back to article Apple's Snow Leopard to cut the bloat from Mac OS X

Apple's next major Mac OS X released, yesterday confirmed as Snow Leopard, will focus solely on under-the-bonnet changes, the Mac maker has revealed. But will owners of PowerPC-based machines be left in the cold? Apple is promising a version of Mac OS X that "dramatically" reduces the amount of storage space the operating system …

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Flame

Sounds familiar

This sounds very much like 10.1. I wonder if the pricing will be similar or will Apple sting us for the full upgrade price again?

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Stop

I think...

this is just a cunning ploy to get you to buy a new Mac. Are people really that bothered by hard drive space these days? If you can afford a new O/S you can easily afford a new 500gb external drive

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Dead Vulture

Gonna party like it's 19, 90, 9!!!

Oh my!! wow!! they are gonna cut "bloat" from mac osx by removing things that take up hard drive space!!!

wow! on my 5GB drive, that will do wonders!! <sarcasm>!

What is this? last century? Are we all still concerned with saving megabytes of space because we want to download more pr0n? What would you prefer the geniuses at Apple to concentrate on now Mr Intel Mac owner? Would you prefer cool hot new features, or things that will save hard drive space and pretty much nothing else.

let me check my hard drive, oh!! wow, with all the coding and flash video encoding, etc, etc that I do, I've got like 200GB left (there abouts)

What the hell do I care about hard drive space, it's cheap and affordable, I'd prefer them to do something radical like they did with leopard, gimmie more cool sh1t!

Saving hard drive space? Yawn!

Is this gonna be like the rule of star trek films, every other film?

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Coat

That's snow leopard, it's a hyena

That is all. I believe that's my coat and taxi

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Paris Hilton

XSlimmer

For current Mac users who can't wait for the space savings of Snow Leopard, I can't recommend XSlimmer enough. It'll go through all the installed apps removing unwanted languages and code from universal binaries.

The UI makes it very simple to use, and it downloads a 'blacklist' of apps that can't be slimmed.

Freed up a good 15gig on my harddrive all for under a tenner. Bargain.

Paris, 'cos she's always trying to be slimmer.

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Silver badge

OS X ships on a DVD

It should be straightforward enough to ask the user if they need to run any PowerPC legacy apps during installation and choose to install the universal or x86 only binaries. Hell, maybe they can even strip the PPC code out on the fly.

I wouldn't put it past them to kill PPC support entirely though. Early versions of OS X shipped with MacOS 9 so you could run a classic environment. Then they canned that support and you only got it back if you had a MacOS 9 disk or partition of your own.

Apple's new business model is built-in obsolescence. They probably see owners of old hardware as a burden that they can do without, especially if dumping support for their hardware forces them to buy it all over again.

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Cluestick

With respect, you're talking out of your arse here. Universal installers for applications contain binaries for both x86 and PowerPC architectures, but that doesn't mean both get installed. Nor does it add to memory usage even if both sets of binaries were installed, as only the one appropriate to your platform will be run (duh). As for the operating system, Mac OS X, as with all modern operating systems, has a tiny proportion of code written natively for the platform (in assembler). Again, while this may increase the disk usage if components for both platforms were installed, it does not affect RAM usage when running applications. Unless you need specific components for another architecture in order to run emulated applications (in other words, to run PowerPC applications under Rosetta), then those components wont even be installed.

In summary, providing a dual PowerPC/x86 installation DVD for Mac OS X means more data on the DVD itself, but bugger all wasted space on the installed hard disk. As the PowerPC Macs still supported by recent versions of Mac OS X have a lot of PC'ish hardware (graphics cards, network cards, even many motherboard components such as PCI bus components), the only real overhead for Apple is ensuring their code is endian neutral.

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Tom
Jobs Horns

I've heard this before...

...from Microsoft desperately trying to remove bloat from windows in time for the release of windows 7.

I can see both firms targeting the new netbook market with these OSs

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Re: Gonna party like it's 19, 90, 9!!!

It's exactly this attitude that has left us with massively bloated software that takes up too much space on disk, is slow to load, and even slower to run because the OS has to swap most of it out when it's running!!

You clearly have absolutely no idea.

...but as long as you're happy with your new "skin" on your MP3 player gizmo - Yes, that's really "useful" :-)

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Unhappy

Fools... the lot of ya...

Crikey, there's a lot of really short sighted people here...

It's not just about saving hard disk space. It's also about optimising code and saving CPU cycles - squeezing better performance out of older code.

Perhaps you're not aware that OS X also runs on hand-held devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch (heard of them?), which don't have huge capacity hard-drives in them.

So, any filesize and CPU optimisations in the core OS X are going to be even more important when compiled for handhelds.

Sheesh!

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The space savings...

...are presumably not aimed at the desktop market (or event the main laptop line) but are designed to improve space consumption on the various Flash based devices (AIR, Ipods etc.) where it is more of an issue.

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Jobs Halo

Not all about hard drive space.

I'm quite happy about what Snow Leopard is rumoured to be. Not because it gives me anything new, but because the OS has felt slightly more fragile going through Tiger and Leopard. I'm all for them going back and refactoring, trimming bloat, optimising for space (still important on laptops) and speed, improving stability, deprecating old stuff and most importantly, make it it a new solid foundation on which to build. Continuing to build higher and higher and continuing to bolt more things on would be a huge mistake.

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Jobs Halo

2 points

1. who gives a shit about hard drive space these days?

2. apple, i love you, but for gods sake sort quicktime out - it's a pain in the arse and cannot handle a bloody thing, and mr pc owner hates it. Ex-quicktime would be better.

3. just don't install the languages in the first place-easy.

4. i'm a mac powerpc owner, but we all have to move on at some point (to a newer mac i must add-not that microsoft gubbins)

5. new iphone needs to be PAYG

6. obama for president

thats 6 points.

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@Chris Thomas

I'd much rather they focussed on this than idiotic features like the transparent menubar or "3d" dock that seem to have been tacked in so that Steve has something to show on a big screen and not for any other purpose. That said, I do still run quite a bit of PowerPC software on my Intel Mac so I'm not going to welcome any OS that actually removes my ability to run older software. At least, not until I've found funds to upgrade my copies of Photoshop and InDesign.

I also don't think we should neglect the fact that Apple now ship at least one computer with an SSD, and if they want to push those into the mainstream machines any time soon then having a slimmer OS ready isn't going to hurt. Maybe they're eyeing up using OS X for more embedded tasks, similar to its deployment in the iPhone, or what they're really announcing is that they're rolling a whole bunch of the iPhone work back into the core OS?

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Linux

all about the money

New version (again), no new features worth the money (again.)

After putting up with this rubbish for a year or so - i discovered linux.

Upgrade as little or as much as you like - no cost.

Tux , cause he wont sell you an minor update for hundreds of pounds.

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Gates Halo

Uniformity

And what of processor optimisation? this articles blows ass, of course there will be two versions, two versions of shit!

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Joke

Oh boy!!

I get to spend £50 (at least) for less compatability and an extra 200Mb of storage space and a new graphics engine for the hundreds of games in my Mac Game library... I can't wait!

Think how many extra Music and Pictures I can put on my computer with this revolutionary new operating system!

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Dead Vulture

@XSlimmer

OH MY GOD!!! 15GB!! If I didnt have 200GB spare left on my drive, I might actually give more than one sh1t about what you just said!!!

Dude, 15GB, get a life, or a new mac, omg, people like you wouldnt never use snow leopard anyway if you're worrying about 15GB because your mac is a G5 or something, people with up to date macs, are not gonna be impressed here

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Maciots

It's interesting to see how the level of technical know how takes a nose dive when little Steve's make comments.

@Chris and Richard - How do you think Vista got to be as inefficient as it is? It's because redundant code wasn't stripped and existing code wasn't optimised. You should be happy that your OS is being streamlined to offer you the best possible performance on your current hardware. I'm sure your reaction would be different if Apple told you SLeopard would need you to but an extra 2gb of RAM for it to run as efficiently as your current OS.

I think this is good news for everyone.

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Stop

Snow Leopard or Yellow Dog?

Dear Apple, if you drop PPC support in Snow Leopard, I'll either stay with Leopard or upgrade to Yellow Dog Linux. Why on earth would I ditch a good old PowerMac G5 that works well and is more than powerful enough for my needs?

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Jobs Halo

GPU code

I think the most interesting comments Apple made about Snow Leopard are concerning running code on GPU, probably the Cuda compatibility that's been recently discussed.

Using the GPU to encode/decode/transcode video and audio will dramatically speed up desktop performance for many users, also photo editing and other such media editing apps (iLife 09 Cuda optimised?)

Maybe this will make Apple take GPU seriously and allow the use of any GPU in MacPro boxes.

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@Chris Cluestick

You don't generally get universal installers that pick and choose, you get universal apps. They contain both binaries. I can boot a PPC Mac from a partition on an Intel Mac. I can can copy a universal app from an Intel Mac, drop it on a PPC Mac, and it'll run.

Dropping support for PPC hardware is not the same as dropping support for PPC software. Rosetta may still be a part of Snow Leopard so that those old PPC only apps will still run on Intel hardware.

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Go

I'm obviously mad...

...as I'd be happy as Larry if more developers moved from "Look at all this shiny new stuff" to "new version runs way faster and doesn't crash".

The forced constraints of mobile devices are going to do more good in a couple of years through quality optimised coding than two decades of go faster chips have given us.

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@Paul

I think defining OSX as rubbish is a bit excessive. I understand the advantage of a free OS like Linux, but how many features Linux has introduced in the past years that would have been worth a penny? Linux is now where Solaris was 10 years ago. DTrace and ZFS alone put Solaris years ahead of Linux, yet the Linux folks seems to ignore the fact. OSX has introduced many great technologies like Quartz and all the Core libraries that make the OSX Desktop 10 years ahead of anything else. Try to use the Accessibility features, like the High Contrast, on any Linux and then OSX. You'll see the difference. If Quartz, Quartz Composer, Core Animation, Core Image, Core Audio are not worth the money, let's then go back to the 30 years old X11 to make the Linux zealots happy...

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This looks like...

...Leopard SP1 to me.

Me, who just discovered that Time Machine broke about two weeks ago - with no warning to that effect. Now what good is an automated 'backup system' that quits and doesn't actually TELL you it's not working?

So, I have a 'backup system' that contains some 370 Gb of data that I can't access. Luckily I discovered this before this wretched excuse of an OS fell over completely.

Bad news is that, because I have the latest Desktop Pro (now THERE'S a laugh!), I can't backgrade to Tiger. That at least 'worked', to quote Stevie 'Boy Wonder' Jobs, and didn't pretend to have an automated backup system.

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Joke

Snow Vista

If only Microsoft did something similar: optimised tightened the Vista code and removed the bloat.

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Dopes!

Unless there's a way to compensate for crap programming in apps like Microsoft Office, where a lot of the code is written offshore in an Asian language and not properly cleaned up, you NEED those Asian language fonts and packages. Anybody who tells you otherwise is an amateur.

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Re: Cluestick @ Chris

With respect, you are talking out of your arse here!

Your quote: "As for the operating system, Mac OS X, as with all modern operating systems, has a tiny proportion of code written natively for the platform (in assembler)."

Whilst it is true that only a tiny proportion of the code is written directly in assembler. The vast majority of OS code these days is still written in C or C++. Before deployment this is compiler for the target architecture, which turns it into, you guessed it, native machine code for that platform. The bare minimum that you could get away with being in native machine code (either written as such or compiled) would be the kernel, most of the device drivers, and some sort of virtual machine to run another language in (like Java or C#). The reality of it is that the vast majority of operating systems have way more than that that is platform specific.

You are quite right that this has no effect on memory. But strangely enough the original article never mentioned an effect on memory (the only reference to memory in the article concerns 64 bit address spaces). It could have an effect on hard drive usage, but any half way competent OS manufacturer should never install binaries for all platforms anyway. Of course, we all know that Apple isn't a half way competent OS manufacturer since all they have done is released a crippled version of BSD.

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@Chris Thomas

"Oh my!! wow!! they are gonna cut "bloat" from mac osx by removing things that take up hard drive space!!!

wow! on my 5GB drive, that will do wonders!! <sarcasm>!

What is this? last century? Are we all still concerned with saving megabytes of space because we want to download more pr0n? What would you prefer the geniuses at Apple to concentrate on now Mr Intel Mac owner? Would you prefer cool hot new features, or things that will save hard drive space and pretty much nothing else."

How about Apple concentrate on making existing features leaner, more efficient and more reliable. Surely that's more important than a pretty new skin?

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Re: Cluestick

>With respect, you're talking out of your arse here.

Ermm, no. I think you can't read.

At no point did the article claim that system memory was wasted by UBs, just hard drive space.

Moreover, your claim that UBs aren't installed is also wrong. A free clue to hang on your stick:

Go into your applications folder, get info for Address Book.app. Note the word 'universal' after the 'kind' field. That tells you that the 50+ MB of storage that Address Book is using on your drive is 50%[1] fat. Run lipo on it from the command line, and watch it shrink. Now consider the complete install size of OS X, and halve that. On small laptop hard drives, that's not small beans.

[1] can be more actually, since UBs can contain any combination of ppc/intel/32 bit/64 bit.

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Jim
Boffin

Amazing...

The amount of time people have spent complaining about bloat and then what happens when the OS writers take note? Everyone complains because bloat isn't a big problem after all, who would've thunk it? Bring on more useless improvements... not! I want stability and an install disc that can be backed up to RW media

@SpitefulGOD

Ooooo, so eloquant. I'm impressed I can tell you...

@AC "Oh boy!!"

Your joke might've been a little funnier if you had read the article, "new graphics engine"?

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@Chris Thomas

Actually, saving disk space is useful for those of us with laptops that don't want to have to carry extra drives around, thanks. My MBP is enough to carry around (with all the other junk I have in my bag).... Extra drives, I have 'em at home, but not that useful as I sit here on this train from Iraq-nell... er, I mean Bracknell... lovely place, honest! Ok, vpn+3g card is fine for smaller files, but not so good for the larger stuff.

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Stop

slow down now

wait a second here fellas... we are all passing by one very imporntant fact here... in the past year apple has DOUBLED its total market share in the computing world and its a pretty safe bet that this number will only keep rising. We all know that leopard has way more innovation than vista or any other OS out there, so no right now, this year, we dont need more innovations, we need apple to do exactly what they are doing. By taking a step back and trimming the fat, they are both making sure that the mac stays on top of the curve for future apps and hardware, and that bugouts that are common in windows (and all too common for mac users with leopard) go away. we are used to having no errors, so let them do this os release to make sure for the next 10 years we dont have to deal with them.

finally one thing no one has speculated about, with the growing market share, wont apple have to begin worrying about viruses, adaware, spyware, all moving onto the mac platform... probabally... so i know i am sure hoping that apple will be addressing this in snow leopard; so that as all these windows bums migrate to our operating system that we have used since 1984 they dont end up bringing with them all the win-crap that came as a result of microsoft NOT doing exactly what apple is doing here. you should be thanking them for this, not complaining that innovation is what you want...

lets be real here guys, its apple.. fortunes number 1 most innovative company 5 years running, i honestly doubt the innovation will stop for very long if at all...

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Anonymous Coward

Of course, they could make it 68k compatable as well

Me? I'm very content to use a very old 68k Mac. It runs Word 5.1 quite well, and drives the Color LaserJet (with postscript) quite well. Of course, it has only 80Mb of memory, and about a couple of Gigabytes of disk, but for what I need a Mac for it is quite nice. Apple is just moving to what it thinks are cheaper and cheaper CPUs, only to be stuck in the same Intel cesspool of processors. All of the intel CPUs are still running left over 8086 (1978) code anyway, and it is only by the advances in being able to put LOTS of transistors on a single chip that the CPU does anything reasonably quickly.

A simple observation: If IBM had picked something OTHER than Intel for the original IBM PC, Intel would be dust, still making INTEgrated Logic. As an added benefit, we would have a much better CPU!

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Happy

When it comes to operating systems in the 21st Century.....

....less is more!

The more lines of code/crap/bloat you have in there the more chance of something going wrong.

We now have fantastic hardware so lets have some nice lean, optimised and bug reduced code to make it sing!

After all an OS should purely be the layer that allows me to run the applications that I want to run. Nothing more.

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Coat

@Hywel Thomas

a ha ha hah ha ha....Continuing to build higher and higher and continuing to bolt more things on would be a huge mistake.

Yes, it would be called "windows".

Ok, stick a fork in me.

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Paris Hilton

snow leopard?

ah come on. how could they ever think that 'snow leopard' was a good name to choose - half the Mac heads out three are going to

get it and a previous release confused. are you running Leopard? why, yes I am. err, no...this is Snow Leopard Sir.

there are much better and available names out there away from the spotted giant cats.

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Hard drives are so 20th century...

These days it's all about SSD. And THAT still has serious per gig premium on it.

Besides, even if this is the case, there's no reason that Apple couldn't be distributing an OS with 2 binary trees - one for PPC, and one for intel. Each tree would be significantly smaller than a pure Universal Binary solution, and compatibility would be maintained.

-Daniel

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Thumb Up

The Snow Leopard

You guys should head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of " Snow Leopard " .

Read it, feel inspired and humble and then put away your childish bickering.

Please Reg, Can we have a Zen icon?

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Might be good for OS X

If they're actually going to sit down and optimize things, like this article might suggest, then I do believe that'd be good for OS X. Disk space isn't that important, but if they're worried about that, then maybe they'll look at the swap file handling (Apple says they swap memory pages out when they haven't been touched 'in a while.' That means you normally have to wait for every app to reload after you come back from lunch, even if you have 4GB of free memory.) I'm really considering going back to Tiger on my Dual G4, since it was pretty fast, and Leopard is quite slow to do much of anything. I know it isn't exactly modern hardware, but there isn't an excuse for running slower than XP on older PC hardware that originally cost 1/3 as much as the G4.

And yeah, Apple makes the universal binaries. I'm pretty sure they could come up with a way to strip out unused architectures on the fly. The problem is that some people (probably unknowingly) use both architectures with the same UBs (Example of booting with target disk mode above,) so Apple would have to ask something like "Do you expect to do any cross-platform / cross-architecture code execution at the expense of 3GB of hard drive space?" And then the average OS X user would need stiff drink.

And to whomever said you can 'just not install the languages' - you're wrong. Sure you can forgo support for the languages, but that doesn't mean that each app doesn't come with translations still. I haven't done it in a while, but inside any given .app, there are loads of files which frequently take up more than half of the space used by an app. I stripped out all the non-English ones and saved over 1GB after compression on an image I built. That was after I selected only English from the installer.

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Occam's Razor slashing your wrists

I'm very happy with this news, and I'll happily shell out £100 for a faster, more efficient, more secure version of Leopard with a smaller disk footprint.

All you idiots knocking Apple for this announcement, I hope to God you are not programmers or designers.

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Stop

@DrXym

"Apple's new business model is built-in obsolescence."

The only thing that's new is your experience with Apple.

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@Cluestick

Actually, you're talking out of your ass.

The actual binary contains code for multiple architectures. It's called a fat binary.

I don't mean the .app bundle. I mean the actual UNIX executable file inside the bundle. You can have gcc produce a multi-architecture binary, and you can also use a command line tool to combine multiple binaries into a single fat binary.

That's how the universal bundles work. There's a single executable so that the operating system can pull the appropriate code on the fly, seamlessly.

This applies to dynamic libraries too.

There IS no "universal installer"; most OS X programs don't even have an installer at all. Makes me wonder if you've even touched a Mac..? The ones that do are architecture ignorant and rely on the actual binaries to feature multiple architecture code.

The idea here is to do it all seamlessly.

If you actually even have a Mac, toss together a little C program and compile it with the options "-arch i386 -arch ppc" and watch what pops out.

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Joke

I'm a Mac!

"Oh, and it'll get Microsoft Exchange support too, in a bid to make Macs more business-friendly. "

*cough* Putting a tie on a t-shirt does not make it a suit. *cough*

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Jobs Horns

Catch 22

Things that MacOS 7 did just fine on 30Mhz 16MB computers puts up a spinning beachball on 1.5GHz PPC systems burdened with MacOS 10.5. A cleaned up version of OS X would sell very well with PPC owners, possibly delaying a purchase of an x86 system. Meanwhile, 10.5's bloat isn't entirely embarrassing on the latest x86 systems so few of those people will upgrade.

The question is: Where's the better profit?

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Power pc owners use panther

The greatest operating system ever devised. For the record, OSX has gone to shit after the intel switch, which we mac owners new it would. I truly hope they do separate the power pc and intel side of things. My mac can't handle anymore shoddy intel code.

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Happy

World is changing, just what has happened with Snow Leopard and WWDC

Its a bad time to be sitting on the Microsoft fence kicking around waiting for the boys in Redmond to show us the way out of darkeness of Windows and poor parallel computing support needed for the future processors coming.

Also bad news for Microsoft, the new Vista ain't so bad campaign to make companies and users who are holding off for the next Windows 7 os instead of migrating to Vista isn't paying off.

Good news on the Apple front, massive parallel computing breakthroughs will make the next OS release next year (Snow Leopard, OS X 10.6) a parallel computing efficient multi-core using OS at both server level and client level to support all the new future processors coming down the pipeline. Added also will be full support for MS Exchange and MS technologies heralding the start of Apples attack to push into the corporate marketshare.

Good news also that Snow Leopard will be the first release of an OS without major features added and instead will have all the money and develoment focus be on making the OS faster and smaller and more efficient than ever. Expected are axing of PPC processor support binaries in both 32bit and 64bit, and of the two development frameworks/libraries, Carbon gets the axe and the newer Cocao becomes the sole framework.

Developers are jumping on in such great numbers that for the first time in history the WWDC apple developer conference was completely sold out well in advance. The above is the latest news released from the conference. Along of course with the new 3G iPhone being released for only $199!

Articles/Support:

Apple in Parallel: Turning the PC World Upside Down?" New York Times

Long URL: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/10/apple-in-parallel-turning-the-pc-world-upside-down/index.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Snow Leopard Server Takes on Exchange, SharePoint" RoughlyDrafted Magazine

Long URL: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2008/06/10/snow-leopard-server-takes-on-exchange-sharepoint/

"Apple previews OS X 10.6: Snow Leopard" APC Magazine

Long URL: http://apcmag.com/apple_previews_next_version_of_os_x__snow_leopard.htm

"Apple previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server" AppleInsider

Long URL: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/06/10/apple_previews_mac_os_x_snow_leopard_server.html

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Anonymous Coward

What a bunch of .....

First, who cares, you want the upgrade you upgrade simple.

Second ITS AN UPGRADE, we cant live in the past, so many times when I ran windows I couldnt run the software i wanted becuase I no longer had the hardware requirement, think yourself lucky that apple has kept the OS compatible for for gnererations of processors since intel and 3 or so before that, try running Vista on something 4 generations old.

I stayed on windows 2000, until this year because I couldnt afford a new PC to run XP. It was slowly dying, so I knew i had to upgrade so I brought the best mac I could, by the time I need to upgrade again, I dare so I wont be running the latest version of Apple OS, but thats just life. Deal with it rather then moan about it.

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If PowerPC is dropped...

... let's hope some of the providers of old scanner drivers finally get around to providing x86-native plugins that run without Rosetta. Nikon Scan in particular, please.

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Boffin

@jason • Tuesday 10th June 2008 17:17 GMT

Absolutely correct, but we are not going to see this, all the time we keep bashing away at unix variants, its text based concept is inefficient, and this is BEFORE one line of code is written.

I believe that something is in the pipeline, but we will have to wait a little longer. Until then, I suppose the best thing is to stick to whatever bloat we are used to.

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