Apple betrays its Snow Leopard users

The Fruity Cargo Cult known as Apple is putting pressure on those who still use its Snow Leopard operating system to carry out an expensive upgrade, by cutting support.

Apple on Tuesday made it clear that it will no longer patch OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, when it again declined to offer a security update for the four-and-a-half-year-old operating system.

Yesterday Apple issued an update for OS X 10.9, as well as for its two predecessors, Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7) but nothing for Snow Leopard.

The tame Apple press points out that Apple provided Snow Leopard security updates for slightly more than four years and so users have no real excuse not to upgrade. But it is not as if Apple has actually told users that it wants them to upgrade.

Snow Leopard was also ignored in December, when Apple patched Safari 6 and 7 for newer editions of OS X, but did not update Safari 5.1.10, the most-current Apple browser for the OS.

It looks like Apple delivered the final security update for Snow Leopard in September 2013.

But according to Computerworld   the move leaves one in five Macs open to attack.

Apparently this move is due to Apple’s accelerated development and release schedule for OS X, which now promises annual upgrades. The shorter span between editions meant that unless Apple extended its support lifecycle.

None of this would be a problem if Apple actually cared for its customers enough to tell them what was going on. Microsoft and a host of other major software vendors, clearly spell out software support policies so that users know when they have to carry out upgrades.

Apple does not because it assumes that users will upgrade every year and everyone who does not is a heretic and needs to be treated badly. To make matters worse Snow Leopard is Apple’s Windows XP. It is still running fine and users do not see a reason to change it. In fact, some users want to keep running the OS because they hate what Apple has become over recent years, and think the new OS X’s user interface is pants.

At the end of January, 19 percent of all Macs were running Snow Leopard, slightly more, in fact, than ran its successor, Lion, which accounted for 16 percent.

Snow Leopard users have given many reasons for hanging on, including some identical to those expressed by Windows XP customers: The OS still works fine for them; their Macs, while old, show no sign of quitting; and they dislike the path that Apple’s taken with (UI).

Snow Leopard was the last version of OS X able to run applications designed for the PowerPC processor, the Apple/IBM/Motorola-crafted CPU used by Apple before it switched to Intel in 2006. Snow Leopard, while requiring a Mac with an Intel processor, was the latest edition able to run the Rosetta translation utility, and thus launch PowerPC software.

Additionally, Snow Leopard was the final version able to run on Macs equipped with 32-bit Intel processors, making it impossible for owners of some older machines to upgrade beyond OS X 10.6.