Leopard leaps in

Apple is promising a fast turnaround for the next major release of OS X. Version 10.5, dubbed Leopard, should hit the streets in spring 2007. Beyond such front-end improvements as improved search, chat, and application linking, a number of under-the-hood enhancements are of special note.

First and foremost, Leopard will be a 64-bit operating system and application platform through and through, from kernel to GUI. Depending on how thoroughly Apple exploits it, 64-bit operation may have a tremendous impact on graphics performance on the company's Core Microarchitecture systems, such as Mac Pro and Apple's new 64-bit iMac systems.

Apple's application frameworks, such as the Core Data database and Spotlight search, along with lower-level system services such as NFS, could also yield big rewards if Apple optimizes specifically for 64-bit features of the CPU. No transient storage lies closer to the CPU than its registers, and 64-bit x86 applications have much more register space to play with. At present, OS X Tiger (10.4) has some 64-bitness about it at the system level, but it can't leverage much because Apple can't risk making software incompatible with 32-bit Macs.

Another low-level feature of Leopard is particularly good news to cross-platform developers: Apple is submitting Leopard to The Open Group for certification as a UNIX operating system. OS X Tiger is UNIX-based, just as is software from other certified commercial UNIXes such as Solaris, AIX, and HP-UX. If Apple can pass The Open Group's certification tests, Apple not only gets to take "-based" out of OS X's classification but also has the potential to reduce to zero the number of changes needed to port UNIX applications to OS X. Moreover, Apple has recommitted to its Darwin open source project, so OS X's UNIX foundation will continue to be open source.

The standout user-facing feature of Leopard is unquestionably Time Machine. This creates file system deltas, a record of changes to files and folders leading up to the present. Time Machine is similar to a file systemwide undo buffer, except that the user can select which specific changes to reverse. Rather than making checkpoints at fixed intervals, Time Machine works constantly in the background, recording deltas either to local storage or to a system running OS X Leopard Server. Leopard Server, which we'll cover in greater detail when Xserve ships, incorporates a Time Machine server that effectively maintains up-to-the-minute backups of clients' disk contents.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Yager

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?