Firefox developers are considering ditching support for Mac OS X 10.4 sometime after the organisation ships its successor to Firefox 3.5 next year, despite accepting that users will be "pissed off" about the move. The debate, first flagged by ComputerWorld, is playing out in the Mozilla planning forum here. Mozilla's Josh Aas …
OK, now I'm confused.
Do the latest versions of Linux and Mac OSs possess features in common with Vista, from a programming/API perspective that XP and older version of Mac OS don't? If not, then why are they talking bout dropping support for XP and older Mac OSs?
I'm actually a little worried that my Kubuntu machine is so close to Vista (or vice versa) that a browser written for Vista is easier to port to it then one written for XP.
Of course XP is supported!
It is many orders of magnitude more used than OS X or Linux combined. Dropping support for it would be suicide. Dropping support for a little-used niche OS to free up resources for proper work is a good idea.
Cue the sound of...
...whinging Apple fanbois...
Mine's the one with the FreeBSD disk in the pocket.
That is why I stopped using Macs
Having to upgrade an whole OS to get the latest browser or Java release... I'd rather use Vista.
Dropping support why?
The OS is only 4 years old and it's already being talked about being killed off? 2012 it will be 7 years old. Is it not too much to ask that an OS be supported for 10 years?
Oh well, I suppose if does make Linux look like the better option these days with the updates being free and all.
opera here I come
Given that my G4 won't go beyond tiger, it'll have to have opera, like my biege G3 that won't go beyond Jaguar.
Are they being paid by MS and Apple to obsolete their old systems?
Yeah, right - I'll install Linux on my MacBook just so I can use the latest version of Firefox?
No, actually. I'll just use whatever other browser is available, probably an older version of Firefox. Somehow I'll live with myself.
You should have said:
Cue the sound of whinging Apple fanbois *who all use Safari anyway*.
Under The Hood
I've been running OSX 10.5 for a long time. The simple fact is that Apple changed a lot of stuff under the hood with the last OS update - lot of spanky new APIs that make it easier to build applications. Less code to write/support = better software.
I'm assuming they will have to write/support a fair amount more code to get 10.4 supported fully with all the new FF3.5 features, so from a technical viewpoint it makes sense. All the quotes in the article come from technical guys, and the paragraph above is essentially what they're getting at.
It's the price of progress people. How many vendors are gonna be supporting 20 year old XP APIs in the next decade? Ouch.
""Is that a Firefox problem or just what you get when you buy Apple?" before adding helpfully, "You can always load Linux on that box when Apple stops supporting it.""
Veditz, you bastard! New keyboard and monitor! Now! *choke*! *giggle*!
Evil Stevil on general principles...
I don't see any problem with this at all. You have two choices if it happens: keep using the last version or try one of the plethora of other browsers that are available on the Mac and are better than Firefox anyway. No loss either way.
Firefox support for OSX ≤10.4, other crap
(DISCLAIMER: MacOS "fanboy" since 1985.)
On the technical side, I can totally get it. Sooner or later, you have to let go of "legacy" (aka old shit) OSs/hardware support. Hell, I can't remember the last app that supported OSX _and_ OS9 ("Classic"), and didn't even notice when OS9 support ended because I was already whole-hog into using/learning OSX. Luckily, there's http://lowendmac.com/ , though some of the stuff I see in there classified as "low end" is frighteningly-recent vintage, likely owing to the recent bum's-rush of users to upgrade, no matter what. Bringing us to...
...the situation, now. Not a whole lot of people jumping to Pavlov's Upgrade Bell, for a lot of reasons -- Vista sucks, the economy's collapsing, just to name a couple -- and Mozilla's decision to cut off Firefox support for XP and OSX ≤10.4 suddenly sucks, especially considering those of us who 1) can't/won't upgrade for various reasons, and 2) have come to depend on Mozilla/Firefox after finally getting up the cajones to run screaming from MSIE. It's like they know how popular they've gotten and what kind of reputation they've built, and they've gotten totally full of themselves, and seem to be making these decisions either after totally ignoring user input, or, as I suspect, making these decisions knowing full well it's not going to go over well with the users, and just plain not giving a shit. That's what pisses me off the most, I think: the vibe I've gotten off them lately that says "we don't give a shit".
As far as Firefox 3.x goes -- let's just say that in principle, I'm not thrilled with the rumored decision not to support anything < OSX10.4, but in practice, I can't get too worked up over it after trying the current Firefox 3 on my G4 iBook (with OSX 10.4.4). Not only did they seem to remove a few points of control over things like image loading, browsing history and cache setting, and totally ugly-up the interface look; not only does it still insist on contacting the Mozilla update server at start-up, and ramdomly after that _even_though_ I distinctly clicked off the "auto-update" preference...but it also is just plain slower than death. I mean, like, glacial. It was a dog -- and not some blue-ribbon show dog, either, but Old Yeller, the one who's creaky and sick and ends up being taken around behind the barn and shot. I was back with v184.108.40.206 within the hour.
My favorite quote:
> Firefox's Daniel Veditz notes, though, "Is that a Firefox problem or just what you get when you buy Apple?" before adding helpfully, "You can always load Linux on that box when Apple stops supporting it." <
Y'know, I wish I could afford a plane ticket to wherever this guy works, so that I can beat the shit out of him for that crack. I've played around -- that is, _played_around_ -- with Linux (I forget which variety) on a machine at a friend's place and remember thinking it seemed slick enough, but (deep breath) can I get Adobe Creative Suite for it, or QuarkXPress for it, or FinalCut Pro, or drivers for my printer, or the video codecs I need? Oh, and how long will it take me to get the thing so it's running well enough to actually get some work done and get on the 'Net, and how often will I have to stop and fiddle when a printer driver upgrade appears, or a video codec upgrade, or when, mysteriously, shit just quits working (as it tends to do). In principle, I can totally get behind the FOSS movement, but this crap about "just slap Linux onto your box" is really insulting, as from what I've learned and read, Linux doesn't "just run". My mother couldn't install Linux on her Wintel box at home. However, Mom could easily slide a Mac out of the box, plug it in, fire it up, run her Office 2004 (yeah, that's right, it works well enough for her, you go, Mom) installers, follow the prompts to set up her Internet prefs, and be working inside an hour. The only thing she'd need from me is a copy of my disk image file for the Firefox 2 installer.
Linux is noble and revolutionary and all that jazz, but right now it's still an OS for guys who, in a simpler time long ago, would have instead been filling their entire basements with model railroads.
Firefox OS X support
I don't see this as a big issue really. Both Camino and Safari are better browsers in my opinion. Firefox always seemed a bit clunky on Macs.
(and regarding XP being used 'many more orders of magnitude than OS X and Linux combined'. Do you understand what an order of magnitude is?)
Same as XP
mozilla are also considering dropping support for xp see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/15/firefox_gecko_windows_support_conflab/
This is a good thing. It lowers the cost and speeds up development and testing of new firefox releases. Also since firefox is open source there is nothing stopping anybody from getting the source code modifying anything that doesn't work with the old os and building it themselves.
If they want it so much...
why don't they learn objective-C and do a 10.4 port themselves.
Why not just drop support for OS/X altogether?
The recession and Windows 7 will kill it off anyway. And for those who prefer Unix, just switch to Linux. All the files are where you expect them to be, you don't have to wait for your favourite software to be ported to Fink and Firefox is updated automatically through the package manager. That's what's in store for my (foolishly purchased) Mac Mini as soon as Apple stops supporting 10.4.
OK the desicion sucks...
But if you don't like it, fork it! It's OSS after all.
What's less clear and that I feel needs clearing up: When they say "drop support" for the older OS, does that just mean that the newer versions wont work on it, or that they'll stop patching the old ones? If the former, big deal. Run an old system, don't get full features. If the latter then it's a bigger issue that may need addressing. Dropping patching for a 4 year old os, is not a good plan!
"...whinging Apple fanbois..."
hardly. if they were proper fanboys they'd have 10.5 anyway
OK, you're a Mac Fanboy, so I should expect some of what is in your post, but...
...I think that you ought to go back and check what Linux distro you were trying. I suspect that it might have been one of the bare-metal masochistic distro's, or possibly one that was a little old. USB printers, for the most part just work on most modern distro's. Plug it in, and watch Linux tell you what the printer is, and which driver it will use.
And while it is the case that there are some codec's that may be difficult to find, they are probably equally difficult to find for OS 10.X, unless the vendor has explicitly provided them on the driver disk. And if this is the case, then probably the Windows codes will work inside a wrapper on Linux. If the vendors did some due diligence, and provided instructions as they do for Windows and OS 10.X, then you would see it is not Linux that was at fault, but the hardware vendors.
What is even more surprising is the fact that OS 10.X->Linux ports are not that difficult (OK, the screen API is different) but the rest is just *NIX like. So why no port?
I do take your point about applications, but this, again, is not Linux's fault. Just because an OS is free, some people have an expectation that all the apps. should be free as well (I accept that they can be called fretards, but this is not all Linux users). And some software vendors are afraid that if they use GNU tools to compile an app, that the app must be published under the GPL. Neither of these two statements are true. It is perfectly possible to port an app. to Linux and sell it. If there was a Linux port of Adobe Creative Suite, QuarkXPress, or FinalCut Pro, maybe more people (such as you!) would see Linux as an alternative, and it would start fulfilling it's promise.
Is this Linux's or the developers fault. No. They have made this excellent platform, and commercial companies have not taken advantage of it.
If you had a choice of buying a shiny Mac running OS/X, or the same hardware running Linux, with the same choice of software and drivers, but the Linux box was £50 or £100 cheaper, which would you choose? Many people would choose the cheaper option. And there must be significant numbers of Windows users who would make the same choice to avoid Vista. Why then will the vendors not see this as an opportunity, and start selling their wares for Linux.
Oh. I forgot. Microsoft are pulling the strings. They can make it difficult to develop for Windows by withholding Windows information an cheap licenses from developers who also produce Linux software, so few development houses can afford to sell Linux products. Why do MS not do that for OS/X devopers? Because without some competition, the US DoJ would slice MS up.
Are they suggesting Linux on PPC?
I ruddy well hope not. I remember trying to get wireless and compiz running on Ubuntu on my old G4 (just an experiment) and I didn't half feel out in the wilderness. Every guide I came across seemed to refer to some package for which there was no PPC equivalent.
Why is it that most new Windows programs run on W2K or even Win98 but support for old versions of OSX disappears so quickly, especially as OSX is apparently *soo* much better and secure than Windows? I know someone with a fully patched 10.3 who finds it difficult to find lots of programs, they all refuse to work on anything older than 10.4. They're not willing to spend another £100 on an upgrade on such an old slow machine, especially since I have WIndows XP from 2001 and have everything up to IE8 and SP3 and a load of add-ons for absolutely nothing.
And I suspected that it wouldn't be long after OSX 10.6 started appearing that support for 10.4 would be dropped like a stone by many developers, so Mozilla seem to be proving that correct.
What next, mobile phones and laptops with sealed batteries that you have to spend another fortune sending away replacing?!
@ Peter Gathercole
Quote: "If you had a choice of buying a shiny Mac running OS/X, or the same hardware running Linux, with the same choice of software and drivers, but the Linux box was £50 or £100 cheaper, which would you choose?"
No question - I would choose the "expense" of OS X over Linux any day. I've tried various distros, including the fabled Ubuntu, and while Linux is improving each year it is still at least a decade behind in terms of usability than even Windows, and Windows is bad enough. Sorry, Linux might be just about useable but, hell, it is a long, long, long way from being enjoyable.
Not a fanboy, but I would be narked as I don't want to have to change to Safari or linux/FF on the only mac in the house. But, when they say not supported, do they mean it isn't going to work, or that they won't support it?
Its easy really
Drag, drop, click, load any other browser, sorted.
free OS, peeps
Isn't this just more evidence that everyone needs to use an open source OS so they can upgrade at their leisure without getting hammered by license fees?
Are they gambling alienating users for an easy code base?
I suppose it's fair enough that the FF team should be considering ditching support for Tiger given that ditching support for 9x and Xp has also been mooted - which generally prompted a coffee-spewing of "where's the need to ditch my Xp what doesn't it do that Vista does apart from pretty graphics" a week or so ago on these same pages from the Microsoft Fanbois.
Note I haven't mentioned anything about soft drinks, just altered the company name on the standard epithet given to users of Apple products on this thread. It's only a computer, get over it.
I have a Tiger-based intel iMac in front of me. I use it for Adobe CS3. It does integration and managing system resources much better than any Windows system. I can do more CS3 work with it in less time, more easily. There are other jobs I would rather have my Windows machine for. Horses for courses.
Poking around at various distros of Linux, it seems that platform support out of the box actually almost exists, now. But as soon as you want software you are pointed at WiNE or maybe Parallels, one of which involves much fiddling and no guarantee of success and the other isn't really much different from dual-booting. Current distros seem to satisfy the requirement for easy installs, but the software base really needs to exist, and it needs to be the commercial apps or something so similar that the authors would be sued out of existence.
Cutting to the chase; this isn't about whether it's reasonable dropping support for an older os, it's about whether doing so will hand the market share FF has built up to someone else. I can only think of one player with a browser in wide usage that has a long history of continuing to support old systems an caving in and going on a bit longer when the users complain. But they last made a browser for Apple products in about 2002. Will dropping a system only one major out of date scare users away?
Some posters here also seem to be unaware that there is a very good reason that not all Macs are running 10.5 already - and no it isn't to save a £100 or so ('Shafting users'). Apple have built the 10.5 installer to reject machines under 867MHz, although you can trick it on if you want - you just have an unsupported system and possibly partial functionality. This means that officially no G3's and only about half of G4's can have 10.5, although they may continue to be useful with whatever OS is loaded. Maybe Apple do shaft users by not supporting all legacy hardware, but you can't support it all for ever or you end up with the compatibility problems Microsoft have brought upon themselves.
As to 'since OsX is so *nix like why no ports', this question should really be asked of the app developers. If Adobe brought out their stuff on *nix then suddenly an awful lot of G4 PowerMacs would be getting dusted off. On the other hand, why no kernel support for Apple APIs and Universal Binaries in Ubuntu?
@Pete By Dave
Actually, OSX won't run on any of my 68xxx kit. Nor will much in the way of Linux.
As for the recession, so far Apple is holding on much better than Microsoft is, according to the numbers.
To the poster who suggested using Safari or _Camino_ instead, what do you think Camino is based on? Clearly these guys were talking about the core Mozilla engine, not the FireFox chrome, so any further updates to Camino that remain compatible with 10.4 or lower are going to be patches/cosmetic only.
Divide the workload among different OS's
"Mike Flugennock" wrote thusly: "...Linux (I forget which variety) on a machine at a friend's place and remember thinking it seemed slick enough, but (deep breath) can I get Adobe Creative Suite for it, or QuarkXPress for it, or FinalCut Pro, or..."
No, but if you're sufficiently desperate (like me) you can keep a dedicated Linux machine to do *only* browser-related things (except for maybe printing; save files and print 'em from a non-Linux machine, that's what I have to do) and just keep using your other machine for Adobe, Quark, etc.
Set-up the two machines' respective screens and keyboards in a quasi-L shape if you have the space, and after a few days adjustment period (and some furniture rearrangements/additions) you'll barely even notice when you switch from one to the other, it just becomes automatic like changing gears in a car or something - aside from minor inconveniences with file transfers (just use thumbdrives to transfer files as needed, or I suppose network 'em if you know how to do that). Not so sure any of that would go over too well for larger offices though, but for smaller operations it's something to consider.
All that, of course, assumes you don't mind a bunch of extra hardware cluttering up your work area, and that you physically have room for extra screens etc., (and probably buying yourself another and/or bigger UPS to handle the extra wattage) and the ability to acquire said items (second-hand works for some of it). I've read, but haven't confirmed, that Linux doesn't necessarily play well with those switches that people used to use for sharing monitors/keyboards between computers (because of some technical reason which I didn't understand), and besides it's more useful to be able to see/use both/all screens/keyboards simultaneously anyway.
"Mike Flugennock" also wrote: "Linux is noble and revolutionary and all that jazz, but right now it's still an OS for guys who, in a simpler time long ago, would have instead been filling their entire basements with model railroads."
LOL yeah I know what you mean, but some of it depends on the distro. Ubuntu seems to be the most idiot-proof (and I should know!) and even though I despise Ubuntu's dreadful inefficient GUI, I use the damn thing anyway because it has the fewest problems, compared to others. KDE (Kubuntu and all other KDE's that I've tried) totally won't work at all for me on any of my new flat-panels *or* any of my big old CRT's - no video whatsoever and I have no idea how to fix it (already tried changing the monitors settings using Windows, then plugging the monitors back into the Linux machine and booting it up, no dice).
I asked about it, politely, at a Linux place one time and I basically got a carefully-disguised weasely-slick equivalent of 'go screw yourself if you're too stupid to figure it out on your own or write your own fix for it' which wasn't helpful nor did it give a good impression of the whole Linux thing. (Experiences like *that* make a person sometimes want to see Linux die die die just because of some of the users', erm, incredibly-arrogant and self-defeating attitude problems).
So anyway I can certainly understand your viewpoint.
"A Gould" wrote: "If they want it so much... why don't they learn objective-C and do a 10.4 port themselves."
Haha, but thanks for making my point for me ;) - monkeys would type the encylopedia faster than many people, including myself, could ever learn C, and yes I've already seriously tried, and seriously failed. It's beyond many people's capabilities.
Fault, and OS longevity
"Peter Gathercole" wrote: "I do take your point about applications, but this, again, is not Linux's fault."
Well, I see what you're saying - but whose fault it is, really isn't relevant to the user, as far as whether or not their apps function and whether or not the person can get their work done. If a person needs to have certain specific apps, and if those apps don't work, then that's a deal-breaker, regardless of whose fault it is that the apps don't work.
"Peter Gathercole" wrote further: "If there was a Linux port of Adobe Creative Suite, QuarkXPress, or FinalCut Pro, maybe more people (such as you!) would see Linux as an alternative"
Absolutely! I completely agree with you on that, and the other points you made along that line too. I have no problem whatsoever with paying fair-market value for 'specialty' or 'high-end' software that works really really good, if all the required functionality is there, and if it isn't going to go extinct or become unusable in 6 months time ;) or whatever. By "fair-market value" I mean the same $$ as whatever they charge for the same app(s) running under other OS's.
Now if someone would just fix Gnome (they could even charge $$ for it, I don't care, just make it non-dreadful, and I'm not talkin' about colors either), and make my printer work, *and* port Adobe apps to Linux with *no* reduced functionality, and a few other things like that (I'm not a programmer; I can't do it), I could ditch both my Mac *and* Windows entirely :) and I'd be more than happy to do so. Whatever works, and works well, and doesn't make the user want to throw the damn computer into the lake in frustration ;)
"Anonymous Coward" wrote: "Why is it that most new Windows programs run on W2K or even Win98 but support for old versions of OSX disappears so quickly,..."
It's always been that way, and I've always hated that ever since I first noticed it (which didn't take long) - going all the way back to the System 7.5 era when I bought my first Mac and began the often-futile task of trying to keep up with all the changes.
The thing is though, the Mac OS changes so fast (moving target?), they're always tweaking stuff and changing stuff, inventing (or otherwise acquiring) new stuff and discarding previous ideas, and 3rd-party developers quickly drop support for older versions because, well, presumably 1) it's too damn much hassle to write for a bunch of different versions, and 2) there aren't enough Mac users to make it worth the developers' time & trouble to maintain older stuff for a handful of paid customers (or free customers, in which case there's even less incentive for developers).
I *agree* though, that aspect of it, totally sucks, for people like me who could care less about state-of-the-art or "oooh, shiny, new" ;) and who just want something that is *reliable* and that *works* - year after year. Without having to constantly re-buy all new software and all-new hardware to run said new software and new OS's. I'll refrain from speculation on just exactly who profits from all that, but from the practical user's point of view, it's a big liability.
"Fraser" wrote: "...when they say not supported, do they mean it isn't going to work, or that they won't support it?"
*Best*-case scenario (guessing) probably no more security updates for any newly-discovered security holes that someone might find and publish for miscreants to exploit. If a person likes to live dangerously maybe it wouldn't matter.
That was why I bought my first Windows box
"marc" wrote: That is why I stopped using Macs. Having to upgrade an whole OS to get the latest browser or Java release... I'd rather use Vista."
I totally understand.
Mac unsupported browsers (going back to problems with IE 5 Mac version, which had *previously* been *great* - worked just fine, nice browser, *until* certain website developers stopped supporting it - grrr!) and also lack of compatible printers was the exact reason I bought my first PC (XP Pro), whereas prior to that I'd never even touched a PC.
However even after buying the PC, I kept the Mac anyway because I didn't feel like shelling out another $600/whatever for Photoshop, $500 for big Wacom tablet and more $$ for extra Wacom pens such a stroke etc., and another minimum of $2000 to replace all my Photoshop 3rd-party plugins and another $400/whatever for Painter (Painter sucks anyway, but it had no competition, "only game in town" kinda thing)... and whatever would replace BBEdit (no equal that I've found yet, tried 'em all). I can certainly see the tempation to pirate software, although I wouldn't do it because of stability concerns.
However the Mac gets far less use these days, as gradually, slowly but surely, I'm methodically migrating things away from the Mac and towards whatever other OS is capable of handling them gracefully. I see no point in buying a newer Mac, as the Mac OS *comparatively* short life-cycle would soon put me right back where I started, everything outdated, after spending thousands of dollars to replace everything. Pointless, and I'm not rich to justify it.
Apple sort of shot itself in the foot with that, because after my first taste of Windows, I quickly came to appreciate the much longer Windows life-cycle (well for XP Pro anyway), the amount of time between having to ditch-all-the-hardware and buy all new hardware & apps which had really pissed me off on the Mac side of things after too many years of it.
Incidentally (off-topic) I also quickly found out that Windows is actually pretty nice to work with - I'm *not* talking about what's under the hood in Windows (I'll defer to the experts who say Windows is crap; they're probably right at least judging by Windows' perpetual security problems even when locked down), but just you know just talking about moving files around and browsing through cheap-n-nasty ;) Windows clipart (useful after much modification) and just normal stuff, what I see on my screen as an everyday user and the ease of setting things up, customizing the appearance, and basic simple functionality (like being able to drag-select multiple items in list view, which Ubuntu stupidly can *not* do as far as I can tell, but XP does with ease, and Macs have since at least the mid-1990s and maybe longer), and the ease of making stuff work in general. Bearing in mind I'm not all that smart these days ;) and money doesn't grow on trees either ;)
Computing patterns - and people - aren't so good at change
It's always fascinated me how the IT world is so rocked by change. From when Facebook redesigned its interface, when a service pack or operating system upgrade rolls around, it's always accompanied by the wailings and angst from those affected by the change
Everyone knows how you can remove an icon from a middle manager's toolbar and cripple his productivity until someone else can restore it. Perhaps the icon has been put somewhere more sensible? Rubbish - it's because it has CHANGED that's causing the ill.
It takes a lot of training to get up to speed on any software application. Some are of course more complex than others. When a new version is released, some retraining is needed. It's painful but necessary, and it is always appreciated when application developers take actions to mitigate this pain.
But people in IT know this to be the case. This will always happen. IT is constantly evolving in all spheres.
Why aren't we good at accepting this?
Are they thinking of dropping support “after the successor to 3.5”, or in Gecko 1.9.2 (i.e. *in* the successor to 3.5)?
Either way, 3.5 itself *will* support OS X 10.4, and will be supported until late 2010 at the earliest.
The devs would support Windows 3.1 if they could, but they have limited resources, so they have to make a trade-off. Remember, this is open source—if enough people really want to see subsequent Firefoxen work on OS X 10.4, they can do the work themselves.
In my opinion, this is just what you get when you buy OS X or Windows. At some point you'll have to upgrade to continue using supported software, and when you do it'll cost cash and possibly involve new hardware.
If you really want to avoid paying for upgrades, you're going to have to use a for-free distro.
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