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Article:
  Graphical Composition in Avalon
Subject:   macos x already works like this
Date:   2004-03-10 03:20:33
From:   igriffiths
Response to: macos x already works like this

Yes, my article is devoid of any mention of Quartz. I didn't think it would be useful to mention it for two reasons:


(1) I thought that most developers likely to be reading a Microsoft-centric site such as ONdotnet would not be Mac developers. I don't believe that drawing comparisons of the form "This is a bit like something you've never used" are very helpful, so any comparison would only have benefited a minority of readers. If I underestimated how many readers would come to see what the other guys are doing, then I apologise for that, but I still think it would not have been useful to mention Quartz because:


(2) It's not actually that similar, so even if you are familiar with Quartz or Quartz extreme, there aren't many useful comparisons you can draw. So this reduces it to "This is quite different from this other thing." In fact for most readers, the result is "This is quite different from this other thing that you've never used," which I don't believe is very useful.


And in general, I find competitive comparisons pretty unedifying - they have an unpleasant tendency to end up in 'My OS is better than your OS' slanging matches with little to no useful content.


But since you seem to be saying that the article could have been improved through the addition of my opinion on the comparative merits, here goes: I was disappointed with Quartz mainly because it didn't seem like a great leap forward; all the hype had led me to believe it would be significantly better than where Windows is today. Layered Windows, which were introduced in Windows 2000, provide hardware composition for top level windows, and that has been around since long before Quartz Extreme. I mentioned layered windows briefly in the article, but I didn't go into much depth, because layered windows aren't that interesting - they suffer from the same set of limitations that Quartz Extreme suffers from today: they offer only bitmap based composition, and at a level that is removed from the rest of the drawing APIs. If this had been an article on layered windows, then a comparison with Quartz and Quartz Extreme would have been appropriate, because there are some very important similarities. But that's not what the article was about.


Also, GDI+, which was introduced with Windows XP in October 2001 (and which has also been available since then for installation on older versions of Windows back to NT 4.0) has offered vector-based drawing features that Mac OS X didn't catch up with until Mac OS X 10.2. Again, if this had been an article about GDI+, then a comparison with the 2D parts of Quartz [Extreme] would have been a good idea, because there are many similarities here. But again, that's not what it was about.


In short, it's pretty disingenuous to claim that Quartz Extreme is ahead of where Windows is today. (It's ahead of Windows ME, but not Windows XP.) Max OS X looks far prettier, but that has nothing to do with technology - technologically there's a fairly small difference, despite the claims made in the hype.


I can't offer a comparison between Avalon and the Mac equivalent (i.e., whatever the Mac graphics technology will be in 2006) because as far as I know, Apple haven't announced what it will be.



I don't think any of the above tells you anything more about Avalon, which is why I didn't feel it would have been a productive use of space in the main article. I thought most readers would find such comparisons completely irrelevant, and the remaining readers would have found them only barely relevant. And I didn't have any particular desire to engage in any Mac bashing, which is how I suspect this comment will come across to the Mac faithful. (It isn't intended as such - I like my Mac, despite being disappointed by Quartz, so I don't have any desire to criticize it. The above is just a dispassionate attempt to make an accuaret comparison.)


If Apple were telling us what their plans for the next generation of their graphics architecture was, then it would obviously be a different story - then there would be something useful to make comparisons with. If this information had been available to me, I would have included it in the article. But as far as I am aware, Apple haven't released any such information.



As for the "Avalon actually leapfrogs Quartz", that was in response to the wholly inaccurate "macos x already works like this" claim. I wasn't making a big deal of the fact that Avalon will leapfrog today's Mac OS X technology - obviously it will, and obviously we'd all be hugely disappointed if it didn't. But the original post in this thread suggested that Mac OS X is already ahead of where Avalon will be. I was simply pointing out that this is not true. Mac OS X does not already work like Avalon will work, despite what the subject line of this thread claims.


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  1. macos x already works like this
    2004-03-10 06:34:39  zootbobbalu [View]

    • macos x already works like this
      2004-04-06 05:38:43  musnat [View]

    • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
      2004-03-10 09:58:42  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

      • macos x already works like this
        2004-03-10 13:20:16  zootbobbalu [View]

        • macos x already works like this
          2004-04-06 05:50:12  musnat [View]

        • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
          2004-03-11 04:58:13  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

          • macos x already works like this
            2004-03-11 13:40:55  rosyna [View]

            • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
              2004-03-12 00:28:19  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

              • macos x already works like this
                2004-03-14 10:23:25  mweiher [View]

                • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
                  2004-03-15 05:51:48  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

                  • macos x already works like this
                    2004-04-06 06:17:25  musnat [View]

                  • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
                    2004-03-17 04:33:50  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

                  • macos x already works like this
                    2004-03-15 13:58:01  mweiher [View]

                    • macos x already works like this
                      2004-04-06 06:16:16  musnat [View]

                    • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
                      2004-03-17 04:29:36  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

                    • Ian Griffiths photo macos x already works like this
                      2004-03-16 04:43:14  Ian Griffiths | O'Reilly Author [View]

                      • macos x already works like this
                        2004-03-19 17:33:59  mweiher [View]

                        • ...
                      • macos x already works like this
                        2004-03-18 16:28:15  mweiher [View]

                        • ...
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