[rc5] MacOS 2.004 released!

andrew meggs insect at antennahead.com
Sun Aug 17 03:16:18 EDT 1997

In case nobody else has posted, MacOS 2.004 final was released today and is
now available from the rc5.distributed.net website. Release notes:

* New PowerPC key cruncher runs about another 8-10% faster
   (over 2.002) on 603 and 604  systems. I didn't improve the 68k
   code any this time, but I still can do more with it later. In case
   you're wondering, the reason 601 performance isn't going up
   any is that my original assembly in 2.000 was tuned for the 601
   and there just isn't much room for improvement.
* Can buffer up to 500 blocks instead of 50.
* Email address now defaults to evangelist at apple.com. :)
* Cosmetic about box changes including pictures of the team.
* Better display of buffer file status.
* Multithreaded to fetch and flush blocks while keys are being
   checked. Client now REQUIRES the Thread Manager.
* Does a "preemptive fetch" when the input buffer gets low
   instead of waiting until you need a block and then stalling.
* Random blocks actually work.
* Offline mode.

Unfortunately, some of the beta testers waited until immediately after I
had signed off on the release, and then reported that 2.004 was running
slower than 2.002. None of them included any information on their hardware,
but from the keyrates they mentioned I'm guessing that they were running on
601 systems. Also, until some of them respond to me, I can't be sure if
this was a real, general slowdown or just a temporary thing while a flush
or fetch was occurring at the same time that the block was being checked.

If it's the later, then there's nothing to be concerned about, because
working a little slower during the fetch is still a big improvement over
not working at all during the fetch. If it's the former, then I'll probably
do a 2.005 in a day or so to address the problem. Performance on 603 and
604 systems is being reported as consistently higher in 2.004 than 2.002.

In either case, I am NOT recommending that people hold back on upgrading to
2.004. Even if it is running slower on 601 systems, the ability to check
keys during network operations will make up for it, and the larger buffer
and offline mode will keep clients busy that might not be able to work at
all with 2.002.

Andrew Meggs, content provider                  Antennahead Industries, Inc.
<mailto:insect at antennahead.com>                 <http://www.antennahead.com>

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