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LabView programming app abandons the Mac after four decades

LabView on Mac (right) (Source: NI.com)

Having been created on a Mac in the 1980s, LabView has now announced that its latest macOS update will be the final release for the platform.

LabView is a visual programming language tool that lets users connect virtual measurement equipment together to input and process data. AppleInsider staffers have seen it used across a variety of industries and applications to help design a complex monitoring system, or automate a test sequence.

It’s been 40 years since Dr James Truchard and Jeff Kodosky began work on it and founded their firm, National Instruments.

The first release of the software was in October 1986 where it was a Mac exclusive. In a 2019 interview, Jeff Kodosky said this was because “it was the only computer that had a 32-bit operating system, and it had the graphics we needed.”

Now National Instruments has told all current users that they have released an updated Mac version — but it will be the last.

“LabVIEW 2023 Q3 on macOS, has just recently been released and is now available from NI.com,” says the email sent to users. “This version has support for all current Apple-silicon-based chipsets, and the most recent release of macOS. We hope you find the product provides everything you need to create a first-class test system.”

“In addition, we are informing you that this will be the final release of LabVIEW on macOS,” it continues. “Starting with releases in 2024, LabVIEW will continue to be available on Windows and Linux OSes.”

Saying that “we understand this… likely impacts your active and future plans,” the company suggests moving platforms.

“The VIs from the macOS LabVIEW version will port easily to LabVIEW on Windows and Linux, often without changes,” it says. “In addition, the LabVIEW for macOS that you purchased includes the right to download and use LabVIEW on Windows and LabVIEW on Linux as well, so you don’t need to buy any additional software to do these migrations.”

Users would, of course, need to buy either additional software such as an emulator, or additional hardware such as PCs.

“If you are unable or do not wish to, move your development to Windows or Linux computers,” says the company, “you can continue using the LabVIEW 2023 Q3 for macOS development system indefinitely.”

National Instruments says it will cease selling licences for the Mac version in March 2024, and will also stop support. LabView has also been sold as a subscription and National Instruments says it will switch users to a “perpetual licence for your continued use,” though seemingly only if specifically requested.

As yet, there have been few reactions on the NI.com forums. However, one post says “This came as a shocker to us as the roadmap still indicates support.”

LabView’s move comes as, separately, Valve abandons the Mac versions of its “Counter-Strike” games.

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