“Mac OS X 10.3, aka Panther, will not be a 64-bit operating system, despite running on a 64-bit processor, the PowerPC 970 aka the G5,” Tony Smith reports for The Register. “Instead, the next major release of the Mac operating system will be a hybrid, much like version 10.2.7, codenamed ‘Smeagol’, which Apple has running on its pre-production Power Mac G5 machines and with which it will almost certainly ship production units.”
Smith continues, “Smeagol is a 32-bit operating system, though certain libraries and other elements have been recoded to allow applications – and the OS itself – to make use of the 64-bit addressing and datapaths, sources close to Apple said. For example, that’s how the Power Mac G5 is able to support at least 8GB of memory, double the 32-bit limit of 4GB. Panther will adopt the same approach.”
“The bottom line is that it may be some time before Mac OS X goes truly 64-bit, and if it happens anywhere in the product line, it’s most likely to be within the Xserve server line. It is not yet known whether the Server version of Panther will be offered in a 64-bit form,” Smith reports.
Full article here.