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Snow Leopard Drops Palm OS Sync 290

Posted by timothy
from the exclusivity-demands-it dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "It's been just a little over a month since Apple blocked iTunes sync with Palm Pre, and now Apple takes that strategy one step further by blocking Snow Leopard sync with Palm-OS powered smartphones. Even though Palm has officially retired Palm OS and is now focusing hard on its next-generation WebOS in the Palm Pre, the company is still selling Palm OS-powered smartphones; two current models are the Treo Pro on Sprint and the Centro."
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Snow Leopard Drops Palm OS Sync

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  • Trollbait (Score:5, Informative)

    by Microlith (54737) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:51PM (#29224417)

    s/blocking/dropping support for/

    Nothing, IIRC, is stopping Palm from doing the heavy lifting required to support their devices in OS X except Palm.

    • Re:Trollbait (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <<gro.hsikcah> <ta> <todhsals-muiriled>> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:05PM (#29224585)

      Yeah, the article even points out that Apple dropped support for syncing with PowerPC Macs, so it's not like Apple is only dropping support for competitors; they're just weeding out anything non-recent. The argument seems to be that somehow dropping PPC support is acceptable, because they've been discontinued, but PalmOS is still an OS on phones currently sold, so couldn't be explained by the same "it's just being dropped because it's old and dead" logic. But Palm itself basically declared Palm OS dead [cnet.com] before Apple dropped support.

      You could argue it's a bit premature, but it doesn't take an anticompetitive explanation for that: Apple has a long history of dropping support for stuff that was becoming obsolete in a way that many commentators considered a bit premature, starting with their decision to drop floppy support.

      • Re:Trollbait (Score:3, Informative)

        by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:14PM (#29224687) Homepage Journal

        They are still selling them though right?

      • Re:Trollbait (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:20PM (#29224779)
        The difference though was, the floppy disk was hardware, as far as I know (and http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8300945231/m/968001001931 [arstechnica.com] seems to say so) that there is still floppy disk support for OS X. It costs money to include a floppy disk, it does not cost any money, and probably almost no money in support, to continue supporting an un-changing platform that is "dead". Taking it out A) most likely has no space gains B) inconveniences users and C) is pointless. It cost money to continue shipping floppy disks, it does not cost any more money to keep syncing with Palm devices.
        • by Hungus (585181) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:35PM (#29224933) Journal

          A great deal of Snow Leopard was rewritten (including I believe the last legacy core of finder finally). APIs get depreciated and the cruft gets thrown away. More than likely PalmOS synching used some of the cruft and or APIs that were no longer needed otherwise. PLus there have been 3rd party apps to synch for quite some time, they will just be more used now.

        • Re:Trollbait (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MMC Monster (602931) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:38PM (#29224959)

          It cost money to continue shipping floppy disks, it does not cost any more money to keep syncing with Palm devices.

          Of course it costs money to keep syncing with deprecated hardware. Apple will have to support this software bridge for the lifetime of Snow Leopard (2 years? 4? more?). Cutting out essentially deprecated software will make the OS easier (and cheaper) for Apple to support in the long run.

          That being said, I have no doubt that the upper management at Apple was all smiles when the announcement was made that PalmOS Sync was being dropped.

          • Re:Trollbait (Score:3, Insightful)

            by vux984 (928602) on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:17AM (#29228057)

            Of course it costs money to keep syncing with deprecated hardware. Apple will have to support this software bridge for the lifetime of Snow Leopard (2 years? 4? more?). Cutting out essentially deprecated software will make the OS easier (and cheaper) for Apple to support in the long run.

            Cutting out code may cause bugs. At the very least it will need to be tested to determine whether cutting it out causes bugs. That will require developer time. And the cutting itself requires developer time. Additionally, any automated unit, regression, and integratin tests that check that module will need to be altered. Perhaps the build process may need to be altered. The API documentation will need to be altered, the object diagrams updated.

            In practice, leaving it alone and 'supporting it' may be considerably less work than removing it.

            I've done maintenance on many projects, where a bit of obsolete functionality was simply left alone, or at most just removed from the UI (e.g. its menu item removed). It wasn't worth the effort to actually remove the code, as it was inter-related with stuff that was still in use, and automatically tested by unit tests and integration tests. It was simpler to just leave it there, and as long as it continued to 'work', it was left alone.

            Despite the best attempts at writing modular code, requirements changes over time invariably confound it. And removing code is harder than adding new code. Those are practically axioms of software engineering... the corollary is that eventually its cheaper to rebuild it from scratch.

      • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:04PM (#29225737) Homepage

        Apple is run by a guy who saw employees staring to legendary macs and decided to "throw them away" to computer museum saying they should look to future instead of past.

        Like or not, that is the attitude and in fact, if you ask me, it always pays off.

        Just an entry from my system.log
        " Warning once: This application, or a library it uses, is using NSQuickDrawView, which has been deprecated. Apps should cease use of QuickDraw and move to Quartz"

        In Apple land, if you ignore it enough time, one day your application will simply won't launch or crash (informatively) and of course, that time, blogs are open handedly waiting for your whining and slashdot submission :)

    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:53PM (#29225653) Homepage

      It is not heavy lifting either. Requirements for developing Sync support on OS X is as follows:

      1) Mac Mini (as in cheapest Apple and good developer machine)
      2) OS X Install DVD (has developer tools)
      3) Double Click Developer tools and install them

      There are examples included, debugging tools specifically designed for iSync and even some packager. Of course, if Palm decides that PalmOS devices should act like iPhone and sync with iTunes, it is their decision and insanity :)

  • Palm dropped support (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:55PM (#29224467)

    Palm dropped support for this YEARS ago. You can hardly blaim apple for not taking over support of a product that the manufacturer declared dead.

    • by Shawn Parr (712602) <parr@shawnpar[ ]om ['r.c' in gap]> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:10PM (#29224645) Homepage Journal

      Mod parent up.

      Palm hasn't updated Hotsync for the Mac in at least a decade. If it in fact worked under Leopard it was a miracle, as I doubt anyone from Palm even gave it a glance.

      Mac Palm users almost all typically ended up getting Mark/Space Missing Sync for Palm OS. I was a late adopter for that, and I did it in 2005. At the time I was helping people with support on Palm OS devices, and the answer to any Mac sync problems was to dump hotsync and get Missing Sync.

      To claim that Apple dropped support is pretty ridiculous, and just inflammatory. What next, an article on how Apple refuses to support running 10.6 on a Mac II from the late 80's?

    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:18PM (#29224733)
      Palm Pre is a relatively new phone. It uses the Palm webOS, not PalmOS. Apple dropped sync support for it through Itunes. Just coincidently, Apple also sells a smart phone.
      • by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:35PM (#29224925) Homepage

        Palm Pre is a relatively new phone. It uses the Palm webOS, not PalmOS. Apple dropped sync support for it through Itunes. Just coincidently, Apple also sells a smart phone.

        iTunes never supported the Palm Pre. Check your facts.

      • by KylePflug (898555) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:35PM (#29224931) Homepage

        Apple didn't "drop" sync support for it through iTunes. Palm tried to sneak support in by spoofing an iPod vendor ID, which Apple undid. Nothing about iTunes gives competitors the right to use it as a selling point for their phones.

        I think it's pretty shitty of Apple to refuse to play nice, but it's not like Palm didn't have it coming when they tried to pass off a pasted-on hack as some kind of official feature.

      • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:03PM (#29225215)

        What this article is talking about though, is PalmOS.

        This has nothing at all to do with the Palm Pre, which Apple didn't "drop support for" - they never supported it in the first place.

        This is about the ability to sync PalmOS based phones, which Apple provided a conduit for since about 10.3 or something, that they are finally dropping support for. 10 years after Palm itself dropped support for it on the Mac incidentally.

        I am certain that spoofing Apple's USB vendor ID with the Palm Pre certainly meant that Apple can cease caring whether or not dropping support for PalmOS sync (when Palm itself doesn't provide a way to sync on OS X) will annoy Palm.

  • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:55PM (#29224471)

    So why would Apple spend time developing a feature for it? Especially since all 3 of the people still using Palm OS devices can purchase an app that does the same thing. Looks to me like the press is making a mountain from a molehill.

    • by Black Cardinal (19996) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:04PM (#29224557) Homepage

      If only 3 people are still using Palm OS devices, then they must all be in my work group. Several of us still use Treo smartphones. Just because new devices use a different OS is no reason to ditch a perfectly good device if it fits your needs well. I like my Treo 755p very much.
      My Treo was an easy way to keep my address book and calendar on my Mac synced with my Exchange data at work. This definitely would impact me if I upgraded to Snow Leopard.

      • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:19PM (#29224757)

        This definitely would impact me if I upgraded to Snow Leopard.

        Except you don't seem to be the type that's in any rush to upgrade to current technology.

        The problem sort of solves itself.

        • by Black Cardinal (19996) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:41PM (#29224979) Homepage

          Except you don't seem to be the type that's in any rush to upgrade to current technology.

          It's not wise to extrapolate from a single data point. Just because I like one device the way it is doesn't mean I don't like to update other tech gadgets. It depends on the risks and benefits.

          I was considering upgrading to Snow Leopard this weekend, but decided to wait until I return from a trip I'm taking next week. I don't want to spend my last night at home frantically trying to restore a Leopard backup to my MacBook Pro if something went wrong with the upgrade. Now I'll probably wait even longer, to see if this issue is resolved.

      • by pasamio (737659) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:09PM (#29225767) Homepage

        As someone who is still holding onto his Zire (five years now?) and is about to upgrade to Snow Leopard: this isn't going to impact me because it only changes syncing the Apple calendars and contacts. Sure it would be nice if Apple supported the conduit but I figure it simply: Microsoft never supported ActiveSync for PalmOS, why are people getting concerned when Apple is dropping support for PalmOS since they were the ones writing it themselves not the product vendor? Given Palm's recent bout of laziness in abusing iTunes to support their device, I can't fault Apple for not wanting to support Palm's unsupported proprietary device.

        It would be nice if it was all integrated but I'm still going to be able to sync my device using the ancient Palm Desktop tool. There is the Missing Sync which provides support for the Palm under Mac. All that is happening is that Apple isn't shipping some code they wrote probably because it was going to be a pain to port it to 64-bit.

        To be quite honest, so far they've gone above and beyond.

      • by Kalriath (849904) * on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:49PM (#29226071)

        My Treo was an easy way to keep my address book and calendar on my Mac synced with my Exchange data at work. This definitely would impact me if I upgraded to Snow Leopard.

        Well then your problem is solved! Your Mac can now directly sync your Exchange data without that 70-year old Treo in the way.

    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:33PM (#29225977) Homepage Journal
      I will add that Apple tried to minimize foot print and maximize efficiency in this release. We have yet to see what they will no longer support. We know that OS 10.6 does not support PPC. I think I have read that printer drivers are no longer included, and must be downloaded as they are needed. I have seen no list of no longer supported printers. Only time will tell what other support is no longer in 10.6

      Due to the reported increased speed and efficiency, I was going to upgrade one machine in the next couple days just to see what it would be like. However, given that a 10.5 is reported to break a few of my key applications, and hardware support may be a bit sketchy, I probably will wait a month or so and wait for the fallout.

  • by donovansmith (570177) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:06PM (#29224607) Homepage
    Palm Desktop stopped functioning years ago, so Apple finally dropping support for it is not a bad thing at all. I'm sure Missing Sync for Palm OS will be continue to function or be updated to function in Snow Leopard. I know I had to use it with my Centro since the decrepit Palm Desktop didn't work for it. Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices also rely on third-party software to sync in Mac OS X. Apple dropping support on their side is a non-issue.
  • Free Software FTW (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HRbnjR (12398) <chris@hubick.com> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:11PM (#29224653) Homepage

    Just install Free Software and GNU/Linux and forget about all these stupid games! Take control of your computing with an platform created by the people, for the people. Use something which is designed to enable you, rather than restrict you - locking you in and exploiting you for cash.

    • by KylePflug (898555) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:46PM (#29225051) Homepage

      Enables you to:
      - Feel self righteous
      - Spend most of your time configuring bullshit

      Restricts you from:
      - Running anything supported by any work environment ever
      - Most niche computing scenarios (tablets? accessibility? professional production software?)
      - "Those stupid games"
      - "Those stupid industry-standard productivity suites"
      - Owning a computer that your family, friends, roommates can use
      - Interacting responsibly with the modern realities of digital entertainment (as in, legitimately purchasing media and games)

      Look, I've had systems based on everything from Red Hat in high school to Sabayon and Ubuntu in college. I own two MacBooks, I've built countless PCs running everything from ME to W7. I love Linux for what it is, but what it isn't is perfectly clear. It isn't "designed to enable" you to do jack shit unless you are a developer, have tons of free time, or are a total ideologue. Nothing has ever been more convenient under Linux than it is under appropriate consumer software.

      I want free software to succeed and thrive, but what that requires is that people stop this vapid pulpit bullshit every time a consumer OS does something less-than-perfect. You know what regular people think of Linux people as? A slightly nerdier version of that guy in the camo pants with the beard and a "THE END IS NEAR" sign outside the office. Nobody cares until you have something useful.

    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:15PM (#29225815) Homepage

      I don't guarantee anything but, as Leopard which you boo boo is a Unix 03 compliant operating system with entire toolchain to support open source software, Fink Project and Macports did considerable amount of work to make automated package management.

      I know Fink and it has some Palm related software but I have never,ever saw a Palm in my life to begin with so I can't guarantee anything.

      http://www.finkproject.org/ [finkproject.org] (official site)
      http://pdb.finkproject.org/ [finkproject.org] (Package Database web interface)

      So, no need to go Linux just to have Palm support. While people buy OS X, they also buy UNIX.

      I know one way or another, you can get Sync support under snow leopard but let me tell you something. If I was a Palm owner, I would be having very nice and polite communication with Palm Inc. over this. They should spend money to hire couple of Cocoa/OS X developers rather than renting some astroturfers and shady blogs.

  • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:11PM (#29224655)

    Jesus, Jobs, have you no heart? First you killed off the floppy disk drive. Then you wiped out serial ports in favor of USB. Now you're blowing out syncing technology that barely anyone uses any more in order to streamline your OS... shame, shame on you.

    Sorry, I'm having a real hard time getting worked up over this, or even seeing a nefarious scheme behind it.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:12PM (#29224663)

    It's a feature.

  • by dn15 (735502) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:17PM (#29224717)
    Nothing is being blocked. Apple is simply discontinuing their own support for Palm devices. Palm itself stopped officially supporting Macs years ago. There's nothing preventing users from running third-party software to sync.
  • by Draconix (653959) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:18PM (#29224741)

    Apple drops support for legacy stuff from time to time. This might be a retaliatory move, but it's more likely they just don't want to waste the time and money on something a tiny fraction of their userbase needs, especially when it's something a third party (or Palm, you know, the makers of the OS in question) could write a sync app for.

  • I've killed like about 1500 Snow Leopards now and I'll I've got is an arse load of Tiger Meat, a metric fuck-ton of Sharp Claws and some useless blue cloak pattern that gives Frost Resistance. Lucky bastard.

  • by jht (5006) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:25PM (#29225429) Homepage Journal

    Just about all the PalmOS users still out there use Missing Sync anyways. It's the only Intel-native sync to begin with, since Palm themselves never bothered releasing an Intel version of their Desktop for Mac.

    If Palm doesn't care enough to support it, why should Apple? There's not exactly a lot of PalmOS left out in the market nowadays - the Pre is the only Palm-branded phone that sells at all and even it's a virtual pimple on the body of iPhones and Blackberries.

    (Blackberries that, by the way, are about to have their own native Intel-compatible Mac sync released)

  • by CatOne (655161) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @08:40PM (#29225565)

    The Palm connector, maintained by PALM, has languished for years. It suffers from TERRIBLE limitiations on Mac OS X, and it always had (you can only sync ONE address per contact, etc.). It was broken and really not updatedy by Palm as long ago as Mac OS X 10.4.

    If you want to sync a Palm device, buy "The Missing Sync" and you're good to go. Works fine. Sure, it's extra $, but that's what you pay for that boat anchor.

  • I have a Palm OS device, a Sony Clie, and there was no support for it in iSync on any version of OS X I used (10.2 through 10.5). When Palm declined to update Palm Hotsync for Intel I switched to Mark/Space.

    So what is this mysterious component? What did it sync? Was it something for the phones only?

  • Logic (Score:3, Funny)

    by ZackSchil (560462) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:38PM (#29226719)

    1.) Apple updates OS, modernizing and streamlining the codebase.
    2.) Some legacy app that hasn't been maintained in 4-5 years breaks.
    3.) Apple must have deliberately broken the software in an anti-competitive move.

    I'm an ace at logic.

  • MissingSync (Score:3, Informative)

    by Petaris (771874) on Friday August 28, 2009 @10:54AM (#29230985)
    Can you still use Missing Sync [markspace.com] though?

    I actually thought the Apple Palm Sync stuff was horrid and I use MissingSync on my 10.4 MBP. It was far, far better. Also I never liked Palm Desktop, it was a pain and always broke easily for me.

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