Can you install BOTH binaries (intel/ppc) in one app?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by chaos86, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. chaos86 macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    I ask this question because the system I will be using after I graduate will be a mixture of ppc and intel. Let me explain.

    Right now I have a PPC Powerbook G4 which I love and will continue to use as my primary machine. It will have the OS, my current project(s), and my most used apps on it's 80GB hard drive. After I graduate I will get a sweet new Intel based powermac with lots of RAM, lots of processor speed, lots of screen real-estate (2x 19", one color accurate crt, the other a crappy lcd for palettes and finder windows and stuff). Ok here's the tricky part. I plan on using the powerbook on the road (I work about 50% at home, 50% wherever else I happen to be, a bus, a cafe, a girl's bed, whatever). When I come home, I'll restart the powerbook in target disk mode, plug it in with FW800 to the powermac, and boot from the powerbooks hard drive. Then I have the same, portable computer, which usually is limited to 1.33ghz, 768mb ram, 80gb storage, and 15.2" of screen, instantly upgraded to a really fast pentium, with a lot more ram, a lot more screen, around 250gb of hd full of my lesser used apps, my previous work, games (that will run better on intel I hope), etc.. Also, while I'm not home, I'll have the powermac booted into a bare install of OS X to act as an FTP server in case I need some old project or some app I dont have on my powerbook. Sounds like a good idea right?

    Here is the problem: all that is pointless if I can't have all my apps, including the OS, run on both intel and ppc. I can live with the other apps being run natively on the 'book and in rosetta on the 'mac, but the OS needs to run natively on both.

    Does anyone know if, for instance, the installer will ask you which binar(y/ies) to install, ppc, intel, or both, when you install something, or if you can only install on binary in each .app package?
  2. Jedda macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2003
    All apps will be universal binary.

    This means that when you install, it will install for BOTH architectures.

    I highly doubt there will be specific options to install apps for one or the other.

    THe idea is to make this all as seamless and invisible to the user as possible.
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Your question does not require a novel to explain it. Drag and Drop installable applications are expected to have Universal Binaries. This means that such applications will have both PPC and Intel binaries within the same application bundle. Steve Jobs wants all applications to be constructed this way. If they are, then the application will run on either a PPC- or Intel-based Mac. The correct binary will be selected automatically at launch time. The process will be transparent to the user.

    Applications that use installers will probably come in all flavors. You can expect some to install Universal Binaries. You can expect others to install PPC or Intel binaries exclusively. You can expect still others to give you the option of Universal, PPC, or Intel.

    The takeaway message is that Apple is evangelizing Universal Binaries, but developers are free to do what they want. Hopefully, they will give you what you want.
  4. Veldek macrumors 68000


    Mar 29, 2003
    I don't know if I'm making a mistake here, but the real problem seems to be the PowerMac booting from the PowerBook harddisk. I know that Mac OS X will run on both platforms, but I'm not so sure if an Intel processer will be able to boot from a PPC installation.

    If it obviously works, then just point it out. As I said, I'm not so sure about this.
  5. chaos86 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    thankyou veldek
    thankyou all for your responces

    so when you install an app, it installs both binaries, and when you run an app, it picks the right one. so in 2007, i could copy an already installed copy itunes version 6 from a ppc to an intel mac and i wouldn't know the difference.

    That sounds great. I hope it is that seemless with everything, including the OS.

    Apart from the binary compatability issue, anyone see any other problems with this idea? I just think it will be cool to work on something while I'm out, then come home and 'dock' my powerbook to get a boost for FCPhd and Photoshop work, without having to deal with moving files, syching stuff, having different settings, etc.
  6. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    An OS X fat (universal) binary is just that, a single binary. OS X figures out at run time which portion of the file to load and execute.
  7. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA

    wouldn't it be better to sync your powerbook data with your powermac when you come home and right before you leave?
    i'm sure you can do that even wirelessly via airport quite fast. by that you would also have automatically a backup of your data on you powermac.

    also, booting form a firewire disk is much slower than working with the powermacs internal sata drive. the speed advantage of the powermac would be gone when you use the slow notebook harddrive via fire wire.

    i don't know of a good program to sync the computers but that should be easy to find.

  8. chaos86 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    I thought of that, I didn't think you can sync two hard drives if either of them is running the OS where the sync program is running.

    Can anyone confirm that target disk mode over FW800 would be way slower than the internal sata drive in the powermac? I thought even FW400 was around the same speed as the IDE bus. Was I totally wrong on that?
  9. neocell macrumors 65816


    May 23, 2005
    Great White North
    I don't know if you can directly compare these numbers but IDE is claimed to be 133 MBs and SATA 150 and growing link So I don't think you're totally wrong, unless there's another bottle neck somewhere else that I'm unaware of.
  10. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    The better solution is to just sync your Home folder between the machines. If you subscribe to .Mac, the process is pretty easy. If you dont, you can still use the Unix commands (i think its rsync?) to sync everything with root permissions. This would make all files update to the latest version, whether that be on the Powermac or Powerbook.
  11. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    The old OS releases, like 7.6 and 8.0, would install for either 68K or PPC, depending on what processor you had. You could also do a custom install and make the system work on either. Hopefully you'll be able to do this in the future.

    Darwin, the core of OS X, can boot on both x86 and PPC, from the same CD. Apple can probably do something similar with "full" OS X.

    The biggest concern I have is that you might need to wait until 10.5 - the current releases of 10.4 of course require a PPC. An Intel Mac may come with, say 10.4.5. But updating your PPC system to 10.4.5 probably won't "magically" install Intel support into it. When 10.4.6 rolls around, I assume that there would be two separate updaters (to cut down on size), and that the Intel updates won't install onto a PowerPC system. Of course, this is all just guesswork at this stage.
  12. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Actually its two binaries, installed in the same bundle. I believe most applications will install both binaries by default, just like PPC/68k fat binaries almost always installed both. I've always thought that was a weird design choice, but in your case it should work out perfectly.

    As somebody pointed out above, OS X may not install two completely different sets of binaries for its own system you might not be able to boot from the pbook hard drive.
  13. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    Well, as someone who has been dealing with this stuff for years now, I can say that it really isn't all that complicated.

    On the application front, Universal apps will just run on what ever processor they are run on. I have a number of apps in Rhapsody which are able to run on both PowerPC and Intel. For example, Stone Design's Create 5.1.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    screen shots of Create running on both a Power Macintosh and a ThinkPad

    For apps that come as packages, you'll most likely be given an option by the installer to install for either just the one or both processor types (as seen below).

    Installer options for Create

    One of the main reasons for offering non-Universal apps back in the NeXT and Rhapsody days was the speed of most people's connections to the internet. As one would guess, an app that could run on all processors (2 processor types of Rhapsody, 4 processor types for NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP) is going to be larger than an app for just a single processor type. These days, it's nearly as important to keep the size down.

    As for operating systems, a Universal install of Mac OS X would be massive. While I fully expect that future install DVDs are going to carry both PowerPC and Intel versions of Mac OS X... I doubt that you'll be given the option of installing one version of Mac OS X for both on a single partition.

    Currently I use my Rhapsody ThinkPad while out with clients and then transfer stuff to my Rhapsody Power Macintosh when I get home (it is twice as fast and has two 17" monitors attached). The main differences I run into are that they are running two different versions of Rhapsody (5.1 on the ThinkPad and 5.6 on the Mac) and that there were more apps written for PowerPC than Intel*.

    * Macs were significantly faster than standard PCs back then, so most developers wrote for PowerPC... and it wasn't quite as easy as checking a check box to get an app to run on both processors back then. Apple has made a lot of head way in the last 6 years. Plus both processors are going to be Apple hardware (rather than trying to write for standard PCs) which should simplify things a bit.

Share This Page