Mozilla to Drop OS 10.4 Tiger Support? Say It Isn’t So

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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