MacOS Storage Grumbles

I have nothing productive to add here, yet. But first, some precepts:

  1. A computer serves YOUR purposes, not the purposes of the vendor.
  2. The way an operating system works SHOULD be, if not transparent, then, at the very least, predictable and consistent.
  3. Commercial operating systems SHOULD come with extensive documentation for every function and tool provided by the operating system.
  4. Updates to the operating system SHOULD come with documentation about its requirements, and specifically describe which functions and behaviors have changed.
  5. Changes should be obviously distinguishable from each other.

Along those lines, my MacOS Catalina 10.15.7 needs to update to the MacOS 10.15.7 Supplemental Update 10.15.7 (see item #5 above). It has failed to do so on each attempt. The “solution” should not be delete everything and restore from the last backup. The “solution” should not be reinstall from scratch. The “solution” should not be buy a new computer.

But while clearing out some room on the disk to see if insufficient space were the problem, I noticed that the amount of available storage listed in the Finder, and in Terminal, and in the System Information storage panel were all different. By a lot: 90GB in Finder, 11GB in Terminal, and 54 GB in System Information different. After I’d thrown away files exceeding 100GB in size. (Item 2 above.)

After a couple of restarts now they’re almost the same, but none yet equal the amount of files tossed.

System Information thinks I have 35.28 GB available
Finder suggests 34.14 GB

Meanwhile, there’s this giant “Other” category of used space which MacOS claims to “automatically” control (also a problem on iOS), which seems entirely intended to use up storage so that one is tempted to purchase space on Apple’s iCloud (see item #1 above). The decisions made here on what to remove are strangely wrong: why does the OS preserve logs and application caches while asking the user to throw away personal files?

wcox@Rooster ~ % df -H ~          
Filesystem     Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused      ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1   1.0T   953G    30G    97% 3329835 9762247605    0%   /System/Volumes/Data
wcox@Rooster ~ % df -h ~
Filesystem     Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused      ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1  931Gi  888Gi   28Gi    97% 3329836 9762247604    0%   /System/Volumes/Data

This isn’t VMS where one might forget to purge old versions of files, is it?

And, no, I’m not going to use that stupid lower-case m. I’m already annoyed that file operations on this iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) perform more poorly than on my LC-III (1993).