The other thing I did was to eliminate some inefficiencies in the CoreGraphics glue we use for rendering pretty much everything (there is no Skia support on 10.4) except the residual Cairo backend that handles printing. In particular, I overhauled our blend and composite mode code so that it avoids a function call on every draw operation. This is a marginal speedup but it makes some types of complex animation much smoother.
Overall I'm pretty happy with this and no one has reported any issues with the little-endian typed array switchover, so I'll make a second beta release sometime next week hopefully. MSE will still be off by default in that build but unless I hear different or some critical showstopper crops up it will be switched on for the final public release.
When I sat down at my G5 this warm Southern California Saturday morning, however, I noticed that MenuMeters (a great tool to have if you don't already) showed the Quad was already rather occupied. This wasn't a new thing; I'd seen what I assumed was a stuck cron job or something for the last several Saturday mornings and killed it in the Activity Monitor. But this was the sixth week in a row it had happened and it looked like it had been running for over three hours wasting CPU time, so enough was enough.
The offending process was something running /usr/bin/find to find, well, everything (that wasn't in /tmp or /usr/tmp), essentially iterating over the whole damn filesystem. A couple of ps -wwjp (What Would Jesus Post?) later showed it was being kicked off as part of the update system for an old Unix dragon of yore, locate.
There are no less than three possible ways to find files from the command line in
OS X macOS. One is the venerable find command, which is the slowest of the lot (it uses no cache) and the predicates can be somewhat confusing to novices, but is guaranteed to be up-to-date because it doesn't rely on a pre-existing database and will find nearly anything. The second is of course Spotlight, which is accessible from the Terminal using the mdfind command. There are man pages for both.
The third way is locate, which is easier than find and faster because it uses a database for quick lookups, but less comprehensive than Spotlight/mdfind because it only looks for filenames instead of within file content as well, and the updater has to run periodically to stay current. (There's a man page for it too.) It would seem that Spotlight could completely supersede locate, and Apple thinks so too, because it was turned into a launchd .plist in 10.6 (look at /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist) and disabled by default. That's not the case for 10.5 and previous, however, and I have so many files on my G5 by now that the runtime to update the locate database is now close to five hours -- on an SSD! And that's why it was still running when I sat down to do work after breakfast.
I don't use locate because Spotlight is more convenient and updates practically on demand instead of weekly. If you don't either, then niced or not it's wasted effort and you should disable it from running within your Mac's periodic weekly maintenance tasks. (Note: on 10.3 and earlier, since you don't have Spotlight, you may not want to do this unless locate's update process is tying up your machine also.) Here's how:
- On 10.5, the weekly periodic script can be told specifically not to run locate.updatedb. Edit /etc/defaults/periodic.conf as root (such as sudo vi /etc/defaults/periodic.conf -- you did fix the sudo bug, right?) and set weekly_locate_enable to "NO".
- On 10.4 and before (I checked this on my 10.2.8 strawberry iMac G3 as well, so I'm sure 10.3 is the same), the weekly script doesn't offer this option. However, it does check to see if locate.updatedb is executable before it runs it, so simply make it non-executable: sudo chmod -x /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb