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Mozilla Apple

Mozilla Puts Tiger Out To Pasture 440

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-a-new-kitty dept.
Barence writes "Mozilla is ready to exorcise support for Mac OS X 10.4 from Firefox's development code, closing the door on Apple's aging OS. The foundation stopped supporting 10.4, codenamed Tiger, in September 2009, but, according to Josh Aas, a Mozilla platform engineer, 'we left much of the code required to support that platform in the tree in case we wanted to reverse that decision." We had come to a point where we need to make a final decision and either restore 10.4 support or remove this (large) amount of 10.4 specific code,' he notes on the Mozilla developer planning forum."
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Mozilla Puts Tiger Out To Pasture

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  • Nooo ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psergiu (67614) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:17AM (#31060666)

    Please no !

    There are a lot of old G3 macs around that can run only Tiger and are perfect as a browsing machine (if you don't want to watch flash videos).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Meh. As someone with a 10.4 and a 10.5 machine, good idea. 10.4 needs to be drowned in a well.
    • Re:Nooo ! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:26AM (#31060760)

      More to the point, what the hell gigantic change could Apple have possibly made to 10.5 to make 10.4 support some kind of giant anchor weighing everything down? Seriously?

      Either:
      1) Someone's exaggerating and the 10.4 code is actually very small, or
      2) That's a gigantic WTF from Apple and they should be called on it.

      Normally I'd get pissy over removing support for something that's not really that old, but I guess Mac users are used to that and don't care... so... bully for Mozilla.

      • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mini me (132455) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:35AM (#31060846)

        Leopard added a slew of new libraries and API improvements. Presumably Mozilla, up until Leopard, were implementing those features internally. Moving forward, Mozilla can now rely on Apple to do the work in these areas except when they want to run on earlier versions of OS X (i.e. Tiger).

        The question here is, should Mozilla continue to duplicate the efforts of Apple to provide compatibility with people running older systems?

        • Re:Nooo ! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:45AM (#31060920)

          The question here is, should Mozilla continue to duplicate the efforts of Apple to provide compatibility with people running older systems?

          The answer is: Mozilla should have a very clear policy about backwards compatibility and follow it to the letter. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they don't currently have that.

          Barring that, the answer should be: Until Apple actively does something to break the older "deprecated" code in Firefox, they should support older OSes. From another reply, it sounds like a new version of the Java plug-in Apple is releasing will meet this criteria. Also, being Apple, this is going to happen every 3 years anyway.

          Here's what should *not* determine when to end support: "I'm a programmer and working with this old API is soooo painful and my compiles take a few seconds longer! Whine!"

          Or in other words, support decisions should *never* be made just based on developer preferences. The purpose of writing software is to serve your users. Either you're a professional developer and you deal with the slightly older APIs/compilers to serve your users, or you're a hack.

          • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Reapman (740286) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:58AM (#31061064)

            I would guess that both you and I are not qualified enough to answer the reason as to why, however I'm rather confident the reason wasn't because it added "a few seconds" of compile time. Supporting legacy systems isn't just a matter of how long it takes code to compile, there's issues with maintainability, as well as speed and performance. Which DOES affect the end user.

            I imagine that the userbase that uses Firefox with 10.4 is small enough, and the issues with supporting it big enough, that it makes sense to drop support.

            Besides, isn't BLOAT one of the biggest complaints with Firefox on here? Worst case if 10.4 support is really that huge of an issue someone will fork it.

            • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:20PM (#31061336)

              Supporting legacy systems isn't just a matter of how long it takes code to compile, there's issues with maintainability,

              Well, a new API could make the codebase easier to maintain, but that doesn't affect the end-user. (Unless you're admitting that the codebase was impossibly-difficult to maintain before the new API came out.)

              as well as speed and performance.

              I concede this, but I doubt it's significant. (Again: unless the code was a complete mess before.) Nothing 10.4 did made the user's hardware any faster, and there's no reason to believe that the libraries Apple added are faster than the ones Mozilla was using before. (They might be, but you can't just *assume* they are.)

              I imagine that the userbase that uses Firefox with 10.4 is small enough, and the issues with supporting it big enough, that it makes sense to drop support.

              True. The reason I brought up the developer line is that I've seen a lot of open source projects, especially on Mac, drop old technologies like a hot-potato time and time again. There are tons of apps I stopped getting updates to, apparently punishment for the heinous crime of owning a G5 computer a full 6 months after Apple switched to x86.

              Let's face it, if your development staff is:
              1) Volunteer
              2) Really, really excited about technology
              They're not going to want to use an "old" API or IDE, even if it's only 3 years old. They're not going to want to get their PPC computer out of the closet to QA. (Assuming they even QA in the first place.)

              Hell, the Mac software community used to point out "Cocoa!!" as a feature. And got pissy with me when I told them that Cocoa isn't a feature, it's an implementation detail and your users don't give a flying crap.

              If left to their own devices, the *only* OS support you'd offer is "whatever the very latest is, until the next one comes out." That's why support needs to be a managerial decision, and why it needs to be data-backed. It's also something that's likely to slide unless there's enforcement.

              Maybe Mozilla's done the user research and they know that they're not dropping many users, but just from reading the comments in this Slashdot thread, I think they may be dropping more users than they realize.

              • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Informative)

                by smash (1351) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:36PM (#31061562) Homepage Journal
                Usage stats for mozilla 3.6 show approximately 12% of mac users running 10.4.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by BZ (40346)

                > Maybe Mozilla's done the user research and they know that they're not dropping many users,

                The second link in the summary has the data on that. In brief, as of end of January 1010, 25% of Firefox 3.5 Mac users (about 1.4 million users, or about 0.5% of total Firefox users) are using OS 10.4. 12% of Firefox 3.6 Mac users (about 36,000 users) are using OS 10.4.

                The big question mark, of course, is what those numbers will look like about 15 months from now, which is the earliest that Firefox 3.6 might be

          • Re:Nooo ! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by oscartheduck (866357) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:59AM (#31061072)
            It's an open source project. The old saw about supporting the code yourself if you don't like what's happening is entirely applicable here. The folks at Mozilla have decided to spend their money elsewhere. You can stand on the shoulders of their last release if you'd like to.
            • Or use one of the other options: Safari, Camino, iCab, or Omniweb. Probably some others that I've missed.

              It's interesting these folks don't have any apparent problem with supporting 10.4.

              • by barzok (26681)

                Does the latest Safari still support Tiger?

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by dgatwood (11270)

                  Yes. That's what makes this so bizarre; historically Open Source projects have continued to support old OSes and hardware for years after Apple drops support. This is very surreal.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Rockoon (1252108)
              When it is observed that these professional developers that work for Mozilla have basically told a whole bunch of people to fuck off, waving the your hands screaming "but its open source" does not negate the criticism.

              The real question is, how many 10.4 users had donated to Mozilla prior to them being told to fuck off.
            • by Kjella (173770)

              How about keeping a security-patched branch? There can be some middle ground between bringing everything forward and dropping support completely. I mean sooner or later the world has to move on where new features are only on those platforms that support them.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                The 10.4-supporting Firefox 3.6.x series will be getting security updates at least until mid-2011 (assuming the non-10.4-supporting 3.7.x or whatever they end up calling it series ships by the end of the year as planned). It's not inconceivable that it'll end up being longer than that given that Firefox 3.0.x still receives security updates.
          • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Informative)

            by BZ (40346) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:09PM (#31062652)

            > Mozilla should have a very clear policy about backwards compatibility and follow it to the
            > letter.

            The basic setup is:

            1) Once an OS vendor drops support for an OS, support for it will not be maintained unless
                    it's really easy to do.
            2) Whether an OS is supported depends on whether there are resources to support it and on
                    how many users are using it.

            It's not exactly a clear policy, but the important part is that support decisions are pretty complicated and involve a lot of factors.... it's not clear to me what a sane policy would be that would not lead to dropping support in some cases when there's no real reason to do it.

            > Until Apple actively does something to break the older "deprecated" code in Firefox,
            > they should support older OSes

            10.6 dropped ATSUI support. 10.4 doesn't have Core Text. So the only way to support both is to have codepaths to use both text rendering backends and switch at runtime. Does that count as "does something to break"? ;)

            Thing is, it's all software. Everything can be worked around. The question is the cost (to users, in the end, either in terms of money or in terms of things users want that don't happen).

            > and you deal with the slightly older APIs/compilers to serve your users

            Not that simple. You have to use gcc 4.0 if you're going to run on 10.4. So doing that serves the 10.4 users. But on 10.5 and 10.6, using gcc 4.2 gives a pretty significant across-the-board speedup. So to properly serve those users, you want to be using gcc 4.2. Where that leaves you is either underserving 10.5/10.6 users to better serve 10.4 users or vice versa (at which point relative numbers of users start to matter), or shipping separate binaries with the ensuing user confusion during downloading, etc. So there's not an obvious course of action here that best serves "the users". It's a matter of compromise.

      • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Informative)

        by bheer (633842) <rbheer@nospam.gmail.com> on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:39AM (#31060880)

        Here's a taste of the changes between Tiger and Leopard/Snow Leopard [google.com]. Even though Leopard->Snow Leopard was (relatively) incremental stabilization and refinement, remember that Leopard was a *big* upgrade.

        Adding 10.4 support back to mozilla-central would mean switching back to ATSUI from Core Text, switching back to gcc-4.0 from gcc-4.2, and doing a bit of porting work for code that has been added to the tree since we dropped support for 10.4. Other areas where 10.4 support consumes our time, makes our code more complex or error-prone, and/or limits our capabilities include complex text input (IME), out-of-process plugins, printing, native menus, and Core Animation. Furthermore, Apple's upcoming JavaPlugin2 will not support Mac OS X 10.4.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by noidentity (188756)
          That's the biggest thing that's pissed me off about Mac OS X releases: you had to use a newer version of GCC, but then your programs simply would not run on older versions of the OS, even if you used the same source code. It'd just quit immediately without any message to the user.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by smash (1351)
            You can compile for older operating systems in xcode by toggling a switch. Hopefully the GCC bullshit will be laid to rest when CLANG is integrated into 10.7 or whatever.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by smash (1351)
        Objective C 2.0 with garbage collection for one... accelerated Quartz for another...

        Tiger is pretty old - 2005 vintage. 5 years old in hardware terms is ancient. If you're still on a PowerPC macintosh, and are expecting continued hardware support, its time to wake up and smell the roses - a mac mini will be much faster than your current box.

        If you're on an intel mac, the upgrade is cheap and worth it.

        • Re:Nooo ! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mr. Pibb (26775) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:56PM (#31062476)

          It's exactly this issue that pisses me off about Apple. While your typical /.er might be on a 1-3 year upgrade cycle, a lot of people (ie older parents/grandparents) buy a Mac because it's "easier" and are more inclined to be on a 5-10 year cycle. Their machines serve them well and do what they need--WP, email and web. Speed is NOT an issue when you're reading the news online or writing your Xmas letter. As far as my mom is concerned, there is no difference between the versions of OS X-- and why new versions of Firefox won't run anymore will baffle her.

          Yes, Apple is trying to be revolutionary and keep themselves at the forefront of technology, as well as maintain a manageable codebase. But this has been coming at the expense of (prematurely) obsoleting still-good hardware in the hands of a market that Apple has decided to ignore.

          • Re:Nooo ! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:51PM (#31063924) Journal

            That is one of the things I like about Windows. Say what you want about MSFT but their support cycles are pretty damned long and if you know anything at all about Windows it isn't hard to get it running well on older hardware. Thanks to those nice long support cycles and easy tweaking my GF is using a spare 733MHz office box with a 5200 PCI and 384Mb of RAM with XP Pro to surf the net while I replaced her motherboard in her 3GHz P4. For the things she does, surfing, webmail, Facebook, it works just fine and she is quite happy with it. I just added Comodo AV+Firewall and set everything to auto and she is a happy little camper.

            And with the spare LGA775 board I had lying around and a $30 memory upgrade her P4 will probably last her until 2014 easy, and if she still has the box by then I'll just max out the RAM and give her Windows 7/8, which I'm sure will run just fine on it. Say what you want about MSFT but you really do get a pretty long time when it comes to security updates. I just now retired my 1GHz P3 Celeron with Win2K with a 1.8GHz Sempron box with XP that I'm sure will run Windows 7 just fine when XP is EOL. It makes a great whisper quiet netbox and uses very little electricity.

            If all you are doing is basic tasks there really isn't a need with Windows to have the latest and greatest hardware, and it is certainly nicer than shitcanning working hardware. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] Apple only released 10.4 in 2005, correct? Man you really gotta stay on the upgrade treadmill with those guys. I think I'll stick with the OS that lets me build monster quads for less than $700 and keep them for a decade, thanks anyway. I gotta admit those Apples are pretty, but they ain't replace my machine every other year pretty, at least not to me. I guess for all those 10.4 guys getting dumped by the Moz there is always Opera. It still works on 10.4, right?

        • This is just plain silly. I am willing to bet my 1.2 ghz G4 ibook is quite a bit faster than the mainstream 1.6 ghz Atoms found in most Windows netbooks nowdays, and those netbooks have no problem running the latest versions of Firefox. It is still a very good and usable machine and I am not going to be wasteful and buy news hardware just for the sake of new hardware.
      • Chip sets (Score:2, Informative)

        Speaking for myself; keeping the G5 on 10.4 because it's the last OS X version specifically designed for the power pc chipset, right? 10.5 ushered in the migration to intel architecture, and 10.5 supposedly served both ppc and intel, but was considered relatively inferior to Tiger stability-wise. With Snow Leopard, even apple made it clear they've retired support for legacy, non-intel, systems. Can't remember the last time i got a software update for anything other than safari or itunes...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by palegray.net (1195047)
      I'm a huge Mac fan, but you could always just install Linux on that G3 to give it a new lease on life, with the added benefit of more modern software.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by psergiu (67614)

        Usually all those old 10.4 running macs are Grandma's and Auntie's browsing machines. Switching those machines to Linux is not advised unless you want to spend the next 3 months re-training their users.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by palegray.net (1195047)
          The GP specifically stated that the older Mac is a good browsing platform. It's not hard to train Grandma or Auntie to click a different icon to launch their web browser. Actually, come to think of it, it's the same icon but in a different place. That's not a huge leap; my mother in-law knows jack about computers, and easily switched to using Ubuntu on her laptop for stuff that is considerably more complicated than this.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by smash (1351)
        More modern software.... Except for... you know... the GUI, the object orientation, the plug and play, display PDF, etc. Basically everything that makes the mac nicer to use than some shitbox clone running ubuntu.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm a free unix fan, but if you've got OS X, as far as usability and "getting shit done" goes, linux or any of the other Free unices is a step backwards.

        • by tepples (727027)

          Except for... you know... the GUI, the object orientation

          KDE Plasma Desktop is based on Qt, an object-oriented toolkit. GNOME (formerly GNU Network Object Model Environment) is based on GTK+, which is object-oriented even though written in C. If this isn't what you meant, could you be more specific?

          the plug and play

          It depends on whether you have bleeding-edge hardware (more likely to include a driver CD for the big two desktop operating systems) or slightly older hardware (more likely to be in Linux driver repositories). I haven't had much of a problem getting Ubuntu to autodetec

          • by smash (1351)
            KDE may be plasma based on QT with an OO toolkit, but its broken and does not work properly.

            As far as display PDF goes... look it up. I'm not talking about the ability to display PDFs. I'm talking about device independent rendering that looks the same on any device.

        • by MrHanky (141717)

          So what kind of "object orientation" and "plug and play" does the Mac have that Linux doesn't?

    • by sznupi (719324)

      So...just use a browser that still gets maintained?

      Opera probably will be for quite some time, it's current version officialy supports 10.3

  • Leopard (10.5) was released end of october 2007, 2.5 years ago, and 2.5 years is well enough time to let end-users move on and revision their computing. Everyone knows there are 10.4'ers out there still, and even 10.3'ers (may the Universe and the Great Magnet help them), but dragging excess weight is nothing short of a problem akin to shooting oneself in the foot - just take a look at microsoft and their eternal love for backwards compatibility, and all the hell that comes with it in windows.
    • by Megane (129182)
      2.5 years is less than the maximum length of the Applecare warranty. So you're not going to support the major OS release that came with a computer that's still under warranty? Meanwhile, XP, and in many cases W2K are still supported?
      • by RebelWebmaster (628941) on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:47PM (#31061720)
        It's discussed in the discussion thread also, but it's a matter of what resources it takes to continue support. In the case of Win2K/XP, maintaining compatibility doesn't require nearly the resources that maintaining 10.4 compatibility does. OSX tends to change a LOT between the various 10.x releases, far more than Windows.

        Also, it's important to note that this is being discussed for the next major release of Firefox - i.e. 3.7 or whatever they end up calling it. If they hit their targets, that won't be out at the earliest until the end of the year. Adding in security updates, 10.4 users wouldn't be left out in the cold until the middle of 2011 at the earliest. It stands to simple reason that the proportion of 10.4 is only going to continue dropping over the next year and a half. Why should Mozilla continue to devoting limited resources to an OS that requires disproportionate resources to support at that point?
    • Vista (6.0) was released early november 2006, over 3 years ago, and 3 years is well enough time to let end-users move on and revision their computing. Oh wait, it's not; Windows XP (66%) still greatly outnumbers Windows Vista and Windows 7 put together (25%).
  • by Cowclops (630818) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:18AM (#31060676)
    I'm not a Mac person so I don't keep track of every update, but why is it that OSX 10.4, a version which only came out in 2005 according to Wikipedia, has so much code that prevents Mozilla from trivially continuing to maintain compatibility in Firefox? Does it have something to do with the PPC->Intel switch? The fact that they'd drop support for an OS version thats only 5 years old, when Firefox quite obviously still works on 10 year old Windows 2000, is sort of surprising.
    • by carlhaagen (1021273) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:23AM (#31060724)
      Apple moves at a completely different pace when it comes to updates and reworking their OS, compared to Microsoft. The PPC part is just one bit, but Leopard does run on PPC machines, so Firefox will still contain both PPC and x86 code for the OS X version. The problem is more that there were a lot of favorable improvements taking place in 10.5 almost coercing developers to make use of them, combined with lots of API-level stuff from the 10.4 selection going deprecated.
    • by eihab (823648) * on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:31AM (#31060800)

      I'm not a Mac person so I don't keep track of every update, but why is it that OSX 10.4, a version which only came out in 2005 according to Wikipedia, has so much code that prevents Mozilla from trivially continuing to maintain compatibility in Firefox?

      According to the article:

      Adding 10.4 support back to mozilla-central would mean switching back
      to ATSUI from Core Text, switching back to gcc-4.0 from gcc-4.2, and
      doing a bit of porting work for code that has been added to the tree
      since we dropped support for 10.4. Other areas where 10.4 support
      consumes our time, makes our code more complex or error-prone, and/or
      limits our capabilities include complex text input (IME), out-of-
      process plugins, printing, native menus, and Core Animation.
      Furthermore, Apple's upcoming JavaPlugin2 will not support Mac OS X
      10.4.

      Sounds like OS X's API has evolved quite a bit in the last 5 years.

      The weird part in the article was when the Mozilla platform engineer said "Neither Safari nor Chrome have to deal with this". I don't know about Chrome but from Apple's website [apple.com] it looks like Tiger is still supported for Safari 4:

      Tiger System Requirements

      Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 and Security Update 2009-002 or later

  • Premature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Lawrence (1733598) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:20AM (#31060688) Homepage

    This is far too premature. Firefox is still supported on Windows 2000, yet Tiger was still shipping on new Mac less than three years ago. Lots of people are still running this on G3 machines that can't upgrade to Leopard. I think this is just too soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cowclops (630818)
      Yeah. My girlfriend has a macbook, I have no idea exactly when she bought it, but its a Core2Duo system at like 2ghz and it has Tiger on it. She's not enough of a computer freak to upgrade everything that comes out, she just has an irrational hatred of PCs. If her laptop seems pretty new but only has tiger on it, that means she might have bought it in like... 2007 before Leopard was released. So I guess that means she'd have to upgrade to get Firefox (not that she cares at all).
      • Exactly, I have family members in the same boat. You've got people with Macs *still under warrantee* (if they got Applecare) and they won't be able to run the latest version of Firefox without upgrading the OS? Not cool.

        • by PenguSven (988769)

          Exactly, I have family members in the same boat. You've got people with Macs *still under warrantee* (if they got Applecare) and they won't be able to run the latest version of Firefox without upgrading the OS? Not cool.

          Updates for Safari (including v4) are available for OS X 10.4 (Tiger) so what's the big issue?
          If these users aren't upgrading their OS, they probably aren't the sort of people who are particularly bothered about having a specific browser.

          It's not like Firefox is a spectacularly great brow

      • by Enleth (947766)

        http://xkcd.com/684/ [xkcd.com]

        Sorry,couldn't resist...

      • by Nimey (114278)

        She should upgrade anyway - Tiger's no longer getting security updates, and Snow Leopard will only set her back $30.

  • Minor version (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:22AM (#31060710) Journal

    I'm surprised that so much version specific code is needed to support a minor release of the OS. Why is that?

    We still have a computer running 10.2 hooked up to a microscope. It still works just fine, and I'm hesitant to upgrade without a real good reason. It would be really nice to continue to get updates for Firefox.

    • Re:Minor version (Score:5, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:56AM (#31061040) Homepage

      I'm surprised that so much version specific code is needed to support a minor release of the OS. Why is that?

      With Apple and OS X "point releases" (10.x) are not minor version changes. They include major shifts in APIs and decrements of complete frameworks (ie. Carbon to Cocoa). Apple operates on a different timing and structure scheme than Microsoft. Neither necessarily better or worse, but different.

      If your 10.2 machine works for your application and doesn't need any upgraded software for fulfill it's purpose in the grand scheme of things, just leave it alone.....

    • by smash (1351)
      New and better APIs that make coding easier and less bug prone.
  • How can I upgrade? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Flymaster (112510) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:23AM (#31060722)

    So, where can I get a guaranteed legal version of Leopard? I've got a G4 Powerbook that I never upgraded, and it seems that Apple doesn't sell 10.5 anymore.

  • exorcise? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:27AM (#31060770)

    excise

    • by mmkkbb (816035)

      No, turns out the code left in there to support Tiger is of supernatural origin. They had to give commit access to a priest.

  • My "recreational" computer is a G4 Powerbook running 10.4, and I've found that realistically, Mozilla stopped caring over a year ago. Even chatting in Facebook is an exercise in futility. Switching to Safari 4 was a no-brainer.
    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      Yep, me too. My Powerbook is my workhorse to support my table-top gaming. I'm running mysql and apache with php with several wikis and php scripts.

      I've been having so many problems with Firefox crashing and increasing the temp of the powerbook I switched back to Safari 4 a few months ago. I have to deal with ads but at least my browser doesn't crash any more.

      [John]

  • by The Breeze (140484) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:30AM (#31060794) Homepage

    A shame. I know people who bought nice new Macbooks running 10.4 in 2008, and they won't want to upgrade their OS after just over a year. I have a 700 mhz ibook that is great to travel with and does everything I want it to, but is slowly becoming insecure because it's gradually becoming unsupported. Yet it runs fine, and I'd cheerfully stick with it if I could.

    Buy, buy, buy...what a pain. How hard is it to just keep up on security patches for old browsers?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by B3ryllium (571199)

      How hard is it to just keep up on security patches for old browsers?

      A security patch isn't as simple as deciding "Oh, we don't want to have that vulnerability any more" and commenting out a setting. If it was that easy, there wouldn't be very many vulnerabilities at all.

      On the one hand, any time you find a new vulnerability (or a new class of vulnerabilities), you have to audit all the nooks and crannies of the code base in order to identify either the problem itself, or the problem areas that are affected.

      On the other hand, any time you change a line of code, you have to r

    • by sznupi (719324)

      You might look into using Opera, its latest 10-series still supports not only 10.4, but also 10.3. Also has quite good security record and on older machines it is readily apparent how snappy Opera is (don't forget using its built-in adblocker)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Korbeau (913903)

      How hard is it to just keep up on security patches for old browsers?

      It's not a question of being "hard" or not - maintaining another platform/configuration simply takes time and resources. As I understand, on top of that there was a big deprecation of API calls moving from 10.4, so they also need specialized people that know their way around and systems that have 10.4 installed ready for testing.

      When a user reports a problem on 10.4, someone has to spend a day trying to reproduce it and find its way through old code ...

      Build breaks because of old forgotten code made for 10

  • It would seem strange to drop support for OS X 10.4, released in 2005, while keeping support for Windows 2000, released in 2000. Even if Win2000 support is dropped, XP was released in 2001 is certainly staying.

    I know Apple isn't exactly famous for backwards compatibility, but is it this extreme? Is the stereotype true that Mac owners are people with too much money to spare that will buy anything as soon as Apple tells them too? Are there no businesses using 10.4 that are holding off on upgrading?

    • Given Apple and MS's respective rates of change, it would wholly fail to surprise me if supporting Windows 2000 is easier than supporting OS 10.4.

      Microsoft has been pretty aggressive about using DirectX to shove the gamer kiddies forward into the future; but that isn't really an issue for FF.
    • by Bert64 (520050)

      I guess it's to do with percentages...
      What percentage of windows users still use XP? Probably quite high, and there isn't much difference between 2000 and XP.
      On the other hand, the percentage of Mac users still running 10.4 is quite low, at least all the mac users i know are running something more recent these days even if they might also own an older machine still running 10.4.

      Also to do with how recently each version was available, XP is still on sale and you can buy machines even today with it preinstall

    • by smash (1351)
      OS X is actually actively developed. Look, its FIREFOX making this decision, because coding for 10.4 is a bitch when there are plenty of shiny new more easily maintained APIs available in 10.5 and later.

      Garbage collection, fast enumeration, properties, Coretext, etc. The ui might look the same between os x versions, but coding for 10.5 vs 10.4 or earlier is significantly different and less painful.

    • by nxtw (866177)

      It would seem strange to drop support for OS X 10.4, released in 2005, while keeping support for Windows 2000, released in 2000. Even if Win2000 support is dropped, XP was released in 2001 is certainly staying.

      The Win32 API hasn't changed as much; one can still use the latest compilers (VC++ or GCC) to make programs that run on Windows 2000 and all newer versions of Windows. This does not seem to be the case for OS X.

      Dropping OS X 10.4 support is relatively minor compared to Firefox Linux support; Firefox

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      It would seem strange to drop support for OS X 10.4, released in 2005, while keeping support for Windows 2000, released in 2000. Even if Win2000 support is dropped, XP was released in 2001 is certainly staying.

      I don't think the Win2000 code is much different than the WinXP plus if you look at it from the number of current users Win2k has to be over 9000 times higher than OS X 10.4. Die hard OS X 10.4 users can always fork it.

  • I'd expect that very few people still running Tiger (two major releases out of date) are going to be updating their Firefox install to the latest and greatest. And no, the ten people in the Slashdot audience who pipe up and say they're running Tiger for some esoteric reason are not representative of the whole.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by psergiu (67614)

      Firefox on OS X updates automatically. Users just have to push a "OK" button in a dialog to re-open their current windows in tabs in the updated version.

    • by CompMD (522020)

      Not everyone subscribes to the idea that they MUST purchase the latest and greatest OS for their hardware. I don't believe that thinking "I'm not going to blow $100 on an upgrade I DON'T NEED or I CAN'T USE" is an esoteric reason at all. Step out of your reality distortion field.

  • For anyone who has been with Apple since the beginning of Mac OS X, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Mac OS X is on a definite upgrade treadmill: Apple wants to do a major OS update every 2 years and nothing is sacred - they're boldly going forward and they can't find reverse. More to the point, Apple has decided not to put a lot of effort in to supporting legacy operating systems, so they only do feature updates on the current OS, and security updates on the previous OS. In other words, 10.4 no longer ge

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