Mountain Lion focuses on Cocoa, drops X11 and deprecates Carbon Core

Posted:
in Mac OS X edited January 2014


In a continuation of its efforts to prune OS X of bundled support for alternative platforms to instead focus on Cocoa, Apple's Mountain Lion depreciates more Carbon APIs and drops X11, although users will still be able to install support for running X Window System apps.



X11 gets Javaed



Last year's OS X Lion dropped bundled support for Java Development Kit, which Apple had maintained (albeit often behind the mainline releases of Java) for the Mac throughout the history of OS X's development. Instead, the company shifted its resources to supporting the open source development of Java support for Macs via the OpenJDK project.



Apple is now doing something similar for X11, an environment used to host X Window System software (graphical Unix apps that do not supply a native Mac interface). Under Mountain Lion, the X11 package Apple formerly offered as an optional install is now missing. Rather than offering to install the optional X11 package, Mountain Lion now prompts users to install open source support for X11 software on their own.









Similar to its delegation of the maintenance of Mac Java to the open source community, Apple will continue to support XQuartz, the open source project that develops the software Apple's own X11 package currently uses.



As with spinning off Java, the X11 shift allows Apple to focus on its own Cocoa software while still offering an option for Mac users with a need to run non-native Mac software. While the OpenJDK's first full Mac build of Java SE7 has yet to be released, XQuartz already offers a ready to use X11 package.



The software made available by XQuartz directly is also newer than the X11 package Apple has bundled with OS X since the 10.5 Tiger release. By spinning off X11 to the open source community, users will be able to obtain the newest software builds on their own without having to worry about it being overwritten by OS Software Update patches.



The focus on Cocoa



OS X is based directly upon the NeXTSTEP operating system and development environment, technologies that Apple branded as "Yellow Box" and then "Cocoa" when it began its efforts to transition Mac users and developers to the more sophisticated and modern APIs after acquiring NeXT at the end of 1996.



Given Apple's rough financial shape and its poor track record at delivering new software according to plan, many developers were hesitant to invest in learning and using the new Cocoa, particularly those who were already heavily invested in software dependent upon the Classic Mac OS, a set of APIs Apple referred to as "Blue Box" and then "Carbon" as it worked to create a composite operating system capable of running both.



Apple also tried to broaden adoption for the new Mac OS X by including support for Sun's Java and later added official X11 support, hoping to make the Mac hospitable to any available software. Pundits even began to speculate that Apple might release a "Red Box" capable of hosting Microsoft's Windows software.



However, when Apple released iPhone in 2007 it did so using only Cocoa APIs, forcing developers to unify their efforts on a single development platform. Apple didn't include support for Java ME, then the largest mobile software platform, and invested no efforts to promote mobile development using Adobe Flash or Flash Lite on its new smartphone. In contrast, Google embraced and extended Java ME with Android, and subsequently promoted it as the premier platform for (the now defunct) mobile Flash.



The incredible success of the iOS platform, which is now several times larger than OS X, has enabled Apple to refocus its ongoing development of OS X on Cocoa, enabling the company to finally deprecate more and more of the old Carbon. That process really got started in 10.5 Leopard when the company released support for 64-bit user interface APIs exclusively for Cocoa.



In early 2008, Adobe and other developers complained that Apple's decision not to release the same 64-bit support for Carbon would delay the delivery of their 64-bit apps. Even Apple wasn't able to deliver a 64-bit version of Final Cut Pro until this year.



Apple's persistent pursuit of unifying OS X development around Cocoa (along with its termination of support for PowerPC code) has resulted in a rapid transition in Mac software to modern Cocoa and Intel 64-bit apps. Apple's previous transition from 68K processors of the 80s dragged on for a decade with emulated code, and Apple similarly maintained Carbon support for about a decade longer than it originally wanted.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Oh no! Now people who have never used X11 will complain about not having X11 even though it's still installable and people that have old Carbon apps will complaint that it's Apple's fault that their 10 year old app won't work properly.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,470member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Oh no! Now people who have never used X11 will complain about not having X11 even though it's still installable and people that have old Carbon apps will complaint that it's Apple's fault that their 10 year old app won't work properly.



    And even though it's not deleted when you do a simple upgrade from Lion as so many of them will be!
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 7,528member
    It's a good thing that I never bothered to upgrade my Blackbook to Lion, because if what they are saying is true, then Mountain Lion will not work on it!



    That's ok though. Snow Leopard for life, at least for that machine!
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    And even though it's not deleted when you do a simple upgrade from Lion as so many of them will be!



    How would you feel if someone deprecated on you? That shouldn't be done to anyone.
  • richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    The headline got me worried. If it's still downloadable then who cares?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    How would you feel if someone deprecated on you? That shouldn't be done to anyone.



    "I'm going to deprecate you so hard you'll be measuring your bandwidth in baud rate." How OSes shit talk each other?
  • nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I have old Carbon games I still like to play!



    And I also have an old Mac that plays them just great So I?ll hang on to a legacy machine, if legacy apps are important to me. While I?d love the ?idea? of having every app I ever owned still run on a new machine I purchase in 2014, reality is that things move forward! And I reap the benefits when they do.



    (I hope?someday?that Classic/Rosetta/Carbon/etc. are possible and legal in some kind of emulator or 3rd-party environment, the way I can run Amiga apps on my Mac today.)
  • chabigchabig Posts: 583member
    I've been using Mac OS X for ten years and never used X11 once. I doubt many do and those people still have the means to install it.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,028member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    I've been using Mac OS X for ten years and never used X11 once. I doubt many do and those people still have the means to install it.



    It makes sense to me for X11 to be optional. They should do the same with extra fonts and printer drivers.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,028member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    I have old Carbon games I still like to play!



    And I also have an old Mac that plays them just great So I’ll hang on to a legacy machine, if legacy apps are important to me. While I’d love the “idea” of having every app I ever owned still run on a new machine I purchase in 2014, reality is that things move forward! And I reap the benefits when they do.



    (I hope—someday—that Classic/Rosetta/Carbon/etc. are possible and legal in some kind of emulator or 3rd-party environment, the way I can run Amiga apps on my Mac today.)



    I agree and the same for Lisa, Apple ][ and ///. I have tried a few of the attempts over the years for these (SheepShaver etc.) but they all suck pretty badly. I'd love something as professional as VMMare that could also be an emulator with legally sanctioned ROMs included (imagine a pull menu down with a selection of ROMs). I'd be happy to pay for this. Then I'd just need a USB 400K and 800K Mac external disk drive designed to go with it ....
  • tru_canuktru_canuk Posts: 81member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    The headline got me worried. If it's still downloadable then who cares?



    You shouldn't care or be worried really. But there are people who just want a reason to complain so they'll do it even when there's no reason to.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    It makes sense to me for X11 to be optional. They should do the same with extra fonts and printer drivers.



    I think they did this with print drivers for Lion which is why I think the size dropped considerably.
  • nitewing98nitewing98 Posts: 78member
    I used X Windows when OS X first came out, mostly for games and stuff that wasn't available at the time as OS X software. But as time has gone on, I've used it less and less. I used to keep Fink and Fink Commander until FC was so far out of date, then switched to port and Porticus, but now even Porticus is abandonware. I still have port installed, as I like to have some niceties in the terminal, but X11 is never used by me anymore.
  • aizmovaizmov Posts: 987member
    I use X11 every now and then. I still think it is a good idea not to include it.
  • ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member
    I do seem to remember that X11 was a security hole to OSX. Beside I've never known anyone who needed or used it. I sure didn't
  • dpackmandpackman Posts: 19member
    As a long time user of Xquartz, this is a good decision. The bundled version was always old.
  • zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Oh no! Now people who have never used X11 will complain about not having X11 even though it's still installable and people that have old Carbon apps will complaint that it's Apple's fault that their 10 year old app won't work properly.



    I won't say the headline didn't have me a bit worried, but I'm fine with the actual turn of events.
  • richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post


    I do seem to remember that X11 was a security hole to OSX. Beside I've never known anyone who needed or used it. I sure didn't



    It's useful if you're a developer. There's a lot of tools that use it.



    I also use it for GIMP.
  • mgsarchmgsarch Posts: 50member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    I've been using Mac OS X for ten years and never used X11 once. I doubt many do and those people still have the means to install it.



    The arrogance in this sort of assessment is just laughable. I use X11 every day. I'm a programmer.



    Apple continues to cater to consumerism while ignoring the wants of their pro users. This is not the last straw for me but this trend is becoming worrisome for people like me that have enjoyed using OS X as an alternative to a real development systems like .. linux.



    I am not the only developer that feels this way.
  • christophbchristophb Posts: 1,351member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mgsarch View Post


    The arrogance in this sort of assessment is just laughable. I use X11 every day. I'm a programmer.



    Apple continues to screw the pro users and cater to consumerism. Not a good trend for *producers*.



    I use X11 daily as well and fail to see how this instance screws the pro user or dev.
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