Almost eleven years following the release of Mac OS 8.5, Apple will release Snow Leopard, or Mac OS X 10.6, this September. Like 8.5, 10.6 will drop support for legacy processors. Back in 1997, Apple was three years into its transition from the Motorola family of 680×0 processors to the IBM and Motorola PowerPC processors. Here we are, about three years into the transition from PowerPC to Intel, and support for the legacy hardware is again becoming limited.
While it is true that OS 8.5 would run the legacy applications in emulation (the same way that Intel hardware can run PowerPC applications under Rosetta), the new operating system would not boot on legacy hardware. As before, PowerPC variants of Mac OS X do not run on Intel hardware.
There are plenty of parallels between OS 8 and Snow Leopard, but the most notable for me is the increased efficiency. OS 8 introduced a new file system called HFS+ which reduced the minimum file size considerably and magically freed hard drive space in a time when 80MB was considered capacious. Snow Leopard is all about streamlining and improving efficiency. To this end, lots of bloat will be removed, and it’s not entirely clear whether Apple will continue to support PowerPC applications under Rosetta.
All this aside, I’m excited to install it on my own computers. Soon, soon!
Enjoy this issue, and be in touch,