Apple Could Reap Harvest

The Elvis file system should boost Mac OS X's business reputation.

eWeek has been tracking a couple of key Macintosh stories this past week: One has been publicized (in part), the other remains unannounced so far and both portend good things for enterprise users.

The public news: At last weeks Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, Calif., IBM rang up the curtain (halfway) on its 64-bit PowerPC processor for desktop and server systems.

The PowerPC 970, which IBM said will ship late next year, will feature a 900MHz bus, clock in at 1.8GHz and blow away the Motorola PowerPC G4 in current Macs.

IBM said it hopes Apple will adopt its new chips, but it remained coy about whether that plan was actually in the cards. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to draw that conclusion. IBM said its tricking out the new silicon for the Altivec multimedia extensions in current G4 Macs. And eWeek sources have reported that Apple and IBM are tuning the 970 for a new high-frequency, point-to-point Mac bus dubbed ApplePI.

Apple has suffered from Motorolas slow progress. While Motorola will still play a role in laptops and consumer models, the IBM chips promise a performance kick to thrill corporate customers who like Mac OS Xs tricks—but want it to perform them faster.

More immediately, I expect a warm welcome from enterprise customers when Apple introduces Elvis, a journaling scheme that our sources said can be run alongside the Macs HFS+, starting with the imminent Mac OS X 10.2.2. While the Unix-based Mac OS X has a great reputation for stability, a journaling file system will make a fine adjunct for administrators who want easier recovery when crashes occur—and it will help the Mac bolster its reputation as a major-league operating system contender.

Matthew Rothenberg is online editor for Ziff Davis Medias Baseline and CIO Insight magazines. He can be reached at