Another nail in OS X 10.4 Tiger’s coffin was recently hammered in a post by Mozilla Foundation’s Josh Aas. Support for Tiger Already Terminated Aas reveals that development support for OS X 10.4 Tiger was terminated as of September 2009, but much of the code required to […]

Another nail in OS X 10.4 Tiger’s coffin was recently hammered in a post by Mozilla Foundation’s Josh Aas.

Support for Tiger Already Terminated

Aas reveals that development support for OS X 10.4 Tiger was terminated as of September 2009, but much of the code required to support 10.4 was left in the tree in case the developers wanted to reverse that decision. The point has arrived that a final decision to either restore 10.4 support or remove the (large) amount of 10.4-specific code from the next iteration of Mozilla’s Gecko browser engine must be made.

He presents the not unreasonable case that the developers want to take advantage of advanced technologies in later OS X versions and retaining OS 10.4 support has been a hindrance, as workarounds consume valuable time and effort.

25% of Mac OS X Firefox Users Still Running OS 10.4

Aas concedes that approximately 25 percent of Firefox’s Mac OS X users (roughly 1.5 million) are still running OS 10.4, but would continue to be supported by Firefox 3.6 until it reaches end of service several months after the next major Firefox version release (built on Gecko 1.9.3) later this year. Cold comfort and a mighty short time window for those of us still running Tiger, the last OS X version that supports G3 Macs and G4s slower than 867 MHz. I’m hoping to get at least two or three more years of production service out of my two old Pismo PowerBooks running OS 10.4.

Aas counters that in the past Mozilla hasn’t lost appreciable market share after dropping support for a Mac OS X version, making the fair observation that they’re typically one of the last vendors supporting older Mac OS X releases. However I wonder if any of those previous abandonments represented a quarter of their user base.

OS 10.4 a Special Case?

I submit that Tiger represents a special case because of its straddling of the PPC/Intel transition, and that there are more PPC diehards likely holding on to older Macs that only support up to Tiger for longer this time than would customarily have been.

Some of us Tiger holdouts either don’t want to give up on computers performing superbly and reliably for us, as my Pismos are for me, or simply can’t afford to upgrade our systems during this economic period.

I accede to the eventual inevitability of Tiger’s demise farewell, and Apple itself could terminate security update support for Tiger any day now. I just don’t welcome it and hoped it wouldn’t arrive quite this soon.

How about you? If you’re still using Tiger, how big of a deal will Firefox support termination be for you?

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  1. Tiger support is tapering off for a lot of softwares unfortunately.

  2. Plus Tiger isn’t getting security updates from Apple any more…

  3. I though you could run Leopard on PPC based machines? I do it…

  4. I have a G4 MacMini 1.42 GHz still running Tiger as a media server for my HDTV. I guess I’ll have to move up to Leopard. I thought that Tiger might be easier on the puny G4 processor and it takes up much less space on the hard drive than Leopard. All my Intel machines are running Snow Leopard which is great.

    I don’t have a beef with Apple since the G4 was getting old anyway. I guess it’s high time for a new MacMini.

  5. I guess it’s time to grab the $30 upgrade to Snow Leopard, even though Apple says we’re not supposed to do that.

  6. By the time Firefox 4.0 drops at “year end,” it will be well over four years since Apple sold a PPC Mac, and closer to five as a matter of practice for any savvy buyer. Even still, it’s not like you’re left out in the cold without a browser or upgrade path to carry on.

  7. You’re still running a Pismo? ROFL.

    But, seriously, what’s wrong with just saying with Firefox 3.6? You’re not upgrading the OS; you can just “not upgrade” the browser as well.

    There are drastic changes between 10.4 and 10.5 from a development perspective. At some point you want to prune the cruft. Given Tiger is now almost 6 years old, it’s likely time.

  8. @Adam: “Plus Tiger isn’t getting security updates from Apple any more…”

    So, the Security Update from 5 months ago means Apple isn’t providing security updates anymore? Or the fact that new releases of Safari, and other application updates with security implications aren’t addressing security issues, either?

    Obvioiusly, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    1. Well, actually, he’s right…


      Check your facts before you get all snarky. Cheers…

  9. I’m betting that a significant part of the Tiger user base is in the same boat I’m in, which is that the current generation of Macs at $2500 a pop, so that you can have peripherals expansion capability, is just too pricey. So as a group we’ll be running the G3 and G4s for quite a while to come. I will just switch back to Safari and dump Firefox when website compatibility starts to be a problem.

  10. Unfortunately, Safari just doesn’t get me access to several sites that I routinely access for work. Granted, I jumped on the ol’ G4 iBook for work only out of convenience when I just need to checkout what’s what for work. I just so prefer FireFox over Safari, that I am sad to see it go… it’s a shame when great hardware is made obsolete by software upgrades and decisions to drop support.

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