Rage at Being Left Behind

Daniel Knight - 2001.12.24


That's the only word I can think of to describe Apple's decision to leave millions of Mac owners with substandard graphics performance in OS X. Millions.

A special thanks to Remy Davison of Insanely Great Mac for pointing this out over the weekend.

Left out in the cold are the beige Power Mac G3s (Rev. A and B plus the All-in-one), Rev. A-D iMacs, WallStreet and Lombard PowerBooks, and the original iBook and iBook SE - along with all those who use them.

That's anywhere from 4 million to 6 million Macs built with one version or another of the ATI Rage accelerated graphics chip. All stuck with substandard graphics performance.

Yes, stuck. Apple states, "Use the latest version of Mac OS X for best overall performance and feature set. Further Mac OS X support for the graphic accelerator chipsets listed above is not planned." None. Nada. Zip.

It's like the OS X rapture has come, and millions who believed they had fully supported hardware have unexpectedly been left behind.

Apple's only suggestion: switch from millions to thousands of colors.

Where Next

Apple has been the subject of several successful class action suits over things like promised PowerPC upgrades for late 68040-based models. A class action suit with millions of members might get their attention. It's bound to be more effective than a petition signed by three or four thousand Mac users.

The other option is to make this part of Darwin, the open source side of Mac OS X, and give programmers the opportunity and information they need to create accelerated graphics drivers for the ATI Rage chips. This would be far more gracious than saying no further support is planned - and it could head off a potential class action suit.

I still think it's outrageous that Apple believes it can get away with abandoning accelerated graphics on older Macs. I hope Apple will try to save face by at least giving others the opportunity to provide support for ATI Rage graphics acceleration.

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