The continuing woes of debugging Macs via email

A couple of months ago I joined the Pinta team, a very exciting experience for me! We set to work fixing bugs and adding features, and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved forĀ  version 1.1. However, the actual release has been delayed a couple of weeks now because of the tedious details involved in making a release. As a developer, using the newest Pinta is easy for me. All I have to do is open the freshly compiled executables I always have lying about. (The bleeding edge!) But for Average Joe User, they need to be packaged in to a nice and easy installer and that’s what we’ve had trouble producing.

First we had trouble producing a reliable Windows installer, duringĀ  which I learned about the difference between .Net 3.5 and .Net 4. But we eventually got that licked, not least because we all have access to various Windows systems to test on. However, none of the current developers have a Mac. (Personally, I’ve never liked computers I can’t open up and mess up on the inside.) This makes it hard to debug to say the least, as we are dependent on sending test installers to gracious testers on the mailing list and interpreting what they report back (and copy from their terminals).

Adding to our troubles is the fact that Apple has made a habit out of completely breaking stuff like Mono and GTK# when they release Mac OS X updates, which means Mono and GTK# needs to be updated to meet those changes, so now there are a bunch of different versions of Mac OS X and GTK# mixed up among our users. Conducting a thorough investigation of what works with what and with Pinta 1.1 is hard enough to begin with, even when you’re not doing it via email with (lovely and awesome) volunteers.

Therefore, sadly, the release of Pinta 1.1 will probably be a beta version for Mac users. (But final for the other two platforms.) We will continue to try to fix the Mac installer with the help of user feedback so that we can hopefully make a 1.1 final release for Mac, but in the meantime all of our other users need to be able to use the latest and greatest Pinta.

PS: If you happen to know a developer who knows C# and has a Mac and some spare time, please don’t hesitate to point him our way!

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