Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

No more upgrades

tech 1 min read

I've reached a stage in my life which I thought I'd forever manage to avoid: I'm tired of 
upgrading software.

Last night, I shut down my PowerBook to clean it, as I do about once month or so. When I rebooted, 
I was presented with the Software Update dialog, listing several things I needed, including a new 
version of Quicktime, Mac OS 10.2.6, and so on. I didn't bother installing any of it. Instead, I spent 
some time thinking about what I do on this machine each day, and what applications I use. My conclusions 
surprised me.
These are the apps I use every day, usually many times:
  • Mail
  • Safari
  • BBEdit
  • Stickies
  • Transmit
  • NetNewsWire
  • StuffIt Expander

And these are the apps I use semi-regularly:
  • IE and/or Netscape, when Safari won't do
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Virtual PC
  • Quicktime Player
  • Preview
  • GraphicConverter
  • Acrobat Reader
  • iChat
  • DVD Player
  • Carracho
  • AppleWorks

I thought about each of these apps, and came to the conclusion that, with the exception of 
Mail (which needs a lot of improvement), and Safari 
(which similarly needs a bit of improvement), they all do everything I need them to. Everything.

I hate spending money on new versions of software just to get some whiz-bang feature that seems really 
cool and full of potential at the time, but which I end up never using. I'm terrible for that. Now, I 
do plan to upgrade my OS, because it's difficult to avoid doing so with Mac OS X. Every new version seems 
to bring a host of software which requires that version as a minimum (did this happen so much on OS 7-8-9? I 
don't think it did.) But I'm really going to try to not upgrade my other software unless I absolutely <em>require</em> 
one of the new features. I may make a further exception for BBEdit, since Barebones seems to have the knack of <strong>always</strong> 
including new features which I realise I absolutely require. Hmm.

As for stability, it's all more than stable enough for me, again with the exceptions of Mail and Safari, which are 
"free" with the OS anyway. I don't need or want stability-related upgrades, unless they're free. Hell, even if they're 
free. And I sure as hell don't want any upgrades that use StuffIt Installermaker as a delivery mechanism, but that's 
another post entirely.


So, I hereby renounce my former status as an Early Adopter. I henceforth shall stick to tried-and-tested tools, and not be sucked 
into softcos' disgustingly cynical upgrading policies (except Apple's, of course). I reserve the right to wear a cardigan, 
and mutter under my breath about the "good old days", when Aqua pushbuttons were rounder, and you just had to learn to <em>like</em> 
the Genie effect.