Why support older Macs?

Someone asked me why I’m working to add support for older Mac OS X versions. The question was politely kept private so as not to pollute other threads with needless bickering. I really appreciated that. Thanks anonymous friend.

That said, I wanted to share the response, because I think it’s a really good question. And all these emoji really need to be shared. :smiley:

I will not hold the Stacks v4 release for these old systems. It will come later. :arrow_right::arrow_right::calendar: So don’t worry too much about the time. I’ve been pacing myself for a while, just so I can sprint this last mile to release. :running_man:

This will cost a bit of my free time, but I think the overall impact to the wider community will be tiny. It will be a low priority task for me while doing other bug fix updates that are sure to occur for the few months post release. :mans_shoe: :ant:

But why? Well, it’s a long story. :open_book:
Get ready. And I’m in an emoji mood, hang on :selfie::fist:LOL :joy:

While I usually feel similar: “hey, let’s move forward as quickly as practical” — but I’m trying to pay closer attention to Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitain. :national_park:

10.12 had some big changes behind the scenes. Because of that Apple cut off lots of hardware. :scissors: I myself have two iMacs :desktop_computer::desktop_computer:, and a Mac Pro :desktop_computer: in the house right now that are all stuck at Mac OS X 10.11.

I guess, and it’s just my opinion, but I think that even though it’s not profitable it’s the right thing to do: keep this rather large group of older computers useful for as long as their owners are willing. Or maybe give these computers a second life to a family member :older_woman: or friend that doesn’t need to be anywhere near the cutting edge :hocho:.

I suspect these ideas come from when was little :baby:. I was very very poor when I was young. We tried to never throw things out — the waste and expense was just too much. :money_with_wings: Everything gets used all the way. Everything gets a repurposed second life. :zombie:‍♂:recycle:

Eve :clap: ry :clap: thing. :rofl:

As a result, even today when I don’t have to worry about the cost of basic necessities, throwing out useful things absolutely guts me. I just can’t stand it.:do_not_litter::bangbang:

TL;DR: this is just my own tiny contribution to reducing waste, keeping a few more things out of the tip, and making the world a little better.

:slightly_smiling_face: :earth_americas: :earth_africa: :earth_asia:


Fantastic. Thank you.


totally understanding this - keep on hanging to old macs too… don’t waste useful hardware - give it to others in need… software should be usable for 10 years +
Thank you @isaiah

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I’m an obsessive updater so I’d left 10.11 a long time ago and I didn’t really understand why others still used it … having just read Isaiah’s post I now realise that was rather myopic of me.

Thanks for post Isaiah.

It’s sad that MacOS 10.11 only shipped with PHP5.5. And MacOS 10.12 with PHP5.6. You can install PHP7 on those OSs but you cannot get RW to use a non-system version of PHP yet.

I just updated my 2011 Mac Book Pro with more RAM and a SSD. It’s zooming!

There will definitely be some limitations and incompatibilities on those machines. Not everything that can be done on macOS 10.15 will be possible on Mac OS X 10.11. That’s just common sense.

We just have to be honest and up-front about the limitations and incompatibilities. If a stack requires PHP 7 to work, then that stack (or at least that version of the stack).

@joeworkman - Do recall if the Stacks API delivers the OS version in the appcast HTTP request? Does your appcast script check that? If not then one or both of us should make sure that’s ready to go before the release. Having a way to prevent PHP7-requiring stacks from auto-updating on PHP5 only machines is probably a GoodThing™


@LSPhoto - feels great right?!?!
that SSD upgrade is always mind blowing.

when i updated my 2010 laptop to an SSD that was it, i was hooked – i basically updated all other machines to SSDs as soon as i could… well… except for my backup disks - a RAID full of giant spinning monstrosities.

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I don’t think that is does send OS version… I could be totally wrong though. I will add that to my todo list to investigate. I hope to revamp my appcast stuff before Total CMS 2 ships (which requires PHP7.2)

I agree that it would be a GoodThing™

I was just thinking yesterday about a firm plan to keep my 2nd iMac (2013) at a particular release level just so I can continue to run the “old” Pages 09 (4.3) app and all those other “old” apps that are not fully 64 bit signed (proper term?). The “New” Pages is dumb and does not allow Scripting as the old and I use Scripting to work docs a LOT.

Also: I checked my Mac yesterday and I have a good number of 32 bit apps yet that soon won’t run…

I applaud your efforts Isaiah. I buy older Refurbs from the Apple store and mine are usually good for a number of years before the hardware is out of date and non-supportive of OS.

Though for myself personally, If my hardware doesn’t keep up with the OS that’s when I start planning my next Refurb buy and Mac #1 rotates down to Mac #2

Well, as someone who can’t imagine when he will next be able to afford a new computer, I’m very grateful that someone is still supporting older systems, even though I’m on the latest OS at the moment.


Thanks for supporting older Macs Isaiah. I am one of those who have a perfectly functioning Mac Pro, their top of the line computer at the time, which is no longer supported by Apple beyond El Capitan. It IS a shame to have to abandon “old” hardware due to software incompatibility. That said, a lot of major softwares still support El Capitan, such as Firefox, Chrome, Photoshop, etc. I think there is a few years left in my Mac Pro!

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If you have an upgraded video card in Mac Pro 2008 or older , it can be updated to current MacOS:


yes, but only with patches. for my use-case (software testing) running a patched version the os is pretty scary. it means that when you have some graphics bug you never quite know if it’s a really bug or a ghost because you’re running something that shouldn’t be run.

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A hearty thank you Isiah. I too kept my main workstation on OSX 10.11 to help coddle my 150,000+ Aperture3 image library. While I did eventually upgrade to High Sierra, if Aperture support is cut off, I may stay with High Sierra for awhile as well.

Upgrades fix some things but eventually also break others as well. Your extra efforts are well appreciated!

Thank you for posting this explanation and for your understanding of this matter. I’ve been a Mac user for a very, very, very long time. I have 6 Macs, just in the room I’m in right now, and they range from a white plastic iMac running 10.5.8 to a MacBook Air running 10.14 (including a MacPro with each of its internal drives booting to a different OS) as well as all of the old ones going back to, at least, the SE30. There are good reasons for this. Granted some are based solely on nostalgia but, for the machines that are still in use, each one serves a very specific purpose. In my day to day function, I’m still operating mostly on a Mac running 10.11.6 (due to the use of some essential legacy software) so reading this and seeing _any_one who is willing to still support it is very, very much appreciated.

Hey, good news!

Yesterday I fixed the last remaining bug specific to Mac OS X 10.11 and 10.12 – a very curious difference in the AppKit sdk and the retaining of weak references on bindings. I learned something new on that one.

After some quality time spent on our old macBook Air 11" (seriously, was that the best laptop ever or what?) I managed to track down the problem and fix it in the span of 15 minutes. Easy peasy.

I’m afraid I am without a Mac OS X 10.11 machine though – so anyone out there with such a machine who is willing to beta test… please get in touch. I’ve got a download URL just for you. :smiley: :gift:



Huge thanks @isaiah for looking after those of us who can’t afford the new tech stuff from Apple.
I have always kept up to date with OS releases but that stopped when my hardware wasn’t good enough for the new OS. So like many, I am on High Sierra on my iMac mid 2011 and there I may just have to stay.

I did notice a post referring to a “patch” from dosdude1 and I am curious as I would like to venture to Mojave but is this a good idea?
While I know it’s not your domain to be an advisor here, I would be curious as to your thoughts as to how it may work with RW and specifically Stacks.

Huge thanks again.
Cheers, Lance