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Security update breaks 64-bit app support in Tiger

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Wed August 17, 2005

64-bit computing glitch

Apple's latest Mac OS X security update, , the problem was confirmed internally and then with Apple by Wolfram Research, the makers of Mathematica software. Wolfram Research began informing its customers via email on Tuesday, stating that the security update disables its flagship Mathematica software as well as any 64-bit-native application. Apple was apparently unable to offer a workaround for the problem, but said it is currently investigating and plans to offer a revised update to correct the issue in the near future.

Affected users running Mathematica 5.2 will experience a MathLink error when trying to do any computation, and running MathKernel directly from the command line will crash on startup. Wolfram Research told customers that apple assured that it had stopped automatic distribution of the security update by Tuesday evening; however as of Wednesday morning the software was still available from Apple's website and via Mac OS X Software Update.

by MacNN Staff




  1. DancingBrook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How did that slip through Avie. He must have been on vacation.

  1. Todd Madson

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Has anyone even seen Avie recently involved with Apple?

    He used to be trotted out at presentations as a kind of "look at the genius we have working for us" but you don't see much of him these days.

    Of course, he did sort of resemble Salman Rushdie but he did give us OS X.

  1. tedgrigg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No other apps are 64 bit

    This tells you how really few apps are 64 bit capable even though the OS should have this capability. Does this also disable 64 bit in the OS itself?

    When will the world catch up with Apple's technologies like bluetooth and 64 bit processing!!!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Viruses and stuff

    Hey, who needs mac viruses when Apple does a great job by themselves in infecting and s******* up computers!

    And who cares about Avie? I thought he was a hardware designer these days...

    This tells you how really few apps are 64 bit capable even though the OS should have this capability. Does this also disable 64 bit in the OS itself?

    As for 64-bit, keep in mind the only part that is 64-bit capable is the BSD layer, not the carbon/cocoa layers. So you have to write up separate Unix processes if you want that.

    Plus, 64-bit has got to be one of the most over-hyped things about OS X and the G5. General computer use will never see any advantage from 64-bit computing. Unless you're using tons of data or doing really large calculations, its just a fluff campaign. In fact, depending on the architecture and the underlying code, switching to 64-bit could slow down applications, as they would need to pass around twice as much info as under a 32-bit program.

  1. technohedz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    General Computer Use?

    I bet they said 'nobody will need unix on the desktop'... in fact they probably also said something like, 'depending on the architecture and the quantity of applications, switching to unix could slow down a computer, as it would need to dedicate more space to memory and be on all the time'. OK, we get the point: "64 bits does not mean your applications will run twice as fast". We get it, now can everyone who doesn't have a G5 stop tripping. How big is your vm when you have a bunch of apps open? What's managing that? Just because the Tiger isn't all 64 bit doesn't mean that Apple won't go that way. If there is possibility count on it. What happened to VR? Remember flying through your filesystem w/ 9, X is finally about there...but now we have scads of memory and incredible GPUs. One would hope that Apple starts taking advantage of the 64 bit capabilities to deliver a better GUI. It's not like they won't get the big 6-fo w/ intel either.

    Who cares what Avie looks like. If your monitor was a mirror you probably wouldn't be dissing.

    As for the few 64 bit capable apps. Just wait. It's like the universal binaries..just wait.

    This was poor testing and Apple had better come up w/ a fix sooner rather than later. In fact, it would have been better to roll w/ 10.4.3 instead of leaving it out for testing. Who's doing the testing anyways? 'we would like developers to concentrate on this aspect of testing' you're going to do anything but test your own application. Let's be honest here. Apple has jack for testing their OS updates and they constantly have little problems because they don't have some kind of open or reasonably available beta testing program. Further they don't have a simple severity flag for bug reporting. A little too much NIH going on there.

    You can send as much feedback as you want, but the people most likely to test a problem and say 'you need to fix this' aren't given the opportunity. Pack your bags we're going on a guilt trip. Bad Apple Bad!

  1. shawnce

    Joined: Dec 1969



    “One would hope that Apple starts taking advantage of the 64 bit capabilities to deliver a better GUI."

    What are you thinking when you said the above?

    Anyway if folks are confused… (or maybe I will make it worse.)

    The virtual memory subsystem on Mac OS X, since 10.2.8, supports 64 bit physical addressing. This is why you can install 8+ GB in PowerMac G5 systems and it will be fully utilized among all applications, kernel and UBC (universal buffer cache).

    Providing 64 bit _virtual_ addressing to applications is a separate issue from how much physical RAM you can have and can support via virtual memory.

    Since 10.4 Apple allowed an application to request 64 bit virtual addressing limited to application that link only against libSystem (command line tools basically). This was in addition to the existing 32 bit virtual addressing that any type of application can use. If an application requests 64 bit addressing then it has access to a HUGE virtual memory space (over 4 billion _times_ larger then a 32 bit address space). It only makes sense for an application to request 64 bit addressing if it has the need to process HUGE amounts of data (at least if they want to work with that data in a contiguous addressing scheme backed by the virtual memory subsystem).

    Recall since 10.2.8 applications (including the operating system) has been able to use 64 bit math operations provided the G5. So you don’t need to request 64 bit addressing to get the ability to use 64 bit math and generic operations.

  1. dru

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple's already fixed it. "1.1" of the security fix is available Support Downloads page.

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