Intel to Port Developer Tools to Mac OS X

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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eWeek reports on an announcement by Intel that they would be porting their software developer tools to Mac OS X/Intel and that the beta would ship later this year.

Kevin Smith, director of Intel Compiler Labs, said that Intel will port a complete set of compilers and performance-enhancing libraries to Apple Computer Inc.'s Intel-based version of Mac OS X. Intel will provide Mac tools for both single-core and multicore processors based on Intel's latest compiler technology. Smith said that the tools will contain the same feature set that Intel now provides for its Windows and Linux development tools.
The new Intel compilers will act as plug-ins to Apple's Xcode development environment. Intel focuses on performance with their compilers and has even seen criticisms in the past that their compilers are particularly focused on certain industry benchmarks. Smith also claims that "We'll do more tuning for Intel Macs than anyone else."
 

Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
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That was sort of expected ... wonder whether Apple will stick with GCC after the transition is complete (probably will, since Apple will be doing fatApps for quite awhile.)
 

brandon6684

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Dec 30, 2002
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I wonder if there would be a way to make highly optimized fat binaries using the Intel compiler and IBM's PowerPC compiler.
 

runninmac

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Jan 20, 2005
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I have no clue what this means but from other peoples reactions it sounds good...

Anyone care to tell me what this means in a dumbed down form?
 

Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
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Brandon Sharitt said:
I wonder if there would be a way to make highly optimized fat binaries using the Intel compiler and IBM's PowerPC compiler.
I can see Apple sticking with GCC for awhile, but companies who really need speed may split the app and compile for speed using the Intel and XLC compilers.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
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Sun Baked said:
That was sort of expected ... wonder whether Apple will stick with GCC after the transition is complete (probably will, since Apple will be doing fatApps for quite awhile.)
I suspect that it will be possible to mix and match, stitching the compiles together with lipo.
 

shawnce

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Jun 1, 2004
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Sun Baked said:
That was sort of expected ... wonder whether Apple will stick with GCC after the transition is complete (probably will, since Apple will be doing fatApps for quite awhile.)
Likely GCC will be around for a while, unless Intel adds PPC support and Objective-C support. The later being the main issue longer term.

Of course developers could compile performance critical parts of their code base with Intel's compilers and leave the rest to GCC. Xcode should allow this given the target support, etc.
 

YellowLabrador

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2005
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Intel compiler plug ins...
Optimize applications for intel 64 bit.

Can still use xcode 2.0 or later for PPC architecture.

Or the compiler is able to just translate between the endians.
 

Sol

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Jan 14, 2003
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Compatibility options in a niché platform

Mac developers will have some tough choices to make in the next two years. The PowerMacs will use new PPC CPUs but consumer Macs will use x86 processors so what are they supposed to do? They could write Universal Binaries that would run un-optimized on both, they could write and optimize for PPC only or for x86 only. In the mean-time Windows developers have only x86 to write for so their jobs are simpler.

This is why I hate the Intel Macs. However faster than PPC the x86 hardware is supposed to be, Windows applications will be faster because Mac developers will have to write for two very different architectures in what is seen as a niché market. I suspect most applications will not have OS X native versions at all and will rely on something like WINE or Virtual PC to run on OS X.
 

fanbrain

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Jan 31, 2005
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I have no idea what that announcement means, but it sounds good to me! I guess runninmac is having the same problem. Tell us what the good news is.
 

plinden

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Apr 8, 2004
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fanbrain said:
I have no idea what that announcement means, but it sounds good to me! I guess runninmac is having the same problem. Tell us what the good news is.
It just provides another option for compilation. Programs compiled with the Intel C compile consistently show higher benchmark performance than applications compiled with e.g. gcc. Hence the remark about accusations that Intel write for benchmarks ... having been out of the C/C++ field for several years, I don't know what the true impact is on real applications.

(400th post in 14 months - getting closer to my avatar)
 

nagromme

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May 2, 2002
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Optimized compiling sounds good to me!


Sol said:
They could write Universal Binaries that would run un-optimized on both, they could write and optimize for PPC only or for x86 only.
Does anyone have actual confirmation that you can't make a Universal Binary that uses Intel's plugin for one side and still use the PPC compiler for the other side? Are we just assuming XCode can't compile twice with two compilers and put them together? (In fact, isn't that what Universal Binaries do anyway?) I don't know about these things, just wondering. As for devs not putting every effort into tweaking manually for PPC--yes, that's true, over time they'll stop doing so. PPC is on the way out. Meanwhile, yes, they'll be doing extra work--and selling more software too! The Mac market will grow from the Intel change, not remain static.


Sol said:
This is why I hate the Intel Macs. However faster than PPC the x86 hardware is supposed to be, Windows applications will be faster because Mac developers will have to write for two very different architectures in what is seen as a niché market. I suspect most applications will not have OS X native versions at all and will rely on something like WINE or Virtual PC to run on OS X.
Compiling a Universal Binary is a matter of checking a box, ultimately.

And x86 isn't "supposed" to be faster than PPC, it IS faster--for notebooks. And within the next two years, it will be faster for desktops as well. This is not marketing spin--it's a REAL benefit, or Apple wouldn't put themselves, their devs, and us through an awkward (but temporary) transition.

As for OS X apps vanishing.... fear not, the sky is not falling :)

There are two BIG reasons why Mac users will NOT be willing--on a large scale--to settle for running Windows on their Macs instead of demanding a Mac-native app. And with the Mac market growing (especially after the Intel change), developers will be more motivated than ever to sell to us :) (Besides, if they already have Mac experience and Mac apps to leverage, why throw them out?)

1. Cost. You have to BUY Windows. And possibly some helper app, either for installation or to actually host Windows like VPC. (Which also means a whole extra set of setup steps you have to go through before you can run Windows apps--not too difficult I'm sure, but not something your Mac can do out of the box.)

2. Usability. You give up the benefits of OS X, which gets better all the time and is the reason you HAVE a Mac. You either accept the time and effort and inconvenience to dual-boot--in which case you give up OS X entirely for those times, and cannot use those apps in conjunction with your Mac apps... or else you run Windows and Mac simultaneously (with a fast new VPC, or even WINE to run--some--apps without Windows itself). Running both at once is cool in a geeky way, but it's terrible usability: working back and forth between two GUIs at once! That's not Mac user friendliness. Not to mention a possible performance hit.

When you stop and think about it, can you really imagine most Mac users settling for Windows?

For these reasons, users will continue to DEMAND Mac apps. (Even games, to a lesser extent. The GUI is not always an issue for those, but the other issues remain. I know I'll give my money first for native Mac games.)

Running Windows on Mac WILL be great for certain things--such as to give a comfort zone to people fearful of straying from Windows, and thus grow the Mac platform hugely. And it's great as a last-resort option for Mac fans who need a certain Windows app for work or whatever. We use VPC for that, and VPC (or something) will soon be full-speed and work even better! But it won't make us LIKE running Windows, and won't make us want to buy Windows apps. We'll do it only when we HAVE to.

And we already do: if we HAVE to--and often by choice for games--we run VPC or simply own a PC. No change there. (And neither option is free!) So the people most likely to accept a Windows app or game on their Mac are the very people ALREADY buying Windows apps--for their PC game systems, or their old PC they keep around, or VPC to run some app from their employer, or whatever.

Conclusion: the market for native Mac apps is about to grow, not shrink, and developers will deliver! :)
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
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hob said:
They referred to them as Intel Macs... INTEL Macs?! Who make's 'em? :eek: APPLE MACS DAMMIT! :p
People refer to "flat panel Macs" and "all-in-one Macs" and "professional Macs" and "tower Macs" too... it's common to mention the detail that's relevant to the discussion. In this case, CPUs from Intel.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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This thread is going too well. Quick, someone give this news a negative rating before it it's too late!!

hob said:
They referred to them as Intel Macs... INTEL Macs?! Who make's 'em? :eek: APPLE MACS DAMMIT! :p
You know, later in the future, when more people in the general public find out that Macs use Intel chips now, I guarantee that some of us are going to listen in on a conversation where someone calls it a "Windows Mac," as for many non-techie people, Intel is synonymous with computers in the PC world. And that's when I get the baseball bat...
 

gio64

macrumors member
Aug 22, 2005
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hob said:
They referred to them as Intel Macs... INTEL Macs?! Who make's 'em? :eek: APPLE MACS DAMMIT! :p
...I am not so sure...
Let's see: Intel processor(s) Intel chipset (they are certainly the best option if you are going to use Intel processors) and, in the "consurmer-all-in-one design, rest assured, Intel graphics and sound (at least, I think this is a very possible option). Is it legitimate to suppose that a lot of these components will come from Intel altogether?
...Sorry, I forgot! Apple will get some high-end plastic manufacturer or aluminum producer to make pretty enclosures for these components, so Apple really makes them, right...
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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gio64 said:
...I am not so sure...
Let's see: Intel processor(s) Intel chipset (they are certainly the best option if you are going to use Intel processors) and, in the "consurmer-all-in-one design, rest assured, Intel graphics and sound (at least, I think this is a very possible option). Is it legitimate to suppose that a lot of these components will come from Intel altogether?
...Sorry, I forgot! Apple will get some high-end plastic manufacturer or aluminum producer to make pretty enclosures for these components, so Apple really makes them, right...
Agreed. Apple only makes the operating system and the good software that comes free with every Mac, making it a tool and not just a bunch of electronic components thrown together. Nothing that important. If Intel got Apple out of the equation, they could just put another operating system on these PowerIntels, maybe Windows XP or something (just throwing around an example).
 

runninmac

macrumors 65816
Jan 20, 2005
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plinden said:
It just provides another option for compilation. Programs compiled with the Intel C compile consistently show higher benchmark performance than applications compiled with e.g. gcc. Hence the remark about accusations that Intel write for benchmarks ... having been out of the C/C++ field for several years, I don't know what the true impact is on real applications.

(400th post in 14 months - getting closer to my avatar)
Thanks for the answer so this sounds good but it could go bad becuase devolpers have to choose which to optimize for (am i right?)

PS congrats on 400 almost there