Thursday, April 3, 2008

64 bits of pain?

Any Photoshop users out there will remember this like it was last year, which it was.

Back in the days of CS2, it was actually faster to run Photoshop on an old PowerPC machine than it was to run on an intel machine, because Adobe was late to the whole Intel party. Because the program was built in Carbon, they didn't have the option of clicking on that fancy button to build an app that would run natively in Cocoa on both PPC and Intel chips.

But, for CS3, they scraped and coded and pushed and prodded and beat it into shape so that Photoshop actually ran quite well on Intel Macs.

Well, yesterday, it came out via John Nack's blog that Carbon has bit them in the bottom once again, and by extension, all Photoshop users.

At last year's WWDC, says Nack, Apple announced that it was dropping it's efforts to create a 64-bit version of Carbon, which meant that Adobe had to drop plans for a 64 bit version of Photoshop for Mac, at least for CS4.

How important is 64 bit? In my life, not very. Not until I start seeing what it can do. Yes, they say it has the musclepower to open big files faster, and it will allow Photoshop to be bigger, stronger, faster. But how much bigger? How much better? How much faster? I guess we see when the next version of the software comes out what sort of gulf there is between the Windows and Mac version. Nack's blog seems to imply that it will be 8-12% faster.

I suspect in my life what it'll mean is not that I find a Windows box to use photoshop on, but at worst, I'll just skip a cycle of Photoshop. Heck, I skipped CS2, not that this'd be any different.

And, since Adobe is well aware of the problems and issues, I suspect that the Mac version will be optimized for what it can be. Will it be covered in 64 bit shiny goodness? Nope. But it will still rock.

I hope.

In the meantime, get ready for a couple years of name calling, flag waving, and yelling back and forth from users. Apple vs. Adobe. Mac vs PC. WoW players vs. Star Wars Galaxy fanboys....


Read all about the history of Apple and Adobe (and carbon and cocoa, and 32 bit and 64 bit) over at Ars. Gruber has his thoughts on the matter, too.

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