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The evolution of the Tiger to the Leopard

We finally got version 8 out the door today and with it comes Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard support. The changes to support Leopard consisted of a sum total of 2001 lines – that is, 2000 lines of documentation and 1 line of code! Yes! That’s right. Only one line of source code needed addressing. Here is the offending line: echo –n "${var}" changing to: printf "${var}"

For those interested, this is a line sits in a daemon startup shell script. echo –n is a way of suppressing the new line character. It was a real surprise to find that Apple had compiled the default shell (bash in compatibility mode) without echo –n support. I agree, strictly speaking this is not part of the POSIX standard, but it’s quite a bold change to drop something that’s become so entrenched over the years. I’m sure it will break many other programs, build scripts, and open source projects.

Only one line of code, but on the other hand a lot of new documentation . Leopard mandated documentation updates as buttons moved, menu options changed and it also brought with it a whole new list of bugs to “work around” :-( Us software developers love code but hate documentation - hence I’d rate this as a painful project!

Version 8 also includes a number of new features requested by our growing team of Mac users. I look forward to hearing more about your Leopard experiences.


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