Universal Binaries - is the transition complete?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by quadgirl, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. quadgirl macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2006
    With Steve Jobs announcing the 'Mac Pro' 3 days ago the 'transition is complete'. Well, it is for Apple.

    Over a year ago the announcement was made that Apple will be switching over to Intel (shock, horror, at the time), and the developers received a loaned intel mac with software pack.

    OK, so the developers have had lots of time to get their software Intel native, so they really don't have any excuses not to have it ready. Apple have completely transitioned their hardware, operating sytem, and software application in just 210 days, so the question is this: What the hell have the software developers been doing during this time? For me, these applications are essential to run natively:

    1. Adobe Photoshop (in fact most of the Creative suite)
    2. Macromedia (now Adobe of course) Dreamweaver
    3. Avid Xpress Pro DV
    4. Sorenson media (codecs and compression suite)

    What essential apps are you in need of to run natively? What are you opinions regarding the missing 'essential apps'?

    One thing's for sure - Apple must be p'd off with the ignorance from some of these companies.
  2. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    A lot of that software wasn't written in Apple's XCode development software, so needs to be ported across before a Universal Binary can be made from the code. For software such as Office and Photoshop, where a lot of legacy code fudged into the Carbon environment is involved, it's going to take them a while. I'd much rather they took their time and delivered a stable product than rushed it to release a buggy mess.
  3. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    If the software is not written in C, C++, or Objective C, you cannot move it to XCode. You have to wait until your compiler vendor provides Universal Binary support.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I think the bigger problem is software that was written using weird "make it easy to port from Windows" API's -- you know the culprits -- pretty much every piece of software with a goofy interface that wasn't written in Java. :rolleyes:

    But I think at minimum, MS Office and Adobe Creative Suite are such a part of the geography that the transition will not truly be "complete" before they are Intel native....
  5. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I think a Universal Photoshop is really the sign that the transition is complete. Office runs faster on my Intel iMac than on my PowerBook G4. I really don't care about a Universal version of Office. Photoshop on the other hand...
  6. DMPDX macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2005
    Adobe announced that it would wait untill the next update to the creative suite to make it universal. They first have to develop a whole new version for the CS then distribute it. Because recompiling it into a UB for a product that is going to be replaced in a few months isnt a very smart financial move. For #2 it may be the same answer. #3, I was expecting it to be a month or two ago. #4, no comment.
  7. Sayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Carbon code isn't an issue re: Intel Macs. The real bugger is any really old code that was written in assembly as "glue" code and code that uses really old APIs that still work, but are not endian-neutral (file format, networking especially).

    That isn't insurmountable for the likes of Microsoft. The real catch is testing the entire app suite on real Macintels to find out where the kinks are, what compatibility issues there are for file formats and data exchange and what APIs have to be adopted to move forward and away from older Mac OS versions.

    Lastly the installed base is overwhelmingly PowerPC anyway, so not having an Intel version (esp. with Rosetta) isn't a deal killer. The Pros whine and moan no matter what changes. Pros pretty much upgrade all at once and complain or don't upgrade anything at all, for a few years anyway. Which will fit in with the software providers who will release major versions as Universal binaries (with a full price tag most likely) over the next year or so.

    FYI: I always wonder about newly-registered posters who put up detailed rants on some new Apple theme e.g. lacking third-party Intel-native pro apps. Troll? Subversive market research from a big app dev house? Just curious...
  8. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    I for one am a skimpy, rubbish look-down-upon-able user who uses osx instead of windows because of all the superficial reasons, and would like to see a universal messenger. I know it won't make much difference, but needing a new version could prompt microsoft to put in some long needed upgrades ( video, and possibly tabbed messaging).
  9. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    The good news is with a company like Adobe, they are having to work very hard to release their products as universal binary, which means they probably wont even think about abandoning the Mac platform for years to come.
  10. sunfast macrumors 68020


    Oct 14, 2005
    I run photoshop elements and office:mac in rosetta on my macbook. I'd like them both to be universal but it'd be photoshop if I had to choose.
  11. mcarnes macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2004
    USA! USA!
    Forget PS and MS Office, we all know the transition isn't complete until MacTheRipper goes UB. :p

    (it's in beta now)
  12. VanNess macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2005
    You have to look at the big picture.

    First of all, Apple makes no bones about the fact that they are way ahead of schedule in the transition. Jobs said at the 05 WWDC that, by the next WWDC (06), they planned to have Intel-based Macs in the marketplace. They never said anything about having their entire line-up transitioned by that time, in fact, they specifically slated that to occur later. (I think by the end of this year, but I don't remember exactly). Apple never told developers they had revised their plans, they found out when everyone else did.

    So the question is, why did Apple decide to move so quickly? I think there are two reasons: 1) To assuage investor fears of the so-called "osborne effect," where existing Mac sales would plummet as customers postponed Mac purchases and wait for the new generation of Intel Macs, and 2) to quickly establish an installed base of Intel Macs that moves from mere projections on a piece of paper to real world purchases and users. That's powerful medicine for software developers to show Universal Binaries is not only the route to take, Intel is here, right now. What were only theories and estimates at WWDC 05 are realities as of today.

    Secondly, the majority of UB work in the Mac software world has gone extraordinarily well, but there are also realities at the moment that Intel Mac users have to come to terms with. Unlike Apple, companies like Adobe and Microsoft face the worst case scenario for porting their software to Intel, and it's further complicated by the perception (or expectation) by Intel Mac users that UB updates to their existing software are going to be free (or close to it). For some companies that face the worst case scenario for the Intel port, it's going to involve a serious amount of time, work, and testing to recompile their code, and Adobe and Microsoft in particular have an enormous amount of code to deal with for their Mac products. So it's unrealistic to assume that they could just press a button and it's all done, here you go. it's going to cost them serious time and cash to complete this project.

    Both Adobe and MS have committed to porting their stuff and that's a good thing. I'm not sure what MS has said specifically about it's schedule, but IIRC, Adobe has committed to 07 for it's stuff. So what about right now? Well, they could probably figure out a very expensive way to accelerate the task of porting their existing products and charge appropriately for it. I think it's safe to say that most Intel Mac users won't like the bill when they see it. Or they could do what they have previously announced they would do, which is roll the port into the next version of their products. That way, in addition to being native Intel, it's an entirely new version, the latest and greatest. Since it's also part and partial to the usual upgrade process, there is no sticker shock, because as users of their products you are likely to upgrade to the latest version anyway.

    In the meantime there is Rosetta, which for most users who have upgraded to Intel Macs, is likely to run this stuff at least as fast on the new Intel-charged powerhouse as it ran on your former PPC-based lamer box. If you're a pro user whose business depends on Adobe and MS products and software performance/speed is critical to your workflows (i.e., former Powermac G5 users) then the timing of an upgrade to Intel should be given serious consideration, as would any upgrade that effects strategic assets, and plan accordingly. That means you might be just fine with Rosetta for the time being, or it might be a show-stopper until Intel native software is released.

    But if you just bought an Intel Mac just for local bragging rights for having the latest and greatest, you might have to be a little patient. Just a little. All the Software you had before now wasn't created equal.
  13. quadgirl thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2006
    Adobe, are you serious?

    Adobe are readying the all new Contribute 4 (formally Mamcromedia Contribute) the next version of the web site management software. Is it universal binary? Yes, of course it is, not.

    I was sad when Adobe took over Macromedia. Looks like not only Creative Suite, but also Macromedia/Studio will be the last UB apps.
  14. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    I don't use a lot of the applications that others are waiting on (e.g. Photoshop), but I would really like to have an Intel version of Office -- that's one that I use every day, and running the PowerPC version under Rosetta is almost unbearable. :(
  15. Pittsax macrumors 6502


    Dec 8, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    Right now, all I really need to be UB is a good statistics program. I used to use JMP, but it is completely broken running under Rosetta. They claim to be working on a fix, but it's been like that since March with no word from the folks at SAS.

    My problem is compounded by the fact that I would rather choke to death on a small fish bone than use SPSS.
  16. benthewraith macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Not to be rude or anything, but what exactly is JMP and SPSS? :eek:
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Statistics packages. Rude would have been "google ****ing exists." :eek: ;) :D

    They're used widely in social / biological sciences....
  18. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    As far as Adobe is concerned, I heard that it is very difficult for them to port the existsing versions of their programs to Intel.

    Adobe, for portability, has their products build in Codewarrior, which exists on both Windows and OS X (although the OS X version is a bit old). Now, only Xcode supports at the time Universal binaries, so they will need to do a lot of works to have their projects done in Xcode. To release a UB update for Photoshop 7.0 is very dangerous and could prove unstable. Not to mention the enormous amount of code written to take advantage of the PPC facilities (such as Altivec) that now needs to be rewritten to include the corresponding routines of CoreDuo.

    Just be patient. The next versions of the Adobe's programs are bound to be UB.
  19. AlmostThere macrumors 6502a


    Apple didn't transition in 210 days. Apple's "transition" started the first time they started to build OS X (and its relatives, such as Darwin, Next) on Intel, which most likely has been going on in one state or another since OS X was first released.

    Apple have had 210 days plus 6 years preparation whereas 3rd parties have had 210 days plus maybe 6 months or so for major vendors.
  20. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    To add insult to injury, it doesn't work in Rosetta anyway. :eek: :rolleyes:

    I got this from SPSS a couple of days ago, while I was in New Orleans at APA. Although, for the record, I didn't know there *was* an SPSS 13 for Mac. :rolleyes: They had just made SPSS 11 work in Tiger recently. At least they're making an SPSS 15. I hope they actually do the right thing and have the Mac version written in XCode....

  21. Pittsax macrumors 6502


    Dec 8, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    IMO, "the right thing" would be to junk the current version of SPSS and start from scratch. The thing is an abomination in every way, and the company blatantly acts like they wish they didn't have to port the software to the Mac in the first place.

    Out of curiosity, what program are you using now?
  22. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Ahem... :eek:

    I use a mixture, but I don't have an Intel Mac -- only Mac/PPC and Wintel.

    I use:

    1) <R> on OS X
    2) The abomination known as SPSS 11 on OS X
    3) SPSS 13 or 14 or whatever on Windows
    4) Lisrel on Windows (primarily)

    And I couldn't agree with you more about re-writing SPSS. Even though SPSS is probably the easiest stats package to use for n00bs, the transition from text-based syntactic input and text output to point-and-click and graphical output was incredibly poorly thought out. Even on Windows. SPSS needs someone who understands the basics of human thought processes and user interfaces to help them craft something else. Because that's where the problems lie with SPSS. To the extent that it can do a given analysis, it does it just fine. The statistics of SPSS is not the issue. It's all the software packaging of SPSS that's rot.

    <R> is beautiful, even if it is text I/O and not 100% consistent. The object-oriented framework is very elegant. And so many of the best minds in computational statistics back it up. But it doesn't really do everything. And I will admit snapping back to SPSS purely because I can do something more quickly in SPSS than in <R> in many instances.... Hopefully in the long term, the graphical front-ends for <R> will pan out and obviate the need for SPSS....
  23. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    This is the main problem.

    One of the first things I saw about converting your legacy application into one that worked with Carbon was to add the line #include <carbon.h> to the front of your application source code.

    I suspect that a lot of poorly-running applications were converted in exactly that manner.

    Of course, Adobe and Macromedia are two very different cases.

    Adobe has refused to write good code and use proper techniques, preferring to pile patch upon patch. Even after Adobe's applications were converted to work with Mac OS X, they didn't work well.

    Macromedia re-wrote a lot of code using Metrowerks' CodeWarrior tools and PowerPlant application framework. Of course, Freehand and Director are legacy applications and FireWorks counts Aldus PhotoStyler as its ancestor. They're all a bit more up-to-date and should require somewhat less work.

    Sure, the switch from CodeWarrior to Xcode requires work, especially since CodeWarrior worked similarly to the LightSpeed C and Pascal environments and developers were accustomed to working a certain way.

    I need the various graphics applications but I'm not holding my breath that they'll work properly, so I'm waiting for them before buying a new machine.

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