In my quest to simplify my installers, for me and for users, I’ve come up with a few possibilities. But I need a little feedback. There’s a poll to the right to vote, it’s public, since I don’t do registrations on my site, so hopefully it won’t get spammed. Details on the choices inside…
The two main ideas behind my installers are modularity, so users can pick what they need, and developer usability, so they are usable for other packages I don’t provide binaries for. To do this, I currently have them split into Panther and Tiger versions. This is because of library availability and C++ differences between the two. I do this using separate Macs for each system. I’ve played around with the SDKs to try building Panther packages on Tiger, but there are gaps in the SDK and some patching is required. Overall, it’s quite a chore.
I’ve come up with a few alternatives that look doable. These are in decreasing order of usefulness (developer usability and Panther compatibility) and increasing order (generally) of simplicity for me to maintain.
- Separate binaries for Panther and Tiger. Full developer ability on both. This is the current state.
- Separate binaries. But leave out the developer headers in Panther. Not really any different than with headers, but encourages people to consider upgrading to Tiger.
- Single binary for both. Devloper ability, but everything is built on Panther. I would enable the current Panther installer to install on Tiger, but it still means maintaining a separate Panther Mac, or extra boot disk. And you would lose the speed and binary size benefits on Tiger of a GCC 4 build.
- Single binary. No developer ability for Panther. This would be because of the C++ version differences mostly, as everything would be built with GCC 4 on Tiger. It would also mean adding a couple libraries where they are not available in Panther or are old incompatible versions.
- Single binary. Developer usability for Panther, but only if built on Tiger with GCC 4. Really no different than the previous, I would just have to test it more and provide more help.
- Tiger only. Bye-bye Panther. With the coming of Intel Macs, the focus is more on Tiger these days, and now Leopard (10.5) is in the radar, so I expect Panther support will be dropped by Apple when Leopard comes.