Sparkle 2.8.5 release

Hi everybody!

Today we are releasing 2.8.5. We hadn’t really intended to release a minor update after 2.8.4, but we ended up deciding it was necessary. This is how it went.

We had had a constant trickle of crash reports related to elements being drawn to the canvas that we couldn’t quite figure out. Since Sparkle 2.8 we have a highly parallel drawing architecture, that is spread out to as many cores as your Mac gives Sparkle, and we suspected there was a relation there, but the problem never reproduced on our Macs, and the incoming crashes were very spotty and didn’t show up consistently for anybody.

We had made some changes to attempt to solve the issue in 2.8.4 and that exacerbated the problem for a few Sparkle users where it was happening constantly.

The only commonality we could find was that those Macs had a configuration with many CPU cores, our crash reporter shows the Mac model, and many of them were iMac Pros (that come in 8+ cores) or 2019 MacBook Pros (we suspect the 6 core models).

We develop Sparkle on a couple 2 and 4 core MacBooks, and we concluded that even though the parallelism should be visible, it is probably amplified by a higher core count.

So we went and purchased an iMac Pro, to debug the problem, as you do.

We are happy to report that the problem did in fact show up on the iMac Pro, it was fixed, and the affected users did confirm, so with a major sigh of relief we are releasing it today as part of Sparkle 2.8.5.

There are a few other fixes, here’s the full list:

  • improved Catalina support
  • improved cookie consent to work with more embed scripts
  • fixed crashes on Macs with many CPU cores
  • fixed text lists not showing bullet points properly for pasted text
  • fixed layout of nested vertical menus with proportionally sized items
  • fixed some layouts with full width boxes and anchors

This is as usual a free update for everybody, we absolutely want you to use the latest, most stable and most compatible version of Sparkle, go update now!