Universal Binaries, the next step?

R.Youden

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Original poster
Apr 1, 2005
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So at the moment we have PowerPC apps only; MS Office, Adobe etc. and we have UBs; iLife, most Apple apps. My question is, will we ever see a day when applications are written for Intel based computers only or will they always be able to run on both processors. The logical thinking for a non-programmer is that if UBs are faster than PowerPC apps then wont Intel only apps be faster than UBs?
 

Catfish_Man

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Sep 13, 2001
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Portland, OR
UBs are not faster than PowerPC apps (except on Intel of course, because they don't need Rosetta. Going Intel-only doesn't change that though).
 

R.Youden

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Original poster
Apr 1, 2005
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I see what you mean.I suppose the reason UBs appear faster is that the Intel machines are faster than their respective Power PC counterparts.
 

vohdoun

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Jan 23, 2006
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Far away from Earth.
I've been hearing a few rumours that CS3 will be Intel only due to complications... I hope this is not true leaving PPC stuck with CS2? Yet nobody has been able to clarify.
 

dansgil

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2005
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Vancouver, BC
vohdoun said:
I've been hearing a few rumours that CS3 will be Intel only due to complications... I hope this is not true leaving PPC stuck with CS2? Yet nobody has been able to clarify.
I don't think Adobe would do this. There are too many Photoshop users still using G5's who wouldn't upgrade to a Mac pro just to use CS3.
 

DeathChill

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Jul 15, 2005
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R.Youden said:
My question is, will we ever see a day when applications are written for Intel based computers only or will they always be able to run on both processors.
Well, we have Parallels, which is Intel only. Compiling for both PowerPC and Intel is easy as pie anyway. I doubt we'll see too many Intel only applications until Apple no longer supports PowerPC in XCode or OS X. The only use for the Intel side will be for virtual machines and such.
 

YS2003

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Dec 24, 2004
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Finally I have arrived.....
Does Universal Binary mean the application will run on both Intel and Power PC platform optimally? Or, Is UB more favorable toward x86 platform at the expense of PowerPC? My understanding is UB would run on both X86 and PPC equally well as each format can execute UB codes natively.
 

mduser63

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Nov 9, 2004
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Salt Lake City, UT
YS2003 said:
Does Universal Binary mean the application will run on both Intel and Power PC platform optimally? Or, Is UB more favorable toward x86 platform at the expense of PowerPC? My understanding is UB would run on both X86 and PPC equally well as each format can execute UB codes natively.
Universal Binary means that there are (separate) binaries for both PowerPC and Intel included in the same application bundle. It doesn't favor one or the other. Of course, in general, Intel machines tend to be faster than PowerPC machines, so there's sort of a perception or feeling that Universal favors Intel. That's not really true though. It's reasonable to expect that a Universal app will run faster on a Quad G5 than on a Core Solo mini.

I'm a little annoyed by the use of Universal Binary to describe Intel-only apps that I've seen around. Some apps are being compiled with separate versions for Intel and PowerPC, rather than Unversal Binary, then the Intel version gets called the Universal version. That's just simply not correct.
 

YS2003

macrumors 68020
Dec 24, 2004
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Finally I have arrived.....
mduser63 said:
Universal Binary means that there are (separate) binaries for both PowerPC and Intel included in the same application bundle.
Good to know UB means apps are for both x86 and PPC. The current Apple's marketing seems to focus on "UB = x86 based MBP, MB, Mac Pro, and iMac." I thought UB is for both platform. But, as I have seen more UB-ready apps, I started noticing they only mention about x86 Mac. So, if the software makers stamp "UB" on their packaging, is it safe to assume the software is for both PPC and x86?
 

FredAkbar

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2003
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Santa Barbara, CA
Yeah, other than some exceptions, perhaps, brought up by mduser63, who incorrectly refer to Intel-only apps (rare though they are) as UB.

Keep in mind that even though a UB app runs natively on both PPC and Intel, if a new version of an app is UB, the author/company might market the fact that it's now UB more toward Intel Mac users, because it affects them. PowerPC users don't gain or lose anything (other than maybe a slight difference in file size) when an app goes from PPC to UB.

So UB apps aren't "for" Intel users, but if an app changes from PPC to UB (basically the only change we'll be seeing widespread for quite a while), that bit of news will appeal specifically to Intel users.
 

mduser63

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Nov 9, 2004
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Salt Lake City, UT
YS2003 said:
So, if the software makers stamp "UB" on their packaging, is it safe to assume the software is for both PPC and x86?
Yes, although like I said, I have seen one or two cases of software makers incorrectly labeling Intel-only versions "Universal Binary".

Like FredAkbar said, Universal Binaries as new releases only affect Intel users, which probably contributes to the feeling that they're focused on Intel machines. I didn't care about Universal Binary releases when I was still exclusively using PowerPC Macs. Now that I have an Intel Mac it actually matters when to me whether or not an app is Universal. That said, most of the apps on my PowerBook are Universal too, and of course they run just fine.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
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Sol III - Terra
vohdoun said:
I've been hearing a few rumours that CS3 will be Intel only due to complications... I hope this is not true leaving PPC stuck with CS2? Yet nobody has been able to clarify.
Actually there has been no compelling reason for me to upgrade to CS2 yet from CS. I will evalute CS3 when it's released to see if it is worth upgrading to (for my needs). However, if it is Intel only I won't even bother considering it until I wind up with an Intel based Mac.

CS3 should be both Intel and PowerPC. Will CS4 be Intel only is the real question.
 

mduser63

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Nov 9, 2004
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Salt Lake City, UT
Bear said:
Actually there has been no compelling reason for me to upgrade to CS2 yet from CS. I will evalute CS3 when it's released to see if it is worth upgrading to (for my needs). However, if it is Intel only I won't even bother considering it until I wind up with an Intel based Mac.

CS3 should be both Intel and PowerPC. Will CS4 be Intel only is the real question.
Adobe has stated that CS3 will be Universal. They'd be shooting themselves in the foot by releasing it Intel-only. A great number (the majority most likely) of the pro Photoshop users will still be on G5s, and they're not going to upgrade their machines in order to upgrade to CS3, they'll just stick with CS2.
 

Platform

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Dec 30, 2004
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DeathChill said:
Well, we have Parallels, which is Intel only. Compiling for both PowerPC and Intel is easy as pie anyway. I doubt we'll see too many Intel only applications until Apple no longer supports PowerPC in XCode or OS X. The only use for the Intel side will be for virtual machines and such.
Yes, well ofcourse it is. To run Windows/Linux you need an Intel type CPU, so that is not Paralles but hardware.
 

enda1

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2006
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Ireland
I think that it will happen for the OS in about 5 years;
for pro apps such as matematica, matlab, adobe etc in about 3 years;
for super pro apps such as cfd, cam, video editing, simulation software which are currently only windows we may see them release mac binaries but only for X86.

Just my thouhgts but i feel that Apple wiill be the last ones left supporting PowerPC, not the 3rd party developers.

Interestingly, if programs start getting made for intel only, will there be a Rosetta going the other way? Maybe attesoR? ;)
 

Platform

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Dec 30, 2004
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I don't understand why they would need to change the way they code...unless there is a OS 9 > OS X type transition, why not just limit features for the PPC (Needs more modern type hardware)
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
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Sol III - Terra
enda1 said:
I think that it will happen for the OS in about 5 years;
for pro apps such as matematica, matlab, adobe etc in about 3 years;
for super pro apps such as cfd, cam, video editing, simulation software which are currently only windows we may see them release mac binaries but only for X86.
Considering how easy it was for some of the large applications to be made into a Universal Binary, I suspect at least some apps will continue to be universal for at least the same length as the OS.

The applications that need custom code depending on the processor type might drop PPC support earlier if it proves too much of a cost to maintain the PPC specific bits.
Just my thouhgts but i feel that Apple wiill be the last ones left supporting PowerPC, not the 3rd party developers.
Here I fell you are wrong due to the ease of generating universal binaries for most of the applications.
Interestingly, if programs start getting made for intel only, will there be a Rosetta going the other way? Maybe attesoR? ;)
I doubt this would happen... again due to the ease of having universal binaries for most applications.