One of the weird parts of doing a public beta, as we did for 3.0, is that the release of the final version doesn't quite feel the same. So, even though it's only been two weeks since 3.0 came feels like it was released months ago.

The 3.0 release has actually gone incredibly smoothly. The extended beta managed to attract a large number of diverse system configurations, and that helped us ensure that any post-release issues would be...obscure. And, indeed, they have been!

Pulling the Right Levers

A program like SuperDuper! needs to make choices about how to interface with the system. There are many different layers, and we try to choose appropriately, depending on what we're doing.

To ensure a maximum level of compatibility, it's incredibly important to work at as high a level as possible for any given activity. For example, when SuperDuper! needs to erase a drive, it would be a huge mistake to actually jump down to the driver level and start mucking with drive structures.

Instead, we do the sensible thing: we ask Disk Utility to do it for us.

Talk to the Command

Disk Utility, though, is what's called a command-line tool: you can run it yourself, from the Terminal application, if you want to: type diskutil to see what it does, and man diskutil for its documentation. Much of macOS is built upon these Unix tools, and (where appropriate), so is some of SuperDuper.

When you talk to a tool like this, though, you have to both check its "return value" (basically, a rough "I worked!" or "I failed!"), and its text output (which says why it worked or failed, or gives you an answer to a question you asked).

Some of these tools (diskutil, hdiutil, etc) will format their output in plist format: basically, a structured XML document that's far more predictable, easier to parse, and more reliable. So rather than returning "Drive formatted as HFS+", it might return (intentionally simplified)


which is obviously less friendly to people, but a lot better for programs trying to figure out what's going on.

This plist output's advantage is that its structure is strictly defined. It has a prologue, a series of tags and values, and an end. This is all guaranteed.


So, when a few users started getting some crazy, inexplicable errors (typically, an error indicating that a volume that was there couldn't be accessed), we were shocked to find, after doing some extensive investigation, that a Samsung SMART driver (based on an open source project) was actually polluting diskutil's output with a bunch of debugging/progress junk.

Needless to say, this prevented parsing of the output, and resulted in a stream of invective that did not diminish for many minutes. So frustrating. But fixed.

Various Improvements

That was the big one. But we also fixed a number of other things:

  • Finally fixed the update animation bug! So, if you install 3.0.1, the next release is going to show up properly in all cases. This time for sure!

    This took such a long time to fix because it was entirely timing related and didn't happen in the debugger. But, we figured it out. So embarrassing. Gonna miss you, you little rascal. (Please don't darken our UI door ever again.)

  • Settings conversion related quit issues
  • More reliable sleep prevention during a copy
  • Supports encrypted destination volumes on 10.12
  • Restored 10.9 support

I also took some time over the past week to turn on SSL for Shirt Pocket, so site access and downloads are all being done securely.

Happy Thanksgiving

So, with that, from our families to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy SuperDuper! 3.0.1, which is available via the built-in updater, from the web site, or here:

SuperDuper! 3.0.1 Download