Mac OS 10.1.2: Still No Support For Rage Pro Macs

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Date: Friday, December 21st, 2001, 11:37
Category: Archive

If you have a pre-FireWire bronze PowerBook G3 (Lombard), or various other iMacs and iBooks, you may be looking forward to downloading Mac OS 10.1.2 in the hopes that your built-in video board will finally be functional. Unfortunately, these machines (with Rage Pro and similar ATI boards) are still unsupported, despite meeting the system requirements listed on the Mac OS X box and Web site.


If you have a pre-FireWire bronze PowerBook G3 (Lombard), or various other iMacs and iBooks, you may be looking forward to downloading Mac OS 10.1.2 in the hopes that your built-in video board will finally be functional. Unfortunately, these machines (with Rage Pro and similar ATI boards) are still unsupported, despite meeting the system requirements listed on the Mac OS X box and Web site.

Rage Pro Macs, sold as recently as 1999, still have no hardware acceleration as of 10.1.2. That appears to affect both 2D and 3D performance, but in particular disables OpenGL. 3D applications and games either fail to launch or run at one frame-per-second or worse. The built-in 3D screensavers in X are disabled as well. So gamers and graphics pros cannot yet use X.

It has also be pointed out to me that we will never be able to use X on these machines (unless we can give up 3D–a fundamental CPU function along with sound and color for most users). Apparently, Apple’s knowledge base finally admits to the long-kept secret that Apple plans no support for these video boards in future.

It is too bad that Macs as recent as 1999 are being dropped, yet Apple is still willing to list our machines as X-compatible, with OpenGL as a featured capability. I will assume this is an honest mistake by Apple, probably largely ATI’s fault, and that Apple will soon retract claims that Rage Pro Macs are supported under Mac OS X. I would also hope that Apple will take back copies of Mac OS X bought by Rage Pro users. I am still nervous about having anything made by ATI in my next PowerBook, but at least a refund of the price of X would be a satisfactory resolution of the current situation. Thousands upon thousands of people are in this same predicament: having spent money on X based on Apple’s claims, and now learning that they will never be able to use it.

If you don’t need 3D, then X does run on these Macs. 2D performance and responsiveness can be poor (even scrolling), but if you don’t do games or graphics, you still may enjoy using this revolutionary OS. So, if Apple does keep Rage Pro Macs listed as X-compatible, a footnote about the video boards being unsupported would at least be honest.

FYI, for those who don’t own a Rage Pro Mac: the video board is built-in, not an optional add-on.

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