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Apple -- You Did Me A Disservice

By  Oct 26, 2007

Topics: Home & Office Computing

Today is the day that most Mac users have been looking forward to for over a year.  Ever since Steve Jobs got up on stage last August and showed us Leopard for the first time.  Ever since that first peak almost all Mac users and I dare say ALL Mac developers have been looking forward to this release.  Unfortunately, today is also a day that Mac developers are going to be scrambling like rats on a burning ship.  This is because Apple decide to thumb their nose at us.
As a paying Apple Developer Connection member, I have had access to the pre-release “seeds” to Leopard since last year.  I have done my part as a member to test each seed as it has come out and report any and all bugs that have been found.  Now that is not a trivial process.  It requires installing the new seeds, setting up all of my data, applications, etc. and to then use the operating system even though I KNOW it is not stable and can set my work back by hours if not days.  Yet, the value of having that early access to the system was worth the cost as I am sure most other ADC members would agree.

Unfortunately, Apple decided not to hold up their end of the bargain.  For you see, in exchange for helping in testing the operating system, we expect to be able to have access to Leopard before the public and therefore be able to rest on this great day and know, without doubt, that our applications are ready.  We should know that Leopard is not going to cause us a problem with our applications.

Unfortunately, for some mystical reason, Apple has decided that the paying ADC members do not deserve access to the final release of Leopard before the public.  For some reason, it was decided that the month old seed that we have been running with was sufficient.

Now do not misinterpret me.  I am not complaining about Leopard.  Leopard is an amazing upgrade to OS X that is going to fuel development for a very long time.  This release has the biggest increase for developers in history.  While some may argue that it is light on consumer features, I would argue that it has the most developer features I have seen from an OS release yet.  Leopard is good -- Leopard is great.

However, by not giving the developers, who help to make this operating system great, access to the final release of Leopard prior to the public release, Apple has virtually guaranteed that a percentage of the third party applications are going to have a problem.  Quite simply the last seed that we are working against does have bugs!  This is not a surprise to us and we reported them.  However we have no clue if they were fixed!  So we have to sit and wait for 6pm and hope they were fixed or assume they were not fixed and find a hack around them.  This will be a very busy weekend for a large number of developers. 

This is a disservice to both the developers and the consumers. The consumers expect their applications to “Just Work” after they install Leopard.  However, we, the developers, cannot guarantee that -- at least not until we go to the Apple store, stand in line, purchase a retail copy, go home and run through our entire test suite.  A test suite that we should have been able to sign off on over a week ago at the least.  Only then can we come out and confirm that our applications are working on Leopard.  Until that is possible we must, sadly, inform our customers to please wait.

I urge everyone to contact Apple by email and ask them quite honestly to NEVER do this again!  This type of game hurts everyone. 

I should note that it appears that the press got their copy of the final release yesterday....

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