After fifteen years, Ars Technica says goodbye to John Siracusa’s OS X reviews

“After 15 years of providing Ars readers with deep insight into the internals of Apple’s desktop operating system, John Siracusa has announced that his OS X Yosemite review will be his last OS X review for Ars or for any other publication,” Lee Hutchinson reports for Ars Technica.

“John has published a review for every major OS X revision stretching back to the before the operating system’s formal release, and his explorations into the Unix-y underpinnings of OS X are the main reason why I am writing this retrospective on a Mac today,” Hutchinson reports. “His retirement post on Hypercritical states that in 1999 he was ‘at the forefront of long-form nerd-centric tech writing,’ and that’s absolutely spot-on. I still remember being absolutely mesmerized by his 6,000-word OS X Developer Preview 2 review in 1999, and I was in awe of how clearly it laid bare the still-developing internals of Mac OS X.”

“Of course, he’s not dying or anything — he’s just not doing any more ginormous OS X reviews. Fans of John can continue to follow his work at his site, Hypercritical; he also co-hosts the Accidental Tech Podcast, and if Twitter is your thing, you can tweet at him at @siracusa,” Hutchinson reports. “And, of course, John will always have an open guest spot on the Ars front page.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The end of an era. Good luck to Siracusa in his future endeavors!


    1. Those reviews, if you’re never read them, and it sounds like you haven’t, are more technical documentation than review. He begins writing them as soon as the first developer releases come out. By the time the finished product hits our computers he delivers the most comprehensive examinations of the release you can find anywhere. They serve effectively as a manual for many people, and are even sold independently on Amazon. Usually for about $10 a pop I think.

      This is not your typical PC WORLD, USA Today or Walter Mossberg gloss over pronouncing the OS the greatest thing since sex, Siracusa actually knows what he is talking about. I’ll miss those reviews.

  1. I will definitely miss his reviews. In fact, I have book-marked his review on OS X Server. To this day, I still go to that book mark to review what I missed.

  2. Read the damned article Mike. Nowhere does Mr. Siracusa say anything like that. Like many who visit this site, I have a deep understanding of Mac OS and OS X as well as iOS, partly due to John’s lengthy and probing reviews, partly due to having worked as a developer and engineer both with and for Apple for over thirty years. I’m tired of low-to-no-tech so-called power users who apparently think their opinion is worthy of any consideration, and you have crossed the line with the projection of your unqualified opinion on Mr. Siracusa.
    Apple has not in any way “dumbed-down” OS X. This “stylistic crap” that constitutes “fluff” is in no way supported by the facts, and neither is your further weak assertion that OS X is overdue for any fundamental updates – name one and how you would improve it? We’re all, I’m sure, breathlessly awaiting your response.


    1. Nowhere did I write anything about what Siracusa said. I wrote a question. You understand rhetoric, yes?

      What does Yosemite offer the user?

      – Continuity, which essentially just implements iPhone functions into a working Computer. total annoyance — and unreliable to boot.
      – another iCloud push, attempting to get every user to rent server space
      – translucency that annoys the user by not being able to clearly read what he needs to see
      – “streamlined toolbars” that hide info from the user
      – window controls that change the behavior and force “full screen”
      – a Dock with oversaturated and simplified icons that only Jony can understand, making a Retina display pointless
      – a different system font (and still no user options for font)
      – half-assed updates to Safari, Mail, etc
      – more annoying Notification Center stuff that by default interrupts workflow and focus — a feature that should be in apps, not in the OS
      – more web reliance in Spotlight, which is not well controlled by the user
      – an ugly and hard to use iTunes 12
      – WiFi mess
      – Mail issues
      – relatively poor memory management

      Need I go on? Apple OS X has been rapidly going downhill since Snow Leopard. And it’s not just me. Look at the rating on Apple’s own App Store.

      1. What Wifi mess? Mine works perfectly? What Mail issues? Mine works perfectly with 6 IMAP accounts set up. Safari 8.0.5 is a solid update. By the way, hold down Option when clicking the Maximize button to get back your traditional Zoom mode. I do that all the time. Nothing was lost, just slightly altered. iCloud works great for me!

        You may want to do a self-check of your own computer and network setup before passing the blame onto the operating system.

        1. Cool I have to agree with you. Yosemite is rock solid for me, I don’t have any wifi issues, no iCloud issues no mail issues, and I use continuity all the time and it works with no issues, Safari works great for me and iTunes 12 gives me no issues either.
          In fact 10.10.3 actually runs faster on my 2013 mac pro than 10 .10.2.

        2. Have you gone to the App Store and read the reviews? The lists of problems that people are having is as long as a Vista help page. Sorry, but I gotta agree with Mike on this one. I reverted to 10.9 due to many Yosemite problems and would definitely go back to 10.6 if I could.

      2. Yes, I understand rhetoric just as well as your sarcasm. Your so-called “rhetoric” is, however a non sequitur – that’s logic, you begin with a false premise and attempt to draw a conclusion based on it. First point.

        Second point, not one of first eleven examples has anything to do with anything “under the hood”, unless you think the user interface is “under the hood”, which it isn’t, technically or metaphorically. Those are simply matters of taste. You don’t like the font? You don’t like transparency? You don’t like iTunes interface? That’s your opinion, which you are entitled to, but that’s all it is. There is nothing technically “wrong” with any of those features. Mail? Works fine for millions. Relatively poor memory management? Relative to what? Buy some more RAM maybe?

        Third point. Your ninth example must have been written in haste, yes? Or do you honestly think that “annoying… …stuff that by default interrupts workflow and focus” is “a feature that should be in apps” – Why? And you do have control over the Notification Centre – but you knew that, right?

        You really should go back and read some of Mr. Siracusa’s reviews to get a better idea of just what goes into each new version of the OS – Snow Leopard was great, when it reached 10.6.8, but it took several iterations of 10.6 to get there. The final versions of any sub-version are always great – they’ve been through several revisions to get there.


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