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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Snow Leopard and ppc

So Snow Leopard has decided to drop PPC support. Fine. What does that mean for us? Have any of you gone "Intel-only"?
Anonymoose Send private email
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I will drop PPC and 10.4 support from the next major release in 2010, but old version with PPC support will be available for download.

As far as I know, Acorn image editor (flyingmeat.com) already dropped PPC and even 10.5 support and now it works on Snow Leopard only.
Vitaly Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A lot of programs are dropping ppc support. Not because the customers or developers want this, but because Apple is making it difficult. The ppc backend for gcc is a piece of utter shit that kills performance on ppc compared to CodeWarrior results. But Apple killed off CodeWarrior by making XCode a requirement for Mac development.

Even so, there's no obvious reason to drop PPC support if performance is not critical, except that you have to be careful about Endian rules in the code. Perhaps some developers don't want to be mindful of this.

There are still a substantial number of users running PPC, about half of my customers are there. A G5 and even some G4s are fast enough for most anything you would do.

Gotta watch out though, Adobe Flash 10 destroys PPC performance and they switched to gcc with that version and things went to shit, even simple youtube videos won't play on machines that Flash 9 has no problem running with plenty of CPU overhead to spare.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Snow Leopard only? WTF is that about.

It's weird all these apps that are Leopard only, that's like leaving money on the table. Exception can be made for those that take advantage of the UI animation APIs in 10.5, but most applications don't do that silly stuff.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I am still shipping Universal (fat) binaries that work on PPC and Intel back to Mac OS X 10.3.9. But I am using C++ and Qt, not Objective-C and Cocoa.
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I still support Tiger and PPC, but I wish I didn't. There's lots of things that would make development easier and my software perform better, but these things don't work on Tiger.
Steve McLeod Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
.. all these apps that are Leopard only, that's like leaving money on the table..

You'll find that the people who actually buy software from independent software developers such as us also tend to be the ones that like having the "latest and greatest" OS X, so you effectively leave very little money on table by not supporting the people who won't buy your software anyway.

On top of that, there's always your "old" versions that still work with Tiger.. if you can't be bothered to upgrade your OS, you probably don't care too much about having the latest versions of other applications either.

I ditched Tiger support with A Better Finder Rename 8 because I leveraged the new technologies in Leopard to produce a better product. In terms of sales, this didn't do a _measurable_ harm.

Not that adopting new OS technologies is always a smooth process. A Better Finder Rename 8 is now 64-bit garbage collected and uses Core Data extensively.. unfortunately, Apple never really got the 64-bit or the garbage collection or Core Data to run as well as one might have expected in Leopard which has caused many problems for me.

On PPC 64 it's all a bit of a joke.. plus both my G5 PowerMacs burned out their processors, so I can't test anything on that platform any longer.

For now, I'm going to keep Leopard and PPC support, but I'm looking forward to a Snow Leopard-only world without PowerPC..
Frank Reiff Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
And that's why you are ignorant. You don't even have decent market data.

I make a significant amount of money selling to and supporting people running Tiger.

My apps are still compatible with Panther 10.3, but there's hardly anyone still running it except G3 users. Some of those won't upgrade and don't buy software. But others have G3s they still use along with their more expensive Mac Pros with 8 processors. These ones buy software. They are not expecting 10.3 support though.

10.2 I know of no one that is on that. The fact is that all hardware that runs 10.2 also runs 10.3 just fine. The limiting factor with Mac users on upgrading is NOT being cheap, which you ignorantly assume because you don't know shit about the Mac market. The limiting factor is hardware compatibility. Most Mac users have multiple computers still running and used. Some of these are older and will only run a certain system, and THAT is the reason they are on that system. They don't want to throw away their perfectly good secondary mac, or the one that the kids are using. They still spend money though.

10.4 there are lots of people and 10.5 as well. 10.6 here's a fact, no one on PPC is running that, yet PPCs are owned and used regularly by 90% of Mac owners. Most of these also have an Intel, but that doesn't change the fact they still use their PPC. And let's face facts, a dual G5 is an awesome fast machine and is a perfectly good computer. That's why many use them. A G4 is useful for lots of things as well. Slow at video editing. Great at photoshop, at music, at web browsing.

So sure, go ahead and support 10.6 only and leave money on the table. I agree you should do this. I love having less competition.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"A Better Finder Rename 8 is now 64-bit garbage collected and uses Core Data extensively."

I've tried your app. I prefer FileWrangler since it is not so obese and inefficient that it needs 64 bit processing to batch rename files.

Just kidding, sort of. But isn't it obvious to you that 64 bit isn't doing anything at all for a batch renaming app and you're only talking about that because you are addicted to tech.

Come on now, 64 bit isn't doing jack shit for you. Admit it. All it's doing is limiting compatibility for no good reason.

As far as Core Data goes, it works great in Tiger.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sounds like I'll need to do my builds on OSX 10.5 then. Thanks for the feedback guys.
Anonymoose Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Scott, here are some data from my analytics page for Box Shot 3D for the last month. Visits (of all Mac visitors):
Intel 10.5    44.07%     
Intel 10.6    39.09%     
PPC 10.4      5.05%     
PPC 10.5      4.94%     
Intel 10.4    4.56%

Orders (of all Mac customers):
Intel 10.5    57.78%     
Intel 10.6    24.44%     
PPC 10.4      4.44%     
PPC 10.5      4.44%     
Intel 10.4    4.44%

In the worst case I will lost 12%. But I will do this only in the next year and I will leave old version on the site. I don't think that it is worth messing with old SDK and ignoring new features of Cocoa.

Btw, first versions of Box Shot 3D didn't work on Tiger more than a year ago and I received a lot of requests for Tiger support. Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn't show detailed report for that period and I can't compare OS versions with the current data. But I believe that most of my customers will run at least 10.5 on Intel at the second half of the next year. For the rest of them there will be an older version that works on 10.4 and PPC.

It is not so easy for micro-ISV to support a large number of platforms. I don't like to choose between adding new features and solving compatibility problems that are important for a small number of users. I prefer to move forward (and have an older version that works everywhere ;) )
Vitaly Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Consumers/Prosumers (people who use their Macs for business but < 100% of business use) upgrade at a much faster rate than businesses.

This gap will widen given the current economy.  Unless the increase in processing power has a significant ROI, businesses aren't going to take the hit in productivity to upgrade everything just to get back to the same place with no measurable benefit.

I still have web designers write to me who are running Photoshop CS on old macbooks.  If you are doing web design, there isn't the cost justification to purchase a new  $2000+ USD MacBook.

Now that Apple has EOLd Carbon, the criticism that Mac OS X doesn't have as much software available is going to be even more true.  I'm sure there are business/medical/scientific/film industry apps that won't be rewritten in Cocoa.

I do think it's true, though, that consumers who have new hardware purchase new software, and consumers who don't upgrade their hardware don't upgrade their software.  The people who have old hardware use their Mac as an email and photo viewing appliance and not much else.

If you sell to businesses, though, don't expect them to jump to 64 bit Intel only for quite some time.
David C. Blake (Ardfry Imaging, LLC) Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I just checked Google Analytics and it turns out that less than 2% of my visitors use PPC of which a tiny number actually convert. I think I'm going to drop 10.4 and earlier support.

Thanks guys.
Anonymoose Send private email
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"Snow Leopard only? WTF is that about.

It's weird all these apps that are Leopard only, that's like leaving money on the table. Exception can be made for those that take advantage of the UI animation APIs in 10.5, but most applications don't do that silly stuff."

Because developers want to use core technologies that are available in the latest OS. With the next update I release, I'll have completely dropped Tiger support from all my apps. Being 10.5+ is more than just using CoreAnimation. You also have stuff like Obj-C 2.0, which gives you properties, fast enumeration, garbage collection etc. These are core improvements.

The fact is that Tiger users now make up a relatively small minority of those who buy software online. If you can drop support for Tiger then do so. It makes your life easier and allows you to build better apps by harnessing newer APIs. I'm going to be aiming for the 2.0s of my main apps to go to 10.6 only, but these won't be out until 2010/2011.

Simply put, 10.4 is on its way out, 10.3 is ancient. You're far better focussing just on 10.5+ for most apps. I mean 10.3 you don't get APIs like Core Data, PDFKit and Core Image, 10.4 you don't get APIs like Core Animation, ImageKit, NSOperation etc and Objective-C 2.0, and with 10.5 you don't get GCD, OpenCL plus various other new APIs, granted the leap from 10.5 to 10.6 isn't as big as 10.4 to 10.5.

Also, any new app I create, I write for whatever the current OS version is. So if I write a new app I'll make it 10.6 only, simply because it allows me to use more up to date APIs.
Martin Pilkington Send private email
Saturday, October 24, 2009

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