Mac OS X Operating System Programming Question?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by macsrules, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. macsrules macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2008
    Okay, here is my question, I do many things on my Mac. One might be processing data off websites, another might be building websites, another might be processing digital photography, another might be editing video, another might just be surfing the web, another might be testing some code, another might be ect....... You get the point.

    <Quick Over View>
    A. Problem, my operating system gets bogged down with all the software on it to do each of these processes.

    B. Solution, have a very large hard drive, partition it into 4 or 5 drives. Install OS X on every drive, with the software on each drive to do the different processes. Boot into each drive when needed to do different things.

    c. Problem, this would be a pain to boot into each drive when wanting to switch to a different process. Also, wear and tear on the Mac each time you boot into another drive operating system. </Quick Over View>

    <Detailed Over View>
    1. Each one of these things requires using a lot of different software to do the projects, if you are like me, when you que up all the software for each thing on your Mac, your Mac becomes bogged down. Now I know there is a piece of software out there that you can turn off all the applications that you are not using so that your Mac will not use the resources on those applications but that is a pain, so here is my question.

    2. You know how you can create a bunch of user accounts for the hard drive and switch between a fresh desktop, that is good but I would like to take that a step further and was wandering if there is anything out there that would let me do it? I would like to Partition my Hard drive into four different hard drives, Install OS X on all four of the drives and then switch between them like you do when you set up more than one user account in OS X BUT,

    here is the kicker, I know that if you switch drives in the start-up preferences you can boot into those drives. Is there a way to, set up the Mac so that each one of those operating systems is running in the background when you start up your computer for the first time not using any resources just idle, only the one you are in is active and switch between them using the accounts pane or some mod of that without having to restart the computer to boot into these extra operating system drives.

    Here is why I think this would be great. You know when you have a fresh install of OS X your computer seems really fast. But over time when you bog it down with a bunch of software it gets slower and slower. The beauty of this is that if someone or something out there can set this up you could put just the stuff you need for the different processes on each seperate operating system hard drives and switch between them when needed too. You could even set Quicksilver to access these drives and switch for you. Also, you could put Deep Freeze on one of the hard drives with the Mac Operating System so that you could test new software without getting a bunch of stuff installed on the hard drive operating system until you tested it and made sure it would work for you. </Detailed Over View>

    Any thoughts on this or is there something out there that will allow me to do this, or is this just too hard and no one has done anything like this?
  2. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
  3. Sorkvild macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2007
    I've never had a mac that got slower as I "bogged it down with more software." :p

    You must provide more information, we don't even know what machine you are running nor its specs.

    I'm pretty sure the only way for OS X to actually slow down is when your hard drive is nearing its capacity, about ~10 GBs left.
  4. AlmostThere macrumors 6502a

    If you must do it this way round, I think VMware lets you run virtual machines for OS X Server. Assuming you can run your stuff on OS X Server, maybe this is a viable option.

    I would go with the the "close programmes you are not using" approach, as used by 99.99% of users, which seems to be a country mile easier. It sounds like you are really complaining about limited computer resources, so you could just upgrade. Even Macs have their limits ;)
  5. macsrules thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2008
    God I wish I was a programmer!

    I just think this would be a great solution for what I am looking for, can this be done?

    I will look into VMware.

    I have a Mac Pro, G5 1.6 and this dual listed below.

    Anyway, here are the Specs on this computer:

    I have a 500 gig hard with 350 gigs left, lots of space.

    Attached Files:

  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    This makes no sense. How could anything be running but not using any resources? Can't be done.
  7. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    Like others said, I think there is a better way to deal with a computer bogging down.

    1. Keep your hard drive < 70-75% full. If that's hard to do, buy a bigger hard drive. I haven't read any technical articles on exactly why this helps (I'd guess it is because the OS can keep files defragmented) but benchmarks bear this out.

    2. RAM -- lots and lots of sweet RAM.

    3. Go ahead and close apps when you are done with them.

    Last, some software will go ahead and install services, which run all the time. Well written ones use little RAM and almost no CPU cycles when not used, but many aren't well written. Worse, Mac apps frequently do not have uninstallers and even those that do seem to leave their services installed. You want to get rid of services associated with software that you don't use. Unfortunately, it's often not clear what those are and you can mess up your computer if you start randomly deleting services. To get around this last problem, I occasionally take a look a the running processes. If there are unfamiliar ones that are using any CPU or too much RAM, I see if I can figure out what they are. If I'm pretty sure its associated with software I don't use, I kill the process and delete the executable (I keep a copy for a long time in case I make a mistake).
  8. Sorkvild macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2007
    Also, open Activity Monitor if you notice things becoming sluggish and see if any one application/process you have open in particular is the culprit that might be taking all your CPU power.
  9. lee1210 macrumors 68040


    Jan 10, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    VMWare only runs on intel machines, so with the G5 it is a non-starter. I don't think you are allowed to virtualize OS X anyway, except perhaps server instances. I don't know the specifics, but I do know that you are not licensed to run the "regular" OS X on anything but a mac, including a virtualized environment.

    Your plan is completely counter-intuitive. You need to trim the fat of a single install, and only keep the things running that you need.

    You already have 5GB of RAM, which is a fair amount. If this is still not enough, your machine supports up to 16GB. I'm not sure how you have the current install setup (a pair of 2GB sticks and a pair of 512MB sticks? 2 pair of 1GB sticks, 1 pair of 512MB sticks?) but you can get 4GB in 2x2GB sticks from crucial for $80. Assuming your time has a non-zero value for you, this will do much more in terms of performance/$ than spending a lot of time setting up exotic software configurations that won't actually yield any performance improvement. If you have 4 free slots for $160 you can bump the system to 13GB of RAM.

    I think these are the best things to do, in order, to speed up your machine:
    1) Add RAM. As much as the machine will take/you can afford.
    2) Get faster HDDs. The powermac has a few internal bays. This is the only place I would go exotic on configuration. You can get 2 matching, fast drives (big != fast, look for a fast spindle speed, low seek time) and set them up in a striped RAID set (RAID 0). Use this ONLY for OS and software, not for any important data, as loss of either drive means total data loss for the set. This will make for very fast access to your swap file, and program data. Then add a very large drive to store your data, that you regularly backup. If you're really wanting to put time/money into it, have another fast drive that is used for nothing but scratch files if this is applicable for your applications. Most adobe apps use their own scratch instead of letting the OS do swapping for them. If you are using these, having a very fast drive devoted to this can make a big difference.
    3) Start looking at activity monitor when your machine slows down and see what's really slow. Are you saturating the CPU? Is I/O spiking? Are you out of physical RAM so swapping is occurring? For I/O the faster drives will help, for the RAM issue more RAM will help. If you're maxing out the CPUs there's not much that can be done for that. I would just ensure, as others have stated, that you are only running what you need for a particular task.

    I would say that there is absolutely no reason to keep different OS installs for different tasks. If you want to reinstall the OS, do it once. They're not going to stay "cleaner" if you have 5 OS installs instead of 1. Once you're looking at activity monitor you may notice some "rogue" processes that you don't need that are costing performance, and you can just clean these up.


    P.S. This issue has nothing to do with programming (unless you want to write a hypervisor that runs all of your OS instances at once, but I wouldn't try this). This is a system engineering task. Programmers aren't a bad group to ask this to, since we're an impatient lot and probably do everything we can to bleed performance out of our systems, but we're not the best. You may want to post on some of the other forums here (Design and Graphics, Digital Video, Hardware->Desktops) to see if you can find other tips.
  10. wizard macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    You have left a very confused post. Frankly we don't know what the hell you are doing nor do we know anything about the hardware you are running on. So I doubt anybody can offer up a sound solution for you. Some comments are below.

    So? Really most people do, don't think of yourself as special.
    Well no I don't get the point as I'm likely to do a good portion of the things you have listed myself. It is never a problem, even when part of what I'm doing is in VirtualBox running Linux.
    You need to explain yourself here. What exactly do you mean by bogged down. Further are you exiting out of apps that you are finished with? Your problem could very well be an issue of a lack of RAM. If so your only solutions are to close out apps or buy more RAM.
    That idea is total BS. You could just as easily exit out of an app instead of loading an entirely new environment. I've yet to see any rational need for having multiple Mac images on my machine.
    No; the problem is the idea is stupid.
    Never had this problem and I've had a lot of apps open. You seem to have an issue with RAM and maybe processor power.
    Just exit out of the stupid app!!!!!!

    Frankly I'm beginning to think you are jerking peoples chains with this post.
    Tell me you are not serious here. Think about how this would work.

    There are good reasons to have OS images if you are a developer or are running servers but not for normal application execution. The biggest problem is that everything you describe above adds overhead.
    That is a myth. Unless you are bogging your system down with spy ware, viruses and other crap it won't slow down. heck right at this moment I'm running Mac OS/X plus Linux and thing haven't slowed down.
    I'm beginning to believe your problem is to much junk software on your machine. In any event please explain how having to reboot into alternative environments is going to save you anything. Plus explain what will happen to your work flow and the ability to easily transition from one task to another.
    LET ME SAY THIS LOUD AND CLEAR, you are on the wrong track here! Further you haven't offered up anything at all in this thread that would allow people to help you with suggestions.

  11. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    One reason is that on a hard drive with its circular platter, the tracks on the outside are longer and therefore hold more data. You can read more than twice as much data per second from a track on the edge of the platter than from a track very close to the centre. Therefore, the operating system will use the fast tracks close to the edge first. When your drive is 99 percent full, you have to use the slow tracks close to the centre as well.
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are working from a wrong assumption. You say "my operating system gets bogged down with all the software on it" Do you have data to support this? I seriously doubt it, but I'd like to see it if you do.

    The first rule is: "You can't correct what you can't measure". So get some data.

    Running lots of software all at once will slow down the computer but simply having it installed will not slow it down, unless you have filled the disk nearly completely.
  13. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    Ah, interesting, thanks.

    I should have known, I guess, because I used to worry about this kind of thing in the floppy disc days. It's been so long since I worried about where physically on a disk the data is.

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