What Panther Should Fix, Part Six Give Me Some Speed

by Hadley Stern Jun 03, 2003

imageI remember when I first used the public beta of OS X I had a feeling similar to the first time I used a Macóthis was going to change things. Of course the first time the feeling had more merit and meaning, the change was to the way we interface with computers. Indeed, coming up on 20 years later, as most of the computing world uses a point and click interface invented by Xerox, brought to life by Apple and copied by Microsoft, the change proved to be revolutionary. The feeling about OS X changing things had more to do with how it would change the Mac community. Indeed, with a majority of Mac users still using OS 9 this change is still occurring. I knew there would be people who would be angry about some things (the apple menu, trash not on the desktop, the dock, aqua, etc) and excited by others (stability, stability, power, stability, etc.). While how an interface works can be subjective when it comes to speed its either fast or it isnít.

One of the first things I noticed in the public beta was how slow OS X was. Select one file in a window and you were okay. Select more than one and everything slowed and that funny spinning thingy showed up. Not good. Now, with OS 10.2 (actually the big speed bump came with 10.1) things are much better. But they could be even better. Just for the hell of it go ahead and boot up that old Mac you have in your basement that runs OS 6. Yes, launching applications is slow as heck, but opening windows is, hold on, faster than it is in OS X. Thatís right, that dinky pre-power pc processor with a smidgen of ram, processor speeds, and hard drive space has a faster finder. And if you think thatís bad, boot up your current machine in OS 9 and youíll notice that all finder functions are markedly speedier.

How can that be? Yes, we all know the beauty of Aqua, those bright shiny windows and the beautiful dock use a lot of processor power. But is it worth it when you still have issues selecting more than fifty items in the finder window? It isnít. First and foremost Panther needs to get things up to speed. We stuck with you with the beta, Apple, through 10.1, and through 10.2 but enough is enough. Make it fast.


  • I heartily agree with this. Interface responsiveness has been one of the biggest detriments to potential adopters of OS X who have actually TRIED the operating system and the Macs it runs on. Our sluggish interface has perpetuated the megahertz myth, allowed app performance to slide even more, alienated current mac, linux and windows users; and it has cost us countless accumulated hours of productivity - click by click and window resize by window resize. With the fastest computers in history at our disposal, we’re forced to slow down our mouse movements so OS X can keep up. That is a VERY BAD THING.

    I don’t care what it takes to fix it. Whether it’s hardware addition to new graphics boards or software streamlining, the answers need to start happening. Though, addressing the speed should have always been one of their top priorities. Quartz Extreme isn’t doing it, and Apple indicated that it was supposed to. If some features just won’t work without slowing everything down, then let us turn them off in a Preference Panel. Something, anything!

    We want solutions, we don’t want Apple to keep ignoring us on this issue. It’s hurting their sales of both software and machines and needlessly slowing us down. It doesn’t matter how fast your chips are if the OS keeps bringing them to a snail’s crawl.

    Hoby Van Hoose had this to say on Jul 02, 2003 Posts: 15
  • No disagreement here. With a modified UNIX underbelly, OS X should be lightning fast. But Apple had to tack on a glitzy UI in the spirit of all that is Jobs and now it runs slowly.

    And Windows users continue to laugh at us.

    And Linux users laugh at them.

    Waa had this to say on Jul 29, 2003 Posts: 110
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