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Growl 1.3 goes Mac App Store, menu item, Lion only

updated 11:30 pm EDT, Mon October 3, 2011

Upgraders should uninstall 1.2 first

Growl, the popular open-source third-party notification system for Mac OS X, has undergone some serious changes in its new 1.3 update: it's now Lion-only, a menu item instead of a system preference, and exclusively available through the Mac App Store, among other features. It's also now a paid app (at $2), which the developers hope will ensure its developmental future. The upgraded app also sports a new "rollback" feature similar to iOS 5, and a history log.

The program has caught on over the past five years as a notifications system for OS X that offered a wide variety of styles, and could be personalized with a modest knowledge of CSS, XHTML and JavaScript. It offered a simple method of notification, including speech, for a long list of third-party applications -- and controls for what sort of notifications, and to what apps, would appear. The notifications would gently appear and then disappear after a few moments, keeping users from being unduly interrupted while they were working on something else.

The change from system preference to menu app was a requirement for getting into the Mac App Store, but also reduced confusion for users that were not sure if the program was installed or working. Although the polished app is now only available through the Mac App Store, the source code will remain available for modification and compiling from the development website. The program remains open-source under the BSD license.

The shift also means that some add-ons for Growl will have to go independent or be discontinued. GrowlMail, one of the most popular, will continue on -- and GrowlTunes and HardwareGrowler have been rolled into the Mac App Store program. The command-line version, growlnotify, will be available as a separate download, but others will be discontinued unless new developers want to take responsibility for them.

Applications that silently installed Growl as part of their own installation package, such as Dropbox and Adobe's Creative Suite, will not be able to include the latest version. Updates to the program will now be handled by Apple's own messaging system, and a new SDK opens up the option of sharing notifications across platforms via Growl for Windows. The iOS version of Growl, known as Prowl, will be unaffected by the changes in the Mac version.

One of the major new features included in v1.3 is a "rollup" feature, similar to a similar implementation in the soon-to-be-released iOS 5, which "stores" notifications and can be read on demand. The preferences now also store a history of notifications, and notifications can be searched.

Because the new version is such a change from the previous version (which still retains most of its functionality under Lion), the developers advise that upgraders use the Growl uninstaller to remove Growl 1.2 before installing the Mac App Store version (preferences and customizations will not be affected).

by MacNN Staff



  1. tntracy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    FYI, Doesn't Work w/ OmniGrowl v4.4.2

    I just uninstalled Growl 1.2.2 & purchased 1.3 from the App Store (before I did the uninstall & purchase, I quit OmniGrowl). Once Growl 1.3 was downloaded & installed, I ran it, then tried running OmniGrowl (I have the latest version 4.4.2). It immediately notified me it required Growl in order to run & then quit. I checked Wooden Brain's Web site, and there was no mention that I could find if & when they will release a new version that will work w/ Growl v1.3...

  1. facebook_Nitant

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2011


    I hate having menu items

    My menubar is already sooo crowded. I think I will stick to 1.2

  1. Marook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Means I will have stick with 1.2.x for as long as it keeps working. Hate all those menu bar 'apps' that use this workaround to run instead of doing the propper System Prefs version (as Growl used to be).

    I understand that it's nice to get income from MAS, but this is surely not a product that fits MAS.. :-(

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I hate how they changed it to just a menu item.

    This is a thing that properly belongs in System Preferences. The other bad part is that the menu item can't move because its an app (and because Apple stupidly locks down menu extras).

    I'm sticking with 1.2 as long as I can to. I mean, I'm happy to buy it, but not the junk they have now.

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