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Helix 6 and Intel Processor Based Macs
Helix Server 6.1

Helix Server 6.1 is compatible with macOS 10.5 (aka Leopard). Helix Server 6.1 is available for Intel and PowerPC Macs.

System Requirements

Helix Server 6.1 requires macOS 10.4 or later.

Important Information for Helix Server 6.0.x Users

Although the majority users report no problem running Helix Server macOS 6.0.x on Intel-based Macs, we have had some reports of Server crashes. Our investigations pointed to a potential problem related to posting, which we addressed in Helix Server for PowerPC 6.1.

If you must run Helix Server on an Intel-based Mac, be sure you are using the very latest version of Helix available. Helix Server for Intel 6.1 is also available, and is the only officially supported version of Helix Server for use on Intel-based Macs.

macOS Progress

Our macOS Native Helix & Intel Transition Progress Report page contains up-to-date news on the process of moving all of Helix to macOS.

Historical Reference
June, 2005

Apple announced at the 2005 World Wide Developer Conference that they would begin building Macs around Intel processor in 2006.

Although this was a shocking bit of news, it did not sidetrack us as much as it could have. Our decision to adopt wxWidgets as our primary programming interface turned out to be the right decision:

… Keeping to [the cross-platform] goal is what drove us ultimately to wxWidgets as the tool of choice. We started using it [June, 2003], and we're happy to report that our programmers were able to immediately adapt and we're making great strides using wxWidgets in Helix.

And before WWDC was over the wxwidgets.org team had issued this statement:

Following Apple's announcement that they will switch to Intel processors, Stefan Csomor has demonstrated the wxWidgets minimal sample running natively on an Intel-based macOS system. The few necessary changes will be in wxWidgets 2.6.2 and existing wxMac developers should find the transition to Intel fairly painless.

Taken together, you can see that although the switch to Intel processors will set us back some, the impact is not expect to be great.

December 19, 2005 Update

The majority of the Helix 6.0 programming was done before the announcement of Apple’s transition to Intel chips. As of the release of Helix 6.0, we have not tested any of our products for compatibility with Intel-based Macs. However, we have been writing our code with this transition in mind and will focus on this as events warrant.

January 10, 2006 Update

Apple today announced the immediate availability of Intel-based Macs, starting with the PowerBook and iMac lines. However, Apple has not discontinued the PowerPC based line of products, so it appears that ‘Helix-compatible’ Macs will continue to be available.

universal binaryQSA is committed to providing applications in the Universal Binary format as soon as possible. All through the Helix 6.0 development cycle, we were writing our code with ‘cross platform’ in mind; we just didn’t realize what it meant. Shortly after 6.0 was released, we began moving our code from CodeWarrior to Xcode, a requirement for building Universal Binary applications. That work is slowed by the legacy Pascal code still in Helix, but progress is being made.

The bulk of our conversion efforts to date have been focused on Helix Server, since it could not run reliably in Classic mode. The first Intel-based Macs (PowerBook and iMac) do not typically run Helix Server, so we are now devoting our full attention to Helix Client, Engine, and RADE. We are now working on those products with the clear goal of creating Universal Binaries in front of us.

March 20, 2006 Update

QSA ToolWorks announces the immediate availability of Helix Maintenance Manager 1.0.3. HMM 1.0.3 is our first Universal binary application. HMM has been, since its inception, written using Apple’s Xcode development environment. We built HMM as a Universal binary first because a) we could and b) it made a good first run to learn what we need to do for the rest of the Helix products. Of course, the impact of this will be minimal until we release Universal binaries of the utilities, but HMM is ready to go when they are.

Rosetta Timing Tests

In limited testing of Helix Server 6.0.1 on Intel-based Macs we turned up no observable problems. (However, please note the caution at the top of this page.) Surprisingly, testing also revealed that even with the Rosetta code translation involved, Helix Server is slightly faster on comparable Intel-based hardware.

See this page for updated performance comparisons.

  • Servers:
    • iMac: 1.8GHz G5 w/1GB RAM running macOS 10.4.4.
    • iMac: 1.83GHz Core Duo w/1GB RAM running macOS 10.4.4.
    • Mac mini: 1.5GHz Core Solo w/2GB RAM running macOS 10.4.7.
    • Mac mini: 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo w/1GB RAM running macOS 10.4.7.
    • Mac Pro: 2.66GHz Dual-Core Xeon w/4GB RAM running macOS 10.4.7.
  • Clients: See notes below.
Test Stage iMac G5 1.8GHz iMac Core Duo 1.83GHz Mac mini Core Solo 1.5GHz iMac Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz Mac Pro Dual-Core Xeon 2.66GHz
Small Data w/Count

Client 1: Posting 13 iterations (from 2^0 - 2^13) of small records
Client 2: Idle, with an entry view open displaying the record count only.

Posting Done 1:15 1:06 1:16 1:08 0:49
Quiescence 1:40 1:16 1:36 1:08 1:01
Large Data w/Count

Client 1: Posting 13 iterations (from 2^0 - 2^13) of large records (1 each large fixed point, styled text, plain text, doc, & pict)
Client 2: Idle, with an entry view open displaying the record count only.

Posting Done 1:32 1:15 1:27 1:10 0:57
Quiescence 1:58 1:27 1:48 1:10 1:09
Large Data w/List

Client 1: Posting 13 iterations (from 2^0 - 2^13) of records (1 each large fixed point, styled text, plain text, doc, & pict)
Client 2: Idle, with an entry view open displaying the record count and a list view open displaying the records as a list.

Posting Done 1:41 1:14 2:06 1:14 1:00
Quiescence 13:45 13:00 13:30 9:21 7:45
Notes:
  • 2^0=1. 2^1=2. 2^2=4. 2^3=8... 2^13=8192. Total number of records posted = 16383.
  • Posting Done marks the elapsed time from the moment the sequence started until the final posting dialog disappeared on the Client’s screen. This is effectively the amount of time it takes the Client doing the operation to send all of the data to the Server, and for the Server to process that data.
  • Quiescence (a state of inactivity or dormancy) marks the elapsed time from the moment the sequence started until all Clients had caught up with the changes and the Server was idle again. This is the time between when the Server finished processing the user’s actual data and the time it finished notifying all of the connected Clients about the changes that were made. More Clients means more messages sent out means a longer time to quiescence.
  • For the iMac G5 & iMac Core Duo tests, the Clients were an iMac G3/350 w/256MB RAM & OS 9.2.2 running the tests and a PowerMac 8500 604e/233MHz w/144MB RAM & OS 9.1 as the observer. A subsequent test was conducted using a G4/733 and a G4/450 Dual as the Clients, all running 10.4.4 and all connected by Gigabit Ethernet. The times were not appreciably faster.
  • The Mac mini Core Solo test was conducted using a G4/733 and a G4/450 Dual as the Clients, all running 10.4.7 and all connected by Gigabit Ethernet.
  • During the Mac mini Core Solo testing, Helix 6.0 (058) was compared to 6.0.1 (064): the times were virtually identical. We also experimented with the "MTU size" and "maxsockbuf" adjustments that were being discussed on Mac based technical web sites. These limited tests resulted in slightly slower timings.
  • Sept 15-21, 2006: The iMac Core 2 Duo and Mac Pro Dual-Core Xeon tests were conducted using a G4/733 and a G3/350 as the Clients, all running 10.4.7. The Server(s) and the G4 Client were connected by Gigabit Ethernet. The G3 Client was connected by 100Tx Ethernet.
  • The iMac Core 2 Duo and Mac Pro Dual-Core Xeon tests were conducted with Helix Server 6.0.1 (065) — this new build fixes a bug in earlier versions that prevents a Client’s progress thermometers from filling properly.
May 1, 2006 Update

Helix Maintenance Manager 1.0.4 ships, including a Universal version of the HMM Scheduler.