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9L0-060 Mac OS X 10.4 Service and Support

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9L0-060 exam Dumps Source : Mac OS X 10.4 Service and Support

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Apple Apple Mac OS X

Apple Brings Mac Mini back From the lifeless | existent Questions and Pass4sure dumps

Apple’s limited desktop workstation isn't any longer just a punchline. nowadays the enterprise took the wraps off a revamped Mac Mini, changing its underpowered components with new, eighth era Intel quad- and 6-core processors alternate options, up to 64GB of memory, up to a 2TB SSD, a T2 safety chip, 10GB ethernet, and four Thunderbolt three ports. With the improvements, Apple is bumping its longstanding $500 starting expense as much as $800—however you received’t locate face-melting specs devoid of paying even more.

yes, you’ll quiet deserve to convey your own display, keyboard, and mouse. And yes which you can, uh, score it in district gray now. At $800, the ground mannequin will include 8GB of memory, a three.6GHz quad-core i3 processor, and 128GB of SSD storage.

The Mini become at the genesis designed to win over unique converts to OS X (now macOS) with the first sub-$500 Mac. ultimate revamped eons in the past, in October 2014, it grew to subsist a husk for out of date guts that no one, fully nobody in their rectify intellect had any company recommending to a family member. through the pause of its run, the newest incarnation appeared designed to propel patrons during this charge achieve far from Apple, in opposition t more desirable offers from businesses dote Dell and HP.

Apple is billing the brand unique Mini as “5 instances faster” basic with “60 percent sooner images.” It’ll subsist available on November 7.

Apple broadcasts free OS X Mavericks release, unique iPads, Mac professional | existent Questions and Pass4sure dumps

At Apple’s “an Awful lot to cover” special event today, the company paraded out an hour and a half’s worth of unique items and updates, including the release of OS X Mavericks, the brand unique iPad Air and iPad Mini, Mac professional, up to date 13 and 15-inch MacBooks, and an up to date suite of iLife apps.

OS X MavericksThe operating device is free, and it’s attainable nowadays. Apple senior vp of utility engineering Craig Federighi prefaced the liberate with, “This one is a doozy.”

accessible with a single-step upgrade from Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion or any MacBook relationship back to 2007, Mavericks has a slew of latest aspects. Its unique compressed reminiscence feature allocates graphics reminiscence in accordance with utilization to optimize performance. The potential permits 6GB of data to apt into 4GB of system RAM.

(Beta feedback and a complete listing of points: clients poke round OS X ‘Mavericks’)

Mavericks’ OpenCL uses reminiscence sharing to accelerate initiatives running on the CPU to the GPU, taking capabilities of the GPU’s more advantageous computing vitality to comprehensive initiatives 1.8x faster, and 2x quicker for image projects.

a unique finder window allows for initiatives and documents to subsist labeled with multiple tags for light search and firm. click on the title bar of any doc so as to add one or greater tags, or opt for a tag from an inventory.

In Safari, Mavericks introduces superior notifications, enabling clients to respond in the pop-up bubble devoid of leaving an application. It additionally provides website notifications when unique content material is posted. the unique Safari respectable websites view generates a feed of shared hyperlinks from followed clients on social networks reminiscent of LinkedIn and Twitter.

There’s too a brand unique reader view, permitting person-accelerated scrolling without dilatory from one article to the subsequent without clicking out.

a artery to Revisit each edition of Mac OS X out of your Browser | existent Questions and Pass4sure dumps

The Aqua GUI in Apple’s operating systems has gone through a outstanding evolution seeing that March of 2000, when it discovered its artery into OS X 10.0, and you might subsist stunned at simply how diverse every thing appears now. because of the newly launched Aqua Screenshot Library, that you could revisit every version of OS X (and macOS) in the course of the years and watch at the gradual evolution of Apple’s working gadget—all from your browser.

The huge gallery is the latest work by 512 Pixels, an online library that makes an attempt to hold tabs on barnone issues Apple (together with the Mac’s many wallpapers). The Aqua Screenshot Library, as creator Stephen Hackett notes, gives a complete show on the history of Apple’s working systems, which covers its leap to from bulkier CRTs to compact, LED-backlit shows; Apple’s various font alterations over the years; and Apple’s accelerate from disc-based working methods to (free) digital downloads.

Let’s raise a glance at some of these primary Mac milestones.

Mac OS X 10.0 (“Cheetah”)

March 24, 2001, marked the first respectable unlock of the Mac OS X operating equipment, following a public beta the yr before. Hackett notes that its 128MB reminiscence requirement become “greater than most Mac clients had in their programs at the time.” This cause many complaints in regards to the OS’s behind efficiency and lofty useful resource demand. The Cheetah interface retained the pin-striped menu and window design from the beta, however it started the pussycat-based mostly naming vogue which would closing as much as edition 10.8, “Mountain Lion.”

Mac OS X Leopard (10.5)

The final months of 2007 introduced some large changes to OS X. The unlock of Leopard noticed Aqua raise on a a much deal greater streamlined seem, with barnone windows now defaulting to a single, primary grey design, as neatly as the debut of a redesigned Finder device. in foster of this, distinct apps—and diverse versions of OS X—had varied UI designs (for more suitable or worse). With Leopard’s liberate, OS X started to seem to subsist more uniform. most importantly, it was the primary edition to include these rad, area-based backgrounds.

OS X Mountain Lion (10.eight)

Mountain Lion became the first edition of OS X to achieve after Steve Jobs’ death, and it concentrated on aligning Mac computer systems with the late CEO’s other main contribution to the tech trade: the iPhone. The 2011 OS X update, Mac OS X Lion (10.7), kicked off Apple’s merging of iOS aesthetics into OS X, and the industry doubled down with Mountain Lion. materiel and purposes possess been renamed after iOS points, and Apple added some miniature visible and input alterations to bridge both working programs even nearer collectively—in vogue, as a minimum.

OS X Mavericks (10.9)

Mavericks become a large enterprise pivot for Apple, as it turned into the first edition of the OS the company launched for gratis, offered to users as an ameliorate via the App withhold in October 2013. Apple hasn’t long gone back to paid operating programs considering—luckily. Mavericks changed into additionally the first version of OS X to spend non-feline nomenclature. It too ditched the galactic tradition theme for California landscapes, which they are able to barnone accord was a huge blunder. appropriate?

macOS Sierra (10.12)

version 10.12 of Apple’s working system for the Mac is most is super for its large rebranding. Apple dropped the “OS X” designation completely during this unlock, as an alternative calling its operating gadget “macOS” to align it the business’s working methods on different structures: iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. 

shopping the Aqua Screenshot Library is a enjoyable system to watch simply how some distance macOS has come, specifically to watch how Apple’s design priorities exchange between the predominant releases. besides the fact that children, the Aqua Screenshot gallery is just one of 512 Pixels’ many projects to check out. subsist certain to poke around the other Apple-themed collections Hackett has assembled through the years, too, including the astonishing 512 Pixels YouTube channel.

9L0-060 Mac OS X 10.4 Service and Support

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9L0-060 exam Dumps Source : Mac OS X 10.4 Service and Support

Test Code : 9L0-060
Test designation : Mac OS X 10.4 Service and Support
Vendor designation : Apple
exam questions : 50 existent Questions

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Mac OS X 10.4 Service and Support

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Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: the Ars Technica review | existent questions and Pass4sure dumps

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: the Ars Technica review reader comments 454 Share this story
  • Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: 150+ unique featuresMac OS X 10.4 Tiger: 150+ unique features

    In June of 2004, during the WWDC keynote address, Steve Jobs revealed Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to developers and the public for the first time. When the finished product arrived in April of 2005, Tiger was the biggest, most important, most feature-packed release in the history of Mac OS X by a wide margin. Apple's marketing crusade reflected this, touting "over 150 unique features."

    All those unique features took time. Since its introduction in 2001, there had been at least one major release of Mac OS X each year. Tiger took over a year and a half to arrive. At the time, it definitely seemed worth the wait. Tiger was a hit with users and developers. Apple took the lesson to heart and quickly set expectations for the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard. Through various channels, Apple communicated its goal to accelerate from a 12-month to an 18-month release cycle for Mac OS X. Leopard was officially scheduled for "spring 2007."

    As the date approached, Apple's marketing machine trod a predictable path.

    Steve Jobs at WWDC 2007, touting 300 unique features in Mac OS X 10.5 LeopardSteve Jobs at WWDC 2007, touting 300 unique features in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

    Apple even went so far as to list barnone 300 unique features on its website. As it turns out, "spring" was a bit optimistic. Leopard actually shipped at the pause of October 2007, nearly two and a half years after Tiger. Did Leopard really possess twice as many unique features as Tiger? That's debatable. What's inevitable is that Leopard included a solid crop of unique features and technologies, many of which they now raise for granted. (For example, possess you had a discussion with a potential Mac user since the release of Leopard without mentioning Time Machine? I certainly haven't.)

    Mac OS X appeared to subsist maturing. The progression was clear: longer release cycles, more features. What would Mac OS X 10.6 subsist like? Would it arrive three and a half years after Leopard? Would it and include 500 unique features? A thousand?

    At WWDC 2009, Bertrand Serlet announced a accelerate that he described as "unprecedented" in the PC industry.

    Mac OS X 10.6 - Read Bertrand's lips: No unique Features!Mac OS X 10.6 - Read Bertrand's lips: No unique Features!

    That's right, the next major release of Mac OS X would possess no unique features. The product designation reflected this: "Snow Leopard." Mac OS X 10.6 would merely subsist a variant of Leopard. Better, faster, more refined, more... uh... snowy.

    This was a risky strategy for Apple. After the rapid-fire updates of 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 followed by the riot of unique features and APIs in 10.4 and 10.5, could Apple really score away with calling a "time out?" I imagine Bertrand was really sweating this announcement up on the stage at WWDC in front of a live audience of Mac developers. Their reaction? impulsive applause. There were even a few hoots and whistles.

    Many of these identical developers applauded the "150+ unique features" in Tiger and the "300 unique features" in Leopard at past WWDCs. Now they were applauding zero unique features for Snow Leopard? What explains this?

    It probably helps to know that the "0 unique Features" slide came at the pause of an hour-long presentation detailing the major unique APIs and technologies in Snow Leopard. It was too quickly followed by a back-pedaling ("well, there is one unique feature...") slide describing the addition of Microsoft Exchange support. In isolation, "no unique features" may seem to imply stagnation. In context, however, it served as a developer-friendly affirmation.

    The overall message from Apple to developers was something dote this: "We're adding a ton of unique things to Mac OS X that will succor you write better applications and design your existing code sprint faster, and we're going to design certain that barnone this unique stuff is rock-solid and as bug-free as possible. We're not going to overextend ourselves adding a raft of unique customer-facing, marketing-friendly features. Instead, we're going to concentrate 100% on the things that strike you, the developers."

    But if Snow Leopard is a worship missive to developers, is it a Dear John missive to users? You know, those people that the marketing department might so crudely mention to as "customers." What's in it for them? Believe it or not, the sales pitch to users is actually quite similar. As exhausting as it has been for developers to withhold up with Apple's seemingly never-ending stream of unique APIs, it can subsist just as taxing for customers to sojourn on top of Mac OS X's features. Exposé, a unique Finder, Spotlight, a unique Dock, Time Machine, a unique Finder again, a unique iLife and iWork almost every year, and on and on. And as much as developers abhor bugs in Apple's APIs, users who undergo those bugs as application crashes possess just as much judgement to subsist annoyed.

    Enter Snow Leopard: the release where they barnone score a demolish from the new-features/new-bugs treadmill of Mac OS X development. That's the pitch.

    Uncomfortable realities

    But wait a second, didn't I just mention an "hour-long presentation" about Snow Leopard featuring "major unique APIs and technologies?" When speaking to developers, Apple's message of "no unique features" is another artery of maxim "no unique bugs." Snow Leopard is suppositious to fix old-fashioned bugs without introducing unique ones. But nothing says "new bugs, coming birthright up" quite dote major unique APIs. So which is it?

    Similarly, for users, "no unique features" connotes stability and reliability. But if Snow Leopard includes enough changes to the core OS to fill an hour-long overview session at WWDC more than a year before its release, can Apple really design respectable on this promise? Or will users pause up with barnone the disadvantages of a feature-packed release dote Tiger or Leopard—the inevitable 10.x.0 bugs, the unfamiliar, untried unique functionality—but without any of the actual unique features?

    Yes, it's enough to design one quite cynical about Apple's existent motivations. To toss some more fuel on the fire, possess a watch at the Mac OS X release timeline below. Next to each release, I've included a list of its most significant features.

    Mac OS X release timelineMac OS X release timeline

    That curve is taking on a decidedly droopy shape, as if it's being weighed down by the ever-increasing number of unique features. (The releases are distributed uniformly on the Y axis.) Maybe you account it's reasonable for the time between releases to stretch out as each one brings a heavier load of goodies than the last, but withhold in repartee the analytic consequence of such a curve over the longhorn haul.

    And yeah, there's a limited upwards kick at the pause for 10.6, but remember, this is suppositious to subsist the "no unique features" release. Version 10.1 had a similar no-frills focus but took a heck of a lot less time to arrive.

    Looking at this graph, it's hard not to sensation if there's something siphoning resources from the Mac OS X evolution effort. Maybe, say, some project that's in the first two or three major releases of its life, quiet in that steep, early section of its own timeline graph. Yes, I'm talking about the iPhone, specifically iPhone OS. The iPhone industry has exploded onto Apple's equipoise sheets dote no other product before, even the iPod. It's too accruing developers at an alarming rate.

    It's not a stretch to imagine that many of the artists and developers who piled on the user-visible features in Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 possess been reassigned to iPhone OS (temporarily or otherwise). After all, Mac OS X and iPhone OS participate the identical core operating system, the identical language for GUI development, and many of the identical APIs. Some workforce migration seems inevitable.

    And let's not forget the "Mac OS X" technologies that they later erudite were developed for the iPhone and just happened to subsist announced for the Mac first (because the iPhone was quiet a secret), dote Core Animation and code signing. Such cabal theories certainly aren't helped by WWDC keynote snubs and other indignities suffered by Mac OS X and the Mac in general since the iPhone arrived on the scene. And so, on top of everything else, Snow Leopard is tasked with restoring some luster to Mac OS X.

    Got barnone that? A nearly two-year evolution cycle, but no unique features. Major unique frameworks for developers, but few unique bugs. Significant changes to the core OS, but more reliability. And a franchise rejuvenation with few user-visible changes.

    It's enough to turn a leopard white.

    The charge of entry

    Snow Leopard's opening overture to consumers is its price: $29 for those upgrading from Leopard. The debut release of Mac OS X 10.0 and the ultimate four major releases possess barnone been $129, with no special pricing for upgrades. After eight years of this kindly of fiscal disciplining, Leopard users may well subsist tempted to discontinue reading birthright now and just Go pick up a copy. Snow Leopard's upgrade charge is well under the impulse purchase threshold for many people. Twenty-nine dollars plus some minimal smooth of faith in Apple's capacity to ameliorate the OS with each release, and boom, instant purchase.

    Still here? Good, because there's something else you requisite to know about Snow Leopard. It's an overture of a different sort, less of a come-on and more of a spur. Snow Leopard will only sprint on Macs with Intel CPUs. Sorry (again), PowerPC fans, but this is the pause of the line for you. The transition to Intel was announced over four years ago, and the ultimate unique PowerPC Mac was released in October 2005. It's time.

    But if Snow Leopard is meant to prod the PowerPC holdouts into the Intel age, its "no unique features" stance (and the accompanying need of added visual flair) is working against it. For those running Leopard on a PowerPC-based Mac, there's precious limited in Snow Leopard to succor propel them over the (likely) four-digit charge wall of a unique Mac. For PowerPC Mac owners, the threshold for a unique Mac purchase remains mostly unchanged. When their old-fashioned Mac breaks or seems too slow, they'll Go out and buy a unique one, and it'll foster with Snow Leopard pre-installed.

    If Snow Leopard does pause up motivating unique Mac purchases by PowerPC owners, it will probably subsist the result of resignation rather than inspiration. An Intel-only Snow Leopard is most significant for what it isn't: a further extension of PowerPC life champion on the Mac platform.

    The final effulgent group is owners of Intel-based Macs that are quiet running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Apple shipped Intel Macs with Tiger installed for a limited over one year and nine months. Owners of these machines who never upgraded to Leopard are not eligible for the $29 upgrade to Snow Leopard. They're too apparently not eligible to purchase Snow Leopard for the traditional $129 price. Here's what Apple has to screech about Snow Leopard's pricing (emphasis added).

    Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard will subsist available as an upgrade to Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard in September 2009 [...] The Snow Leopard separate user license will subsist available for a suggested retail charge of $29 (US) and the Snow Leopard Family Pack, a separate household, five-user license, will subsist available for a suggested charge of $49 (US). For Tiger® users with an Intel-based Mac, the Mac Box Set includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife® '09 and iWork® '09 and will subsist available for a suggested charge of $169 (US) and a Family Pack is available for a suggested charge of $229 (US).

    Ignoring the family packs for a moment, this means that Snow Leopard will either subsist free with your unique Mac, $29 if you're already running Leopard, or $169 if you possess an Intel Mac running Tiger. People upgrading from Tiger will score the latest version of iLife and iWork in the compact (if that's the arrogate term), whether they want them or not. It certain seems dote there's an obvious plot in this lineup for a $129 offering of Snow Leopard on its own. Then again, perhaps it barnone comes down to how, exactly, Apple enforces the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade policy.

    (As an aside to non-Mac users, note that the non-server version of Mac OS X has no per-user serial number and no activation scheme of any kind, and never has. "Registration" with Apple during the Mac OS X install process is entirely optional and is only used to collect demographic information. Failing to register (or entering entirely bogus registration information) has no result on your capacity to sprint the OS. This is considered a genuine odds of Mac OS X, but it too means that Apple has no dependable record of who, exactly, is a "legitimate" owner of Leopard.)

    One possibility was that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade DVD would only install on top of an existing installation of Leopard. Apple has done this nature of thing before, and it bypasses any proof-of-purchase annoyances. It would, however, interpose a unique problem. In the event of a hard drive failure or simple conclusion to reinstall from scratch, owners of the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade would subsist forced to first install Leopard and then install Snow Leopard on top of it, perhaps more than doubling the installation time—and quintupling the annoyance.

    Given Apple's history in this area, no one should possess been surprised to find out that Apple chose the much simpler option: the $29 "upgrade" DVD of Snow Leopard will, in fact, install on any supported Mac, whether or not it has Leopard installed. It will even install onto an entirely blank hard drive.

    To subsist clear, installing the $29 upgrade to Snow Leopard on a system not already running a properly licensed copy of Leopard is a violation of the end-user license agreement that comes with the product. But Apple's conclusion is a refreshing change: rewarding honest people with a hassle-free product rather than trying to correct mendacious people by treating everyone dote a criminal. This "honor system" upgrade enforcement policy partially explains the large jump to $169 for the Mac Box Set, which ends up re-framed as an honest person's artery to score iLife and iWork at their customary prices, plus Snow Leopard for $11 more.

    And yes, speaking of installing, let's finally score on with it.


    Apple claims that Snow Leopard's installation process is "up to 45% faster." Installation times vary wildly depending on the speed, contents, and fragmentation of the target disk, the accelerate of the optical drive, and so on. Installation too only happens once, and it's not really an effulgent process unless something goes terribly wrong. Still, if Apple's going to design such a claim, it's worth checking out.

    To liquidate as many variables as possible, I installed both Leopard and Snow Leopard from one hard disk onto another (empty) one. It should subsist famed that this change negates some of Snow Leopard's most necessary installation optimizations, which are focused on reducing random data access from the optical disc.

    Even with this disadvantage, the Snow Leopard installation took about 20% less time than the Leopard installation. That's well short of Apple's "up to 45%" claim, but view above (and don't forget the "up to" weasel words). Both versions installed in less than 30 minutes.

    What is striking about Snow Leopard's installation is how quickly the initial Spotlight indexing process completed. Here, Snow Leopard was 74% faster in my testing. Again, the times are miniature (5:49 vs. 3:20) and again, unique installations on blank disks are not the norm. But the shorter wait for Spotlight indexing is worth noting because it's the first indication most users will score that Snow Leopard means industry when it comes to performance.

    Another notable thing about installation is what's not installed by default: Rosetta, the facility that allows PowerPC binaries to sprint on Intel Macs. Okay Apple, they score it. PowerPC is a stiff, bereft of life. It rests in peace. It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. As far as Apple is concerned, PowerPC is an ex-ISA.

    But not installing Rosetta by default? That seems a limited harsh, even foolhardy. What's going to befall when barnone those users upgrade to Snow Leopard and then double-click what they've probably long since forgotten is a PowerPC application? Perhaps surprisingly, this is what happens:

    Rosetta: auto-installed for your convenienceRosetta: auto-installed for your convenience

    That's what I saw when I tried to launch Disk Inventory X on Snow Leopard, an application that, yes, I had long since forgotten was PowerPC-only. After I clicked the "Install" button, I actually expected to subsist prompted to insert the installer DVD. Instead, Snow Leopard reached out over the network, pulled down Rosetta from an Apple server, and installed it.

    Rosetta auto-install

    No reboot was required, and Disk Inventory X launched successfully after the Rosetta installation completed. Mac OS X has not historically made much spend of the install-on-demand approach to system software components, but the facility used to install Rosetta appears quite robust. Upon clicking "Install," an XML property list containing a vast catalog of available Mac OS X packages was downloaded. Snow Leopard uses the identical facility to download and install printer drivers on demand, saving another trip to the installer DVD. I hope this technique gains even wider spend in the future.

    Installation footprint

    Rosetta aside, Snow Leopard simply puts fewer bits on your disk. Apple claims it "takes up less than half the disk space of the previous version," and that's no lie. A clean, default install (including fully-generated Spotlight indexes) is 16.8 GB for Leopard and 5.9 GB for Snow Leopard. (Incidentally, these numbers are both powers-of-two measurements; view sidebar.)

    A gigabyte by any other name

    Snow Leopard has another trick up its sleeve when it comes to disk usage. The Snow Leopard Finder considers 1 GB to subsist equal to 109 (1,000,000,000) bytes, whereas the Leopard Finder—and, it should subsist noted, every version of the Finder before it—equates 1 GB to 230 (1,073,741,824) bytes. This has the result of making your hard disk suddenly show larger after installing Snow Leopard. For example, my "1 TB" hard drive shows up in the Leopard Finder as having a capacity of 931.19 GB. In Snow Leopard, it's 999.86 GB. As you might possess guessed, hard disk manufacturers spend the powers-of-ten system. It's barnone quite a mess, really. Though I foster down pretty firmly on the powers-of-two side of the fence, I can't guilt Apple too much for wanting to match up nicely with the long-established (but quiet dumb, repartee you) hard disk vendors' capacity measurement standard.

    Snow Leopard has several weight loss secrets. The first is obvious: no PowerPC champion means no PowerPC code in executables. Recall the maximum feasible binary payload in a Leopard executable: 32-bit PowerPC, 64-bit PowerPC, x86, and x86_64. Now cross half of those architectures off the list. Granted, very few applications in Leopard included 64-bit code of any kind, but it's a 50% reduction in size for executables no matter how you slice it.

    Of course, not barnone the files in the operating system are executables. There are data files, images, audio files, even a limited video. But most of those non-executable files possess one thing in common: they're usually stored in compressed file formats. Images are PNGs or JPEGs, audio is AAC, video is MPEG-4, even preference files and other property lists now default to a compact binary format rather than XML.

    In Snow Leopard, other kinds of files climb on board the compression bandwagon. To give just one example, ninety-seven percent of the executable files in Snow Leopard are compressed. How compressed? Let's look:

    % cd Applications/ % ls -l Mail -rwxr-xr-x@ 1 root wheel 0 Jun 18 19:35 Mail

    Boy, that's, uh, pretty small, huh? Is this really an executable or what? Let's check their assumptions.

    % file Applications/ Applications/ empty

    Yikes! What's going on here? Well, what I didn't Tell you is that the commands shown above were sprint from a Leopard system looking at a Snow Leopard disk. In fact, barnone compressed Snow Leopard files show to contain zero bytes when viewed from a pre-Snow Leopard version of Mac OS X. (They watch and act perfectly conventional when booted into Snow Leopard, of course.)

    So, where's the data? The limited "@" at the pause of the permissions string in the ls output above (a feature introduced in Leopard) provides a clue. Though the Mail executable has a zero file size, it does possess some extended attributes:

    % xattr -l Applications/ 0000 00 00 01 00 00 2C F5 F2 00 2C F4 F2 00 00 00 32 .....,...,.....2 0010 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................ (184,159 lines snipped) 2CF610 63 6D 70 66 00 00 00 0A 00 01 FF FF 00 00 00 00 cmpf............ 2CF620 00 00 00 00 .... 0000 66 70 6D 63 04 00 00 00 A0 82 72 00 00 00 00 00 fpmc......r.....

    Ah, there's barnone the data. But wait, it's in the resource fork? Weren't those deprecated about eight years ago? Indeed they were. What you're witnessing here is yet another addition to Apple's favorite file system hobbyhorse, HFS+.

    At the dawn of Mac OS X, Apple added journaling, symbolic links, and hard links. In Tiger, extended attributes and access control lists were incorporated. In Leopard, HFS+ gained champion for hard links to directories. In Snow Leopard, HFS+ learns another unique trick: per-file compression.

    The presence of the ascribe is the first hint that this file is compressed. This ascribe is actually hidden from the xattr command when booted into Snow Leopard. But from a Leopard system, which has no erudition of its special significance, it shows up as plain as day.

    Even more information is revealed with the succor of Mac OS X Internals guru Amit Singh's hfsdebug program, which has quietly been updated for Snow Leopard.

    % hfsdebug /Applications/ ... compression magic = cmpf compression nature = 4 (resource fork has compressed data) uncompressed size = 7500336 bytes

    And certain enough, as they saw, the resource fork does indeed contain the compressed data. Still, why the resource fork? It's barnone section of Apple's usual, shrewd backward-compatibility gymnastics. A recent illustration is the artery that hard links to directories note up—and function—as aliases when viewed from a pre-Leopard version of Mac OS X.

    In the case of a HFS+ compression, Apple was (understandably) unable to design pre-Snow Leopard systems read and interpret the compressed data, which is stored in ways that did not exist at the time those earlier operating systems were written. But rather than letting applications (and users) running on pre-10.6 systems choke on—or worse, pervert through modification—the unexpectedly compressed file contents, Apple has chosen to cloak the compressed data instead.

    And where can the complete contents of a potentially large file subsist hidden in such a artery that pre-Snow Leopard systems can quiet copy that file without the loss of data? Why, in the resource fork, of course. The Finder has always correctly preserved Mac-specific metadata and both the resource and data forks when touching or duplicating files. In Leopard, even the lowly cp and rsync commands will accomplish the same. So while it may subsist a limited bit spooky to view barnone those "empty" 0 KB files when looking at a Snow Leopard disk from a pre-Snow Leopard OS, the random of data loss is small, even if you accelerate or copy one of the files.

    The resource fork isn't the only plot where Apple has decided to smuggle compressed data. For smaller files, hfsdebug shows the following:

    % hfsdebug /etc/asl.conf ... compression magic = cmpf compression nature = 3 (xattr has compressed data) uncompressed size = 860 bytes

    Here, the data is miniature enough to subsist stored entirely within an extended attribute, albeit in compressed form. And then, the final frontier:

    % hfsdebug /Volumes/Snow Time/Applications/ ... compression magic = cmpf compression nature = 3 (xattr has inline data) uncompressed size = 8 bytes

    That's right, an entire file's contents stored uncompressed in an extended attribute. In the case of a measure PkgInfo file dote this one, those contents are the four-byte classic Mac OS nature and creator codes.

    % xattr -l Applications/ 0000 66 70 6D 63 03 00 00 00 08 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 fpmc............ 0010 FF 41 50 50 4C 65 6D 61 6C .APPLemal

    There's quiet the identical "fpmc..." preamble seen in barnone the earlier examples of the attribute, but at the pause of the value, the expected data appears as plain as day: nature code "APPL" (application) and creator code "emal" (for the Mail application—cute, as per classic Mac OS tradition).

    You may subsist wondering, if this is barnone about data compression, how does storing eight uncompressed bytes plus a 17-byte preamble in an extended ascribe deliver any disk space? The acknowledge to that lies in how HFS+ allocates disk space. When storing information in a data or resource fork, HFS+ allocates space in multiples of the file system's allocation block size (4 KB, by default). So those eight bytes will raise up a minimum of 4,096 bytes if stored in the traditional way. When allocating disk space for extended attributes, however, the allocation block size is not a factor; the data is packed in much more tightly. In the end, the actual space saved by storing those 25 bytes of data in an extended ascribe is over 4,000 bytes.

    But compression isn't just about saving disk space. It's too a classic illustration of trading CPU cycles for decreased I/O latency and bandwidth. Over the past few decades, CPU performance has gotten better (and computing resources more plentiful—more on that later) at a much faster rate than disk performance has increased. Modern hard disk search times and rotational delays are quiet measured in milliseconds. In one millisecond, a 2 GHz CPU goes through two million cycles. And then, of course, there's quiet the actual data transfer time to consider.

    Granted, several levels of caching throughout the OS and hardware work mightily to cloak these delays. But those bits possess to foster off the disk at some point to fill those caches. Compression means that fewer bits possess to subsist transferred. Given the almost comical glut of CPU resources on a modern multi-core Mac under conventional use, the total time needed to transfer a compressed payload from the disk and spend the CPU to decompress its contents into reminiscence will quiet usually subsist far less than the time it'd raise to transfer the data in uncompressed form.

    That explains the potential performance benefits of transferring less data, but the spend of extended attributes to store file contents can actually design things faster, as well. It barnone has to accomplish with data locality.

    If there's one thing that slows down a hard disk more than transferring a large amount of data, it's touching its heads from one section of the disk to another. Every accelerate means time for the head to start moving, then stop, then ensure that it's correctly positioned over the desired location, then wait for the spinning disk to withhold the desired bits beneath it. These are barnone real, physical, touching parts, and it's extraordinary that they accomplish their dance as quickly and efficiently as they do, but physics has its limits. These motions are the existent performance killers for rotational storage dote hard disks.

    The HFS+ volume format stores barnone its information about files—metadata—in two primary locations on disk: the Catalog File, which stores file dates, permissions, ownership, and a host of other things, and the Attributes File, which stores "named forks."

    Extended attributes in HFS+ are implemented as named forks in the Attributes File. But unlike resource forks, which can subsist very large (up to the maximum file size supported by the file system), extended attributes in HFS+ are stored "inline" in the Attributes File. In practice, this means a limit of about 128 bytes per attribute. But it too means that the disk head doesn't requisite to raise a trip to another section of the disk to score the actual data.

    As you can imagine, the disk blocks that design up the Catalog and Attributes files are frequently accessed, and therefore more likely than most to subsist in a cache somewhere. barnone of this conspires to design the complete storage of a file, including both its metadata in its data, within the B-tree-structured Catalog and Attributes files an overall performance win. Even an eight-byte payload that balloons to 25 bytes is not a concern, as long as it's quiet less than the allocation block size for conventional data storage, and as long as it barnone fits within a B-tree node in the Attributes File that the OS has to read in its entirety anyway.

    There are other significant contributions to Snow Leopard's reduced disk footprint (e.g., the removal of unnecessary localizations and "designable.nib" files) but HFS+ compression is by far the most technically interesting.

    Installer intelligence

    Apple makes two other effulgent promises about the installation process:

    Snow Leopard checks your applications to design certain they're compatible and sets aside any programs known to subsist incompatible. In case a power outage interrupts your installation, it can start again without losing any data.

    The setting aside of "known incompatible" applications is undoubtedly a response to the "blue screen" problems some users encountered when upgrading from Tiger to Leopard two years ago, which was caused by the presence of incompatible—and some would screech "illicit"—third-party system extensions. I possess a decidedly pragmatic view of such software, and I'm lighthearted to view Apple taking a similarly practical approach to minimizing its repercussion on users.

    Apple can't subsist expected to detect and disable barnone potentially incompatible software, of course. I suspect only the most common or highest profile risky software is detected. If you're a developer, this installer feature may subsist a respectable artery to find out if you're on Apple's sh*t list.

    As for continuing an installation after a power failure, I didn't possess the guts to test this feature. (I too possess a UPS.) For long-running processes dote installation, this kindly of added robustness is welcome, especially on battery-powered devices dote laptops.

    I mention these two details of the installation process mostly because they highlight the kinds of things that are feasible when developers at Apple are given time to polish their respective components of the OS. You might account that the installer team would subsist hard-pressed to foster up with enough to accomplish during a nearly two-year evolution cycle. That's clearly not the case, and customers will gather the benefits.

    Snow Leopard's unique looks

    I've long yearned for Apple to design a clean break, at least visually, from Mac OS X's Aqua past. Alas, I will subsist waiting a bit longer, because Snow Leopard ushers in no such revolution. And yet here I am, beneath a familiar-looking section heading that seems to argue otherwise. The verisimilitude is, Snow Leopard actually changes the appearance of nearly every pixel on your screen—but not in the artery you might imagine.

    Since the dawn of color on the Macintosh, the operating system has used a default output gamma correction value of 1.8. Meanwhile, Windows—aka the relaxation of the world—has used a value of 2.2. Though this may not seem significant to anyone but professional graphics artists, the incompatibility is usually plain to even a casual observer when viewing the identical image on both kinds of displays side by side.

    Though Mac users will probably instinctively prefer the 1.8 gamma image that they're used to, Apple has decided that this historical incompatibility is more pains than it's worth. The default output gamma correction value in Snow Leopard is now 2.2, just dote everyone else. Done and done.

    If they notice at all, users will likely undergo this change as a emotion that the Snow Leopard user interface has a bit more contrast than Leopard's. This is reinforced by the unique default desktop background, a re-drawn, more saturated version of Leopard's default desktop. (Note that these are two entirely different images and not an attempt to demonstrate the effects of different gamma correction settings.)

    LeopardLeopard Snow LeopardSnow Leopard Dock Exposé spotlight effectDock Exposé spotlight effect

    But even beyond color correction, loyal to form, Apple could not resist adding a few graphical tweaks to the Snow Leopard interface. The most plain changes are related to the Dock. First, there's the unique "spotlight" watch triggered by a click-and-hold on an application icon in the Dock. (This activates Exposé, but only for the windows belonging to the application that was clicked. More later.)

    Furthermore, any and barnone pop-up menus on the Dock—and only on the Dock—have a unique watch in Snow Leopard, complete with a custom selection appearance (which, for a change, does a passable job of matching the system-wide selection appearance setting).

    New Dock menu appearance. Mmmm… arbitrary.New Dock menu appearance. Mmmm… arbitrary.

    For Mac users of a inevitable age, these menus may bring to repartee Apple's Hi-Tech appearance theme from the bad-old days of Copland. They're actually considerably more subtle, however. Note the translucent edges which accentuate the rounded corners. The gradient on the selection highlight is too admirably restrained.

    Nevertheless, this is an entirely unique watch for a separate (albeit commonly used) application, and it does clash a bit with the default "slanty, shiny shelf" appearance of the Dock. But I've already had my screech about that, and more. If the oath of Snow Leopard's appearance was to "first, accomplish no harm," then I account I'm inclined to give it a passing grade—almost.

    If I had to characterize what's wrong with Snow Leopard's visual additions with just two words, it'd subsist these: everything fades. Apple has sprinkled Core Animation fairy dust over seemingly every application in Snow Leopard. If any section of the user interface appears, disappears, or changes in any significant way, it's accompanied by an animation and one or more fades.

    In moderation, such effects are fine. But in several instances, Snow Leopard crosses the line. Or rather, it crosses my line, which, it should subsist noted, is located far inside the territories of Candy Land. Others with a much lower tolerance for animations who are already galled by the frippery in Leopard and earlier releases will find limited to worship in Snow Leopard's visual changes.

    The one that really drove me over the edge is the fussy limited dance of the filename district that occurs in the Finder (surprise!) when renaming a file on the desktop. There's just something about so many cross-fades, color changes, and text offsets occurring so rapidly and concentrated into such a miniature district that makes me want to scream. And whether or not I'm actually waiting for these animations to finish before I can continue to spend my computer, it certainly feels that artery sometimes.

    Still, I must unenthusiastically foretell that most conventional people (i.e., the ones who will not read this entire article) will either find these added visual touches delightful, or (much more likely) not notice them at all.


    Animation aside, the visual sameness of Snow Leopard presents a bit of a marketing challenge for Apple. Even beyond the obvious problem of how to promote an operating system upgrade with "no unique features" to consumers, there's the issue of how to score people to notice that this unique product exists at all.

    In the run-up to Snow Leopard's release, Apple stuck to a modified version of Leopard's outer space theme. It was in the keynote slideshows, on the WWDC banners, on the developer release DVDs, and barnone over the Mac OS X section of Apple's website. The header image from Apple's Mac OS X webpage as of a week before Snow Leopard's release appears below. It's pretty lop and dried: outer space, stars, loaded purple nebula, lens flare.

    Snow. The final frontier.Snow. The final frontier.

    Then came the golden master of Snow Leopard, which, in a pleasant change from past releases, was distributed to developers a few weeks before Snow Leopard hit the shelves. Its installer introduced an entirely different watch which, as it turns out, was carried over to the retail packaging. For a change, let's line up the discs instead of the packaging (which is rapidly shrinking to barely enclose the disc anyway). Here's Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.6, top to bottom and left to right. (The 10.0 and 10.1 discs looked essentially identical and possess been coalesced.)

    One of these things is not dote
 the others…One of these things is not dote the others…

    Yep, it's a snow leopard. With actual snow on it. It's a bit on the nose for my taste, but it's not without its charms. And it does possess one large thing going for it: it's immediately recognizable as something unique and different. "Unmistakable" is how I'd sum up the packaging. Eight years of the giant, centered, variously adorned "X" and then boom: a cat. There's limited random that anyone who's seen Leopard sitting on the shelf of their local Apple store for the past two years will fail to notice that this is a unique product.

    (If you'd dote your own picture of Snowy the snow leopard (that's right, I've named him), Apple was kindly enough to include a desktop background image with the OS. Self-loathing Windows users may download it directly.)

    Warning: internals ahead

    We've arrived at the start of the customary "internals" section. Snow Leopard is barnone about internal changes, and this is reflected in the content of this review. If you're only interested in the user-visible changes, you can skip ahead, but you'll subsist missing out on the meat of this review and the heart of Apple's unique OS.

    64-bit: the road leads ever on

    Mac OS X started its journey to 64-bit back in 2003 with the release of Panther, which included the bare minimum champion for the then-new PowerPC G5 64-bit CPU. In 2005, Tiger brought with it the capacity to create loyal 64-bit processes—as long as they didn't link with any of the GUI libraries. Finally, Leopard in 2007 included champion for 64-bit GUI applications. But again, there was a caveat: 64-bit champion extended to Cocoa applications only. It was, effectively, the pause of the road for Carbon.

    Despite Leopard's seemingly impressive 64-bit bona fides, there are a few more steps before Mac OS X can achieve complete 64-bit nirvana. The diagrams below illustrate.

    64-bit in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger 64-bit in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard 64-bit in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

    As we'll see, barnone that yellow in the Snow Leopard diagram represents its capability, not necessarily its default mode of operation.


    Snow Leopard is the first version of Mac OS X to ship with a 64-bit kernel ("K64" in Apple's parlance), but it's not enabled by default on most systems. The judgement for this this is simple. Recall that there's no "mixed mode" in Mac OS X. At runtime, a process is either 32-bit or 64-bit, and can only load other code—libraries, plug-ins, etc.—of the identical kind.

    An necessary class of plug-ins loaded by the kernel is device drivers. Were Snow Leopard to default to the 64-bit kernel, only 64-bit device drivers would load. And seeing as Snow Leopard is the first version of Mac OS X to include a 64-bit kernel, there'd subsist precious few of those on customers' systems on launch day.

    And so, by default, Snow Leopard boots with a 64-bit kernel only on Xserves from 2008 or later. I guess the assumption is that barnone of the devices commonly attached to an Xserve will subsist supported by 64-bit drivers supplied by Apple in Snow Leopard itself.

    Perhaps surprisingly, not barnone Macs with 64-bit processors are even able to boot into the 64-bit kernel. Though this may change in subsequent point releases of Snow Leopard, the table below lists barnone the Macs that are either capable of or default to booting K64. (To find the "Model name" of your Mac, select "About This Mac" from the Apple menu, then click the "More info…" button and read the "Model Identifier" line in the window that appears.)

    Product Model name K64 status Early 2008 Mac Pro MacPro3,1 Capable Early 2008 Xserve Xserve2,1 Default MacBook Pro 15"/17" MacBookPro4,1 Capable iMac iMac8,1 Capable UniBody MacBook Pro 15" MacBookPro5,1 Capable UniBody MacBook Pro 17" MacBookPro5,2 Capable Mac Pro MacPro4,1 Capable iMac iMac9,1 Capable Early 2009 Xserve Xserve3,1 Default

    For barnone K64-capable Macs, boot while holding down "6" and "4" keys simultaneously to select the 64-bit kernel. For a more permanent solution, spend the nvram command to add arch=x86_64 to your boot-args string, or edit the file /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ and add arch=x86_64 to the Kernel Flags string:

    ... <key>Kernel</key> <string>mach_kernel</string> <key>Kernel Flags</key> <string>arch=x86_64</string> ...

    To switch back to the 32-bit kernel, hold down the "3" and "2" keys during boot, or spend one of the techniques above, replacing "x86_64" with "i386".

    We've already discussed why, at least initially, you probably won't want to boot into K64. But as Snow Leopard adoption ramps up and 64-bit updates of existing kernel extensions become available, why might you actually want to spend the 64-bit kernel?

    The first judgement has to accomplish with RAM, and not in the artery you might think. Though Leopard uses a 32-bit kernel, Macs running Leopard can contain and spend far more RAM than the 4 GB limit the "32-bit" qualifier might seem to imply. But as RAM sizes increase, there's another concern: address space depletion—not for applications, but for the kernel itself.

    As a 32-bit process, the kernel itself is limited to a 32-bit (i.e., 4GB) address space. That may not seem dote a problem; after all, should the kernel really requisite more than 4GB of reminiscence to accomplish its job? But remember that section of the kernel's job is to track and manage system memory. The kernel uses a 64-byte structure to track the status of each 4KB page of RAM used on the system.

    That's 64 bytes, not kilobytes. It hardly seems dote a lot. But now account a Mac in the not-too-distant future containing 96GB of RAM. (If this sounds ridiculous to you, account of how ridiculous the 8GB of RAM in the Mac I'm typing on birthright now would possess sounded to you five years ago.) Tracking 96GB of RAM requires 1.5GB of kernel address space. Using more than a third of the kernel's address space just to track reminiscence is a pretty uncomfortable situation.

    A 64-bit kernel, on the other hand, has a virtually unlimited kernel address space (16 exabytes). K64 is an inevitable necessity, given the rapidly increasing size of system memory. Though you may not requisite it today on the desktop, it's already common for servers to possess double-digit gigabytes of RAM installed.

    The other thing K64 has going for it is speed. The x86 instruction set architecture has had a bit of a tortured history. When designing the x86-64 64-bit extension of the x86 architecture, AMD took the occasion to leave behind some of the ugliness of the past and include more modern features: more registers, unique addressing modes, non-stack-based floating point capabilities, etc. K64 reaps these benefits. Apple makes the following claims about its performance:

  • 250% faster system convoke entry point
  • 70% faster user/kernel reminiscence copy
  • Focused benchmarking would bear these out, I'm sure. But in daily use, you're unlikely to subsist able to ascribe any particular performance boost to the kernel. account of K64 as removing bottlenecks from the few (usually server-based) applications that actually accomplish exercise these aspects of the kernel heavily.

    If it makes you feel better to know that your kernel is operating more efficiently, and that, were you to actually possess 96GB of RAM installed, you would not risk starving the kernel of address space, and if you don't possess any 32-bit drivers that you absolutely requisite to use, then by barnone means, boot into the 64-bit kernel.

    For everyone else, my recommendation is to subsist lighthearted that K64 will subsist ready and waiting for you when you eventually accomplish requisite it—and delight accomplish inspirit barnone the vendors that design kernel extensions that you custody about to add K64 champion as soon as possible.

    Finally, this is worth repeating: delight withhold in repartee that you accomplish not requisite to sprint the 64-bit kernel in order to sprint 64-bit applications or install more than 4GB of RAM in your Mac. Applications sprint just fine in 64-bit mode on top of the 32-bit kernel, and even in earlier versions of Mac OS X it's been feasible to install and raise odds of much more than 4GB of RAM.

    64-bit applications

    While Leopard may possess brought with it champion for 64-bit GUI applications, it actually included very few of them. In fact, by my count, only two 64-bit GUI applications shipped with Leopard: Xcode (an optional install) and Chess. And though Leopard made it feasible for third-party developers to produce 64-bit (albeit Leopard-only) GUI applications, very few have—sometimes due to ill-started realities, but most often because there's been no respectable judgement to accomplish so, abandoning users of Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier in the process.

    Apple is now pushing the 64-bit transition much harder. This starts with leading by example. Snow Leopard ships with four end-user GUI applications that are not 64-bit: iTunes, Grapher, Front Row, and DVD Player. Everything else is 64-bit. The Finder, the Dock, Mail, TextEdit, Safari, iChat, Address Book, Dashboard, succor Viewer, Installer, Terminal, Calculator—you designation it, it's 64-bit.

    The second large carrot (or stick, depending on how you watch at it) is the continued need of 32-bit champion for unique APIs and technologies. Leopard started the trend, leaving deprecated APIs behind and only porting the unique ones to 64-bit. The improved Objective-C 2.0 runtime introduced in Leopard was too 64-bit-only.

    Snow Leopard continues along similar lines. The Objective-C 2.1 runtime's non-fragile instance variables, exception model unified with C++, and faster vtable dispatch remain available only to 64-bit applications. But the most significant unique 64-bit-only API is QuickTime X—significant enough to subsist addressed separately, so sojourn tuned.

    64-bits or bust

    All of this is Apple's not-so-subtle artery of telling developers that the time to accelerate to 64-bit is now, and that 64-bit should subsist the default for barnone unique applications, whether a developer thinks it's "needed" or not. In most cases, these unique APIs possess no intrinsic connection to 64-bit. Apple has simply chosen to spend them as additional forms of persuasion.

    Despite barnone of the above, I'd quiet convoke Snow Leopard merely the penultimate step in Mac OS X's journey to subsist 64-bit from top to bottom. I fully anticipate Mac OS X 10.7 to boot into the 64-bit kernel by default, to ship with 64-bit versions of barnone applications, plug-ins, and kernel extensions, and to leave even more legacy and deprecated APIs to fade away in the land of 32-bit.

    QuickTime X

    Apple did something a bit odd in Leopard when it neglected to port the C-based QuickTime API to 64-bit. At the time, it didn't seem dote such a large deal. Mac OS X's transition to 64-bit had already spanned many years and several major versions. One could imagine that it just wasn't yet QuickTime's turn to Go 64-bit.

    As it turns out, my terse but pessimistic assessment of the situation at the time was accurate: QuickTime got the "Carbon treatment". dote Carbon, the venerable QuickTime API that they know and worship will not subsist making the transition to 64-bit—ever.

    To subsist clear, QuickTime the technology and QuickTime the brand will most definitely subsist coming to 64-bit. What's being left behind in 32-bit-only form is the C-based API introduced in 1991 and built upon for 18 years thereafter. Its replacement in the world of 64-bit in Snow Leopard is the aptly named QuickTime X.

    The "X" in QuickTime X, dote the one in in Mac OS X, is pronounced "ten." This is but the first of many eerie parallels. dote Mac OS X before it, QuickTime X:

  • aims to design a clean demolish from its predecessor
  • is based on technology originally developed for another platform
  • includes transparent compatibility with its earlier incarnation
  • promises better performance and a more modern architecture
  • lacks many necessary features in its initial release
  • Maximum available Mac CPU accelerate (MHz)Maximum available Mac CPU accelerate (MHz)

    Let's raise these one at a time. First, why is a clean demolish needed? withhold simply, QuickTime is old—really old. The horribly blocky, postage-stamp-size video displayed by its initial release in 1991 was considered a technological tour de force.

    At the time, the fastest Macintosh money could buy contained a 25 MHz CPU. The ridiculous chart to the birthright is meant to hammer home this point. Forward-thinking design can only score you so far. The shape of the world a technology is born into eventually, inevitably dictates its fate. This is especially loyal for long-lived APIs dote QuickTime with a sturdy bent towards backward compatibility.

    As the first successful implementation of video on a personal computer, it's frankly extraordinary that the QuickTime API has lasted as long as it has. But the world has moved on. Just as Mac OS establish itself mired in a ghetto of cooperative multitasking and unprotected memory, QuickTime limps into 2009 with antiquated notions of concurrency and subsystem layering baked into its design.

    When it came time to write the video-handling code for the iPhone, the latest version of QuickTime, QuickTime 7, simply wasn't up to the task. It had grown too bloated and inefficient during its life on the desktop, and it lacked respectable champion for the GPU-accelerated video playback necessary to wield modern video codecs on a handheld (even with a CPU sixteen times the clock accelerate of any available in a Mac when QuickTime 1.0 was released). And so, Apple created a tight, modern, GPU-friendly video playback engine that could apt comfortably within the RAM and CPU constraints of the iPhone.

    Hmm. An aging desktop video API in requisite of a replacement. A fresh, unique video library with respectable performance even on (comparatively) anemic hardware. Apple connected the dots. But the trick is always in the transition. Happily, this is Apple's forte. QuickTime itself has already lived on three different CPU architectures and three entirely different operating systems.

    The switch to 64-bit is yet another (albeit less dramatic) inflection point, and Apple has chosen it to charge the border between the old-fashioned QuickTime 7 and the unique QuickTime X. It's done this in Snow Leopard by limiting barnone spend of QuickTime by 64-bit applications to the QTKit Objective-C framework.

    QTKit's unique world order

    QTKit is not new; it began its life in 2005 as a more native-feeling interface to QuickTime 7 for Cocoa applications. This extra layer of abstraction is the key to the QuickTime X transition. QTKit now hides within its object-oriented walls both QuickTime 7 and QuickTime X. Applications spend QTKit as before, and behind the scenes QTKit will elect whether to spend QuickTime 7 or QuickTime X to fulfill each request.

    If QuickTime X is so much better, why doesn't QTKit spend it for everything? The acknowledge is that QuickTime X, dote its Mac OS X namesake, has very limited capabilities in its initial release. While QuickTime X supports playback, capture, and exporting, it does not champion general-purpose video editing. It too supports only "modern" video formats—basically, anything that can subsist played by an iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV. As for other video codecs, well, you can forget about handling them with plug-ins because QuickTime X doesn't champion those either.

    For every one of the cases where QuickTime X is not up to the job, QuickTime 7 will fill in. Cutting, copying, and pasting portions of a video? QuickTime 7. Extracting individual tracks from a movie? QuickTime 7. Playing any movie not natively supported by an existing Apple handheld device? QuickTime 7. Augmenting QuickTime's codec champion using a plug-in of any kind? You guessed it: QuickTime 7.

    But wait a second. If QTKit is the only artery for a 64-bit application to spend QuickTime, and QTKit multiplexes between QuickTime 7 and QuickTime X behind the scenes, and QuickTime 7 is 32-bit-only, and Mac OS X does not champion "mixed mode" processes that can execute both 32-bit and 64-bit code, then how the heck does a 64-bit process accomplish anything that requires the QuickTime 7 back-end?

    To find out, fire up the unique 64-bit QuickTime Player application (which will subsist addressed separately later) and open a movie that requires QuickTime 7. Let's say, one that uses the Sorenson video codec. (Remember that? respectable times.) certain enough, it plays just fine. But search for "QuickTime" in the Activity Monitor application and you'll view this:

    Pretty sneaky, sis: 32-bit QTKitServer processPretty sneaky, sis: 32-bit QTKitServer process

    And the acknowledge is revealed. When a 64-bit application using QTKit requires the services of the 32-bit-only QuickTime 7 back-end, QTKit spawns a part 32-bit QTKitServer process to accomplish the work and communicate the results back to the originating 64-bit process. If you leave Activity Monitor open while using the unique QuickTime Player application, you can watch the QTKitServer processes foster and Go as needed. This is barnone handled transparently by the QTKit framework; the application itself requisite not subsist alert of these machinations.

    Yes, it's going to subsist a long, long time before QuickTime 7 disappears completely from Mac OS X (at least Apple was kindly enough not to convoke it "QuickTime Classic"), but the path forward is clear. With each unique release of Mac OS X, anticipate the capabilities of QuickTime X to expand, and the number of things that quiet require QuickTime 7 to decrease. In Mac OS X 10.7, for example, I imagine that QuickTime X will gain champion for plug-ins. And surely by Mac OS X 10.8, QuickTime X will possess complete video editing support. barnone this will subsist happening beneath the unifying facade of QTKit until, eventually, the QuickTime 7 back-end is no longer needed at all.

    Say what you mean

    In the meantime, perhaps surprisingly, many of the current limitations of QuickTime X actually highlight its unique advantages and inform the evolving QTKit API. Though there is no direct artery for a developer to request that QTKit spend the QuickTime X back-end, there are several indirect means to influence the decision. The key is the QTKit API, which relies heavily on the concept of intent.

    QuickTime versions 1 through 7 spend a separate representation of barnone media resources internally: a Movie object. This representation includes information about the individual tracks that design up the movie, the sample tables for each track, and so on—all the information QuickTime needs to understand and maneuver the media.

    This sounds much until you realize that to accomplish anything with a media resource in QuickTime requires the construction of this comprehensive Movie object. account playing an MP3 file with QuickTime, for example. QuickTime must create its internal Movie remonstrate representation of the MP3 file before it can launch playback. Unfortunately, the MP3 container format seldom contains comprehensive information about the structure of the audio. It's usually just a stream of packets. QuickTime must laboriously scan and parse the entire audio stream in order to complete the Movie object.

    QuickTime 7 and earlier versions design this process less painful by doing the scanning and parsing incrementally in the background. You can view this in many QuickTime-based player applications in the form of a progress bar overlaid on the movie controller. The image below shows a 63MB MP3 podcast loading in the Leopard version of QuickTime Player. The shaded portion of the movie timeline slowly fills the dotted district from left to right.

    QuickTime 7 doing more work than necessary

    QuickTime 7 doing more work than necessary

    Though playback can launch almost immediately (provided you play from the beginning, that is) it's worthwhile to raise a step back and account what's going on here. QuickTime is creating a Movie remonstrate suitable for any operation that QuickTime can perform: editing, track extraction or addition, exporting, you designation it. But what if barnone I want to accomplish is play the file?

    The pains is, the QuickTime 7 API lacks a artery to express this kindly of intent. There is no artery to screech to QuickTime 7, "Just open this file as quickly as feasible so that I can play it. Don't bother reading every separate byte of the file from the disk and parsing it to determine its structure just in case I elect to edit or export the content. That is not my intent. Please, just open it for playback."

    The QTKit API in Snow Leopard provides exactly this capability. In fact, the only artery to subsist eligible for the QuickTime X back-end at barnone is to explicitly express your intent not to accomplish anything QuickTime X cannot handle. Furthermore, any attempt to achieve an operation that lies outside your previously expressed intent will cause QTKit to raise an exception.

    The intent mechanism is too the artery that the unique features of QuickTime X are exposed, such as the capacity to asynchronously load large or distantly located (e.g., over a behind network link) movie files without blocking the UI running on the main thread of the application.

    Indeed, there are many reasons to accomplish what it takes to score on board the QuickTime X train. For the media formats it supports, QuickTime X is less taxing on the CPU during playback than QuickTime 7. (This is beyond the fact that QuickTime X does not squander time preparing its internal representation of the movie for editing and export when playback is barnone that's desired.) QuickTime X too supports GPU-accelerated playback of H.264, but, in this initial release, only on Macs equipped with an NVIDIA 9400M GPU (i.e., some 2009 iMacs and several models of MacBooks from 2008 and 2009). Finally, QuickTime X includes comprehensive ColorSync champion for video, which is long overdue.

    The X factor

    This is just the start of a long journey for QuickTime X, and seemingly not a very auspicious one, at that. A QuickTime engine with no editing support? No plug-ins? It seems ridiculous to release it at all. But this has been Apple's artery in recent years: steady, deliberate progress. Apple aims to ship no features before their time.

    As anxious as developers may subsist for a full-featured, 64-bit successor to the QuickTime 7 engine, Apple itself is sitting on top of one of the largest QuickTime-riddled (and Carbon-addled, to boot) code bases in the industry: Final lop Studio. Thus far, It remains stuck in 32-bit. To screech that Apple is "highly motivated" to extend the capabilities of QuickTime X would subsist an understatement.

    Nevertheless, don't anticipate Apple to rush forward foolishly. Duplicating the functionality of a continually developed, 18-year-old API will not befall overnight. It will raise years, and it will subsist even longer before every necessary Mac OS X application is updated to spend QTKit exclusively. Transitions. Gotta worship 'em.

    File system API unification

    Mac OS X has historically supported many different ways of referring to files on disk from within an application. Plain-old paths (e.g., /Users/john/Documents/myfile) are supported at the lowest levels of the operating system. They're simple, predictable, but perhaps not such a much thought to spend as the only artery an application tracks files. account what happens if an application opens a file based on a path string, then the user moves that file somewhere else while it's quiet being edited. When the application is instructed to deliver the file, if it only has the file path to work with, it will pause up creating a unique file in the old-fashioned location, which is almost certainly not what the user wanted.

    Classic Mac OS had a more sophisticated internal representation of files that enabled it to track files independent of their actual locations on disk. This was done with the succor of the unique file ids supported by HFS/HFS+. The Mac OS X incarnation of this concept is the FSRef data type.

    Finally, in the modern age, URLs possess become the de facto representation for files that may subsist located somewhere other than the local machine. URLs can too mention to local files, but in that case they possess barnone the identical disadvantages as file paths.

    This diversity of data types is reflected in Mac OS X's file system APIs. Some functions raise file path as arguments, some anticipate opaque references to files, and quiet others work only with URLs. Programs that spend these APIs often spend a lot of their time converting file references from one representation to another.

    The situation is similar when it comes to getting information about files. There are a huge number of file system metadata retrieval functions at barnone levels of the operating system, and no separate one of them is comprehensive. To score barnone available information about a file on disk requires making several part calls, each of which may anticipate a different nature of file reference as an argument.

    Here's an illustration Apple provided at WWDC. Opening a separate file in the Leopard version of the Preview image viewer application results in:

  • Four conversions of an FSRef to a file path
  • Ten conversions of a file path to an FSRef
  • Twenty-five calls to getattrlist()
  • Eight calls to stat()/lstat()
  • Four calls to open()/close()
  • In Snow Leopard, Apple has created a new, unified, comprehensive set of file system APIs built around a separate data type: URLs. But these are URL "objects"—namely, the opaque data types NSURL and CFURL, with a toll-free bridge between them—that possess been imbued with barnone the desirable attributes of an FSRef.

    Apple settled on these data types because their opaque nature allowed this kindly of enhancement, and because there are so many existing APIs that spend them. URLs are too the most future-proof of barnone the choices, with the scheme portion providing nearly unlimited flexibility for unique data types and access mechanisms. The unique file system APIs built around these opaque URL types champion caching and metadata prefetching for a further performance boost.

    There's too a unique on-disk representation called a Bookmark (not to subsist confused with a browser bookmark) which is dote a more network-savvy replacement for classic Mac OS aliases. Bookmarks are the most robust artery to create a reference to a file from within another file. It's too feasible to attach whimsical metadata to each Bookmark. For example, if an application wants to withhold a persistent list of "favorite" files plus some application-specific information about them, and it wants to subsist resilient to any movement of these files behind its back, Bookmarks are the best tool for the job.

    I mention barnone of this not because I anticipate file system APIs to subsist barnone that effulgent to people without my particular fascination with this section of the operating system, but because, dote Core Text before it, it's an indication of exactly how young Mac OS X really is as a platform. Even after seven major releases, Mac OS X is quiet struggling to accelerate out from the shadow of its three ancestors: NeXTSTEP, classic Mac OS, and BSD Unix. Or perhaps it just goes to note how ruthlessly Apple's core OS team is driven to supersede old-fashioned and crusty APIs and data types with new, more modern versions.

    It will subsist a long time before the benefits of these changes trickle down (or is it up?) to end-users in the form of Mac applications that are written or modified to spend these unique APIs. Most well-written Mac applications already exhibit most of the desirable behavior. For example, the TextEdit application in Leopard will correctly detect when a file it's working on has moved.

    TextEdit: a respectable Mac OS X citizenTextEdit: a respectable Mac OS X citizen

    Of course, the key modifier here is "well-written." Simplifying the file system APIs means that more developers will subsist willing to expend the effort—now greatly reduced—to provide such user-friendly behaviors. The accompanying performance boost is just icing on the cake, and one more judgement that developers might elect to alter their existing, working application to spend these unique APIs.

    Doing more with more

    Moore's Law is widely cited in technology circles—and too widely misunderstood. It's most often used as shorthand for "computers double in accelerate every year or so," but that's not what Gordon Moore wrote at all. His 1965 article in Electronics magazine touched on many topics in the semiconductor industry, but if it had to subsist summed up in a separate "law", it would be, roughly, that the number of transistors that apt onto a square inch of silicon doubles every 12 months.

    Moore later revised that to two years, but the time era is not what people score wrong. The problem is confusing a doubling of transistor density with a doubling of "computer speed." (Even more problematic is declaring a "law" based on a separate paper from 1965, but we'll withhold that aside for now. For a more thorough discussion of Moore's Law, delight read this classic article by Jon Stokes.)

    For decades, each expand in transistor density was, in fact, accompanied by a comparable expand in computing accelerate thanks to ever-rising clock speeds and the dawn of superscalar execution. This worked great—existing code ran faster on each unique CPU—until the grim realities of power density withhold an pause to the fun.

    Moore's Law continues, at least for now, but their capacity to design code sprint faster with each unique expand in transistor density has slowed considerably. The free lunch is over. CPU clock speeds possess stagnated for years, many times actually going backwards. (The latest top-of-the-line 2009 Mac Pro contains a 2.93 GHz CPU, whereas the 2008 model could subsist equipped with a 3.2 GHz CPU.) Adding execution units to a CPU has too long since reached the point of diminishing returns, given the limits of instruction-level parallelism in common application code.

    And yet we've quiet got barnone these unique transistors raining down on us, more every year. The challenge is to find unique ways to spend them to actually design computers faster.

    Thus far, the semiconductor industry's acknowledge has been to give us more of what they already have. Where once a CPU contained a separate analytic processing unit, now CPUs in even the lowliest desktop computers contain two processor cores, with high-end models sporting two chips with eight analytic cores each. Granted, the cores themselves are too getting faster, usually by doing more at the identical clock accelerate as their predecessors, but that's not happening at nearly the rate that the cores are multiplying.

    Unfortunately, generally speaking, a dual-core CPU will not sprint your application twice as snappy as a single-core CPU. In fact, your application probably won't sprint any faster at barnone unless it was written to raise odds of more than just a separate analytic CPU. Presented with a glut of transistors, chipmakers possess turned around and provided more computing resources than programmers know what to accomplish with, transferring much of the responsibility for making computers faster to the software guys.

    We're with the operating system and we're here to help

    It's into this environment that Snow Leopard is born. If there's one responsibility (aside from security) that an operating system vendor should feel in the year 2009, it's finding a artery for applications—and the OS itself—to utilize the ever-growing wealth of computing resources at their disposal. If I had to pick separate technological "theme" for Snow Leopard, this would subsist it: helping developers utilize barnone this newfound silicon; helping them accomplish more with more.

    To that end, Snow Leopard includes two significant unique APIs backed by several smaller, but equally necessary infrastructure improvements. We'll start at the bottom with, believe it or not, the compiler.

    LLVM and Clang

    Apple made a strategic investment in the LLVM open source project several years ago. I covered the fundamentals of LLVM in my Leopard review. (If you're not up to speed, delight entangle up on the topic before continuing.) In it, I described how Leopard used LLVM to provide dramatically more efficient JIT-compiled software implementations of OpenGL functions. I ended with the following admonition:

    Don't subsist misled by its humble spend in Leopard; Apple has grandiose plans for LLVM. How grand? How about swapping out the guts of the gcc compiler Mac OS X uses now and replacing them with the LLVM equivalents? That project is well underway. Not ambitious enough? How about ditching gcc entirely, replacing it with a completely unique LLVM-based (but gcc-compatible) compiler system? That project is called Clang, and it's already yielded some impressive performance results.

    With the introduction of Snow Leopard, it's official: Clang and LLVM are the Apple compiler strategy going forward. LLVM even has a snazzy unique logo, a not-so-subtle homage to a well-known compiler design textbook:

    LLVM! Clang! Rawr!

    LLVM! Clang! Rawr!

    Apple now offers a total of four compilers for Mac OS X: GCC 4.0, GCC 4.2, LLVM-GCC 4.2 (the GCC 4.2 front-end combined with an LLVM back-end), and Clang, in order of increasing LLVM-ness. Here's a diagram:

    Mac OS X compilers

    Mac OS X compilers

    All of these compilers are binary-compatible on Mac OS X, which means you can, for example, build a library with one compiler and link it into an executable built with another. They're too barnone command-line and source-compatible—in theory, anyway. Clang does not yet champion some of the more esoteric features of GCC. Clang too only supports C, Objective-C, and a limited bit of C++ (Clang(uage), score it?) whereas GCC supports many more. Apple is committed to replete C++ champion for Clang, and hopes to work out the remaining GCC incompatibilities during Snow Leopard's lifetime.

    Clang brings with it the two headline attributes you anticipate in a hot, unique compiler: shorter compile times and faster executables. In Apple's testing with its own applications such as iCal, Address Book, and Xcode itself, plus third-party applications dote Adium and Growl, Clang compiles nearly three times faster than GCC 4.2. As for the accelerate of the finished product, the LLVM back-end, whether used in Clang or in LLVM-GCC, produces executables that are 5-25% faster than those generated by GCC 4.2.

    Clang is too more developer-friendly than its GCC predecessors. I concede that this topic doesn't possess much to accomplish with taking odds of multiple CPU cores and so on, but it's certain to subsist the first thing that a developer actually notices when using Clang. Indulge me.

    For starters, Clang is embeddable, so Xcode can spend the identical compiler infrastructure for interactive features within the IDE (symbol look-up, code completion, etc.) as it uses to compile the final executable. Clang too creates and preserves more extensive metadata while compiling, resulting in much better oversight reporting. For example, when GCC tells you this:

    GCC oversight
 message for an unknown type

    It's not exactly limpid what the problem is, especially if you're unique to C programming. Yes, barnone you hotshots already know what the problem is (especially if you saw this illustration at WWDC), but I account everyone can accord that this error, generated by Clang, is a lot more helpful:

    Clang oversight
 message for an unknown type

    Maybe a novice quiet wouldn't know what to do, but at least it's limpid where the problem lies. Figuring out why the compiler doesn't know about NSString is a much more focused stint than can subsist derived from GCC's cryptic error.

    Even when the message is clear, the context may not be. raise this oversight from GCC:

    GCC oversight
 message for disagreeable operands

    Sure, but there are four "+" operators on that separate line. Which one has the problematic operands? Thanks to its more extensive metadata, Clang can pinpoint the problem:

    Clang oversight
 message for disagreeable operands

    Sometimes the oversight is perfectly clear, but it just seems a bit off, dote this situation where jumping to the oversight as reported by GCC puts you on the line below where you actually want to add the missing semicolon:

    GCC oversight
 message for missing semicolon

    The limited things count, you know? Clang goes that extra mile:

    Clang oversight
 message for missing semicolon

    Believe it or not, stuff dote this means a lot to developers. And then there are the not-so-little things that beimportant even more, dote the LLVM-powered static analyzer. The image below shows how the static analyzer displays its discovery of a feasible bug.

    OH HAI I establish UR BUGOH HAI I establish UR BUG

    Aside from the whimsy of the limited arrows (which, admit it, are adorable), the actual bug it's highlighting is something that every programmer can imagine creating (say, through some hasty editing). The static analyzer has determined that there's at least one path through this set of nested conditionals that leaves the myName variable uninitialized, thus making the attempt to dispatch the mutableCopy message in the final line potentially dangerous.

    I'm certain Apple is going hog-wild running the static analyzer on barnone of its applications and the operating system itself. The prospect of an automated artery to discover bugs that may possess existed for years in the depths of a huge codebase is almost pornographic to developers—platform owners in particular. To the degree that Mac OS X 10.6.0 is more bug-free than the previous 10.x.0 releases, LLVM surely deserves some significant section of the credit.

    Master of the house

    By committing to a Clang/LLVM-powered future, Apple has finally taken complete control of its evolution platform. The CodeWarrior undergo apparently convinced Apple that it's unwise to trust on a third party for its platform's evolution tools. Though it's taken many years, I account even the most diehard Metrowerks fan would possess to accord that Xcode in Snow Leopard is now a pretty damn respectable IDE.

    After years of struggling with the disconnect between the goals of the GCC project and its own compiler needs, Apple has finally lop the apron strings. OK, granted, GCC 4.2 is quiet the default compiler in Snow Leopard, but this is a transitional phase. Clang is the recommended compiler, and the focus of barnone of Apple's future efforts.

    I know what you're thinking. This is swell and all, but how are these compilers helping developers better leverage the expanding swarm of transistors at their disposal? As you'll view in the following sections, LLVM's scaly, metallic head pops up in a few key places.


    In Snow Leopard, Apple has introduced a C language extension called "blocks." Blocks add closures and anonymous functions to C and the C-derived languages C++, Objective-C, and Objective C++.

    These features possess been available in dynamic programming languages such as Lisp, Smalltalk, Perl, Python, Ruby, and even the unassuming JavaScript for a long time (decades, in the case of Lisp—a fact gladly offered by its practitioners). While dynamic-language programmers raise closures and anonymous functions for granted, those who work with more traditional, statically compiled languages such as C and its derivatives may find them quite exotic. As for non-programmers, they likely possess no interest in this topic at all. But I'm going to attempt an explanation nonetheless, as blocks form the foundation of some other effulgent technologies to subsist discussed later.

    Perhaps the simplest artery to interpret blocks is that they design functions another form of data. C-derived languages already possess duty pointers, which can subsist passed around dote data, but these can only point to functions created at compile time. The only artery to influence the behavior of such a duty is by passing different arguments to the duty or by setting global variables which are then accessed from within the function. Both of these approaches possess large disadvantages

    Passing arguments becomes cumbersome as their number and complexity grows. Also, it may subsist that you possess limited control over the arguments that will subsist passed to your function, as is often the case with callbacks. To compensate, you may possess to bundle up barnone of your effulgent condition into a context remonstrate of some kind. But when, how, and by whom that context data will subsist disposed of can subsist difficult to pin down. Often, a second callback is required for this. It's barnone quite a pain.

    As for the spend of global variables, in addition to being a well-known anti-pattern, it's too not thread-safe. To design it so requires locks or some other form of mutual exclusion to prevent multiple invocations of the identical duty from stepping on each other's toes. And if there's anything worse than navigating a sea of callback-based APIs, it's manually dealing with thread safety issues.

    Blocks bypass barnone of these problems by allowing functional blobs of code—blocks—to subsist defined at runtime. It's easiest to understand with an example. I'm going to start by using JavaScript, which has a bit friendlier syntax, but the concepts are the same.

    b = get_number_from_user(); multiplier = function(a) { recrudesce a * b };

    Here I've created a duty named multiplier that takes a separate argument, a, and multiplies it by a second value, b, that's provided by the user at runtime. If the user supplied the number 2, then a convoke to multiplier(5) would recrudesce the value 10.

    b = get_number_from_user(); // assume it's 2 multiplier = function(a) { recrudesce a * b }; r = multiplier(5); // 5 * 2 = 10

    Here's the illustration above done with blocks in C.

    b = get_number_from_user(); // assume it's 2 multiplier = ^ int (int a) { recrudesce a * b; }; r = multiplier(5); // 5 * 2 = 10

    By comparing the JavaScript code to the C version, I hope you can view how it works. In the C example, that limited caret ^ is the key to the syntax for blocks. It's kindly of ugly, but it's very C-like in that it parallels the existing C syntax for duty pointers, with ^ in plot of *, as this illustration illustrates:

    /* A duty that takes a separate integer argument and returns a pointer to a duty that takes two integer arguments and returns a floating-point number. */ float (*func2(int a))(int, int); /* A duty that takes a separate integer argument and returns a block that takes two integer arguments and returns a floating-point number. */ float (^func1(int a))(int, int);

    You'll just possess to trust me when I Tell you that this syntax actually makes sense to seasoned C programmers.

    Now then, does this beimportant that C is suddenly a dynamic, high-level language dote JavaScript or Lisp? Hardly. The existing distinction between the stack and the heap, the rules governing automatic and static variables, and so on are barnone quiet in replete effect. Plus, now there's a entire unique set of rules for how blocks interact with each of these things. There's even a unique __block storage nature ascribe to further control the scope and lifetime of values used in blocks.

    All of that said, blocks are quiet a huge win in C. Thanks to blocks, the friendlier APIs long enjoyed by dynamic languages are now feasible in C-derived languages. For example, suppose you want to apply some operation to every line in a file. To accomplish so in a low-level language dote C requires some amount of boilerplate code to open and read from the file, wield any errors, read each line into a buffer, and clean up at the end.

    FILE *fp = fopen(filename, "r"); if (fp == NULL) { perror("Unable to open file"); } else { char line[MAX_LINE]; while (fgets(line, MAX_LINE, fp)) { work; work; work; } fclose(fp); }

    The section in bold is an abstract representation of what you're planning to accomplish to each line of the file. The relaxation is the literal boilerplate code. If you find yourself having to apply varying operations to every line of many different files, this boilerplate code gets tedious.

    What you'd dote to subsist able to accomplish is factor it out into a duty that you can call. But then you're faced with the problem of how to express the operation you'd dote to achieve on each line of the file. In the middle of each block of boilerplate may subsist many lines of code expressing the operation to subsist applied. This code may reference or modify local variables which are affected by the runtime behavior of the program, so traditional duty pointers won't work. What to do?

    Thanks to blocks, you can define a duty that takes a filename and a block as arguments. This gets barnone the uninteresting code out of your face.

    foreach_line(filename, ^ (char *line) { work; work; work; });

    What's left is a much clearer expression of your intent, with less surrounding noise. The argument after filename is a literal block that takes a line of text as an argument.

    Even when the volume of boilerplate is small, the simplicity and clarity gratuity is quiet worthwhile. account the simplest feasible loop that executes a fixed number of times. In C-based languages, even that basic construct offers a surprising number of opportunities for bugs. Let's do_something() 10 times:

    for (int i = 0; i <= 10; i++) { do_something(); }

    Oops, I've got a limited bug there, don't I? It happens to the best of us. But why should this code subsist more complicated than the sentence describing it. accomplish something 10 times! I never want to screw that up again. Blocks can help. If they just invest a limited application up front to define a helper function:

    typedef void (^work_t)(void); void repeat(int n, work_t block) { for (int i = 0; i < n; ++i) block(); }

    We can transport the bug for good. Now, repeating any whimsical block of code a specific number of times is barnone but idiot-proof:

    repeat(10, ^{ do_something() }); repeat(20, ^{ do_other_thing() });

    And remember, the block argument to repeat() can contain exactly the identical kindly of code, literally copied and pasted, that would possess appeared within a traditional for loop.

    All these possibilities and more possess been well explored by dynamic languages: map, reduce, collect, etc. Welcome, C programmers, to a higher order.

    Apple has taken these lessons to heart, adding over 100 unique APIs that spend blocks in Snow Leopard. Many of these APIs would not subsist feasible at barnone without blocks, and barnone of them are more elegant and concise than they would subsist otherwise.

    It's Apple goal to submit blocks as an official extension to one or more of the C-based languages, though it's not yet limpid which standards bodies are receptive to the proposal. For now, blocks are supported by barnone four of Apple's compilers in Mac OS X.

    Concurrency in the existent world: a prelude

    The struggle to design efficient spend of a large number of independent computing devices is not new. For decades, the bailiwick of high-performance computing has tackled this problem. The challenges faced by people writing software for supercomputers many years ago possess now trickled down to desktop and even mobile computing platforms.

    In the PC industry, some people saw this coming earlier than others. Almost 20 years ago, subsist Inc. was formed around the thought of creating a PC platform unconstrained by legacy limitations and entirely prepared for the coming abundance of independent computing units on the desktop. To that end, subsist created the BeBox, a dual-CPU desktop computer, and BeOS, a brand-new operating system.

    The signature entangle phrase for BeOS was "pervasive multithreading." The BeBox and other machines running BeOS leveraged every ounce of the diminutive (by today's standards, anyway) computing resources at their disposal. The demos were impressive. A dual 66 MHz machine (don't design me note another graph) could play multiple videos simultaneously while too playing several audio tracks from a CD—some backwards— and barnone the while, the user interface remained completely responsive.

    Let me Tell you, having lived through this era myself, the undergo was mind-blowing at the time. BeOS created instant converts out of hundreds of technology enthusiasts, many of whom maintain that today's desktop computing undergo quiet doesn't match the responsiveness of BeOS. This is certainly loyal emotionally, if not necessarily literally.

    After nearly purchasing subsist in the late 1990s, Apple bought NeXT instead, and the relaxation is history. But had Apple gone with scheme subsist instead, Mac developers might possess had a rugged road ahead. While barnone that pervasive multithreading made for impressive technology demos and a much user experience, it could subsist extremely demanding on the programmer. BeOS was barnone about threads, going so far as to maintain a part thread for each window. Whether you liked it or not, your BeOS program was going to subsist multithreaded.

    Parallel programming is notoriously hard, with the manual management of POSIX-style threads representing the profound pause of that pool. The best programmers in the world are hard-pressed to create large multithreaded programs in low-level languages dote C or C++ without finding themselves impaled on the spikes of deadlock, race conditions, and other perils inherent in the spend of in multiple simultaneous threads of execution that participate the identical reminiscence space. Extremely heedful application of locking primitives is required to avoid performance-robbing levels of contention for shared data—and the bugs, oh the bugs! The term "Heisenbug" may as well possess been invented for multithreaded programming.

    Nineteen years after subsist tilted at the windmill of the widening swath of silicon in desktop PCs, the challenge has only grown. Those transistors are out there, man—more than ever before. Single-threaded programs on today's high-end desktop Macs, even when using "100%" CPU, extend but a separate glowing tower in a sea of sixteen otherwise blank lanes on a CPU monitor window.

    A wide-open plain of transistorsA wide-open plain of transistors

    And woe subsist unto the user if that pegged CPU core is running the main thread of a GUI application on Mac OS X. A CPU-saturated main thread means no unique user inputs are being pulled off the event queue by the application. A few seconds of that and an old-fashioned friend makes its appearance: the spinning beach ball of death.


    Nooooooooo!!! Image from The Iconfactory

    This is the enemy: hardware with more computing resources than programmers know what to accomplish with, most of it completely idle, and barnone the while the user is utterly blocked in his attempts to spend the current application. What's Snow Leopard's answer? Read on…

    Grand Central Dispatch Apple's GCD branding: <a href="">Railfan</a> <a href="">service</a>Apple's GCD branding: Railfan service

    Snow Leopard's acknowledge to the concurrency conundrum is called grandiose Central Dispatch (GCD). As with QuickTime X, the designation is extremely apt, though this is not entirely limpid until you understand the technology.

    The first thing to know about GCD is that it's not a unique Cocoa framework or similar special-purpose frill off to the side. It's a plain C library baked into the lowest levels of Mac OS X. (It's in libSystem, which incorporates libc and the other code that sits at the very bottom of userspace.)

    There's no requisite to link in a unique library to spend GCD in your program. Just #include <dispatch/dispatch.h> and you're off to the races. The fact that GCD is a C library means that it can subsist used from barnone of the C-derived languages supported on Mac OS X: Objective-C, C++, and Objective-C++.

    Queues and threads

    GCD is built on a few simple entities. Let's start with queues. A queue in GCD is just what it sounds like. Tasks are enqueued, and then dequeued in FIFO order. (That's "First In, First Out," just dote the checkout line at the supermarket, for those who don't know and don't want to ensue the link.) Dequeuing the stint means handing it off to a thread where it will execute and accomplish its actual work.

    Though GCD queues will hand tasks off to threads in FIFO order, several tasks from the identical queue may subsist running in parallel at any given time. This animation demonstrates.

    A grandiose Central Dispatch queue in action

    You'll notice that stint B completed before stint A. Though dequeuing is FIFO, stint completion is not. too note that even though there were three tasks enqueued, only two threads were used. This is an necessary feature of GCD which we'll argue shortly.

    But first, let's watch at the other kindly of queue. A serial queue works just dote a conventional queue, except that it only executes one stint at a time. That means stint completion in a serial queue is too FIFO. Serial queues can subsist created explicitly, just dote conventional queues, but each application too has an implicit "main queue" which is a serial queue that runs on the main thread.

    The animation above shows threads appearing as work needs to subsist done, and disappearing as they're no longer needed. Where accomplish these threads foster from and where accomplish they Go when they're done? GCD maintains a global pool of threads which it hands out to queues as they're needed. When a queue has no more pending tasks to sprint on a thread, the thread goes back into the pool.

    This is an extremely necessary aspect of GCD's design. Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most difficult parts of extracting maximum performance using traditional, manually managed threads is figuring out exactly how many threads to create. Too few, and you risk leaving hardware idle. Too many, and you start to spend a significant amount of time simply shuffling threads in and out of the available processor cores.

    Let's screech a program has a problem that can subsist split into eight separate, independent units of work. If this program then creates four threads on an eight-core machine, is this an illustration of creating too many or too few threads? Trick question! The acknowledge is that it depends on what else is happening on the system.

    If six of the eight cores are totally saturated doing some other work, then creating four threads will just require the OS to squander time rotating those four threads through the two available cores. But wait, what if the process that was saturating those six cores finishes? Now there are eight available cores but only four threads, leaving half the cores idle.

    With the exception of programs that can reasonably anticipate to possess the entire machine to themselves when they run, there's no artery for a programmer to know ahead of time exactly how many threads he should create. Of the available cores on a particular machine, how many are in use? If more become available, how will my program know?

    The bottom line is that the optimal number of threads to withhold in flight at any given time is best determined by a single, globally alert entity. In Snow Leopard, that entity is GCD. It will withhold zero threads in its pool if there are no queues that possess tasks to run. As tasks are dequeued, GCD will create and dole out threads in a artery that optimizes the spend of the available hardware. GCD knows how many cores the system has, and it knows how many threads are currently executing tasks. When a queue no longer needs a thread, it's returned to the pool where GCD can hand it out to another queue that has a stint ready to subsist dequeued.

    There are further optimizations inherent in this scheme. In Mac OS X, threads are relatively heavyweight. Each thread maintains its own set of register values, stack pointer, and program counter, plus kernel data structures tracking its security credentials, scheduling priority, set of pending signals and signal masks, etc. It barnone adds up to over 512 KB of overhead per thread. Create a thousand threads and you've just burned about a half a gigabyte of reminiscence and kernel resources on overhead alone, before even considering the actual data within each thread.

    Compare a thread's 512 KB of baggage with GCD queues which possess a mere 256 bytes of overhead. Queues are very lightweight, and developers are encouraged to create as many of them as they need—thousands, even. In the earlier animation, when the queue was given two threads to process its three tasks, it executed two tasks on one of the threads. Not only are threads heavyweight in terms of reminiscence overhead, they're too relatively costly to create. Creating a unique thread for each stint would subsist the worst feasible scenario. Every time GCD can spend a thread to execute more than one task, it's a win for overall system efficiency.

    Remember the problem of the programmer trying to figure out how many threads to create? Using GCD, he doesn't possess to worry about that at all. Instead, he can concentrate entirely on the optimal concurrency of his algorithm in the abstract. If the best-case scenario for his problem would spend 500 concurrent tasks, then he can Go ahead and create 500 GCD queues and dispense his work among them. GCD will figure out how many actual threads to create to accomplish the work. Furthermore it will adjust the number of threads dynamically as the conditions on the system change.

    But perhaps most importantly, as unique hardware is released with more and more CPU cores, the programmer does not requisite to change his application at all. Thanks to GCD, it will transparently raise odds of any and barnone available computing resources, up to—but not past!—the optimal amount of concurrency as originally defined by the programmer when he chose how many queues to create.

    But wait, there's more! GCD queues can actually subsist arranged in arbitrarily tangled directed acyclic graphs. (Actually, they can subsist cyclic too, but then the behavior is undefined. Don't accomplish that.) Queue hierarchies can subsist used to funnel tasks from disparate subsystems into a narrower set of centrally controlled queues, or to coerce a set of conventional queues to delegate to a serial queue, effectively serializing them barnone indirectly.

    There are too several levels of priority for queues, dictating how often and with what urgency threads are distributed to them from the pool. Queues can subsist suspended, resumed, and cancelled. Queues can too subsist grouped, allowing barnone tasks distributed to the group to subsist tracked and accounted for as a unit.

    Overall, GCD's spend of queues and threads forms a simple, elegant, but too extremely pragmatic architecture.


    Okay, so GCD is a much artery to design efficient spend of the available hardware. But is it really any better than BeOS's approach to multithreading? We've already seen a few ways that GCD avoids the pitfalls of BeOS (e.g., the reuse of threads and the maintenance of a global pool of threads that's correctly sized for the available hardware). But what about the problem of overwhelming the programmer by requiring threads in places where they complicate, rather than enhance the application?

    GCD embodies a philosophy that is at the antithetical pause of the spectrum from BeOS's "pervasive multithreading" design. Rather than achieving responsiveness by getting every feasible component of an application running concurrently on its own thread (and paying a massive charge in terms of tangled data sharing and locking concerns), GCD encourages a much more limited, hierarchical approach: a main application thread where barnone the user events are processed and the interface is updated, and worker threads doing specific jobs as needed.

    In other words, GCD doesn't require developers to account about how best to split the work of their application into multiple concurrent threads (though when they're ready to accomplish that, GCD will subsist willing and able to help). At its most basic level, GCD aims to inspirit developers to accelerate from thinking synchronously to thinking asynchronous. Something dote this: "Write your application as usual, but if there's any section of its operation that can reasonably subsist expected to raise more than a few seconds to complete, then for the worship of Zarzycki, score it off the main thread!"

    That's it; no more, no less. Beach ball banishment is the cornerstone of user interface responsiveness. In some respects, everything else is gravy. But most developers know this intuitively, so why accomplish they quiet view the beach ball in Mac OS X applications? Why don't barnone applications already execute barnone of their potentially long-running tasks on background threads?

    A few reasons possess been mentioned already (e.g., the hardship of knowing how many threads to create) but the large one is much more pragmatic. Spinning off a thread and collecting its result has always been a bit of a pain. It's not so much that it's technically difficult, it's just that it's such an express demolish from coding the actual work of your application to coding barnone this task-management plumbing. And so, especially in borderline cases, dote an operation that may raise 3 to 5 seconds, developers just accomplish it synchronously and accelerate onto the next thing.

    Unfortunately, there's a surprising number of very common things that an application can accomplish that execute quickly most of the time, but possess the potential to raise much longer than a few seconds when something goes wrong. Anything that touches the file system may stall at the lowest levels of the OS (e.g., within blocking read() and write() calls) and subsist subject to a very long (or at least an "unexamined-by-the-application-developer") timeout. The identical goes for designation lookups (e.g., DNS or LDAP), which almost always execute instantly, but entangle many applications completely off-guard when they start taking their sweet time to recrudesce a result. Thus, even the most meticulously constructed Mac OS X applications can pause up throwing the beach ball in their physiognomy from time to time.

    With GCD, Apple is maxim it doesn't possess to subsist this way. For example, suppose a document-based application has a button that, when clicked, will dissect the current document and array some effulgent statistics about it. In the common case, this analysis should execute in under a second, so the following code is used to connect the button with an action:

    - (IBAction)analyzeDocument:(NSButton *)sender { NSDictionary *stats = [myDoc analyze]; [myModel setDict:stats]; [myStatsView setNeedsDisplay:YES]; [stats release]; }

    The first line of the duty body analyzes the document, the second line updates the application's internal state, and the third line tells the application that the statistics view needs to subsist updated to reflect this unique state. It barnone follows a very common pattern, and it works much as long as nopart of these steps—which are barnone running on the main thread, remember—takes too long. Because after the user presses the button, the main thread of the application needs to wield that user input as snappy as feasible so it can score back to the main event loop to process the next user action.

    The code above works much until a user opens a very large or very tangled document. Suddenly, the "analyze" step doesn't raise one or two seconds, but 15 or 30 seconds instead. Hello, beach ball. And still, the developer is likely to hem and haw: "This is really an exceptional situation. Most of my users will never open such a large file. And anyway, I really don't want to start reading documentation about threads and adding barnone that extra code to this simple, four-line function. The plumbing would dwarf the code that does the actual work!"

    Well, what if I told you that you could accelerate the document analysis to the background by adding just two lines of code (okay, and two lines of closing braces), barnone located within the existing function? No application-global objects, no thread management, no callbacks, no argument marshalling, no context objects, not even any additional variables. Behold, grandiose Central Dispatch:

    - (IBAction)analyzeDocument:(NSButton *)sender { dispatch_async(dispatch_get_global_queue(0, 0), ^{ NSDictionary *stats = [myDoc analyze]; dispatch_async(dispatch_get_main_queue(), ^{ [myModel setDict:stats]; [myStatsView setNeedsDisplay:YES]; [stats release]; }); }); }

    There's a hell of a lot of packed into those two lines of code. barnone of the functions in GCD launch with dispatch_, and you can view four such calls in the blue lines of code above. The key to the minimal invasiveness of this code is revealed in the second argument to the two dispatch_async() calls. Thus far, I've been discussing "units of work" without specifying how, exactly, GCD models such a thing. The answer, now revealed, should seem obvious in retrospect: blocks! The capacity of blocks to capture the surrounding context is what allows these GCD calls to subsist dropped birthright into some existing code without requiring any additional setup or re-factoring or other contortions in service of the API.

    But the best section of this code is how it deals with the problem of detecting when the background stint completes and then showing the result. In the synchronous code, the dissect system convoke and the code to update the application array simply show in the desired sequence within the function. In the asynchronous code, miraculously, this is quiet the case. Here's how it works.

    The outer dispatch_async() convoke puts a stint on a global concurrent GCD queue. That task, represented by the block passed as the second argument, contains the potentially time-consuming dissect system call, plus another convoke to dispatch_async() that puts a stint onto the main queue—a serial queue that runs on the main thread, remember—to update the application's user interface.

    User interface updates must barnone subsist done from the main thread in a Cocoa application, so the code in the inner block could not subsist executed anywhere else. But rather than having the background thread dispatch some kindly of special-purpose notification back to the main thread when the dissect system convoke completes (and then adding some code to the application to detect and wield this notification), the work that needs to subsist done on the main thread to update the array is encapsulated in yet another block within the larger one. When the dissect convoke is done, the inner block is withhold onto the main queue where it will (eventually) sprint on the main thread and accomplish its work of updating the display.

    Simple, elegant, and effective. And for developers, no more excuses.

    Believe it or not, it's just as light to raise a serial implementation of a succession of independent operations and parallelize it. The code below does work on matter elements of data, one after the other, and then summarizes the results once barnone the elements possess been processed.

    for (i = 0; i < count; i++) { results[i] = do_work(data, i); } total = summarize(results, count);

    Now here's the parallel version which puts a part stint for each constituent onto a global concurrent queue. (Again, it's up to GCD to elect how many threads to actually spend to execute the tasks.)

    dispatch_apply(count, dispatch_get_global_queue(0, 0), ^(size_t i) { results[i] = do_work(data, i); }); total = summarize(results, count);

    And there you possess it: a for loop replaced with a concurrency-enabled equivalent with one line of code. No preparation, no additional variables, no impossible decisions about the optimal number of threads, no extra work required to wait for barnone the independent tests to complete. (The dispatch_apply() convoke will not recrudesce until barnone the tasks it has dispatched possess completed.) Stunning.

    Grand Central Awesome

    Of barnone the APIs added in Snow Leopard, grandiose Central Dispatch has the most far-reaching implications for the future of Mac OS X. Never before has it been so light to accomplish work asynchronously and to spread workloads across many CPUs.

    When I first heard about grandiose Central Dispatch, I was extremely skeptical. The greatest minds in computer science possess been working for decades on the problem of how best to extract parallelism from computing workloads. Now here was Apple apparently promising to resolve this problem. Ridiculous.

    But grandiose Central Dispatch doesn't actually address this issue at all. It offers no succor whatsoever in deciding how to split your work up into independently executable tasks—that is, deciding what pieces can or should subsist executed asynchronously or in parallel. That's quiet entirely up to the developer (and quiet a tough problem). What GCD does instead is much more pragmatic. Once a developer has identified something that can subsist split off into a part task, GCD makes it as light and non-invasive as feasible to actually accomplish so.

    The spend of FIFO queues, and especially the actuality of serialized queues, seems counter to the spirit of ubiquitous concurrency. But we've seen where the Platonic model of multithreading leads, and it's not a pleasant plot for developers.

    One of Apple's slogans for grandiose Central Dispatch is "islands of serialization in a sea of concurrency." That does a much job of capturing the practical reality of adding more concurrency to run-of-the-mill desktop applications. Those islands are what seclude developers from the thorny problems of simultaneous data access, deadlock, and other pitfalls of multithreading. Developers are encouraged to identify functions of their applications that would subsist better executed off the main thread, even if they're made up of several sequential or otherwise partially interdependent tasks. GCD makes it light to demolish off the entire unit of work while maintaining the existing order and dependencies between subtasks.

    Those with some multithreaded programming undergo may subsist unimpressed with the GCD. So Apple made a thread pool. large deal. They've been around forever. But the angels are in the details. Yes, the implementation of queues and threads has an elegant simplicity, and baking it into the lowest levels of the OS really helps to lower the perceived barrier to entry, but it's the API built around blocks that makes grandiose Central Dispatch so attractive to developers. Just as Time Machine was "the first backup system people will actually use," grandiose Central Dispatch is poised to finally spread the heretofore dark technique of asynchronous application design to barnone Mac OS X developers. I can't wait.

    OpenCL Somehow, OpenCL got in on the <a href="">"core" branding</a>Somehow, OpenCL got in on the "core" branding

    So far, we've seen a few examples of doing more with more: a new, more modern compiler infrastructure that supports an necessary unique language feature, and a powerful, pragmatic concurrency API built on top of the unique compilers' champion for said language feature. barnone this goes a long artery towards helping developers and the OS itself design maximum spend of the available hardware.

    But CPUs are not the only components experiencing a glut of transistors. When it comes to the proliferation of independent computation engines, another piece of silicon inside every Mac is the undisputed title holder: the GPU.

    The numbers Tell the tale. While Mac CPUs contain up to four cores (which may note up as eight analytic cores thanks to symmetric multithreading), high-end GPUs contain well over 200 processor cores. While CPUs are just now edging over 100 GFLOPS, the best GPUs are capable of over 1,000 GFLOPS. That's one trillion floating-point operations per second. And dote CPUs, GPUs now foster more than one on a board.

    Writing for the GPU

    Unfortunately, the cores on a GPU are not general-purpose processors (at least not yet). They're much simpler computing engines that possess evolved from the fixed-function silicon of their ancestors that could not subsist programmed directly at all. They don't champion the loaded set of instructions available on CPUs, the maximum size of the programs that will sprint is often limited and very small, and not barnone of the features of the industry-standard IEEE floating-point computation specification are supported.

    Today's GPUs can subsist programmed, but the most common forms of programmability are quiet firmly planted in the world of graphics programming: vertex shaders, geometry shaders, pixel shaders. Most of the languages used to program GPUs are similarly graphically focused: HLSL, GLSL, Cg.

    Nevertheless, there are computational tasks outside the realm of graphics that are a respectable apt for GPU hardware. It would subsist nice if there were a non-graphics-oriented language to write them in. Creating such a thing is quite a challenge, however. GPU hardware varies wildly in every imaginable way: number and nature of execution units, available data formats, instruction sets, reminiscence architecture, you designation it. Programmers don't want to subsist exposed to these differences, but it's difficult to work around the complete need of a feature or the unavailability of a particular data type.

    GPU vendor NVIDIA gave it a shot, however, and produced CUDA: a subset of the C language with extensions for vector data types, data storage specifiers that reflect typical GPU reminiscence hierarchy, and several bundled computational libraries. CUDA is but one entrant in the burgeoning GPGPU bailiwick (General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units). But coming from a GPU vendor, it faces an uphill battle with developers who really want a vendor-agnostic solution.

    In the world of 3D programming, OpenGL fills that role. As you've surely guessed by now, OpenCL aims to accomplish the identical for general-purpose computation. In fact, OpenCL is supported by the identical consortium as OpenGL: the ominously named Khronos Group. But design no mistake, OpenCL is Apple's baby.

    Apple understood that OpenCL's best random of success was to become an industry standard, not just an Apple technology. To design that happen, Apple needed the cooperation of the top GPU vendors, plus an agreement with an established, widely-recognized standards body. It took a while, but now it's barnone foster together.

    OpenCL is a lot dote CUDA. It uses a C-like language with the vector extensions, it has a similar model of reminiscence hierarchy, and so on. This is no surprise, considering how closely Apple worked with NVIDIA during the evolution of OpenCL. There's too no artery any of the large GPU vendors would radically alter their hardware to champion an as-yet-unproven standard, so OpenCL had to work well with GPUs already designed to champion CUDA, GLSL, and other existing GPU programming languages.

    The OpenCL difference

    This is barnone well and good, but to possess any repercussion on the day-to-day life of Mac users, developers actually possess to spend OpenCL in their applications. Historically, GPGPU programming languages possess not seen much spend in traditional desktop applications. There are several reasons for this.

    Early on, writing programs for the GPU often required the spend of vendor-specific assembly languages that were far removed from the undergo of writing a typical desktop application using a concomitant GUI API. The more C-like languages that came later remained either graphics-focused, vendor-specific, or both. Unless running code on the GPU would accelerate a core component of an application by an order of magnitude, most developers quiet could not subsist bothered to navigate this foreign world.

    And even if the GPU did give a huge accelerate boost, relying on graphics hardware for general-purpose computation was very likely to narrow the potential audience for an application. Many older GPUs, especially those establish in laptops, cannot sprint languages dote CUDA at all.

    Apple's key conclusion in the design of OpenCL was to allow OpenCL programs to sprint not just on GPUs, but on CPUs as well. An OpenCL program can query the hardware it's running on and enumerate barnone eligible OpenCL devices, categorized as CPUs, GPUs, or dedicated OpenCL accelerators (the IBM Cell Blade server—yes, that Cell—is apparently one such device). The program can then dispatch its OpenCL tasks to any available device. It's too feasible to create a separate analytic device consisting of any combination of eligible computing resources: two GPUs, a GPU and two CPUs, etc.

    The advantages of being able to sprint OpenCL programs on both CPUs and GPUs are obvious. Every Mac running Snow Leopard, not just those with the recent-model GPUs, can sprint a program that contains OpenCL code. But there's more to it than that.

    Certain kinds of algorithms actually sprint faster on high-end multi-core CPUs than on even the very fastest available GPUs. At WWDC 2009, an engineer from Electronic Arts demonstrated an OpenCL port of a skinning engine from one of its games running over four times faster on a four-core Mac Pro than on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX285. Restructuring the algorithm and making many other changes to better suit the limitations (and strengths) of the GPU pushed it back ahead of the CPU by a wide margin, but sometimes you just want the system you possess to sprint well as-is. Being able to target the CPU is extremely useful in those cases.

    Moreover, writing vector code for Intel CPUs "the old-fashioned way" can subsist a existent pain. There's MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, and SSE4 to deal with, barnone with slightly different capabilities, and barnone of which coerce the programmer to write code dote this:

    r1 = _mm_mul_ps(m1, _mm_add_ps(x1, x2));

    OpenCL's indigenous champion for vector types de-clutters the code considerably:

    r1 = m1 * (x1 + x2);

    Similarly, OpenCL's champion for implicit parallelism makes it much easier to raise odds of multiple CPU cores. Rather than writing barnone the logic to split your data into pieces and dispense those pieces to the parallel-computing hardware, OpenCL lets you write just the code to operate on a separate piece of the data and then dispatch it, along with the entire block of data and the desired smooth of parallelism, to the computing device.

    This arrangement is taken for granted in traditional graphics programming, where code implicitly works on barnone pixels in a texture or barnone vertices in a polygon; the programmer only needs to write code that will exist in the "inner loop," so to speak. An API with champion for this kindly of parallelism that runs on CPUs as well as GPUs fills an necessary gap.

    Writing to OpenCL too future-proofs task- or data-parallel code. Just as the identical OpenGL code will score faster and faster as newer, more powerful GPUs are released, so too will OpenCL code achieve better as CPUs and GPUs score faster. The extra layer of abstraction that OpenCL provides makes this possible. For example, though vector code written several years ago using MMX got faster as CPU clock speeds increased, a more significant performance boost likely requires porting the code to one of the newer SSE instruction sets.

    As newer, more powerful vector instruction sets and parallel hardware becomes available, Apple will update its OpenCL implementations to raise odds of them, just as video card makers and OS vendors update their OpenGL drivers to raise odds of faster GPUs. Meanwhile, the application developer's code remains unchanged. Not even a recompile is required.

    Here subsist dragons (and trains)

    How, you may wonder, can the identical compiled code pause up executing using SSE2 on one machine and SSE4 on another, or on an NVIDIA GPU on one machine and an ATI GPU on another? To accomplish so would require translating the device-independent OpenCL code to the instruction set of the target computing device at runtime. When running on a GPU, OpenCL must too ship the data and the newly translated code over to the video card and collect the results at the end. When running on the CPU, OpenCL must organize for the requested smooth of parallelism by creating and distributing threads appropriately to the available cores.

    Well, wouldn't you know it? Apple just happens to possess two technologies that resolve these exact problems.

    Want to compile code "just in time" and ship it off to a computing device? That's what LLVM was born to do—and, indeed, what Apple did with it in Leopard, albeit on a more limited scale. OpenCL is a natural extension of that work. LLVM allows Apple to write a separate code generator for each target instruction set, and concentrate barnone of its application on a separate device-independent code optimizer. There's no longer any requisite to duplicate these tasks, using one compiler to create the static application executable and having to jury-rig another for just-in-time compilation.

    (Oh, and by the way, remember Core Image? That's another API that needs to compile code just-in-time and ship it off to execute on parallel hardware dote GPUs and multi-core CPUs. In Snow Leopard, Core Image has been re-implemented using OpenCL, producing a hefty 25% overall performance boost.)

    To wield stint parallelism and provision threads, OpenCL is built on top of grandiose Central Dispatch. This is such a natural apt that it's a bit surprising that the OpenCL API doesn't spend blocks. I account Apple decided that it shouldn't press its luck when it comes to getting its home-grown technologies adopted by other vendors. This conclusion already seems to subsist paying off, as AMD has its own OpenCL implementation under way.

    The top of the pyramid

    Though the underlying technologies, Clang, blocks and grandiose Central Dispatch, will undoubtedly subsist more widely used by developers, OpenCL represents the culmination of that particular technological thread in Snow Leopard. This is the gold measure of software engineering: creating a unique public API by building it on top of lower-level, but equally well-designed and implemented public APIs.

    A unified abstraction for the ever-growing heterogeneous collection of parallel computing silicon in desktop computers was sorely needed. We've got an increasing population of powerful CPU cores, but they quiet exist in numbers that are orders of magnitude lower than the hundreds of processing units in modern GPUs. On the other hand, GPUs quiet possess a ways to Go to entangle up with the power and flexibility of a full-fledged CPU core. But even with barnone the differences, writing code exclusively for either one of those worlds quiet smacks of leaving money on the table.

    With OpenCL in hand, there's no longer a requisite to withhold barnone your eggs in one silicon basket. And with the advent of hybrid CPU/GPU efforts dote Intel's Larabee, which spend CPU-caliber processing engines, but in much higher numbers, OpenCL may prove even more necessary in the coming years.

    Transistor harvest

    Collectively, the concurrency-enabling features introduced in Snow Leopard limn the biggest boost to asynchronous and parallel software evolution in any Mac OS X release—perhaps in any desktop operating system release ever. It may subsist hard for end-users to score excited about "plumbing" technologies dote grandiose Central Dispatch and OpenCL, let solitary compilers and programming language features, but it's upon these foundations that developers will create ever-more-impressive edifices of software. And if those applications tower over their synchronous, serial predecessors, it will subsist because they stand on the shoulders of giants.

    QuickTime Player's unique icon (Not a fan)QuickTime Player's unique icon (Not a fan) QuickTime Player

    There's been some confusion surrounding QuickTime in Snow Leopard. The earlier section about QuickTime X explains what you requisite to know about the present and future of QuickTime as a technology and an API. But a few of Apple's decisions—and the extremely overloaded signification of the word "QuickTime" in the minds of consumers—have blurred the picture somewhat.

    The first head-scratcher occurs during installation. If you befall to click on the "Customize…" button during installation, you'll view the following options:

    QuickTime 7 is an optional install?QuickTime 7 is an optional install?

    We've already talked about Rosetta being an optional install, but QuickTime 7 too? Isn't QuickTime severely crippled without QuickTime 7? Why in the world would that subsist an optional install?

    Well, there's no requisite to panic. That particular in the installer should actually read "QuickTime Player 7." QuickTime 7, the old-fashioned but extremely capable media framework discussed earlier, is installed by default in Snow Leopard—in fact, it's mandatory. But the player application, the one with the old-fashioned blue "Q" icon, the one that many casual users actually account of as being "QuickTime," that's been replaced with a unique QuickTime-X-savvy version sporting a pudgy unique icon (see above right).

    The unique player application is a large departure from the old. Obviously, it leverages QuickTime X for more efficient video playback, but the user interface is too completely new. Gone are the gray border and bottom-mounted playback controls from the old-fashioned QuickTime Player, replaced by a frameless window with a black title bar and a floating, moveable set of controls.

    The unique QuickTime Player: boldly going where <a href="">NicePlayer</a> has gone before Enlarge / The unique QuickTime Player: boldly going where NicePlayer has gone before

    It's dote a combination of the window treatment of the excellent NicePlayer application and the full-screen playback controls from the old-fashioned QuickTime Player. I'm a bit bothered by two things. First, the ever-so-slightly clipped corners seem dote a disagreeable idea. Am I just suppositious to give up those dozen-or-so pixels? NicePlayer does it right, showing crisp, square corners.

    Second, the floating playback controls obscure the movie. What if I'm scrubbing around looking for something in that section of the frame? Yes, you can accelerate the controls, but what if I'm looking for something in an unknown location in the frame? Also, the title bar obscures an entire swath of the top of the frame, and this can't subsist moved. I treasure the compactness of this approach, but it'd subsist nice if the title bar overlap could subsist disabled and the controls could subsist dragged off the movie entirely and docked to the bottom or something.

    (One blessing for people who participate my OCD tendencies: if you accelerate the floating controls, they don't remember their position the next time you open a movie. Why is that a blessing? Because if it worked the other way, we'd barnone spend artery too much time fretting about their inability to restore the controller to its default, precisely centered position. Sad, but true.)

    The unique QuickTime Player presents a decidedly iMovie-like (or is it iPhone-like, nowadays?) interface for trimming video. Still-frame thumbnails are placed side-by-side to form a timeline, with adjustable stops at each pause for trimming.

    Trimming in the unique QuickTime Player Enlarge / Trimming in the unique QuickTime Player

    Holding down the option key changes from a thumbnail timeline to an audio waveform display:

    Trimming with audio waveform view Enlarge / Trimming with audio waveform view

    In both the video and audio cases, I possess to sensation exactly how useful the fancy timeline appearances are. The audio waveform is quite miniature and compressed, and the limited horizontal space of the in-window array means a movie can only note a handful of video frames in its timeline. Also, if there's any capacity to accomplish fine adjustments using something other than extremely heedful mouse movements (which are necessarily subject to a limited resolution) then I couldn't find it. Final lop Pro this is not.

    QuickTime Player has erudite another unique trick: screen recording. The controls are limited, so more demanding users will quiet possess a requisite for a full-featured screen recorder, but QuickTime Player gets the job done.

    Screen recording in QuickTime PlayerScreen recording in QuickTime Player

    There's too an audio-only option, with a similarly simplified collection of settings.

    Audio recordingAudio recording

    Finally, the unique QuickTime Player has the capacity to upload a movie directly to YouTube and MobileMe, dispatch one via e-mail, or add it to your iTunes library. The export options are too vastly simplified, with preset options for iPhone/iPod, Apple TV, and HD 480p and 720p.

    Unfortunately, the list of things you can't accomplish with the unique QuickTime Player is quite long. You can't cut, copy, and paste whimsical portions of a movie (trimming only affects the ends); you can't extract or delete individual tracks or overlay one track onto another (optionally scaling to fit); you can't export a movie by choosing from the replete set of available QuickTime audio and video codecs. barnone of these things were feasible with the old-fashioned QuickTime Player—if, that is, you paid the $30 for a QuickTime Pro license. In the past, I've described this extra fee as "criminally stupid", but the features it enabled in QuickTime Player were really useful.

    It's tempting to ascribe their absence in the unique QuickTime Player to the previously discussed limitations of QuickTime X. But the unique QuickTime Player is built on top of QTKit, which serves as a front-end for both QuickTime X and QuickTime 7. And it does, after all, feature some limited editing features dote trimming, plus some previously "Pro"-only features dote full-screen playback. Also, the unique QuickTime Player can indeed play movies using third-party plug-ins—a feature clearly powered by QuickTime 7.

    Well, Snow Leopard has an extremely pleasant surprise waiting for you if you install the optional QuickTime Player 7. When I did so, what I got was the old-fashioned QuickTime Player—somewhat insultingly installed in the "Utilities" folder—with barnone of its "Pro" features permanently unlocked. Yes, the tyranny of QuickTime Pro seems to subsist at an end…

    QuickTime Pro: now free for everyone?QuickTime Pro: now free for everyone?

    …but perhaps the key word above is "seems," because QuickTime Player 7 does not possess barnone "pro" features unlocked for everyone. I installed Snow Leopard onto an blank disk, and QuickTime 7 was not automatically installed (as it is when the installer detects an existing QuickTime Pro license on the target disk). After booting from my fresh Snow Leopard volume, I manually installed the "QuickTime 7" optional component using the Snow Leopard installer disk.

    The result for me was a QuickTime Player 7 application with barnone pro features unlocked and with no visible QuickTime Pro registration information. I did, however, possess a QuickTime Pro license on one of the attached drives. Apparently, the installer detected this and gave me an unlocked QuickTime Player 7 application, even though the boot volume never had a QuickTime Pro license on it.

    The Dock

    The unique appearance of some aspects of the Dock are accompanied by some unique functionality as well. Clicking and holding on a running application's Dock icon now triggers Expos�, but only for the windows belonging to that application. Dragging a file onto a docked application icon and holding it there for a bit produces the identical result. You can then continue that identical drag onto one of the Exposé window thumbnails and hover there a bit to bring that window to the front and drop the file into it. It's a pretty handy technique, once you score in the usage of doing it.

    The Exposé array itself is too changed. Now, minimized windows are displayed in smaller form on the bottom of the screen below a thin line.

    Dock Exposé with unique placement of minimized windows Enlarge / Dock Exposé with unique placement of minimized windows

    In the screenshot above, you'll notice that nopart of the minimized windows show in my Dock. That's thanks to another welcome addition: the capacity to minimize windows "into" the application icon. You'll find the setting for this in the Dock's preference pane.

    New Dock preference: Minimize windows into application iconNew Dock preference: Minimize windows into application icon Minimized windows in a Dock application menuMinimized window denoted by a diamond

    Once set, minimized windows will slip behind the icon of their parent application and then disappear. To score them back, either right-click the application icon (see right) or trigger Exposé.

    The Dock's grid view for folders now incorporates a scroll bar when there are too many items to apt comfortably. Clicking on a folder icon in the grid now shows that folder's contents within the grid, allowing you to navigate down several folders to find a buried item. A miniature "back" navigation button appears once you descend.

    These are barnone useful unique behaviors, and quite a gratuity considering the suppositious "no unique features" stance of Snow Leopard. But the fundamental nature of the Dock remains the same. Users who want a more flexible or more powerful application launcher/folder organizer/window minimization system must quiet either sacrifice some functionality (e.g., Dock icon badges and bounce notifications) or continue to spend the Dock in addition to a third-party application.

    The option to withhold minimized windows from cluttering up the Dock was long overdue. But my enthusiasm is tempered by my frustration at the continued inability to click on a docked folder and possess it open in the Finder, while too retaining the capacity to drag items into that folder. This was the default behavior for docked folders for the first six years of Mac OS X's life, but it changed in Leopard. Snow Leopard does not ameliorate matters.

    Docking an alias to a folder provides the single-click-open behavior, but items cannot subsist dragged into a docked folder alias for some inexplicable reason. (Radar 5775786, closed in March 2008 with the terse explanation, "not currently supported.") Worse, dragging an particular to a docked folder alias looks dote it will work (the icon highlights) but upon release, the dragged particular simply springs back to its original location. I really hoped this one would score fixed in Snow Leopard. No such luck.

    Dock grid view's in-place navigation with back buttonDock grid view's in-place navigation with back button The Finder

    One of the earliest leaked screenshots of Snow Leopard included an innocuous-looking "Get Info…" window for the Finder, presumably to note that its version number had been updated to 10.6. The more effulgent tidbit of information it revealed was that the Finder in Snow Leopard was a 64-bit application.

    The Mac OS X Finder started its life as the designated "dog food" application for the Carbon backward-compatibility API for Mac OS X. Over the years, the Finder has been a frequent target of dissatisfaction and scorn. Those disagreeable feelings frequently spilled over into the parallel debate over API supremacy: Carbon vs. Cocoa.

    "The Finder sucks because it's a Carbon app. What they requisite is a Cocoa Finder! Surely that will resolve barnone their woes." Well, Snow Leopard features a 64-bit Finder, and as they barnone know, Carbon was not ported to 64-bit. Et voila! A Cocoa Finder in Snow Leopard. (More on the woes in a bit.)

    The conversion to Cocoa followed the Snow Leopard formula: no unique features… except for maybe one or two. And so, the "new" Cocoa Finder looks and works almost exactly dote the old-fashioned Carbon Finder. The biggest indicator of its "Cocoa-ness" is the extensive spend of Core Animation transitions. For example, when a Finder window does its schizophrenic transformation from a sidebar-bedecked browser window to its minimally-adorned form, it no longer happens in a blink. Instead, the sidebar slides away and fades, the toolbar shrinks, and everything tucks in to form its unique shape.

    Despite crossing the line in a few cases, the Core Animation transitions accomplish design the application feel more polished, and yes, "more Cocoa." And presumably the spend of Cocoa made it so darn light to add features that the developers just couldn't resist throwing in a few.

    The number-one feature request from massive column-view users has finally been implemented: sortable columns. The sort order applies to barnone columns at once, which isn't as nice as per-column sorting, but it's much better than nothing at all. The sort order can subsist set using a menu command (each of which has a keyboard shortcut) or by right-clicking in an unoccupied district of a column and selecting from the resulting context menu.

    Column view sorting context menu Enlarge / Column view sorting context menu Column view sorting menu Enlarge / Column view sorting menu

    Even the lowly icon view has been enhanced in Snow Leopard. Every icon-view window now includes a miniature slider to control the size of the icons.

    The Finder's icon view with its unique slider controlThe Finder's icon view with its unique slider control

    This may seem a bit odd—how often accomplish people change icon sizes?—but it makes much more sense in the context of previewing images in the Finder. This spend case is made even more germane by the recent expansion of the maximum icon size to 512x512 pixels.

    The icon previews themselves possess been enhanced to better match the abilities available in Quick Look. withhold it barnone together and you can smoothly zoom a miniature PDF icon, for example, into the impressively high-fidelity preview shown below, complete with the capacity to turn pages. One press of the space bar and you'll progress to the even larger and more flexible Quick watch view. It's a pretty smooth experience.

    Not your father's icon: 512x512 pixels of multi-page PDF previewingNot your father's icon: 512x512 pixels of multi-page PDF previewing

    QuickTime previews possess been similarly enhanced. As you zoom in on the icon, it transforms into a miniature movie player, adorned with an odd circular progress indicator. Assuming users are willing to wrangle with the vagaries of the Finder's view settings successfully enough to score icon view to stick for the windows where it's most useful, I account that odd limited slider is actually going to score a lot of use.

    The Finder's QuickTime preview. (The "glare" overlay is a bit much.)The Finder's QuickTime preview. (The "glare" overlay is a bit much.)

    List view too has a few enhancements—accidental, incidental, or otherwise. The drag district for each list view particular now spans the entire line. In Leopard, though the entire line was highlighted, only the file designation or icon portion could subsist dragged. Trying to drag anywhere else just extended the selection to other items in the list view as the cursor was moved. I'm not certain whether this change in behavior is intentional or if it's just an unexamined consequence of the underlying control used for list view in the unique Cocoa Finder. Either way, thumbs up.

    Double-clicking on the dividing line between two column headers in list view will "right-size" that column. For most columns, this means expanding or shrinking to minimally apt the widest value in the column. Date headers will progressively shrink to note less verbose date formats. Supposedly, this worked intermittently in Leopard as well. But whether Cocoa is bringing this feature for the first time or is just making it work correctly for the first time, it's a change for the better.

    Searching using the Finder's browser view is greatly improved by the implementation of one of those limited things that many users possess been clamoring for year after year. There's now a preference to select the default scope of the search bailiwick in the Finder window toolbar. Can I score an amen?

    Default Finder search location: configurable at last.Default Finder search location: configurable at last.

    Along similar lines, there are other long-desired enhancements that will Go a long artery towards making the desktop environment feel more solid. A respectable illustration is the improved handling of the dreaded "cannot eject, disk in use" error. The obvious follow-up question from the user is, "Okay, so what's using it?" Snow Leopard finally provides that information.

    No more guessingNo more guessing

    (Yes, Mac OS X will spurn to oust a disk if your current working directory in a command-line shell is on that disk. kindly of cool, but too kindly of annoying.)

    Another feasible user response to a disk-in-use oversight is, "I don't care. I'm in a hurry. Just oust it!" That's an option now as well.

    Forcible ejection in progressForcible ejection in progress

    Hm, but why did I score information about the offending application in one dialog, an option to coerce ejection in the other, but neither one presented both choices? It's a mystery to me, but presumably it's related to exactly what information the Finder has about the contention for the disk. (As always, the lsof command is available if you want to figure it out the old-fashioned way.)


    So does the unique Cocoa Finder finally transport barnone of those embarrassing bugs from the bad-old days of Carbon? Not quite. This is essentially the "1.0" release of the Cocoa Finder, and it has its participate of 1.0 bugs. Here's one discovered by Glen Aspeslagh (see image right).

    Do you view it? If not, watch closer at the order of the dates in the supposedly sorted "Date Modified" column. So yeah, that old-fashioned Finder magic has not been entirely extinguished.

    There too remains some weirdness in the operation of the icon grid. In a view where grid snap is turned on (or is enabled transiently by holding down the command key during a drag) icons seem terrified of each other, leaving huge distances between themselves and their neighbors when they select which grid spot to snap to. It's as if the Finder lives in mortal solicitude that one of these files will someday score a 200-character filename that will overlap with a neighboring file's name.

    The worst incarnation of this behavior happens along the birthright edge of the screen where mounted volumes show on the desktop. (Incidentally, this is not the default; if you want to view disks on your desktop, you must enable this preference in the Finder.) When I mount a unique disk, I'm often surprised to view where it ends up appearing. If there are any icons remotely nearby to the birthright edge of the screen, the disk icon will spurn to show there. Again, the Finder is not avoiding any actual designation or icon overlapping. It appears to subsist avoiding the mere possibility of overlapping at some unspecified point in the future. Silly.

    Finder report card

    Overall, the Snow Leopard Finder takes several significant steps forward—64-bit/Cocoa future-proofing, a few new, useful features, added polish—and only a few shuffles backwards with the slight overuse of animation and the continued presence of some puzzling bugs. Considering how long it took the Carbon Finder to score to its pre-Snow-Leopard feature set and smooth of polish, it's quite an achievement for a Cocoa Finder to match or exceed its predecessor in its very first release. I'm certain the Carbon vs. Cocoa warriors would possess had a bailiwick day with that statement, were Carbon not withhold out to pasture in Leopard. But it was, and to the victor Go the spoils.


    Snow Leopard's headline "one unique feature" is champion for Microsoft Exchange. This appears to be, at least partially, yet another hand-me-down from the iPhone, which gained champion for Exchange in its 2.0 release and expanded on it in 3.0. Snow Leopard's Exchange champion is weaved throughout the expected crop of applications in Mac OS X: iCal, Mail, and Address Book.

    The large caveat is that it will only work with a server running Exchange 2007 (Service Pack 1, Update Rollup 4) or later. While I'm certain Microsoft greatly appreciates any additional upgrade revenue this conclusion provides, it means that for users whose workplaces are quiet running older versions of Exchange, Snow Leopard's "Exchange support" might as well not exist.

    Those users are probably already running the only other viable Mac OS X Exchange client, Microsoft Entourage, so they'll likely just sit tense and wait for their IT departments to upgrade. Meanwhile, Microsoft is already making overtures to these users with the promised creation—finally—of an honest-to-goodness version of Outlook for Mac OS X.

    In my admittedly brief testing, Snow Leopard's Exchange champion seems to work as expected. I had to possess one of the Microsoft mavens in the Ars Orbiting HQ spin up an Exchange 2007 server just for the purposes of this review. However it was configured, barnone I had to enter in the Mail application was my replete name, e-mail address, and password, and it automatically discovered barnone germane settings and configured iCal and Address reserve for me.

    Exchange setup: surprisingly easyExchange setup: surprisingly easy

    Windows users are no doubt accustomed to this kindly of Exchange integration, but it's the first time I've seen it on the Mac platform—and that includes my many years of using Entourage.

    Access to Exchange-related features is decidedly subdued, in keeping with the existing interfaces for Mail, iCal, and Address Book. If you're expecting the swarm of panels and toolbar buttons establish in Outlook on Windows, you're in for a bit of a shock. For example, here's the "detail" view of a meeting in iCal.

    iCal event detailiCal event detail

    Clicking the "edit" button hardly reveals more.

    Event editor: that's it?Event editor: that's it?

    The "availability" window too includes the bare minimum number of controls and displays to score the job done.

    Meeting availability checker Enlarge / Meeting availability checker

    The integration into Mail and Address reserve is even more subtle—almost entirely transparent. This is to subsist construed as a feature, I suppose. But though I don't know enough about Exchange to subsist completely sure, I can't shudder the emotion that there are Exchange features that remain inaccessible from Mac OS X clients. For example, how accomplish I reserve a "resource" in a meeting? If there's a artery to accomplish so, I couldn't discover it.

    Still, even basic Exchange integration out-of-the-box goes long artery towards making Mac OS X more welcome in corporate environments. It remains to subsist seen how convinced IT managers are of the "realness" of Snow Leopard's Exchange integration. But I've got to account that being able to dispatch and receive mail, create and respond to meeting invitations, and spend the global corporate address reserve is enough for any Mac user to score along reasonably well in an Exchange-centric environment.


    The thing is, there's not really much to screech about performance in Snow Leopard. Dozens of benchmark graphs lead to the identical simple conclusion: Snow Leopard is faster than Leopard. Not shockingly so, at least in the aggregate, but it's faster. And while isolating one particular subsystem with a micro-benchmark may reveal some impressive numbers, it's the artery these miniature changes combine to ameliorate the real-world undergo of using the system that really makes a difference.

    One illustration Apple gave at WWDC was making an initial Time Machine backup over the network to a Time Capsule. Apple's approach to optimizing this operation was to address each and every subsystem involved.

    Time Machine itself was given champion for overlapping i/o. Spotlight indexing, which happens on Time Machine volumes as well, was identified as another time-consuming stint involved in backups, so its performance was improved. The networking code was enhanced to raise odds of hardware-accelerated checksums where possible, and the software checksum code was hand-tuned for maximum performance. The performance of HFS+ journaling, which accompanies each file system metadata update, was too improved. For Time Machine backups that write to disk images rather than indigenous HFS+ file systems, Apple added champion for concurrent access to disk images. The amount of network traffic produced by AFP during backups has too been reduced.

    All of this adds up to a respectable 55% overall improvement in the accelerate of an initial Time Machine backup. And, of course, the performance improvements to the individual subsystems profit barnone applications that spend them, not just Time Machine.

    This holistic approach to performance improvement is not likely to knock anyone's socks off, but every time you sprint across a piece of functionality in Snow Leopard that disproportionately benefits from one of these optimized subsystems, it's a pleasure.

    For example, Snow Leopard shuts down and restarts much faster than Leopard. I'm not talking about boot time; I beimportant the time between the selection of the Shutdown or Restart command and when the system turns off or begins its unique boot cycle. Leopard doesn't raise long at barnone to accomplish this; only a few dozen of seconds when there are no applications open. But in Snow Leopard, it's so snappy that I often thought the operating system had crashed rather than shut down cleanly. (That's actually not too far from the truth.)

    The performance boosts offered by earlier major releases of Mac OS X quiet dwarf Snow Leopard's speedup, but that's mostly because Mac OS X was so excruciatingly sluggish in its early years. It's light to create a large performance delta when you're starting from something abysmally slow. The fact that Snow Leopard achieves consistent, measurable improvements over the already-speedy Leopard is barnone the more impressive.

    And yes, for the seventh consecutive time, a unique release of Mac OS X is faster on the identical hardware than its predecessor. (And for the first time ever, it's smaller, too.) What more can you anticipate for, really? Even that old-fashioned performance bugaboo, window resizing, has been completely vanquished. Grab the corner of a fully-populated iCal window—the worst-case scenario for window resizing in the old-fashioned days—and shudder it as snappy as you can. Your cursor will never subsist more than a few millimeters from the window's grab handle; it tracks your frantic motion perfectly. On most Macs, this is actually loyal in Leopard as well. It just goes to note how far Mac OS X has foster on the performance front. These days, they barnone just raise it for granted, which is exactly the artery it should be.

    Grab bag

    In the "grab bag" section, I usually examine smaller, mostly unrelated features that don't warrant full-blown sections of their own. But when it comes to user-visible features, Snow Leopard is kindly of "all grab bag," if you know what I mean. Apple's even got its own incarnation in the form of a giant webpage of "refinements." I'll probably overlap with some of those, but there'll subsist a few unique ones here as well.

    New columns in open/save dialogs

    The list view in open and deliver dialog boxed now supports more than just "Name" and "Date Modified" columns. Right-click on any column to score a option of additional columns to display. I've wanted this feature for a long time, and I'm lighthearted someone finally had time to implement it.

    Configurable columns in open/save dialogsConfigurable columns in open/save dialogs Improved scanner support

    The bundled Image Capture application now has the capacity to talk to a wide achieve of scanners. I plugged in my Epson Stylus CX7800, a device that previously required the spend of third-party software in order to spend the scanning feature, and Image Capture detected it immediately.

    Epson scanner + Image Capture - Epson software Enlarge / Epson scanner + Image Capture - Epson software

    Image Capture is too not a disagreeable limited scanning application. It has pretty respectable automatic remonstrate detection, including champion for multiple objects, obviating the requisite to manually crop items. Given the sometimes-questionable attribute of third-party printer and scanner drivers for Mac OS X, the capacity to spend a bundled application is welcome.

    System Preferences bit wars

    System Preferences, dote virtually barnone other applications in Snow Leopard, is 64-bit. But since 64-bit applications can't load 32-bit plug-ins, that presents a problem for the existing crop of 32-bit third-party preference panes. System Preferences handles this situation with a reasonable amount of grace. On launch, it will array icons for barnone installed preference panes, 64-bit or 32-bit. But if you click on a 32-bit preference pane, you'll subsist presented with a notification dote this:

    64-bit application vs. 32-bit plug-in: fight!64-bit application vs. 32-bit plug-in: fight!

    Click "OK" and System Preferences will relaunch in 32-bit mode, which is conveniently indicated in the title bar. Since barnone of the first-party preference panes are compiled for both 64-bit and 32-bit operation, System Preferences does not requisite to relaunch again for the duration of its use. This raises the question, why not possess System Preferences launch in 32-bit mode barnone the time? I suspect it's just another artery for Apple to "encourage" developers to build 64-bit-compatible binaries.

    Safari plug-ins

    The inability of of 64-bit applications load 32-bit plug-ins is a problem for Safari as well. Plug-ins are so necessary to the Web undergo that relaunching in 32-bit mode is not really an option. You'd probably requisite to relaunch as soon as you visited your first webpage. But Apple does want Safari to sprint in 64-bit mode due to some significant performance enhancements in the JavaScript engine and other areas of the application that are not available in 32-bit mode.

    Apple's solution is similar to what it did with QuickTime X and 32-bit QuickTime 7 plug-ins. Safari will sprint 32-bit plug-ins in part 32-bit processes as needed.

    Separate processes for 32-bit Safari plug-insSeparate processes for 32-bit Safari plug-ins

    This has the added, extremely significant profit of isolating potentially buggy plug-ins. According to the automated crash reporting built into Mac OS X, Apple has said that the number one cause of crashes is Web browser plug-ins. That's not the number one cause of crashes in Safari, repartee you, it's the number one cause when considering barnone crashes of barnone applications in Mac OS X. (And though it was not mentioned by name, I account they barnone know the primary culprit.)

    As you can view above, the QuickTime browser plug-in gets the identical treatment as glint and other third-party 32-bit Safari plug-ins. barnone of this means that when a plug-in crashes, Safari in Snow Leopard does not. The window or tab containing the crashing plug-in doesn't even close. You can simply click the reload button and give the problematic plug-in another random to duty correctly.

    While this is quiet far from the much more robust approach employed by Google Chrome, where each tab lives in its own independent process, if Apple's crash statistics are to subsist believed, isolating plug-ins may generate most of the profit of truly part processes with a significantly less radical change to the Safari application itself.

    Resolution independence

    When they ultimate left Mac OS X in its seemingly interminable march towards a truly scalable user interface, it was almost ready for prime time. I'm dejected to screech that resolution independence was obviously not a priority in Snow Leopard, because it hasn't gotten any better, and may possess actually regressed a bit. Here's what TextEdit looks dote at a 2.0 scale factor in Leopard and Snow Leopard.

    TextEdit at scale factor 2.0 in LeopardTextEdit at scale factor 2.0 in Leopard TextEdit at scale factor 2.0 in Snow LeopardTextEdit at scale factor 2.0 in Snow Leopard

    Yep, it's a bummer. I quiet remember Apple advising developers to possess their applications ready for resolution independence by 2008. That's one of the few dates that the Jobs-II-era Apple has not been able to hit, and it's getting later barnone the time. On the other hand, it's not dote 200-DPI monitors are raining from the sky either. But I'd really dote to view Apple score going on this. It will undoubtedly raise a long time for everything to watch and work correctly, so let's score started.

    Terminal splitters

    The Terminal application in Tiger and earlier versions of Mac OS X allowed each of its windows to subsist split horizontally into two part panes. This was invaluable for referencing some earlier text in the scrollback while too typing commands at the prompt. Sadly, the splitter feature disappeared in Leopard. In Snow Leopard, it's back with a vengeance.

    Arbitrary splitters, baby!Arbitrary splitters, baby!

    (Now if only my favorite text editor would score on board the train to splittersville.)

    Terminal in Snow Leopard too defaults to the unique Menlo font. But contrary to earlier reports, the One loyal Monospaced Font, Monaco, is most definitely quiet included in Snow Leopard (see screenshot above) and it works just fine.

    System Preferences shuffle

    The seemingly obligatory rearrangement of preference panes in the System Preferences application accompanying each release of Mac OS X continues in Snow Leopard.

    System Preferences: shuffled yet again Enlarge / System Preferences: shuffled yet again System Preferences (not running) with Dock menuSystem Preferences (not running) with Dock menu

    This time, the "Keyboard & Mouse" preference pane is split into part "Keyboard" and "Mouse" panes, "International" becomes "Language & Text," and the "Internet & Network" section becomes "Internet & Wireless" and adopts the Bluetooth preference pane.

    Someday in the faraway future, perhaps Apple will finally arrive at the "ultimate" arrangement of preference panes and they can barnone finally Go more than two years without their muscle reminiscence being disrupted.

    Before touching on, System Preferences has one shapely trick. You can launch directly into a specific preference pane by right-clicking on System Preferences's Dock icon. This works even when System Preferences is not yet running. kindly of creepy, but useful.

    Core location

    One more gift from the iPhone, Core Location, allows Macs to figure out where in the world they are. The "Date & Time" preference pane offers to set your time zone automatically based on your current location using this newfound ability.

    Set your Mac's time zone automatically based on your current location, thanks to Core Location.Set your Mac's time zone automatically based on your current location, thanks to Core Location. Keyboard magic

    Snow Leopard includes a simple facility for system-wide text auto-correction and expansion, accessible from the "Language & Text" preference pane. It's not quite ready to give a dedicated third-party application a sprint for its money, but hey, it's free.

    Global text expansion and auto-correction Enlarge / Global text expansion and auto-correction

    The keyboard shortcuts preference pane has too been rearranged. Now, instead of a single, long list of system-wide keyboard shortcuts, they're arranged into categories. This reduces clutter, but it too makes it a bit more difficult to find the shortcut you're interested in.

    Keyboard shortcuts: now with categories Enlarge / Keyboard shortcuts: now with categories The sleeping Mac dilemma

    I don't dote to leave my Mac Pro turned on 24 hours a day, especially during the summer in my un-air-conditioned house. But I accomplish want to possess access to the files on my Mac when I'm elsewhere—at work, on the road, etc. It is feasible to wake a sleeping Mac remotely, but doing so requires being on the identical local network.

    My solution has been to leave a smaller, more power-efficient laptop on at barnone times on the identical network as my Mac Pro. To wake my Mac Pro remotely, I ssh into the laptop, then dispatch the magic "wake up" packet to my Mac Pro. (For this to work, the "Wake for Ethernet network administrator access" checkbox must subsist checked in the "Energy Saver" preference pane in System Preferences.)

    Snow Leopard provides a artery to accomplish this without leaving any of my computers running barnone day. When a Mac running Snow Leopard is withhold to sleep, it attempts to hand off ownership of its IP address to its router. (This only works with an AirPort Extreme ground station from 2007 or later, or a Time Capsule from 2008 or later with the latest (7.4.2) firmware installed.) The router then listens for any attempt to connect to the IP address. When one occurs, it wakes up the original owner, hands back the IP address, and forwards traffic appropriately.

    You can even wake some recent-model Macs over WiFi. Combined with MobileMe's "Back to My Mac" dynamic DNS thingamabob, it means I can leave barnone my Macs asleep and quiet possess access to their contents anytime, anywhere.

    Back to my hack

    As has become traditional, this unique release of Mac OS X makes life a bit harder for developers whose software works by patching the in-memory representation of other running applications or the operating system itself. This includes Input Managers, SIMBL plug-ins, and of course the dreaded "Haxies."

    Input Managers score the worst of it. They've actually been unsupported and non-functional in 64-bit applications since Leopard. That wasn't such a large deal when Mac OS X shipped with a whopping two 64-bit applications. But now, with almost every application in Snow Leopard going 64-bit, it's suddenly very significant.

    Thanks to Safari's need of an officially sanctioned extension mechanism, developers looking to enhance its functionality possess most often resorted to the spend of Input Managers and SIMBL (which is an Input-Manager-based framework). A 64-bit Safari puts a damper on that entire market. Though it is feasible to manually set Safari to launch in 32-bit mode—Get Info on the application in the Finder and click a checkbox—ideally, this is not something developers want to coerce users to do.

    Happily, at least one commonly used Safari enhancement has the respectable fortune to subsist built on top of the officially supported browser plug-in API used by Flash, QuickTime, etc. But that may not subsist a feasible approach for Safari extensions that enhance functionality in ways not tied directly to the array of particular types of content within a webpage.

    Though I scheme to sprint Safari in its default 64-bit mode, I'll really miss Saft, a Safari extension I spend for session restoration (yes, I know Safari has this feature, but it's activated manually—the horror) and address bar shortcuts (e.g., "w noodles" to watch up "noodles" in Wikipedia). I'm hoping that shrewd developers will find a artery to overcome this unique challenge. They always seem to, in the end. (Or Apple could add a proper extension system to Safari, of course. But I'm not holding my breath.)

    As for the Haxies, those usually demolish with each major operating system update as a matter of course. And each time, those determined fellows at Unsanity, against barnone odds, manage to withhold their software working. I salute them for their effort. I delayed upgrading to Leopard for a long time based solely on the absence of my beloved WindowShade X. I hope I don't possess to wait too long for a Snow-Leopard-compatible version.

    The general trend in Mac OS X is away from any sort of involuntary reminiscence space sharing, and towards "external" plug-ins that live in their own, part processes. Even contextual menu plug-ins in the Finder possess been disabled, replaced by an enhanced, but quiet less-powerful Services API. Again, I possess faith that developers will adapt. But the waiting is the hardest part.


    It looks dote we'll barnone subsist waiting a while longer for a file system in shining armor to supersede the venerable HFS+ (11 years young!) as the default file system in Mac OS X. Despite rumors, outright declarations, and much actual pre-release code, champion for the impressive ZFS file system is not present in Snow Leopard.

    That's a shame because Time Machine veritably cries out for some ZFS magic. What's more, Apple seems to agree, as evidenced by a post from an Apple employee to a ZFS mailing list ultimate year. When asked about a ZFS-savvy implementation of Time Machine, the reply was encouraging: "This one is necessary and likely will foster sometime, but not for SL." ("SL" is short for Snow Leopard.)

    There are many reasons why ZFS (or a file system with similar features) is a faultless apt for Time Machine, but the most necessary is its capacity to dispatch only the block-level changes during each backup. As Time Machine is currently implemented, if you design a miniature change to a giant file, the entire giant file is copied to the Time Machine volume during the next backup. This is extremely wasteful and time consuming, especially for large files that are modified constantly during the day (e.g., Entourage's e-mail database). Time Machine running on top of ZFS could transfer just the changed disk blocks (a maximum of 128KB each in ZFS, and usually much smaller).

    ZFS would too bring vastly increased robustness for data and metadata, a pooled storage model, constant-time snapshots and clones, and a pony. People sometimes anticipate what, exactly, is wrong with HFS+. Aside from its obvious need of the features just listed, HFS+ is limited in many ways by its dated design, which is based on HFS, a twenty-five year-old file system.

    To give just one example, the centrally located Catalog File, which must subsist updated for each change to the file system's structure, is a frequent and inevitable source of contention. Modern file systems usually spread their metadata around, both for robustness (multiple copies are often kept in part locations on the disk) and to allow for better concurrency.

    Practically speaking, account about those times when you sprint Disk Utility on an HFS+ volume and it finds (and hopefully repairs) a bunch of errors. That's bad, okay? That's something that should not befall with a modern, thoroughly checksummed, always-consistent-on-disk file system unless there are hardware problems (and a ZFS storage pool can actually deal with that as well). And yet it happens barnone the time with HFS+ disks in Mac OS X when various bits of metadata score corrupted or become out of date.

    Apple gets by year after year, tacking unique features onto HFS+ with duct tape and a prayer, but at a inevitable point there simply has to subsist a successor—whether it's ZFS, a home-grown Apple file system, or something else entirely. My fingers are crossed for Mac OS X 10.7.

    The future soon

    Creating an operating system is as much a social exercise as a technological one. Creating a platform, even more so. barnone of Snow Leopard's considerable technical achievements are not just designed to profit users; they're too intended to goad, persuade, and otherwise herd developers in the direction that Apple feels will subsist most profitable for the future of the platform.

    For this to work, Snow Leopard has to actually find its artery into the hands of customers. The pricing helps a lot there. But even if Snow Leopard were free, there's quiet some cost to the consumer—in time, worry, software updates, etc.—when performing a major operating system upgrade. The identical goes for developers who must, at the very least, certify that their existing applications sprint correctly on the unique OS.

    The customary artery to overcome this kindly of upgrade hesitation has been to pack the OS with unique features. unique features sell, and the more copies of the unique operating system in use, the more motivated developers are to update their applications to not just sprint on the unique OS, but too raise odds of its unique abilities.

    A major operating system upgrade with "no unique features" must play by a different set of rules. Every party involved expects some counterbalance to the need of unique features. In Snow Leopard, developers stand to gather the biggest benefits thanks to an impressive set of unique technologies, many of which cover areas previously unaddressed in Mac OS X. Apple clearly feels that the future of the platform depends on much better utilization of computing resources, and is doing everything it can to design it light for developers to accelerate in this direction.

    Though it's obvious that Snow Leopard includes fewer external features than its predecessor, I'd wager that it has just as many, if not more internal changes than Leopard. This, I fear, means that the initial release of Snow Leopard will likely suffer the typical 10.x.0 bugs. There possess already been reports of unique bugs introduced to existing APIs in Snow Leopard. This is the exact antithetical of Snow Leopard's implied pledge to users and developers that it would concentrate on making existing features faster and more robust without introducing unique functionality and the accompanying unique bugs.

    On the other side of the coin, I imagine barnone the teams at Apple that worked on Snow Leopard absolutely reveled in the occasion to polish their particular subsystems without being burdened by supporting the marketing-driven feature-of-the-month. In any long-lived software product, there needs to subsist this kindly of release valve every few years, lest the entire code ground Go off into the weeds.

    There's been one other "no unique features" release of Mac OS X. Mac OS X 10.1, released a mere six months after version 10.0, was handed out for free by Apple at the 2001 Seybold publishing conference and, later, at Apple retail stores. It was too available from Apple's online store for $19.95 (along with a copy of Mac OS 9.2.1 for spend in the Classic environment). This was a different time for Mac OS X. Versions 10.0 and 10.1 were slow, incomplete, and extremely immature; the transition from classic Mac OS was far from over.

    Judged as a modern incarnation of the 10.1 release, Snow Leopard looks pretty darned good. The pricing is similar, and the benefits—to developers and to users—are greater. So is the risk. But again, that has more to accomplish with how horrible Mac OS X 10.0 was. Choosing not to upgrade to 10.1 was unthinkable. Waiting a while to upgrade to Snow Leopard is reasonable if you want to subsist certain that barnone the software you custody about is compatible. But don't wait too long, because at $29 for the upgrade, I anticipate Snow Leopard adoption to subsist quite rapid. Software that will sprint only on Snow Leopard may subsist here before you know it.

    Should you buy Mac OS X Snow Leopard? If you're already running Leopard, then the acknowledge is a resounding "yes." If you're quiet running Tiger, well, then it's probably time for a unique Mac anyway. When you buy one, it'll foster with Snow Leopard.

    As for the future, it's tempting to view Snow Leopard as the "tick" in a unique Intel-style "tick-tock" release strategy for Mac OS X: radical unique features in version 10.7 followed by more Snow-Leopard-style refinements in 10.8, and so on, alternating between "feature" and "refinement" releases. Apple has not even hinted that they're considering this nature of plan, but I account there's a lot to recommend it.

    Snow Leopard is a unique and attractive release, unlike any that possess foster before it in both scope and intention. At some point, Mac OS X will surely requisite to score back on the bullet-point-features bandwagon. But for now, I'm content with Snow Leopard. It's the Mac OS X I know and love, but with more of the things that design it fragile and anomalous engineered away.

    Snowy eyes Looking back

    This is the tenth review of a replete Mac OS X release, public beta, or developer preview to sprint on Ars, dating back to December 1999 and Mac OS X DP2. If you want to jump into the Wayback Machine and view how far Apple has foster with Snow Leopard (or just want to bone up on barnone of the large cat monikers), we've gone through the archives and dug up some of their older Mac OS X articles. jubilant reading!

  • Five years of Mac OS X, March 24, 2006
  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, October 28, 2007
  • Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, April 28, 2005
  • Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, November 9, 2003
  • Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, September 5, 2002
  • Mac OS X 10.1 (Puma), October 15, 2001
  • Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah), April 2, 2001
  • Mac OS X Public Beta, October 3, 2000
  • Mac OS X Q & A, June 20, 2000
  • Mac OS X DP4, May 24, 2000
  • Mac OS X DP3: trial by Water, February 28, 2000
  • Mac OS X Update: Quartz & Aqua, January 17, 2000
  • Mac OS X DP2, December 14, 1999

  • Mozilla to Drop OS 10.4 Tiger Support? screech It Isn’t So | existent questions and Pass4sure dumps

  • Post
  • Another nail in OS X 10.4 Tiger’s coffin was recently hammered in a post by Mozilla Foundation’s Josh Aas.

    Advertisement Support for Tiger Already Terminated

    Aas reveals that evolution champion for OS X 10.4 Tiger was terminated as of September 2009, but much of the code required to champion 10.4 was left in the tree in case the developers wanted to reverse that decision. The point has arrived that a final conclusion to either restore 10.4 champion or remove the (large) amount of 10.4-specific code from the next iteration of Mozilla’s Gecko browser engine must subsist made.

    He presents the not unreasonable case that the developers want to raise odds of advanced technologies in later OS X versions and retaining OS 10.4 champion has been a hindrance, as workarounds consume valuable time and effort.

    25% of Mac OS X Firefox Users quiet Running OS 10.4

    Aas concedes that approximately 25 percent of Firefox’s Mac OS X users (roughly 1.5 million) are quiet running OS 10.4, but would continue to subsist supported by Firefox 3.6 until it reaches pause of service several months after the next major Firefox version release (built on Gecko 1.9.3) later this year. frosty comfort and a mighty short time window for those of us quiet running Tiger, the ultimate OS X version that supports G3 Macs and G4s slower than 867 MHz. I’m hoping to score at least two or three more years of production service out of my two old-fashioned Pismo PowerBooks running OS 10.4.

    Aas counters that in the past Mozilla hasn’t lost appreciable market participate after dropping champion for a Mac (s aapl) OS X version, making the just observation that they’re typically one of the ultimate vendors supporting older Mac OS X releases. However I sensation if any of those previous abandonments represented a quarter of their user base.

    OS 10.4 a Special Case?

    I submit that Tiger represents a special case because of its straddling of the PPC/Intel (s intc) transition, and that there are more PPC diehards likely holding on to older Macs that only champion up to Tiger for longer this time than would customarily possess been.

    Some of us Tiger holdouts either don’t want to give up on computers performing superbly and reliably for us, as my Pismos are for me, or simply can’t afford to upgrade their systems during this economic period.

    I accede to the eventual inevitability of Tiger’s demise farewell, and Apple itself could terminate security update champion for Tiger any day now. I just don’t welcome it and hoped it wouldn’t arrive quite this soon.

    How about you? If you’re quiet using Tiger, how large of a deal will Firefox champion termination subsist for you?

    Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2018 with macOS Mojave champion | existent questions and Pass4sure dumps

    ← Press Releases

    We are excited to announce a brand-new release of Tuxera NTFS for Mac with macOS Mojave support!

    Edit your files on Windows NTFS drives in macOS Mojave

    Tuxera NTFS for Mac is a file system driver giving you access and replete read/write capability to Windows NTFS-formatted drives on your Mac. Their latest version supports macOS 10.14 Mojave and is too backwards compatible barnone the artery to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. With Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2018, you can seamlessly spend your drive between your Mac and Windows computers.

    Free upgrade for existing customers

    We always imply using the latest version of their software to score the performance upgrades and unique features. However, if you`re using the older version of Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2018 with lofty Sierra support, you accomplish not requisite to update their software when you upgrade to Mojave at this time.

    But if you`re quiet using Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2016 or an earlier release, you`ll want to update to their latest version. Existing customers can upgrade Tuxera NTFS for Mac to newest version free of charge. To update, simply Go to System Preferences - Tuxera NTFS For Mac - Updates tab on your Mac (for Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2015 and above). Or you can always score the latest version directly from their website.

    New to Mac?

    If you possess just switched from Windows to Mac, you might subsist having pains copying files to hard drives used on Windows. This is because out of the box, Apple`s Macs only foster with champion for reading NTFS drives, the common file system used in Windows. With Tuxera NTFS for 2018, you can read and write files to your NTFS-formatted USB drives, and spend those drives on both your Mac and Windows computers.

    If you don`t possess a license yet, you can buy one from their website. To test out Tuxera NTFS for Mac before purchase, you can download a 15-day trial from their website. Here are some helpful videos and links to score you started:

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