Last week, Final Draft sent out an email to customers:
Apple has announced they will release their latest operating system, Mac OS Lion (OSX 10.7) this July. Many of our valued customers are Mac users, so we feel it is important to let you know how this Mac OS update will affect your version of Final Draft software.
Final Draft version 8 Users:
A FREE update for version 8 users will be available at www.finaldraft.com/downloads/software-updates.php for registered users. If you plan to upgrade your operating system to 10.7, update Final Draft version 8 first for an optimal user experience. Without the update, changes in the new Mac OSX 10.7 will prevent Final Draft version 8 from launching. Once you update your version 8 software, you can activate and run the Final Draft application on your Mac. The new OS will not allow the Final Draft application to run for other users on a given computer unless those users also install and activate Final Draft while logged in under their own user name. If you do not intend to upgrade your OS to 10.7, there is no need to update your version of Final Draft.
How do you define “optimal user experience?” Oh — the app won’t even launch.
Yes, that does seem sub-optimal.
The included URL takes you to a placeholder page saying that a revised version (8.0.2) is coming soon. So it seems odd to include it as a clickable link. Sending users to a “News” or “Updates” page feels like a much better destination.1
To be fair, many Mac apps will need revisions in order to run properly under the new OS. It’s better to warn customers now before they upgrade. But the email was so strangely written that many colleagues assumed it was just Final Draft trying to upsell longtime screenwriters clinging to their old versions.
The company didn’t have to look far for better copy-writers. Their own knowledge base article is much more clear-cut:
Will Final Draft run on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)?
Not yet. We expect to release Final Draft v.8.0.2 as a free download at the same time as Lion’s official release by Apple. The new version has been engineered to run on OS X 10.7 (Lion) and is the only version of Final Draft that will work on this operating system. If you have v.8 and are planning to upgrade to Lion, we urge you to wait for the patch. The current version of Final Draft 8 is not activatable on this new operating system.
Final Draft v.7 and older will NOT work on Lion.
The free 8.0.2 installer is an operating system-specific patch with no new features or fixes other than 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
Much better, right?
I know several screenwriters who are incensed that Final Draft won’t support running FD6 or FD7 under Lion. But I’m siding with the company here. I think users have the right to keep using software as long as they want, but developers have the right to stop supporting old versions they haven’t sold in years, particularly when operating systems change.
Movie Magic Screenwriter is drawing the same line in the sand:
All versions of Movie Magic Screenwriter prior to version 6 are not compatible with Mac OS 10.7 (Lion).
They say the current version (6.0.6) will work, with the exception of four tools: Compare Two Documents, Name Bank, Thesaurus, and Export To. (Which, if you think about it, is a significant amount of functionality lost.)
Because I’m a giant nerd, I’ve cloned my startup drive so that I’ll be able to boot in either Lion or Snow Leopard until Final Draft gets its update out.
For less tech-savvy users, I’d urge waiting a bit before upgrading to Lion if there are scripts you need to work on in FD.
- I won’t even mention the 2007-style .php extension on the URL. Except in this footnote. ↩