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We bought a new MacBook Pro late last year and I had not run into any issues until yesterday, when I tried to install the LAME MP3 Encoder for use with Audacity. I was in a pinch, needing to convert a *.wav file to *.mp3 for the Dots, Lines, and Destinations podcast. When trying to install the encoder it appeared to work, but on closer inspection, the files were never written to the correct folder. After doing a little research, I noticed that the /usr/lib/local directory was not writable and threw an error when accessed. So, to Google I went. Turns out this is a “feature” and part of Apple’s System Integrity Protection. Basically, it keeps certain directories inaccessible to even root level access to try and prevent malicious applications from modifying things they shouldn’t be touching. The side effect is that when you legitimately need to modify those directories you can’t. I did not have the luxury of time when going through all this and opted to just use an older Mac that did not have El Capitan installed to convert the audio files I needed.

Glenn Fleishman provides a better description of System Integrity Protection, including how to disable it, in his article on Macworld.

Early reports of problems with rootless mode seemed to indicate that a wider set of software might be unable to work with the restriction enabled, such as SuperDuper! from Shirt Pocket Software. However, Apple made changes during beta testing that resolved concerns with that app and others. (Shirt Pocket had to update SuperDuper! to deal with the omission of an open-source program, which breaks scheduled updates; those have to be re-created in the El Capitan-compatible release.)

K-12 student management software is messy, there is no other way to describe it. Options are limited and none of them stand out as being well written or well maintained. It is sad really. Very important data is passed over, underutilized, and ignored because of the inability of the software or the software company to see actual needs and respond to them.

What school districts need is software that is lightweight, is easy to understand, simple to maintain, and can be expanded upon if needed. Right now the software that is out there only mixes and matches a couple of those items, not all of them.

There are a lot of resources spent on software, hardware, and yearly fees, and it’s unnecessary when we really dig down and look at the requirements. School districts are simply small cities that have to manage themselves, why can’t software be built around that effectively?

The biggest issue standing in the way of progress when it comes to student/district management software is too many hands seeing cool or new things and wanting them. A lot of school districts are split up into different areas, just like a company, and each of these areas oversees different pieces of information. The problem arises when none of the areas coordinate their software buying and end up with multiple tools that in the end, could have been consolidated with one tool, had there been communication.

We as software developers need to look at this as a real problem and try to fix it. If we can make affordable software for school districts that works, we can help that school district find a more affective way to use the money they saved.