jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

Sal Fights For the Users


Sal Soghoian, writing for MacStories:

Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form app teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications.

In such a scenario it may seem logical to retain application features common to both platforms and to remove those that were perceived to require extra resources. Certainly Automation would be something examined in that regard, and the idea might be posited that: “App Extensions are equivalent to, or could be a replacement for, User Automation in macOS.” And by User Automation, I’m referring to Apple Event scripting, Automator, Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.

I’ve said many times that one of the main reasons I came to OS X is the underlying Unix utilities. I literally can’t do my job without the command line. It’s always in my dock, it’s always open, and I’ve got it customized just the way I like it. There is no replacement for the terminal, and no App Extension can provide a way for me to string together the tools I use to get done what needs to get done.

In such a world like Sal is imagining, I would have to find an SSH app like Prompt and setup my entire development environment on a Linux server somewhere. While possible, it’s not economical and it’s certainly not how I’ve become accustomed to working. I don’t think I’m alone in this either, anyone who does web development relies on command line versions of Python, Ruby, PHP, or Perl, along with a host of other small utilities to do things like syntax checking or unit tests.

I think it’s possible that Apple could remove the Terminal from OS X, along with the Unix utilities, similar to what they’ve done with iOS, but I don’t think they will. Apple uses OS X to develop their own software, so they know what the developers need to be efficient and productive. However I could see a world where you had to install Xcode and enable “developer mode” to get to the Unix utilities. We may not be far away from a day when OS X no longer ships with Terminal.app, but I think we’ll always have a way to install it when there’s real work that needs done.

I think Apple may be heading in the wrong direction, and it’s sad to see Sal be let go, but I’m glad to see him carrying on fighting for the users.