After multiple failed attempts yesterday, today - after downloading the installer for the 4th or 5th time overnight - I successfully installed macOS Catalina (10.15) onto a spare partition on an external USB 3 drive.
This is an empty 500GB space where I install major OS updates to check compatibility of my existing software before I go through the arduous task involved in a major upgrade.
For users - like my wife - who only use standard Apple, Microsoft, Google, Adobe type applications and utilities the upgrade will almost be plain sailing. There will be some things that either break or settings that will get lost in the migration. Overall though it should go just fine.
For myself it's not that easy. My machine is used for software development. It has a slew of non-standard linux utilities plus the nginx web server, php-fpm, flowtype, node and a MySQL database server. Homebrew - the macOS installer - and npm - the node package manager - are my friends.
Plus I run lots of other productivity stuff like Things, Fantastical, Bartender, Alfred, iStat pro, Memory Clean, 1Password plus four different backup programs. It all has to work for me to be able to upgrade.
Catalina looks quite nice. All the improvements I saw seemed to be well thought out, in the same way that iOS 13 was mainly tweaks and improvements. There seems to be a lot of media complaints about iTunes going away although I suspect this is just the media trying to build a case that isn't really there (for almost all users). I tried the MacOS Music app and it seems workable and definitely not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The only thing I'm going to miss is the column browser in the 'song list' view, however they added a filter to that which will help a lot.
I moved all the 32-bit applications that I no-longer use to an archive disk leaving those that I do use needing to be upgraded or replaced, which consists of:
- Epson / HP / Canon Print Drivers
- FTP Client
- Canon DSLR Utilities
Everything else I have handled in advance (Quicken) or am in the process of handling (Entourage). I'll probably settle on Transmit for FTP but I still need to move all my server settings and no other application seems to want to import my Yummy FTP bookmarks.
Once the above is solved I'll set sail for Catalina and see where I end up, it'll be a rocky landing as Apple generally screw with all my web server / host settings but I'm ready for that and have a plan that has worked for the last few years.