Frontier/Mac doesn’t run on Mavericks

The new version of the Macintosh OS does not run the OPML Editor or Frontier, because major toolkits that it depends on have been removed from the OS.

As far as I know, there will not be another version of the Frontier kernel for the Mac, so if you want to keep running the software, you can’t upgrade to Mavericks.

Frontier is licensed under the GPL. I put a snapshot of the code into a Github repository. It would be great if someone ported it to the new operating system, or to Linux, where it will likely be more stable. It might even run faster! 🙂

I’m still using it on my desktop iMac (running the last version of the OS before Mavericks) and on my Windows servers, where it runs fine. I also have a PowerPC-based Mac that will never be upgraded. I’ve learned from experience with past platforms that it’s a good idea to keep an older machine around. For example, I’ve wished, when working on Fargo that I could launch MORE to look at prior art. Instead I had to rely on memory.

One approach to using Frontier/OPML Editor on the Mac would be to install a Windows emulator and run it there. I run it that way on my Mac for testing releases and it seems to work quite well.

A brief history

  • The first version of Frontier shipped on the Mac in 1992. That’s a 21-year run. Pretty good!
  • Lots of things happened first in Frontier. Blogging tools, RSS aggregators, podcasting, XML-RPC and of course OPML. Manila and Radio UserLand.
  • It’s a great environment, with integration between the database and the scripting language that has yet to be matched anywhere. Its editor both for code and data is an outliner, another coding breakthrough.
  • I’m proud of it. I wanted to spend the rest of my career working in Frontier, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. But we’ll try to bring at least some of the ideas from Frontier to JavaScript, which is where I’m doing much of my coding nowadays. And hopefully from there the ideas can spread. I think a lot of programmers would benefit from all the integration in Frontier. It’s higher level.
  • This is an about page for the first version to be released for free on the web, in 1996. It gives some idea of the kind of foundation we built on.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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