FontLab Studio and High Sierra

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  • Every few years Apple changes all of its toolchain, removes things that were previously working fine and forces thousands of developers to rewrite large portions of software from scratch. 
    Apple did change the platform and dev tools once in the last 20 years (PowerPC to Intel and Carbon to Cocoa). But they added tools that made sure that software would run fine for several years (Rosetta).
    Microsoft changes the game so many times (e.g., windows Phone 6.5, 7 and 8 have totally different hard and software). And the differences between different versions of the system APIs are so big that you can’t just link against the newest version of .NET without rewriting most of your code. 

    And why do you think public administrations and companies payed MS millions to keep winXP alive for several years longer than planed? Because they had a lot software that would NOT run on newer versions of Windows. They had to rewrite most of their custom software from scratch.

    If you have written cocoa code 20 years ago (on NextStep), you can still use it (with some modifications of cause).

  • I agree that if you based your Windows apps on anything else than C++ and Win32, you were in trouble. GDI+, WPF, DirectSomething, .NET in a number of iterations — this all came and went. But a Windows developer always had alternatives. There is a healthy number of major apps made using Delphi, there is a number of UI libraries that work well and are maintained. Of course at the same time, this means that each Windows app looks a bit different, and if you run several apps on Windows 10, each will differ in terms of user interface paradigms and styling. (I agree that on phones, it's a completely different game.) 

    On macOS, there is more visual and UX coherence, or at least the illusion thereof. If you use Xcode and stick to the world Apple provides, you're fine. But you need to track each change.

    As far as I can tell, whenever Apple releases a new macOS, there is always a big unknown which apps will work and which won't. This has never been so on Windows. A random app released in 2001 or 2008 will most likely work fine on Windows 10. I don't think this can be said of macOS. 

    On top of that of course, virtualization is trivial. If you need to get any Windows app to work, you will — natively, or in a VM or through Wine.

    And on any hardware. If you need 20 multi-core CPUs to do massive 3D rendering, you're guaranteed to find a vendor who will deliver it to you. If you have an early 3D printer, a plotter, a high-end printer, a scanner, a tablet etc. — you have guarantee to be able to keep it operational, even if perhaps with some minor compromises. 

    I don't think the same can be said of the Apple platform. Right now, if I want a performant portable machine, I pretty much have to get something with a "touch bar" I don't need, a non-upgradable internal SSD drive and one port that, if it happens to fail, renders the entire machine unusable. 

    So it's true — as long as you play the Apple game by Apple’s rules, you’re fine on the Apple platform. :)
  • Having maintained cross-platform non-GUI applications before, Apple’s is the absolute worst. APIs are deprecated left and right, then a couple of releases they just disappear.

    You could have a statically linked Linux or Windows binary and it would keep running for decades without ever touching, good luck with getting a Mac binary running for three major OS releases. The move from 32 bit to 64 bit alone dropped tons of APIs and system libraries and you can’t support new OS versions without dropping support for older ones.

    That is all with a simple non-GUI application, I can only imagine the horror of maintaining a GUI one.
  • Now that macOS 10.13.1 is released, is there any news on this issue?
  • It doesn't help, unfortunately.
    We have been looking into the issue. I look forward to being able to say more!
  • Is this resolved can I upgrade to High Sierra now? I'm still using Fontlab 5 and on Sierra 10.12.6.
  • No, not resolved yet. If you are not developing with Multiple Master functionality, then the other issues can be worked around. (Personally, I haven't upgraded to High Sierra yet, because of this, plus other issues on the Apple side.)
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