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Apple

You Can Now Run Beta Versions of OS X—For Free 201

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the debian-did-it-better dept.
redletterdave (2493036) writes "Apple on Tuesday announced the OS X Beta Seed Program, which allows anyone to download and install pre-release Mac software for the sake of testing and submitting feedback before the public launch. Until Tuesday, Apple charged users $99 a year to test out new OS X software—doing so required a paid-up developer account. (Testing new iPhone software still requires a separate developer account for another $99 a year.) Now, much the same way new OS X software is now totally free to download, it's also free to try out. All you need is an Apple ID to sign up."
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You Can Now Run Beta Versions of OS X—For Free

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  • beta tester now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blindbat (189141) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:29AM (#46823083)
    I feel like I've been running betas since Lion.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by botfap (3511701)
      OS X 10.6.8 The last properly stable version, unfortunately apple wont secure this OS anymore so our IT dept is slowly transitioning us to Ubuntu which is actually a lot lot better than we had feared. Its still not OS X but then neither is 10.8, its a fisher price toy interface to an OS.
      • What's not stable about Mavericks? (10.9)

        • I'm quite happy with Mavericks, myself.

          I wasn't all that happy with Lion, to the point that I rolled back to 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion was useable.

          • I wasn't all that happy with Lion, to the point that I rolled back to 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion was useable.

            I completely skipped over Lion, and only had Mountain Lion because it came on the new iMac I got via AppleCare when my old iMac died. I've since upgraded to Mavericks on both the iMac and my MacBook pro, and it's been pretty solid. In fact, my iMac now runs better since upgrading, which isn't what I was expecting. I bought an old MacBook for my mom which I will be loading with Snow Leopard, which should be good enough for her.

        • I've seen some weirdness with Mavericks on some machines. On my 2011 13" Air, Mavericks is fine. On my ~2009 (don't recall the exact year) Mini it's really, really, slow. I even wiped the HDD and did a re-install. It behaved at a reasonable speed for a week or two and now it's back to horrible slowness. I also have a colleague who has two more or less identical 2013 Macbook Pros. One has Mavericks and one has Lion. He claims the machine running Mavericks is very obviously slower than that running Lion. This
          • For sure it's more memory hungry. I'm considering upgrading my 4GB to 8GB.

            • I disagree - memory compression has made Mavericks run much better at 4GB than either of the Lions in my anecdotal experience.

              To the GP umafuckit, check the hard drive in that mini carefully; in my experience strange OS X slowness is often a sign of a dying hard drive (I've seen this probably a dozen times on various clients' computers). OS X is annoyingly sensitive to hard drive issues.
              • by blindbat (189141)

                The hard drive is likely bad as you say, especially if it is the original from 2009.

                I recommend to use Smart Utility (free trial--will be all you need to verify)

                http://www.volitans-software.com/smart_utility.php

        • by SDF-7 (556604)

          Well, for the last month I've had my Mini which just sits there as an iTunes server run out of memory. Never happened before.

          Trying to watch a bit with Activity Monitor, the kernel_task balloons up over 4Gb, Finder shows as non-responsive, the File Cache is only around 1Gb -- and "Compressed" is huge. Free memory the last time I caught it was about 16Mb out of 16Gb.

          Given its role, I expect the File Cache to grow -- but either it isn't or Activity Monitor isn't reporting it as such, as it only shows a few Gb

          • IIRC this tends to be caused by misbehaving kernel extensions (old ones that are not compatible with ML). Blackberry sync driver, logmein driver, sometimes HP's shitty printer drivers, etc. Check /System/Library/Extensions/ for old cruft.
    • Zing!

      (still running Snow Leopard on my laptop and happy about it!)

  • Good luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by namgge (777284) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:34AM (#46823157)
    Good luck with this Apple, but in my experience the bug reports and feedback you'll get from Joe Public will be next to worthless. Don't waste your time on them; concentrate on what paid-up developers are telling you about your betas and fix the issues they identify first, please.
    • Re:Good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:04AM (#46823525)

      in my experience the bug reports and feedback you'll get from Joe Public will be next to worthless

      Bug reports and feedback aren't the only valuable things that can come out of this. If an application crashes for a significant number of users at a particular point, it makes it easier to prioritise. It also makes it easier to detect problems that occur with real-world data and system rather than test data.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        agreed. Allowing joe schmoe to beta test even if they dont provide "useful" information are still providing information on how joe schmoe uses his computer. The more a company knows how its users use their product, the better they can make them
      • Apple doesn't care about the 'bug reports'... They're looking at kernel dumps and other crash reports automatically submitted by the users' computers. From there, they can reach out to third-party developers with suggestions on how they can update their software to work on the next OS release.

        This is more to help third-party developers than to help Apple developers.
        In the closed beta, it's common for many third-party apps to fall through the cracks if they don't have a large enough user-base to have som
    • Crashes (with user permission) send up stack traces to Apple, and they can watch the general crash trend numbers on an app by app basis as well.

      It's actually a great step forward. Devs tend to be more particular with our apps than users. Hopefully this gives Apple more data the next time they break a game or something.

  • New OS X is free* (Score:4, Informative)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:41AM (#46823261) Homepage Journal
    As best I can tell, OS X is free to download only if you already have OS X. I don't see any way that someone who doesn't already have a very recent version of OS X can download it for free.
    • by psergiu (67614)

      But you already got the old OS X for free when you bought your mac. So the new one is double-free :)

      Oh, you want to install-it onto a uncool PC ? You dirty, double crossing, good for nothing, two timing software pirate hacker ...

      • Oh, you want to install-it onto a uncool PC ? You dirty, double crossing, good for nothing, two timing software pirate hacker ...

        I am one of those who would be willing to purchase an OS X license to install on a non-Apple PC. Yet they don't even give the option to do so. I have heard the explanation that they don't want to be on the hook for support on the matter, and I'm fine with that - just let us buy a license with no support and be done with it.

        • by Yebyen (59663)

          It doesn't really work that way. There are implied warranties of merchant-ability and fitness for a particular purpose that cannot be disclaimed in some jurisdictions. (So just don't sell to those jurisdictions... ehh, doesn't really work either.)

          I bought a bike at Walmart for $200 yesterday. Middle of the road price for a Walmart bike. I had someone take it down and look at it for me before I left, he acknowledged that whoever put it together must have been a total idiot because the seat was loose. He

          • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:59AM (#46824287) Homepage Journal

            I bought a bike at Walmart for $200 yesterday. Middle of the road price for a Walmart bike. I had someone take it down and look at it for me before I left, he acknowledged that whoever put it together must have been a total idiot because the seat was loose. He adjusted it...

            Next thing I know, I'm in the local bike shop looking at $600-1300 bikes while I wait and paying $10 for an adjustment because the seat is still loose, the front brake is rubbing, and the rear brake doesn't stop, dealing with some guy who doesn't want to deal with me because I paid 1) not enough, to 2) someone else, for 3) probably a decent bike if it wasn't put together by total idiots.

            I used to work in a bike shop likely not too different from the one you describe. I can tell you, there is a huge difference between the components on the BSO (bike-shaped object) that you purchased at WalMart and the bikes you had in front of you at the bike shop. There is a reason why the WalMart bike was $200 and the ones at the shop were more, and it has to do with the quality of every component on the bike. This isn't a comparison between VW and Audi, this is a comparison between Porsche and a cheap skateboard. The components on the BSO are all Chinese made and lack not only the mechanical precision but also the ability to make adjustments that the better bike shop quality components have. I have seen BSOs from WalMart and others come in with brakes that could not be safely adjusted because they were of such poor manufacture.

            And that isn't even getting to the frames. The BSOs are almost without exception made to only one size per model, which is seldom an appropriate size for the buyer (particularly an adult buyer). The frames themselves are poorly made as well of inferior alloys - both in terms of weight and durability - when compared to even the least expensive bike you can get at a bike shop.

            Seriously, no adult should ever buy a bike for themselves at a big box (Target, WalMart, KMart, Toys R Us) retailer. If you wanted to stick to a $200 budget you would have been vastly better served by searching your local craigslist where you could have easily purchased a quality bike, in the correct size for you, for that amount of money. You could have checked ebay as well and come out better there, too.

            If you just purchased that BSO yesterday my advice to you is go return it tonight and find a bike elsewhere. You won't get your bike shop fees back but you'll still be way better off.

            • by jbolden (176878)

              If I hadn't posted already I would have moded you up. Very well said and completely true.

            • by Yebyen (59663)

              This all makes sense, but doesn't change the fact that I can probably buy and return three $200 bikes in a week and eventually find one I like, having still spent only $200 plus my time and gas taking trips to and from Walmart.

              The $695 bikes at the bike shop are the low end of what they offer. I am sure that as a fat person who needs a bike and suffers from chronic bike theft/hit by car syndrome, I am almost as likely to just sit down wrong on a $700 item from a heap of one of those quality parts at the Re

              • This all makes sense, but doesn't change the fact that I can probably buy and return three $200 bikes in a week and eventually find one I like, having still spent only $200 plus my time and gas taking trips to and from Walmart.

                Even if we assume that you are siphoning gas from your neighbor for free and your time is worthless, you still end up with a poorly made BSO from WalMart that won't fit you.

                The $695 bikes at the bike shop are the low end of what they offer.

                That part I cannot explain for you. Bike shops usually carry bikes starting at $250, and sometimes less. You may want to try another shop or ask if there are any less expensive models that they could order for you. If you could even get one from them for $300 it would be well worth the difference just in the fact that you would have

                • by Yebyen (59663)

                  Each of these things happened once, with the exception of theft.

                  Ever lived with a dirtbag on welfare and unemployment with no car? They love to borrow bikes, and they won't leave you alone until you let them. You can choose between either not owning a bike, or agreeing to lend the bike for a few hours at a time. They'll try everything. Of course when it's eventually stolen and it is their fault, they will tell you it's not their fault and there's no point in arguing as they can't pay for it anyway. I'v

            • ;)

              Walmart is all about price and Apple isn't.

              With regard to Walmart that is very apparent when it comes to things like bikes and sporting goods. What you buy there might be fine for the kids (maybe) or if intended for just occasional use but other than that, it's best to stay away. As far as bikes go, there are some online sources for good bikes at prices lower than what you'd pay at a traditional shop. You're giving up service and test rides but it's a good option for some people.

              And for those tha
          • by jbolden (176878)

            I'm going to agree with damn_registrars. Unless you are really young there is no such thing as a decent new bike for $200. The decent parts cost way more than that. You would be far better off going with a used bike and getting it cleaned up for that money.

        • I am one of those who would be willing to purchase an OS X license to install on a non-Apple PC. Yet they don't even give the option to do so. I have heard the explanation that they don't want to be on the hook for support on the matter, and I'm fine with that - just let us buy a license with no support and be done with it.

          I've heard that explanation as well, and it is pure speculation and most likely wrong. The reason why Apple doesn't sell licenses for MacOS X is that MacOS X is basically used as advertisements for the sale of Apple hardware, and that's where the profit is. They don't even care about getting money from upgrades anymore (10.9 was a free upgrade). If you think about buying a Mac today, you know that you will get at least two or three OS updates for free, which costs Apple nothing but increases the value of th

          • If you think about buying a Mac today, you know that you will get at least two or three OS updates for free, which costs Apple nothing but increases the value of the Mac compared to a PC.

            I'm one of those who does not run windows on his PCs - and hence gets my OS and updates for free anyways - so this logic doesn't really apply to me. Indeed, it might matter to some other buyers although I'm not sure how many people are able to keep their computers running long enough for such an update actually exist - for example most Vista users managed to render their system completely unable at least once before 7 came out. I'm not sure that OS X, in the hands of an average user, is really that much

            • by jbolden (176878)

              I'm not sure that OS X, in the hands of an average user, is really that much better in terms of longevity.

              We have pretty good data and the answer is absolutely yes it is. The overwhelming majority of OSX users never need to do a full OS reinstall. They move config from computer to computer. I'm not an average user but haven't done a clean install on my main system since OS 10.1.

          • I've heard that explanation as well, and it is pure speculation and most likely wrong.

            Oh really? Do you know how many variations of video cards you get with nVidia and AMD alone? When I had a PC, I can tell you that an updated driver from either of them had a chance of making your video unusable to the point where you had to roll back to a previous driver. Add in drivers for Ethernet, sound, etc and and it's not pure speculation. It's fact. Apple has invested a great deal in customer support. Can you imagine the sheer number of appointments they would have to deal with for hardware problem

        • I am one of those who would be willing to purchase an OS X license to install on a non-Apple PC. Yet they don't even give the option to do so.

          If you want to install OS X on a Hackintosh, you still can. This does not change that aspect at all.

          • I am one of those who would be willing to purchase an OS X license to install on a non-Apple PC. Yet they don't even give the option to do so.

            If you want to install OS X on a Hackintosh, you still can. This does not change that aspect at all.

            Two things here:

            One, as best I can tell I still cannot purchase a license for OS X to install on a hackintosh. Hence any installation as such is violation of the terms (and likely of copyright as well) for OS X.

            Two, the notion of being able to get OS X "for free" does not adequately describe the situation. it is only "free" for people who have already paid for it by purchasing an apple computer.

            • One, as best I can tell I still cannot purchase a license for OS X to install on a hackintosh. Hence any installation as such is violation of the terms (and likely of copyright as well) for OS X.

              If you are willing to do without support, what does that matter?

              Two, the notion of being able to get OS X "for free" does not adequately describe the situation. it is only "free" for people who have already paid for it by purchasing an apple computer.

              And you got free OS updates when you buy a Dell, HP, Lenovo PCs? Other than OEM PCs bought in an interim period right before the release of a new OS, you had to pay for an update except for Window 8. If you built your own PCs, you didn't even get the OS free with the hardware.

              • One, as best I can tell I still cannot purchase a license for OS X to install on a hackintosh. Hence any installation as such is violation of the terms (and likely of copyright as well) for OS X.

                If you are willing to do without support, what does that matter?

                Because I am not opposed to paying for good software. I am perfectly willing to pay for software if it works well, but they won't sell it to me. I haven't pirated software in well over a decade and don't plan to do it again. Hell, I don't even care about whether or not I can get support from them, I just want a legitimate license.

                Two, the notion of being able to get OS X "for free" does not adequately describe the situation. it is only "free" for people who have already paid for it by purchasing an apple computer.

                And you got free OS updates when you buy a Dell, HP, Lenovo PCs?

                That is not without precedent, actually, Lenovo in particular has more than once in recent memory offered free windows updates to customers who purchased within a certain tim

                • Because I am not opposed to paying for good software. I am perfectly willing to pay for software if it works well, but they won't sell it to me. I haven't pirated software in well over a decade and don't plan to do it again. Hell, I don't even care about whether or not I can get support from them, I just want a legitimate license.

                  Again you can get OS X for a Hackintosh. Buy a copy on ebay. It's not a pirated copy. Apple places no validation on their OS but OS X will only recognize certain hardware. Any Hackintosh site will tell you which boards/chips/etc can be used.

                  That is not without precedent, actually, Lenovo in particular has more than once in recent memory offered free windows updates to customers who purchased within a certain time window of a new version. They have also offered free "downgrades" for people who want to run older versions.

                  Outside this period which I already mentioned, you don't get Windows update for free. You pay a lower price for updates vs full retail but you still pay.

                  That said, if you want to run windows you can go and purchase a legitimate license for whatever version you want. I can't do that with Mac OS X.

                  But it's not free. And you can still purchase OS X. Today.

                  • Again you can get OS X for a Hackintosh. Buy a copy on ebay. It's not a pirated copy.

                    How can I be sure that it is not a pirated copy? If Apple won't sell it to me, it is awfully hard to establish how it came to be. It could be a copy that was previously used on another computer - but even if I take the seller's word that they aren't using it anymore on their own computer it still isn't coming from Apple.

                    By comparison any other OS I can think of that I would want to run on a modern PC I can either download for free (most Linux / BSD distros) or purchase from the vendor (Windows, some

      • It's not really "free". The cost of OSX and the associated apps (e.g. Pages, iPhoto) is rolled into the price of the original laptop/desktop purchase. Apple is now providing free *upgrades* to the bundled software.

    • If you own an Apple computer capable of running OS X then you have all that is required.
  • by Kardos (1348077) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:56AM (#46823433)

    Sign me up!

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:20AM (#46824559)
    To get it out of the way, I am not an Apple hater but I am not a fanboy either. I have a MacBook, but Linux based OS' run my main systems. My thoughts:

    There was once a time where every release of OS X was gutted relative to the previous version, sometimes eliminating upwards of 10 or more gigabytes of code. OS X only got faster with each release. I am not sure where that came to an end, but the last few release have been steadily slowing down my MacBook.

    I have also sadly watched the interface become more bogged down and convoluted over the last few years. It used to be the height of simplicity. I wonder what decisions led things astray. I dual boot elementary OS on my MacBook, and am always astonished by how much faster it is. I rarely boot into OS X anymore, and am no longer excited about the next release. For the record my main production distro is Bodhi, and my servers run Debian and FreeBSD on extremely thin hardware - yet run extremely well, albeit they are headless.

    I know all that is only partially on topic, but they are still good talking points.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      OpenCL is a huge speed up and OpenGL 4.1 was too. If you go back Core Audio, Core Video, and Core Animation where huge speed ups. For a desktop (i.e. audio video...) I think there is a little doubt that OS X is way faster on good hardware than Linux.

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