My two cents’ worth: March 24 is X day, the time when Mac OS X, the next generation operating system, goes on sale in its first complete version. There’s no doubt that this date marks a major turning point for Apple and the Mac platform, one as big as, if not bigger, than the transition to the PowerPC processor.
I can’t emphasis enough that this is a major, MAJOR move for Apple. And it won’t be one without some growing pains. Those who don’t want to experience some of those growing pains may not wish to install OS X on a Mac they use for mission critical jobs. And gamers will probably want to wait.
As MacCentral has previously reported, Apple says the first release of Mac OS X probably won’t support DVD playback (and at this late date, I’d say that’s pretty much a given). Meanwhile,
an MSNBC story
lists several other problems and omissions (although Apple hasn’t confirmed them for MacCentral) you can expect with the March 24 version of Mac OS X, which the article said is known internally as “Cheetah.” The aggravations, according to MSNBC, include:
The inability to take advantage of the CD-RW and DVD-authoring capabilities of new Macs;
A lack of support for importing analog content through the video-in connection;
A lack of support for multiprocessing systems or new video accelerators, such as Nvidia’s recently announced GeForce 3 or ATI’s Radeon;
Power-management issues affecting the OS’ ability to awaken and go to sleep;
Slow performance under Classic, the environment for running legacy Mac applications.
We’re a little doubtful about some of these reported problems. Sources with whom we’ve talked said that Mac OS X does indeed support multiprocessor systems and will “probably” have the power management issues resolved with the March 24 release. Others tell us that, in recent builds, Classic applications run much faster than under the public beta, although not as fast as under Mac OS 8.x or 9.x, which is, of course, to be expected. After all, Classic is an emulation environment.
The MSNBC article said that most of these problems would be addressed with an update to Mac OS X that is codenamed Puma and due this summer. That seems reasonable, as that’s the time period when Apple says X will begin shipping on new Macs. It’s also the time when most major applications, and lots of minor ones, will be “Carbonized” or “Cocoa-ized” for the new operating system.
If the aforementioned glitches sound like they’ll make you pull out your hair in frustration, then wait until the summer update (or whenever Apple patches the new operating system). After all, even Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that the move to Mac OS X will be a gradual process and that users need to migrate to it when it’s best for them. And, as the MSNBC article pointed out, the company most likely “considers the first release an opportunity for early adopters, information technology pros and developers to get a feel for the new OS while awaiting software from third-party companies that is written to take advantage of the new system.” In fact, the March 24 kick-off will be a “soft launch” without as much hype and promotion as you might expect.
But that doesn’t mean that Mac OS X isn’t, or won’t be, a major success. Folks, this is what we’ve been awaiting for 10 years. And from what I’ve seen, it’s definitely going to be worth the wait. Give it until July (the month of Macworld Expo New York) and see if you don’t agree.
Meanwhile, you can expect Apple’s OS X PR efforts to kick into high gear this summer and continue for weeks, if not months. You can also expect companies beginning major promotional efforts for their OS X products at this time.
There may be another solution to using Mac OS X and get around any possibly shortcomings of Cheetah. According to sources, you’ll be to:
Run “Startup Disk”
Select “Mac OS Classic” as the startup environment.
Do things like running DVD Player and playing computer games under Mac OS 9.1.