Tag Archives: programming

More Apple iTunes sneakiness

I am really starting to get offended over this.

In my quest to roll things back to iTunes 8, I started out with some poking around in Time Machine.  One of the first things I noticed was that, even after upgrading to iTunes 9, if I look in the Applications folder, the actual application says “Version 8.2.1.”  What the fuck?

I went into Time Machine to check backed up versions, and sure enough, the version number of the application did not change when I upgraded.  Just to be sure I wasn’t completely losing my mind, I started iTunes again, double-clicking directly from the version 8.2.1 icon in the Finder, and checked the version number from within the program.  It was 9.0.3.

What the hell is Apple trying to pull with this shit?

I’ve also been doing some searching and discovered that I am far from the only person who’s wanted to downgrade back to version 8 of this software.  Various methods have been postulated as to how to actually accomplish the downgrade.  I’m not sure which one to try.

One idea I had was to simply restore my entire user folder to its pre-upgrade state.  I would have to “save” a few files from there that have changed in the last few days, and I would undoubtedly forget some, meaning lost data.  I am guessing I’d also have to restore the main Library folder in order for this to work.    Hmmm.

I may be on the right track with this.   However, there might be easier ways, too.  One suggested method I found goes like this:

1) Quit iTunes.

2) Delete iTunes from your Applications folder.

3) Go to your ~/Music/iTunes folder. Delete or rename the “iTunes Library” file.

4) Open the “Previous iTunes Libraries” folder and look for the backup of your old pre-9 library; it should be dated at about the time you first ran iTunes 9. Copy it back out to the ~/Music/iTunes folder, and rename it to “iTunes Library”.

6) Go to <http://support.apple.com/downloads/iTunes_8_2_1> and download iTunes 8.2.1. The page says it’s for G3, but the Read Me file says it’ll run on G4, G5, and Intel too. Open the diskimage and run the installer.

Sounds simple enough, right?

I’m just a bit wary because the last time I tried messing around with the guts of iTunes, I ended up having to restore stuff from backup.  I was trying to split my iTunes library into two separate libraries, so I could keep spoken word stuff apart from actual music.  Something went wrong during that process, and I had to restore it all.  However, I did have a good idea of what went wrong, so when I tried it again, and it worked.  I learned a a valuable lesson, though: iTunes is not designed to be tinkered with.

This lack of tinkerability, frankly, is one of the primary beefs I have with Apple software.  It seems like it’s all designed for noobs who never need or want to do anything that isn’t explicitly supported in the design and documentation of the application.  The reason this is bullshit is simple:  software is a tool, and people always use tools for stuff they weren’t originally designed for.  Always.  Furthermore, properly trained programmers know that this is true, and construct their applications with it in mind.  This is how I was taught to write code, by people who actually knew what they were talking about (I’m referring to the computer science department at a major university).  The problem, of course, is that designing software with that degree of robustness is tougher than designing crap software, and people are lazy.  They are especially lazy (with respect to programming) when they form groups called “corporations,” because being part of a corporation forces them to re-prioritize and put profit above all other considerations.

Refer back to that link I posted above, and read further on in that discussion.  People who have contacted Apple with the question of how to roll back iTunes to version 8 have been informed that it is “not possible.”  Yet there are clearly people out there who have done it successfully, so why is Apple refusing to admit that it’s possible?  Why are they not doing their damn jobs and helping people get their computers to work the way they want them to work?  The answer goes back to design.  This version of iTunes wasn’t intended to be rolled back, because some idiot decided that was the way it was going to be, so damn anyone who wants it different, even if they have a legitimate need (and based on what I have found, there are a lot of people who have a far more legitimate need to roll back the software than I have—people who face the dreaded beachball whenever they plug in their iPods, for instance, or people who find their speakers no longer work right after upgrading, etc.).

Well, enough complaining, I need to get back to the task.  I admit, I am dreading this.  I am seriously worried that something is going to get messed up and I’ll end up wasting what little is left of the weekend getting it fixed.

[edit] Almost forgot!  Credit for the steps listed above goes to an Apple Support Forums user called GanstaPenguin.

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Filed under annoyances, computers