Installing Xcode 3.2.6 On Lion

Update: Since writing this, I’ve discovered anĀ easier way to install Xcode 3.2.6 on Lion.

Today on Twitter I noticed a conversation between @ccgus, @rbrockerhoff and @radiofreelunch concerning running Xcode 3.2.6 on Lion. The consensus was that if you had it installed before upgrading to Lion that it seemed to work alright but it wasn’t possible to install it while running Lion. If you try, you will see that the Xcode Toolset component is disabled and can’t be selected. Back when the first Developer Preview of Lion was released I was working on a product built using Xcode 3.2 that needed to run on Lion and had issues on that Developer Preview. At the time, it wasn’t desired to migrate all of the projects to Xcode 4 but we wanted to fix the Lion issues, so I decided to see if I could get Xcode 3.2 to install. It turns out that you can, it’s relatively easy to do.

  • Convert the Xcode 3.2.6 disk image to a read-write disk image with Disk Utility
  • Mount the new read-write image
  • In Finder, right-click on the Xcode and iOS SDK package and Show Package Contents
  • Inside the package, locate Contents/iPhoneSDKSL.dist and open it in your favorite text editor
  • Search for isDevToolsCompatible
  • Change 10.7 in that function to 10.8
  • Save the file
  • Run the installer package
  • The installer should now allow the dev tools to be installed

There are a few of caveats that I need to add to this post.

First, it should be very clear to anyone reading this that Apple does not support Xcode 3.2.6 on Lion. If there are problems, they won’t be fixed. You are on your own.

Second, back when I first figured this out it was with the Xcode 3.2.5 installer. I’ve double-checked with Xcode 3.2.6 and it appears to work the same so these instructions should be fine but I’m not guaranteeing any miracles here. I’ve done no testing of the actual install of Xcode 3.2.6 on Lion. Just that the installer can be modified to allow the dev tools to install.

Finally, I don’t know what will happen if you try to run this and you already have Xcode 4.1 installed. I’ve only tried it with no other dev tools installed.

I’m interested in hearing if anyone has success or failure with these modifications.


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