Here are usage numbers from 2010-01-25:
10.6 (Darwin 10.x): 1,497,221 (26%)
10.5 (Darwin 9.x): 2,855,842 (50%)
10.4 (Darwin 8.x): 1,379,770 (24%)
All versions of Mac OS X: 5,732,833
10.6 (Darwin 10.x): 186,825 (59%)
10.5 (Darwin 9.x): 91,478 (29%)
10.4 (Darwin 8.x): 35,960 (12%)
All versions of Mac OS X: 314,263
Mac OS X 10.4 was released in April of 2005 and a lot has changed
since then. We would like to take advantage of more modern
technologies on Mac OS X and 10.4 support has been a hindrance. Where
we can work around supporting 10.4, doing so consumes valuable time
and effort. Neither Chrome nor Safari has to deal with this.
The approximately 25% of our Mac OS X users still on 10.4 would
continue to be supported by Firefox 3.6 until that product reaches end
of service, which won't be until several months after the next major
version of Firefox is delivered (built on Gecko 1.9.3) later this
year. Past data shows that we do not lose appreciable market share
when we stop supporting a Mac OS X version. We are often one of the
last vendors to continue supporting older Mac OS X releases, and I
suspect that by the time this becomes an issue Apple may themselves
have stopped issuing security updates for Mac OS X 10.4.
Adding 10.4 support back to mozilla-central would mean switching back
to ATSUI from Core Text, switching back to gcc-4.0 from gcc-4.2, and
doing a bit of porting work for code that has been added to the tree
since we dropped support for 10.4. Other areas where 10.4 support
consumes our time, makes our code more complex or error-prone, and/or
limits our capabilities include complex text input (IME), out-of-
process plugins, printing, native menus, and Core Animation.
Furthermore, Apple's upcoming JavaPlugin2 will not support Mac OS X
We are planning to make the decision to remove 10.4 support final and
remove the code from the tree. If you have any strong objections
please let us know now.
Since support for plugin1 has already been removed from trunk, this
means supporting 10.4 in 1.9.3 would *also* mean reintroducing it.
And I am not the only one. I just happen to be the only one to voice an
opinion. Most just take what they are given and stew in the background.
Silly me I don't. So in the end my opinion doesn't count for anything.
You' do what you do. Do what a lot of shareware do, use a two track
method. designate one for older versions and one for newer versions.
You can create a one with all the fancy new stuff. Then one for us poor
people that can drop 3k at the drop of the hat and have to hang on to
older equipment out of necessity.
Realize that doing this plan now means that Mozilla will stop supporting
Firefox 3.6 (and thus 10.4) sometime in 2011. At least a year from now,
possibly even later than that.
It is surely not "drop of a hat".
~Justin Wood (Callek)
> And I am not the only one. I just happen to be the only one to voice an
If you had read Josh's post, you'd know that we all understand you are
no the only one. There are curerntly approximately 1.5 million people
using Firefox on 10.4 and we're fully aware of that.
> opinion. Most just take what they are given and stew in the background.
> Silly me I don't. So in the end my opinion doesn't count for anything.
> You' do what you do. Do what a lot of shareware do, use a two track
> method. designate one for older versions and one for newer versions.
Does this suggestion come with a donation for doubling of full-time
development resources, QA and testing, build and release infrastructure,
and user support for this second track that would cover a shrinking
minority of Firefox on Mac users?
> You can create a one with all the fancy new stuff. Then one for us poor
> people that can drop 3k at the drop of the hat and have to hang on to
> older equipment out of necessity.
If you cannot afford to "drop 3k at the drop of a hat" perhaps you can
afford to save up over the next year or so while this transition happens
so you can by a newer Mac (Apple has refurbished iMacs running Snow
Leopard for ~USD850
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac In a year, I'll
bet you could find one for half that price.)
That being said, I suspect that any sane outcome of this discussion will
have to prioritize Mozilla's project resources over your personal resources.
If I had the funds I'd sure give a donation.
You have to remember that, with today's recession while many people are
buying computers. There are many more such as I, that are having to use
> That being said, I suspect that any sane outcome of this discussion will
> have to prioritize Mozilla's project resources over your personal resources.
> - A
That's what I suspected. That no matter what opinion is given it doesn't
make a difference. It will happen regardless of 1.5 million people needs
I don't know why I tilt at windmills, it does no good. :-(
Historically, Mozilla (the community) has been pretty awesome about
filling the voids which Mozilla (the company) creates out of necessity.
Anthony Hughes (:ashughes)
Jr QA Engineer, Mozilla QAE
In this case, Mozilla already dropped it on the trunk and now the Module
Owner is proposing code removal. That means that it will be exceedingly
difficult for someone to just build a working Firefox 3.next for 10.4.
To do so would mean creating a branch before the code removal and then
keeping it fully in sync with the trunk. I don't see that happening.
So, this is another decision where it seems like knowing the plan/timing
for the next release might be useful...
It seems like if we were to ship a trunk release soon (Q2/3?), then
there could be a stronger argument for retaining 10.4 support. But if
the next trunk release is more of a 2011 thing, then there's less of a
reason to support 10.4.
As a historical data point, I dug up some posts from when we discussed
dropping 10.3 support for Firefox 3.0, back in May/June 2007...
At the time, it was ~3.5 years since 10.3 had been released, Firefox 3.0
was expected to be ~6 months away (reality was 1 year). AUS data
indicated that 16% of Firefox users were running 10.3.
Now it's ~3.5 years since 10.4 was released, ?? months until Firefox ?.?
ships, and Josh's data indicates that 25% of our current users are on
10.4 (but that early signs are that it's much lower for 3.6).
So, offhand it seems reasonable to me, and roughly comparable to what we
did w.r.t 3.0/10.3. It would give me greater confidence to see what
happens with 3.6 uptake and .Next release schedule, but that's offset by
3.6 being a much better version for 10.4 users to be "stuck" at than 2.0
was for 10.3 users.
I've seen crazier things. :)
If whatever is shipping off trunk ships later than about end of Q3 or
beginning of Q4 of this year, then imho we've screwed up.
1) It's not about "good" vs. "bad" idea, it's about how much pain it is
to support 10.4, 10.5, 10.6 32bit and 10.6 64bit all at the same time,
and how much time we as a community can invest into developing for and
testing on all those systems - and all that in the end for a rather tiny
minority of our total users, which the whole Mac user base still is. We
all know that it's not a "good idea", the question is how much it is a
necessity for going forward overall, as we have limited resources.
2) How do you know there's "no need to do this"? Have you actually
looked at the code and found a way to easily support 10.4 in addition to
the newer systems? I'm sure Josh as our main Mac system support
developer would be very happy to see that option and its implementation
and would welcome your work on it.
Judging from the comments I've read on some Mac support forums, most
folks say they're not happy with OSX 10.5 performance unless they're
running an Intel Mac - and those have only been shipping for 4 years.
I would object, since I am using an older PowerPC PowerBook under
10.4, and even 3.6 seems a bit slow or buggy to me. I am still in
process of checking if some add-ons are part of this, but since I
prefer ad-blocking and script-blocking, etc., if Firefox drops 10.4
support, I will have to look elsewhere instead of staying with
FIrefox, as I cannot afford a new(er) 'Book at this point in time. In
case somebody missed it, money is not flowing like water for the
majority of us out here (though that might not apply to all, I'm
I'd rather stay with Firefox, but if support for Tiger (which doesn't
require me to buy a GHz CPU-ed G4 or above) is dropped, you'll find me
on the other side of your imposed digital divide. Sorry to see that
this is being considered, since with Firefox being available for my
'Book and also for the (newer) Wintel box I have to use at work, I
have been able to maintain similarity of commands between the two
platforms with Firefox.
Robert, your own bias appears to be showing... (Not meant as a
criticism, but the reality is, it's not "your ox that's being gored",
as you don't seem to have any personal investment on behalf of the Mac
We have much better statistics than your anecdotal evidence of usage. If
you'd read the original post carefully, you'd have seen that we have
fairly precise numbers for people using Firefox on 10.4 and so your
advocacy on this front with far less precise numbers isn't helpful.
> Judging from the comments I've read on some Mac support forums, most
> folks say they're not happy with OSX 10.5 performance unless they're
> running an Intel Mac - and those have only been shipping for 4 years.
10.5 and 10.6 far outweigh 10.4 according to all of the publicly
Over 80% of Macs, as reported here
are running 10.5 or 10.6 and those running 10.4 are dropping off at
about 10% per month.
In one year, I expect 10.4 to account for less than 5% of Mac OS X users
and at that point it will have less prominence than Windows 98.
Since this decision won't be made because a few users visiting this
forum are still bound to 10.4, this kind of advocacy doesn't help much.
If you can add more precise usage data to this discussion than what
Josh offered in the initial post, please do. If you know of other kinds
of data that represents large numbers of Mac or Firefox users that
hasn't already been mentioned, please add that.
> I'd rather stay with Firefox, but if support for Tiger (which doesn't
> require me to buy a GHz CPU-ed G4 or above) is dropped, you'll find me
> on the other side of your imposed digital divide. Sorry to see that
> this is being considered, since with Firefox being available for my
> 'Book and also for the (newer) Wintel box I have to use at work, I
> have been able to maintain similarity of commands between the two
> platforms with Firefox.
Obviously some users will always be left behind when we unsupport a
I (and I'm sure others here) recognize that tens or even hundreds of
thousands of users will be left behind in a year or so if we stop
support for 10.4. We understand that. If we tried to support 100% of
operating systems out there, the project would collapse.
That means we have to pick our target versions carefully. Do you have
some suggestion about what that cut-off should be that goes further than
"not the platform I'm on" ?
And you think it will still be well over 1 million users a year from now?
> You can't claim poverty, either. Mozilla takes in many millions of
> dollars per year from Google by having their search engine as the
> default in Firefox, so don't even try to use that as a justification
> for keeping your software working.
No one is claiming poverty. We are talking about how we best utilize our
limited resources. I can count the serious Mac platform experts we have
on one hand and splitting those resources more than is critically
necessary isn't something I'm excited about. One of those top experts is
making this proposal and I doubt he'd be making it if he thought we had
the resources to easily support 10.4 and 10.5&6.
> If you're going to drop support for 10.4 no matter what people say,
> then what's the point of asking for our feedback? When you can explain
> that, you might be getting to the root of the problem: yourselves.
Can you provide further insight than we already have into the number of
people using 10.4 or using Firefox on 10.4 or into Apple's future
support schedule or how much work is actually involved in maintaining
support for 10.4? Those kinds of things would be useful feedback. "I'm
on 10.4 so you're stupid for dropping it in a year" isn't valuable
User of the Mac OS do not typically use UNIX They use the Mac GUI
(Finder) to view files and operate applications. I've been a Mac USER
since about 1986 and I've yet create a Build.
we have two ways of installing programs. DMG (pronounced DIM-edge) and
stands of Disk Image the overwhelming majority of the way applications
are delivered; and PKG (Package). Unless we are application developers.
That's the only way deal with programs. with the possible exception of
Apple-scripts and automator actions. I've only dealt with two or three
apple-script and those were given to me; all I had to do was compile and
run them using the Script Editor. I've yet to use Autmator actions for
anything (unless they are done behind the scenes).
Anthony Hughes wrote:
> Just to be clear on this, Mozilla is officially dropping support in
> 1.9.3. Mozilla will not do anything to prevent someone (or many) in the
> community from creating builds which will work on 10.4 -- correct?
> Historically, Mozilla (the community) has been pretty awesome about
> filling the voids which Mozilla (the company) creates out of necessity.
> Anthony Hughes (:ashughes)
> Jr QA Engineer, Mozilla QAE
> On 05/02/2010 12:51 PM, Phillip Jones wrote:
>> I don't know why I tilt at windmills, it does no good. :-(
Not at Mozilla. When they have their head set on doing something
complaints against doing so does no good. I've never seen where typical
user input influenced anything.
If the economy doesn't get better - yes.
> - A
If you are working with Apple's latest Xcode 3.2.2 and SDK's 10.4
Tiger support is not enabled by default. Leopard and Snow Leopard are
actually substantially different than Tiger really when you look at
all the Core Frameworks, I think they should really just worry about
innovation, speed, and using the very latest technology rather than
supporting and older OS and old technology if not they will really
just suffer the fate of MS, stop supporting legacy software and move
on with the latest technology, hardware, and software (OS included);
the browser "wars" are very competitive! I feel bad for those who
cannot upgrade, but no need to slow the pace of innovation for those
who can upgrade and are new to the Mac platform.
I think you should also take in account the Intel/PPC support.
It means that keeping 10.4, Mozilla have to test/support:
Abandoning 10.4, means 29% of OS/CPU combination less.
If concerns arise about the 10.4 user base, extend the security-fix
support of 3.6 from mid-2011 to end-2011, it should be less work (but
still work) to maintain an old branch for security rather than to
back-port anything new; especially as other products (Tb?) may still
need Gecko 1.9.3 by then.
Note that I don't know if you plan to support x64 on 10.5. I don't think
it is useful.
Actually this is factually incorrect for Safari: the current version
of Safari is 4.0.4. It is fully supported on OS 10.4.11 on PPC and
Intel Macs. I am running it right now on a 1999 G4 AGP 450 MHz, which
is my primary OS X Mac. I support a number of clients/family/friends,
few of whom have Intel Macs and most of whom are running Tiger (and
this same version of Safari). Safari V.4 is actually working better on
the old Macs i deal with (directly or indirectly) than late versions
of Safari 3.
Still, that number of users is invisible compared to the numbers of
users of other OS versions/platforms that the people working on
Mozilla are dealing with. While it would be nice to see continued
support for Tiger and while i am a fierce trailing-edge user who
champions keeping older systems going as long as possible, i am also
well aware that legacy support can be at least a drain and possibly a
project killer as has been pointed out. I personally trust those who
are active with the Mozilla project to make wise decisions to keep a
reasonable balance, so while i vote very strongly for Tiger support
and would personally benefit from it (as would my clients/family/
friends nearly to a person), i have no hard facts/numbers to sway the
discussion and do understand that it may be in the best interests of
the project and majority of users to drop Tiger and move forward.
The comparison to Safari lead then to the question:
"Will Safari *5* support 10.4?"
I don't have the answer (Apple doesn't comment on future products).
But my sentiment is no, Safari 5 will very likely not work on OS 10.4,
neither on PPC. It may even be a 64-bit only release.
> You mixed it. The discussion is not going about Firefox 3.6.x supporting OS 10.4 or not (it does, and will), but about Firefox.next (being 3.7 or 4.0), supporting it.
> The comparison to Safari lead then to the question:
> "Will Safari *5* support 10.4?"
> I don't have the answer (Apple doesn't comment on future products).
> But my sentiment is no, Safari 5 will very likely not work on OS 10.4,
> neither on PPC. It may even be a 64-bit only release.
Fwiw, the latest nightly builds of WebKit still run (fine) on 10.4.11 (I can't test how well they run, but they do run).
I'm confused. AIUI, per what Boris said, ?.? (from trunk) will ship in Q2/Q3,
which is at most 2/3 of a year away. 25% of users rather than 16% of users use
it. If I had to guess at the overall size of the mac Fx userbase, I'd say it has
grown since that 3.0 decision point (if someone has solid data from AUS, please
So, all in all, if we drop 10.4 support, we remove support for a significantly
greater (10 pct points) minority of our userbase, which is also a significantly
larger group of people (in absolute terms), at a significantly (33%) faster pace
than when 10.3 support was removed.
I don't see how that is "roughly comparable". What am I missing?
I'm not saying it's not the right thing to do because I'm honestly not sure what
the cost of the 10.4 support is. I do think the numbers are food for thought.
(for full disclosure: I'm typing this on a 10.6 macbook, which was upgraded from
10.4 using the $30 upgrade dvd your average apple store will sell you. Obviously
won't work for 10.4 ppc users - would be interesting to see how many of them
This seems to indicate that we can't effectively support 10.4 already,
doesn't it? So are you suggesting that we should /increase/ the
investment in 10.4 support?
10.4 users would still have a supported release until FF 3.6 was
end-of-lifed, which I would expect to be at least 6 months after the
trunk release of which Boris speaks. They wouldn't be able to upgrade
to the latest and greatest, but they would still get stability and
I think numbers for Firefox 3.6 users will change substantially once
we make a prompted major update offer from 3.5 to 3.6. Please note
that the 3.6 numbers Josh posted were much smaller than the 3.5
numbers (basically 5.2% of the 3.5+3.6 users were on 3.6, and 94.8%
were on 3.5).
The 3.6 users right now are presumably largely people who are
interested enough in technology that they read sources of news that
told them about the 3.6 release, users who I'd expect are more
likely to be on the cutting edge in terms of OS versions as well.
I am type person that updates either automatically through auto update
or going to web site and updating. In in the Past I tested nightly until
I figured what I said about bugs or suggestion were laughed at or
ignored. since users don't know anything.
Besides that, you are arguing that we should spend a large sum of money
on small percentage of our users (a shrinking percentage at that). What
would you say to all of our windows users who would then see less
resources devoted to them?
> You might not currently have the resources you need to support all
> three versions, but you have more than enough money to get those
> resources; all it takes is the courage to do it and the willingness to
> support your users. Alienating users by dropping support when there's
> no valid technological reason only makes more users unhappy and causes
> them to switch again to another browser, which is a never-ending
I'm sorry, but Josh covered the technical reasons in his first post.
You can certainly try to argue that they aren't issues, but simply
dismissing them is not the way to do that.
> I can't see the future, so I have no idea what the usage numbers will
> be, just as you have no idea. I'm sure you're well aware that Apple
> doesn't comment on future plans and I certainly can't make them talk.
> I do know that there are millions of Mac OS X 10.4 users who either
> cannot or will not upgrade, for a variety of reasons, all of them
> perfectly valid for their needs. I also know that Mac OS X 10.5 and
> 10.6 are riddled with serious bugs and had features removed without
> notice; something Apple doesn't publicize or disclose to anyone before
> or after they purchase the OS or a system with those versions
> installed. Users are left to discover it on their own, and it's always
> when they need it to work correctly; that's too late.
What are these serious bugs and removed features you speak of? If you
are trying to convince us that this is a serious issue, I suggest you
make actual claims instead of hand-wavy references to problems that come
across as FUD.
> So the question you need to ask yourselves before pursuing this ill-
> considered idea is: "Do you want to spend the money to hire the
> programmers you need to support 10.4, or do you want to give up
> millions in revenue?"
It's not even about hiring programmers. It's also about buying more
hardware, and supporting it. It's also about using our resources in the
most beneficial way for our users. You are arguing that we should spend
a disproportionate amount of our resources on a small and shrinking
(even if the number of 10.4 users stays the same, they will make up a
smaller percentage of our users over time) percentage of our user base.
We are not a massive corporation like Apple, so we have to use our
limited resources in the best possible way for our users.