Response from ImageMagick folks, when I asked them to either re-instate the working binaries, … or stop building as Lion-only:
“We only host and maintain current versions of ImageMagick on one OS
release level. We have a small development team and do not have the
time to support multiple releases and multiple OS levels. The fix is to
download the MacPorts version of ImageMagick which runs under Leopard.
Another solution would be to donate a Mac with Leopard installed so we
can create binaries. We only have one Mac and it hosts Lion.”
Fine – it’s their software, they can do whatever they want. And I think they’ve done a great thing over the years by sharing this command-line tool with the world.
Except … their alternatives aren’t as reasonable as they sound.
Firstly, MacPorts is incredibly difficult to use (even as a former sysadmin and programmer, I find it painful). Simply put: I know it will take me at least a day to get that working, possibly several.
Secondly, deliberately deleting their own working software, and replacing it with non-working software, is deeply irresponsible. If this is how they approach the overall product, how long before you get “caught out” as a user when they pull some other rug out from under you? “Using ImageMagick today? Well – get it while you can, because tomorrow, they might arbitrarily delete it.” (this is what just happened to me: in the space of a few weeks, the first version I downloaded was deleted and replaced with a knowingly-broken version. My backup copy got corrupted, and I thought I could re-download from the web – nope!)
Asking them about this, they pointed out that the version from a few weeks ago had a bug which was a potential security hole. Fine, so they should discourage people from using it – but that doesn’t excuse *deleting* it, and providing only upgrade paths that are painful or expensive (Lion is not free).
It pains me to say this – as noted above, I think the IM product has been a great thing – but I have to conclude:
Don’t use ImageMagick. Just when you need it, it’s liable to let you down.
As for me, I see no other choice but to give Adobe more money, buying a more expensive copy of Photoshop that I don’t really need. I can’t afford to waste days fiddling around with MacPorts – and not even be guaranteed of success. I just need to do one, tiny, simple operation (an image resize!), but unless I can find a kind person who’s got an archived copy of ImageMagick, it’s not going to happen :(.