With the release of Lion in 2011, Apple stopped support for old PowerPC computers and some early Intel Macs. Most importantly, Rosetta, which allowed old PPC applications to run on Intel Macs was not included with Lion. 10.6 Snow Leopard was the last OS with Rosetta.
Aeronaut software such as Tangent 4, Aeroblinds and Aeroawnings will only run on 10.6 Snow Leopard or earlier. They cannot be run on any new computer that you might buy today.
Like most software developers, Aeronaut develops its software using current versions of operating systems and uses many of the features of new software development programs. For that reason, at some point in time, older versions of any software will stop running on current operating systems.
Aeronaut recommends using the most current maintenance release of the operating system. We do not test and will not support Aeronaut software used with releases of the operating system which were earlier than the year the software was supplied.
If you keep your design and nesting software up to date and run it on reasonably new computers, then you should have few problems with updating the OS. But if you prefer to delay upgrading until you are forced to and all your software, computer and operating system is old, then you may have more problems than you would like. And if your computer fails and forces you to buy a new one, all these problems will happen at once.
It is no longer possible to buy a new Mac which will run old PPC software such as Tangent 4.9, Aeroblinds and releases of Vectorworks earlier than 2011. The latest Mac you can buy which can be downgraded to run 10.6 Snow Leopard is a mid-2011 model iMac which was released before Lion.
Why it pays to keep computers, software and hardware up to date.
One big problem with old cutting systems is that they are dependent on an ageing computer system which in most cases is only capable of running old software and driving old cutters. Your old software will probably not run on a computer you bought today and that’s a big risk.
Many Aeronaut customers are running old, well loved and well looked after Aeronaut cutters and their ancient computer is the weakest link in the chain. The all-in-one LCD iMacs have been exceptionally reliable, probably because of their low operating temperatures compared with CRT monitor types. But many are so old that they're impossible to repair because spares are no longer available.
Since modern computers won't run old software, a computer failure can be very bad news. If the files on the old computer were not backed up, or the file format can't be read by modern software, then a computer failure can be a disaster.
Some old Aeronaut cutters are fitted with electronics and drives which have been made obsolete by their manufacturers some time ago.
In almost all cases, there are alternate products available which can be fitted to keep older machines running but these may not be direct replacements and additional work may have to be done to the control box.
The problem for Aeronaut is that the failure of some third party component such as a computer power supply or a drive in the control cabinet on a customer's machine might cause a stoppage of 10 days or more while we get components together for an upgrade and schedule a site visit to install it.
Aeronaut will maintain the policy of keeping machines working as long as possible but at some point it becomes uneconomical. Changing over to a new machine makes good business sense if you rely on a machine in your business and it pays its way.
It's very common that new versions of software don't read old file formats… or only partially read them. At Aeronaut, we recently upgraded an 8 year old CNC machine made by a very large German manufacturer. They tested our files and promised that the software on the new machine would open them fine. Yes, the files could be opened but there were some significant errors and every one of 1,200 files had to be modified… a major loss of production.
At Aeronaut, we're caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, we support all our old machinery and can provide replacement parts or upgrade paths to keep all of them going. On the other hand, if better technology is available, Aeronaut and most or our customers want to move onwards and upwards and there comes a time when keeping old technology alive in a business environment is not very sensible. Trawling eBay for 10 year old computers to run your 15 year old cutter is not a very reliable business model!
Over the last few years there have been many significant changes to computers and operating systems which have required old software and hardware to be updated. These include changes to CPU chips, moving from 16 to 32 to 64 bit operating systems and changes to video cards and displays. Most small software developers find it fairly expensive to just stand still, without offering any improvements or new features.
These changes meant that most of the software that Aeronaut develops such as Tangent, Aeroblinds and Aeroawnings had to be re-written. The companies who developed the programming environments simply ceased development. Changes in Vectorworks code has also meant that various plug-in tools have had to be rewritten.
Apple's change from Motorola to Intel chips meant almost three years of programmer time just to change the code base over. Because it is so difficult and expensive to move forwards, All software companies have to, at some stage, stop supporting old software and encourage customers to move to current versions.
It's not all bad news. There are some great new features in modern programming environments and it is often possible to add new features or to replace pages of code with a single line. Tangent 6 is a far faster, more versatile and more stable program than Tangent 4. ParaSol is better than Aeroblinds in every respect.
It's always a good idea to check with Aeronaut before upgrading a computer which is running a cutter. If you are concerned about the age of your computer and the compatibility of your software, please note the versions and model number