Volitans Software

SMART Utility: Future of 10.4 Tiger Support

With the release of the first beta of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, I have made a decision regarding the future of 10.4 Tiger support in SMART Utility. Version 3.0 will support 10.4 when it is release in the next week. Minor updates (3.0.x releases) will also support 10.4. However, version 3.1 may not support 10.4, and 3.2 will not support 10.4.

This is a difficult decision, and its one I put off for a long time. I know there are still a fair number of 10.4 Macs out there, and those are the ones ripe for using SMART Utility. I even still get requests for 10.3 support from time to time! But here is some perspective: It has been nearly 6 years since Tiger was released, and nearly 4 since the last major update came out for it.

So there are a couple of reasons why I am deprecating support for 10.4. The biggest reason is development time. If I continued to support 10.4, that would mean I would have to test 8 different configurations of OS/hardware support (10.4 PPC & Intel, 10.5 PPC, Intel 32 bit & Intel 64 bit, 10.6 Intel 32 & 64 bit, and 10.7 64 bit). I also have to maintain a separate build for 10.4 Macs, as that version has bugs when run on 10.5(such as progress bars not working properly). This adds up to a lot of work, especially as many 10.4 APIs are deprecated themselves on later OS’.

Next is that Apple is dropping support for 10.4 (and possible 10.5) in XCode 4, the next major release of the development tools. This means I would have to maintain a separate install of XCode when I upgrade to 10.7, which on top of the above reason equals a lot of management overhead- time I could be spending developing new features and fixing bugs. There are also a fair amount of features I would like to add, but that require 10.5 at least. Dropping 10.4 support would allow me to focus on them.

Finally, my anonymous system stats tell me me that about 15% or less of my users are running 10.4. This follows other stats I have seen- such as OmniGroup’s Stats page. In fact, 10.6 is run by the majority of users. An upgrade to 10.6 for Intel users is only $30, and I heavily encourage users to go that route. For PPC users, an upgrade to 10.5 can be had used for about $50. Both offer a lot of benefits over 10.4.

I hope that this will allow an informed decision by my current and future customers. Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns at mbutch@volitans-software.com.