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Develop software for Macintel or PowerPC?


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sekelsenmat
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Hello,

I recently posted a question about mac hardware support. Thanks for the answers. Now I would like to know more about the division between intel and power pc on the mac world.

Specifically, I am a free software developer. I am one of the developers the Virtual Magnifying Glass ( http://magnifier.sourceforge.net/ ), created with the Free Pascal Compiler, and I would like to port it to Mac OS X.

I donīt have money to buy 2 computers, so which ever I buy (x86 or powerpc) will receive much more attention and will be a product of much more quality. As Mac users, which one do you consider more relevant to have better support?

More clearly, should I buy a intel Mac or a Power PC Mac to do software development?

Also, Macs are quite hard to find here in Brazil, so I donīt have access to other Macs to test, and more importantly debug. In this case, whichever platform I buy will have a much more tested release, and receive more attention.

I can imagine power pc probably has much more users right now, but how long would it take for this to reverse we see more intel users?

thanks,

Felipe
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The number of Intel users will only continue to grow as the PPC user base dwindles. That being said, anything you develop should conform to Apples Universal Binary standard to serve both chip-sets. I really don't know if it is possible to develop for both with only one chip-set.


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If you stick to using the system APIs and don't write byte order code for a particular processor, I think you should be fine with using either system for development. That should be easy. Also you would want to use the XCode tools or perhaps some other modern tool such as Realbasic.

XCode, free, allows you to compile for both PPC and Intel processors at the same time to produce Universal Binaries.

I'm sure you'll be able to find volunteers to test on the appropriate platform.

There is a full screen zoom tool already available under the Universal Access preferences. In a quick search I couldn't find a tool like you've written.

If I was to buy a Mac today, I'd favor the Intel purchase since that is the future. The exception would be if I was a power user of applications not yet built as Universal binaries. Rossetta is a poor crutch for such users. In that case I'd buy a PPC box.
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sekelsenmat
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Originally Posted by xstep
If you stick to using the system APIs and don't write byte order code for a particular processor,
Acctually this is much trickier then it seams. Just any output/input operation to files that does low-level reading, like word per word reading, needs to be fixed for PowerPC. Not a problem for me, as all I/O operations I need are already ported by the Free Pascal people =)

Oh, and I do use some very specific system APIs, like for powerful multimonitor support, and the system tray. I will need to rewrite those.

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I think you should be fine with using either system for development. That should be easy. Also you would want to use the XCode tools or perhaps some other modern tool such as Realbasic.

XCode, free, allows you to compile for both PPC and Intel processors at the same time to produce Universal Binaries.
Well, the application is already written on Lazarus, a cross-platform and open source implementation of Borland Delphi IDE. You can see a screenshot here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Lazarus_0.9.7.PNG

So my plan isn't really to rewrite, but rather just recompile on the target =)

Of course, not everything is perfect, so I will need to rewrite some platform dependent parts of my application. I will probably be using Carbon for those parts.

To produce a Universal Binarie with Free Pascal I will need to setup a cross-compiler. This isn't hard, but takes time.

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If I was to buy a Mac today, I'd favor the Intel purchase since that is the future. The exception would be if I was a power user of applications not yet built as Universal binaries. Rossetta is a poor crutch for such users. In that case I'd buy a PPC box.
I will probably be using mostly free software like Open Office, Firefox, Lazarus, so not much of a problem.

The price is a concern =( I heard the intel version is much more expensive.

thanks a lot
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