Why I Won’t Be Upgrading To El Capitan

No El Cap

      I’ve tried OSX 10.11 “El Capitan” Public Beta 1 for the past week, and as you might expect, I’ve developed some fairly solid and colorful opinions regarding Cupertino’s latest operating system.

     I’m going to keep this fairly brief, as I don’t believe, personally, that much needs to be said on this topic — at least for now. Perhaps Apple will address some of the feedback I (and no doubt other users) sent them. Perhaps they won’t. But so that you, my readers, know what that feedback was, I’m going to go ahead and put it on the record here:

     Apple’s Finder framework, when I started using it back in 2008, seemed like a welcome change from Windows’ equivalent. In Windows, you can select, then copy, or cut, and paste a given file or folder from one location to another. In Apple’s Finder, however, you can only copy and paste, which adds an extra step to workflows such as moving a set of downloaded images from the Downloads folder to a subfolder within Pictures.

     Additionally, there is one third party application which shows up the weakness not only of Windows’ native window management system but of Apple’s Finder — that app is called TotalFinder.

     I am a huge fan of TotalFinder. When Apple released OSX 10.10 Yosemite last year, it brought with it a very shallow mimicry of just one of TotalFinder’s features — a tabbed Finder window, which would sort of make moving files and folders from one location to another a little easier.

But what it didn’t bring was the real meat of that feature — a dual-pane Finder window that would allow drag and drop from location to location within the same application window. It also left out cut-and-paste functionality — important if, say, you download a video and want to move it quickly and cleanly from Downloads to an external drive you use for media storage.

     There are so many more features that TotalFinder brings to OSX’s Finder app, among them them ability to open and close a Finder window with a hotkey combination and the display of tags as color labels, enabling you to see, at a cursory glance, which tags apply to the files within any given folder.

     Now, here’s why I care — and why you might. The introduction of the Rootless security framework in OSX 10.11 “El Capitan” breaks TotalFinder functionality. Why? Because TotalFinder injects code into the native Finder process in order to add its features. Meaning that, if one upgrades to OSX El Cap, one loses TotalFinder’s functionality.

     And it really makes no sense to upgrade to an OS that downgrades the user experience.

Just so that you know, I did provide Apple with feedback to the very same effect of what I’ve laid out here. And I feel a little embarrassed to be the kind of guy who is refusing an OS upgrade based solely on the loss of one app.

     But let me justify myself for just a bit. The features El Capitan brings to the table are so negligible, this time around, that the loss of that one crucially useful app simply outweighs them for me.

     But maybe I’m alone there. Please do jump into my comments and tell me if you see it differently. By the way, in case you’ve gotten this far and you don’t know what I’m talking about — and if you’re working with a Mac — you can try out TotalFinder here to see why I’m raising such a stink about losing it on El Capitan.

     As always, thank you for reading, and be good to yourselves and each other.



     EDIT: Please read my follow-up piece, Why I Have Upgraded To El Capitan.


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  • Glad i’m not the only one already missing TotalFinder on El Capitan. It sucks that they’ve found a way to block it. I wish I’d known it didn’t work before I updated but I went ahead quickly because I’m an idiot…! Can’t really downgrade now because I didn’t backup, so I’m stuck with it until some clever person finds a workaround (not holding my breath….).

    Liked by 2 people

    • John Castle

      What they need to do with Rootless is make it user-defined, even if only with a few options, such as “approve THIS developer”, “approve ALL developers”, et cetera. Basically, just the same way they already do with their app security preferences. I really, REALLY hope Apple is smart enough to do that. System security should be a set of tools in the hands of the user.


    • John Castle

      I don’t know if you’ve already read this, but try the workaround suggested here: http://blog.binaryage.com/el-capitan-update/


  • If muCommander is working fine on El Cap, then you basicly have got a total commander equivalent on the Mac.


  • Try CMD-C and CMD-OPT-V.
    Try CMD-drag from Downloads to your external disk.


    • John Castle

      Actually, what I’ve gone with is Path Finder by Cocoatech. Does all the really important stuff TotalFinder used to do for me.


      • I’m right there with you. I’ve been using TotalFinder for so long, it’s simply become part of the Mac experience for me. So I too consider this a dealbreaker. That said, I started with PathFinder way back around 07-ish. Back then it nearly quadrupled startup time and cut performance by a huge amount. So I was surprised to see you mention it here. The fact that you’re using it makes me think I should give it another look all these years later.

        But even if it works… I still feel bad for BinaryAge. The day they found out that one of their biggest products is effectively dead… I’m sure that day sucked pretty bad. At least they’re going to keep going on TotalSpaces. That’s another one I flat-out *require*.


  • I totally agree with You, John. I have just upgraded to El Cap and lost xtrafinder functionality. I care only of two features: cut – paste and displaying folders above files. Lack of these two simple things makes me simply angry. I am relatively ‘fresh’ OSX user (slightly over one year), but I used Windows since 1995 (and GEM on Atari ST before), so switching to OSX was a kind of relief after MS experiments since Win 8. But annoying lack of these two simple Finder options… Thumb down, Apple. Begin to listen to normal users and do not follow MS path of ‘functionality development’. Otherwise you will begin to sink.


  • I just switched off SIP (as described here https://www.reddit.com/r/macapps/comments/3f6lxj/xtrafinder_for_mac_updated_for_os_x_1011_el/cvkwsmx)
    ‘cut-paste’ works, ‘display folders first’ not always.
    There is also third function in xtrafinder I would potentially miss – ‘go up’ button.


  • Hi John, just tried Path Finder too, good app and do all the things I used to used with TF… But it’s just a shame that Apple is not able to give us a finder that does natively those things. (excuse for my abd english, I’m french and sd to leave TF)


  • Commander One does this and more. Almost copied muCommander and added some stuff. It’s free..


    The upgrades in El Capitan are mostly under the covers. Making my macs faster and more secure.


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