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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Apple

Is Mac OS X Slow? 1229

Junks Jerzey asks: "Every time there's a mention of Mac OS X on Slashdot, there's a flurry of responses about how unbearably slow Mac OS X is. To anyone who has done software development under both Mac OS X and Windows or Linux, is there any truth to this or is it simply a knee-jerk reaction from non-Mac users who see low numbers like 800MHz. I'm talking about average priced Macs here, like the LCD iMac line, not the dual 1.25GHz machines that sell for $4500+." Having the fortune of using a Titanium Powerbook for over a month, I don't find Mac OS X that slow at all, however, there are some things that do take a little longer than I am used to, but I think these things are application-specific. For those Mac OS X users out there, have you noticed operations that seemed slower using Mac OS X compared to similar operations on other operating systems?
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Is Mac OS X Slow?

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  • You're kidding? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:45PM (#4620005)
    I went to the mall and brought up IE on an 800 MHz mac faster than it comes up on my 2GHz Windows box or Mozilla on my 2GHz Linux box. Perhaps that's all cruft from having a system that's heavily used, but it certainly seemed well tuned to me.
  • whats the question? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mgs1000 ( 583340 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:46PM (#4620023) Journal
    So what is the question???

    Is MacOSX slow?
    Are Macs slow?

  • by NinjaWorm ( 462108 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:47PM (#4620038)
    Is MAC OS X slow as a server as well?

    I was thinking of getting one in at work to test it out as a web server, but I will not bother if it is slower than Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:48PM (#4620048)
    If you have a G3 (as I do) there is no question Mac OSX is slower than OS9. Now Jaguar is faster than 10.1 but not fast enough to overtake OS9 on G3 hardware. Most of this seems to have to do with the GUI. One good example is to try resizing any window. Due to the live resizing the window stalls, stutters and gasps to catch up to the cursor. Why they didn't give up on live resizing and use an outline is beyond me. Another example is scrolling. Open up a really long text document and scroll. For me, in OS9 it moves much faster.

    In general everything seems to be a few split seconds behind. Now I know I don't have the latest "G4" hardware or Quartz Extreme, but I ask the question ... how fast would OSX be without all the "Aqua" GUI eye candy? If they had toned down the NEED for graphics accelleration how cool would it be? My only answer is it's all a plot to get us to by the latest and greatest Apple hardware. If OSX ran great on a G3 there'd be less reason to upgrade.
  • Eh, maybe. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by philibob ( 132105 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:48PM (#4620050) Journal
    I use alot of machines from both sides of the war (Win/Mac) at school, but I've never really seen any two systems that are worthy of comparing. Obviously my desktop with an XP2100 starts/runs Photoshop much faster than my friend's TiBook (we both have 1gb ram) But then again, the new imac is shockingly snappy out of the box for what it costs and those two machines combined are easier to carry around than something housed in a full-sized Antec. Speed can be achieved by anything as long as you have the cash for it, and alot of the bottlenecks that show up in the sort of applications that I run on a daily basis are more dependent on the video card than the OS.
  • LCD iMac (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:48PM (#4620057) Journal
    I have an LCD iMac, and no, it's not slow - meaning: it does everything I need it to any I rarely notice the CPU usage go above 70% (unless I'm burning/Ripping a CD or, oddly, dialing in to my ISP). Personally, that's all that matters - I don't care how it compares to a PIII or whatever. It works great and that's that.

    However. I WILL say that OS9 is noticably faster (albeit WAY more unstable), particularly when gaming. Q3:A runs great under OSX but is a damn sight snappier booted into 9. Same thing with DiabloII, Starcraft or Baldur's Gate II.

    However (again). That could be because 3DFX support in OSX is a wee bit buggy - DII or BGII will run with 3d acceleration on but unplayably slowly. Don't have that problem in OS9. Go figure. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:48PM (#4620058)
    ding! what's going to take awhile? native os x apps? i run only os x native apps since os 9 is the biggest piece of crash-happy-crap i have ever booted into. Overall jaguar is pretty snappy on my ibook 700mhz. just don't resize any windows!
  • by Clock Nova ( 549733 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:49PM (#4620067)
    There are still some functions that OSX does not seem to handle as well as its Classic predecessor. OpenGL performance is at the top of that list. I have many games that run significantly faster in OS9 than in X, some even in Classic.

    I'm not sure what exactly is the problem, but it does appear to be gradually improving. For example, upgrading from 10.1.4 to 10.2.1 allowed me to run Jedi Knight II with 4x FSAA and all settings at max in 800x600, rather than 640x480. If I turn FSAA down to 2, I can run it in 1024x768, but it looks better in 800x600.

    The system itself is much faster in 10.2, probably at the level it should. But OpenGL needs work.
  • well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:50PM (#4620081)
    "have you noticed operations that seemed slower using Mac OS X compared to similar operations on other operating systems?"
    Simple answer, yes. Complex answer: Those systems aren't running Windows. Mac OS X is always RESPONSIVE. If a splash screen comes up, you can still pull another application in front of it. If an app is running a huge calculation, you can still web browse. iTunes doesn't skip. You can play DVD on your background (you have to set your background color to a specific value, start up the DVD, then hide the DVD player). You put a really pretty fish tank OpenGL screensaver as your background. Running many mpeg4s at the same time doesn't choke the system. It keeps going, in fact if you just add ram, like with any Unix system, you can throw any number of big jobs at it, and it will keep going.

    That being said, you have to wait for the genie effect to take place. Because it's a friggen animation. Same with icon removals from the desktop. If you aren't running QE (which from what I know is most of the OS X installs today), you get a big CPU hit on moving windows, resizing, and putting in dock. But it still keeps going. I'm really quite amazed at how well it works, day in, day out.

    Am I unpleased, no. Do I even consider other OS's. Not anymore. Can it be made faster, sure.
  • by ascii ( 70907 ) <.kd.erocorcim. .ta. .iicsa.> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:50PM (#4620082) Homepage
    I am fortunate enough to be using a 400-something mhz G3 with around 384MB RAM and OS 10.2 at work.

    I use it primarily for hacking in php, perl, mysql and the likes, which doesn't really require a lot of computational power. I use a lot of photoshop aswell, which is a somewhat different story. I am able to outperform photoshop in using keyboard shortcuts. That is, I experience a (sometimes significant) lag after keying in a keyboard shortcut sequence.

    This has however little to do with the performance of the OS itself, which I find perty darn smooth. To me OS X has always been very responsive in all situations though programs (photoshop, golive etc.) take can take some seconds to start up. Apart from this the overall filehandling and mucking about is done with ease.

    My two mere cents.
  • I made the switch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dbuttric ( 9027 ) <dbuttrick AT geekforce DOT com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:51PM (#4620093) Homepage
    from Windows to OS X, because of the UNIX underneath.

    Let me just tell you that the networking is faster on the Mac than on windows, I can play higher quality streams without the constant re-buffering that I had in Windows.

    I've got Mozilla, Chimera, and IE on theis machine, I use Mozilla the most - but that is changing, I like the look and feel of Chimera a lot it is growsing on me.

    I do alot of surfing, and web development, and I am finding the mac to be faster in starting up applications than the windows boxes I've used...

    Just my $.02
  • Speed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WatertonMan ( 550706 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:54PM (#4620136)
    OSX is a memory hog - even worse that XP. So if you are running it with less that 3/4 of a Gig of memory, invest in the memory. I think you'll change your opinion on speed then.

    It still isn't as fast as Linux or XP (IMO), but has enough polish that I still prefer using it. There are some things that count more than speed. I think OSX does well on those.

    I must ask though why these rather generic OSX discussions keep coming up on Slashdot. They seem more appropriate for some forum rather than "news for geeks." Don't get me wrong, I love OSX. I can't wait for 10.3 which will probably be the final reason to pick it over other OSes. But does it really justify all these topics?

  • by Faggot ( 614416 ) <choads@g[ ]com ['ay.' in gap]> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:54PM (#4620139) Homepage
    When performing calculations, applying Photoshop filters, etc Macs are just as fast or faster than P4s of double the clock rate. Where Apple traded its speed is in the workings of its interface, and I think it was a good decision.

    Certain things do not need to happen instantly. In addition, doing them not-instantly allows plenty of eye-candy rendering and a soft user interface. Apple has tuned their OS to be fast to the program, and soft and comfortable towards the user.

  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:55PM (#4620149) Homepage
    Uh, what kinda vid card?

    My understanding is if your windows are being buffered in ram, its slow. If you have an open GL vid card and quartz starts using GL and vram to store the window buffers (its called quartz extreme, right?), much of the slowness disappears. At least until you have tons of windows open .. a problem that my win2K box encounters anyways.

    Personally, if 3d/trans desktops are to be the norm in the future, every window will have to be buffered *anyway*, so I think Apple is just taking a performance hit to stay a little ahead of the elegance-curve.

    Note to moderators: I might be talking shit, as I'm a former Mac head and now watch from the sidelines. Wait for confirmation from toher folks if you feel like modding my post.
  • by MoxCamel ( 20484 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:57PM (#4620187)
    Mozilla for OS X is the slowest OS X app I have. I still use it cause I'm totally addicted to tabbed browsing, but I sure wish it were faster.

    (I know this is not an OS problem, it's a bloaty Mozilla problem)
  • by Veldcath ( 591080 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:57PM (#4620195) Homepage
    Okay, I've got an indigo iBook (G3 366) running 10.2. I've run OS9 on it, as well as the public beta of X, 10 and 10.1. I've got a 900 MHz Athlon that has run 98, 2k and RedHat 7.3. So I've a bit of experience here with various systems at less than top-end speeds.

    10 was unbearably slow. 10.1 was better. 10.2 is useable. I actually think for most native apps, it's faster than similar tasks in MacOS 9 were. It's certainly more versatile - I can get into SMB shares and the like. But that's not what the question was really asking.

    So, how does it compare with the other OSes? Well, I certainly haven't done any real tests, but for just average use I find it pretty similar to my Athlon 900 except where things like MP3 player visualizations ore 3D performace go (and what can you expect when you're comparing a Rage 128 Mobile 8MB with a GeForce 3 TI 200?)

    The big slowdown on MacOS X was always windowing, but this has been vastly improved with Quartz Extreme. I don't have enough graphics card to get the full benefits from it, but even on this old machine, resizing and moving have been much faster. In fact, it seems to perform better in that respect than XWindow on the Athlon, not that I find that terribly surprising.

    I don't notice a big difference. In some cases, it seems a little faster. In some, a little slower.
  • My observations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#4620225)
    Disclaimer: I have a G4/466 (OS X) at home, and I regularly use a 1.6Ghz Athlon at work (Win2000).

    I think the question is really one of perceived speed. I noticed that on the AMD box, and Win2000, the common behaviour for screen draws is to wait until the operation is finished, then draw all-at-once. For example, IE, when loading a page, will remain exactly as it is (the current page you're on), until such time that it loads Slashdot, then draws it in one fast swoop.

    Now, OS X does this as well, but it tends to give more feedback. The browser window will turn white, then the banner appears, then graphics and text. I've timed both boxes - they render within a half-second of each other (again, subjectively). The OS X box could easily give the impression of slowness. But it isn't really.

    There are some things in OS X that need improvement - notably window-sizing - but then again, the Win2000 box still does outline-drawing for resizing so it's not fair.

    In the end I think Quartz Extreme is Apple's answer to this. Quartz does a hell of a lot more work than the current Windows drawing scheme, and it looks a hell of a lot better. When OS X first appeared, many lamented the excessive eye-candy. Now we have a scheme where your normally-dormant hotshot GPU is helping out with drawing the OS. It makes a gigantic difference, and takes a major load off the CPU. But it is version 1. It will get better.

    I expect Microsoft to go through similar growing pains when they go for the photorealistic desktop in Longhorn.

  • by emil ( 695 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#4620226)

    Doesn't Objective-C suffer from the same performance problem as Java in that there is no early-binding by a linker of the explicit functions/methods that will be called in an application?

    Is late-binding the largest cause of poor performance in OS X? And, if so, does this mean that GNUStep is a bad idea?

  • by bfinuc ( 162950 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:59PM (#4620238) Homepage Journal
    Just from reading the first thirty posts or so, I notice that people who claim to use one app say it's fast, and people who say they use several at the same time say it's slow.

    I have no idea, but the trend is noticeable.

    Could be a memory problem, not a CPU problem. MAC memory is is crappy and $$$ (or used to be - I used to wholesale chips but got out 3 years ago).

  • by freedom_leffo ( 605662 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:01PM (#4620269)

    ..and now running Mac OS X 10.2.1 on a Powerbook G4 DVI 667MHz - yes, sometimes I find things slower than what I'm used to. Sure, browsing the web isn't as snappy as running Galeon was on my Thinkpad R30 Celeron 900 MHz. No matter which browser I now use. Internet Explorer is a lot slower, Chimera is quite a lot faster than the former but still not as snappy as, for example, Galeon. And, sure, running Java applications is still slow compared to the Windows equivavelt.

    But still - it doesn't slow me down. I don't feel irritated because it would be slow. It's not something I think about. It doesn't bother me. It's not two words I connect. Mac OS X. Slow.

    And, of course - define slow. Everyone will have a different opinion about this one. I'd say it's not slow because it's not slowing me down in my work.

    I would like to separate slow and not as snappy.


  • by FVK ( 411455 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:01PM (#4620272)
    OS X is very very slow at some things on my 400Mhz G3 iMac w/ 512MB RAM. But it's only slow with things like loading webpages, opening programs, and scrolling windows. You know, the kind of things people hardly ever do anyway. Other stuff, like moving the cursor side to side and dragging icons around is just as fast as OS 9, I swear.

    Seriously though, OS X is very good at doing more than one thing at once and I/O throughput for network, firewire, USB, etc. is very much improved over OS 9. The feeling when switching back to OS 9 is that it is much snappier, but I find myself less productive in 9 because I tend to use many programs simultaneously and OS X excels here, even on a slow iMac. Hell, I even use OS X on my old 9500/333Mhz G3 and it is DOG slow but I still like it better than 9. The key to remember is that OS 9 is fast because it is highly geared toward doing one thing at a time as fast as possible, and other key fact about OS 9 is that it completely sucks balls. (I am totally qualified to say this because it is true)
  • by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:08PM (#4620339) Journal
    I recently installed OSX on a really slow machine : an original bondi blue 233MHz iMac with ONLY 96MB ram. Theoretically not even sufficient to even run OSX. Previously, the machine ran yellowdoglinux and was not usable at all : launching Konqueror took forever. I never succeeded in getting openoffice fully launching the wordprocessor.

    OSX On the other hand runs perfectly ! No hickups at all. Slow, admittely, but that's only due to insufficient ram. I auto-launch at startup :
    - apache/mysql/php/openssl suite.
    - Projecttimer
    - DynDNS client
    - Chimera
    - process monitor
    - terminal with at least 5 sessions
    - fuzzyclock
    - mail

    booting the machine up to ready-to-use point takes nearly 10 minutes. A drag. But once it is there, I can use all these apps perfectly well. Switch times are well under 1 sec. Occasionaly I launch MS Office and keep it swapped away. When activating it, it's there in less than 10 secs. Considering it needs 100MB on its own, that's nearly a miracle !

    Honestly : OSX is amazing in its speed. The gui is a tad slow sometimes with the fancyschmancy transparency in menus and all that (no QuartzEx here) but once you got you windows positioned and you're not dragging stuff around, it runs smototh enough for every average user.

    My tiBook667 on the other hand screams like a scramjet. Beats every other OS in speed for me. I work twice as fast on it compared to the WinXP P4@2.7Ghz next to it with a GeF4ti4600.

    In fact : I only use that PC for warcraft and DooM3 alpha :-)

    which brings us to the one thing that OSX sucks at : openGL drivers of the radeon series are poopy at least. Most PCs play games better than macs, but hey, you've gotta give'm something to do, right...
  • Depends.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeddak ( 12628 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:12PM (#4620386)

    I have a 900MHz PowerPC, running MacOS X "Jaguar." I am a programmer, but I have not developed anything for OS X, so I can only offer my opinion as a user.

    Is the OS slow? I think it depends on what aspect you're talking about. Overall, I have to say, no, it's not a slow OS.

    At times, the GUI seems a little sluggish. Windows don't always pop as rapidly as one might be accustomed to on a comparable PC running NT/200/XP. I understand that Quartz can be pretty demanding of CPU and graphics processor time (or at least the latter).

    I browse occasionally from this box, and it is my subjective opinion that network performance may not be the swiftest. However, I haven't studiously timed anything, and I haven't taken into account the network it is attached to (like eliminating the long wire run I did, the cheap hub it's plugged into, and attaching it directly to my broadband modem). This subjective impression may also be influenced by vague memories of some posts to Macintouch.com concerning sluggish network performance.

    I run strictly audio apps on my Mac. It's easily apparent to me that the audio facilities of MacOS X are anything BUT slow. More like "jaw-dropping." My main app is eMagic Logic 5, and it is astounding what it can do. The amount of data that it can process in realtime - at least some of it courtesy of OS X Core Audio functionality - is amazing. If OS X was a slug in all departments, we wouldn't be enjoying such incredible performance. It's clear to me that the process-handling facilities of OS X (scheduler, etc) and the audio libraries are definitely up to par, at least inasmuch as they don't get in the way of the PowerPC and its Altivec.

    Looking forward to reading other responses to this topic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:12PM (#4620392)
    It's slower than OS 9, but it's not enough to make it evil.

    I have an older 450Mhz blue and white G3 which is a long ways from the new machines but i have no problems with using OS X, 10.2 that is.

    10.1 is excellent, anything before that, forget it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:12PM (#4620400)
    I am super-happy with the speed of my 800MHz Flatscreen iMac running OS X 10.2 ("Jaguar"). Even 10.1 was acceptable, but the video card acceleration in this "Quartz Extreme" thingie is *great*.

    At work, I've found a few things, like printing to printers with complex PPDs, are slower than they should be ( PPDs seems to be parsed every time, not cached as in OS 9, say ), but what I always tell people about OS X is "it's worth the price if only because you never have to worry about rebooting just because some crappy Microsoft application crashes".

    Anecdotally, I've run a few source-compatable command-line apps on both a PPC533Mhz Mac and an AthalonXP2400... surprise surprise, the Athalon seems a bit faster in that case, but (a) wouldn't you expect that and (b) you're probably concerned about the speed of GUI apps, huh? They were certainly not *half* as fast, which is what you might expect. iMovie is faster on Mac hardware in any case

    Like the man says, the slow things all seem to be app-related ( use Mozilla not I.E, etc ). It's plenty fast. Whiners are using Classic apps... and even those are generally quite tolerable in performance, though I do avoid launching Classic ( as in I *never* do ). I'm not sure I'd want to run it on a non-Quartz graphics card or a slower G3, but... that's not what you're talking about.

    The one OS X app that is really slower than it should be is VirtualPC... let's hope Connectix will get it's act together in a few revisions... but I don't use PC apps anyway...
  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:13PM (#4620407)
    I recently spent some time evaluating mac,athalon,pentium,athalon benchmaks using scientific fortran that i had written for protein structure analysis. We were buying a large 500 processor cluster so I wanted to get it right.

    Since I was buying a cluster my criteria was not single processor speed but speed per dollar what i found was mildy surprising. For programs that could take advatage of the altivec chip inside the G4, the mac was about a factor of 2 cheaper per run time than the P4 and athalons. On the otherhand with the Altivec turned off the mac was about a factor of 2 more expensive per run time. I note that this was not done on code optimised for the altivec but was just generic fortran passed through an automatic vector pre-processor program for compile time optimization.

    Of all the processors I tested, P3, p4, athalon, the P4 had the wildest variations in benchmarking. that is all the other proceesors seemed to have constant scaling factors in speed as the applications varied. but the p4 variev by over a factor of 3 from the others both faster and slower. I assume this has something to do with the very long pipeline, and the hyper threading, and the size of the caches. But even taking these into account I found it highly unpredictable which applications would run faster or slower (that is ones that might logically have more cache misses did not neccessary degrade)

    . In the end I decided the P3 has the most bang for the buck , though falling cpu prices might shift that conclusion to the athalon. The problem I encountered with the athalon was a higher down time for the cluster units due to thermal faliure., so thats a hidden cost. The apples NEVER failed in any thermal tests so thats a hidden plus.

    Now this analysis does not factor in other things like Graphics speed other factors more important to users than sceintific apps. However when I compare my molecular visualization grpahics before and after the release of 10.2 I have to say the mac is insanely fast for graphics now wheere before it was intolerably slow.

  • by yroJJory ( 559141 ) <meNO@SPAMjory.org> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:14PM (#4620424) Homepage
    Overall, OS X is comparable in speed to other operationg systems I use. From a user standpoint, however, I find that the UI is about 45% slower than OS 9's. It's one of the major issues I have with OS X.

    Being a long-time Mac user (since 1984), I can achieve considerable speed using OS 9 by navigating most dialogs and windows from the keyboard. OS X, however, doesn't behave as expected about 85% of the time.
  • yes, it's slow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by X_Caffeine ( 451624 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:14PM (#4620425)
    Without "Quartz Extreme," OS X is abominably slow. It has to render 256*256*256*256 values per pixel (RGB plus alpha blending); every other rendering system does 1/256th that! The handling of menus, windows and widgets is very mushy and unresponsive. On a system with Quartz Extreme, the responsiveness seems quite acceptable... but of course, only new machines can swing Extreme.

    As far as the processors go, you'll never convince me that an 800mhz G4 is any faster than a 1ghz P3, but I don't believe there's much of a point in processors faster than 500mhz anyway. OS X does require at least twice as much RAM as any other OS in order to get anything done, but RAM is so cheap that it's also a moot point.
  • by ainsoph ( 2216 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:15PM (#4620446) Homepage
    Granted it only has 512mb of ram,, but this thing (Running 10.2, G4 400, blah blah) is afflicted with the dreaded "Spinning Beach Ball of Death".

    Lets check google..

    Ahh, here is one:

    Sour Apples [theage.com.au]

    Everyone is talking about it. Check google groups for discussions among DV and print people.

    I spend more time here at work waiting for typing to catch up to those words being rendered on my screen, patches of my web browser window being blank, only to show up again when my cursor goes over the area. When I right click a file to choose "open with" I wait a a good 15-25 seconds for the highlighted area to get past the "Open" dialogue. It just sticks there. If I try and do something smart like hit a key, I go into "Spinning Beach Ball" mode. Not a very fun place to be.

    So all in all, while I like some aspects of OS X, I spend the day at work *craving* getting home to use my redhat machine.

    I know I am gonna hear: get more ram. which is true, but still, 512mb is fine on all my intel/amd based machines. I know the Apple demographic is all white, rich and owns 2.5 SUV's (that match their two wonderful white children!!), but dog slow with 512mb is just simply insane.

  • Not really... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by adrew ( 468320 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:16PM (#4620448)
    I've been using OS X on a G4/450 (dual processor) since it came out. The first couple of versions were slow. For example, iTunes encoded at 1-2x in 10.0. Now, under 10.2, it rips/encodes at 12-14x.

    I've never used an OS with such good multitasking. I can have LimeWire downloading, an iMovie rendering, and responsive web browsing all at the same time (granted, I do have 704MB of RAM).

    With 10.2, application speed and overall performance is great, but it still gives an impression of slowness. Little things like brief delays before a window opens or closes do a lot to make the machine seem slow.

    My G4 perked up a lot after upgrading to 10.2, but nowhere near as much as the Dual 1 GHz G4 we have at the office. Its video card is supported by Quartz Extreme; my old Rage 128 isn't.
  • Think OS7-9 speed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by g4pismo ( 623919 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:17PM (#4620463) Homepage
    I love OSX, but on my 450MHz G4, it is quite annoying to use in comparison to OS9. I don't think older Mac users want to bash the OS, but want more of a reason to stay away from the DarkSide. OS9 felt very snappy to use, while X does not, at least on older hardware. Rendering and what not may be the same if not better (AfterFX : FCP3); most time on a system is spent navigating it! I also agree that OSX is MUCH more stable, but so was OS/2. Don't see a Warp Switch campaign! I hope not to bash, but let Apple know what we want... I never remember any complaints about OS9 being almost unusable coming from OS8.5. I agree that a lot of switchers are too quick to call foul, but keep in mind that they are seeing Macintosh with new eyes. I think that they should not be ignored. I for one have had my Mac blinders on for quite some time. For the record... M$ is the enemy! Not alternative OS's :-)
  • by anarkhos ( 209172 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:20PM (#4620505)
    What is the bottleneck between a human sitting down in front of a computer and what he ultimately wants to do?

    The human interface!

    I find a cheap PC running either Windows or Linux to be more expensive than my Macintosh.

    time = money
  • Re:Powerbook (Score:1, Interesting)

    by nyseal ( 523659 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:27PM (#4620589)
    'Ya know....I've had my XP machine for over a year now and I keep it running 24/7; I have NEVER had a BSOD or even an interruption of application services. I'm not exactly the 'power user' that you folks might be, but I run several different CAD systems like AUTOCAD, CADKey and MaxiCAD at home with no problems. The only time I've had to re-boot is for the updates; which I screen regularly. Everyone talks about security and not trusting MS; has anyone EVER thought about trusting who is performing this open programming? I'm by no means a MS supporter, but I don't trust the kid down the block with his information or programming either. I guess what I'm saying is that I trust the guy across the street as much as I trust MS; that includes Apple programmers as well.
  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:27PM (#4620595)
    On that note, I'd be curious to see what the speed difference between Carbon and Cocoa apps are

    Roughly zero. An Objective C message dispatch is around 3x slower than a straight C function call, which is not noticeable in the vast majority of code. And in the rare cases where it is, there are simple optimizations that can eliminate it (see methodForSelector and related methods of NSObject).

  • get more memory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by austad ( 22163 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:35PM (#4620675) Homepage
    I bought an iBook with 128MB of ram. Holy crap, it was the slowest machine I think I've ever use. OS X is a *huge* memory pig. It takes like 320MB of ram with Mail.app and Chimera open. So with 128, it's just swapping all the time. The drive runs constantly. I bought a stick of 512MB from crucial.com, and now it's actually decent. I wouldn't say it's blazingly fast, but it's very usable now. Seems faster than my old Sony PIII 550 laptop too.

    I'm sure the G4's are much faster, but I didn't feel like dropping $2500 for a laptop at the time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:43PM (#4620761)
    Dude, Chimera blows anything else out of the water for the platform it's written on.

    I have a 500 MHz iBook and Chimera is about as responsive as the full Mozilla on an 800 MHz P3 in whatever OS you care to use.. And easily twice as fast loading and rendering as the full Mozilla on OSX.

    XUL is slow. Hence, we have Phoenix, Galeon and Chimera.
  • It all depends. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yunfat ( 200898 ) <taran AT mac DOT com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:46PM (#4620807)
    There are many intangible factors that could contribute to this discussion. I use OSX everyday and I love it, of course, I'm not compressing video or playing Quake 3. If you want to discuss productivity as opposed to raw computing horsepower, OSX wins everytime. Here's why:

    1) No viruses.
    2) I can clone my entire HD with a freeware utility (in other words, backing up is easy as pie)
    3) With .mac, its possible to synchonize user preferences among any number of macs... this means that no matter where I go, or what mac I am on, my bookmarks stay the same, as do all my preferences for all my apps (did I mention it remembers all my passwords for all the sites I visit also). Its now possible to have a meteor (leonidas style) hit my HD and have an identical install in less than 1 hour (from cd), no fussing about with configuring everything again.
    4) I can install or remove RAM in less than 5 seconds on any powermac.
    5) OSX.2 boots very very quick on dual processor machines... its about 15-20 seconds.
    6) Apple gives you, out of box, almost all the software you need to get productive, which in turn means very few installs from cd.
    7) 802.11 networking is built into the OS and every new mac... no drivers necessary.
    8) Almost every printer is supported in X.2, same with cd burners, again, no drivers or installs necessary.
    9) Its cool watching my linux friends not use the GUI.

    Sure I am biased, being a mac head, but what would compel me to use windows or linux... I hate installing stuff,I hate viruses, I hate it when my mom asks me why she can't open attachments (for fear of virus).
    About the only thing wrong with macs right now is the mouse, which imho would benefit from a few more buttons and a scroll wheel.
  • OS9 Vs. X (Score:2, Interesting)

    by akira69 ( 621573 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:47PM (#4620818)
    I bought my 867 G4 last year, December. I have ran OSX on this thing full time. I love it. I'm getting so used to OSX, that I don't think I could live without it. But here are my gripes: You ever run OS 9 on one of these newer G4s? WOW. I mean the computer feels like it's going faster than a crack addict's heart beat. Of course I am swiftly reminded that a crack addicts heart beat stops quite often, resulting in some sort of crash. iPhoto and iTunes are slow as shit. I have 40GB of Mp3s stored on a drive for iTunes, and it takes quite some time to load up. I wont even mention how it feels to run iPhoto with a couple thousand pictures. but hey, you can't do iPhoto on OS9, and iTunes would probably suck as much with a 40GB library. I have felt that OSX has grown with the new releases, just we're not all the way there yet. Dont get me wrong, I love it, etc., etc., but it's not exactly the fastest feeling OS. I attribute most of the problem to latency in opening menus and click responses. Speed that up and the OS feels 1000000000x faster. yeah.
  • by AssFace ( 118098 ) <stenz77@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:47PM (#4620821) Homepage Journal
    Especially the newest release - they sped up a lot of the UI stuff. Nice and snappy.
    Normal applications like e-mail, Word, that sort of thing, quick.
    Hard to say on the Photoshop stuff, and plus I don't really care if something takes half a second or a full second to do if I'm waiting on some complex PS thing.

    That said, I've only used the machines of friends and coworkers, I don't personally own a mac.

    I do think they are really pretty.

    But I do a lot of Java programming and the Mac is retarded slow with its Java compared to just about any other system out there. Even the newest one - the newest one seems to have even slower OpenGL somehow.
    I also don't like that Mac has Java 1.3, and from what I can tell, you are fixed at that until they decided that they will upgrade it in their own release, regardless of the fact that there is 1.4x out for sometime now, which actually has a lot of things that some of us need and use.

    All in all, I think the Mac is plenty fast, after all it is stupid to look at only the nominal speed of the processor. Look at Seti or Distributed net -there you can see that the G4 and G3 kick major ass, largely due to their much larger cache size.
    And for everyday use, the Mac seems like it is just fine.

    But when people say it is "better" I'm not sure I agree with them - I no longer think it sucks (OS X is pretty nice), but it isn't really of any use to me until either it becomes cheaper than a comparable PC system, or until it becomes faster than a comparable PC system.
    but right now, for my personal use of it, it is only prettier, and I don't really care about that.
    At least, I don't care enough to pay $2K more for a laptop that is snazzier looking than the one I sit here and type on, but slower and ill equipped for how I make my living.
  • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:54PM (#4620883)
    I get tired of people stacking the deck against Macs by claiming Macs cost too much, then inventing some insane price out of thin air, like $4500. You'd have to build a pretty high end config, like a dualie 1.25Ghz with an Ultra160 RAID. Sure, you can build a wintel dualie hotbox and get up in the same price range. But I'm blazing along on a midrange dual 1Ghz machine, and oh man is it fast, and only $2500. So what is the point of attacking a Mac on price and claiming you can't get a machine except by paying $4500?!? Even an XServe doesn't cost that much.
    Anyway, I've had amazingly good performance in MacOS X, but there were a few rough edges at first. Finder was kinda slow on my old G3/400 and G3/500 machines, like sorting by kind in list view. They're getting some of the metadata stuff sorted out, the new Jag finder is all fixed up and speedy. The only laggy app seems to be the Terminal, which could use a replacement. But the core Unix apps have excellent speed. I put my old G3 into use with Apache & Quicktime Streaming Server, I'm amazed at how well it performs.
    Anyway, someone commented that MacOS X is hard on the apps but cushy on the user, or something like that. Right on. That was one of the Mac's big innovations, the GUI focused on the user. When I am running something like Final Cut Pro, I want every GUI screen gadget running full max. I want every single iota of computing power focused on ME and helping me get through the complex task. This is both the Mac's greatest feature and biggest CPU bottleneck. It's like the olden days of OS 9 before preemptive multitasking, when you held down the mouse, the whole CPU would hang until you let go of the menu. Whenever you were issuing commands, the CPU gave up control to the user. It was a CPU bottleneck, and we LIKED it, it gave the MacOS the immediacy of operation, a feeling of being in control that other OSes lacked. And I think they've translated that well into MacOS X. The system GUI still remains responsive, even when you're running CPU-intensive apps. Apps like Cleaner mpeg2 compression are as CPU-intense as it gets, it can compress 1 minute of DV video in 50 seconds on my midrange CPU. Cleaner is dual processor and Altivec aware, it maxes out both my CPUs, it's as hard a CPU workout as I have found. And it still leaves the system responsive, not locked up and CPU-bound.
  • by dramaley ( 20773 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:06PM (#4621013) Homepage
    I've noticed a general trend among people i'm acquainted with that their favorite OS feels fast to them, but any others are slow. For example, a Mac fan will think Mac OS is nice and speedy but will complain about Windows and Linux as being slow. Whereas a Linux user will complain about Mac and Windows being too slow.

    I have two theories on what might cause this. The first is that different systems spend relatively different amounts of time on various tasks. And since they don't work exactly as what one is used to, and most people tend to notice flaws fairly readily, the slower areas are easily noticed and the system feels slow. My other theory is that people notice the user interface differences and since they aren't used to it they want to complain, but not having anything specific to complain about they claim it to be slow. I don't know the real reason. Any other ideas?
  • Re:Speed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:13PM (#4621078) Homepage Journal
    But does it really justify all these topics?

    The real question: Does it really justify the aqua-fresh toothpaste (wonder if that's where the name actually came from) look of slashdot's mac section?

    OSX justifies all the topics because it appears to be exactly what we (the people of the geek republic of Terra) have been asking for all along; A major-vendor (Apple is close enough) operating system which supports current desktop apps through a new API, legacy desktop apps through a virtual machine, which looks really great, and has Unix at its core. Unfortunately, it comes from Apple, which means it only runs on expensive custom hardware, which makes it useless to most of us, who will have to wait for Linux to reach a more mature level. It's interesting that OSX is more useful as a desktop Unix than Linux is (for the non-technically-inclined user, someone who may be technically competent but not used to ripping things apart and making them work when they're broken) even though it's fairly new, whereas Linux has many years on it and still has a lot of stability, speed, compatibility, and usability problems as far as the desktop goes.

    On the other hand, MacOSX had NeXTStep to work with. While there was an x86 clone version of NeXTStep, as I understand it was fairly tightly bound to a small selection of hardware, making it a more similar product to MacOSX than it might at first appear, and of course it was best-known for running on the various NeXT slabs and cubes, which might as well have been next-generation macs.

    So yes, since it aims to fulfill all our dreams of what an OS should be (fast (maybe), easy (yes), powerful (certainly), stable (maybe)) it does justify this number of stories, and more. We have traditionally been informed every time a new linux kernel comes out, and MacOSX will directly touch more lives than linux will any time soon.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:19PM (#4621143)
    I am not saying that the rest of you guys are madmen, but with that many comments of "yes" and "no", are just detracting from the conversation.

    Yes, Mac OSX is slow, apple have got to all lenghts to stop you from knowing this, visual appeal when "task switching", bouncing icons to keep your brain entertained while it struggles to load applications. There is an internal paper at apple, that is designed JUST for this purpose.

    But its not like they have "intended" it to be slow. Building layer apon layer, attempting backwards compatibility, user interface enhancements, do take their toll on these poor little RISC cpu's.

    Compiling and testing Gentoo linux on the x-serve, does make it look quite speedy, although without running X, and "word" to prove it.. I guess it will never know.

    If /proc/bogomips are any kind if rating, the Mac really doesnt match up to anything in the intel standards, even the dual CPU versions.

    It seems as though apple, being unable to "Sell" G4 chips, have decided the quickest way to move them out the door is to put two on one board. Brilliant!.

    Apple isnt dead yet, because the die hard apple users cant see past the faults in the hardware. But obviously, apple makes their money in hardware (see BMW like pricetag), but people still buy BMW's.

    Steve has a plan, and he doesnt care, if its the fastest or the best, he is in the game to make money, and be cool.

    To show the media monkeys that it doesnt require someone to be dressed in a suit to make a million dollars.

    Anyway, thts enough of my rant, im sure this post will be lost into the abyss known as overload.

    Thanks for your time.
  • Way Slow... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by groovemaneuver ( 539260 ) <groovemaneuver@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:22PM (#4621181)

    I bought a Mac out of quasi-necessity; I am a musician and I have been using Emagic Logic Audio for a number of years. Apple recently bought Emagic, and naturally, PC support went out the window (no pun intended).

    I also have two other systems at home; a dual PIII 800 and a dual Athlon 1.2 GHz. I wrote a quick PHP script to measure the execution time on a loop that calculates primes between two fixed numbers, and I ran it on the Mac, my Linux server, and my Linux workstation.

    Here's the results (average of three runs):

    • dual PIII 800 MHz w/ RH Linux 7.3: 9.3 sec
    • dual Athlon 1.2 GHz w/ RH Linux 8.0: 6.4 sec
    • dual G4 1.25 GHz w/ MacOS 10.2.1: 10.6 sec

    Perhaps it's just that PHP isn't as fast on an OS X box, but I basically used untuned, default installs on all three machines. The numbers were the same on the Linux boxen with or without X running.

    For me, the Mac feels slower, and to me, my quick and dirty benchmark only confirms what I feel.

    FWIW, Here's the code:

    function timenow() {
    list($microsec, $sec) = explode(" ",microtime());
    return ($microsec + $sec);

    $count = 0;
    echo "Calculating...\n\n";
    $loopstart = 6000; //arbitrary starting point
    $loopend = 7000; //arbitrary ending point

    $start = timenow();
    for ($x = $loopstart; $x <= $loopend; $x++) {
    $notprime = false;

    for ($min = 2, $max=$x/2; $min <= $max; $min++) {

    if ($x % $min == 0) $notprime = true;
    if ($notprime == false) $count++;

    $end = timenow();
    echo "There are $count primes between $loopstart and $loopend\n";
    echo "This took ". ($end - $start) ." seconds to calculate\n";

  • by 90XDoubleSide ( 522791 ) <ninetyxdoublesid ... t ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:28PM (#4621222)
    1. Get version 10.2.1 2. Get a RADEON or better 3. Get 512MB+ of RAM 4. Get rid of the Internet Explorer and Mozilla, which run at glacial speeds on Mac OS X, and use Chimera or Opera
  • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:32PM (#4621260)
    "Quartz Extreme" also turns off some of that eye candy if you're not running a great graphics card.

    For example, I no longer see translucent menus in Jaguar.

    Good move to speed it up, but this hould be a user-controled option à la KDE.
  • by mikedaisey ( 413058 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:34PM (#4621281) Homepage

    Good message. One point:

    "They're just not. In fact, they tend to run (slightly) slower, clock for clock, in SPECmarks."

    The fact that SPEC is optimized for x86 plays a role as well.

  • by glenmark ( 446320 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:52PM (#4621393) Homepage
    Er, no. You've gotten that completely scrambled. OS X uses the Mach kernel. BSD runs as a "personality layer" on top of the the Mach kernal, right alongside the Cocoa and Carbon environments.

    My wording of that last sentence was rather poor. It should instead read "Elements of BSD (minus kernel) run as a 'personality layer' on top of the Mach kernel, right alongside the Cocoa and Carbon environments."

  • GUI slows me down (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smokingdrum ( 595943 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:53PM (#4621401) Homepage
    I'm a hardened Mac OS user, have been a graphic designer for the last ten years. I love Mac OS 8.6 and 9.2. Everything works just fine. OS X is definitely fast enough in terms of the applications working away, doing calculations - but the damned GUI is slow. And depressingly it's the animations, the sliding drawers, sheets - the icing which has been added - which really slows me down. Why can't us "professional" users have a simpler GUI which doesn't feature time-wasting animations?
  • by throatmonster ( 147275 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:54PM (#4621770)
    I've got a 500Mhz TiBook, 1Gb RAM. The interface, at times, is a bit slow. TheGUI seems to have to go through an ounce or two of weed (smokingly fast! ...NOT) to deal with disk I/O. That spinning rainbow CD icon pops up every now and then, and while it's certainly not unbearable, it is annoying and I've never experienced anything like it on Win2K.

    A specific benchmark example of speed: Using FileMaker Pro 6.0v3 (which is amazingly crappy on OSX despite FMI being an Apple subsidiary), I'm testing the migration to a new build of databases. Note that in OS9, you have to manually allocate the max amount of memory FMP can use (40Mb); it doesn't use any more in OSX (I did say it's a POS already, didn't I?), but at least it doesn't need manually tweaked.

    OS9.2.1 on a 500Mhz G3 iMac with 256Mb or Ram, it takes 45 minutes to clear test import data from the database set and close the application (it has to remove unused blocks). Then on a fresh import run, it takes about 1.5 hrs to import new data into the database set.

    OSX 10.2.1 on my 500Mhz G4 TiBook with 1Gb RAM, it takes about 1 minute (vs 45 minutes) to clear data from the database set and quit the application. Then, it takes about 1.5 hrs to import new data back into the database set.


    The core OS seems really fucking fast, and amazinly functional, to me. I run Apache/PHP/MySQL on my TiBook, and can copy files off our Linux server and they *just work* on my TiBook. I can take our entire corporate web environment mobile in a matter of minutes. I switch between single and dual monitor mode all the time, and there's never a problem. I end up changing between 3-4 network configurations all the time, and it *just works*. I've set my laptop up, wireless and running off battery, in my kid's room running a DVD, and I can go to our other computer (an old 604e Mac), mount the laptop's volume, and do web development work, hitting the Apache/PHP/MySQL environment on the laptop, while the thing plays a DVD flawlessly. And it's not like the thing chokes trying to serve files via HTTP *and* handle BBEdit chewing on the files over the network at the same time.

    I've been running 10.2.1 since the beginning of October; the system has not crashed or needed rebooting - not even once - except for when application or update installs require it. I've never seen *any* other laptop handle all this - Windows or OS9 - without the need for constant reboots and/or system crashes.

    So, blah blah blah, YES, OSX is SLIGHLTLY SLOWER. Enough that I can notice it. But it is *so* much more stable, and more functional than anything else out there, windows or OS9, that I'll take the trade-off.

    Oh, and I'll be getting myself one of those new 1Ghz TiBooks with the SuperDrive pretty soon! Now I won't have to copy the cheezy little movies I create to a co-worker's flat-panel iMac to burn DVD's.
  • by Uller-RM ( 65231 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:32PM (#4621998) Homepage
    Those responsible for the previous corrections have been sacked. :)

    Let us not forget that Cocoa can be used from C++ and Carbon from Obj-C - and that you can always just use plain C or C++ and Carbon if your application absolutely cannot waste time on dynamic type checking. I've gotten fond of Cocoa lately, but I'm working on an audio application that needs almost ridicuously low latency, so I have to have fairly fast callbacks - so I'm doing it in Carbon. The extra pain in the GUI is worth the performance for this case, altho it may not be so for all things.
  • by stux ( 1934 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:43PM (#4622082) Homepage
    The only problem I have with the operating system UI is the lack of window shading.

    You need.... WindowShade X

    http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/wsx/ [unsanity.com]

    That's right... now you can get WindowShade functionality in OSX... only better.

    please note, I don't work for unsanity... I just like their stuff ;)
  • by Uller-RM ( 65231 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:44PM (#4622086) Homepage
    You had it right up until that last sentence. I run a PC and a 333MHz G3; my best friend runs on a 800MHz G4. His system's as smooth as silk; I have to use an theme without translucency and run ShadowKiller to get it running at my level of responsiveness. Not to mention that if your G3 is only 250MHz, chances are it's a pre-1996 board and incompatible with Quartz Extreme, whereas your G4 rig almost certainly is.

    I agree with nearly everything else you said - but if you're going to proselytize, at least be truthful about OS X's shortcomings as well as its strengths. It simply isn't a speed demon if you're running slower than 400mhz or with less than 256MB of RAM, unless you've booted into console mode. Once either one or both of those lines are crossed it becomes far more usable.
  • by Gleep The Dragon ( 160477 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:45PM (#4622091)
    OK, since the original post was asking us Apple users about operations that seem faster/slower than on other systems here are my 2cents.

    I'm running 10.2.1 on an old, creaky original 233Mhz G3 and it suits my needs just fine. I had a much faster G3 once, but that belonged to the company I was working for before the crash.

    As a web designer by profession, Macs seem to run all the "required" software as fast or faster than the Wintel boxen I've used. (Required: Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe and Macromedia products.) I wasn't paying much attention to Mhz or anything else - it was just whatever machines were available, some new some old.

    When you get under the hood (aka Unix command line) it's as fast as most of the Sun/Solaris boxen I've used.

    I suspect that there's a lot of unoptimized software out there - on MacOS X both IE and Netscape are dog slow downloading via an HTTP connection. About 100 times slower than using wget from the command line on the same machine.

  • Response Time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cherrypi ( 71943 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @10:03PM (#4622218)
    When Apple was perfecting their first GUI, they realized that they could manipulate user perceptions of how fast the system was going by increasing the sensitivity on keystrokes and mouse response.

    Unfortunately, they seemed to forget this along the way. I use both XP and 10.2 and find I generally work faster on XP for the sheer reason that I can make the mouse a lot more sensitive! I have dual monitors on my mac, both at 1600x1200, and it takes 3 lift-up put-downs of the optical mouse, with the senstivity put all the way up. Now on my PC with dual monitors, I can traverse the whole screen(s) quickly with one motion. The same is true of highlighting and text input. Highlighting things in 10.2 seems laborious, slow and unresponsive. Type text in also --- if they'd just speed everything up it would greatly warm perceptions around.
  • Re:Answer to title. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mkldev ( 219128 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @10:04PM (#4622222) Homepage
    You're way off. Mac OS X uses a descendant of OSFMK Mach 3. NeXT used a descendant of CMU Mach 2.5. The two bear little resemblance to each other. NeXT used DriverKit, which was written in Objective C if memory serves. Mac OS X uses the I/O Kit, a ground-up driver environment written in a limited subset of C++. In short, they completely gutted the kernel way back in the early DP releases....

    As for why Mach 3 instead of L4... well, here's my guess...

    1. They had experience with a mass-deployed OS based on Mach 3 on Macs already (MkLinux).
    2. To my knowledge, L4 has never been broadly deployed. Few things scare business more than betting the farm on an untested research OS....
    3. Last I checked, L4 was GPLed. The stigma of the GPL would scare hardware developers. Not a good position to be in.

    As always, this is my opinion only, and may not represent the views of my employer. :-)

  • Re:Powerbook (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @10:39PM (#4622410)

    You mean it crashes all the time and sends your personal data to a marketing firm?

    The strange thing is that I just bought an iBook and it WON'T let you boot up the first time without entering your name, address and phone number.

    And if you enter like 'joe' 'blow' for your name, it makes the admin account 'joeblow'. (And I couldn't easily find out how to change it to something reasonable)

    I trust Apple more than Microsoft, but forced registration still kind of pisses me off.
  • by dwater ( 72834 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @10:58PM (#4622522)
    I have a 800MHz G4 TiBook, and it runs quite nicely, thank you. It could certainly be faster, and I have no idea how much of that is caused by the application, the OS, or the hardware.

    What I *do* find annoying, and what slows me down no-end, is the fact that the GUI is click-to-focus, and autoraises windows.

    When I am running with two monitors, and I have an application on the second screen, I don't appreciate having to move the mouse pointer and my head, in order to access the menu for that application, which is still stuck on the first screen.

    APPLE: put the menus back where they belong - with the application windows! (or at least make it an option) - that's solve the problem stopping focus-follows-mouse too.

    Even Microsoft 'allows' you to have 'focus-follows-mouse'...

  • by cppmonkey ( 615733 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @11:01PM (#4622537)
    The interface is slow... the kernal is slow... fine and dandy but how about some numbers. First the systems TiBook 800, iBook 500? (it is at work and I forget precisely), G4 tower 400, G3 Desktop 300, Apple 7300 (200 mhz). All system have maximum amount of memory accessible by the hardware/installable in given slots.

    Now two observations 1 Darwin no longer runs on the 7300. I have used this box as a database server and had good results. Apple fix this. Second the G3 systems are noticably slower as far as windowing.

    Now is MacOS X slow? Yes as far as accessing memory. No as far as crunching numbers. And Yes as far as the window server is concerned. Yes as far as running OS 9 native apps is concerned, and yes as far as running anything that is not built on the Objective C Cocoa API's.

    MySQL look ups take longer on the TiBook (fastest system) than my Athalon Ghz system running Linux (Red Hat 7), but just slightly as in the difference is less than my reaction time at a console window, note I realize this is not a valid test, and have watched processor time and observed the macintosh to take about 1.3 times the time of the pc to do the same query and exit as on the macintosh using a cloned database.

    Crunching numbers using altivec accelerated code (simple data analysis on large amounts of data) the Mac wins the G4 400 is roughly equivalent to the Athalon and the Ti Book runs a process that takes 30 sec on the PC in about 23 seconds. Sorry I can't distribute code.

    Is the window server really slow? I don't think slow comparing the TiBook to a coworker's Dell laptop (the tiBook has an impressively better screen) running XP. but I would like to see some method of comparison. Notably the G4 400 running 10.2 has issues, Quartz Extreme is not supported on this machine and thus this machine is noticably slower refreshing the screen and drawing windows. I believe 10.1.5 is actually faster on the four systems that run it. But can't prove it with numbers.

    Those are the numbers. To summarize, use native applications Omniweb is a great browser, or write your own, Cocoa is much easier than programming for X. Provide your Mac with plenty of memory (but same goes for XP, Linux, and BeOS). And if you really want to play games buy a GameCube or Playstation. And write Apple and tell them to fix bugs, post more of the Operating System as Open Source, adding hardware support, to encourage Cocoa not Carbon (doesn't help that that Apple uses the "Carbon" code name for the API derived from Classic and for the General API for OS X including Cocoa") and not focus on adding features.

    Oh and in case anyone had any doubts I have been a Macintosh user since my LC in 1989,and I happen to enjoy being a Macintosh Zealot.
  • Perception (Score:5, Interesting)

    by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @12:49AM (#4623118) Homepage
    I think a big part of it is that quite a few OS X apps do things in a way that makes them seem slower than they are.

    Take IE, for example. It seems to wait to display the page until it has the whole thing ready to render. On a big slashdot story, that can take a while. Compare to, say, most browsers on Linux, which seem to display while the page is still downloading. Browsing seems way faster on my home system on a 144 Kbit/second connection with Linux than it does at work on OS X on a T3.

    On the other hand, I do have evidence that the Mac is actually slow. E.g., when I start to load a slashdot page at work, I often give up, switch over to the XP machine on the KVM switch, and go load it there, and finish ahead of the Mac. The XP machine is an ancient P2 400 with 384 megs of RAM, the Mac is an ancient B&W G3 300 MHz with about 600 meg of RAM, so the machines are comparable (both pathetic by modern standards, but comparable). So, it actually appears that the Mac is slow at browsing, and IE works in such a way to emphasize that slowness, making it seem unbearably slow.

    Also, a lot of apps, and Finder, aren't as threaded as they could be. While IE, for instance, is busy getting that big slashdot page ready to display, the dreaded spinning color-ball shows up, so you can't switch back and view the other pages you were reading.

    Finally, much Apple software IS slow. There's a thread on comp.sys.mac.advocacy about this right now, where someone was saying that the new generation of iApps seem slower than the previous iApps, and pointing out an apparent correlation between those written in Carbon (fast) and Cocoa (slow). However, other people have pointed out examples of fast Cocoa apps, so that is not the problem. Most interesting was someone who wrote their own photo manager, and compared to iPhoto. For some things, his is 2 orders of magnitude faster than iPhoto. Evidently, Apple simply used crappy algorithms in iPhoto. Apple's mail program is similarly problematic when mailboxes get large. A lot of people on comp.sys.mac.advocacy have given up on it and switched to Eudora, and report their Macs are nice and fast at mail then.

  • Re:Not really. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ruiner13 ( 527499 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @12:52AM (#4623125) Homepage
    Jobe, I couldn't agree more. I have a G4/450 with 1GB RAM. Before I upgraded to 10.2, I got an Asus Geforce2 MX Pro 64MB DDR (for QE - $60, flashed the ROM on it myself and it works perfectly), and my computer is very happy. Just as an experiment, I decided to see how many apps I could open before my system got unresposive. I had:

    IE 5.2, Mozilla 1.2, iTunes, iPhoto, Flash MX, Graphic Converter, Mail, Sherlock, OmniWeb, BBEdit, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Toast 5.2, Retrospect Express, Terminal (running top so I could spy on things), QuickTime player, MediaPlayer, RealOne, Address Book, Fetch, iCal, SlashDock, iChat, and ICQ

    ...all running at once! And proftpd and Tomcat running on top Apache mod_ssl (with my friends chatting on my BB i wrote with MySQL).

    Ya know what? No pageouts. Still had ~100MB free RAM. Could still operate each program (yes, there was a split second delay sometimes when i clicked on something, but top showed 69 processes running!). Not one program crashed. NOT ONE! I have a screen cap to prove it (so yes, i had grab running too). It might just be me, but what more could someone ask for an OS? It's not perfect but it is very new (yes, i know, nextstep blah blah blah, it is still different enough in my eyes to be forgivable).

    Sorry about the mini-rant, but if I can have 25+ (some very memory hogging.. echem Mozilla...) apps running at once (on 3+ year old hardware) and still get stuff done, it sure has my vote. Yes, I know you could do this in Linux if there were that many commercial apps to do the test. (not trying to start a flame war, it's the god aweful truth. don't mod me down, prove me wrong).

    So to answer the posters question... it's speed may or not be award winning, but the amount of productivity you'll get out of it is immesurable (which in my mind is the key).

  • Re:Answer to title. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lemkebeth ( 568887 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @12:53AM (#4623135)
    When will people learn here? :sigh:

    It isn't old code.

    Second the BSD kernel is in the same address space as Mach and is compiled into the same file.

    xnu (the Darwin kernel) is a hybrid, it is NOT a true microkernel. Get that through your heads.

    The only thing microkernelish about xnu is that the code is broken up in a microkernel manner for easy porting.

    Further, what version of xnu you were you guys testing with? xnu has gone through a massive amount of development.

    In other words, I will not believe any such bench mark until you tell me how it was done and with which kernels and their respective versions.

    I will say it again, xnu is a hybrid kenrel that for all practical purposes is monolithic.
  • by adfrost ( 234886 ) <adfrost AT myway DOT com> on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:04AM (#4623177) Homepage
    In the meantime, I think it's fair to say that the hardware is perfectly capable for the vast majority of computer owners. They aren't interested in a speed war when the machine does what they want it to do, and does it well.

    I agree with you for the most part, but the problem is joe-blow consumer, who doesn't know jack about hardware just sees the bigger number and assumes it's faster. They might not even give the mac a chance. For people like me, there's more to a computer than just speed. I just get much more enjoyment out of sitting down in front of a mac.

    Oh, and I like the dock...
  • Re:Answer to title. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @02:43AM (#4623529)
    You're right. I was mistaken. The Mach version is 3.0. But I was right about the BSD. It's 4.4 BSD Lite2. IIRC, NeXT used 4.3 BSD. Either way, both are still old code. They don't have the benifet of the nearly one decade of advancements that have happened in kernel design since they were written. Take a look at the papers published by Sun and the Net/FreeBSD VM guys in the last few years. Modern free kernels have implemented these features, XNU hasn't. Is Darwin 6.x better than 4.4 BSD lite-2? Undoubtedly. But has Apple had the time or resources to make up for the long period of non-development? The benchmarks would indicate that they have not.

    I don't follow the Darwin mailing lists, so would you care to sum up the improvements that make 10.2 twice as fast as 10.1.5 in lmbench? Cuz that's what it's losing by to Linux and the BSDs. I don't see much in the ChangeLog that'd do that.

    I never said that moving the BSD part of the kernel into the same address space doesn't increase performance. I said it's not as fast as a normal monolithic kernel that doesn't have the additional layering. In OS X, low level work is abstracted by Mach for the BSD layer to use. This was probably the time-effective solution, to keep the general structure of NeXT in place, but the additional layer of abstraction does incur a performance hit.

    That said, I'm not a Darwin kernel developer. Someone asked why Darwin was slower in lmbench and this is my explanation. If you have some actual evidence to contradict me (instead of apparently just misreading the statements I made) or can point me to the relevent code that contridicts anything I've said, feel free to do so.
  • by JimR ( 101182 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @06:13AM (#4624002) Homepage

    I use an iMac to do some video editing and rendering to VCD, and I've noticed that if I switch from iMove to, say Finder, then the CPU usage of the iMovie render drops dramatically, and the estimated render time shoots up.

    It looks like resources are being allocated for the foregorund application - even if it doesn't need them - presumably to improve the user's perception of performance.

  • Carbon vs Cocoa (Score:2, Interesting)

    by haxor.dk ( 463614 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @06:18AM (#4624013) Homepage
    Someone brought up which is fastest - Carbon or Cocoa.

    And someone said that "near the metal" there was no discernable difference.

    However, if you code i Cocoa, you will get noticably smaller codebase sizes, and i think that alone explains some of the speedups you get in cocoa apps - try Chimera vs. Mozilla as an example.
  • In some ways, yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @09:22AM (#4624465)
    In general it seems fine, but the UI is excruciatingly slow. A real world example - VNC clients (any client, X or native) run like a slug on my dual CPU 450Mhz Mac, but my 450Mhz laptop which has no fancy hardware runs rings around it.

    Of course I'm using 10.1 - I've heard but I would like to see substantiated independently that 10.2 is a lot snappier. I am still mulling if I should acceed to the daylight robbery price Apple is charging to upgrade.

  • by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @10:09AM (#4624736)
    And hopefully mine won't get totally lost in the shuffle.

    Just from an average user's perspective (which I am not, but my roomates are), Mac OS X shreds the living daylights out of WinXP.

    Case in point - my roomates new Gateway 2.4 GHz machine w/ WinXP Home is SLOW as all getout opening apps, drawing windows, traversing directories w/ lots of files in them, etc.

    By contrast, the G3 I built from parts (420 MHz G3, 768 MB RAM, 2 7200 HDs on a 66 MHz bus) is faster in day to day activities like web browsing, using Office, using Sherlock (oh wait, only Mac users get Sherlock ;), etc. ... all are MUCH faster on my old ass frankenstein G3 than on his brand spanking new Gateway. My Gateway owning roomie will even attest to this, and now he's kicking himself for not getting a Mac (partially due to Sherlock, actually).

    So, is OS X slow? Answer: an unequivacable NO. Is it instantaneous? well, NO. But we're getting there ;)

    BTW - and this will be of interest to fellow Mac users - there is a Norton Speed Disk profile for OS X floating around the web ... it is custom made to organize data on Mac OS X drives in a way that speeds up the operations of the OS by orders of magnitude. Just did it last night and it cut my app launch time in HALF - and this is in contrast to doing regular Speed Disk optimizations and only seeing a hair of difference. So see if you can find it on LimeWire, its AMAZING, really makes OS X fly, especially on older hardware like I have.
  • Re:Answer to title. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lemkebeth ( 568887 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @11:44AM (#4625450)

    You wrote:

    You're right. I was mistaken. The Mach version is 3.0. But I was right about the BSD. It's 4.4 BSD Lite2. IIRC, NeXT used 4.3 BSD. Either way, both are still old code. They don't have the benifet of the nearly one decade of advancements that have happened in kernel design since they were written. Take a look at the papers published by Sun and the Net/FreeBSD VM guys in the last few years. Modern free kernels have implemented these features, XNU hasn't. Is Darwin 6.x better than 4.4 BSD lite-2?

    Um the BSD part being old is wrong. Apple borrowed some stuff from FreeBSD. xnu uses an older version of the FreeBSD kernel for the BSD part of the kernel. Further there is no such thing as "4.4 BSD-lites-2". There is the last version that came out of Barlely known as 4.4 BSD-lite but, I have no idea where you get the 2 in that.

    Did I say it would be twice as fast as it is now? Get a clue. Don't put words in my mouth. I simply said that there were a number of changes and that it was faster. By your reasoning, everything must be a crtain way to your expectations or there is something wrong with it.

    What you don't seem to understand is that Apple (and NeXT) used Mach for porting reasons. Think about it. What happens when Apple switches processor families again, if the code isn't as portable as it could be. To be blunt, the Linux kernel is not that portable and it take a lot of work to do it (PPC users of Linux would understand).

    You also wrote:

    (instead of apparently just misreading the statements I made) or can point me to the relevent code that contridicts anything I've said, feel free to do so.

    That isn't very nice. I quoted exactly what you said. If you didn't mean what you said then you should have written it differently.

    Tell me something, just what background do you have? My impression from reading your posts, is someone who thinks they know everything because they ran a test on the kernels (you did make a lot of factual errors).

    I'm not going to comment further as I'm getting tired of trying to correct someone who thinks they know everything.

    FYI, I'm not a kernel developer (and neither are you) but, I get my info from the developers themselves which, you didn't

  • by jcsehak ( 559709 ) on Friday November 08, 2002 @01:35PM (#4626347) Homepage
    I've only used 10.1, not 10.2. I used it on a g4 450mhz with 384mb of ram, and virtual memory turned off, over the period of a few months while dual-booting with OS9.

    I found it to be annoyingly slow. Even after a clean install on a blank partition, I'd click on files and have to wait half a second for the computer to acknowledge it. I kept OS9 because Pro Tools hasn't migrated yet. They still don't have an OSX version, and I stopped using OSX 10.1. It was too sluggish.

    I figured I'd just get the 10.2 update and use it when they made it faster. Then I found out there is no update. They want me to pay $120 for something I might not want to use, after I've already spent $120 on something I definitely won't use. I'm still using OS9 because I don't consider myself a rube. The next time I buy an operating system will be when I buy a new Mac and I get it included for free. No sooner.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam