This is the fifth installment of ThinkSecret’s “Inside Panther” series, covering Mac OS X Version 10.3. Elsewhere, the iTunes Store puts the Apple company at forefront of digital media market.
Inside Panther: A Look at Preview and Font Book
2003-07-24 macOS 34 Comments
a company actually increase the speed of an OS with an update. Microsoft could really learn something from Apple. I have never seen an increase in speed of an MS OS with an update. (That does not include boot time. XP is MUCH faster booting over 2000). With OS X 10.1, 10.2, and now 10.3 is faster the the previous. I know OS X was slower than 9, but that was to be expected with the complete change in technology. I can even see the speed improvement on my Rev A iMac. (G3 233 for those who didn’t know)
“once Apple has the Windows version of iTunes in place, the store could capture 20 percent of the pay-per-download market.”
If Buymusic’s service is indicative of the competition, I’d bet that Apple captures a whole lot more than 20% of the pay-per-download market.
I’m running the Panther preview and have had time to experiment with Apple’s preview software.
I have to say, I’m very impressed. The software is lightening fast and scrolls through pages (even ones with extremely complicated layouts) extremely fast. Faster than Adobe’s native viewer and much faster than the previous version of the software.
Well, Windows is already pretty fast. I can’t think of any particular area that is known for being slow, except generic slowness caused by complexity in for instance DCOM.
Basically, boot time was one of the few areas they could optimize – the widget toolkit and graphics are already very fast, startup time has been optimized for a while using disk ordering techniques etc, the kernel is pretty well optimized as is IPC. Internet Explorer is a very fast renderer.
In short, saying “MS OSs never improve their speed” is just wrong – they’ve been improving it all the time, but unlike Apple they don’t have an inferiority complex over speed so “faster widget toolkit” does not make it to the feature list. It was also much faster to start with.
Windows XP was soooo much faster for me than Windows 98 (on the same hardware).
OS X being slower was a little forgivable because it was doing so much more. But preview was another matter entirely. I had to change all my PDFs to open in acrobat reader because preview just couldn’t handle even small PDFs. This is welcome news.
The font book is welcome too. I know there is software out there that will do this already but it’s nice to see it built-in (since I will be buying Panther anyway)
Well, Windows is already pretty fast. I can’t think of any particular area that is known for being slow, except generic slowness caused by complexity in for instance DCOM.
Windows *can* increase in speed. With the release of XP, Windows didn’t speed up on say, a 400 mhz computer. The difference is that Mac OS X updates (major updates) speed up the OS on all processor’s it’s capable of running on. I.E., you see a difference on your Rev A iMac, running a G3 at 233 mhz. You will also see an improvment on your 12 inch powerbook running a G4 at 867 mhz. The OS is, overall, improving and speeding up without changing it’s basic requirements for running. That’s something Microsoft just don’t seem to care about and may be the reason why Mac users don’t upgrade as frequently as Windows users.
I believe what the original post meant was that OS X gets faster with every release on the same exact hardware. I’ve experienced the same thing. My 1999 PowerMac G4 with an ATI Pro GPU, has improved considerably with each release of OS X. My 1999 Compaq is already in the trash, I took it up to W2K and it crawls.
Sure Windows XP is fast, but you got to keep the hardware current as my older PC’s became pretty much obsolete. My Wintel is a Dell I bought in 2001, and XP Pro is pushing it, I can feel it. I put plenty of RAM in it. So it looks like Longhorn will push it over the edge.
In my experience, Apple PC’s have improved in value with each new release of OS X. Panther is a big deal, the new Webkit forms the basis of Apples Sherlock, Help, Mail viewing, so all those applications experience a many fold rendering increase in speed. Windowing, Menu’ing, Scrolling all work like butter and are very fluid. The visual feedback feels better now than my XP setup and I don’t have Quartz Extreme. It appears that Apple optimized the system further and maybe that is contributing to a 20% (subjective) performance increase. The PDF viewer is noticeably faster than Jaguar and XP Pro (Acrobat). Safari is faster at rendering than IE and lot more modern with tabbed browsing nd pop-up blocking; its bookmarking is significantly better than IE. Ooops, sory for going off on a tangent.
I use PC’s from both camps, and Apple is building a lot of goodwill by allowing me to preserve my investment. This is partly the reason why my next desktop system will be a G5, I can always do my VS.Net development in Virtual PC and I’m hoping that the G5 will give me emulated performance equal to that of most P4 systems. I’ll have to wait and see…
If I buy a G5 in the next few months, I know that three years from now it will be an even better PC because Apple has only begun to optimize OS X for it. And, while OS X has 64-bit FP processing and can physically address the entire memory space, the VM is still 32-bit as well as the core frameworks. That is misleading I know since most of the frameworks don’t need work with more than 32-bit data types, but there are places where it will benefit.
So, I will not need to buy another PowerMac hopefully for another 5 years as OS X continues to improve the usage of my system with each new release optimizing and turning the hardwares potential into reality. (I said need, though my want may behoove me to purchase another.) In my opinion Apples 12 Month release schedule for OS X is awesome, they can have $129 from me every year if I get the same value like I did from Jaguar and now it appears Panther ( I have a WWDC edition.)
Yes, I understand that. And what I was saying is that MacOS X started out so slow, that of course speedups are noticeable. Windows has always made pretty good use of the hardware, so new features end up requiring better hardware. MacOS X has plenty of fat to trim (still) whereas Windows has to grow outwards, as it’s not all that fat.
“Windows has to grow outwards, as it’s not all that fat.”
I had a double take when I read that, ane even then read it 2 more times.
No fat to trim? Windows is the fattest OS of them all.
“MacOS X has plenty of fat to trim (still)”
OS X has no “fat” to trim although it still has a few areas where optomizations are needed/beneficial such as the preview app mentioned in this article.
1) OSX started off *sooo* pathetically slow that improving it speed-wise wasn’t some rocket sience but necessary and bound to happen.
2) XP is not faster than previous versions of Windows. There has been more than one comparison over the years. Given enough RAM, 512 MB that is, W98 + W2K and XP perform virtually the same. Matter of fact.
While its true that OS X started out sluggish, the connotation of increased speed with every OS upgrade stems from Mac updates as far back as 7.5x.
The fact that Apple will be improving the speed of Panther over that of Jaguar brings us back to those early days of 7.5x and beyond where each sucessive update brought up the speed of the OS to a degree that is noticable.
The fact that Apple is going to improve upon Jaguar’s speed is a noteworthy acomplishment when you consider that jaguar is already fast.
Jaguar rocks on my 700 megahertz ibook. I can’t wait to get Panther on it! People who make comments like “Jaguar is slow on a G3” or “OSX is slow” haven’t taken the time to really try out Jaguar. I’m telling you, Jaguar is NOT slow on my 700 megahertz ibook. My Athlon 2000 XP box running RH 9 is slower than my “lowly” (in some people’s minds) ibook running Jaguar. And Panther will truly rock. I can’t wait!
Well, since we’re slinging anecdotal evidence around, I’ll add mine to the heap.
I upgraded my sister’s iMac (G3 500, 256MB RAM) a couple months ago to 10.2. It absolutely crawls, especially compared with my dad’s LCD iMac (G4 800, 512MB RAM).
By comparison, my aging P3 450 (512MB RAM) runs XP (and ran 2000) as fast or faster than Win98. It’s slower in a few things, but that’s more than made up by how much more responsive it is under load than 98 and how much less fragile it is.
In all fairness, XP is probably helped by the fact that I have a Radeon and (I believe) ATI’s drivers accelerate some of XP’s eyecandy. Win2k, however, ran just fine on my crappy old 8MB Rage Pro (as did XP if I turned all the eyecandy off).
Not that I consider Windows to be “fast”, mind you – but that’s probably because I primarily use BeOS.
“I upgraded my sister’s iMac (G3 500, 256MB RAM) a couple months ago to 10.2. It absolutely crawls”
That makes sense, its old hardware that doesn’t have a graphics card that quartz extreme can take advantage of. Later G3’s do and increase the speed dramatically.
I’ve got developer preview and since I installed it there is no turning back to Jaguar. Panther is still buggy as hell but the speed is awesome. People who are worried how their older machines will perform under Panther should grab it as soon as it is released. It gave my old iBook 500 new lease of life and I can’t go back to Jaguar even with all the bugs there are now in Panther. I don’t know what they’ve done to it, but scrolling is awesome, apps start much faster and they perform well. I think they would be even better when recompiled with new developer tools. I can vouch that for few open source apps that I recompiled without problems.
And Preview is awesome too. Thinksecret guys said that crop feature is not implemented, but it is. All you need to do is to press Option-Command and crosshair appears, ready for you to crop the picture or the document.
Any chance that we see your review of Panther. You review plenty of beta OS’ so far so it would be great to see your view of it. If you are worried about your current install, I would recommend repartition your HD and install it on separate partition. Jaguar and Panther work well together when on different partitions. Just make sure not to use same home directories, many apps updated their preference files so there is no turning back once you upgraded to Panther.
We have several iMacs at 400MHZ or less running Jag MacOSX 10.2. Running 10.1 on the same machines was almost unuseable. After upgrading to Jag on several of the systems there was speed increase. Not dramatic by any definition but certainly a useable office machine. What really helps is memory and a faster HD. A minimum of 512MB to run any MacOSX OS for useable results is recommended. MacOS9 needs half to a third of that as an office machine. At the same time MacOS9 is much more limited than MacOSX.
On G4s the speed increase is much more apparent especially if your video card supports QE. When Panther comes out I expect to be able to load it on an iMac 233 and with sufficient memory and a 7200 RPM HD it should be fine.
I kind of agree and disagree. Having installed and sold machines with Windows XP and 2000 installed, the rule of thumb is this, give Windows as much memory as you can afford and the speed will take care of itself.
For example, by parents old computer was a Pentium MMX 200Mhz, however, it had 512MB RAM installed plus a speedy hard disk. The only time you would notice a significant slow down in spee was when one used a processor intensive application such as compressing something or playing audio/video, which generally chews up a fair amount of cycles.
In terms of my experience, I have run Windows 2000 and if you have a 5400rpm drive, no matter how much memory your throw at it, it will still run crappy. If you are having issues with Windows, upgrade to a faster hard disk and up the memory to 512MB. Clean install everything, don’t install unneeded adware/bloatware/freeware/cheap-crappy-VB-ware, and you should find that there will be a speed increase.
Regardint MacOS X, you right on the mark, also, one as to take into consideration two aspects, firstly, the compiler is 3.3 which is more optimised for PPC (IIRC, most commercial application vendors, however, use CodeWarrior) and secondly, the different parts of the operating system are becoming more mature as they utilise more of the API.
As for the graphical speed improvements, that can be squarely put down to the fact that more is being off loaded to the GPU. For an eMac which is loaded with a Radeon 7500, the speed improvements I have seen are remarkable. For people no familar with the Radeon 7500, it is about equivilant to a GeForce 2.
One thing would love to see is a full journalling file system based on either a file system from another vendor or an “inhouse” design. One I would love Apple to license is VxFS from Veritas. Although it is native on Solaris, and does a bloody good job, I would love to see it on MacOS X. It is VERY reliable, would be GREAT on their server line up and pro-workstation range.
If one were to be anally retentive, Windows XPs speed improvements can be clearly summed up to the improvements in the kernel and some fancy pre-fetching features that have been added. In a previous MSDN magazine article, there was a very interersting piece regarding the kernel internals of Windows XP in relation to other releases. IIRC, this month MSDN has an article outlining the kernel changes in Windows 2003 and again, it is a very interestig article.
Although I am not a Windows programmer or fanboy, I still find some of the technical aspects of Windows quite interesting.
“One thing would love to see is a full journalling file system based on either a file system from another vendor or an “inhouse” design.”
10.2.2 is out and it has journalling available as a Disk Utility option for OSX Server. The option is still there for OS X Client, but hidden.
To enable journaling on OS X Client, use the Terminal command:
% sudo diskutil enableJournal /
There does not appear to be a man page, but ‘diskutil –help’ will get a rudimentary list of commands.
Make that ‘sudo diskutil enableJournal /’
The GUI tool Disk Utility can also be used to control journaling on Mac OS X Client as well, as it determines at runtime whether to show the journaling controls or not. All it does to verify if it’s running on Server is check for the presence of the file ServerVersion.plist in /System/Library/CoreServices. Establishing the following symbolic link is sufficient to make this test pass:
sudo ln -s SystemVersion.plist /System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist
BTW, with this in place, About this Mac will claim that the machine is running Mac OS X Server.
Just for “sh*ts and giggles” I thought I’d enable journalling my iPod too:
% sudo diskutil enableJournal /Volumes/iPod 30GB/
Allocated 8192K for journal file.
Journaling has been enabled on /Volumes/iPod 30GB/
The Disk utility application confirms that my iPod’s HFS+ drive is indeed journalled. So far… no problems.
Whatever happened to Apple’s Marklar and to its provocator Microsoft Palladium? News anyone?
While Apple hasn’t confirmed the existance of Marklar (x86 OSX) it is rumored that they are keeping the OS as a means of comparative analysis against PPC.
Some have said that Apple uses it as a bargaining chip to hold over Microsoft head.
Apple is unlikely to make it available to the consumer public unless the dynamics of the marketplace compell them to do so and make it worth their while. For example, if Microsoft were broken up and actually puunished for the ill will the free martplace, it would have been beneficial for Apple to release marklr.
Who knows, maybe a similar market changing factor will cause them to consider releasing it, but i wouldn’t get my hopes up if i were you…
Lemme try this again
Apple is unlikely to make it available to the consumer public unless the dynamics of the marketplace compell them to make it worth their while. For example, if Microsoft were broken up and actually punished for the ill will they caused, it would have been beneficial for Apple to release marklr then.
Thanks for the info. Though it would have been really great to share OS X to x86. I like FreeBSD so much and after looking under the hood of OS X, there I was home. And even all those candy, cleverly dumbed-down interface, is still great. It got me thinking on switching to Mac…if it weren’t so damn expensive.
I think there’s probably a noticeable responsiveness difference between 10.2.0 and 10.2.6. The latter is faster.
Also, 256 megs are not enough. OS X needs more. Otherwise the swap files slow you down. I just ordered 512 mB extra for my flat panel iMac.
(Sorry. I screwed up the thread by not paying attention (see my previous post).
I am now a Mac user 😉
I have added an extra bit of memory. I’ve now got a eMac g4 Combo with 512MB memory. All I can say is WOW! I think it is about time the anti-Mac, nay-sayers of the world got off the behinds, bought a Max and eXPerience the difference 😉
One thing I have to comment is the really good audio quality one gets (when hooking up external speakers) in comparision to the SoundBlaster Live!
As for the software bundle, it is very good quality in comparision to the piddly and pultry one receives with a Pc these days. Back in the good days one used to recieve the gutenburg library along with every piece of software one would require.
Anyway, installed Corel Graphics Suite, Office X and downloading some updates. Oh, and listening to Boss Anova – Quincy Jones Big Band 😉
Whereas I agree that the various versions of OSX have gotten faster, this hasn’t always been so. System 7 did get progressively faster and by 7.6 had become fairly stable. System 8 got better, but I didn’t notice much difference in speed. But, overall, I thought that 7 and 8 were slower than System 6. Admittedly System 6 did less, but it did it faster on much less hardware. I don’t think 6 was at all bad. And it was much more stable than Windows 95.
system 6 was written in assembly, (i think the very early macos’ were written in pascal…) and the switch to system 7 was a move to C(or something similar. That is why 6 is faster than 7…
that I have several older PC’s hanging around. I upgraded a PII 450 from 98 to 2k to XP. Each went slower on each upgrade. The only improvement was the boot time in XP of 2k witch was still slower than 98. Since 98 is based on the 9x kernal and 2k and xp are based on NT that is understandable. (and no one can honestly say that ME improved speed or stabilty over 98) The performance of running software did decrease also. The stability increased greatly when going to the nt kernal but the performance went down. XP is slower than 2k with only modest enhancemnts to things that matter. Some were needed, but most were not.
I also have a Rev A iMac 233. Speed we improved or the same from 8.5 to 9. Speed decreased significantly when going to OSX 10.0 (a lot more than going to the NT kernal for my windows box) But, each upgrade past this has brought a very noticable increase in speed and stability. …your millage may vary.
I was just saying that it is nice for Apple to work on the speed improvements on each update. I don’t see MS putting the same effort into it.