[RC5] The New Mac Client, questions and answers.

Dakidd dakidd at primenet.com
Wed Nov 3 08:07:52 EST 1999

OK, folks, my recent list mailing that said I was working on a new Mac
client has resulting in my mailbox practically exploding. I knew you Mac
users were out there, I just didn't knw HOW MANY of you there actually were!

As a result of this explosion, I'm having a hard time keeping up with
individually answering the questions you're asking. This message will
attempt to cover the most common ones.

By far, the most FAQ is "when will it be out".

Unfortunately, this is probably the hardest one to answer. The best answer
I can give is "As soon as I get it functional." I'm doing some major
surgery on it, and that's introducing some major problems that have to be
fixed. When I stepped into this project, I naively figured I'd have a new
client turned out in a couple of days. Boy, have I gotten an eye-opening! A
small change here breaks four things over there, and fixing those breaks
causes 2 more problems to crop up someplace else... <sigh> Programming is
such a delightfully easy thing to do... NOT! But at least I'm having a good
time :)

In the "what's it gonna look like, is it gonna be compatible with ____, is
it gonna be carbon-compliant, what kind of features will it have"
department, here's a list of my priorities:

1) It runs. Properly. Without Crashing. Without hogging the Machine.
2) It can be easily maintained. Changes to the core code won't make it break.
   (Read that as "It will be as close to the generic codebase as I can make it
    on a Mac")
3) It's Carbon Compliant for the rapidly approaching relase of MacOS X.

Everything else is "gravy".

The first release is going to be a HUGE step backwards in terms of "pretty
Mac Interface". It will be SIOUX based, and it will have almost nothing for
a UI.

But it will run.

Later releases will get prettier and prettier, but at first, things are
gonna be mighty ugly. I decided when I stepped into this project that
cosmetics are meaningless if the client doesn't do the job it should. With
that in mind, I've reverted to a "minimalist" UI. I'll worry about making
it fancy after I've got basic functionality.

Yes, I hope to get the FBA version usable as well. In both 68K and PPC (or
a single "FAT" package) flavors.

Yes, I also intend to bring the 68K version in line with the PPC, hopefully
in the form of a single "FAT" application. (Although I may find that
there's a good reason that previous Mac coders haven't rolled the 68K and
PPC versions together that way in the past, despite the sense doing such a
thing makes to me)

No, I don't think that my changes will make a huge impact on speed, at
least not on 68K/601/603/604/G3 based machines. That said, there should be
a major speed jump on G4 equipped machines. How major? I'm no assembly
guru, especially not on technology as new as G4/Altivec, so it's near
impossible for me to predict. At this point, all I can say is that there
should definitely be a LARGE speedup.

Feature requests...
I've got a list of various things I'd like to see in the client when it
matures. Most of the requests/suggestions you've all sent me were already
on that list, believe it or not. The few that weren't have been added, and
I'll see what I can do about putting them in. *EVENTUALLY*. They simply
aren't going to be there in the first incarnation.

Finally, I thank you all for your questions and comments, and hope you'll
hang in there for a while longer. I'm hurrying as fast as I can, believe me!

Don Bruder -  Dakidd at primenet.com      <--- Preferred Email - unmunged
I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose Free Will! - N. Peart

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