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Apple Core Rot: a Perspective from Jeff Johnson

re: Apple Core Rot

Apple software quality control

Reader Don H sent me this link. Good take!

The entry essentially mirrors your point (and many others') that chaining MacOS release dates to an annual cycle leads to buggy software that never gets fixed.

When OS-X’s initial development from the earlier Mac Classic really stabilized (around the time of Tiger) the development cycle was closer to two years for the next three releases. After that (when Cook took over) it gravitated around one year, most likely to mimic iOS’ annual cycle and to sync up with WWDC. Jeff Johnson makes a good case for why that happened, and strongly disagrees with the results.

Apropos my “calender-driven releases” command I’ve made many times.

The myth and reality of Mac OS X Snow Leopard

2023-11-13, by Jeff Johnson


"Unfortunately, the periods of Mac stability came to an end with the era of Tim Cook. My firm conviction is that software quality is impossible to maintain with annual major updates. There's just not enough time between major updates to work on the minor bug fix updates that give rise to quality, indeed are essential to quality. Once Apple engineers are "finished" releasing a major update, they have to turn around immediately and work on the next major update. After all, WWDC in June every year is only eight months later. Tim Cook's schedule is relentless.

Software quality is a marathon, not a sprint. It's the result of many minor bug fix updates over time with no major updates to introduce new bugs. There was a significant difference between the initial quality and final quality of Snow Leopard. That's why spending a week on bug fixes is nothing but a drop in the bucket. Apple has accumulated more than ten years of technical debt, never giving itself enough time to pay down that debt.”


MPG: anyone who thinks Apple software quality is anything but an oxymoron should have their head examined.

The Apple propaganda narrative is that “we work hard on bugs”. The truth is that quality comes way down the list from the date on the calendar, and that investment in software quality is a distant 10th to new versions.

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