Feeds

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

Separating out PowerPC and Intel code at last?

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Apple's next major Mac OS X released, yesterday confirmed as Snow Leopard, will focus solely on under-the-bonnet changes, the Mac maker has revealed. But will owners of PowerPC-based machines be left in the cold?

Apple is promising a version of Mac OS X that "dramatically" reduces the amount of storage space the operating system requires. Undoubtedly, some of that will come from the re-engineered core technologies, but it's hard to conclude that Snow Leopard's release will come not as a "universal" binary capable of running on both Intel and PowerPC processors, but as a single-platform product.

Universality has been handy in ensuring users can run the same installed code on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs without resorting to emulation. But just as Leopard lacks the ability to run Mac OS 9 apps - a feature present in previous Mac OS X releases - there will come a time when Apple drops Rosetta, its PowerPC emulation mechanism.

Early rumours concerning Snow Leopard suggested PowerPC support was to be dropped, though that was subsequently denied by Apple insiders.

How can these two claims be reconciled? Only by Apple shipping native-only versions of Snow Leopard. Owners of Intel-based Macs will finally be free of all that redundant PowerPC code in the system software, freeing up space for, as Apple puts it, "their music and photos".

With any luck, Apple will finally allow users to readily remove unwanted languages from their system software, a process that can free up a fair bit of hard drive space too.

Apple won't be ditching support for universal binaries, or PowerPC Macs, because there, for now, too many of them out there. But if Snow Leopard's Grand Central technology does as promised and improves the OS' ability to work with multi-core CPUs, Intel-based Macs are going to shoot even further ahead of old G5 and G4 models.

Apple is also promising that Snow Leopard will offer more pervasive support for 64-bit computing, leading to the ability to support up to 16TB of memory, though the motherboard hardware to do this isn't there yet. In any case, limits to CPU memory controllers mean they don't physically support the full range of 64-bit memory addresses, only a subset.

Snow Leopard will also feature QuickTime X, a "streamlined" revamp of Apple's multimedia foundation, and OpenCL (Open Compute Library), a non-proprietary programming system for running complex code on a machine's graphic chip(s).

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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.