Back in early May, we blogged to let you know that we were seriously considering whether Linden Lab should continue supporting Mac OS X 10.3, “Panther,” which was first released by Apple back in 2003.
As we wrote then, our tracking shows that very few of you, about 1/4 of 1 percent of all of you, the entire base of Residents, are still using Apple’s Mac OS X 10.3 when logging into Second Life.
The vast majority of responses from you confirmed that you agree, it makes sense to free up the Linden engineers from working to support an operating system used by so few Residents, and instead we should let them move on to other work which will benefit a much larger group.
We wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for the news to spread, and now, a little over two months later, it’s time to actually cease support of this relatively little-used OS.
What does it mean to “stop support”? Basically, it means we stop new development for the SDK (software development kit ) of that operating system, and also stop doing QA testing on OS 10.3.9.
What will you notice? If you are one of the few logging in with Panther, OS 10.3.9, you can still do so today, even though we are officially now not supporting it — and that may be true for some time.
Exactly how long we can’t guarantee, because Linden engineers will no longer be testing to make sure that new releases will work with Panther (OS 10.3.) So, eventually, there may be a time when some new element will interfere significantly enough to result in folks who will not be able to log in with OS 10.3 on their hardware. At that time such folks would need to upgrade their OS in order to do so.
What if you plan to keep using OS 10.3? We will continue to support the 1.19.4 viewer, which does work with Panther, (OS 10.3.9), and we will do our best to give reasonable notice before we stop supporting 1.19.4. So to be clear, stick with that viewer if you don’t plan to upgrade from Panther. Residents still using OS 10.3 will be able to log in to SL with Panther, 10.3.9, using the 1.19.4 viewer, they will just not be able to update to new Second Life versions, as new versions of the viewer which will continue to be released with improved stability and additional features will not support OS 10.3.
Please be careful to note, as we blogged yesterday, that the most recent optional Release Candidate will not run on a PowerPC running OS 10.3.9:
IMPORTANT: Known Issues with RC14
- It is a Known Issue that this Release Candidate will not run successfully on a Mac PowerPC that has the operating system OS X 10.3.9. It will only run on PPC hardware if you have Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher.
- The current viewer, version 1.19.1, still supports the Mac PowerPC that is running Mac OS X 10.3.9.
At this time we’re not considering dropping any other operating system.
Our general approach to supporting older releases of operating systems on any platform is to fully support the current and most recent OS for each platform. For example, we will actively support both Vista and Windows XP until such time as Vista is replaced with Microsoft’s next major operating system release. Similarly, we all support the most recent releases of Mac OS 10.5 and 10.4. Again, in all cases, we will attempt to provide at least 60 days notice prior to dropping formal support for any operating system, as we did in this case.
I’ll note that I personally run Second Life on one of two MacBook Pro laptops, one running Tiger (OS 10.4,) and one running Leopard (OS 10.5.4.)
[To briefly recap the history of the last five years of Mac OS: Panther, OS 10.3, was first released in October 2003, and updated to 10.3.9 in 2005. Apple has followed Panther with two more recent versions of the Apple OS, “Tiger” (OS 10.4,) released in April 2005 and “Leopard,” (OS 10.5.4,) released in October 2007 and most recently updated in June 2008.]