A Windows user mini-review of Mac OS X

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Hi all, this is is my first post in a few years on AI.

First allow me to give you some background: I am currently a Windows user both at home and at work. I was a Mac user until 1998 when I took the plunge into the PC world, primarly b/c I was so frustrated by the lack of robustness of Mac OS Classic (crappy multitasking, no memory protection, etc.).

However, ever since Mac OS X appeared on the radar, my interest in Apple was rekindled and I have just been waiting for OS X to finally come of age to make the switch back to the fold.



This week, I've had a chance to play with Mac OS X for an extended period of time and wanted to share my impressions.



Introductory Notes:

- reference Windows OS: 2000 Professional (never used Windows XP)

- reference Windows PC: PIII 866 Mhz (Dell Precision 420 MT) with 256 MB RAM

- test Mac: iMac G3 400 Mhz with 384 MB RAM

- test Mac OS: OS X 10.1.5

- network environment: LAN



------------------------------------------------



Questions

--------------

- how can I assign process priorities?

- Word file names from Windows seem to be truncated (.doc became .d for one file).. are you telling me Mac OS X still does not support filenames longer than 32 characters!? Or is this an IE relic from the past maybe (a limitation of carbonization perhaps vs. cocoaization?)



Hardware Notes

----------------------

This is the first Mac I got to use extensively since 1998. I wanted to share my impressions on that front too.

+ I tried playing an MP3 from my iDisk. It opened up and got copied into my hard drive by iTunes (all without any manual operation). The quality of the sound was amazingly good, way better than what I expected from the seemingly tiny speakers of the iMac.

- I cannot *believe* Apple is still shipping a one-mouse button with their computers. I wouldn't imagine using it for any extended period of time. The one that came with mine (used) was broken, so I immediately replaced it with a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer (optical). In a sense this explains why contextual menus are still so under-developed/under-used in Mac OS 9/X, say compared to Windows.



iTunes

---------

+ looks beautiful, as expected from an iApp

+ the radio feature is awesomely simple. Never before was I able to locate an international channel that immediately fit my needs so quickly (10 seconds :-))

+ visualization was surprisingly smooth, after all the horror stories I had heard about the lowly fps rates on various Mac forums

- it does seem to take too much CPU: 30% with the radio tuner



Aqua

-------

+ I love the slide-out dialog sheets!



Misc

------

+ I love the fact that I can open PDF files natively with the Preview app



Software Installation

---------------------------

- I love the single-package drag-n-drop method of installing applications like OmniWeb

- installation of Office Trial was incredibly easy: just drap and drop the Office folder from the disk image to your Applications directory. Un-be-lie-vable! Take that, Windows! :-)



Software Update

-----------------------

+ the Software Update module is great stuff.

- It takes very long to prebind stuff it downloads (10 minutes for 6 MB!) and consumes a lot of CPU (40%) in the process.



graphics

------------

+ incredibly beautiful, crisp, and smooth!

+ font anti-aliasing is incredibly good, even with small fonts

+ I like the background shadows



multitasking

----------------

+ very smooth: can switch between apps instantaneously even when having to wait for a given app. This means I can keep working *all* the time: alleluia!

+ the fact that using menus does not stop the application is awesome. What a welcome change from Mac OS Classic!

+ gracefully degrades: statys equitable across applications when things get rough; context switching latency increases linearly.



iDisk

-------

+ very very easy to setup

+ Apple-provided software by default

+ totally transparent to the user, acts just like the local filesystem

\t+ this lets you work on your iDisk files directly, absolutely transparently: e.g. I am currently editing this file in TextEdit on my iDisk. In fact it's so transparent that I was going to add an item complaining about the speed of saving files in TextEdit.. until I realized that I was working on a remote file through the WebDAV protocol!! :-)

+ very smooth as far as speed is concerned. Not a speed daemon of course, but perfectly usable.

+ I love the fact thatyour iDisk appears on the desktop

- Windows has almost as good support for WebDAV as iDisk. You can also browse what they call "Web Folders" transparently as if they belonged to the local filesystem. To be fair, it's much less intuitive to access this functionality than on OS X: as a result many people are surprised to learn that it even exists in Windows. This level of support for WebDAV on Windows came as a surprise to me, seeing how hard Apple pushes iDisk as a Mac innovation. The only big advantage that Apple has is their hosting of what used to be a free Web-enabled service. The move to paying .Mac is particularly stupid in that regard.



Dock

-------

- dialogs often end up below the Dock. Should be smarter than that.

- when using the maximize button on a window, especially an IE window, it often ends up below the Dock

- OS X really needs a running task/process list like OS 9 had. It's really a pain to hunt through the Dock item list for those apps that are running

+ the ability to move items around smoothly is very nice

+ I like the way app icons jump up and down in the dock: very entertaining and smooth



performance

-----------------

- navigation through text with the cursor is very slow, relative to Windows, be it per character, word, or even line. This seems to be a tradition on the Mac, as I distinctly remember this phenomenon on Mac OS Classic as well: maybe it's a "feature"? It seems even slower on OS X. I personally find it very annoying.

- this is also the case for editing: keeping the same key pressed translates into the screen very slowly. Likewise for keeping the "delete" key pressed. Text definitely seems like a sore spot for OS X, as far as performance (and that only) is concerned.

- scrolling through a window, while not slow by any means, could get a little extra oomph (see browsing exception)

- window resizing is quite sluggish, but nowhere near as bad overall as in IE

- menus seem rather sluggish across the entire system

- application opening is still slow: there is no reason on Earth for a simple text editor (TextEdit) to take 10 seconds to open, 1 minute after it was closed! Especially when Windows' WordPad takes less than a second!

- when I start moving rapidly across the UI, minimizing windows, switching between windows, using the Dock, the interface becomes very sluggish and animations get irritably jerky.



browsing

------------

+ again font smoothing is amazing! Text looks so much better than on Windows.

- strangely enough, while beautiful, the resulting blur makes reading a little harder. Form over function?

- while not horrible, scrolling in IE definitely feels sluggish, relative to Windows, especially hgih speed scrolling. You feel like the system is telling you: "Slow down!"

- the performance of window resizing is incredibly poor, in both absolute and relative terms. There is no excuse for this, when Windows performs flawlessly - literally - in this regard.

- OmniWeb (4.1) seems worse than IE regarding both window resizing and scrolling. :-(



[ 08-19-2002: Message edited by: cygsid ]</p>
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    Yesterday I went to the Apple Store in Cambridge to play with Jaguar. I spent more than an hour there. One guy there was very knowledgeable, and was able to explain to me the advantages of Quartz Extreme. I was impressed.

    Jaguar seems definitely much improved performance-wise over 10.1.5, which I had found kinda sluggish overall. I tried it on three different machines: the iMac 17 inch, the iBook at 600 Mhz with the ATI 128 Mobile, and the iBook at 700 Mhz with the ATI Radeon Mobile.



    Here is an update on some of the complaints I had about performance.



    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>

    - navigation through text with the cursor is very slow, relative to Windows, be it per character, word, or even line. This seems to be a tradition on the Mac, as I distinctly remember this phenomenon on Mac OS Classic as well: maybe it's a "feature"? It seems even slower on OS X. I personally find it very annoying.



    - this is also the case for editing: keeping the same key pressed translates into the screen very slowly. Likewise for keeping the "delete" key pressed. Text definitely seems like a sore spot for OS X, as far as performance (and that only) is concerned.

    </strong>

    <hr></blockquote>

    This is definitely still a problem. There was no noticeable improvement on this front.



    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>

    - scrolling through a window, while not slow by any means, could get a little extra oomph

    </strong>

    <hr></blockquote>

    This seems much better in Jaguar, both on the iBook and iMac, even in IE. Complaint addressed.



    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>

    - window resizing is quite sluggish, but nowhere near as bad overall as in IE

    </strong>

    <hr></blockquote>

    Again much improved. Almost satisified.



    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>

    - menus seem rather sluggish across the entire system

    </strong>

    <hr></blockquote>

    Problem virtually disappeared. Very smooth now.



    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>

    - the performance of window resizing is incredibly poor, in both absolute and relative terms. There is no excuse for this, when Windows performs flawlessly - literally - in this regard.

    - OmniWeb (4.1) seems worse than IE regarding both window resizing and scrolling. :-(

    </strong>

    <hr></blockquote>

    Still slow but much more tolerable.



    I also tried exercising the Quartz Extreme capabilities of Jaguar on each of the three machines. My test consisted of playing a QuickTime Movie maximized while also having a semi-transparent terminal window on top of the movie. I had the 'top -u' running in the terminal so I could watch the most CPU-consuming processes. Some results:

    - [email protected] fared worst: I couldn't see any benefit from QE. CPU consumption was very high (70%+), and top showed that the Window Manager was taking up a lot of CPU (30-40%). This makes sense since this computer had an ATI 128 with only 8MB of texture memory.

    - [email protected] Mhz fared surprisingly well, with its QE-capable Mobile Radeon card with 16 MB VRAM. CPU was at about 40% and the Window Manager stayed below 15%.

    - iMac fared spectacularly well with the Window Manager virtually taking no CPU at all: QE at its best.



    Interestingly enough, the employee aforementioned suggested that the G4 made no difference in Quartz Extreme usage, which uses the graphics card exclusively for its OpenGL-based compositing. This actually makes graphically well-endowed G3-based machines (like the latest iBooks) a very viable alternative indeed.
  • Reply 2 of 54
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    [Edit:] Okay, not fair to go out and post a revised review about the things I'm advising *before* I get to advise them. Sheesh.





    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>Hi all, this is is my first post in a few years on AI.

    First allow me to give you some background: I am currently a Windows user both at home and at work. I was a Mac user until 1998 when I took the plunge into the PC world, primarly b/c I was so frustrated by the lack of robustness of Mac OS Classic (crappy multitasking, no memory protection, etc.).

    However, ever since Mac OS X appeared on the radar, my interest in Apple was rekindled and I have just been waiting for OS X to finally come of age to make the switch back to the fold.



    This week, I've had a chance to play with Mac OS X for an extended period of time and wanted to share my impressions.



    Introductory Notes:

    - reference Windows OS: 2000 Professional (never used Windows XP)

    - reference Windows PC: PIII 866 Mhz (Dell Precision 420 MT) with 256 MB RAM

    - test Mac: iMac G3 400 Mhz with 384 MB RAM

    - test Mac OS: OS X 10.1.5

    - network environment: LAN



    -----------

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Excellent! Thank you for doing so, and for providing some technical info and UI experience background.



    [quote]<strong>Questions

    --------------

    - how can I assign process priorities?<hr></blockquote></strong>



    You can't, at the GUI level. The Unix core in MacOS X handles this *beautifully*, transparently, and without user interaction. Think of it this way - it's not there because it isn't needed in 99.9% of cases.



    This is analogous to a MacOS 9 user moving to Windows and saying "How do I tell it how much memory each app should use?"



    [quote]<strong>- Word file names from Windows seem to be truncated (.doc became .d for one file).. are you telling me Mac OS X still does not support filenames longer than 32 characters!? Or is this an IE relic from the past maybe (a limitation of carbonization perhaps vs. cocoaization?)</strong><hr></blockquote>



    It's an example of *crappy* Carbonization. IE's character limit is idiotic, but still there. Cocoa, Carbon, and the Finder all can handle 255 character file names. (Note that this is different from the 255 character *pathname* limit in Windows... *each* folder in a hierarchy can have up to 255 characters. There is a limit at some point to the full pathname, but I believe it is 4kB.)



    [quote]<strong>Hardware Notes

    ----------------------

    This is the first Mac I got to use extensively since 1998. I wanted to share my impressions on that front too.

    + I tried playing an MP3 from my iDisk. It opened up and got copied into my hard drive by iTunes (all without any manual operation). The quality of the sound was amazingly good, way better than what I expected from the seemingly tiny speakers of the iMac.

    - I cannot *believe* Apple is still shipping a one-mouse button with their computers. I wouldn't imagine using it for any extended period of time. The one that came with mine (used) was broken, so I immediately replaced it with a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer (optical). In a sense this explains why contextual menus are still so under-developed/under-used in Mac OS 9/X, say compared to Windows.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    There's actually a reason for this, given in Apple's Human Interface Guidelines.



    If you force all developers to design their apps for a single mouse button, they *really* have to think out their interface. Having been part of dev teams for Mac, Unix/X11, and various versions of Windows, I can honestly say that the Windows developers' default was "Well, just toss it in a contextual menu." Bad. Contextual menus are wonderfully powerful tools, but they need to be used for *quick* access not *primary* access... they're completely hidden options until the user happens to hit the right target at the right time. (It they're always available, then they're not contextual, just muddled.)



    It's a philosophical UI difference, not a hardware limitation. Now having said that, I would love to see them offer a multi-button mouse as a build to order option, but as far as advancing the UI consistency goes, it is a good idea.



    [quote]<strong>iTunes

    ---------

    + looks beautiful, as expected from an iApp

    + the radio feature is awesomely simple. Never before was I able to locate an international channel that immediately fit my needs so quickly (10 seconds :-))

    + visualization was surprisingly smooth, after all the horror stories I had heard about the lowly fps rates on various Mac forums

    - it does seem to take too much CPU: 30% with the radio tuner</strong><hr></blockquote>



    iTunes takes *much* less CPU time in 10.2. (Perhaps the source of your question about process priorities? )



    [quote]<strong>Software Installation

    ---------------------------

    - installation of Office Trial was incredibly easy: just drap and drop the Office folder from the disk image to your Applications directory. Un-be-lie-vable! Take that, Windows! :-)</strong><hr></blockquote>



    If you liked that, then you'll *LOVE* *UN*installing... just drag the folder to the Trash.



    [quote]<strong>Software Update

    -----------------------

    + the Software Update module is great stuff.

    - It takes very long to prebind stuff it downloads (10 minutes for 6 MB!) and consumes a lot of CPU (40%) in the process.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    The prebinding doesn't just work on the stuff it downloaded but *every app* on your drive. It scans the entire drive looking for any apps, then pre-binds them with new possible shared libraries that may have been installed. There's a *lot* of room for optimization here, and the Apple folk know it.



    [quote]<strong>multitasking

    ----------------

    + gracefully degrades: statys equitable across applications when things get rough; context switching latency increases linearly.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    This is that process priority algorithm at work.



    [quote]<strong>Dock

    -------

    - dialogs often end up below the Dock. Should be smarter than that.

    - when using the maximize button on a window, especially an IE window, it often ends up below the Dock</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Let me guess... these are both in IE, right?



    These are 100% problems with the app. The developers haven't followed the UI rules, or have decided to bypass the built-in Cocoa/Carbon algorithms to eliminate this.



    [quote]<strong>- OS X really needs a running task/process list like OS 9 had. It's really a pain to hunt through the Dock item list for those apps that are running</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Really? I find the little black triangles to be more than enough... YMMV, of course.



    [quote]<strong>performance

    -----------------

    - navigation through text with the cursor is very slow, relative to Windows, be it per character, word, or even line. This seems to be a tradition on the Mac, as I distinctly remember this phenomenon on Mac OS Classic as well: maybe it's a "feature"? It seems even slower on OS X. I personally find it very annoying.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Actually, it's the combination of two things:



    A CPU-bound transparency compositor engine (Quartz Compositor) and, yes, a feature.



    QC has been offloaded to the graphics card in many machines now in 10.2, as Quartz Extreme (no, I'm not making up the name, I wish I was.) QE has some fairly hefty video bus/card requirements, since this is something that the cards were never really optimized for. (Bleeding edge and all...) I don't know offhand if your iMac would be able to take advantage of it, but I fear not. :/ <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/jaguar/quartzextreme.html"; target="_blank">http://www.apple.com/macosx/jaguar/quartzextreme.html</a>; is the place to go for details.



    The feature is that there's a top-end for meaningful contextual scanning of text by humans, period. Any faster, and you have no idea where you actually are in the text. (You can glance at the scroll bar, but then, if you knew how far down to go, you'd just use that, wouldn't you?) Ultra-fast scanning results in *slower* movement through the text because the user has to keep re-obtaining a cue as to where they are. It *seems* faster, but it's really not.



    Of course, it'd be nice to have a setting for adjusting that top-end speed. I'm a speed reader, so the current speed really *is* way too slow.



    But yes, it's throttled back on purpose.



    [quote]<strong>- this is also the case for editing: keeping the same key pressed translates into the screen very slowly. Likewise for keeping the "delete" key pressed. Text definitely seems like a sore spot for OS X, as far as performance (and that only) is concerned.

    - scrolling through a window, while not slow by any means, could get a little extra oomph (see browsing exception)

    - window resizing is quite sluggish, but nowhere near as bad overall as in IE</strong><hr></blockquote>



    You keep bringing up IE...



    Seriously, it looks like that's a big cause of problems here. Do you see these same exact problems in say, OmniWeb?



    [quote]<strong>- menus seem rather sluggish across the entire system</strong><hr></blockquote>



    They're partially transparent, which means that they have to be composited with every other app running... Quartz Extreme should help with this, a *lot*.



    [quote]<strong>- application opening is still slow: there is no reason on Earth for a simple text editor (TextEdit) to take 10 seconds to open, 1 minute after it was closed! Especially when Windows' WordPad takes less than a second!</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Two reasons:



    1) Dynamic loading of libraries could be a lot faster... the gcc3 package upgrade in 10.2 offers a bit here.



    2) MS cheats. No, really. MS places 'critical' chunks of *their* apps (especially IE) directly *in the kernel*. This means that there *is* no load time, because they are always resident and ready to go. It also means that because they're in the kernel they compromise stability and other apps, but hey, as long as *MS's* apps look good, who cares, right?



    [quote]<strong>- when I start moving rapidly across the UI, minimizing windows, switching between windows, using the Dock, the interface becomes very sluggish and animations get irritably jerky.<hr></blockquote></strong>



    Quartz again. :/



    [quote]<strong>browsing

    ------------

    + again font smoothing is amazing! Text looks so much better than on Windows.

    - strangely enough, while beautiful, the resulting blur makes reading a little harder. Form over function?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    This is one of those personal things - some people find the smoothed text easier to read, some more difficult. The current 10.1.5 algorithm is tuned for CRTs, so if you're on an LCD, it is likely not to look as good. 10.2 offers a new *range* of font smoothing options, for CRT, LCD, or just plain user eyeball preferences.



    [quote]<strong>- while not horrible, scrolling in IE definitely feels sluggish, relative to Windows, especially hgih speed scrolling. You feel like the system is telling you: "Slow down!"

    - the performance of window resizing is incredibly poor, in both absolute and relative terms. There is no excuse for this, when Windows performs flawlessly - literally - in this regard.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Not to engage in sadonecrobestiality here, but Quartz is the culprit here. It's a completely new model of graphics subsystem, and far ahead of what Windows uses. It offers *many* more possibilities... but of course, it also means there is more overhead for many 'simple' actions.



    For instance, in Windows you move a window, and the OS just blits bits to the graphics buffer from the apps' backing stores. Fast. In MacOS X, you move a window, and the OS goes and grabs all the backing stores, determines the changed areas, pulls in the alpha channels for every pixel, computes the translucency and visibility of each pixel, pushes the new composited pixel color and alpha values out into a clipped region backing store, and then finally blits that to the graphics buffer. It just plain has to do more.



    Thank you *very* much for your review, and I hope this helps explain some things. It sounds to me like moving to 10.2 (and ditching IE) might increase your satisfaction.



    [ 08-18-2002: Message edited by: Kickaha ]



    [ elided long separator in quote - Amorph ]



    [ 08-19-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 54
    You call that a mini review!!



    I can wait a few months for the in-depth encyclopedia.



    My mini review: Looks great, works great, very stable, sluggish. Done
  • Reply 4 of 54
    qaziiqazii Posts: 305member
    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>

    Questions

    --------------

    - how can I assign process priorities?

    </strong><hr></blockquote>

    If you really want to do this manually, you can. Open terminal and type

    [code] sudo renice &lt;priority&gt; &lt;process id&gt; </pre><hr></blockquote>



    Priority ranges from -20 (highest) to +20 (lowest). If priority is greater than 0, you don't need the sudo.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    majormattmajormatt Posts: 1,077member
    I must be blessed. OSX is really fast on my g4/400, nothing takes over 3 or 4 seconds to open. And for TextEdit, I hadnt even used it today, and it opened in less than a second.



    I always wondered how well a similiary configured Wintel machine would handle OSX if there was an X86 version.



    BTW, doesnt Windows still use a raster display engine?
  • Reply 6 of 54
    [quote]Originally posted by MajorMatt:

    <strong>And for TextEdit, I hadnt even used it today, and it opened in less than a second.



    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I concur
  • Reply 7 of 54
    (edit -- oops! I just realised that I covered some of the exact same things Kickaha did. Oh well, you know they do say, "great minds think alike!" )

    [quote]- test Mac: iMac G3 400 Mhz with 384 MB RAM<hr></blockquote>

    First of all, that is a very old Mac. You will certainly see crippled performance as compared to a newer Mac with a G4 processor. Also, because that Mac is so dated, you will not be able to take advantage of Quartz Extreme in the upcoming 10.2 Jaguar release.



    [quote]- Word file names from Windows seem to be truncated<hr></blockquote>As Kickaha has stated, this is *100%* Microsoft's fault. There has been code to make 255 character file names available for over two years. Microsoft is either too lazy or too incompetent to fix their code.



    [quote]- I cannot *believe* Apple is still shipping a one-mouse button with their computers. I wouldn't imagine using it for any extended period of time. The one that came with mine (used) was broken, so I immediately replaced it with a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer (optical). In a sense this explains why contextual menus are still so under-developed/under-used in Mac OS 9/X, say compared to Windows.<hr></blockquote>Why are context menus "underdeveloped" as you say? Because they aren't needed! Seriously, I've found that a lot of functionality in Windows apps require extensive use and knowledge of contextual menus. In some cases, entire sections of the UI can be duplicated in the context menu; in others you can *only* find certain commands from the context menus. On the Mac, this is not the case. Developers try to limit context menus to only the most frequently used items. There's no need to plop a list of commands there that are already located in one or two other parts of the GUI.



    This is simply a case of Mac UI design being different from Windows UI design.



    [quote]- it does seem to take too much CPU: 30% with the radio tuner<hr></blockquote>Again, this could be problematic because of your older processor. However, you do deserve an explanation as to why it is so high compared to PCs where mp3 playback would use only 3-5% of the CPU.



    You see, on the Mac, the processor handles all of the sound functions. It allocated the resources, switches channels, mixes channels, and so forth. On the PC, you have a separate dedicated card to do all that. So, that's where a large part of the CPU usage goes.



    [quote]- It takes very long to prebind stuff it downloads (10 minutes for 6 MB!) and consumes a lot of CPU (40%) in the process.<hr></blockquote>This is significantly improved with 10.2 Jaguar. For one, it now shows you the percent of completion. And second, it quietly updates the prebinding in the background whenever you launch an app. That should help speed up the prebinding when you have to install whole apps from scratch.



    [quote]- The only big advantage that Apple has is their hosting of what used to be a free Web-enabled service. The move to paying .Mac is particularly stupid in that regard.<hr></blockquote> True. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" /> However, as many people have pointed out, the iTools/iDisk was just a giant money pit. Because Apple didn't charge anything for it, it had to foot the bill out of its own pocket. Granted, I **really** think Apple should offer a cheaper tiered service, but I can fully understand their position and choice to start charging.



    [quote]- dialogs often end up below the Dock. Should be smarter than that.

    - when using the maximize button on a window, especially an IE window, it often ends up below the Dock<hr></blockquote>As Kickaha pointed out, this is *100%* the fault of the app that made the window. I suspect with is another problem with Microsoft's apps, no?



    [quote]- navigation through text with the cursor is very slow, relative to Windows, be it per character, word, or even line. This seems to be a tradition on the Mac, as I distinctly remember this phenomenon on Mac OS Classic as well: maybe it's a "feature"? It seems even slower on OS X. I personally find it very annoying.<hr></blockquote>Something I'm really surprised no one mentioned is that you can set the key repeat controls in the System Preferences. Just go to the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, and click the Keyboard icon. As you adjust the sliders, changes take effect immediately. No need to click an "apply" or "ok" button.



    [quote]- window resizing is quite sluggish, but nowhere near as bad overall as in IE

    - menus seem rather sluggish across the entire system

    - when I start moving rapidly across the UI, minimizing windows, switching between windows, using the Dock, the interface becomes very sluggish and animations get irritably jerky.<hr></blockquote>Both of these are much improved with Jaguar, but are extremely improved with the Quartz Extreme. Since that iMac won't support Quartz Extreme, though, don't worry. It will still be faster in Jag from other optimizations in the code.

    [quote]- application opening is still slow: there is no reason on Earth for a simple text editor (TextEdit) to take 10 seconds to open, 1 minute after it was closed! Especially when Windows' WordPad takes less than a second!<hr></blockquote>Strange, I've never seen TextEdit take that long to launch. Hmm, maybe this is a case of the slower processor. I'm not sure.



    [quote]- the performance of window resizing is incredibly poor, in both absolute and relative terms. There is no excuse for this, when Windows performs flawlessly - literally - in this regard.<hr></blockquote>There is a good reason for this. On Windows, the contents of the browser are not constantly refreshed as you resize the window. Rather, they refresh about once per second of the resizing. On the Mac, however, the browsers are constantly refreshing their contents as you resize the window. That's as much as 30 times reloading the page per second! Yes, this is a problem that needs to be corrected, but it is not in Apple's power to do so. This falls into the hands of the browser developers to slow down the refresh rate.



    I feel I should add another bit of information about Mac OS X in general. You have 384 MB, and that's good. I would say that with Mac OS X 256 MB of RAM is the *bare minimum* for acceptable performance. Some people, though, say that 512 MB is the "sweet spot" for Mac OS X. Why is Mac OS X such a memory hog? Primarily it is because of the Quartz windowing system. In Windows and Classic Mac OS, there is only a single graphics layer displayed on the screen. If something is behind another window, it simply doesn't exist until the front window is moved, thereby showing the window behind and making the operating system refresh the drawing contents of that window. In Mac OS X, however, **everything** is buffered. If you have six windows stacked on top of each other, the graphical contents of all of them are stored in memory. That's 32 bits per pixel PLUS another 8 bit alpha mask. Multiply that out by the number of pixels per window and then add ll the windows together plus the desktop, dock, menubar, and all other apps, and you use a LOT of memory. Not only does this eat memory, but compositing all these layers eats CPU power, which is why Quartz Extreme is a godsend -- it offloads all the compositing to the GPU on the graphics card.



    If you would like to know more about Mac OS X's memory system, how it buffers windows, and how it manages virtual memory, I strongly recommend you read John Siracusa's article at ArsTechnica aptly titled <a href="http://arstechnica.com/reviews/01q4/macosx-10.1/macosx-10.1.html"; target="_blank">Mac OS X 10.1</a>. Specifically, take a look at section 6, <a href="http://arstechnica.com/reviews/01q4/macosx-10.1/macosx-10.1-6.html"; target="_blank">Memory Usage</a>.



    Any more questions or comments?



    [ 08-18-2002: Message edited by: Brad ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 54
    surfratsurfrat Posts: 341member
    [quote]Originally posted by Aussie John:

    <strong>



    I concur</strong><hr></blockquote>



    As do I.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    One small point Brad and took issue with is the context menus. While I agree that context menus are purely supplementary -- that is, they should not contain actions that cannot be done by other means, they should be more thorough than what Apple has now IMO. So I guess i'm saying that your point, cygsid, is a valid one, with or withot a widows background.



    To add on that, I like Kihaha's point about the one-button mouse. It reinforces the point that context menus should not contain action that would otherwise be both hidden and exclusive to it.



    Thanks for your report! I think you've made a very good and fair assessment (which shouldn't be too hard but, you know, the Mac "thing") in your "brief" review. Some things do sound a little out of whack, namely a few unusually slow operations, but the gist of the comments are still valid.



  • Reply 10 of 54
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    What version of iTunes were you running? iTunes 3 does a much better job both with CPU usage and with visuals (15-19 w/ iTunes 2, to 50+ with iTunes 3 on my Tibook). And 10.2 will make it even better, as others have said.



    As a side note, I feel that OS X is finally ready for prime time. Really. No embarrassing sluggishness or anything. Sure things worked perfectly well before, but they we always just a little slow. Things are much better now. Great review, btw. And great responses by our 2 OSX moderators (though, they should read all the posts before theirs BEFORE they post )
  • Reply 11 of 54
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    [quote]Originally posted by torifile:

    <strong>What version of iTunes were you running? iTunes 3 does a much better job both with CPU usage and with visuals (15-19 w/ iTunes 2, to 50+ with iTunes 3 on my Tibook). And 10.2 will make it even better, as others have said.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    iTunes 3 (even in 10.2) isn't much better for me. It still uses too much CPU power.
  • Reply 12 of 54
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    Thanks all for your great replies! Thanks to Kickaha especially for being the first to respond, and what a well-informed thorough response at that!



    Let me pick up on a few of the points made above:



    First of all many people seem to have missed my second post (immediately after the first) where I give an update based on my experience with Jaguar. You'll see that I indeed conclude that many of my performance complaints seem to have been addressed.



    Second the "brevity" (or lack thereof) point.. I really felt that there still was so much to play with and evaluate in OS X.. it's that rich an OS. For example, being a developer, I would love to look at thngs like the Java support and the developer tools in OS X and see with my own eyes what's so unique about them, by many accounts.



    Third the Mac I tested OS X 10.1.5 on is not mine. My office got one for developer testing as we ramp up our support for Macs. So it would definitely not be the one I'd be using once/if I move to OS X. I am thinking about an iBook 700 Mhz with the 14 inch screen. It seems like it has decent support for Quartz Extreme.

    As an aside, Apple Stores really are a great initiative on the part of Apple as it allows people like me to try out Macs first hand, before making a commitment.



    Based on my own impressions and people's responses, it really sounds like IE has a lot of issues, at least performance-wise, on OS X. That is rather sad, seeing that any convert from Windows would probably feel most comfortable using it rather than any other application. Also I was hoping that OmniWeb would be much better, but as I stated at the end of my first message, it actually seemed *slower* than IE in terms of scrolling and window resizing.

    The mitigating point is that thankfully Jaguar (plus the more recent hardware) makes using IE a much smoother experience.



    Regarding Kickaha's defence of the one-button mouse and minimal use of contextual menus on the Mac, I can see the logic behind it. For newbies it makes a lot of sense. This is the sort of thing however that makes the power user feel a little let down. Contextual menus are so much faster to access than the menu bar and make so much sense from an object-oriented perspective: you right-click on an object and there comes the list of operations available for that object. I also feel it is a catch-22 kind of thing: people won't get used to contextual menus b/c they're so much harder to use on the Mac (using a combination of keyboard special key and mouse button is way way less efficient than just right-clicking a mouse), and hence developers won't feel much pressure to add better support for them. Therefore Apple does not feel the heat to provide a two-button mouse by default on their machines.

    Btw I like the idea of a multi-button mouse as a BTO option!



    Thanks for the prebinding tidbit, Kickaha.. very interesting and explains a lot.



    As for text editing slowness, I can definitely see your point Kickaha and kind of suspected it, coming from Apple, given the obsession with UI design propriety. But as you summed it up very well:

    [quote]Of course, it'd be nice to have a setting for adjusting that top-end speed. I'm a speed reader, so the current speed really *is* way too slow.<hr></blockquote>



    Moving on to Brad's point about the test Mac being old. I am currently writing this on a Pentium II at 266 Mhz with an ATI 128 with 16 Mb VRAM and 256 RAM and am still quite satisfied with its performance (I am running Win2K). A G3 is supposed to be quite a bit better than a PIII at equal frequency. Hence the Mac is about equivalent to a PIII @ 600-700 Mhz. Such a configuration flies under Windows 2000, and would no doubt perform very well under WinXP. So the issue remains.



    Thanks for your explanation about the excessive CPU usage in iTunes. That makes sense. My response however would be: why doesn't Apple provide dedicated hardware for the audio system to alleviate the issue, like virtually everybody else does?





    In conclusion, Jaguar seems to be a big improvement but OS X is still arguably not a speed daemon, in big part because of IE (Microsoft, get your acts together already!! ). In fact it might very well never be, and very legitimately so, given all the extra work it has to do. I guess one just has to be aware of both the benefits and cost of that extra work and be willing to accept the resulting trade-off.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    kecksykecksy Posts: 1,002member
    Here's a little secret: If you want a speedy browser, download Chimera ( <a href="http://chimera.mozdev.org/"; target="_blank">http://chimera.mozdev.org/</a>; ).



    You may need to switch back to IE occasionally for certain sites, but other than that, this browser is "kick ass."



    Also try Mozilla ( <a href="http://mozilla.org"; target="_blank">http://mozilla.org</a>; ). Almost as fast as Chimera despite its clunky user interface which can be skinned BTW.



    The reason why you may choose Mozilla over Chimera is because Mozilla is a finished browser, while Chimera is still a work in progress. I suggest trying them both to see which one you like.



    I started using Mozilla when the fist release candidate was made available, and was quite happy with it until Chimera 0.4 was released and I got my hands on a better browser. Would never go back to IE. Mozilla and Chimera's tabbed browsing feature is something I can't live without.
  • Reply 14 of 54
    rogue27rogue27 Posts: 607member
    I think the next round of apps from MS will probably work much better on OS X, like IE6, and the next batch of office Apps, and the same is true for a lot of software.



    There is still a lot of work to be done for optimizing the compiler they use for OS X to write faster PPC code, so speed improvments are still going to be coming for a while yet. Some things are faster in OS X than they were in OS 9, like DVD playback, but other things need more work. I'm amused watching the OS progress.



    Also, the developer tools are nice to play with. I consider the Developer Tools CD to be a "must-have" item. I really like that aspect of OS X.



    If you missed someone else's comment, you want to turn your key repeat speed up it sounds like. I turn mine to the highest setting because I like it fast too.
  • Reply 15 of 54
    trevormtrevorm Posts: 841member
    [quote]Originally posted by EmAn:

    <strong>



    iTunes 3 (even in 10.2) isn't much better for me. It still uses too much CPU power.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I tell you I really think that iTunes could be MUCH better! I am still a little surprised with the app!
  • Reply 16 of 54
    reynardreynard Posts: 160member
    Wow. This thread was so enlightening. Cygsid--thank you for giving one of the most thorough and unbiased comparisons ever.



    Ir really prompted our moderators to show their best stuff.



    I sometimes feel guility about spending so much time surfing AI Not tonight. Though so often very helpful, this thread gave me an education.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    nevynnevyn Posts: 360member
    Contextual Menus



    There's an article in this months (Maybe last months?) MacTech magazine about how to write a contextual menu plugin. It looks pretty simple - maybe a page of code. I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be an area for significant third party improvement.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    Whoa.. Writing your own contexual menu.. I would like to add one to the finder that makes new text files and such, a feature I have missed ever since I moved from windows. (But I do not miss it all that much lol)
  • Reply 19 of 54
    [quote]Originally posted by cygsid:

    <strong>Moving on to Brad's point about the test Mac being old. I am currently writing this on a Pentium II at 266 Mhz with an ATI 128 with 16 Mb VRAM and 256 RAM and am still quite satisfied with its performance (I am running Win2K). A G3 is supposed to be quite a bit better than a PIII at equal frequency. Hence the Mac is about equivalent to a PIII @ 600-700 Mhz. Such a configuration flies under Windows 2000, and would no doubt perform very well under WinXP. So the issue remains.



    ...



    In conclusion, Jaguar seems to be a big improvement but OS X is still arguably not a speed daemon... In fact it might very well never be, and very legitimately so, given all the extra work it has to do.</strong><hr></blockquote>Now, that last part is just silly. Let's take a look down memory lane, mm-kay?



    Windows 2000 is just a rebranding of NT 5.0, and the Windows NT series has been around for many years, no? Microsoft has had a lot of time and many major upgrades to get it streamlined and optimized to perform at well as it does today. If my memory serves correct, the earliest version of the NT series was Windows NT 3.1, released in 1993. Windows 2000 was released in 2000. So, that gives it roughly seven years of development since its first public version to what is is now.



    Mac OS X is quite different in this respect. Apple bought NeXT's operating system in early 1997 to use as the core for Mac OS X. Apple had a *lot* of work to do, though, to make it even remotely look or act like a Mac OS. The first Public Beta of the client operating system wasn't released until late 2000 and the first "1.0" version in early 2001. That gives it only a year and a half of optimizations since it's first official version!



    Mac OS X can and will become much faster. Not only will there be more optimizations and new technologies that make it faster (re: Quartz Extreme) but also faster processors will make Mac OS X run like a champ. Just try out 10.2 Jaguar on one of the new dual 1.25 GHz PowerMacs and you will no doubt see a world of difference compared to the iMac you are testing. Even moving from the G3 to a G4 of the same speed will show speed improvements, as many aspects of the operating system and apps take advantage of the AltiVec unit of the G4 processor.



    The issue of speed with apps like Internet Explorer fall directly into the hands of developers like Microsoft. The simple truth is that many developers are *still* cleaning up their code for Mac OS X. The process of carbonization may often require whole sections of code that was streamlined and optimized for OS9 to be rewritten from scratch. That takes time.



    Internet Explorer is a far cry from what a properly carbonized Mac OS X app should be. OmniWeb is great, but as you noticed, it has some serious speed problems, specifically on pages with large tables. It also has some incompatibilities with CSS2, JavaScript, and a few other modern technologies. The currently in development OmniWeb 5 is purported to clear up those problems and make it perform much better. Meanwhile, you really ought to try <a href="http://chimera.mozdev.org/"; target="_blank">Chimera</a>. It is far from complete, but is making very nice progress considering that it is only seven months old! It is build on top of Gecko, the browser engine that powers the open-source Mozilla project. If you find Chimera to be too buggy or incomplete, you should then try <a href="http://www.mozilla.org"; target="_blank">Mozilla</a>. Personally, I find Mozilla's UI to be slow and clunky, but its engine can't be beat -- and that's why Chimera uses it.



    Why bother with all the trouble with browsers? Well, Mac OS X users are kind of in the middle of a Browser War. No one browser is really suited for 100% of the internet; so, we are having to switch between multiple browsers or stick with a single browser that may be buggy, slow, or incomplete. Hopefully the "war" will settle down as Internet Explorer 6 and OmniWeb 5 are released early next year.



    But I digress.



    [quote]As for text editing slowness, I can definitely see your point Kickaha and kind of suspected it, coming from Apple, given the obsession with UI design propriety.<hr></blockquote>Did you try my suggestion above? About setting the key repeat rate in the System Prefs? I have mine set to the fastest with zero delay and am more than pleased with the speed.



    Anyhow, I hope these posts are easing the learning process about the Mac and have helped explain some of the quirks you may be experiencing. Again, if you have any specific questions or niggles about your office's test Mac, feel free to post them.



    [ 08-19-2002: Message edited by: Brad ]</p>
  • Reply 20 of 54
    cygsidcygsid Posts: 210member
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try Chimera and changing the key repeat rate whenever I get a chance. It's also refreshing to see that Mac users are still willing to give other browsers a chance. Makes for a more interesting market for browser developers I bet.
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