Archive for the 'wwdc' Category

WWDC: Threaded OpenGL for the Mac

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Apple’s OpenGL drivers will be multithreaded on Leopard, and in some cases lead to a 100% performance increase (for instance World or Warcraft). This upgrade may even occur as soon as 10.4.8. Ars technica is busily discussing it. This is in addition to using LLVM in the OpenGL drivers.

WWDC: LLVM & 3D on the Mac

Friday, August 18th, 2006

LLVM is being added to the OpenGL stack. Right now the feature-set of programs using OpenGL is limited by the machine they run on. Because the Mac has a smaller market size, it is not economical to develop software that relies on more recent capabilities of 3D hardware. Although the Mac’s OpenGL drivers apparently already try to fill in some of the gaps, LLVM should extend the range of supported features because it’s a full blown compiler rather than a set of optimized canned routines.

A similar technology exists for Windows and gives pretty good performance.

I find this another interesting example of Apple leveraging open source software to improve its proprietary OS: They employed LLVM’s main author, Chris Lattner, who’s PhD topic was LLVM. This may end up being one of Leopard’s most important features: it will make CoreAnimation and CoreVideo available to many more Macs. It continues Mac OS X’ counter-tradition of each new release being faster than the previous one.

Leopard videos and takedown notices

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

A hungarian blog posted a video of Leopard’s help feature. There’s confirmation here. I can see this being really useful to average users.

Mac rumors also has some pictures:

  • Safari will finally ask whether to leave if you have more than one tab open, or have typed something into a form
  • Safari copies Shiira by showing the download progress as a pie chart.
  • Safari lets you merge windows into tabs, and bookmark all your tabs

Other anticipated Safari improvements are faster javascript (essential for reading digg), better DOM support and CSS3 support. Apparently rich text editing now works within blogging websites like blogger.

Other than that, Apple’s Lawyers seem to have woken up and have started sending takedown notices to websites that publish pictures of Leopard features. Similarly a video on YouTube was removed.

So far, I see faster spotlight searches, WebKit improvements and Core Animation as being the most useful additions.

Small developers still alive and kicking

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Despite WWDC concerns, small developers are still alive and kicking. Parallels is doing extremely well, although it may soon have a free competitor.

Glenn Wosley lists 5 mystery projects soon coming to the Mac… He missed mine :-) I don’t have a (finished) logo yet, but I do have a tagline: Find It! Keep It!, Software made by Packrats for Packrats, coming soon to a Mac near you!

How soon? Sign up for private beta-testing and find out! I hope really soon.

First Leopard review with pictures

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Mac Bidouille now has a review of the version of Leopard that was handed out by Apple at the WWDC. As expected for a developer release it has some bugs and some compatibility problems. For our French readers, lisez l’article original ici.

In other news, Microsoft has decided to drop VB from the Mac version of Office. They’re open to suggestions. I would have thought the only point of Office on the Mac is to be 100% compatible with Office on the PC. It’s odd that they’re not just migrating to x86 for future versions of Office: Compile the Windows VBA engine with MASM, munge the binary to link into gcc. Yes the ABI isn’t compatible, but that only affects the input/output edge of the engine. I’m surprised that’s a concern to a company that invented thunking

Shipping: Vista vs Mac OS-X

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Three reasons why Microsoft can’t ship is a rebuttal of Paul Thurrott’s review of Mac OS X.

Having coded and debugged both platforms (Windows previously at Cyrix/National Semiconductor/AMD) I think the problem lies deeper:

  • Backwards compatibility: Microsoft avoids breaking old software. This is difficult because the APIs were poorly thought out to begin with, so programmers worked around them relying on the underlying implementation.
  • Lack of a hardware platform: a tongue-in-cheek comment I’ve often heard from engineers at hardware manufacturers is: “if the driver/chip has a bug, who’ll notice it? It’s just another blue screen of death!” Support for multiple platforms makes Microsoft’s task many times more difficult than Apple’s.
  • Windows is too big and keeps growing. Windows Vista is allegedly 60 million lines of code, all of them maintained by Microsoft.

Microsoft can’t ship PCs for anti-trust reasons. It could however reduce its backwards compatibility issues by using the second core of x86’s to run a virtual PC containing a copy of whatever old OS was needed to run some old software. Instead the second core improves the user’s perception of performance by running his malware. Similarly Microsoft could offload some less valuable features by adopting open source solutions: I don’t believe they’ll do this because it would be a very painful institutional reversal, and they have the money to avoid it.

Apple avoids these issues:

  • Apple doesn’t really mind breaking compatibility: they provide a bridge for a while to help their customers, but then drop it (68000 emulation, Classic environment, Rosetta) so they can move on.
  • Apple does not support third party platforms: it works on their computers, and that’s it. It discourages the use of third party extensions such as haxies or plugins
  • Much of Mac OS X is open sourced. That means Apple has a much larger pool of developers than simply those they employ.

Apple sells wonderful packaging. It avoids much of the invisible grunt work, and it gets to sell something that is much better than the sum of the pieces that went into it. This is a very good business model: reduced costs, better value.

I personally would have preferred the time Apple used at WWDC to bash Microsoft to have been spent one more Leopard details.

Daniel’s new article contains some interesting tidbits, such as the fact BeOS developers now work at Apple.

WWDC: Unreported Leopard features, Apple Design Awards and some WWDC slides

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

O’Grady leaked a set of Leopard features last week, and now Mac Fix’It confirms them:

Apple’s Design Awards are also out… This is the most complete report from wwdc I’ve found to date, although it doesn’t reveal any secrets. Aaron Hillegass of Cocoa Programming fame has set up a website to share Cocoa Code. Why do his Slides say “Python People Make me Mad”???

AeroXP also has some info of interest to developers