Mac OS X Leopard: no 64-bit for Carbon?

“At last year’s WWDC, Steve Jobs announced that Leopard would support 64-bit computing across the board: not only on the Unix command line as in Tiger, but also in Carbon and Cocoa. But… During yesterday’s keynote, Jobs only mentioned Cocoa would get the 64-bit treatment, with Carbon missing in action. Carbon is the Application Programmer Interface (API) that made the transition from OS 9 to OS X possible, and although it’s not the latest and greatest (that would be Cocoa), Carbon is still holding its own—even Apple uses it to power some of its own applications. Sources tell Ars that not mentioning Carbon was no oversight: apparently, Apple has decided to scrap the intended 64-bit support in Carbon,” Iljitsch van Beijnum reports for Ars Technica.

“Although we can still look forward to 64-bit Cocoa applications in Leopard, this development means that third-party developers, especially those with cross-platform products, will be less inclined to support 64-bit computing in their applications. Doing so would require removing all references to Carbon,” van Beijnum reports.

Full article here.

More about Mac OS X Leopard’s 64-bit technology:


  1. Problem with Cocoa, at least in its current form, is that pretty much all coca apps seem to be massive RAM hogs. Adium which is a fairly lightweight IM client can swell to 70MB after a while not to mention iPhoto which is a more bloated cocoa app and can easily get to 250MB or so. Compared to iTunes which still remains Carbon AFAIK and generally only uses about 30MB, and the Carbon Finder which stays at about 10MB of RAM.
    Hopefully improved memory management in Leopard will fix some of this but theres no denying that Apple are getting obsessed with memory wasting. However since Carbon apps generally are lightweight on RAM there shouldnt really be any need for 64 bit carbon if 32 bit binaries are compatible with the 64 bit OS. I’m no expert though.

  2. Surely not every application needs to be 64bit..???

    Only the most powerful and intensive stuff is really going to benefit from it.

    After all, no-one complains at an endless wait for a song to play in iTunes do they?

  3. Well perhaps developers should try to code for Windows where they would have to develop a seperate 32bit and 64bit application (including whatever drivers are necessary).

    It seems to me that if a developer is going to migrate to 64bit, why use old technology? Regarless, isn’t Cocoa the only real environment to code Universal Aps??? (or am I wrong on that?)

  4. C’mon developers use current tools and adjust!

    Harder to do than you think. A lot of APIs are still stuck in Carbon. And you speak as if man hours are freely available. But feel free to think of all Mac developers as lazy and resistant to change.

    I actually think this is yet another Apple dig at Adobe.

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