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The Questionable Carbon Transition?
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Feb 5, 2000, 06:22 AM
With the recent announcement and demonstration of the Mac OS X client version, Apple promises that we will be able to run Carbon applications, ie. Mac OS X applications, on Mac OS 8 and 9. Since it is almost a certainty that Mac OS X will only run on Macs shipped with a G3 or newer processor, owners of Macs with a PowerPC 601, 603 and 604 serieses of processors will have no choice but have to run Mac OS 8 and 9 on their Macs.

But the idea of Carbon applications running on Mac OS 8 and 9 puzzled me a bit. There are vast differences between the Mac OS X and Mac OS 8 and 9, how could Carbon applications run well on Mac OS 8 and 9 with just a Carbon library installed. With the currently available sample Carbon applications, we know they can run on Mac OS 8 and 9, but when a lot more Carbon applications are released, how many of them can we expect to run reasonably well on Mac OS 8 and 9? Even with the last few recent Mac OS upgrades, we found that when we upgraded to a newer Mac OS version, some applications, control panels and extensions do not work any more. So I think not many Carbon applications will run on Mac OS 8 and 9 and the percentage of Carbon applications that can be run on Mac OS 8 and 9 will be very low.

Another reason that I think Carbon applications will not be ideal to run on Mac OS 8 and 9 is that most of those applications will not have support for and could not communicate directly with ADB, serial and SCSI ports since the current Macs do not have those.

From using some simple demonstration Carbon applications, I found that Carbon applications runs slow on Mac OS 8 and 9 than regular Mac OS applications. So I think that processor intensive Carbon applications would not be preferable running on Mac OS 8 and 9 at all. So is Apple's promise that owners of Macs that can only run Mac OS 8 and 9 that they can run Mac OS X applications on their Mac and that they will not be left behind is just a marketing ploy by Apple? Those are some of my opinions on this subject, what do you think?

By the way, if you do not have the CarbonLib library to run Carbon applications on your Mac yet, you can find it at my page at http://members.xoom.com/langua/ There are also some sample Carbon applications there you may like to try to form your opinions.

[This message has been edited by Seagull (edited 02-05-2000).]
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Feb 7, 2000, 07:29 PM
Well, this reminds me of the switch to the PPC processor. Applications written for non-PPC processors were supposed to run on PPC machine through emulation. However, this didn't always work as promised.

I'd imagine this will be the same. Most carbon apps will run under 8 & 9. Those that don't will be updated to run under 8 & 9 if it makes financial sense. Slowly, people will need to upgrade to the newer machines to get the newer apps to work, carbon version or not.

Is it a ploy? Perhaps. But an understandable one, IMHO. Apple needs to sell machines to stay alive. If all apps worked fine on older machines, why would people upgrade?
Scott Genevish
scott AT genevish DOT org
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Feb 8, 2000, 12:12 AM
Carbon applications should run just as well under MacOS9 than MacOSX. All Carbon is is a more restricted set of core API's that do away with older and more crashy instruction sets and also does away with 68k code completely.

Applications should never directly access any device or peripheral. This is handled by the OS, not by an individual application. So, all the app knows is to 'print' - the OS takes care of where that goes to.

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