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Chrome no longer supports Mac OS X 10.5 (support.google.com)
28 points by pizza on Sept 21, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments



So you don't have to look it up like I did, 10.5 Leopard came out five years ago. I'm sure they know the usage numbers better than me, but the number of people who haven't upgraded in five years and who use an alternate browser has to be quite small.

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.


I would be very curious as to exactly what OS features are really required to display a web page, that are apparently missing in 10.5 which is a perfectly modern operating system. And if there is such a thing, why the browser doesn't degrade gracefully (i.e. if it's some hardware acceleration API, doing the same thing in software slowly, a la OpenGL). It smells a lot like "encouraging" upgrades for the sake of it, which really means, to sell new hardware while the old hardware is still perfectly fine for 99.999% of what even power users do.


It doesn't have to be features that are required. Another OS version just requires more development time and more testing resources. There are lots of little things that you discover break if you develop on the latest OS, and then test on the older one (or vice versa; neither forwards nor backwards compatibility are perfect). At this point, 10.8 is out, so developing on 10.5 means you need to test on 4 different versions, each with their own quirks, just for Mac OS X.

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.


Right, but this is Apple's own product. They had to be already set up for testing on 10.5, and made a conscious decision to stop.


Wait, what? Chrome is not Apple's product. It's Google's.

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.


What, exactly, is Apple to test? They're not shipping updates to 10.5, and Chrome is Google's product to test.


He explained it all in his comment.

(1) Being "already set up for testing" for an older OS version

and

(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.


I am not too bothered about them needing to do more work given that they produce a premium product, in fact putting more care in is their entire shtick! 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.


>I am not too bothered about them needing to do more work given that they produce a premium product, in fact putting more care in is their entire shtick!

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...


Google doesn't have an incentive for you to buy a new Mac, I seriously doubt they have that as a motive. At its most basic, it's tedious to go back and check on 10.5 for every release. If you're not able to support new features on the old OS, there's a lot more testing involved. They likely ran the numbers and said it wasn't worth it.

Here's a discussion from some FireFox developers about it. Sounds like they want to drop support for 10.5 as well:

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/mozilla....


The stats across a number of large Australia media entertainment sites I was involved with earlier this year were between 1.5% to 2.0% mac chrome users from january to march.

Uniques over this period were between 2-3 million.

I'm part of that small percentage although I'm trying to change to Safari!


Mac Chrome users as a percentage of total users or as a percentage of Mac users? My traffic breaks down as Macs making up 7.46% total visits and Chrome is used by 7.91% of those Mac users (the percentages are oddly close, but unrelated). Safari makes up the vast majority of Mac browser share, 76.30% for me.

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).


Percentage of total users which are using mac with chrome across the entire percentage of total users.

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.


"In addition, you’ll be unable to install Chrome on any Mac still running 10.5"

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.


What? This is not a case where the simply flipped a magic flag in the installer to prevent you from using software "just because". The belief is that they are doing this because they're requiring a new version of the OS -- they're using newer APIs that aren't available in 10.5.


They mean you will not be able to install existing versions. The ones that presently work.


Even if the installer could handle older versions, Google has chosen to not even archive older versions of Chrome and only makes the latest version available.

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.


It would be bizarre if Google provided old versions of Chrome. Chrome tries hard to make you not even notice what version you're running, running a version that is not the latest is against Chrome's ethos. They would have to be special builds too because the first thing it would do is upgrade you to the latest (if your system is supported of course). That would be amusing, but useless.

> 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.


Unlike some types of software, browsers actually do suffer bit rot. Running an old, unsupported browser is dangerous.

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.


I'm doing pretty okay with Safari 4.1 on my PowerBook running 10.4. What exactly is "bit rot", are the magnetic particles on my disk going to grow mold?


But isn't Safari 4.1 still supported by Apple? The issue isn't the age of the codebase -- it's whether anyone is still bothering to patch known security issues!


From Wikipedia:

Safari 4.1.3 is the final version for Tiger as of 18 November 2010.[9] Despite not having received security updates since then, Tiger remains popular with Power Mac users...


Yikes. Surely there have been security bugs discovered since then, no? I wouldn't use that browser.


Security issues, most likely.

Plus new HTML features, but they are secondary.


Sort of. Cosmic rays, for one. And bad sectors.

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.


You will be able to install a working version, provided you can find a link to it. The only "real" download of Chrome is the current version, so installing that file won't work. But if you find an older version via a 3rd-party archive, it will still install.


For example, downloading Chrome v10 may work on 10.5 now, but downloading Chrome v10 will not work in the future. That's not how software versioning works. I could be wrong (and I hope I am) but I remember fighting with this a few years ago on a windows machine.


I fail to see how software versioning is related here.

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.


Well neither does Apple. That's still kind of irritating for those that have a PPC Mac though.


Chrome has never worked on PPC Macs.


Wow really? This is even less of a story then. Snow Leopard worked head and shoulders better on Intel Macs then Leopard did.


What surprises me is that Chrome is still supported on Windows XP. I'm further surprised that you can run Chrome on a Pentium 3 if you're running Linux. The first Pentium 3 computers were introduced in 1999.


Microsoft still supports Windows XP. Apple does not still support 10.5.


I don't really like seeing things phased out that still work perfectly well. But, selfishly I'm glad Chrome is doing this because our main software product is becoming impossible to continue supporting 10.5 as well. We already planned to phase out 10.5 support at the end of the year, but I think with large vendors like google this will hopefully make people realize that we sometimes need to upgrade in order to keep up with modern features that everybody expects.


The only reason to run 10.5 is for a ppc Mac and chrome never supported that...


Isn't this at odds against the Chrome OS motivation/aim?


Perhaps in theory, but 10.5 is a small slice of OS X users (and three versions behind, now, which means more than it does in the Windows world.)


Not if the market share for 10.5 is super small or the cost of maintaining older APIs is too high.


Isn't that news a bit old?


Apple's incessant need to obsolete their old operating systems is surprising to me. I would think this would hurt their overall adoption rates (especially long term) as people get sick of constantly upgrading their OS and dealing with any fallout that results.

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.


> I would think this would hurt their overall adoption rates (especially long term) as people get sick of constantly upgrading their OS and dealing with any fallout that results.

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.


Well, the last time I used OSX for daily use, it was constantly pestering me to upgrade to various point releases. Those were usually massive downloads that required a reboot. Maybe things have changed?

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.


Out of curiosity, what OS did you switch to that doesn't require regular, and often large, updates? I can't think of an OS I've ever used – various Linux distros, Windows, OS X, various BSDs, Solaris, and a smattering of random other unix variants – that didn't require some form of regular update that often required (or at least strongly suggested) a reboot. (Or the near equivalent of punting active users and relaunching a bunch of userland processes.)

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.


Apple is pretty bad at pushing binary updates, the file sizes for updates are as you mention, gigantic. But the update process is smooth, reboots are not required unless it's the system (iPhoto 9.4 came out today and there was no reboot, ditto for the latest Xcode from earlier in the week).

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.


>Well, the last time I used OSX for daily use, it was constantly pestering me to upgrade to various point releases. Those were usually massive downloads that required a reboot. Maybe things have changed?

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?


I would think this would hurt their overall adoption rates (especially long term) as people get sick of constantly upgrading their OS and dealing with any fallout that results.

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.[1]

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.

[1] 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.


I love updating my Mac. Each new version makes it better, and problems seem to be minor and rare. It’s worlds different from the Windows upgrade <del>rat-race</del> <ins>process</ins>.

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.


> Each new version makes it better

Since 10.6 that has definitely not been true.


Thanks for the objective fact, dear sir.

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.


Depends on your POV. Personally, I like it. Anecdotally my cousin, independently of me I might add, has just bought an 13" MBA and he seems to think it's like a breath of fresh air. Horses for courses. But, yes, whatever you are using is the best.


Do you mean 10.7? Because 10.6 was everything 10.5 was, except better on pretty much every front.


Right, Snow Leopard was a great upgrade[1]. Lion was a major downgrade.

[1] 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-...


I love updating my Mac. Each new version makes it better, and problems seem to be minor and rare. It’s worlds different from the Windows upgrade rat-race.

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?


I mis-spoke. I didn’t mean “rat race.” I meant process. I am not saying there are too many Windows updates; I am saying you are far more likely to have problems after upgrading Windows than you are a Mac. For example, I literally cannot install Windows 7 on a laptop I acquired that shipped with Windows Vista. HP simply does not make the required drivers. It even seems the optical drive will not function correctly during a Win 7 installation attempt. It’s mind-blowingly sucktastic.

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.


I bought an ibook in 2002 and each time an upgrade was announced I chose not to purchase the upgrade (none of the advertised features appealed to me). Eventually I was not able to run safari anymore which I have never forgiven them for. In my view Apple is charging users for service packs.


> Eventually I was not able to run safari

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?)


I wasn't expecting so much hostility, but I'll answer the question. At the time I believe I was comparing 10.2 - 10.3 and I didn't see any value there. It is doubtful that I would still be on 10.2 after 10 years, but I didn't enjoy my time on mac so I never bought another one.


And what is wrong with that? Seriously. Who is to say that one business model is better than another? Jaguar to Tiger was a big leap, as was Panther to Leopard; certainly as big a leap as XP to Vista.


>I bought an ibook in 2002 and each time an upgrade was announced I chose not to purchase the upgrade (none of the advertised features appealed to me).

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).


You need to look not at the cost of specific versions, but at the cost of staying current over a period of years. I haven't done the math on that.

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.


>Apple's incessant need to obsolete their old operating systems is surprising to me. I would think this would hurt their overall adoption rates (especially long term) as people get sick of constantly upgrading their OS and dealing with any fallout that results.

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.


Yes. You got it. You are the only one. Next.

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?


You're not clever, you're just rude.




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