Mac OS X DP4
Another developers preview, another MacOpz report. Mac OS X DP4 is as much an improvement over DP3 as DP3 was over DP2- though not as much of a shock to the system as the first time you see Aqua in action. Descriptions other sites have given of DP4 would lead you to believe that DP4 is a minor update, however the things that have changed are far to numerous to even attempt to try and cover. So we'll just go over the things that jump out at you.
Everything is much faster, the graphics are far less glitchy, overall the whole OS seems to have shed a huge portion of it's bugs. Apparently there is still no graphics acceleration, though the graphics move so smoothly that it seems a little hard to believe. Applications launch faster, though not as fast as under Mac OS 9. It is believed that this is because of the fact that DP4 is not optimized and was still compiled with debug code. Network connections feel drastically snappier than DP3 or Mac OS 9. DP4 is a totally usable OS, but is certainly not ready to be shipped. Much needed features are popping up everywhere (Such as PPP Connect - Dial-up users can now connect to the internet under OS X.)
Classic now runs drastically better: It shares a DHCP connection automatically, and has no problem starting up from a normal Mac OS 9 system folder, though it does require you to let Mac OS X add some "resources". DP4 Classic is much faster than in DP3, and has much better integration with the Mac OS X finder. Nonetheless, the mesh between the platinum interface and Aqua is not very elegant and you can't use Mac OS 8.5 themes under Classic to help alleviate this issue. Hopefully this will change by the release of the beta. While Classic is necessary to facilitate the transition from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X, life will be drastically better when we leave it behind and everything is Carbonized and/or written in Cocoa.
It can be plainly seen (As the screenshots below demonstrate) that Apple is slowly adding all the technologies that were trumpeted with Mac OS 8.5/9. Speech, Sherlock, Keychain, Multiple Users, Software Update and several other familiar features have been at least partially implemented. This will most likely continue until all of Apple's biggest Mac OS 8.5/9 technologies have been worked in.
The revisions to the dock are very nice. It is much easier to figure out what is in there with applications divided from documents and finder windows. Transparencies in the dock make it less intrusive when you have part of, say, a browser window under it. The dock still does not seem to be as quick and easy as the Mac OS 9 application menu, but perhaps in time it will grow on us all.
Sound support has come a long way, but is still not ready for prime time. DP4 actually remembers and follows the volume you set the audio at, but the audio code is obviously not finished as sounds are all somewhat "crackly". Unfortunately there does not appear to be an included demo of the Open GL technology that DP4 possesses (Though it probably wouldn't look that good without graphics acceleration anyway.)* While Quicktime currently still has limited file-type support (Most importantly it doesn't yet support MPEG) the Mac OS X Public Beta will most likely have a fully functional Mac OS X native version of Quicktime 5. It is fantastic that you can preview Quicktime movies from inside a NeXT style browser window, along with most other media types. Internet Explorer 5 for DP4 acts just like IE5 for Mac OS 8/9 except faster and more stable, but OmniWeb just feels like a more Mac OS X native browser.
All in all DP4 is a significant step towards a final release. It seems reasonable that Apple will have a feature complete beta by MacWorld. If Apple continues to improve Mac OS X as much as they have between DP3 and DP4, by January's release it could really be the best OS ever. We had all better hope so, if Apple screws this up, there's a good chance that Apple will go the way of Commodore.
The Mac OS X Hard Drive: These are the files that are visible in the finder by default. If you look in open or save dialog, or if you start up from Mac OS 9 and look at the Mac OS X partition you see all the standard UNIX stuff, such as the bin, dev, lib, sbin, usr etc. directories. Also of note, the view button has disappeared in favor of three buttons: one for list, icon and column views.
Appearance Sample: One of the applications that comes with DP4 is just there to show you all the interface tools available to Mac OS X developers. Apparently there are some Star Wars nuts doing Mac OS X Development. ;-)
Applications: This shot shows the Applications that are in the Applications folder by default. Mostly the same as DP3, some icons have changed and we now have Internet Explorer. The Clock application no longer displays the time in the right side of the menu bar however, it actually brings up a graphic of an analog clock which you may position as you see fit on the desktop. :-(
Administration: The applications available in the administration folder. Some familiar OS 9 technologies popping up.
Print Center: A drastic improvement over the chooser. Surprisingly it recognized via USB an HP 930c, though an attempt to use it yielded garbage prints.
Login Window: The long sought after screenshot of the login window. Actually this was pretty easy as the login window is an application that you can launch after you've started up in DP4.
The Mac OS X System Folder: (As seen in the finder of course) Looks alot less alien to the average Mac user.
ColorSync Control Panel: Doesn't it seem odd that they would have bothered to include a profile for a 12" Apple display?
International Panel: A glimpse at OS X's international support.
Network Services Panel: Instant Internet Server. Just add content.
HTML Editor: Who knows if it will ship in the final product, but an OS X native WYSIWYG HTML editor is included in the "Demos" folder.
* [ADDENDUM: It has come to our attention that there are in fact Open GL demos, "They appear to be uncompiled, updated versions of the SGI demos. So far I haven't been able to get one running, but then again, I've never used Project Builder before. They can be found in /System/Developer/Examples/GLUTExamples."
|Site Designed/Edited/Published by Jason Buck and Stephan Jones- Apple, Mac, Macintosh, and Mac OS X are trademarks of Apple. Any other trademarks used are property of their respective owners. Website design and layout © 2010 Jason Buck and Stephan Jones. Content © its respective author(s), published with consent from said author(s). All rights reserved. Neither all or part may be reproduced or distributed without prior consent. Contact Us.|