Mac OS X Snow Leopard In Depth

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It probably helps to know that the "0 New Features" slide came at the end of an hour-long presentation detailing the major new APIs and technologies in Snow Leopard. It was also quickly followed by a back-pedaling "well, there is one new feature In isolation, "no new 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 like this: We're not going to overextend ourselves adding a raft of new customer-facing, marketing-friendly features.

But if Snow Leopard is a love letter to developers, is it a Dear John letter to users? You know, those people that the marketing department might so crudely refer to as "customers. Believe it or not, the sales pitch to users is actually quite similar. As exhausting as it has been for developers to keep up with Apple's seemingly never-ending stream of new APIs, it can be just as taxing for customers to stay on top of Mac OS X's features.

And as much as developers hate bugs in Apple's APIs, users who experience those bugs as application crashes have just as much reason to be annoyed. But wait a second, didn't I just mention an "hour-long presentation" about Snow Leopard featuring "major new APIs and technologies? But nothing says "new bugs, coming right up" quite like major new APIs. So which is it? Similarly, for users, "no new 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 make good on this promise?

Or will users end up with all the disadvantages of a feature-packed release like Tiger or Leopard—the inevitable Yes, it's enough to make one quite cynical about Apple's real motivations. To throw some more fuel on the fire, have a look at the Mac OS X release timeline below. Next to each release, I've included a list of its most significant features.

That curve is taking on a decidedly droopy shape, as if it's being weighed down by the ever-increasing number of new features. The releases are distributed uniformly on the Y axis.


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Maybe you think it's reasonable for the time between releases to stretch out as each one brings a heavier load of goodies than the last, but keep in mind the logical consequence of such a curve over the long horn haul. And yeah, there's a little upwards kick at the end for Looking at this graph, it's hard not to wonder if there's something siphoning resources from the Mac OS X development effort. Maybe, say, some project that's in the first two or three major releases of its life, still in that steep, early section of its own timeline graph.

The iPhone business has exploded onto Apple's balance sheets like no other product before, even the iPod. It's also 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 Some workforce migration seems inevitable.

Living With Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for 1 Week in 2018

And let's not forget the "Mac OS X" technologies that we later learned were developed for the iPhone and just happened to be announced for the Mac first because the iPhone was still a secret , like Core Animation and code signing. A nearly two-year development cycle, but no new features. Major new frameworks for developers, but few new bugs. Many of the changes involve how the system works in the background and are not intended to be seen by the user. For example, the Finder application was completely rewritten in the Cocoa application programming interface.

Despite significant changes in the software, users will experience almost no changes in the user interface. Snow Leopard includes the following changes:. While the Finder was completely rewritten in Cocoa , it did not receive a major user interface overhaul.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: the Ars Technica review

Instead, the interface has been modified in several areas to promote ease of use. As with most upgrades of Mac OS X, new wallpapers are available. There are new wallpapers in the Nature two of which are of snow leopards , Plants and Black and White sub-folders under the Apple folder.


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  • Furthermore, there are new Apple wallpaper sub-folders with multiple wallpapers:. New solid colors can be used as wallpapers as well. There is a new blue and gray, as well as a solid kelp which serves as the "green wallpaper. Mac OS X Tiger added limited support for bit applications on machines with bit processors; Leopard extended the support for bit applications to include applications using most of Mac OS X's libraries and frameworks.

    In addition, the Mac OS X kernel has been rebuilt to run in bit mode on some machines. Newer Xserve and Mac Pro machines will run a bit kernel by default; newer iMac and MacBook Pro machines can run a bit kernel, but will not do so by default.

    Mac OS X Snow Leopard - Apple

    Stuart Harris, software product marketing manager at Apple Australia, said, "For the most part, everything that they experience on the Mac, from the bit point of view, the applications, the operating system, is all going to be bit, but that at this stage there were very few things, such as device drivers, that required bit mode at the kernel level". With some tweaking, the Unibody MacBook can be set to boot the bit kernel.

    Grand Central Dispatch uses the multiple processor cores now in every new Macintosh for more efficient performance. Due to the technical difficulties traditionally involved in making applications optimized for multicore CPUs, the majority of computer applications do not effectively use multiple processor cores.

    Grand Central Dispatch includes APIs to help programmers efficiently use these cores for parallel programming. Grand Central Dispatch shifts thread handling focus to itself rather than leaving it to specific applications to distribute jobs evenly across cores and clears up unused memory created by inactive or old threads to achieve maximum performance.

    Apple is also releasing APIs for Grand Central Dispatch for developers to use in their applications and also to analyze specific blocks of code running on Grand Central Dispatch. A new C and Objective-C language feature named " Blocks " facilitates creation of code that will easily optimize to take advantage of Grand Central Dispatch. OpenCL Open Computing Language addresses the power of graphics processing units GPUs to leverage them in any application, and not just for graphics-intensive applications like 3D games.

    OpenCL automatically optimizes for the kind of graphics processor in the Mac, adjusting itself to the available processing power. OpenCL provides consistent numeric precision and accuracy, fixing a problem that has hampered GPU-based programming in the past. Only the most process intensive parts of the application need to be written in OpenCL C without affecting the rest of the code. It only works with the following Mac GPUs: CUPS the printing system used in many Unix-like operating systems has been updated to version 1. Power management has been improved, with implementation of a new wake on demand feature supported on more recent Macintosh hardware.

    Should the request require the host computer to wake up , the router sends the necessary special wake-up-packet [50] to the sleeping computer.

    No new features.

    The Safari web browser has received updates to version 6. Snow Leopard breaks compatibility with several older versions of some applications, such as Parallels Desktop 3. Printer and scanner drivers used by previous versions of Mac OS X are not compatible with Snow Leopard and will be replaced during Snow Leopard installation.

    Since the initial release of Snow Leopard many manufacturers have provided compatible drivers that are available via Software Update. Engadget's opinion was that this could be largely because most users would not see a noticeable change in the look and feel of the system. CNET editors gave it 4 stars out of 5, stating "Intel Mac users will like Snow Leopard's smartly designed interface enhancements, and its Exchange support is a must-have especially with Outlook for Mac on the way. On October 21, , SFGate blogger Yobie Benjamin wrote that the "MacBook Pro that came preloaded with Snow Leopard kicks butt and is a screaming fast machine", but "when I tried to upgrade one of my 'older' MacBooks, it was a fricking disaster from hell".

    Apart from upgrading, Benjamin also tried a clean install. But he complained of slowness even after his clean install. He wrote, "I ended up downgrading back to OSX If you want to roll the dice and try, go ahead Lesson learned I'll wait. Mac OS X Server includes these features and other server-related features.

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    Apple initially stated that Server would include ZFS support, but mention of this feature later disappeared from Apple's website and it was not included in the final release due to licensing issues. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mac OS X Rhapsody Developer Release Hera Server 1.

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