Why can't Apple take more care to provide backward compatibility for 3rd party apps?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by katewes, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. katewes macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I preface this by saying, I am not a software developer, just an end-user.

    Why does Apple have to make each iteration of OSX so different that it breaks earlier apps. For instance, each time I upgrade, it breaks VMWare Fusion, Photoshop Elements, and a few apps I use have to be updated.

    If it were every 2 years, I could live with it -- but this breaking of apps happens every 12 months.

    Why can't Apple take more care in allowing previous software to work in new versions of OSX, or is it a bloody-minded corporate decision to plan obsolescence into the OSX to force us to buy new hardware? Seriously, a company like Apple does not gather so much cash without putting some thought into how to force its users to buy more hardware, i.e. make sure we don't keep using old hardware. There must be meetings where Apple marketing people plan out strategy to force us to stop using old hardware.

    And many of these updates cost money to upgrade.

    Also, it seems now every year, Apple Mail in every latest OSX iteration is a buggy mess.

    Sure, each OSX version adds new system features - but not all those system features are used by these apps that are getting broken.

    Question: how much harder or worse off would OSX be if Apple took the same care as Microsoft to ensure at least some semblance of backward compatibility?

    Why can't OSX have emulation modes -- like Windows does -- for some software that has to run on earlier OSX versions?

    As I said, if OSX versions came out every couple of years, fine -- but it gets ridiculous when every 12 months I have to pay to upgrade apps because Apple is breaking them in OSX.

    Some of these updates to OSX I really don't care for. Nothing in Mavericks was of interest to me -- Maps. I realise Mavericks was mostly under the hood efficiency features, but why did those have to break so many software apps?

    Why does Apple have to bake iCloud Drive into the OSX, rather than making it a standalone app like Google Drive, Dropbox, SugarSync, Box Sync, Tresorit, Microsoft One Drive and 100% of other non-Apple cloud sync software. If it was technically possible for iCloud to be a standalone, why bake it into the OSX?

    Microsoft made Windows more vulnerable and buggy by baking in Explorer, and I think a reason why OSX has become less rock solid since the long-gone "it just works" era is because they baking in too many things that should rightly be just standalone apps.

    It's eventually going to get to the point where "it just works" is going to be a laughing stock of a beautiful past that has long since disappeared.
     
  2. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #2
    Because mostly getting code more efficient AND leaving Apps able to function entirely as before are exclusive aims, you can't have both at the same time.

    Best route if you are concerned is either not to upgrade the OS until your production apps have been upgraded or be willing to rollback the OS until they are if you encounter problems.
     
  3. Gochugogi macrumors regular

    Gochugogi

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    #3
    I'm guessing--not a programmer--that many apps that break have code shortcuts or were not crafted well. The reason I suspect this is most of my legacy apps worked fine from OS 10.6 to 10.10: Quicken 2007, Office 2008, CS5 Suite, Premiere Elements, Acrobat Pro, Hoyle Casino, Toast Titanium 7, Finale 2012 and VueScan. The one legacy app that broke in 10.10 was my beloved mastering app, Bias Peak Pro 7. It actually still sorta works in Yosemite--plays and records but the transport and meters are MIA...

    Anywho, I have to get work done so I always install a new OS in a separate partition and can boot into the new OS as well as older ones, keeping legacy apps and hardware ready 'n able.
     
  4. katewes thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    If I set up a partition with a different version of OSX to run one or two apps that aren't compatible with the latest OSX, how much minimum disk space would that one partition take up - given that it's just to run one app?
     
  5. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #5
    Bootable Mavericks fits on an 8GB USB with plenty of room to spare so I would think a 10GB partition for OS X and a few apps would be plenty.

    Of course you can start with say 50GB, install what you want then shrink the partition to reflect the actual size plus say 50%....
     
  6. tywebb13 macrumors 68020

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    #6
    It's not really apple's job to ensure backward compatability with third party apps, but they help developers to do so by providing them with previews of newer operating systems. It is the developers job to update their apps to ensure compatability.

    They don't really need to provide virtualisations of older systems either because you can do that yourself with virtualisation software such as parallels or vmware.

    I don't think they are forcing you to buy new hardware either. They tried very hard to make it available to the oldest computers as possible. I think that is the very antithesis of planned obsolescence.

    Anyway, having said that I also think you need to question whether you really need yosemite anyway. If you don't really need yosemite then you can just stick with the system you currently have.
     
  7. kolax macrumors G3

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    #7
    It's impossible and not something Apple should even consider doing. What they do instead, is offer developers very early betas of their software so the developers can make their apps work with the new OS version before it is released to the public.

    Sounds like the issue is more with the developers of the software you use that want you to pay money for Yosemite compatibility instead of it being a free patch (or rather, they want you to buy the latest version with 'new' features).
     
  8. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    ********.

    The problem is Apple making widespread and wholesale changes in their APIs, and doing stupid **** like forcing everyone to use the latest version of Xcode all the time to target the latest operating systems. OS X essentially has no concept of "backwards compatibility"- your application links to and uses whatever version of Cocoa or Carbon the OS is currently shipping with, regardless of what that may or may not break.

    This is an attitude problem, not a problem with code. Operating systems like Windows actually bother to offer a subsystem for storing and loading older versions of a library transparently, with a negligible impact on disk space. This is the reason why Windows 7 and Windows 8 are able to run applications from XP (or beyond) with relatively no issues.

    Mac OS X is now a bleeding edge platform because of this. You either run the latest greatest OS from Apple, or you deal with things not working at all because they changed code signing again and the binaries for your favourite application won't even load let alone run. If you need a stable platform that never changes and always runs what you want it to, you'd best be looking elsewhere for that.

    -SC
     
  9. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #9
    Indeed. Ever since Apple abandoned Rosetta Stone, I noticed that Apple is adopting too many bad practices from iOS with respect to compatibility. On iOS the problem is usually not that apparent, but it makes desktop apps all the more vulnerable. No doubt Apple will be locking down OS X even more over the years in order to keep tighter control and increase compatibility and I’d wager the new Swift language will be a part that too.
     
  10. VMukhtarov macrumors regular

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    #10
    Provide backward compatibility because of some lazy developers? Why? If they can't provide support for their users, then they have nothing to do in App Store.
     
  11. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

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    #11
    How much did they gouge you for it this time?
    It's a business model.
     
  12. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #12
    apple's responsibility is to advance the OS; make it smarter/faster/leaner. more stable. better.

    by providing basic apps (mail, safari, calendar, etc) they (more or less) insure a working system.

    it's up to 3rd party developers to move forward with each new OS. still...it's not like there are bizarre changes between OS's. all my major non-apple apps are either working in 10.10, or have been updated already (CS6, final draft, carbon copy cloner, vox, etc etc).

    we move forward, that's the whole idea... (and things get better, or at least...that's the idea...)
     
  13. NoBoMac, Nov 3, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014

    NoBoMac macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Re: VMware Fusion, guessing you were using v5. Yes, does not work in Yosemite. But then again, VMware dropped support for it TWO years ago. And Yosemite is now more iOS-like in that it's more sandboxed. So, no surprise it isn't working, and it isn't Apples fault (eg. some hack VMware had can't happen now due to improved OS X security measures [Example: TRIM hacks for SSDs that now require one to disable extension security checks]).

    And Apple is not the only one. In the past, I've had Solaris and HP-UX machines that had OS upgraded and broke old software, due to changes in how things are handled, new versions of a shared library, a library no longer exists, etc. I didn't blame the OS vendor, I blamed us as a company for not maintaining the old software (or at least replacing with something else). MAYBE software vendor for trying to gouge more money out of us (especially if we've been paying lots of money for maintenance agreements). Eg. VMware: guessing most people don't have a maintenance agreement with them, so, what incentive do they have to maintain compatibility on 2+ yo software, they already got one's $50 and it's obvious don't want to pony up more.

    As others have said, if current setup is working, what's the hurry to upgrade?

    Or setup a dual boot environment. If one is using their computer for work, one needs to treat it like a real corporate asset, in that you DON'T upgrade blindly, you need to test everything in a test environment before pulling the trigger to switch over.
     
  14. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #14
    If that were true, many apps wouldn’t be in the App Store. It is very common for apps to break, both on iOS and OS X. That isn’t necessarily the result of lazy development. For instance, the app The Unarchiver doesn’t work 100% anymore, because Apple decided the block certain functionality for sandboxed apps in Yosemite. The broken function in question is a simple table view in the app’s preferences! The function works perfectly fine for non-sandboxed apps, but due to Yosemite, the UI has to be updated and partially rewritten, even though the app itself doesn’t benefit from a new feature in Yosemite.

    There can be bizarre changes (see above).

    As much as I want to see regular and quick updates, it’s unrealistic to expect all developers to keep up. Many apps I use have slow development cycles because they are usually made by individuals, some of these don’t even charge for their apps. Annual updates put unnecessary pressure on them. For end users, this experience isn’t great either.
     
  15. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #15
    I too would like to see built in emulation. That would be great.

    Consider, though, that some stuff Apple does is for security. Laudable, but it can also break things. Sandboxing for example was a big change. Lately, the signed kext policy seems to be a good example. It's useful for security reasons, but why not make it a bit more accomodating for utilities like Trim Enabler? Seems sort of arbitrary. And especially lame in that Apple provides no alternative to that utility. Yes, you can still use it, but it carries both risks and is a PITA if certain things happen and you have to boot with that kext there.

    ----------

    I too would like to see built in emulation. That would be great.

    Consider, though, that some stuff Apple does is for security. Laudable, but it can also break things. Sandboxing for example was a big change. Lately, the signed kext policy seems to be a good example. It's useful for security reasons, but why not make it a bit more accomodating for utilities like Trim Enabler? Seems sort of arbitrary. And especially lame in that Apple provides no alternative to that utility. Yes, you can still use it, but it carries both risks and is a PITA if certain things happen and you have to boot with that kext there.
     
  16. Gochugogi macrumors regular

    Gochugogi

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    #16
    Pretty sure I used to date Rosetta Stone in HS!
     
  17. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #17
    It’s been so long gone already, I even forgot its name. ;-)
     
  18. MichaelLAX macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I prefer her sister, Emma!

    Apple didn't exactly abandon Rosetta! It's license to the underlying program used to develop Rosetta expired with the release of OS X Lion. The underlying program had been subsequently acquired by IBM and it is doubtful that they would have relicensed it to Apple at a financially reasonable fee, even if Apple was interested in doing so.
     
  19. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #19
    seriously, if they're serious developers, it's their JOB to keep up. if they're individuals creating freeware...offer them money. but apple, google, and (what's that other one? :D) should not be held back from moving forward because others don't want to stay on top of things... :cool:
     
  20. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    VMWare and Parallels need constant updates because they virtualize things at a very low level and have kernel extensions that are much more likely to change between releases than normal user-level applications. Yosemite has added a Hypervisor framework which should hopefully make it less likely that an OS upgrade will break virtualization tools.

    Other apps break for other reasons. I have not seen Photoshop break (never used PS Elements) but applications which do heavy 3d work like After Effects or games are often broken by bugs in graphic drivers. Each new release has done substantial work on the video drivers (to give more performance and more capabilities) but unfortunately, that breaks things. This is common on Windows as well, which is why video drivers are one of the most commonly updated drivers out there (as AMD and Nvidia work to fix problems).

    Yosemite is actually adding a finder extension to allow programs like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc to integrate into the finder in a standard way. This improves stability for these third-party apps by allowing a robust way for apps to inject their own icons, menu items, etc into the finder without the rather iffy code injection method they used to use.
     
  21. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #21
    For what it’s worth, Microsoft does care a lot about backwards compatibility. Old programs or games generally work with newer versions of Windows too. On OS X, many apps will now break or glitch on a yearly basis, because Apple just doesn’t care and expects developers to keep up. Hobby developers or sole entrepreneurs will be at the shorter end of all this, which is disappointing. I mentioned the app The Unarchiver above, which doesn’t fully work anymore, because Apple took out rather trivial functionality for App-Store apps. That is not progress to me, it’s douchiness.

    Sadly, Dropbox seems to have loads of problems with it. Very buggy and glitchy at this point and Apple seems to be making a patchwork of it.
     
  22. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #22
    not that i want to spend my time defending apple... :rolleyes:

    apple is ONE company. how many companies/individuals develop apps for OS X? hundreds? thousands? but you want apple to insure compatibility with ALL of them? or, sigh, just the ones YOU need??

    it's the real world. if you develop an app for ANY OS, it's your job to keep up with the times.

    anyway, LOL, i've (more-than) made my point, and will stop now... :cool:
     
  23. katewes thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Ok, after reading your explanation, I re-assess my stance.
     

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