2006 Mac Pro ... 64-bit Kernel and Extensions?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by benguild, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. benguild macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2003
    I noticed that VMWare Fusion 2 runs on my desktop, but not on my new MacBook Air. The laptop is running the 64-bit kernel!

    Is there any reason why I should force the 64-bit kernel on my desktop? Is this possible? I'm trying to make this computer last as long as I can because it's still very fast and suits my needs.
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    ...why would you do that? You just said the 64 bit kernel is breaking your software. Not sure why you'd want to enable it. It certainly sounds like it wouldn't be worth it for you, as the benefits are small, and it sounds like the cons are larger for you.
  3. benguild thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2003
    Well, I have the Fusion 4 Beta so it works now ... but!
    In the future, will Apple EOL my Mac for the next OS, for example? I just had to buy a new laptop and I'd be devastated.
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Here is what I would say about that...
    1) I see no indication that Apple will EOL K32, however...
    2) Apple generally EOL's machines after about 5 years, and any updates you get after that should be considered a blessing. ;)

    The reason 5 years is generally the number is because Apple has some clients with 4 year warranties that you can't normally get, so they have to support the machines at least that long.

    The Mac Pro was lucky because it is a 64 bit machine, however all the other machine's of it's vintage have already been EOL'd.
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Unfortunately, this isn't possible. The 2006/7 systems are EFI32 only, so they can only run K32 forms of OS X.

    I'm not seeing anything on Beta 4 actually being able to run SL's K64, so I suspect your laptop isn't running Fusion because it still only runs on K32. Assuming this is in fact the case, you'd need to switch the Air to K32 in order to get Fusion to work (take a look here).

    The fact that Apple is shifting the newer machines to K64 as the default Kernel would suggest otherwise.

    When is the real question IMO, as they still need to get all of the 64 bit API's sorted out from what I'm seeing (Carbon 64 to Cocoa 64 shift caused delays from their original target deadlines).

    And from a development cost perspective, it makes sense, as they're no longer supporting dual Kernels once everything has been shifted over.

    The CPU's, Yes. But the firmware in the 2006/7 models is EFI32, necessitating K32 only.

    Granted, K32 will still run 64 bit applications, and exceed 32 bit memory addressing (uses 36 bit memory addressing), but it still has limits vs. an EFI64 machine running K64.
  6. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It suggests that they would like new machines to run K64.

    Huh? 64 bit APIs have been sorted since 10.5.

    The Carbon 64 thing has been sorted. It doesn't exist.

    Even so, what would this have to do with K32? It's extremely unlikely 32 bit app support will be cut anytime soon. Apple still has 32 bit apps out in the wild themselves, and up until about a month ago iTunes was 32 bit only.

    Yeah. I don't think they're really related. 64 bit process support came two versions of OS X before K64.

    I'd be more worried that a Mac Pro 1,1 is five years old and is going off their supported list. K64 vs. K32 is a distraction from the bigger issue.
  7. benguild thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2003
    VMware Fusion 4 (Beta) runs on SL64. I'm running it on that laptop right now, but it's still a bit buggy. Still, better than nothing. I have a backup of my Virtual Machine prior to installing.

    All in all, my Mac Pro is seriously the fastest computer I own still after nearly 6 years. This thing is a beast, and I've upgraded it so much that if Apple stopped supporting it I would surely be devastated. However, as far as I know, a lot of MacBook Pro's and such weren't running EFI64 until 2008? At least, that's what I read.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Look past the surface.

    They've had to continue to convert the OS to 64 bit. iTunes is just one example of software that has only recently been converted.

    From a technical standpoint, there's no reason to do so if they plan on continuing with both K32 and K64 support indefinitely.

    There's other areas that still need converting with OS X itself (not just about the API's, but they're needed before the rest of it can be converted to a 64 bit environment).

    When I sit back and think of reasons why, reducing development costs via streamlining their software support (single Kernel rather than dual) makes the most sense to me, and is quite a valid one to pursue.

    Think of it this way... Which would you rather deal with from both a development and cost POV?
    • 32bit iOS + K32 OS X + K64 OS X
    • 32bit iOS + K64 only
    BTW, ARM is moving to 64 bit (Cortex A15 Eagle announcement). So at some point in the not too distant future, it will be possible to have both iOS and OSX as 64 bit only, if not just combine them into a single OS.

    Lion seems to be the beginning of this in terms of getting users accustomed to the iOS "feel" on their desktops. So it seems this possibility has not escaped Apple's notice either IMO.

    64 bit process, but not the rest of the system (not uniform across all areas). Memory for example, was still only 36 bit (compromise to get additional address space) so 64 bit processes had sufficient memory to operate properly (stuff that would starve on 4GB or less).

    So it was a product that was a mix of 32, 36, and 64 bit parts. Aka a cobbled together mess that filled a short-term need.

    K32 is part of it, but it's not the only issue, as there are hardware limitations already affecting users.

    Sadly, these limitations are only under OS X. Windows and Linux in either 32 or 64 bit variants work just fine, as do PC card variants (can stuff the fastest ATI or nVidia graphics card you want for example; power may be an issue, but it's solvable, though wires hanging out of the case aren't exactly cosmetically pleasing).

    I don't use VMWare Fusion these days, so I only did a quick look and didn't see that Beta 4 was able to run on K64 versions of SL (last I used it, it was still K32 only, and I was running Leopard, not SL).

    I don't follow the consumer side that much, but it sounds reasonable to me, particularly since the MP didn't get EFI64 until 2008.
  9. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I just don't see deprecating K32 as a priority at all for Apple. There hasn't been any major transitions in the kernel, and 32 bit mode is here to stay for quite a while.

    The Mac App Store requirements are where Apple starts transitions, and it's got a large library of 32 bit only applications, is still adding tons, has no requirement that applications have to be 64 bit, and there is no sign of this changing. Apple isn't going to dump the 32 bit runtime and break a bunch of software they sell on the Mac app store. Certainly not without changing the Mac App Store requirements far in advance.

    I'm aware of the difference, I'm not sure how it's relevant. The kernel's address space and AppKit's address space have never been tied together.

    The other sticking point is that there are still 64 bit Macs running EFI 32. Apple would have to go out of their way to break compatibility over a minor issue. In addition, the kernel is maintained by the open source community and not just Apple, making some sort of weird justification of dropping K32 more unlikely.

    And K32 still powers all iOS devices, putting the final nail in K32 being dropped any time soon IMO.

    Another thing to note is that the entire white Macbook line still boots K32 by default even on Lion. While the MacBooks were halfway discontinued, it still points to Apple not being that concerned about dropping K32.
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Generally speaking, the benefit to a transition to 64 bit Kernels is performance.

    Though this is still the case with OS X, it's to a lesser extent than with Windows, as K32 variants can run additional memory and 64 bit applications. But there are still improvements by shifting to 64 in order to boost performance (K64 tosses out the x86 baggage).

    Two things come to mind...
    1. I'm looking down the road, not just today (Apple's still in a transitional phase with a Kernel switch). So they could add that requirement in the future (say the switch over is scheduled to be completed in 2 years or so).
    2. 32 bit applications still run under K64, just as they do under 64 bit variants of Windows and Linux (compatibility mode). It still simplifies the OS development, as there's no longer a need to write 32 bit drivers or Kernels for example. But the biggest savings are almost certainly in the reduced validation time.
    They can load K64 though on dual Kernel versions of OS X (assuming you're talking about EFI64 systems running K32).

    Currently, iOS is a separate OS (developed to run on ARM, not Intel). So the Kernel size has less to do with it IMO, as the instruction sets are different between the CPU platforms.

    But this will change in time, as ARM has developed 64 bit parts (not shipping yet, but they're being tested). This is where I was looking ahead a couple of years or so, as combining their entire lineup of both computers and devices to run a single OS would be possible, and reduce development costs (same API's, ... compiled to run both Intel and ARM instruction sets, with the correct version selected by the installer). So the pursuit of such a goal has appeal.

    They're not "pro" machines though, and assuming they do have EFI64, it's possible to modify boot.efi to force load K64.

    However, this may even be moot by the time they go to K64, as those systems have been axed (not even available from Apple any longer). As it's a consumer system, I don't expect them to support them for 5 years (3 is more likely, as that's the common support length from initial release for support for such products).
  11. benguild thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2003
    OK :)
  12. Bob Kiwi macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010

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