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Developers Weigh in on Move to Intel

Developers Weigh in on Move to Intel

by , 3:20 PM EST, March 31st, 2006

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced last June that Macs would be moving to Intel processors, some accused him of oversimplifying the complexity of the transition. While Apple lists over 1,000 Universal Applications on its Web site, two notable developers -- Adobe and Microsoft -- are missing from the list, and some firms have struggled with the task, according to eWeek's Daniel Drew Turner.

Mr. Turner noted that developers who created Mac OS X-native applications in Cocoa and used the Xcode environment aren't having much difficulty, nor or those who work in Java. For example, Zimbra vice-president John Robb said that his company has seen few problems with making their open-source server and client products work in Intel Macs.

However, as Mr. Jobs acknowledged last June, developers that never moved beyond Carbon applications, which run in both Mac OS X and OS 9, are having a harder time since Classic support has been dropped from the new Intel Macs. In addition, companies that use CodeWarrior rather than Xcode, as both Adobe and Microsoft do, must move their applications' code bases to Apple's environment in addition to ensuring that the software runs on Intel processors.

Steve Gully, president of cross-platform development firm Atimi Software, told Mr. Turner that many of his clients see the move to Universal Binaries as a chance to also fix bugs and add features, as well as optimize performance.

Brent Simmons of Ranchero Software, which developed NetNewsWire, added that the use of assembly code in such applications as games or graphics tools makes them much tougher to port. For example, there are endian programming issues that could cause Microsoft Entourage to corrupt an e-mail database, or Adobe Photoshop to mishandle an image.

"The Photoshop folks have to go through and make sure they've accounted for [endian issues] in every single place," Mr. Simmons said. "That's a big job."

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