KeePass and user interface problems

This morning, I tried to install Ableton‘s Live on my Mac and got an endless sequence of issues. First, I needed to log in to my Ableton Live account in order to get the Mac OS X binaries. Unfortunately, the machine-generated password for that account is stored in a KeePass keyring, so I had to install KeePass 2 on my Mac to get access to the keyring and find the password. In order to install KeePass 2, I needed to install Mono.

After I installed Mono, I was able to unpack the KeePass ZIP and got an executable that I copied in my Applications folder. However, KeePass never showed up in the Launchpad; I had to open up the Finder, browse to Applications, then double-click on the KeePass icon there. Startup of KeePass took from thirty seconds to five minutes. After that, the menus were unresponsive, taking from five to ten seconds to open up the File menu, from five to ten seconds to find and expand the Open item, then was able to open my password file. The upper KeePass menu was unresponsive; I had to use menus from within the KeePass window, which not the Mac way. Keyboard shortcuts like Command-Q were failing. But at least I got the GUI working.

However, no matter how many times I tried, my master password started to suddenly fail. I ended up making the password visible and found out that everything was typed in upper case. CAPS LOCK AGAIN! This is so frustrating, so annoying, that this Razer keyboard is causing me to make repeat mistakes, inserting all sorts of junk through anything I write, then the CAPS LOCK that triggers all the times.  I had less issues with my Logitech non-mechanical keyboard, which is by itself an incredible non-sense for me. A mechanical keyboard should work better, be more reliable, but it is almost ending up to be the opposite for me! I just cannot give up and put back the old Logitech keyboard.

However, sorting out the CAPS LOCK issue wasn’t sufficient. Master password was failing AGAIN! I then noticed that EVERYTHING I was typing was upper-cased! I tried to repeatedly press caps lock, I tried with the Mac’s internal keyboard rather than external one, it was even WORSE! The internal keyboard is now spitting out numbers when I press letters and most keys do nothing! This is a total non-sense for me. I tried to switch keyboard layout with Windows+Space, without success. I ended up trying to log off, but I couldn’t log back in: the system was entering upper-case letters even for password input. I thus had to reboot, then that came back to normal.

After all these hurdles, I was able to connect to my KeePass keystore. However, when I right-click on the entry for Ableton’s Live, NOTHING happens. I tried right-clicking multiple times without any success. If I try enough times, KeePass shuts itself down at me.

I then tried with a command-line KeePass tool, KPCLI. However, it was totally impossible to install it. The tool requires an endless number of Perl dependencies. The KPCLI website indicates nothing about how to get these dependencies. Following another web site, I tried to install them using CPAN, but despite the effort, I am still getting error messages about missing Moveover, the above blog post refers to a broken Gettext that needs to be manually fixed, again! Moreover, KeePass home page refers to a bug in Mono that needs to be worked around.

Bottom line, most open-source libraries are bugged and needs manual recompilation/patching! I also experienced this issue when trying to build Extempore a few days before. This is becoming a quite concerning trend. I cannot believe the libraries are all low-quality pieces of software. I rather think developers keep patching the libraries rather than trying to use them as they are and library owners cannot keep up pulling and integrating the patches. Even if the library owners integrate patches, the integration sometimes isn’t what the patcher exactly intended, so the code relying on the original patch needs to be adapted for the revised patch. This trend is concerning, because if it continues like that, we will end up to need a virtual machine for each and every open-source application we install. Docker can be of some help there, but it doesn’t work so well for applications with graphical user interfaces. Docker is nevertheless a good tool for running services in isolation, with each service having its own funky dependencies.

For my Perl/KPCLI issue, I probably need to recompile/reinstall Perl itself, because I am using a too old Mac OS X version! Homebrew can be used to perform such tasks, but often, it starts failing, because the installation recipes are not correct and requires tweaking for the local Mac OS X! This is non-sense, all Mac’s should be equal, but this is not the case as far as I can see. Only newer 2015 Mac’s will work, so this is pointless!

For example, I tried to use Homebrew to install Extempore. The program ran for almost one hour just to compile pcre, then it tried to install a patched LLVM package. Download happened, but install failed, because the SHA1 key mismatched. The download TAR archive can be checked with tar -ztf without issues, so it doesn’t seem corrupt, but SHA1 mismatches, so I would need to copy/paste blobs of text from a web site just to tweak the Homebrew recipes, which are non-senselessly named “formulas”. Why use a non-standard terminology at first? This is not a “formula”, we are not dealing with chemistry, mathematics, even less with magic! This should be called a “package”. Anyway, it doesn’t work, so it doesn’t really matter.

Maybe I would have more luck with a Mac-friendlier password manager such as 1Password (don’t know, never tried), but that would require me to copy/paste all my KeePass passwords into the new tool, one entry at a time, and more than that, again, 1Password is just a trial! I don’t want a temporary solution that works just for 15 or 30 days, unless I toss my full name and address with credit card to somebody that can as well sell it to non-profit organizations that will then start calling me weekly for donations. I am already starting to have this issue, so just don’t want to make things worse. I want something that will solve password management once and for all! In addition, 1Password works just for Windows and Mac, so again, Linux is left out.

The only thing I could do is to download the binaries from my main computer and copy them over to my Mac, or reset my Ableton account’s password to something I can remember and just type it, as before I discovered KeePass. I just gave up because this is too much work and just too slow. Live is likely just to fail starting on this old MacCrapPro.

These are not the only issues I ran into this morning. Firefox now takes thirty seconds to one minute to start. Scrolling with the mouse wheel is unreliable. I have to give the mouse wheel a big swing for the scrolling just to start, then it is not smooth, rather choppy. Even scrolling with the arrow keys is choppy.

I just cannot get used to the funky Mac keyboard shortcuts. For me, switching applications is done with Alt-Tab, not Windows-Tab, but the Mac way is Windows-Tab. Yes, technically, it is Command-Tab, but that’s not what I have on my keyboard, and the internal keyboard just doesn’t work, missing critical keys such as Option and Fn. I always end up pressing Alt-Tab, then Windows-Tab. I always end up pressing Ctrl-K to put the search area in focus, then have to press Windows-K because Ctrl-K fails. Sometimes Windows-W will not close Firefox tab while Ctrl-W does. Sometimes, Ctrl-W won’t close the tab while Windows-W does. Sometimes, Windows-Q will close currently running applications, sometimes not, then I have to switch to the mouse, trying to find out the really small Red circle and click, oups the mouse just slipped while clicking because the screen elements are too small, try again, works. Even the builtin terminal suffers from this issue: Ctrl-+ to zoom in, oups, Windows-+! Ok, home to move at the beginning of current line, oups that moves at beginning of the whole command line history and nothing can go back except the mouse again! Moving at beginning of the line is done with Ctrl-A, not Windows-A. All is about inconsistency, making the keyboard almost useless.

Bottom line, each and every operation requires multiple attempts, making me nervous and mad each time I am using the Mac.