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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Apple

Mac OS X Slow for Web Browsing? 728

Atryn writes "Wired News has reportedly confirmed user performance complaints in their own tests. From the article: 'That was a conscious decision Apple made,' Mac MSIE project manager Jimmy Grewal said. 'They optimized for user experience rather than raw performance.'" My hunch is that you can take care of many Mac OS X performance issues by logging in as user ">console" ...
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Mac OS X Slow for Web Browsing?

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  • A simple solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ringbarer ( 545020 )
    Take a fork off Mozilla, and compile it so that it doesn't go through all the legacy-compatible OS X Event Layer fluff.

    The trouble is that the OS has to be backwards compatible all the way back to the early days of Multifinder et al. If you're compiling directly for OS X, you don't need to worry about the cruft.
    • I don't know much about OS X, but I think maybe you might want to look into fizzilla []?
    • Re:A simple solution (Score:4, Informative)

      by znu ( 31198 ) <> on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:32AM (#3372969)
      Try Chimera []. It uses Mozilla's Unix back-end with a Cocoa front-end. It's only at version 0.21, so there's still a bunch missing, but it's already by far the fastest OS X browser.

      The latest betas of OmniWeb [] also beat IE by a nice margin.
      • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:19AM (#3373330) Homepage Journal
        there's still a bunch missing, but it's already by far the fastest OS X browser.

        It's easy to be the fastest when there is a lot of stuff missing. What's hard is being the fastest when you have everything implemented.
        • by coolgeek ( 140561 )
          The missing stuff is things like FTP download, type-to-remember URL bar, and combo boxes that popup. You know, code that is not executed while rendering a page. I don't believe the addition of these features will affect page rendering speed too much, and I would say it is a fair comparison to bench Chimera vs. Mozilla since they both use Gecko. The reason it is faster is that is uses (as znu pointed out) the native OS X API set, Cocoa, whereas ALL the other browsers (incl. Mozilla) use Carbon, a compatibility-layer API that allows dev's to write code once to run on OS 9 and OS X. Obviously, the compatibility layer API is going to be held back by some legacy design issues.
        • As someone who has working with the Chimera project a bit recently, I don't think rendering speed will get much slower than it is now.

          It took a healthy speed hit when it switched over to rendering ATSUI text rendering (getting pretty anti-aliased text) instead of Mozilla's built in services (this was after the benchmarks posted in another comment were made), but beyond that, the only other major changes to the rendering engine that are planned are using native widgets instead of XUL widgets, adding Java and Plugin support, and finally packing up the our Cocoa embedded version of Gecko into a framework for easy inclusion in to other applications.

          None of those things should slow down rendering too badly, except for maybe native widgets. We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

          Also, I'm hoping with future versions of OS X that the ATSUI text rendering library will be faster, so we may regain some of the speed that was lost with that change.

          And of course, Chimera is going to be a browser, and nothing more. No mail, no IM, or anything else like that. If I wanted that kind of bloat, I'd be using Mozilla (or the Windows Explorer)
  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:22AM (#3372888) Journal
    That seems to be the choice they made. First get it stable, then make it fast. There's something to be said for that idea.
    • by 47PHA60 ( 444748 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:37AM (#3373011) Journal
      I purchased a power mac dual 1GHZ machine for video editing after a few years of painful Windows NT/2000 on a dual Pentium, then a dual PII.

      The dual PII is now a fast, stable linux machine, and my Mac has not crashed _once_. Each time I allow it to download and install the latest OS update, it gets faster.

      In theory I always agreed with the stability over features idea, but I really had no idea how satisfying it is in practice. It's the most stable workstation under $5000 I've ever used, and not once have I bothered to read anyone's benchmarks on the system.

      The best part is that if the web browsing may be slower, I have not noticed at all, because the overall experience is much more satisfying.
      • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @12:50PM (#3374303)
        On G4 systems (especially the dual processor ones) the slowdown is not so apparent. OS X makes heavy use of vector graphics, and it's also highly AltiVec optimized. Apple knew this when optimizing the user experience, and figured they would eventually move their entire line to G4s anyway, so a little performance sacrifice now is okay.

        The slowdown is much more apparent on G3 systems, such as my iBook, where everything just seems to kind of crawl. I bought an iBook thinking it would have plenty of power, but I've come to find out that's not the case. For example, compiling programs takes forever (I'm a CS major, so this is a large reason I bought a laptop.) I don't fault OS X (the user experience is unmatched.. plus Apple's dev tools just rule;) I fault the machine. I'm planning on selling the iBook this summer and purchasing a PowerBook G4.

        A dual 1 gHz G4 is a poor representative of average performance. The dual G4 machines are absolute behemoths, most people look at them and say "Oh, only 1 gHz CPUs, can't be that fast." They are VERY fast. By comparison, my 500 mHz G3 iBook is about 1/8 the speed of your system. My Athlon XP 1800+ is probably about 2/3 as fast as your system. It's hard to judge the speed of an operating system when you have that much raw power at your disposal.
    • by Querty ( 1128 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:00AM (#3373588) Homepage
      Although the original refers to 'Portability', this is basically one of the tenets of UNIX philosophy:
      4. Choose portability over efficiency.
      - Next ---'s hardware will run faster.
      - Don't spend too much time making a program run faster.
      - The most efficient way is rarely portable.
      - Good programs never die--they are ported to new hardware
    • by roffe ( 26714 ) <> on Friday April 19, 2002 @01:06PM (#3374428) Homepage

      on't really care which _computer_is faster. I want a cmmputer that makes _me_ faster, and if that is a slower computer, then that's fine by me.

  • MSIE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by class_A ( 324713 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:23AM (#3372895)
    MSIE is very slow. Table parsing in particular is dog slow. I have to read Slashdot on a PC; stories with 150+ comments take forever on the Mac. Other browsers are reported to be faster, but the default browser is crap. I know I could replace it, but does the typical iMac user who just wants it to work out of the box?
    • Re:MSIE (Score:2, Informative)

      by u2zoo ( 213839 )
      This is because Internet Explorer is horribly buggy - it hangs on java and large tables - something it never did in Classic OS - Clearly the port to carbon and OS X caused this. The Microsoft ports to OS X have been rather shabby so far. Windows Media Player sucks and even Office is a bit of a dog. Yet the new Photoshop 7 hauls ass. (I'm on a powerbook g4 500... not the fastest computer in the apple line-up). While most of the carbon apps are slower compared to cocoa, the Microsoft ones in particularly crash quite a bit and have issues with rendering their windows.

      I've switch to Mozilla full time and after I installed the carbonized java plug-in I can do everything IE 5.1 did and more. IE 5.1 also has some silly CSS bugs (like adding a horizontal scrollbar whether it is needed or not when positioning elements relatively)

      I use Chimera or Opera every now and then for testing and both are WAY faster the IE. I believe Opera is carbon as well as Mozilla - which shows that carbon.. while slower can still produce quality apps.

      This is Microsoft FUD at it's best.
    • There is Omniweb and iCab and Opera and Mozilla, and so on and so on. You have half a dozen browsers to choose from under OS X, probably more. Try a different one.

      Oh, and slashdot reads just find under Omniweb 4.x as well as iCab, I should know, I use them at home for Slashdotting all the time.
  • by Microsift ( 223381 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:24AM (#3372899)
    Asking the guy who makes the browser, and works for a competitor of Apple's...Surprising he put the blame on Apple...Shocking!

    I run OS X, and I don't have any issues with browsing the internet.
  • No problem here. (Score:4, Informative)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:25AM (#3372908) Homepage
    I run a G4/500 (old PowerMac) and use Internet Explorer using Squid+Squid Guard as my proxy system (protects against ads and "accidental" pr0n). I have no problem with the speed of browsing. Mozilla is a tad bit faster but it is buty-ugly to look at compared to IE. Omniweb is blazing fast and beautiful but it doesn't handle JavaScript and CSS as well as IE, YET! As a Mac user, look and feel is very important to me since I look at my monitor for 8 hours a day for work.

    Looking at just web browsing speed on an OS is not a great reason to choose one over an another.

    • by larien ( 5608 )
      protects against ads and "accidental" pr0n

      What, as opposed to deliberate pr0n?

      Anyway, what is accidental porn? Is that when the guy misses the, er, lets just stop here....

    • by b1t r0t ( 216468 )
      Mozilla is a tad bit faster but it is buty-ugly to look at compared to IE.

      When's the last time you downloaded a new one? Mozilla for OS X has had an "Aqua" style appearance for like three or four months now.

      Sheesh, people, quit judging Mozilla based on stuff before 0.9.5. There may have been a few regressions here and there, but there has been a lot of progress since the start of the year.

      • Re:No problem here. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by toupsie ( 88295 )
        When's the last time you downloaded a new one? Mozilla for OS X has had an "Aqua" style appearance for like three or four months now.

        That's what I am talking about! I have tried about every build of Mozilla since the beginning for OS X. The Chimera builds show some promise with more incorporation of native widgets but the interface is still ugly. Looks like it was designed by a Windows user.

  • by JZ_Tonka ( 570336 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:26AM (#3372917)
    I noticed a link to Slashdot in that Wired article. Wouldn't it be ironic if a bunch of Wired readers brought Slashdot to its knees?
  • MSIE for mac (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jlemmerer ( 242376 )
    Since IE is already slow on Windows, the native system it comes from, it was to be expected that it will be even slower on a mac, since as far as i know there is only a compability layer to make the IE work with the mac instead of a truly MAC - Designed IE. to summarize - just patchwork to make it run...

    In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.
    • Re:MSIE for mac (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Microsoft apps used to be written that way - most notoriously Word 6. Since the days of Office 98, however, Microsoft's Mac apps (including IE) have been written from the ground up for that Mac. They share very little code with their Windoze counterparts.
    • Re:MSIE for mac (Score:3, Informative)

      by inajar ( 196074 )
      What makes you think IE on the Mac is just a patchwork port running in some sort of mythical compatability layer? While it may be true that older versions of IE on the Mac (versions 4.5 and earlier) were based on the Windows versions, version 5 was built from scratch for the Mac. I would encourage you to do a little research before posting next time.

    • since as far as i know there is only a compability layer to make the IE work with the Mac instead of a truly MAC - Designed IE. to summarize - just patchwork to make it run...
      1. Win IE & Mac IE have completely different codebases. If there's overlap it is only in snippets of code shared between the development teams.
      2. Aside from knowing the product history this is easily demonstrated by looking at the errata for each browser. They have very different feature sets / CSS implementations / rendering issues / etc.
      3. Win IE 5.x is a "Carbon" application; this means it is running using a set of libraries based on the old MacOS. However it is not running in the old MacOS itself (a "Classic" application). Indeed in spite of being a Carbon application the IE 5.x for MacOS X cannot run on MacOS (though there are IE 5.x for MacOS.)
      4. This is in line with MS Office v.X which hasn't been code-synched with it's Wintel cousin for years, is also Carbon-based, and also does not run on MacOS.
      5. So, in point of fact, you've got every one of yours wrong.
      Mac IE is not a port of Win IE, is not running in an emulation layer, and has no excuse not to be faster.

      On the other hand Mac IE is more standards-compliant overall then it's Wintel cousin in spite of some glaring CSS deficiencies & other asst'd bugs. It has a notably better design in some areas, incorporates some nice features like the left-hand bar, and a much better cache (as in not-broken.)

      Of course Win IE has it's own set of bugs and deficiencies so overall they're about equal with the Mac IE being somewhat more "right" & the Win IE getting more support from sites.

      For the future I expect that Carbon applications like Mac IE will be eventually replaced (or superseded.) Though they've been pushed farther then Apple originally wanted (gotten more features, more support, etc.) they're still not as effective at taking advantage of MacOS X as Cocoa applications are. On the other hand they're a relatively easy port and work nearly as well so they're the obvious step for developers with large code bases and little familiarity with Objective-C & Apple's Next-derived OO development environment.

  • Chimera (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gerv ( 15179 ) <> on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:29AM (#3372944) Homepage
    Chimera [] is, according to these tests [], the fastest MacOS Web browser by a factor of 2.

    Chimera is, of course, based on Gecko, the Mozilla rendering engine. It's mainly the work of Mozilla uber-hacker Dave Hyatt [].

  • Mac MSIE project manager Jimmy Grewal said. 'They optimized for user experience rather than raw performance.'"

    In my experience you optimize for performance and sacrifice optimization for user experience.

  • by ciryon ( 218518 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:30AM (#3372959) Journal
    Who uses IE in Mac OS X anyway? Both Opera and Mozilla are truly great browsers which run fast and smoothly in Mac OS X.

    Here's something interesting though:

    IE in Mac OS X follows the standards a lot better than IE in Windows.

    When we constructed our new company webpage we had to customize it for both IE/windows and IE/Mac.

  • On my Win2K machine at work, a /. article with 200 replies render within seconds. On my G4/400 at home, the same page could take 30 seconds or more to render. What's worse, I get the "spinning CD cursor of doom" while it renders, so I can't even click on Stop or Back.

    • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:50AM (#3373112)
      Which browser are you using? IE for the Mac (under OS 9 and OS X) has problems with complicated tables; it will take minutes (yes, minutes) to render moderately sized Slashot pages. OmniWeb, Opera, iCab, Chimera, all return the same page in seconds.

      The problem is in the Tasmin rendering engine used by IE for Mac. But blaming Apple seemed to be the easiest thing for them to do.

      There are certainly performance problems in OS X's UI, but let's give blame where blame is due.


  • Open Source? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:33AM (#3372977) Homepage Journal
    The culprit, it turns out, isn't the new iMac's hardware, but its operating system, which Apple focused on getting to market first and bringing up to speed later.

    This looks like the opensource motto `release early, release often'.

    • This looks like the opensource motto `release early, release often'.

      Actually, it's more like a real-world application of the common programming aphorism: don't optimize too early.
  • the real interface behind macosX.
    honestly i switched to it from kde, and am really happy. the filemanager r0x0rs, the way minimised windows get iconified to icons, is really neat, you can drag them around, and handle them like desktop icons.
    for example icon view of directory "devel" for example.
    desktop menu is great, that lets you minimize all windows at once etc.
    it even supports antialiasing if you want to. and is no resource hog. xfce is the working environment, that gtk is built for, not gnome.
    i say working environment because i mean it, you can really get work done, whereas the desktop environments i know mostly try to mimic commercial gui's like apples macosX and windows.
    fighting the eyecandy
  • Speed is relative (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:35AM (#3372995)
    My mom wants one of those new iMacs, and I don't think she'll consider OS X web browsers to be slow. Because right now she's using a 6100 with AOL 4.0. Now that's slow.
  • by jone1941 ( 516270 ) <jone1941@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:35AM (#3372998) Homepage
    The main reason that people are complaining about the speed, is the fact that OS X uses Post Script to store and draw pretty much everything. This Post Script Engine is what gives the GUI its beauty and its lack of speed. The GUI, as it stands now, has no support for 2D hardware acceleration. This is mostly due to the fact that todays graphics cards were not intended to support 2D Post Script Acceleration directly. This is the problem that needs to be fixed.

    Alot of the issues surrounding OS X's percieved speed will hopefully be resolved with the 10.2 upgrade. There should be some components that will have hardware acceleration support. So, as already stated in the article, apple wanted the user experience first and the speed second. As we have seen each revision of the os has provided better performance. The good news is it can only get better.
    • PDF, not PostScript. This is the cause of some of the GUI performance problems some people see. But remember, the OS X architecture is going to probably be around for another 15 years. It's hard to switch graphics engines at a later date, so it made sense to go with something really capable from the beginning, since the hardware that will be on sale for most of OS X's lifespan will have no problem handling it. Try OS X on a dual 1 GHz machine. "Snappy" is a good word for it.
    • No, it doesn't. It uses PDF. NextStep/OpenStep used display PostScript. PDF is a different animal.
  • I have a PII 300 running win2k, a powerbook g4 with OS X, and a G4 400 tower with OS 9.2. My wintel box is about the same speed as both the macs. The OS 9 machine has memory issues (even after assigning 256 RAM to it) with IE that crash it every so often and I have crashed my OS X machine twice in 11 months.

    I really don't notice a speed difference in page loading.

    Now my room mate has a 1.6 GHZ AMD with XP on it. That is faster but it crashes at least twice a day. I'll take the extra 10 seconds (more like 2-4) over a crash or a two a day.

    • Re:haven't noticed (Score:2, Informative)

      by mcwop ( 31034 )
      I'll second that.

      I have a 933 tower that surfs the web just fine and fast.

      Same experience on my wife's iBook 600mhz. Both are networked to cable Internet.

      Article is FUD.

    • Now my room mate has a 1.6 GHZ AMD with XP on it. That is faster but it crashes at least twice a day. I'll take the extra 10 seconds (more like 2-4) over a crash or a two a day.

      What is your roommate doing? Ripping out PCI cards while the machine is running? Clearly this guy has some kind of hardware problem because I have three machines running XP and the one thing they almost never do is crash. Clearly your roommate needs to take his machine back to the store or -- if he built it himself -- learn how to do it properly.

      (Seriously) not trying to troll here, but an XP machine in proper working order shouldn't crash twice a day. Did he forget to attach the heat sink? Did he drool some hummus onto the motherboard? Does he have back issues of Gent piled up on the cooling vent? Something is clearly wrong with that machine.

  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:38AM (#3373018) Homepage
    Here's an example.
    The mac zealots (not unlike linux zealots) get all defensive about such issues, as you can see.

    Why Does Web Browsing STILL S*ck On the Mac? []

  • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:39AM (#3373029) Journal
    You'd have a hard case arguing that OSX doesn't have room for improvement speedwise, but it's this horrible thing that some people like to pretend that it is. Some of the blame goes to Apple, some goes to the application writers. Mac IE renders some stuff painfully slow. I don't know why. Like the article said, things like slashdot comments feel like they're taking all day. In reality, it's only 5 seconds, but we all know what sort of attention spans people have nowadays. There's a pretty new browser called Chimera that is early in development, and still has a limited feature set, but it renders things almost instantly, including slashdot comments. So there isn't some inherent problem within the OS that makes it impossible for your applications to function reasonably.

    Not to sound too much like an apple apologist, but they've done quite a bit to get OSX to where it is so far, and the more I use it, the more I appreciate where it's advanced over OS9. I don't mind waiting a bit for things to improve. Just like I don't really mind anymore waiting 5 seconds for IE to throw together the comment threads. Most of us could benefit from learning a little patience.

    Although I would surmize that it's apple's fault that they get judged so harshly. Seeing as steve jobs claims that every time someone in their company makes a sketch on a post-it note, they've created a new revolution in the world, people are justified in being extremely critical.
  • OmniWeb, Chimera (Score:3, Informative)

    by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:41AM (#3373042) Homepage
    I use OmniWeb. Primarily. It's render outclasses anything else on the platform. It's very fast too in comparaison to IE.

    Blaming Apple for IE's sluggish performance is a bit easy. Coming from the IE project manager, it's downright insulting.

    For browsing outside a proxy, I sometime uses the new Chimera browser. It's a Cocoa (Objective-C) -based browser that's based on Fizilla. Fizilla is a Mac OS X version of Mozzila.

    Chimera is astonishingly fast. It's render is better than Netscape 6.2, but like OmniWeb, it's JavaScript support is still lacking somewhat. Fortunately, javascript support isn't an issue for me, unless I require online banquing, where I'll use Netscape 6.2 (despite it's utter ugliness).
  • Microsoft of moving towards using 3D hardware to accelerate GUI performance, treating windows as surfaces and textures in order to offload the eye candy to the graphics processor.

    I have heard that Apple is trying to (essentially) port Quartz/Aqua to OpenGL, so they they, too, can take advantage of hardware acceleration for drawing their eye candy.

    The days of 2-D GUI acceleration, where fills and bitblts were 90% of the solution, are quickly passing. 2D hardware acceleration does not help with alpha blending, for instance.

    I wonder how X/QT/Gtk will keep up with this next round of WIMP: WIMP-3D. Perhaps the Gnome Canvas could be hardware-accelerated using GLX. Rasterman is working (supposedly) on EVAS, a 3D-assisted rendering mechanism for X.

    • I wonder how X/QT/Gtk will keep up with this next round of WIMP: WIMP-3D. Perhaps the Gnome Canvas could be hardware-accelerated using GLX. Rasterman is working (supposedly) on EVAS, a 3D-assisted rendering mechanism for X.

      "Supposedly" eh? Check the evas module from enlightenment CVS. It looks fairly complete.

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:46AM (#3373076) Journal
    I use OSX on an old G3 333MHz system and although it *is* slow in terms of responsiveness, the whole UI seems made to provide a sort of "pseudo" realism in that there is a lot of animation going on all the time, all windows support alpha transparency and in order to make dragging a non flickering experience, Apple has made every window double buffered. There *are* shareware goodies that'll turn off the shows but I think Apple made a mistake by not allowing users (or coders) easy access to a panel to turn off live scaling, live drag'ndrop and double buffering on a system wide level. I think Apple did this on purpose partly in order to sell newer hardware (from whence they gain the revenue so it makes sense) and partly in order to create a consistent "branding" in order to raise market awareness. Since I spend a fair amount of time in the terminal I'm not so affected byall this.

    On the topic of browsers, MS IE is definitely the worst in terms of stability and speed in OSX. The other main contenders, Omniweb and Mozilla (and especially the Cocoa based Mozilla derivative Chimera) have improved enormously over the past year, from the point where Omniweb could not render any css or do any javascript and Mozilla crashed just about every 5 minutes to the point where Omniweb renders Hotmail better than IE itself and Mozilla now supports native UI elements and almost never crashes. IE improved a bit from the first beta version last years but has since only had the odd security upgrade and no feature or performance improvment whatsoever.

    My personal two winners in the future will be Omniweb when it is fully CSS and DOM compatible and Chimera when it gets to version .9 or 1.0

    I have also noticed that the UI has improved to the point where it is not that much slower than the Classic MacOS anymore and I presume that with 10.2 and further on it will get even better.
  • by Schemer ( 717 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:46AM (#3373078) Homepage
    ...Lynx screams on my TiBook!
  • by giberti ( 110903 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:47AM (#3373083) Homepage

    Apples market isn't the hard core geek (not yet anyway) they are trying to puncture the home PC market with the iMac, not the corporate desktop. So far I think they have done suprisingly well.

    I just bought a G4 and it comes with: mp3 software, dvd / cd burning software, video editing software, email software, web browser, and a VERY intuituve interface.

    Another nice feature is the DVD playback isn't sketchy (I had a creative DVD Player in my old Win2000 machine and could never get the DVD Window to size right.) and you can even tile applications without having any wierd show through from the DVD window.

    Straight out of the box, you can do more than any WinXP/2000/ME/98 Box ever did. Then throw on any of the available apps Office / Photoshop / Illustrator / Mozilla / FTP (for those who don't like the command line) etc.

    The set up is easy and the "iTools" that mac provides (free for mac users) are actually quite nice.

    I have been using intel based machines for a little over 12 years and have always regarded mac's as odd. But now that OS X (BSD) is at the core, its a truely robust system. The only thing I use my PC for is work (we are married to some microsoft technologies like SQL Server.)

    I will sacrifice speed for two things:

    • Usability
    • Stability

    Mac has them both now. And without the need to reboot the machine due to memory leaks if an application crashes. I have this problem all the time on my Thinkpad.

    • I'm a hardcore geek and bought an iBook earlier this year. Personally OS X makes sense for me. I can use all my favorite UNIX development tools and when I get a damn MS Office document from marketing I can actually open it in MS Office.

      An no, ksh and vim aren't slow in OS X. Not to overshadow your point, because I think it's a good one... For geeks this is a perfect system too.
  • by Watts Martin ( 3616 ) <> on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:54AM (#3373141) Homepage

    While others have made this observation, I'll second (or third or fourth) it--when you use a web browser that's fully Cocoa, it's a lot snappier. I've given up using IE except when I have to; I primarily use OmniWeb, but I have to say that Chimera's rendering speed is pretty stunning.

    I don't doubt that OS X's speed can be improved, particularly particularly in the "subjective performance" category. Very few people seem to have learned what was (IMHO) the real lesson from Amiga: if you make your UI quick and responsive, your entire OS will seem quick and responsive. BeOS figured that out. OS X, well, hasn't. It's great that they're pushing stability, but in my experience OS X has been the least stable Unix I've used (and I say that as a committed OS X fan). I'd like to at least have gained speed from that tradeoff, but that isn't there yet.

    Here's hoping OS X 10.2 has that missing hardware acceleration.

    Incidentally: when it hits 11.0, what are they going to do? Call it OS Y?

  • Four years ago I purchased an iMac G3/233. At the time, it was fairly fast, and it remains to be a speedy machine, even today. With 96 MB of RAM it runs Mac OS X well, and my mother now uses the computer daily to stay in touch with me. The average consumer Mac user (iMac/iBook) is more concerned that things /work/ rather than how fast they work.

    Mac OS X on a G3 isn't "painfully slow," but it isn't a speed demon (haha) so to speak, either. Mac OS X on a G4 rocks all over, and anyone who thinks otherwise might want to install an OS X native browser and stop whining. =)

  • The reason why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:03AM (#3373205)
    OS X is "slow" for browsing because IE is just a Carbon port and was mostly single threaded to begin with.

    You're better off using Mozilla, especially the rapidly developing Mach-O version which has an multithreaded Unix backend and is very fast.

  • The diagnosis: The problem is not a bandwidth issue caused by fat HTML, but an annoying delay in actually drawing the page onscreen after its components have been downloaded.

    I'm not sitting at my OS X box right now, but I believe that IE defaults to displaying a page only after all of its components have been downloaded. If you turn this off, you'll see text and placeholders displayed right away while the graphics are downloading, if you can tolerate annoying reformatting and redrawing as you go.

  • by jetro ( 574833 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:05AM (#3373219)
    Just installed OS X 10.1.3 on a 400 Mhz iMac the other days -- and noticed that IE was indeed painfully slow, especially when compared to Mozilla on Yellow Dog Linux on the same machine, which is the fastest browser I've ever seen, anywhere.

    But -- since it's pretty obvious that Microsoft just Carbonized the existing IE for Mac OS 9, and since everything else OS X is real fast (I threw in a gig of RAM) -- I think the real problem lies with IE. A true Cocoa version oughta rip whenever Microsoft comes up with it.
  • It is just odd that Wired would take IE as the only browser in their performance tests without looking at the others.

    Mozilla RC1 is noticably faster than IE on my TiBook 550 and Chimera is at least twice as fast as Mozilla.

    I've never used OmniWeb which most Mac users swear by, but IE on the Mac is a good bit slower than IE on Windows - but I would easily say that Chimera is the fastest browser I've use on ANY platform.
  • If browsing is slow for you on OS X, you might like to try Mozilla Release Candidate 1 [].
  • by proclus ( 33875 )
    Heh, I think this problem will now be fixed soon ;-}. If you can't wait for that, GNU-Darwin has a very fast default browser called Dillo, and X11 Mozilla will also be available for users soon. Although they are OS X compatible, they also work in console mode with XDarwin.


  • Mach-O Mozilla (Score:2, Informative)

    by PenguinLord ( 555013 )
    There is a way to build mozilla using native API's to take advantage of anti-aliasing and make it faster. Info here []
  • Mac OS 1.1 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neo ( 4625 )
    Sure, it's nice to say that you're using MacOS "ten"... but in reality you're using a new OS. Brand spanking new... with a remarkably noble achievement in using postscript for the entire rendering. Most people don't get what this means, but it's a completely different way of dealing with what you see on the screen... You can take anything and save it as postscript.

    Of course it's a little slow. It's new code. That's why they can make it faster with each revision. It's probably going to continue getting faster and faster as the coders get more comfortable with the code base.

    So yeah, it's slow. Is anyone really surprised?
  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:21AM (#3373342) Homepage Journal
    Say you have a young daughter who, at 7 years old, is a whiz at math and has great promise. Then, say that you have a new baby son. A year later, the 1 year old has learned to do the same thing as the now-8 year old, only slower.

    It's a simple way to say that Mac OS X is really a "1.0" product, folks. NOTHING like this OS has been put together to do the things it does. Other posters indicated that many of us would trade speed for stability, and I fall in that camp, too.

    The original Mac OS became quite refined and swift from the OS level after many years of development. Windows 95 wasn't all that optimized at its introduction but its successors do well in this area. Yet Microsoft sacrifices stability AND security for speed.

    Mac OS X is pleasing to the eye, but graphic pros know a slug when they see it. Still, time will fix it. Now that Apple has solved most of the serious feature deficits and bugs (or at least knows of them), they can concentrate on optimization--big time.

    How much performance and happiness did you get out of Windows 1.0? Linux 1.0? Cut the new kid some slack. It's doing good for a 1 year old.

    Oh...OmniWeb rocks for general viewing. Loading 200+ posts from Slashdot is much faster than IE, which has to load ALL the posts before you can view them. Cocoa also adds antialiasing to text that makes web browsing great.

    In comparison to web browsing in Windows and Mac OS 9, things a little slower in OS 10.1. But then, IE won't kill my OS when it crashes, and my OS X system has never suffered an OS X kernel panic for over a year. I'll take that over the speed thing any day, for now.
  • by petard ( 117521 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:25AM (#3373373) Homepage

    They're right. Almost. It feels a little slow to me, but not unbearably so. Perhaps my tolerance is too high, but I don't feel like I'm sitting around waiting for the system. Or perhaps (since I've been using Mac OS X since the first day of the public beta and Mac OS for several years!) I'm so impressed with the overall improvements to my "computing experience" that have come with Mac OS X that I don't notice *all* of the warts. Frankly, I've had my performance complaints, and the browser hasn't been one of them. Don't get me started on the Finder...

    My system is an iMac DV G3/400MHz with 512MB RAM and a 27GB internal HD. Certainly not a performance champ... in fact, except for the RAM it's rather low-end. My point of reference for Wintel is my work PC, an IBM thinkpad 1GHZ, 392MB/32GB running RedHat 7.2 and occasionally booting into Win2k (when I need to edit someone else's MS Project or Visio files). For most operations (checking e-mail, running MS Office, browsing) I don't find that the iMac *feels* slower. Most days, I work from my home office with the two machines sitting side by side. I don't find myself turning to the Thinkpad for browsing; in fact, it's rather the opposite. I do much of my office correspondence on the iMac due to the superiority of the Office implementation for Mac OS X.

    Perhaps the reason I don't find it so slow, though, is that I seldom use MSIE. I am not morally opposed to MSIE; I do use office after all, and actually like office V.X. (It's the first version I've liked since the version with Word 5 (Office 4.0?), though I found Office 98 tolerable.) MSIE is just not the best browser for Mac OS X. Its rendering engine is buggy, and it's *SLOW*. By that, I mean that it feels significantly slower than the other browsers I use. I find that I use 3 browsers:

    1. Mozilla [] - It's reasonably fast. My main complaint is that it takes almost 15 seconds to launch! Once it's launched, I find page loading to be fast and stable. It takes a few seconds to open the preferences panel, but that's no different from Moz on my Linux box, which is faster than my Mac.
    2. Omniweb [] - It's probably in fact slower than IE, but it feels faster because the threading is better. It doesn't block while it's loading a page, and pages look great because it uses Quartz rendering. It's still slower than Moz, though, even when I compile Quartz rendering into it, and Mozilla has less trouble rendering pages with CSS and Javascript.
    3. Chimera [] - This one is going to be the best, hands down. It's fast as blazes, even on my hardware. It's the first browser I've used on any other platform that felt as fast as Galeon. It's in a very early dev version, though, and far from feature complete. I like it a lot, so far.

    All that said, though, IE is the default, and it's IE that the Mac will be judged on. I think the Moz crew has proven that the performance hit is not all apple's fault, though. Even so, Apple and MS would be well served to ensure that IE and Office are really snappy on Apple's newest hardware and OS combinations. I don't doubt that they will, now that OS development seems to have stabilized somewhat.

  • The main issue is the Internet Explorer still runs off of the "Classic Event Model" where it constantly polls for new events. The newer Carbon event model supports those old methods, because EVERYONE used them in the old system. Think how much CPU that takes when all those old programs (even though they are "carbon compliant") are constantly jumping up and down asking if they've gotten an event.

    The new "Carbon Event Model" allows you to associate events with handlers, and when an event fires that you'd like to pay attention to, your call-back gets fired. Much more effecient.

    The cocoa event model is even more robust.

    The problem lies in that programers were able to compile a "carbon compliant" application, without moving to these new event models. THIS IS GOOD. Imagine how PISSED off a developer was if they were told, "Yea, you have to move all your event code over to this new system, cause it's better." No. A developer would rather have a product up and running on OS X natively, and then move over.

    Anyway, it's not that Apple has "buggered" up the system someway, the applications have exploited the API's that Apple has made available, but it was a necissary evil. n/ CarbonPortingTools/carbonportingtools.html

    Has information about the carbon event model, and high performance computing.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:07AM (#3373631) Homepage Journal

    They optimized for user experience rather than raw performance.

    I am happy to defend Apple sometimes, but statements like this are totally silly. Speed and responsiveness is an important part of "user experience." That's why us Amiga nuts stayed with our 50 MHz machines for so long: the 500 MHz machines weren't able to keep up! (But today's gigahertz machines are able to, which is why Amigas are finally fading away even among the diehards). Responsiveness is part of the user interface! No amount of newspeak, rationalization, and Gnome/Microsoft/Apple apologism will convince me otherwise.

  • by greygent ( 523713 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:14AM (#3373665) Homepage
    You can drastically speed up your OS X machine's network speed by modifying some sysctl variables. Toss the following lines into a script somewhere:

    /usr/sbin/sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.sendspace=65536
    /usr/sbin/sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.recvspace=65536
    /usr/sbin/sysctl -w kern.ipc.maxsockbuf=524288
    /usr/sbin/sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.delayed_ack=0
    /usr/sbin/sysctl -w net.inet.udp.recvspace=73728

    It literally doubles my web browsing and file transfer speeds. This will probably be of value only to folks with broadband or ethernet connections. It wouldn't do much for obsolete modem users.
  • by Karl Cocknozzle ( 514413 ) <kcocknozzle AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:36AM (#3373798) Homepage
    Recently, I'd been having some performance issues with Mac OS X on my titanium Powerbook 500. (256 meg of ram on 10.1.4)

    The problem was that EVERYTHING gave me spinning beach ball. File operations, minimizing Finder windows, you name it...Even scrolling in MOzilla and IE were affected. Then I read on MacAddict [] that OS X needs to be left running all night so that various "cleanup" tasks can run.

    Anybody who has OS X should consider leaving there machine up all night so these run... It will resolve a great many problems that you're having, and allow us to go back to bashing MS and Oracle instead of Apple...

    Unix people familiar with cron should have no problem with editing the cleanups to run at a more reasonable hour than 3am, 4am, and 5am (like one when your machine will be running)... (I think the file to edit is /var/run/, but don't quote me...)

    Alternately, if you're a regular mac user and don't feel like mucking about with the terminal, hit Version Tracker [] and pick up MacJanitor. It's a friendly GUI that lets to schedule your daily, weekly, and monthly jobs, or trip them manually on demand.

    Since I'd used the machine, it had never been awake all night (I close the lid when I go to bed, usually before 3am...) so cron had never done anything to optimize my machine.

    Now? All better. Faster than I remember 10.1.1 being...
  • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:58AM (#3373936) Journal
    And, at least in Wired News tests, OS X didn't mimic 9.2's habit of locking up completely, requiring the Mac's power cord and/or battery to be removed in order to reboot it -- hardly a satisfying user experience.
    -as quoted from the article

    Last I checked, the reset button worked just as well for desktop macs as it does for a regular PC. And for laptops, a simple control-command-power press will reboot everytime, no matter how badly crashed.
  • by jchristopher ( 198929 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @12:16PM (#3374082)
    Finally, finally Slashdot has posted an article about this!

    With all the praise heaped on OS X, everyone seems to forget to mention how slow it really is. They are right - it is really nice. But it is SO SLOW!

    Due in large part to positive comments I read on Slashdot, I purchased an Apple iBook with OS 9/X, however, I wasn't interested in 9. I only wanted to use X.

    Took it home, very excited to play with my new toy. Up comes the "Welcome to your new Mac, please register" window. It's all pretty and aqua-like. I click in one of the fields to enter my name and (this is not a joke) the computer was already lagging! I couldn't believe it. When I clicked to pop down widget for "state" there again was a noticeable lag which continued as I went through the fields! Keep in mind, this is just the "welcome" screen - I haven't even started using the computer yet.

    And yes, before you ask, this computer had 640 MB of RAM, so that wasn't the problem.

    The situation did not improve as I began to install the applications I wanted to use. Dragging and resizing windows is an exercise in frustration. Switching between browser windows or applications is very slow. The bundled has a noticeable lag when I switch to a different email message in the preview pane. (Even a crummy client like Outlook is lightning fast when switching between locally stored messages.) Opening the system preferences window takes 5-10 seconds.

    I think one of the greatest inventions is the wheel mouse. When I'm reading Usenet or web pages, I like to use the wheel to quickly page up or down. On even a 'slow' wintel, 400mhz let's say, this is a very smooth process. A few clicks of the wheel and the screen smoothly scrolls to the bottom. On OS X is sputters and lags, and takes 3 to 4 times as long to reach my destination. It's not just the wheel mouse, if you just click and hold the window scroll arrow there is the same problem.

    Apple says the G3/G4 is suppposed to be far faster per mhz than Wintel, and I bought into that when I bought the iBook. However it simply IS NOT TRUE. In fact, I feel the G3 is actually SLOWER than a PIII of the same clockspeed. Keep in mind you can buy a Wintel with double the clock for the same price and you have an ugly situation.

    After a while, I just couldn't take it anymore - it was constant frustration everytime I booted up. It was just not acceptable, especially considering what I paid for the computer. For what I paid, I could have bought a 1 ghz AMD laptop, which I can assure you, does not lag in the slightest when running Windows 2000.

    I ended up selling it, just 8 weeks after I bought it, and I don't miss it. Right now I'm shopping for it's replacement.

    You don't hear any Mac users warning you about this - instead, they recommend that you purchase the computer! I'm under the impression that either they just don't realize how much faster Windows/Linux is (maybe they haven't used x86 in a few years) or maybe they are just in denial as a way of trying to defend the platform that they love. (i.e. they know it's very slow, but deny it when asked because they want to preserve a favorable opinion about Macs).

    This is the dirty little secret that no one wants to admit. There is a thread on MacSlash about how attractive the Mac is supposed to be for Java development. I tried some java programs like Jedit and NetBeans and they ran at about 1/2 to 1/3 of the speed of running them on Wintel.

    Hello! The emperor has no clothes! It's okay to say so!

  • by orange7 ( 237458 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @12:47PM (#3374282)
    I'm running a quicksilver 733Hz G4, OSX 10.1.3, and right next to it a Dell Dimension 4100, 1Ghz P3. I'm on a Pacbell DSL link.

    I loaded and under both IE and moz (9.9) under both machines.

    For, IE5 and moz on the Dell were about the same, around 2s. (Moz was the fastest to get the banner ad up, maybe IE5 was fractionally quicker overall. Very hard to tell. IE5 had the worst outlier though -- one time it took 5s.)

    Moz 9.9 OSX was around 2.5-3s, and IE5 on the Mac was slowest -- 3-4s.

    All browsers loaded the Apple page pretty much instantaneously. I couldn't tell the difference.

    Lesson #1: use Mozilla under OSX; it's been getting faster with each point release, while IE5's remained static. IE5 can be sluggish at times.

    Lesson #2: there really isn't that much of a difference between the machines. I do a fair bit of surfing on both, and they're literally side-by-side, hooked up to the same monitor. Up until now they'd always seemed about the same speed, surfing-wise, to me. So I was taken aback by the article -- and after testing, I guess the OSX browsers are a *little* slower, but not so's you'd notice much.

    Mind you, I do have plenty of memory. Perhaps the iMacs were hitting the VM a little hard? Or, the pixmaps for all those pretty alpha-blended graphics probably add up. I believe there's an option to store them compressed in memory to speed things up on low memory machines, probably mentioned on one of the numerous OSX hint sites.

  • In my opinion... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cinematique ( 167333 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @03:08PM (#3375245)
    All web browsers suck. I don't care which platform you're on.

    It's 2002 now... and the web, moreovere, webbrowsers, have had over five years to mature. Yet there isn't a single browser out there that is a respectful mix of standards-based compatiblity, ease of use, and speed. Why?

    Don't feed me that line that you can't have everything in one package because once you add-in all of the features, things must slow down. Phooey. We can get Quake to run @ 92837423947fps, but can't get a kickass browser in the market. WTF is *that* all about?

    And looking upon the IE alternatives...

    -Netscape 6.2? Get real. I would probably look upon it more favorably if it were coded to take advantage of Quartz/Aqua & Carbon/Cocoa in OSX. I'd also like to mention that its scrolling bar is *way* too narrow...

    -OmniWeb? They want me to pay them ~$30 for an incomplete browser... yah right. Try fixing your java & CSS support, guys.

    -Opera? You're kidding right? It's in the same class as Omni, if you ask me.

    -IE? It has wronfully become the litimus test for web-development. Yet... is a necessary evil. The majority of browsers out there are IE. Why wouldn't your site be geared towards it? :(

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again... the *ONLY* competition IE has is Netscape.

    What really boggles my mind is that this [] likes to render in a variety of ways depending on which os, browser, and platform you use. That to me is just pathetic.

    Stupid as this sounds... I'd rather build a webpage based on PDF. Then I'd at least know it would look the same no matter where it loaded. And would scale so it wouldn't be tethered to a set screen resolution.
  • by jchristopher ( 198929 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @03:29PM (#3375377)
    I can summarize everything you need to know about this in just a few sentences.

    I bought an iBook (500mhz, 640 MB RAM) with OS X, 10.1 and updated it to the current stuff using the software update control panel.

    The new iBook is signifcantly slower (switching between applications, moving windows, resizing windows, scrolling) than a PowerMac 7100/66 that we keep around for testing. (It must be 6 or 7 years old.)

    Now I don't know (and frankly, I don't care) about cocoa vs. carbon, display postscript, window managers, OpenGL, UNIX, C++, java, or any of that. But I do know something is wrong with the speed of OS X.

    It just sucks and it's not acceptable. I no longer own the iBook.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan