Okay, here's something I do care about, with the move to Mac Intel


I mentioned earlier that I didn't care if they switched the Macintosh from PowerPC to Windows. And for the most part, that's true -- especially when speculation is dual booting will be possible, alongside the possibility of a version of VPC that will run at processor speed. That pushes everything to "mildly positive."

But there is one down side that has me bummed: the end, so it seems, of Classic mode.

Like I said in comments on the last Mac Snark, I have a copy of Adobe Streamline. And there is no product on the planet that does what Streamline does: make raster graphics into vector graphics. It does it smoothly and quickly and with a dirt simple interface. It does it well -- better than any outlining tool I've used in a vector drawing program, in fact.

And it's Classic only. They've never Carbonized it, much less Cocoaed it.

Losing Streamline would bug me. I can hope Adobe decides it's time to upgrade, I suppose, but it's not all that likely to happen. Instead, I expect it will simply pass into that good night.

There are other Classic programs as well. And those going away legitimately is sad.

On the other hand, I'll gladly sacrifice all of it for a smooth running WordPerfect in VPC.


Apple has a policy to stop supporting things 5 years after they roll out. They just quietly drop them off.

Which is why they don't send out Classic install discs anymore. I miss Classic and don't have a way to install it on my G4 iBook because Apple just wants it to quietly fade.

I thought there was a Classic emulator for Linux out there. I can't imagine someone couldn't make one for OS X/Intel, or whatever they call it. (OS XI?)

I seem to recall that the new version of Illustrator has a feature called "Live Trace" or "Trace" or something that turns raster images into vectors. It's probably the same algorithm, cannibalized.

The classic emulator is called

Basilisk II, and it already runs on OS X, in addition to Linux and Windows. In fact, I run it on my mac, emulating a quadra 700, for a program that can't run in classic mode.

Streamline has been merged or integrated into the new version of Illustrator CS2. I'm a Streamline user as well :) -- http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/newfeatures.html

Basilisk II is very good, there's also an emulator called vMac that I use for running the old Ray's Maze games. Between those two, I hope to keep a lot of my Classic programs running for a little while longer. (vMac has a couple variants on versiontracker.com.)

I also recomend the Mac emulation page at http://emulation.net/ for more interesting apps.

Gisele and DarKrow -- is the new Live Trace as simple and functional as Streamline? (Streamline is pretty amazingly simple and bulletproof, as Gisele knows. ;) )

Hm. Right now, the only things I boot into Classic for are my scanner (Canon decided to not support my scanner's scan software for OSX, and some alternatives friends pointed me to were unsatisfactory) and the rare case where I want to use Word (I still have the version work bought me for my old computer, but haven't found reason to get Office for OSX yet, since the I can do just about everything better in AppleWorks anyway).

But I figure I'll replace my scanner long before I replace my computer, and can live without Word on my home machine.

Dave -- there are roughly twenty seven thousand word processors for OS X that'll open and save Word format, many of which are free. Plus openoffice.org, if you're willing to cope with X11, and somehow I suspect you are. ;)

I finally abandoned Classic when I rebuilt into OS X 10.4 a few weeks ago. So far the only things I've found I can't run are the software programs I wrore for my undergrad computer science courses, and at least one of them I couldn't run anyway.

At work, we're still dual-booting most machines, even though less than 1/5 of our Mac clients are still on 9 or lower. I'm hoping this will be the year we abandon it altogether.

Ahh, but there are alternatives! First, see AutoTrace . This is a fully open-source tool which, according to the author, is already preferable to Streamline in some respects. Another tool for the job is potrace, and the GUI deliniate (written in Java) will work for both of them.

Also, there's a shareware tool called KVec.

Yeah, Streamline has been my last holdout Classic app for a couple of years now (unless you count Quark, but I try not to these days). And yes, apparently, they've folded the function into AICS2. An illustrator friend of mine here in Atlanta, Scott Thigpen, assures me it's pretty well just like Streamline. They may yet get me to upgrade past AI10.


From the Snark himself:

"(Streamline is pretty amazingly simple and bulletproof, as Gisele knows. ;) )"

Hmpf. Streamline and I have a very bad relationship going back several years. It does convert raster to vector. It does not do so incredibly well. Simple it is, bulletproof it ain't.

It's not a big deal when it's a personal project, but for professional printing it often sucks. The worst part is that the way Streamline converts it creates one big solid in what ever color and then uses a negative white mask. This makes things very difficult to alter. It also tends to add many anchor points to things that should be simple, like a circle.

Generally, I find it annoying enough to work with that most of the time I just recreate the art in Illustrator. It looks better and prints better. But for sufficient complexity, it's about the only commercial tool we got. I've got to try Auto Trace. I had no idea that open sourcers had tackled the problem. YMMV, as always.

Eric: Well, part of that "doing better" includes opening and saving files. AppleWorks does that just peachy, and I've used it (or Clarisworks) for about a decade now, so I know how to get it to do what I want.

About the only thing it doesn't do (or didn't...I haven't really checked the recent version for it) is run Word's "Track Changes" function. And since I really only do collaborative documents in Word at work, it's not really a problem.

I do have some good news for you. As others mentioned, AICS2 has got the streamline algorithm baked in.

However, the good news is that Adobe is actively funding research into better techniques. I'm sitting next to a recipient of some of that funding money, and he's got some really nice results. The basic idea is instead of just converting it into flat-shaded shapes like streamline, it can also use something more akin to a gradient mesh to get photorealistic vectorizations that are easier to edit, and work for more than line art. Streamline's color support was pretty much just Posterize, then convert as lineart.

I also assume that Adobe is funding other groups on this problem, it seems that they've been looking for improvements to vectorization for the last several years, at least.

I've never used Streamline - I'm clinging to Classic at home for little things (amazing how much faster Classic apps launch on slower machines once you've got 9.2.2 loaded), at The Day Job (I need Photoshop 5.x type handling. Can't do it in six or higher) and for The Night Job (simply put, I taught myself vector shading in 5.0.2, it handles the same in 5.5, it handles DIFFERENTLY in CS and CS is actually _slower_ for some things....)....

Conversely, I have a legal license of the same app in question for Windows, and Windows has the one Discreet product I actually use on a semi-regular basis (and games! GAMES!!!!), so it may not be a total loss.

Realistically, I'll wind up clinging to PPC hardware until I'm done with my current project, after which maybe Adobe will have solved the whole "modern Photoshop runs like a pig on ketamine" problem and the whole mess will be useable. Until then, I'm dependant on Classic.

I'm hoping if anything that the move to intel will make for cheaper G5s on the used market. :)

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