The Shape of Everything
A website mostly about Mac stuff, written by Gus Mueller
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November 13, 2020

First up, I released Retrobatch 1.4.3 this morning as a Universal Binary, meaning it will run natively on the new Apple Silicon Macs. There are also a couple of bug fixes, features, and compatiblity fixes for MacOS 11 Big Sur. It's just like the version of Retrobatch on Intel Macs… just… you know, for Apple Silicon now.

I recently posted an article on Flying Meat's website about Acorn and Big Sur and Apple Silicon. In short, Acorn 6.6.3 (which is now out), is fully compatible with Big Sur on Intel. Acorn 6 on Apple Silicon runs pretty well, but the the seed fill based tools are a little pokey (magic wand selection, flood fill). But otherwise it runs just fine. It's currently running in Rosetta however.

I do have a version of Acorn which is a Universal Binary where everything works great, but there are big changes in it and I'm going to have a public beta for it first. I'm not quite there yet, but hopefully soon, and I'll be posting about it here as soon as it's ready.

So how about those new Apple Silicon Macs?

They look pretty sweet to me. The thing I'm probably looking forward to most is the unified memory architecture (aka UMA) between the CPU and GPU the new M1 processors provide. UMA speeds up so many things in Acorn by virtue of not having to copy pixels around as much. Brushing is faster, rendering is faster, and things just feel smoother. It's nice.

So how about MacOS 11 Big Sur?

In general, I think it's a good upgrade. The new sounds are great, the overall feel of it is decent. However, I can't get past the super plain toolbar icons that are showing up in Safari, Mail, and Xcode's preferences windows. Ditto for the iOS style icons in the Dock. I think it's a great idea to take cues from iOS, but I don't think this should extend to everything. Mac icons have always been rich in color and detail, and have always had a certain style to them. These iOS icons just don't fit.

But overall, I don't find myself missing Catalina. The collection of little good things in Big Sur make me happy with it.