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Snow Leopard: More Kudos

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Praise for Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 'Snow Leopard' continues to pour in.

Stephen Wildstrom at BusinessWeek calls it 'an upgrade in camouflage'. And he likes it - primarily (hold on) for the support for Microsoft Exchange. But he likes it. And he heaps additional praise.

Much of the effort behind Snow Leopard went into building a software platform for the future. Most new computers have 2 or 4 processors and that will soon increase to 8, 16, or more. But today only the most skilled programmers know how to use this power efficiently when they are writing applications that users crave.

A new technology in Snow Leopard called Grand Central Dispatch is designed to make it easier for developers to create programs using multiple processors, reducing the wait for a processor to finish a task. The result should be more powerful and smarter software for everything from games to home automation.

[OK - take it for what it's worth. It's close enough.]

Another advance in the operating system called OpenCL lets programs take better advantage of powerful graphic adapters in many current computers.

Snow Leopard also completes the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit computing which enhances performance and allows the use of vast amounts of memory. Unlike in the Windows world where this transition is still causing pain and limiting the memory of many Windows Se7en systems to an increasingly inadequate 3 gigabytes, Apple pulled it off seamlessly.

OS X has been running 64-bit for some time now. The KPIs changed back in 2005; further steps were taken in 2007 when it became possible to create all possible types of 64-bit executables; Snow Leopard is just another step in the right direction. As open source advocate Eric Raymond said: whoever gets to the 64-bit playing field first wins the game. (And right now there's only one player.)

A cool thing Wildstrom found is how Apple laptop trackpads can now be used to draw Chinese ideograms. That's about the best reason to learn Chinese you'll ever have.

'Snow Leopard is just plain cool', writes Michael Gartenberg of SlashGear.

I've been testing Snow Leopard on a variety of machines over the last few weeks and so far I'm impressed. Apple evolved the OS in ways that change core infrastructure while preserving and refining the experience that has differentiated the platform over the years. The result is an elegant modern OS with new features that help it retain the status of best of breed in personal computing.

It's the only time I've ever seen an OS upgrade reclaim space and not take up more.

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