Farewell, Podcast Producer?

Yesterday, Apple released Mountain Lion, the latest version of Mac OS (or what they are now simply calling OS X). And while I wasn’t surprised, I am disappointed that Podcast Capture, Podcast Publisher and Podcast Producer have become legacy software.

To be sure, there were signs that this day would come. When Lion was released last year, Apple added the Podcast Publisher app to interact with the new Podcast Library service on Lion server. Upgrading to Lion client did not remove the Podcast Capture application from the Utilities folder, so you could still use it to upload to Podcast Producer servers. And even though it was not turned on by default, you could still run Podcast Producer on Lion server, albeit with a few headaches.

Now it seems Apple just wants to bring the Podcast Producer era to an end. Introduced with Leopard server, the first Podcast Producer was not fully baked. Still, many OS X server admins, including myself, successfully overcome many of Podcast Producer’s initial limitations. When Podcast Producer 2 came out with Snow Leopard server, it seemed like Apple was finally taking the podcasting service effort seriously. While it wasn’t perfect, Podcast Producer 2 was arguably Apple’s best effort to date at offering in OS X Server a useable solution for creating, hosting and managing podcasts.

Unfortunately, it appears that Podcast Producer 2 was the last genuine effort by Apple to offer a podcast service with their server product. While Lion server included the simplified Podcast Library service, it was clearly not a replacement for Podcast Producer 2. Nor was the Podcast Publisher app in Lion client much of an improvement over the Podcast Capture app. Indeed, Podcast Publisher seemed little more than a weak, dumbed-down, iWeb-like app for podcasts. The app offered some nice “eye candy” for podcast creators, but one didn’t have to dig very deep to see that its functionality was at least a full step backward from Podcast Capture. Even Apple seemed to tacitly admit that Podcast wasn’t all that strong by keeping Podcast Capture as an option in Lion client, and Podcast Producer 2 an option in Lion server.

But with Mountain Lion, Apple appears to just want the whole podcast era to die. When I upgraded a Lion client to Mountain Lion yesterday, both the Podcast Capture and Podcast Publisher applications went away. The installer wasn’t even polite about it. No notice to the effect that these apps would be removed from the computer. No moving of the apps to the trash. No moving the apps to some kind of “deprecated software” folder. Both Podcast Capture and Podcast Publisher just vanished. Permanently deleted. It was a bit of a shock when I saw the dreaded question marks in the dock where Podcast Capture and Podcast Publisher used to be.

For those of us who came to depend on Podcast Producer 2, it seems that running Snow Leopard Server is the most practical option for now. But how long that remains practical as Apple moves forward is an open question. Although I hate to admit it, eventually we may all have to forget the Podcast Producer era. It seems Apple already has.

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