back to article Apple's Windows XP moment: OS X Snow Leopard left to DIE

Nearly one in five fanbois have been left potentially vulnerable to hacking attacks after Apple announced the end of support for OS X Snow Leopard. The OS was only launched about four-and-a-half years ago and is still relied upon by about 20 per cent of the world's Apple-loving population. The fruity firm released a patch for …

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What are we waiting for?

Sadly, some of us are running legacy hardware that has been abandoned by the manufacturer, and the device drivers are not compatible with the later versions of OSX. I personally don't let that machine touch the internet now.

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Re: What are we waiting for?

This.

Ever so much.

My employers develop a product which can run on Macs, and the fact of the matter is that some of our larger customers are still running Snow Leopard on their production systems (for reasons best known to themselves, but there you are) with a few still running Tiger and Leopard on PPC hardware - end of life or not, we still have to support them - if you think that getting corporates to adopt newer versions of Windows is tough, convincing them that upgrading their Fruit Machines is a good idea is even harder and as such we still have to support them (and yes, we've got a metric shitload of legacy hardware running Snow Leopard, Leopard and Tiger so we can do that)

Calling it an "XP Moment" is probably over-egging things a bit, but it's still bloody inconvenient.

(can't comment on Mavericks, as I bailed out of Zombie Steve's Walled Garden before the Hillside Moggy was unleashed)

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Re: What are we waiting for?

> "some of us are running legacy hardware..."

+1 and I'm in the same boat, albeit stuck on Lion rather than SL.

I actually have Mavericks installed on an external HD for iOS programming but use Lion for my audio work on account of it being the last version which can boot into 32 bit, as required by the drivers for my ancient-but-too-pricey-to-replace Yamaha mixer / control surface / MIDI interface.

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Re: What are we waiting for?

It would be okay if the hardware restrictions were less draconian. I have a MacMini as a backup machine and although it's Intel (Core 2 Duo) it's not able to use anything more recent than Lion.

Snow Leopard itself was a bit of a brown bag release with the most important fixes pushed into Lion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What are we waiting for?

Douché

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Linux

surely?

PPC hardware is still supported. By Linux...

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Linux

Re: surely?

Indeed - MintPPC FTW!

http://mintppc.org/

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Re: What are we waiting for?

"It would be okay if the hardware restrictions were less draconian. I have a MacMini as a backup machine and although it's Intel (Core 2 Duo) it's not able to use anything more recent than Lion."

Blimey, that is picky. I'm running a Late-2008 MacBook and that's handling Mavericks fine, despite also being Core 2 Duo!

It's was the first of the aluminium unibodies, and eminently upgradeble with a simple catch to get at the HDD - now SSD - and battery, and just a couple of screws to get at the RAM. An elegant design that Johnnie Ive should be ashamed to have dropped in favour of the glued-together modern equivalents.

But that's the problem, I'm running it third hand (inherited off my brother who had it second hand) instead of buying a new one!

There are some fairly salient hardware issues. Other brother had to replace the audio capture card for his home studio when his PPC Macbook died and he replaced it with a new Intel model. Only connects via USB but the absence of Intel drivers that didn't generate massive hiss was a bit of a killer!

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Re: What are we waiting for?

@AbelSoul

Yamaha 01x? That's what I have :)

If you are interested, there is an active Facebook (I know, I know) group supporting the 01x and associated hardware, and we are currently talking to a developer about the possibility of getting an updated mLAN driver written for OSX and Windows.

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Unhappy

Re: What are we waiting for?

Not all of the Core 2 Duo systems can run Mavericks.

The CPU can do it, but Apple never bothered to write 64-bit drivers for the GMA 900 video processor on the Intel 915GM chipset. The first "unibody" Macs introduced the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, which Apple is still supporting with drivers. So, I think some adventurous people managed to get Mavericks to install, but it doesn't do native resolution and the performance is miserable.

This lack of support sucks for me. I was trying not to install Lion on my early-2008 MacBooks, because they have only 2GB of RAM, and reportedly Lion sucks with 2GB of RAM compared to Snow Leopard. I didn't think it was a good use of limited funds to upgrade those to the 4GB RAM or SSD so that Lion runs well.

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Trollface

What I don't understand..

...is why anyone would run production operations on a device built for teenage girls?

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Re: surely?

PPC hardware is still supported. By Linux...

68k Macs are still supported. By NetBSD...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: surely?

A mate of mine (yes, one of *those* mates with an endless supply of IT issues... enough wit to get himself into situations but but enough to reverse out. "And no, don't use a registry cleaner, they just seem to fuck shit up for you") has one of those old Core 2 Duo Mac Minis, and it struggles with some HD video. 'Perian' helps. Still, John Lewis sold it cheap as a 'store demo' with their 2 year guarantee, and it's always been lovely and quiet.

Meanwhile, he uses his i7 3770S (65W TDP + 1kg passive copper cooler) for vinyl ripping...

It's like he's using a screwdriver for hammering nails, and using a hammer to drive nuts.

Still, he grew up in Welsh care homes in the late '60s, so his mental health is to be treated with care.

Lovely vinyl collection though.

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Re: What are we waiting for?

+1. First gen Intel Macs are for some reason only capable of booting into 32-bit OSes despite having a 64-bit CPU, due to the EFI being 32-bit. Apple could've fixed it, but they'd rather force you into buying a new Mac.

No one's stopping you from deleting Mac OS completely and installing Linux tho.

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Indeed - MintPPC FTW!

Is that still up to date?

I notice the latest post on the homepage (other than about the forums) is from November 2011.

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Re: What are we waiting for?

I've got a 1st gen Intel Macbook pro which doesn't run any recent versions of OSX. Still I only use it now for garage band unless there is a way for it to work with more recent versions

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Re: What are we waiting for?

My old "Snow Leopard" box could not (or they would not) be upgraded, so I converted to run Ubuntu instead; and its been great.

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Windows

OSX Mavericks

Damn can't do the whinge of ner you have to pay for your service packs anymore :(

Hardware from 2007 is supported (Assuming all x86 and x64 hardware) so its not really an XP moment.

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Linux

Re: OSX Mavericks

Hardware from 2007 is supported

My 1st Gen MacBook Air (core 2 duo, 2GB ram) is not supported by Mavericks, or Mountain Lion for that matter. The limitation is hard-coded in the OS, it's not that my hardware can't run it. Tim is so concerned I might have a poor user experience, he wont let me have any user experience at all!

There are tools available to get ML to install on unsupported hardware but I'll probably just migrate to linux instead.

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Unhappy

Re: OSX Mavericks

It's not just an arbitrary hard-coding that prevents Mountain Lion and Mavericks from running.

It's device drivers. Apple is not bothering to support the Intel GMA 900 with 64-bit device drivers. Apple is still supporting the GeForce 9400M, so that's supported. So, you can get a newer OS installed, but it will have miserable performance and probably not display with native resolutions.

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Yea, its not quite as bad as Microsoft, at least the upgrade to the latest OS is actually free! There are a small number of people left on legacy hardware, but hey, you can't keep making patches for ever for all your old OS's. People running legacy hardware will already have had many OS upgrades on that hardware at a cheap price in the years prior to snow leopard .

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LDS
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Sure, MS just asks you to pay the upgrade price for a thirteen years old OS - Apple asks you to buy new hardware for its whole cost because your six years old one is no longer supported, quite not as bad as MS.... ooooh, Apple is so nice to customers....

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Except that Microsoft's compatibility checker was having none of it when I was looking to upgrade a 5 year-old Toshiba laptop from XP to WIndows 7 a couple of years ago - so really a very similar situation. It's been perfectly happily running Ubuntu ever since.

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A few people? I'd imagine there are quite a lot of Mac Minis from 2006-2008 still operational. They're running dual core intel processors and quite capable of running a modern operating system when they have a couple of gig of ram in them.

This isn't an XP moment, this is like Microsoft abandoning Vista which was launched in 2007 - the time as Apple were selling computers that they now imply are fit only for landfill.

And it's only recently that these upgrades were available cheaply. The upgrade from 10.4 to 10.5 was over $100.

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Devil

The obvious double standard.

Of course. As soon as the "better quality" and "enhanced longevity" is brought into question by actual real world problems experienced by actual end users, suddenly the fanboys will make excuses about how kit is old or how other vendors do things.

This right here is where the rubber really hits the road. A genuine luxury brand would have the extended support. These Intel Macs would not be orphans. Even PPC Macs would not be orphans.

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> Apple asks you to buy new hardware for its whole cost because your six years old one is no longer supported, quite not as bad as MS.... ooooh, Apple is so nice to customers....

You're talking about hardware that struggles to play back HD video, FFS... most people have moved on by now.

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Six year old hardware runs fine with Mavericks, I should know, I'm typing on a seven year old Macbook Pro at the moment.

So people with even older hardware are stuck. OTOH, my 8 year old white Macbook runs (or better crawls) Windows 7. The Intel Chipset is limited to 2GB RAM and let's not talk about the graphics card :(

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LDS
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Did you run a marketing-designed tool? Of course it would tell you to buy something new. I run Windows 7 64 bit till last year on a 2005 PentiumD 3Ghz machine - which when bought was running XP (Vista skipped, of course). Sure, it went from 2GB to 8GB RAM in its lifetime, as RAM got cheaper.

I upgraded it with a new one just because I returned to Flight Simulator X, and wanted a machine to run it at full steam, and because Lightroom 5 with 22MB images was a bit slow (Lightroom doesn't modify the original images, it applies the list of changes in realtime and is very processor heavy)

But for most common tasks, it was working perfectly. Now it became a NAS for my photos backup copies. The *BSD based OS supports it without issues.

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2007 hardware obsolete?

"After all, Mavericks is free. What are you waiting for?"

A new laptop? Mavericks is not available for my 2007 macbook (Intel Core-Duo).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

2007? a 7 year old machine? So you'd expect a machine bought in 2000 to run the Vista in 2007 or a machine bought in 1993 to run Windows 2000 in 2000 or a machine bought in 1986 to run Windows 3.11 in 1993 or a...

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

My gaming rig was built by myself for Win 7 in 2009. I would expect it to easily manage an OS that comes out in 2 years seeing as Win 8 ran flawlessly on it when I tried (Spare HD, MS can pry Win 7 out of my cold dead fingers).

I managed to install Fedora on my old T21 a few years ago, it doesn't run too badly and 1024x768 is great for full screen command line tinkering.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

You're kidding right. My firm shoves around 50 White MacBook models into recycling every month. If you want to use it a 2007 model will still run Lion, or Linux with bootcamp ;-)

A laptop's useful lifetime is around 3 years, 4 years tops. A 2007 MacBook is now over 6 years old. I really fail to understand what you're complaining about.

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Boffin

Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

2007? a 7 year old machine? So you'd expect a machine bought in 2000 to run the Vista in 2007 or a machine bought in 1993 to run Windows 2000 in 2000 or a machine bought in 1986 to run Windows 3.11 in 1993 or a…

Or a 1986 Mac Plus to run System 7.5.5 (released in September 1996). And that's even after Apple had transitioned the Macintosh platform from Motorola's 680x0 to PowerPC. Sorry, but Apple (used to) have a pretty good record supporting older hardware.

The point's moot on 2007 hardware anyway. The real reason for those Macs being unable to run ML and Mavericks is that 10.8 and newer are now 64-bit only. Apple jumped ship to Intel too early, they should've probably waited 'till the 64-bit processors came out. PPC was 64-bit already after all. They'd probably have all users on Mountain Lion as a minimum if they hadn't killed Rosetta on Lion and newer.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

"A laptop's useful lifetime is around 3 years, 4 years tops."

What utter rubbish. The reason PC sales are tanking is that a 5 year-old (and more) machine is still perfectly capable of running the applications the vast majority of users actually want to run. Until the hardware dies there's just no reason to buy a new machine - unless you're obsessed with having new shiny-shiny.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

I ran into a similar issue a month or two ago on my 7 year old MacPro1,1 and gave in on Snow Leopard when the latest Adobe software wouldn't run any more :(

Lion or Mountain Lion are not obviously available on apple.com, but there's a link to still download a copy of Lion for $19.99 if you need it at http://store.apple.com/us/product/D6106Z/A/os-x-lion. (Similarly for Mountain Lion, but that won't run on the old systems either so you're stuck with Lion). Not free as with Mavericks, but not impossibly expensive either if you want to keep the old system running.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

"Until the hardware dies there's just no reason to buy a new machine - unless you're obsessed with having new shiny-shiny."

This, and this again. I'm sure I'm not alone here in having been one of those who would routinely upgrade their desktop as new processors, motherboards and other bits and bobs became available in the late 90s or early 2000s. There was a big difference in going from a 500MHz part to 1GHz and as RAM prices plummeted we were able to go from computers with 4MB of ram to many hundreds of MB. Today, and since the mid-late 2000s there have still been improvements but they haven't revolutionized the ordinary desktop.

Sure we can now work more easily with video and other taxing stuff, but launching a desktop, a web browser and a word processor is juts as feasible on a 2007 computer as on one bought yesterday. Where one company supplied the hardware and OS, there's little excuse for them to end support this soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

"2007? a 7 year old machine?"

Consumerism. You must not be acquinted with the *BSD world on which OSX is built on top of.

Are you sir by any chance from the "smart" device generation of "adults" where 1 year old hardware is deemed too old?

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

My 2006 Core2Quad desktop is running Windows 8 just fine thanks. Care to elaborate why you think double the price hardware should be supported with OS releases for less time? The reason my MacMini and the OH MacBook are not supported now is because apple cheaped out and sold £expensive units with the GMA 950 chipset in. That is it.

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Windows

Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

My 2004 Pentium 4 desktop is also running Windows 8.1. It's running the 32-bit version, but it's running fine. However, it has an NVIDIA GeForce 7800GT video card. I wouldn't count on the motherboard's video running well.

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MrT
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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

Not quite as old, but my Dell Insipid 9400 from Jan 2007 is still going strong, in daily use. RAM and HDD upgrade, but the trick was to spec it to a good level originally (512MB nVidia 7900GS, 1900x1220 panel). Win 7 and Kubuntu, plus a raft of old OS's on VM, for old time's sake - I still like running W2K. I know it's not the most thorough benchmark, but it rates at 5.1 on Win7 performance index. It should easily get to 10yrs.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

"What utter rubbish. The reason PC sales are tanking is that a 5 year-old (and more) machine is still perfectly capable of running the applications the vast majority of users actually want to run."

PC sales would include desktops, which go on forever.

If you get 5 years out of a laptop you're winning.

In that time most people have some combination of the battery going on the fritz, the screen (or cable) going funny, the cooling degrading or the hinges breaking after about 4 years.

I pushed my old Toshiba laptop for 6 years before building a desktop, but I had to change the cooling fan after 3, and it was essentially a desktop for the last 2.5 years as the battery had died and then the replacement fan went as well.

Current inherited Macbook needed a new screen assembly last year (age 5), and a RAM/SSD upgrade. The battery is working... -ishly.

The boss's laptop went squeaky pop after 4 years when the mainboard cracked from thermal cycles (he used it as a DB development machine and it did some hefty duty cycles).

We had Pentium 4 desktops going on the best part of a decade until we finally replaced them last year, but laptops? Nope.

Apple have set new standards for longevity with rock solid unibody construction... and then gone back on them as they've prevented you changing out your HDD for an SSD, glued in the battery, soldering the RAM on and just generally being a pain.

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Devil

Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

> 2007? a 7 year old machine? So you'd expect a machine bought in 2000 to run the Vista in 2007 or a machine bought in 1993 to run Windows 2000 in 2000 or a machine bought in 1986 to run Windows 3.11 in 1993 or a...

These orphaned Macs will run newer versions of Linux and Windows just fine.

Why are you trying to apply "PC standards" to this? Aren't Apple products supposed to be better than that?

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

Some of those have 64bit CPUs, but the GMA945 (?) Chipset is limited to 32bit. Otoh, that white Macbook I bought in April 2006 is now best described as "genuine vintage" with all its scratches, dents and missing keyboard caps.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

Wow I've never owned a Mac and now knowing that the hardware has such short life support is rather off putting.

I'm running a couple of C2D Toshiba laptops from 2005 that were XP machines but now running Windows 8.1 flawlessly. These are the slate type machines and even the touch screen still works under 8.1. Both have 4GB of ram and 64GB SSDs in them. Nice snappy laptops. I can see them still being useful in 3-4 years time for general use. That's over 12 years service!

Ever since dual core came along the life expectancy of kit has increased exponentially its a shame that it sounds like Apple doesn't like that idea.

Oh and the Windows 8.1 cost me about £20 on both machines.

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LDS
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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

So what? My 2005 PentiumD is a 64 bit CPU. I used it with Windows 7 64 bit till last year. Now it's running the 64-bit version of FreeNAS in a custom built 9TB ZFS NAS server. ZFS requires more then 4GB to work well, thereby the 64 bit needs. If Apple was installing 32-bit only CPUs in its 2007 hardware to save on costs and have even larger revenues on its expensive products, well, its customers are really gullible...

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

Buy a laptop where you can't change the battery yourself, easily? Not a chance. Laptops very often sit on mains, even with clever-clever power control the default is to keep you ready to go (dropped to 94%, lets charge this sucker).

Result? battery lifetime in the order of 2-3 years.

I replaced my Lenovo battery easily, because it is designed to swap out. Sadly, I chose a non-Lenovo replacement, functional but not as clever as the original but does the rarely-required job of black/brown-out protection and the even rarer take-to-another-room/place - such is the convenience of tablets and phones now.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

wow, this 8.1 of which you speak? It has the same unfortunate name as a more well-known piece of garbage from MS.

I know this because I have read it again-and-again here in these very pages.

You should speak to these people that supplied your, reasonably cheap, even bargain-priced OS and tell them to change the name to avoid confusion.

I ended up with this MS software on my tablet, it seems completely capable and fluid but apparently all of the other copies are flawed and useless. I guess I just got lucky.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

If it's not welded or glued shut, assembled by highly trained octopi, or otherwise artificially rendered impossible to upgrade, you can get a whole new lease of life out of an old laptop by removing the hard disk and installing a solid-state disk. The speed of the CPU is frequently irrelelevant, whereas reducing the hard disk seek time to effective zero can make a 5-year-old laptop feel faster than most new ones without SSD.

Same for desktops used for running Office and suchlike, by the way.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

Do you really think it's the GMA 950 chipset? I thought this was a tech site. Your Mac Mini is not supported because the processor is 32-bit. The OS, drivers, and applications are exclusively 64-bit now.

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Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?

I have 3 "vintage" macs which are not capable of running 10.8+.

It's one debate to have about the decision to have 32-bit firmware on 64-bit machines, but Intel (whom y'all love to pieces) deserves some of the gong for that. It is wholly another debate about how long to support a discontinued piece of hardware.

The older Intel Macs support LION, and LION is still supported. So, it's not like the Snow Leopard folks are being given short shrift. If my car has bald tires and I continue to drive on them, it's not Oldsmobile's fault I'm in peril. I can buy new tires.

Look folks, at some point they have to stop supporting things, and I think N-2 is not bad. I'd rather the (sadly) finite resources be spent supporting a fair number of releases, and developing new ones, than to have them only plotting the future by the limitations of the past. If MS had dropped 16-bit support in XP, it'd have been smaller, faster, and more stable and have inconvenienced not that many people. Reg readers would have bitched about how Visicalc ran just fine all the way from DOS 2 through WinME, but it's because you're not getting laid enough.

You can't buy new tubes for your Hallicrafters.

You can't buy new batteries for your Noka 2001.

You can't buy a new engine for your Wright Flyer.

Move on, people. Buy Lion, install Linux, or buy a new computer. If you really must get Mavericks running on your polycarbonate MacBook, start writing the driver. Send me a copy, I need to upgrade.

PS: Just for shits, grins, and giggles, I ran the same HandBrake job on a MacPro2,1 (quad-Xeon 2.6) and a new 2013 MacBookAir (1.3Ghz i5) and they finished within 3 seconds of each other.

New shit > Old shit

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