have an amazing open source community that will keep things going. However, I believe Apple should pay more attention and also listen to their developer community, not just iOS but both platforms. I have to give credit where it’s due and Microsoft has done an amazing job integrating linux tools to Windows. I can’t believe I just said that, who is this new Microsoft!
With macOS High Sierra web developers can no longer access FTP via the terminal:
Don’t believe me? Give it a try, open your terminal app of choice and simply type:
Though, SFTP for the moment still seems to be working:
With High Sierra, Apple removed /usr/bin/ftp and left secure ftp at /usr/bin/sftp. Note: Some web hosting providers still do not support secure ftp, I recommend using one of the following apps or use ssh.
Great FTP macOS apps:
Do you use homebrew?
brew install inetutils
- It will install inetutils from GNU that includes /usr/local/bin/ftp
brew install lftp
If someone gives you crap for using FTP don’t let it get to you; they were dropped as children! Ha.
Also, with High Sierra telnet was removed:
A quick fix:
brew install telnet
You can also use the built-in nc (netcat):
Rumors in the valley state that at some point iOS will come to the mac, to be honest I am not ready to get into that subject, that may be a future writing. What I need to hear from Apple is not “we’re working on a new great release of macOS” but some humility; not an apology! But a brief statement ‘hey we screwed up on High Sierra and we need help from the developer community!’ I think Apple should go back to its roots and accept failure: Apple just ask!