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macOS 10.15 Catalina

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I ran the first Catalina beta using Parallels Desktop for Mac (probably Version 14) on Mojave.

This has become sort of standard for my first look at a macOS beta, that is, install macOS version n+1 in a Parallels VM on macOS version n host machine. I used this method for OS X as well for several years.
 




Why [would Apple] change the default shell to zsh now?
I wouldn't worry about it (at least not right now). Bash isn't going away yet. It just won't be the default for newly-created accounts. Accounts that already exist will (almost certainly) not be converted to zsh, and you can always change a new account's shell to bash.

As for compatibility, I suppose it could be a problem if you've got scripts with bash-specific code in them. Hopefully they all have a #!/bin/bash on top, so they won't require the user to be running any particular shell.

If/when Apple actually deletes Bash, that could be an issue. Scripts that only require sh (#!/bin/sh) should work fine, since zsh is Bourne-compatible (some say more compatible than bash). And if you need Bash, I'm certain that you'll be able to install it via MacPorts (or Homebrew or Fink) or compile your own copy. And you can expect at least one or two people will publish binaries at that time.
 


Why [would Apple] change the default shell to zsh now? I have books on BASH, real books that trees died for... :-{
Because recent versions of bash are licensed under the GPL v3, and Apple doesn't want to distribute software under that license. You may notice that the version of bash included with Mojave is very old - v3.2, vs the current release, which is version 5. V3.2 was the last GPL v2 licensed version of bash, but it's totally out of date now and completely unmaintained. They definitely needed to do something..
 


Or, maybe, just because zsh is the last word in shells. :-)
Is it? I don't know, haven't tried it. I know I preferred bash to tcsh that OS X first used, but my impression had always been *nix shell choice was mostly personal.

I'm sure, if I want to be stubborn, I can keep running bash, probably indefinitely, but is zsh really that much better to be worth the disruption?

On top of the fact that I have found Catalina so appallingly eccentric on my system, the loss of 32-bit so much worse than I anticipated, I am questioning whether I will update.

Adobe, I was actually looking forward to deleting, but all the Canon EOS utilities, the Canon Help apps (for my Pro-10 printer, etc.)? This is not trivial for someone with literally shelves of Canon camera equipment. As I retired photographer (just when I was starting to really enjoy photography again), I really can't justify new Canon hardware just for software that keeps up with Apple. Canon will not commit to updating the current EOS software. They won't comment until Catalina is released. My Color Calibrator, Roland GR-55 software, astronomy software - all software supporting expensive hardware that I am not prepared to replace...sorry...
 


Why [would Apple] change the default shell to zsh now? I have books on BASH, real books that trees died for... :-{
It does seem that zsh is the shell that the cool kids use these days on a lot of Unix/Linux/BSD platforms. I'm still adjusting to Apple switching away from the original OS X default shell, tcsh, when Panther came out! :) At least tcsh is still installed by default in the Catalina betas.
 


Have you (or anyone else) tried creating a macOS Catalina virtual machine that runs on an older Mac host OS?
I'm thinking it might be nicer to have a Catalina VM under an older macOS (e.g. Sierra) than vice versa....
I've used a Catalina guest VM under Parallels 14 running on macOS Mojave without problems. (Parallels 14 runs on El Capitan and later.)

One minor annoyance: you need to configure the VM to set the mouse to "optimize for games" to get it working properly, and that causes it to confine the mouse to the VM display until you press Control-Option on the keyboard.
 


Have you (or anyone else) tried creating a macOS Catalina virtual machine that runs on an older Mac host OS?
I'm thinking it might be nicer to have a Catalina VM under an older macOS (e.g. Sierra) than vice versa....
I am currently running the Catalina Beta under Parallels (Version 13.3.2) on Sierra (10.12.6). I admit that I haven't tried to do anything substantial with it, but everything I've tried so far works. This is all on a 2014 Mac Mini with 16GB RAM.

FWIW, I also have virtualized versions of 10.13 (High Sierra) and 10.14 (MoJave) running in this environment.
 


One minor annoyance: you need to configure the VM to set the mouse to "optimize for games" to get it working properly, and that causes it to confine the mouse to the VM display until you press Control-Option on the keyboard.
Sounds like they haven't yet ported their "guest extension" device drivers (or whatever Parallels calls them) to Catalina. Without such drivers, the VM needs to emulate the hardware, which forces you to capture the mouse.

Hopefully they'll get this fixed before Catalina is released.
 


Sounds like they haven't yet ported their "guest extension" device drivers (or whatever Parallels calls them) to Catalina. Without such drivers, the VM needs to emulate the hardware, which forces you to capture the mouse. Hopefully they'll get this fixed before Catalina is released.
What I described was with Parallels 14. Parallels 15 was released recently, and I assume deals with it better, but I haven't updated yet, so can't say for sure.
 


We've discussed running Creative Suite (Photoshop CS6), going forward, extensively on MacInTouch. I've documented a lot of it over on MacStrategy including my own personal testing experiences:
In my own testing, Mac OS X 10.6 Server, OS X 10.8 and OS X 10.11 are the sweet spots to virtualise macOS, unless you need a more modern OS for specific reasons.
Thanks for the info. I tested Mac OS X Server 10.6.3 fresh install options in macOS 10.14.6 via VMware Fusion 11.1.1.

Despite using corresponding presets in VMware tools 11 while installing, it seems 32- and 64-bit installs both are 32-bit: In both Mac OS Server 10.6.3 installs, "System Profiler > Software > 64-bit Kernel and Extensions: No". Correct?

I then read that that 64-bit programs will run just fine on the 32-bit kernel. And that the limitations of booting into a 32-bit kernel are that the kernel itself can't access more than 4GB of RAM, and it can't use 64-bit kernel extensions. Usually the kernel won't need that much address space (it can manage around 32 GB of RAM for other apps).

So one should choose 32-bit install in VMware and set it to use max 4096 MB of RAM, right? Or maybe the applications can use more RAM and 4GB is just the maximum for the kernel?

I then noticed that VMware Tools install failed on the fresh Mac OS X Server 10.6.3 install.

VMware Tools 10.0.12 darwinPre15.iso supports Mac OS X versions 10.10.x and older and VMware Fusion 11 seemed to correctly pick it, so that wasn't the explanation for the failure.

Mac OS X 10.6.3 Software Update could do all on-line updates to 10.6.8, and after that, VMware Tools could be installed, also.

But who knows when Apple will decide to pull software update for such old systems? So I tested my old archived updater,s and most of them, including Mac OS X Server 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1, also failed to install.

Anyway, I could do an off-line update to 10.6.8 with the following methods:

a) Install Software Installer Update 1.0 via Pacifist 3.0.10. After that, VMware Tools and other offline installers, including Mac OS X Server 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1, also work OK. (Pacifist install of VMware Tools failed to install extra monitor resolutions, although drag and drop worked.)

b) Most off-line updaters failed, but by trial and error I found that the following installers worked for Mac OS X Server 10.6.3:

Mac OS X Server v10.6.6 Update Combo​
Mac OS X Server v10.6.7 Update​
Mac OS X Server v10.6.8 Update v1.1​
Security Update 2013-004 Server​

After that, VMware Tools and Apple Software Installer Update 1.0 etc. also succeeded.
 


But who knows when Apple will decide to pull software update for such old systems? So I tested my old archived updater,s and most of them, including Mac OS X Server 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1, also failed to install.
You might want to try downloading fresh copies of the old installers. I don't recall how how many Apple installers and updaters were affected, but the security certificate Apple used to sign many of its older packages expired a few years ago, preventing them from working. The workaround was to set the date on your Mac back in time temporarily or to download new versions of the installers/updaters with updated security certificates.
 


... Despite using corresponding presets in VMware tools 11 while installing, it seems 32- and 64-bit installs both are 32-bit: In both Mac OS Server 10.6.3 installs, "System Profiler > Software > 64-bit Kernel and Extensions: No". Correct? ...
Regarding 32-bit vs 64-bit kernels in Snow Leopard, an old utility called "32- or 64-bit Kernel Startup Mode Selector" allows you to switch back and forth via reboot.

VMWare seems to be okay with it, and System Software Overview likes it too. (Obviously it does something that one can also probably enable/disable via Terminal, if memory serves, but it has an interface that makes things pretty simple.)
 


Regarding 32-bit vs 64-bit kernels in Snow Leopard, an old utility called "32- or 64-bit Kernel Startup Mode Selector" allows you to switch back and forth via reboot. VMWare seems to be okay with it, and System Software Overview likes it too. (Obviously it does something that one can also probably enable/disable via Terminal, if memory serves, but it has an interface that makes things pretty simple.)
Thanks for the info. VMware Fusion's 64-bit install mode installs 64-bit EFI, which by default boots into the 32-bit kernel. But it is possible to use that 3rd-party 32- or 64-bit Kernel Startup Mode Selector 1.6.0 to set 64-bit kernel boot mode and 64-bit kernel. (System Profiler > Software > 64-bit Kernel and Extensions: Yes)

VMware Fusion's 32-bit install mode installs 32-bit EFI, which cannot boot into the 64-bit kernel.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More from Howard Oakley, as he plans for Catalina:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Prepare to upgrade
... What I do need to prepare next is my virtualised copy of Mojave, in which I will keep key 32-bit apps running in the future, rather than continuing to dual-boot the MacBook Pro. Although this will be for my iMac Pro, when I upgrade that in due course, I’m going to run a full dress rehearsal on the MacBook Pro in Catalina beta first. For this, I need two key components: the virtualisation environment, and a copy of the macOS 10.14.6 installer app.

... With the loss of 32-bit software and the read-only system volume, this promises to be the most complex macOS upgrade for some years.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More notes from Howard Oakley:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Should you upgrade to Catalina early?
... The Catalina upgrade is going to be something of a heavyweight. It’s currently looking as if it will bring EFI firmware updates to all eligible models, something Apple managed to avoid with Mojave by bringing those updates forward into the last update to High Sierra. On top of that, Catalina brings major changes of its own. The most obvious is that all 32-bit software stops working the moment that you install the upgrade: Apple hasn’t relented and built in a ‘compatibility’ mode, so anything which uses 32-bit code won’t work.

Other changes in Catalina which are likely to cause significant problems for many users can’t be ignored. Its new read-only system volume means that software, scripts, or anything which uses paths to files which used to be in the /System folder (and some others, such as iCloud) could break suddenly. Apple has used ingenious means, including new ‘firmlinks’, to try to minimise disruption, but I know from my own apps that they don’t cover all the paths that can be used.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Some interesting perspective...
William Gallagher said:
Apple's Catalyst polarizes developers ahead of iOS 13, Catalina launch
After months of working with Catalyst, and just ahead of the release of macOS Catalina, developers have thoughts on what's good and what's still surprisingly bad about Apple's project to get iOS apps on the Mac.

You're not going to see your favorite iOS apps come to the Mac this month. Despite Apple's creation and championing of what it called its Catalyst service for converting apps, you're not likely to see them this year, either. Apple was very clear that this is a multi-year process.

Plus, while it's been one year for Apple, it's been only a few months for developers. Perhaps it's not surprising that more people are complaining to AppleInsider about Catalyst than are praising it.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
And an uncharacteristic Apple accomodation:
Apple said:
Notarizing Your Mac Software for macOS Catalina
As a reminder, Mac software distributed outside the Mac App Store must be notarized by Apple in order to run on macOS Catalina. To make this transition easier and to protect users on macOS Catalina who continue to use older versions of software, we’ve adjusted the notarization prerequisites until January 2020....
 



That article about Catalyst makes some good points, the most important being that it’s an alternative to Electron (which basically bundles an entire copy of the Chrome browser with your app). Apart from dreadful performance issues, Electron results in an “alien” experience. If you use the Slack Mac app you’ll know what I mean: you are just running Slack in a browser window you can Command-tab to. Slow, buggy, and doesn’t integrate into the Mac experience in any meaningful way. Catalyst appears to be an attempt to not be as bad, so you can port your iPad app to the Mac.

I’ll be starting to do a new iOS app soon and will use the also-buggy swiftUI rather than Catalyst, but it’s not for public consumption, so the bugs are less likely to be a problem.
 


Have you (or anyone else) tried creating a macOS Catalina virtual machine that runs on an older Mac host OS? I'm thinking it might be nicer to have a Catalina VM under an older macOS (e.g. Sierra) than vice versa....
I forgot to mention that I installed Catalina Beta 6 under Parallels 15 on two rather old systems running Sierra.

While I didn't do extensive testing, the combination ran very well on a mid-2012 i5 MacBook Pro, aside from some fairly minor display issues that I expect will be fixed eventually and that didn't bother me.

As a stress test, I even installed the combination on a mid-2010 Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. The 2010 system's SSD was nearly full, so I just barely was able to get the VM built. I think the full SSD significantly hurt performance, but I can say that a Catalina beta basically worked on a nine year old Mac without Metal support. You wouldn't want to use it as a daily driver, but it did run acceptably.

Bottom line: for many purposes, if you have a relatively recent machine and you want to stay on High Sierra or Mojave as your main OS, it is likely you will have a satisfactory experience running Catalina as a guest OS under Parallels 15, assuming your apps themselves work in a VM environment.

While there currently are more glitches running Catalina Beta under VMware Fusion, I expect that Fusion also will be fine by the time Catalina is released officially and VMware gets a patch or two.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I forgot to mention that I installed Catalina Beta 6 under Parallels 15 on two rather old systems running Sierra....
It's remarkable to me that Catalina, with its graphics hardware ("Metal") demands can work on an old Mac in a virtual machine — I guess the VM is emulating all that fancy GPU hardware? But how is graphics performance running Catalina (or Mojave) within the VM?
 



It's remarkable to me that Catalina, with its graphics hardware ("Metal") demands can work on an old Mac in a virtual machine — I guess the VM is emulating all that fancy GPU hardware? But how is graphics performance running Catalina (or Mojave) within the VM?
I didn't run any formal graphics benchmarks or otherwise do serious testing, so these are just my qualitative impressions, and all caveats apply. Keep in mind, too, that all machines had SSDs and 16 GB of RAM, and the VMs had 8 GB RAM assigned to them.

On the 2012 i5 machine, general graphics performance felt a little less snappy than the bare metal installation of Sierra on the machine, though the same is true of any version of macOS installed in a VM on that system, including El Capitan, High Sierra, or Sierra itself. In other words, at least with the Mojave VM, I didn't find a performance issue that was clearly differentiable from the normal overhead of running any OS as a guest OS in a VM.

The slight decline in snappiness seemed most apparent when first loading an effect or tool, though it largely disappeared after loading, suggesting some sort of beneficial caching effect. I played YouTube videos, zoomed and panned large images on Flickr and in Preview, and generally poked around the OS interface.

Catalina is a little trickier to judge, since it is quite clearly beta software. That said, aside from an odd spinning beachball glitch I encountered when zooming large images in Preview.app, it felt like the Catalina VM was performing in the same general range as a bare metal Catalina installation on a similar test machine, in other words, fine.

My guess is that most people with more recent hardware who would like to delay updating their Macs to newer versions of macOS will find it quite acceptable to run either Mojave or Catalina as a guest OS for testing and even routine use, where necessary. (The major caveat being that not all apps run well in VMs, like Aperture, so you need to test your use case first.)

My other comment is that anyone who is sensitive to graphics performance probably should think hard about the app environment in which they will spend most of their time. If you make your living using a particular set of performance-intensive tools, you should run those on the host OS, and reserve the guest OS for testing purposes, not the other way around, which I think was the gist of the question that prompted this thread.

It's easy enough to download demo versions of Parallels and VMware and install some guest VMs, so if anyone is curious, I encourage them to just give it a try and see if it can meet their needs.

(I didn't mention the 2010 test machine here, since there were only a few GBs of free space on its SSD after installing the VM, causing the host as well as the guest OS to run in a degraded performance mode. Still, the system worked.)
 




More notes from Howard Oakley:
I continue to be stunned by Apple's failure to significantly announce to its millions of users that lots of their software will simply stop working if/when they "upgrade" to Catalina. I think this needs to be a major "announcement" from Apple, not merely a "release-notes" revelation (which most people don't read). Apple should not only announce that "32-bit" software won't work (because most people have no idea what a "bit" is or that their software comes in that flavor), but should explicitly explain the implications of that, including the impending failure of video-conversion elements of its own software such as Keynote and Pages.

Example:
When users open their previously-created documents, such as Keynote presentations, they will be confronted with failures of embedded videos, and it'll be too late to "undo" their Catalina installation... and their older versions of Keynote, in which their videos work/convert smoothly, will no longer run.
 


I continue to be stunned by Apple's failure to significantly announce to its millions of users that lots of their software will simply stop working if/when they "upgrade" to Catalina. I think this needs to be a major "announcement" from Apple, not merely a "release-notes" revelation (which most people don't read). Apple should not only announce that "32-bit" software won't work (because most people have no idea what a "bit" is or that their software comes in that flavor), but should explicitly explain the implications of that, including the impending failure of video-conversion elements of its own software such as Keynote and Pages.

Example:
When users open their previously-created documents, such as Keynote presentations, they will be confronted with failures of embedded videos, and it'll be too late to "undo" their Catalina installation... and their older versions of Keynote, in which their videos work/convert smoothly, will no longer run.
Catalina will be a major mess, which is why I will not "upgrade" to it. Too many things will fail.
 





I haven't read here anyone observing that the change from 32-bit to 64-bit is analogous to the change from Motorola 68K chips to Intel chips, oh so long ago, and the eventual dropping of the [Rosetta] emulator engine... so long ago, I can't really remember when it happened, which is really the point.

It was painful, and I lost some stuff, much of which I just forgot, some of which I can still access through various VMs and 3rd-party emulators, like [SheepShaver]. For critical stuff, keep a VM (I have one for Mojave, Snow Leopard, and Classic). For the rest, [I say] adapt, survive, enjoy the best of the new features, and ignore the rest (like Duplicate vs Save As - learn to use the Option key and be content). [For me] the worst macOS is still way better than Windows (and I'm stuck on Windows 7 in a VM for that, too!).
 


While there currently are more glitches running Catalina Beta under VMware Fusion, I expect that Fusion also will be fine by the time Catalina is released officially and VMware gets a patch or two.
On the flip side, there's a common problem running VMware Fusion under Catalina Beta: a VM will start with a black screen. It is necessary to enable VMware in Screen Recording under Security & Privacy, but it's not listed. One solution is to uninstall Fusion v11.1.1, install v11.1.0, grant permission for Screen Recording when asked, then reinstall v11.1.1. In my case, an attempt to update from within v11.1.0 failed. Installing v11.1.1 from the downloaded dmg succeeded. No VMs were harmed in the process.
 


On the flip side, there's a common problem running VMware Fusion under Catalina Beta: a VM will start with a black screen. {snip}
Exactly. I presume those things will be sorted by an update at some point, but right now, Parallels is a somewhat easier ride than VMware with Catalina. That's not to say Parallels is perfect; especially during installation there were some confusing prompts, and installing the Parallels Tools drivers in the VM was more of a manual process than before.

In any case, I think these issues with Parallels and VMware point to the sorts of installation issues that will arise with many apps under Catalina that go beyond the simplest functionality.
 


I continue to be stunned by Apple's failure to significantly announce to its millions of users that lots of their software will simply stop working if/when they "upgrade" to Catalina. I think this needs to be a major "announcement" from Apple, not merely a "release-notes" revelation (which most people don't read)...
Sadly and to my surprise, Apple seems to have gotten away with this when Lion was released and Rosetta was no more. They may not be so lucky this time.
 


Sadly and to my surprise, Apple seems to have gotten away with this when Lion was released and Rosetta was no more. They may not be so lucky this time.
I guess i see this a bit differently (perhaps wrongly?): I'm not upset about Apple making old applications obsolete. I understand that.

I'm more concerned about Apple's abrupt elimination of underlying technologies. In my case, I use lots of example videos in Keynote presentations about media-and-politics issues, for classroom and public presentations. Some of these videos are historical (i.e. old). They came from "ancient" media formats, which I successfully digitized, converted and incorporated into Keynote through the years, and they comprise powerful and important parts of my presentations (much more so than mere bullet points).

The Keynote software itself has constantly changed, and I've kept up with new versions. I think it's terrific software; I'd pay for it in a heartbeat (and have paid, back in the day when Apple charged for the "iWork" suite).

In the past, upon each upgrade (and they mostly have been genuine "upgrades" of Keynote), the software has performed automatic "conversions" of my embedded video clips when the new version opens a file created by a previous version. Sometimes, those conversions have even been explained with messages telling users that the media will now be viewable on both MacOS and iOS.

Importantly, if a video played in a previous version of Keynote - however it got there - it continued to play in the new version, through the magic of underlying technology which handled that.

What I now face, however, with the abandonment of underlying technologies in those video conversions, is that even Keynote software which is not outdated, not "old," will be incapable of carrying forward already/previously-converted media elements into the new Catalina world.

To me, that seems like a different kettle of fish. (Terrible analogy. Sorry.) And one from which I can see no exit, except to abandon my historical clips altogether. Or, to have to dig back into every individual Keynote slide, extract individual media elements, run them separately through VLC and/or Handbrake (hoping they do the job), then rebuild my Keynote presentations from scratch.

To me, that's not the same as "merely" being forced to pay for newer versions of old software which I really have no right to expect to continue working forever.
 


I continue to be stunned by Apple's failure to significantly announce to its millions of users that lots of their software will simply stop working if/when they "upgrade" to Catalina. I think this needs to be a major "announcement" from Apple, not merely a "release-notes" revelation (which most people don't read).
Apple probably should have a proactive "migration" app that builds an easy report before the "automatically upgrade" default settings grab the new upgrade as fast as possible and install it.

However, Mojave complains about 32-bit apps every time you launch them. There has has been over a year of nagging. Some folks may only be looking at the tip of the iceberg of apps they almost never run, but Apple's latest macOS isn't being quiet about this. Similar warnings were splashed about legacy media in QuickTime.

Apple support notice that came out with macOS 10.13 (now about to go to 10.15):
Apple Support said:
32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 and later
In macOS Mojave, this alert appears once every 30 days when launching the app.
If we go back to the original version of the article in the Wayback archive (June 23 2018):
archive.org said:
32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4
Starting with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, apps that have not been updated to use 64-bit processes produce a one-time alert when opened.
Mavericks era autoconversion of legacy media:

More recent Final Cut Pro X and iMovie notices:
Apple isn't bubbling up notices several versions back, but those moving forward are likely to have been informed.
When users open their previously-created documents, such as Keynote presentations, they will be confronted with failures of embedded videos, and it'll be too late to "undo" their Catalina installation... and their older versions of Keynote, in which their videos work/convert smoothly, will no longer run.
With snapshots, it won't be "too late" after the initial period of the conversion (presuming not having packed the OS disk almost to capacity).

Again, there is no whole-disk report generator (search into archives, embedded media, under every nook and cranny), but there have been "the train is coming" notices for those standing in the railroad crossing.
 


... I'm more concerned about Apple's abrupt elimination of underlying technologies. In my case, I use lots of example videos in Keynote presentations about media-and-politics issues, for classroom and public presentations. Some of these videos are historical (i.e. old). They came from "ancient" media formats, which I successfully digitized, converted and incorporated into Keynote through the years, and they comprise powerful and important parts of my presentations (much more so than mere bullet points). ... What I now face, however, with the abandonment of underlying technologies in those video conversions, is that even Keynote software which is not outdated, not "old," will be incapable of carrying forward already/previously-converted media elements into the new Catalina world.
Perhaps you can use Handbrake to convert the clips to m4v (mp4) and reintegrate into Keynote. Remember that a Keynote file is just a zip file with a different extension, so you can always extract the underlying movie files for this purpose.
 


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