The past ten days—since Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" shipped—has been a tumultuous time for Spanning Sync and our users. I want to take a moment to let everyone know what's going on, what works, what may not, and how we recommend our customers proceed.
The Short Version
- Some early users of Leopard and Spanning Sync v1.0.5 lost data, but we have been able to recover it for everyone who has contacted us
- Spanning Sync v1.1.2 is now available, addresses the most serious issues we've seen with Leopard, and is a mandatory upgrade
- To reduce CPU utilization, enable the "Don't sync events older than [ ] days" option in the "Advanced" settings
- We're still seeing unusual behavior from Leopard Sync Services and iCal, leading to inconsistent sync results
- Leopard users should make frequent backups and should not rely solely on Spanning Sync for important data until Apple makes bug fixes available for Sync Services and iCal
The Detailed Version
Mere hours before FedEx trucks started delivering Leopard DVD's on October 26 we shipped Spanning Sync v1.1, which not only added Leopard support but also included dramatic improvements to our duplicate event detection and prevention code and a new "delete protection" feature that would alert users before deleting significant numbers of events from either iCal or Google Calendar. Dozens of users running pre-release versions of Leopard had beta tested v1.1 for several weeks, and we were confident it would be our best upgrade yet. But a bug in the shipping version of Leopard Sync Services caused what could have been catastrophic data loss for some of our early adopters.
Several users reasonably enough upgraded their Macs to Leopard before upgrading Spanning Sync to v1.1. Immediately following the upgrade, Leopard Sync Services incorrectly reported to Spanning Sync that the user had deleted all of his events in iCal. Users who had upgraded to Spanning Sync v1.1 saw the delete protection warning and were able to cancel the sync. But the older version of Spanning Sync lacked this feature and dutifully followed the instructions it was given, deleting all of the user's Google calendar events. On the next sync, those deletions were synchronized back to iCal, deleting all of the events there.
Once we realized what was happening we made v1.1 a mandatory upgrade and disabled server support for older versions so that no user could be affected by this problem without seeing the delete protection warning. Then we went to work on a solution that would restore the affected events. Within days, we had worked directly with every customer who contacted us. To a person, they were gracious, patient, and understanding under difficult circumstances. To those people, thank you. I'm glad to report that we were able to completely restore all of their deleted events. We soon released v1.1.1, which added an automatic backup of all iCal calendars upon installation as well as other minor enhancements.
Over the next few days we received reports (in email to [email protected] and on the discussion forum) of various other issues, including syncs never completing, high CPU usage, and missing events. To mitigate these problems, we've released Spanning Sync v1.1.2, which is smarter about scheduling re-sync attempts after problems are encountered. Since this release consumes not only fewer resources on your Mac but also fewer server resources, we've made it a mandatory upgrade, resulting in improved performance for all users. Another version that fixes a crashing bug affecting Japanese systems will be available soon.
To further improve performance, we recommend that users with large calendars enable the "Don't sync events older than [ ] days" option in the "Advanced" settings, a new feature in v1.1.x.
Unfortunately, several important problems—including missing events and high CPU utilization—are still being caused by Leopard Sync Services and/or iCal 3.0. We're seeing events successfully synchronized from Google Calendar to Sync Services but failing to show up in iCal for several hours if at all. Changes in iCal are not immediately reflected in Sync Services, leading to inconsistent sync states. And some Sync Services operations appear to be extremely inefficient, leading to very high CPU utilization, especially on initial syncs.
We're working closely with Apple on these problems and are optimistic they'll be fixed soon. In the mean time however, we recommend that Leopard users make regular backups and not rely solely on Spanning Sync for important data until Apple makes bug fixes available for Sync Services and iCal.
We've heard from many customers that Spanning Sync is a crucial part of their professional and personal lives, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We're working as hard and as quickly as we can to make Spanning Sync as reliable and transparent as its has historically been. While we work toward that goal, we ask that if you have any questions or comments you let us know by commenting here or posting to the discussion forum. Please direct specific support requests to [email protected].