Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:48 am Post subject: NeoOffice patch checking logic changed
Yesterday, I tweaked our website's patch checking code and made the following changes:
1. NeoOffice 3.1.2 users - Like before, if they don't have the latest patch, they are prompted to install the latest NeoOffice 3.1.2 patch. However, if they have the latest patch, the code no longer prompts them to upgrade to NeoOffice 3.2.1 and, instead, tells the user that they have the latest patch.
2. Pre-NeoOffice 3.1.2 users - These users are now prompted to upgrade to NeoOffice 3.1.2.
The reason for this change is that NeoOffice 3.2 and 3.2.1 (both of which support Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or higher on Intel machines only) has been out for 10 months so if a user is still running NeoOffice 3.1.2 or earlier, they either don't want to or cannot upgrade to NeoOffice 3.2.1 so there is no point notifying such users of NeoOffice 3.2.1's availability.
Why change this now? In the last couple of months, we have been a steady rise in $10 donors who tell us that they downloaded NeoOffice and it won't install on their machine. Although we do not provide direct engineering support for $10 donors, such problems do require some intervention and that intervention was starting to take a good chunk of time each day.
What surprised us is not that these particular users were still using Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (which is now almost 7 years old) or PowerPC machines (which Apple stopped making 6 years ago). Instead, the surprise is that we are seeing a sudden increase in attempted upgrades to NeoOffice 3.2.1 now.
We had assumed that the number of people using Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or earlier and/or using a PowerPC machine was shrinking but since recent complaints were going in the opposite direction, our current theory is that many of the unsupported machines are getting handed to new users when the existing user buys a newer Mac. As a result, we are probably seeing new Mac users who are working through the process of finding out that they are running a very obsolete Mac OS X version.
These changes should not affect NeoOffice 3.2.1 patch checking logic so if anyone sees any obvious change in the patch checking result they see in NeoOffice 3.2.1, please let us know.
After looking our recent web server logs this morning, I noticed that there more than a trivial number of Mac OS X 10.4 users clicking directly on the NeoOffice 3.2.1 download link.
To prevent such confusion, I have added code that will hide the NeoOffice 3.2.1 download and language pack links if your browser's user agent string clearly indicates that your machine is running Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier or is a PowerPC machine.
Hopefully this will reduce the number of NeoOffice 3.2.1 download attempts by users with obsolete Mac machines.
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