As is (too) often the case, Apple released a Security Update the other night and by morning all hell was breaking loose across the Mac-using globe. Of course, we all really do appreciate the fact that Apple was kind enough to patch 40+ security flaws in one fell swoop, and some of us installed the upgrade without incident -- but for those who rely on 64-bit native apps, this particular update has crippled them.
The folks at Wolfram Research, makers of the 64-bit wonder that is Mathmatica 5.2, are not amused and they have wasted no time in notifying their customers that Apple broke their application. In an email sent to Mathmatica users on Tuesday, Wolfram says "Due to an error on the part of Apple, this update prevents any 64-bit-native application from running. In particular, this means that Mathmatica 5.2 will not run on any G5 system if it has installed this Security Update." After documenting the problem Apple has caused and explaining how to work around it until Apple releases an update to their update, the email concludes with "P.S. Should you require further technical support for this problem, Apple has informed us that you should contact them through http://www.apple.com/contact/phone_contacts.html." Am I the only one who detects a little attitude with that PS?
Apple assured Wolfram they would pull the update immediately and rectify the problem ASAP, however Security Update 2005-007 version 1.0 is still showing up in Software Update and is still available on Apple's own website. Since Wolfram and Apple are best buds (Wolfram co-founder Theodore Gray was even featured in Steve's 2002 Macworld San Francisco Keynote, extolling the virtues of Mathmatica for OS X), it is a bit alarming that Apple would release something that completely breaks their award-winning application. It's the kind of thing people get fired over where I come from.
There is no "undo" when it comes to Software Updates, so Mathmatica 5.2 users are forced to use Terminal trickery to disable the 64-bit capabilities of their app in order to even use it to compute something as simple as 2+2. When you've shelled out almost $2000 for an application, you expect it to perform slightly better than the Calculator Widget. For shame, Apple... for shame.
Would anyone like to borrow my abacus?