And FWIW, Apple requires 10.7.4 for Safari.
Update: in a by no means statistically valid way, I pulled the stats from Google Analytics for my website over the last 30 days... 186,883 Mac visits (if it shows where things are going, iOS had 814,201 visits!), with 33,934 using Intel 10.5.X. This is higher than I was predicting (18.16% of total Mac visits). It's actually about 3 times higher than the number of people on 10.8. However, most of these people are using Safari and just 2,040 were Chrome users( 1.09% of total Mac visits).
If anyone with a more Mac heavy site has numbers, I'd be curious.
Obviously there are no features that are required to display a web page that are missing on 10.5. Browsers were developed and ran perfectly fine on there. Some newer features might not work, or some newer optimizations. But remember, keeping around all the old code paths, that check for particular features, can lead to more development cost, more testing cost, more bugs, more security vulnerabilities.
Another example is security features. Snow Leopard (10.6) introduced some new security features, like stack protection and more sandboxing. Chrome is heavily focused on security, and they may not be able to provide the full isolation that they would like on 10.5.
I develop software that should by all rights work fine on 10.5. And nothing that we do can't be made to worth there. But it takes more work; I develop on 10.7, we test heavily on 10.6 and 10.8, and when we go to test on 10.5, we find things that are broken not because they're impossible, but just because some interface is different so we need to add a new code path to handle that case. All that extra testing and development is expensive, and there are increasingly few people still on 10.5, so the benefit is continually shrinking.
And being already set up for testing does not make it free. Hardware dies, and you have to replace it. More and more developers move on to newer OSs, and it becomes harder for them to get all of their development environment working in the older OS to find and fix bugs.
Have you ever tried developing a product with backwards compatibility across 4 different OS releases? It is by no means easy, it limits what you can do, and it makes your software more complicated and bug prone.
Don't think of it as having to make a conscious decision to stop. It's more that you have to make a conscious effort, that gets greater as time goes on, to continue supporting the older release. More libraries that you use start dropping compatibility. More new features have to be ifdef'd out, leading to divergence in what your software supports on different systems. More effort has to be put into keeping the build system running. And more manual testing needs to be done.
(1) Being "already set up for testing" for an older OS version
(2) continuing to use the testing setup for that version in addition to ever increasing new test setups (for 10.6, 10.7. 10.8 etc) and codepaths
is not the same thing.
As you get newer OSs to support, maintaining older testing setups means more work, and more IFDEFS and such in the code.
Putting more care in the LATEST offering. Putting more care in older versions if a loosing proposition.
And it's not just a "throw more people / money at it" problem. After some point the complexity of legacy support grows exponentially and the code suffers (or gets hold back).
>Car makers don't stop making spare parts a couple of years after a new model comes out. If they did no one would buy them.
5 years in computing is like 20 car years...
Here's a discussion from some FireFox developers about it. Sounds like they want to drop support for 10.5 as well:
Uniques over this period were between 2-3 million.
I'm part of that small percentage although I'm trying to change to Safari!
But it's an even smaller slice when looking at who's using 10.5. Fraction of a fraction of a fraction of users (Mac > Chrome > 10.5).
The total percentage of Mac+iOS across the total uniques was quite high at around 25% and like your figures, a huge portion of this was from iOS users, not Mac users.
Never thought to do a run down by OSX version but I agree that the numbers would be very small.
This kind of stuff needs to stop. Chrome in particular has the whole fancy installer thing. What if I have an old machine sitting around that I simply need chrome on (even an older version)? Don't support it, that is fine, but don't prevent me from doing something that used to be possible.
Third-party sources such as filehippo and others have archived every version of Google Chrome produced since 2009(?) and that's the only option.
Google's stance is that they only support the latest version. Needless to say, this policy hasn't been popular with web developers who need to test older versions.
> Google's stance is that they only support the latest version. Needless to say, this policy hasn't been popular with web developers who need to test older versions.
It's actually extremely popular with web developers because almost everyone is on the current version. It's awesome.
If Google isn't going to support (i.e. provide security fixes) for the branch that supports older versions of OS X, it would be irresponsible to let people continue to install it.
Safari 4.1.3 is the final version for Tiger as of 18 November 2010. Despite not having received security updates since then, Tiger remains popular with Power Mac users...
Plus new HTML features, but they are secondary.
But, half-joking aside, it's dangerous to run old browsers with no security updates. It might not have bitten you, and it might never bit you (like how you can run off a red light lots of times and you might not crash into anyone).
That doesn't make it less dangerous than running a browser WITH security updates.
Google simply doesn't archive older versions of Chrome and doesn't offer them for download.
This is covered in their support FAQ. They only support and offer the latest version.
I for one will never run OSX again due to the constant need for upgrades. I have one of the original Intel MacBooks (with the Core Duo) and after upgrading to 10.6 my wireless card quit working. Rolling back to 10.5 fixed it. Although, with their popularity skyrocketing, maybe I'm the only one who has issues with new OSX versions.
If by constantly you mean one time during the last five years, then yea that would be pretty annoying. The vast majority of people have moved onto a new computer or done at least one upgrade. Updates used to be more of a pain, now you just hit purchase and wait for a little bit.
If you haven't upgraded your computer in five years, you should be able to live with a browser than won't be upgraded anymore either. Apple requires 10.7.4 for Safari so you were abandoned by the Mother Ship a long time ago.
Along that same vein, it seemed like every time I'd boot in to OSX - iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto et all would need 100+ MB updates to stay current.
I guess my experience on the upgrade treadmill (even staying on a major version of OSX) was very unpleasant.
Oh man, I remember my Gentoo days, where upgrading a single package would sometimes require new base libraries which in turn required a large chunk of the system to be rebuilt… definitely don't miss that process.
Most of the point upgrades for the system are security fixes. Every OS has a lot of them. Java has gotten a few security related updates this year too.
Constantly as in once every 3-4 months? Because that's the usual rate of point updates.
The alternative is what? Not having the latest stability and security fixes?
Apple's willingness to obsolete their old tech has been the plan for a long time, and works fine for them and the higher-spending niche they're targeting. Basically the pitch (to oversimplify) is: we will make technical decisions based only on supporting the last two or three years of customers. If you keep up with us, things will work great for you, because we won't be slowing things down to maintain compatibility. If you have hardware or software older than that, good luck, but it's not our problem if our new stuff doesn't work for you. The only promise is that we won't compromise the product in order to save you money.
This works for Apple (and the customers who keep upgrading) because it's nice to live in an ecosystem where you can assume modern hardware and software -- for example, where developers can reasonably target multitouch trackpads or webcams or motion-graphic APIs or whatever within a year or two after they're released, and cruft can be thrown out of the OS when it's no longer needed.
As it happens, I'm one of those customers -- I spend more than half my waking life on computers, and I don't mind spending a little more to work with modern hardware, and to have an OS that assumes I have modern hardware. I'm not trying to glorify or demonize that -- it's just a business model targeted at a certain part of the market that likes it that way, or at least accepts the downsides in exchange for the upsides.
 Please don't feel compelled on my account to recite all the ways Apple doesn't live up to this pitch. Believe me, I know. (Quicktime 7?) I still think it's a decent approximation.
That said, yes, the hardware seems to have a shorter shelf-life than would be ideal. Your computer is, what, 2005 vintage? Seven years is too short, but still an old age in the world of technology, and longer than most competitors’ hardware lasts.
Since 10.6 that has definitely not been true.
While that may be true w.r.t. stability, the functionality, graphics, and polish have only gotten better. Security, too: consider FileVault 2. That’s what I like.
 Except for the abysmal changes to Exposé. Luckily there was a hack to get the Leopard version back: http://superuser.com/questions/118424/old-leopard-expose-on-...
Huh? I am hoping that my sarcasm radar didn't pick this up. But, most software still runs perfectly fine on Windows XP. In fact, all of our university's Windows computers still run Windows XP (with up to date Creative Suite, Office, SPSS, etc. versions). Since Windows XP was released in 2001 (!), that's eleven years and counting.
What rat race?
There are Macs too old for the latest OS X, yes, but they are pretty old, and were able to keep up-to-date for years.
Of course you were, you were not able to update Safari anymore. And why would you be?
> In my view Apple is charging users for service packs.
Right, 10.0 to 10.8 is exactly the same OS, just 8 service packs, exactly... (you're joking right?)
That's not how it works.
You either go on with the program or you get left behind.
>Eventually I was not able to run safari anymore which I have never forgiven them for.
You could run your old Safari just perfect. You just couldn't run the latest versions. Which you kind of caused on yourself.
Especially since the OS went to some major transitions to more modern technologies and APIs, which you opted out from.
>In my view Apple is charging users for service packs.
Sure, because the progress in any other OS has a much higher rate, and those features come for free...
(Not to mention that OS X versions cost 1/3 of what Windows versions costed, and now cost 1/8 of that, PLUS you can install the same bought version in multiple machines, so, more like 1/16 of Windows).
With windows I always upgraded because I wanted the new OS. I've never felt compelled to get the newest windows in order to get something to work (In fact I've had the opposite experience -- upgrade windows only if you want something to break!).
>You could run your old Safari just perfect. You just couldn't run the latest versions. Which you kind of caused on yourself.
Yes, by refusing to pay the $80.
No, it helps getting technology ahead. Instead of, you know, having hundreds of millions of people still using Windows XP, as they do.
Plus, what "fallout"? Each release has some issues for some people in some use cases, but that is irrespective of some 5 year older release getting deprecated or not. And the issues --which don't affect all, usually just a small minority, e.g the Vagrant users as of late-- get ironed out eventually with point releases.
Maybe Apple's "incessant need to obsolete" is part of their secret sauce. They're doing pretty well for themselves these days. Look at Microsoft, Captain "Never Break Anything". How are they doing?