Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Two interesting things

(Shout-out to Stories of Apple, which did a very nice piece on TenFourFox. Check out their other fascinating articles on Apple history. And a shout-out to my father, an American veteran, for his service to this country.)

First, from the Google Chrome blog:

Today, we’re announcing the end of Chrome’s support for Windows XP, as well as Windows Vista, and Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8, since these platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft and Apple. Starting April 2016, Chrome will continue to function on these platforms but will no longer receive updates and security fixes.

(Recall that Google had already dropped 32-bit Intel Macs with Chrome 39.)

I've long warned on this blog that Firefox dropping 10.6 support will probably really hurt us in TenFourFox-land, since there are major API changes and assumptions about the compiler, as well as the loss of 32-bit support (we are a hybrid Carbon/Cocoa 32-bit application, even on G5 systems). Naturally, we would of course add it back in just like we did when 10.4 and 10.5 support was progressively removed from the tree, but it would greatly hurt long-term maintainability and may force dependencies on certain features Tiger just doesn't have. However, with 45 (the next ESR) now on Nightly with 10.6 support still fully in effect, and with even plans to merely drop 10.6.0-10.6.2 stalling, it doesn't look like that will happen before 45ESR. That at least gives us a chance at one more ESR version assuming Electrolysis isn't mandatory by then.

Now, second. I've never particularly been a big fan of Grüber Alles, but he says something very interesting in his review of the iPad Pro:

According to Geekbench's online results, the iPad Pro is faster in single-core testing than Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4 with a Core-i5 processor. The Core-i7 version of the Surface Pro 4 isn't shipping until December -- that model will almost certainly test faster than the iPad Pro. But that's a $1599 machine with an Intel x86 CPU. The iPad Pro starts at $799 and runs an ARM CPU -- Apple's A9X. There is no more trade-off. You don't have to choose between the performance of x86 and the battery life of ARM.

We've now reached an inflection point. The new MacBook is slower, gets worse battery life, and even its cheapest configuration costs $200 more than the top-of-the-line iPad Pro.

Although it's quite possible this says more about how bad the new MacBook sucks than about how good the iPad Pro is, it really looks like those P.A. Semi folks Apple snapped up a few years back (yes, the people who worked on the PWRficient PA6T, one of the PowerPC CPUs in the running for the post-PowerBook G4 PowerBook) are starting to make serious inroads against x86. POWER remains a monster in the datacenter because it can scale, and, well, it's IBM, but IBM hasn't cared (as much) about performance per watt in that environment for quite some time whereas that matters a great deal in the consumer market, and that's why we never got a PowerBook G5. For years industry pundits said the reason ARM chips were so thrifty with their power usage is that they weren't all that powerful, comparatively speaking. Well, the A9X changes that landscape substantially: now you've got an ARM core that's seriously threatening the low to mid range of Chipzilla's market segment and is highly power efficient, and I can't imagine Intel isn't scared about Apple licensing their design. This blog may be written by an old RISC fetishist -- in this very room I have a PA-RISC, a SuperH, a SPARC, a DEC Alpha, several SGI-MIPS and of course a whole crapload of PowerPC hardware -- but after seeing these surprising benchmark numbers all those old rumours about Apple eventually coming up with an ARM MacBook suddenly don't seem all that far-fetched.

Finally, okay, okay, three things, this Engrish gem from mozilla.governance, emphasis mine:

I’m now writing to you to tell you something that make me puzzled. As I know, Firefox is a free browser which offers users independent web suffering.

We all know it, brother. We all know it. :)


  1. Good read, I'm a bit surprised at Google for dropping support on a still-current Windows release even though they are giving XP two free years of life support.

    1. Probably because Vista don't have much marketshare.

    2. Wouldn't the XP version run just fine in Vista anyways?


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