Developers Explain Changes in Growl 1.3
Speaking of Growl themes, the developers of the popular notification system for OS X have seen a bit of confusion after the release of version 1.3 on the Mac App Store. They have published a post with a summary of changes, and here’s the most important point:
Growl is still open source and under the BSD license, but version 1.3 is sold at $1.99 on the Mac App Store. This paid model allows the developers to work on Growl full-time.
So why upgrade to Growl 1.3 when the old version might still work? First off, to get the new features. More importantly, for a reason I didn’t know about:
Growl 1.2 and older will not work with Sandboxed applications - Sandboxing is meant to protect users from bad things happening (which is a good thing!), but it has consequences for applications which are doing good things too (like Growl). Apple announced this summer that Sandboxing is a requirement for all applications in the Mac App Store. As our developers who went to WWDC this year quickly realized, the impending Sandboxing requirement would have broken Growl entirely for applications in the App Store, for everyone, without a large amount of changes. Growl 1.3 introduces support for Sandboxed applications.
We may debate on the pros and cons of sandboxing, but the point is that, eventually, the old Growl will stop working with sandboxed Mac App Store applications. If new features and compatibility aren’t compelling reasons to upgrade, then I guess the problem is with those users not willing to spend $1.99, not Growl. The Mac App Store charts, by the way, seem to indicate Growl 1.3 has been pretty successful so far.
I use Growl on a daily basis and I like the new version a lot. Another thing I didn’t know about: apps written with the Growl 1.3 SDK will be able to display notifications even if Growl 1.3 isn’t installed. The system is called “Mist”, and a comparison table is available for developers here.