Jun 25, 2003

The PowerPC G5 Bits Drought

According to Apple, the G5 is the fastest desktop computer in the world, as well as the first 64-bit desktop system. Something doesn't sit right with me though. Aside from the nigh-universal ranting about skewed benchmarks that has been circulating recently, there's another aspect the Power Mac G5 not many have touched upon.

Mac OS X is a 32-bit operating system and since the PowerPC 970 is a 64-bit chip, Mac OS X will effectively be running at 800, 900, and 1,000 MHz in the new Power Macs and not 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 GHz as Apple claims. Let's stick to the specs and look a little deeper into this problem.

Mac OS X v10.0 debuted in March 2001. By October, Mac OS X v10.1 optimized the code in the operating system for G3 and G4 chips — until this point, a lot of the components in the operating system still had optimizations for PowerPC 603 and 604 models. Apple continued this trend with Mac OS X v10.2 by removing support the 60x family. Try installing Jaguar on a G2 system — it just can't happen. But by doing so, they were finally able to push the system to its limits with Velocity Engine tweaks.

With the PowerPC 970, however, Apple is in a different pickle.

One just can't scale an operating system to 64-bits on a whim. In two months the G5 systems will ship to consumers with an operating system that will halve the clock since it can't use half the bits of the chip it will run on! There will be a gap of four months between the 64-bit G5 ships and the 64-bit-friendly Mac OS X v10.3 arrives. Tell me, Mac users, what are we going to do in the meantime? This is worse than when Apple downgraded the speed on their Power Mac G4 systems while keeping the prices the same.

Your new Power Mac G5 will only run at half its clockspeed!

I wouldn't pay $3,000 for year 2000 performance. Apple better have something marvelous up their sleeve during what I like to call this four-month bits drought we're all facing. Otherwise, I'll be planting my foot firmly in their ass, and so should you.

Panther: Half the Beast

One thing a lot of folks haven't pointed out—probably because of this benchmark hullabaloo—is that Apple is leaving us with our hands tied. We'll be seeing our Power Mac G5 systems a lot sooner than we'll be seeing Mac OS 10.3. Problem? Only Panther will be 64-bit enabled.

Jaguar will receive an update in the form of 10.2.7 that will allow it to run and boot on G5 systems, but not take full advantage of its 64-bit address space. This means that we'll still be able to only see 4GB of RAM, even if there's more installed in our G5. No big deal, right? Apple will give G5 owners a break on Panther, after three months of using the G5 chip in 32-bit mode, and allow them to upgrade cheaply or for free.

Or so we thought.

Having talked to a few of the Apple techs at WWDC, I am not so sure that Panther will be fully 64-bit enabled until some time after 2004 comes. From what I was told, Panther will have bare-bones 64-bit optimizations. We'll see our 8 gigs of RAM, we'll have addressing space out the wazoo. But it won't be until 10.3.1 at least that the file system and utilities have been recompiled and updated.

Obviously, I can't back this up with a hard source, since this was a conversation held informally on the floor at the conference, but from what I heard and was told, I'd take a while to think about throwing my credit card down and ordering one of these new bad boys. There's no loss in waiting until the operating system can utilize the new muscle at least.

Jun 6, 2003

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Dear Mr. Jobs:

I am a switcher of three months, now a happy Mac user after years of Windows computing that just didn't make sense. I don't miss the General Protection Faults and Blue Screens of Death one bit! I can't believe I waited so long to make the change! I bought a Power Mac G4 with Mac OS Jaguar and haven't looked back since. There's only one small thing missing, however.

Gay shit. I want to be a human toilet. I've been looking for the right nasty little boy who can train me and use me like the brown log shredder that I am by sitting me under a toilet seat and go to town pumping fudge into my mustachioed maw. I thought that by buying a Mac I'd get into the scene, and make some hot hookups with colons packed to the gills in crap worms. So far, however, I've been disappointed.

Mr. Jobs, I plead with you to release more information regarding getting into the hardcore underground stool swallowing scene. All I can think about is gobbling down an 18" ass-birth fresh from the fart factory and Mac users popping squats over my face and letting loose with a tempest of farts and raining a hail of turds.

I hope you can help me with this issue.

Thank you.

Jun 1, 2003

Where's Rusty?

There's been a lot of talk on Kuro5hin recently regarding Emperor Rusty and several nagging issues with the site and the fact that he got paid in excess of $35,000 to run the site, by its users, who haven't seen more than a handful of pissant bug fixes since then. A lot of real work needs done.

On the other hand, we have heard of a lot about other activities Der Foster has been involved in lately. It's time we looked at how Rusty has been budgeting his time and think about how our money is being spent.

Things Rusty has been up to:

Are the needs of the site and its users being met? With $35,000 of cold hard cash in hand and the above goals realized, Rusty has yet to take care of the following issues that Kuro5hin users have been vocal about for some time. Here's where the real cost/benefit ratio analysis needs to come in.

Pending tasks at Kuro5hin.org:

  • actually releasing a real whole-number version of Scoop
  • making Scoop work with Apache 2, which has been released for over a year!
  • purchasing a dedicated database server, alleviating Kuro5hin's nagging speed problems
  • posting site news, so people know where all of their hard-earned BLING-BLING is going to
  • fixing searches-- how can I run vanity searches on Kuro5hin when they always time out?
  • documentation: it's been, what, four years and we still don't have any?
  • PLP/PWP: why have these annoying bugs been given to the users-- paying users-- to deal with!?

Kuro5hin users, together we can bring this issue to a head and collect the information regarding our monies and Rusty's whereabouts. There are a few simple actions we can all take that, en masse, will achieve our shared goals. I urge you to take the following steps this very minute!!!

  1. email Rusty with your complaints!
  2. threaten not to renew or purchase a subscription to Kuro5hin, ever!
  3. flail and wave your arms everywhere while shouting!
  4. use lots of text decoration tags and styles!

Just a thought.

Thank you.