How old is too old for a Mac to be useful for building extensions?

As the title says, how old is too old for it to be useful?

I have a Late 2009 21.5 inch iMac that I was given, but it is reminding me why I b***dy hate Macs! First off I set about installing VSCode, and Git. I also needed to log in to GitHub so went to install BitWarden as it’s quicker than hand typing the super long generated passwords I have, but it would install… it needs min MacOS 10.14 and I have MacOS 10.13. Turns out that’s as far as this Mac will go for OS versions.

So carry in to install Git… they recommend installing homebrew and then use that to install Git. Homebrew installs just fine, but it won’t install Git as this old OS is unsupported… gaaahhhhhh!!!

I would consider getting a slightly newer Mac Mini as it looks like a 2014 Mini can be got for just under £100, but how long will it likely remain usable? Thoughts anyone?

Also, do we need to build different binaries for extensions to run on Intel vs. M1/M2 Macs?

I have a late 2014 Mac Mini that is doing fine for me at this point. When I can afford it I will probably upgrade to a M1 machine at some point. But, for now, I’m happy.

You really need to be able to run at least OS 10 on it and Xcode 12

If you are using Xcode 12, you can build (by default) so called “Universal” binaries which essentially include the code for both Intel and Apple Silicon regardless of whether you’re on an Intel or an M1 machine.

These days, one can buy a refurbished Intel Mac Mini quite inexpensively

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Thanks guys. Perhaps I’ll pick up a 2014 Mac Mini as I’ve seen one for under £100 and it can sit in the back room with my server and I’ll use it through VNC.

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I’m sure you know this, but GitHub will do the compilation for you regardless of whether you own a Mac or not. I do all my coding on Windows in Visual Studio and my extensions build and run just fine on Macs (at least as far as I know).

If you’re trying to create and manipulate your own windows through a GP extension, and not doing it through JUCE, then I suppose that may require having a Mac as a practical matter during development and testing.

Yes, I am aware of that, but thank you for mentioning it. My main reason is to speed up getting the build to actually work to know what I need t add to the build config to make it work on GItHub.

If this is for development and you don’t need another piece of hardware in your life, AWS supports macOS x86 and M1 EC2 instances now. I don’t know if a cloud scenario would meet your needs/budget, but thought it was worth a mention.

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