US Report: Mac OS 8.2 to gain PPC code, new look

Appleis reportedly working on an overhaul of the Mac OS that will combine a face lift with major revisions beneath the surface.

Sources said the project, code-named Allegro, is expected to be called Mac OS 8.2 when it ships this summer. It will employ several of the interface themes and elements originally scheduled to appear in Copland, the code name of Apple's star-crossed attempt to create a so-called modern OS.

Among the visual improvements will be the capability to resize column widths and reorder columns in a window. Users will also be able to move around within a folder's window by pressing the Option key while clicking and dragging.

In Allegro, a folder's icon will appear in its window's title bar, and users will be able to drag that icon to move the folder to other locations. With the upgrade, the Application menu in the upper-right corner will display the name, as well as the icon, of the active application, sources said. However, users will still be able to switch to the icon-only view.

The update will include an HTML-based help system; help text will be indexed with V-Twin, the company's text-summarisation technology, also known as Apple Information Access Toolkit. Users will be able to call up the OS' help system through a keyboard command, sources said.

Allegro will take on some of Copland's look; meanwhile, its under-the-hood enhancements will reportedly be major but still not as revolutionary as those planned for Copland. Sources said more of the system will become PowerPC-native, including a long-awaited rewrite of AppleScript. Likewise, QuickDraw is expected to be revised and will gain support for anti-aliased text.

Allegro is expected to feature a new version of Open Transport. The revised networking architecture will gain support for SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

Other networking improvements reportedly will include a revision of Apple Remote Access (ARA), which will combine previous revisions' ARA capabilities with Open Transport/PPP and have improved Point-to-Point Protocol compatibility with Windows NT.

According to sources, the revision will also have an Internet Preferences control panel, which will provide Internet Config-like capabilities. Some of the system components in the OS revision are expected to adopt Navigation Services, a replacement for the current Open and Save dialog box that will help users browse through folders and volumes.

The update is expected to feature an enhanced Find command that will let users search the contents of a file, and items on a disk can be indexed. Users will be able to launch Disk First Aid from the Improper Shutdown dialogue box, sources said, and the disk utility will finally be able to repair a start-up disk.

Several pieces will gain support for Unicode. A new application called File Exchange will merge Mac OS Easy Open and PC Exchange and use Internet Config for file-name extension mapping.

Apple declined to comment