“Apple on Tuesday made it clear that it will no longer patch OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, when it again declined to offer a security update for the four-and-a-half-year-old operating system,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.
“As Apple issued an update for Mavericks, or OS X 10.9, as well as for its two predecessors, Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), Apple had nothing for Snow Leopard or its owners yesterday,” Keizer reports. “Snow Leopard was also ignored in December, when Apple patched Safari 6 and 7 for newer editions of OS X, but did not update Safari 5.1.10, the most-current Apple browser for the OS. Apple delivered the final security update for Snow Leopard in September 2013.”
“Traditionally, Apple has patched only the OS X editions designated as ‘n’ and ‘n-1’ — where ‘n’ is the newest — and discarded support for ‘n-2’ either before the launch of ‘n’ or immediately after. Under that plan, Snow Leopard was ‘n-2’ when Mountain Lion shipped in mid-2012, and by rights should have been retired around then,” Keizer reports. “But it wasn’t. Instead, Apple continued to ship security updates for Snow Leopard, and with Tuesday’s patches of Mountain Lion and Lion Tuesday, it now seems plain that Apple has shifted to supporting ‘n-2’ as well as ‘n’ and ‘n-1.’ (In that scenario, Mavericks is now ‘n,’ Mountain Lion is ‘n-1’ and Lion is ‘n-2’)… With Snow Leopard’s retirement, 1 in 5 Macs are running an operating system that could be compromised because of unpatched vulnerabilities.”
“Snow Leopard was the last version of OS X able to run applications designed for the PowerPC processor, the Apple/IBM/Motorola-crafted CPU used by Apple before it switched to Intel in 2006,” Keizer reports. “Snow Leopard, while requiring a Mac with an Intel processor, was the latest edition able to run the Rosetta translation utility, and thus launch PowerPC software.”
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