LabVIEW Abandons Mac After Four Decades

When National Instruments (NI) released LabVIEW in 1986 it only targeted the Macintosh, with ports to other platforms coming later on in the 1990s. Now, NI has announced that with the next version in 2024, LabVIEW will only be released for Linux and Windows, leaving behind Apple’s software platform after nearly four decades. The news was covered by Apple Insider, which cites a forum thread on the NI website in which the details of LabVIEW for macOS are discussed. This news comes on the heels of the announcement of Valve dropping macOS support with Counter Strike 2.

In both cases the issue at hand appears to be both a combination of a low user count (less than 1% of CS:GO players) and the complexity of using proprietary APIs (Cocoa, Metal, etc.) that have led to the decision to terminate the macOS releases. Not that macOS users aren’t used to app-related bloodbaths after losing all 32-bit applications back in 2019, but the trend of more high-profile applications and games not supporting the OS does seem to be ramping up.

Perhaps the only positive news here for people who bought into the Apple hardware ecosystem here is that Windows runs on M1/M2 Macs, and there is even an experimental Linux distribution in the form of Asahi Linux to conceivably dual-boot into for those applications that just don’t want to run on Apple’s OS.

52 thoughts on “LabVIEW Abandons Mac After Four Decades

  1. I’ve also heard that LabWindows is being dropped completely, leaving no option for virtual instrument development from National Instruments (recently acquired by Emerson). Our facility has been heavily invested in LabWindows for many years and it’s unfortunate that the product evolution is stopping.

    1. Back in 2014, I bought a “home” version for $50US. It works ok, but you cannot compile to a stand alone executable, so it can only run on a machine with a licensed copy of Labview on it. It also came with a bunch of restrictions and all the vi’s are watermarked with “Home Version”.

    1. pci(e) slots are a pain in the ass in a industrial environment, heck even in a lab environment. Everything modern is USB / Ethernet and if you want slots you go with PXI. Sure PXI is more expensive and the other options may require more power to distribute but its a lot easier than to disassemble half a machine then to disassemble a pc to swap a card

      1. Agree, I switched to using their CompactDAQ and RIO chassis and cards back in 2008 or so. I never looked back. These days though I’m much more inclined to use Beckhoff and EtherCAT for most things. The ability to have the DAQ and machine control in one package makes for a more easily maintainable machine.

      2. We used PCI(e) in an industrial settings. Many high speed industrial networks protocols are are really supported via PCI cards since the have pre processing units to reduce the load on the main controller. Also it is easier to lock them down mechanically than USB, which really does not have a standard way of locking them off. The main change has been the move from PCI to PCIe with a lot of legacy cards no longer supported

    1. Do you mean social media for consumers, or for graphical and audio arts also? The curated stereotype is certainly that Mac is the go-to for the latter, but that might be a case of perception driving reality for awhile now.

    2. Funny that two companies giving up for reasons that are almost certainly not what they’re publicly announcing is proof that nobody uses Apple for work. I’m not sure what the value of making such an easily disproven statement could possibly be. I recognize that you’re trolling but it’s not OK to leave statements like this unanswered. I am one of millions of people who use Macs for business applications, firmware and software development, server administration, CAD, and various engineering and data analysis purposes. It’s the best desktop OS to use for office stuff while you work with Linux servers and instrumentation/test control computers. I mean, it has a real terminal with a shell right there.

      1. If you’re just using the Mac for it’s shell, why aren’t you just using one of the many good shell programs found in Windows and Linux? The only killer apps for Mac these days are in video and music, but they ARE the best for those fields if you’re doing pro work.

        1. I worked in web companies for 13 years. When I started I had to complain to get a mac, now all I see people using is macs. The native terminal is nice but it doesn’t mean it’s the only reason to use a mac. The killer app of the mac is mac os. There just isn’t anything on its level for the perfect tradeoff of flexibility and ease of use. For me personally what is irreplaceable is the distinction between terminal shortcuts (using Ctrl) and GUI shortcuts ( using Command) that allows you to use readline style shortcuts in the GUI ( Ctrl-A, Ctrl-E, Ctrl-K … etc).

          1. You’re not imagining that shift. By some metrics MacOS’ share of US desktop users has gone from ~13% ten years ago to about 31% today.

            Apple hardware has something to do with that as well, I’m sure; the battery life on Apple Silicon laptops is IME unmatched by anything in the x86 world.

            On the other side, the user experience in Windows 11 is a mess compared to Windows 7 and Windows 10 — and getting worse with each revision. It feels like Microsoft has forgotten everything it’s learned in the last decade.

      2. I see that you’re quite dedicated mac user and there is nothing wrong with that. But can you convince us that Mac OS has something that the other two OSes lack from purely software point of view. “Best for office work” and “real terminal with shell” are not justifiable enough for me. I personally find it very difficult to utilize Apple’s proprietary Metal Graphics API instead of more universal and standard ones like OpenGL and Vulkan. After finding too tedious for attempt to write a dedicated Metal Graphics port for MacOS for a meager 0.5% of user base, I gave up on doing that and dropped MacOS support. I mean it isn’t too hard to ask my users to install Windows/Linux alongside preinstalled MacOS and it’s not like they have to give up on their Apple hardware. I’d say, it’s a win win for everyone.

  2. This is just another straw to break the Proprietary Camel’s back. As one who has used Labview on both Windows and Linux since 1994, I have watched as NI has made all the wrong business moves with an otherwise wonderful programming language. I have told them repeatedly that an open-source (non-subscription) version should be offered as there are examples of this in the Linux realm. They could still offer Premium versions, and frankly probably could make more money on their DAQ hardware- if had some real value. That is exactly how NI started BTW.

    1. They certainly have had a lot of missteps relatively lately. No idea how much resources they poured into NXG, but it never had much enthusiasm from the user group of grognards that I attend (as a perpetual neophyte). Our local rep admitted years ago that NI didn’t have enough R&D capacity to properly support all the variations of even their main LabVIEW offerings (multiple operating systems, 32 and 64 bit flavors, etc).
      We’ll see how this goes. With their change to subscription model I already had some misgivings. Perhaps this will finally get my company to explore other DAQ options.

    2. Same. I told the NI president that when he visited MIT a decade ago. G (the language) should be an open standard like C. The compiler and basic libraries should be open source like GCC and stdlib.

      NI will still make money selling an IDE with all the drivers and advanced features they’ve made over the years.

      G is a really unique and powerful language for many tasks that are tedious and error prone in text languages. It really deserves to be treated like a grown up language by academia, but nobody wants to touch it because it’s proprietary.

  3. Their macOS version was by far the smoothest and fastest of all the platforms. It will be missed.

    For sure, though, I will be canceling my windows license and discontinuing to use it.

  4. Emerson wasn’t the only one bidding for NI… and there offer was quite a bit over what other people were offering. I wonder if they’re having an “oh shit” moment trying to recoup their investment and realizing it’s going to be a loss leader at the price they paid.

  5. Apple abandoned professional users long ago (starting with the trashcan form factor a decade ago). It only makes sense for developers of professional be applications to drop support as their user population dwindles.

    1. With their current hardware I have the feeling those PRO versions arent necessarily needed anymore. I heard a bunch of people using fusion 360 on a mac book for professional work and since they updated the code to run natively on M2s its very fast. Professional use isnt just 192GB of RAM and two CPUs anymore.
      I do all my engineering work on standard Lenovo Notebooks and haven’t had a Problem in Years. 15 yeary ago I had to had the mobile workstation kind of device but now its not that necessary anymore.

    2. Apple has never supported its developers nor customers, the only focus at apple has always been profit over people. Remember jobs was voted the world’s worst multiple times.

  6. > the complexity of using proprietary APIs (Carbon, Cocoa, Metal, etc.)

    How are Carbon, Cocoa, and Metal any more proprietary than MFC, .NET, and DirectX? (Also, Carbon has been deprecated by Apple for 11 years.)

  7. I can’t imagine why anyone who uses hardware or software development tools such as this would choose such a closed, developer-antagonist platform. It must be a form of self-hatred.

  8. LabView is on the decline. This retreat is just the latest sign of decay. There are so many other options today without the closed nature of a proprietary language, and without the expensive licensing.

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