Why I Run Old System Software

Ian Wadham iandw.au at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 20:13:20 PDT 2014

Hi Michael,

On 11/10/2014, at 1:18 PM, Michael Crawford wrote:
> (On the thread about the bash function problem, someone asked why the
> fellow runs such an old version of OS X.)
> I myself generally delay upgrading the system software on any platform
> I am developing for, so as to ensure that the code I write runs well
> on old systems.

My sentiments exactly… :-) … but for another reason --- it is not good to be
shooting at a moving target while you are developing.  If you upgrade at
the end, then you can be fairly sure any problems are due to lib changes.

> This so I won't be requiring my users to upgrade their own operating
> systems to run my code.
> That's not the way it's commonly practiced in commercial software
> development.  Apple wants to move iDevices, so Apple does everything
> in its power to get third-party developers to write products that only
> run on the latest platforms.

> I find that practice _profoundly_ offensive.

Yes, indeed.

But companies have always (since the 1960s at least) pressured customers
to upgrade to new versions of software, to avoid support overheads, especially
when new hardware is supplied with the newest software versions pre-installed.

Some FOSS groups are even worse in that respect…  Support for old versions
ceases almost as soon as new versions come out --- or even earlier… :-)  That
is why I like MacPorts on Apple OS X so much, as opposed to Linux.

> My Mom spent a lot of money for her Tiger G4 iMac back in 2002 or so.
> To this day it is in mint condition, there is nothing whatsoever wrong
> with it, however she has increasing annoyances such as, for example,
> SSL certs going past her expiry so that she's peppered with warnings
> about insecure websites.

I'm with your Mom on this.  Why should she have to learn new ways,
adopt features she does not need or have to deal with new bugs?  She
should only have to do that because she really wants the new features.

The only memorable thing I ever heard a politician say was, "There
are two kinds of fools in this world: those who say 'This thing is old,
therefore it is good' and those who say 'This thing is new, therefore
it is better'".  I am sure neither you nor your Mom fits in either category…

All the best, Ian W.

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