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Myth? Speed up OS X with Dev Tools install System
NOTE: Please see the comments for some objective evidence that the speedup does nothing of the sort, and may actually slow your machine down a bit! The Dev Tools do have some useful utilities on them, and you need them if you want to compile UNIX source code, but don't install them for the sheer sake of a speed boost!

Full credit to MacOS Rumors, they reported that installing the Developer Tools (the third CD in the OS X retail box) made everything faster. I just tried it, and it's definitely true--even IE is zippier.

[Editor's Note: I've read this in a few places, but can't help confirm any speedup. I installed the Dev Tools about three minutes after I installed OS X, so they were in place when I ran my benchmarks. The theory that I've seen elsewhere on the net is that the "Optimizing System" step that happens at the end of the Dev Tools install was supposed to also happen at the end of the OS X install, but a bug stops it from running.

I'm not sure whether I believe it or not, but if you have the free disk space (600mb or so), it can't hurt to try. If you do, though, please time some application launches before and after you install the Dev Tools, and report back with your results. It'd be nice to have some objective evidence to back this theory!]

NOTE: You can run the "optimizing" routine at any time, by starting a terminal and entering:

sudo update_prebinding -root /

This can take quite a while to run, and may (or may not) speed up application launching times. G3-based users have reported speedups; most G4 owners have not seen any changes. Use at your own risk, and you may or may not see any benefit.
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Myth? Speed up OS X with Dev Tools install | 16 comments | Create New Account
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Didn't work here
Authored by: kidred on Apr 06, '01 03:17:01AM

Well, in hopes that installing the Dev CD would speed up OS X I installed it and I'm sorry to say that it actually slowed Classic down for me (wife's iMac DV, 400mhz, 198ram)

Before install:
Lauch IE (OSX) 13 bounces
Launch Photoshop (classic) 24 sec

After installing dev tools cd:
Launch IE (OSX) 13 bounces
Launch Photoshop (classic) 32 seconds

My wife is going to be a little upset, lol. Not worth it, wait til they release the update.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 06, '01 01:24:43PM

I have been using OSX since it's release, installed Dev Tools this morning. I am using a Blue and White G3 rev 1/350/288/6GB. Here are my results.

Launch Omniweb 4.0f3
Before: 25 sec.
After: 27 sec

Launch Mail
Before/After: 6 sec

Launch IE 5.1
Before: 15 sec
After: 14 sec

Open large PDF in Preview
Before/After: 5 sec

Launch Classic from Prefs panel
Before: 1:27
After: 1:36

Conclusion: No change, maybe a bit worse. Probably because my tiny 6GB drive is now even more fragmented. Is there an easy way to deinstall Dev Tools? -jl

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Authored by: kidred on Apr 07, '01 02:07:16AM

Yea, I would like to uninstall dev tools as well, maybe there is a file list of whats installed? I don't know if it's always been there, but I saw a developer folder either under users or at the root, is that it?

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It's easy
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 09, '01 11:05:02PM

Here's how you install (most) of the Developer tools (including 200 MB of 'Documentation')

The GUI way (for the faint of heart):
Log in as the user you used in the installer. (I don't know if this will actually work). Go to Computer. Go into your OS X HD. Take Developer. Drag to trash. Empty trash.

The Terminal way:
type the following into a terminal window:
sudo rm -r /Developer
It will ask you for a password. Type in your password. DON'T PANIC if you can't see it as you type - that's supposed to happen. That's the closest the Terminal can come to giving you bullets.

Now it does throw some other stuff into /usr/local/bin and probably /usr/bin, but I don't know exactly what it installs. In any case, this stuff will never bother you, unless you really really really need a few extra megs of disk space.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 07, '01 09:26:12PM

I thought I was cool. Ran this command from

sudo update_prebinding -root /

They claim it will optimize system performance without the Dev. Tools install.
I got a kernel panic (no previous occurances) after 10 minutes of crawling system.

I got Øwn3d cause I was stupid. Proceed with caution.

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Authored by: cichlisuite on Apr 08, '01 08:23:34PM

odd, i ran that command too, and it actually ended up fixing a problem i was having with the pepper text editor. now i can set it's prefs and they won't go corrupt.

other than that, my machine has been running normally as expected.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 09, '01 01:03:15AM

Um, you didn't get 0wned. Your machine crashed. There is a difference.

This command also crashes my machine. If you're logged in with single user mode, you can kill app, which is producing kernel errors. Why does this happen? I'm not sure. But I think it has something to do with having Mac OS X and 9.1 on the same drive. I tried the command a couple of times modifying the "/" to "/System" or "/Applications" and it never gave me a problem.

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RE: owned?
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 10, '01 09:36:32PM

No offense meant, but I didn't give you enough info to tell if I got "owned" or not.
I am quite aware that there is a difference, and chose to use the term anyway.
Perhaps you could provide a definition so that I will not be so careless in the future?

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RE: owned?
Authored by: ascorbic on Apr 11, '01 09:51:14AM

Saying that someone has been 0wn3d is what self-proclaimed 'l33t h6x0r5' (elite hackers) reckon is a big and clevr way of saying that they've been cracked/hacked. Usually in the form "I 0wn j00 - ur h6x0red - i r000LZ!!!" or something equally lame.

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RE: owned?
Authored by: s8ist on Feb 09, '06 01:18:15PM

In leet-speak, "0wn3d" usually refers to someone being hacked-usually a result of the user's machine being insecure, or the user being ignorant of various security flaws. If he meant to say he was tricked, it makes sense. It may not be used in the context you are used to, but it works for me.

When a language consists of brutally mangled English and various ASCII characters being thrown into the mix, language rules and proper use often take a back seat.

That's why I try not to correct people's Ebonics... That and my face would get 0wn3d.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 09, '01 07:36:09PM

I ran the command suggested on MacOSRumors. It took about 20 minutes to "prebind" something
like 860 files (running on minimum supported configuration: a 64MB 233 MHz beige G3), some
of which could not be prebound. It neither hurt nor, insofar as I can tell, helped, although
a number of files seemed perfectly happy to be "prebound". The only numeric testing I did
was launching Omniweb (1 min 1st launch, 25 seconds 2nd launch, same 25 seconds after
prebinding.) Omniweb, however, did not appear to need any "prebinding" so maybe that
was a poor test.

Anyway, while I didn't get any kernel panics or other problems, it certainly didn't help as
much as the 256 MB DIMM I threw in there this morning!


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Raw numbers
Authored by: babbage on Apr 10, '01 10:58:33AM
Ok, here's a Unixy way to get some more useful numbers here. If I was thinking a bit more in advance I would have tried this myself, but I didn't so we'll need someone else to try it.

Fire up an instance of the Terminal, and enter the following commands:

top -w -l1 > "top_output_`date`.txt"
sudo update_prebinding -root / 
top -w -l1 > "top_output_`date`.txt"


The middle command is the one from the original posting, that theoretically speeds up the performance of your computer. The first & third commands take a snapshot of the performance of the computer before & after the update command is run. The `date` part embeds a timestamp into the name of the file, so you end up with files like "top_output_Tue Apr 10 10:05:52 EDT 2001". This way it's obvious when you ran the reports, how long the optimization step took, etc.

If you want, you can put these three commands on the one line, separated by semi-colons, like this:

top -w -l1 > "top_output_`date`.txt" ; sudo update_prebinding -root / ; top -w -l1 > "top_output_`date`.txt"

(If the display here goes across multiple lines, ignore that -- they really are one line.) The benefit of doing it in one line is that everything is automated, so you can walk away, make cofee, whatever, and when you come back your performance reports are ready & waiting for you. (Hey kids, welcome to the wonderfully useful world of Unix shell scripting... :).

Once you have finished, you'll end up with something like the following, assuming that you ran the report from your home directory like I did:

/Users/chris% ls
total 64
drwxrwxrwx   2 chris  staff    264 Mar 26 15:20 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x   3 chris  staff    264 Dec  4 11:59 Documentation
drwxr-xr-x  18 chris  staff    568 Apr  9 14:10 Documents
drwxr-xr-x  17 chris  staff    534 Apr  9 15:00 Library
drwx------   5 chris  staff    126 Mar 26 16:02 MailAccounts
drwx------   7 chris  staff    194 Mar 26 16:02 Mailboxes
drwxrwxrwx   6 root   wheel    264 Sep 13  2000 PS to PDF Filter.pkg
drwxr-xr-x   4 chris  staff    264 Oct 17 16:38 Public
-rw-------   1 chris  staff   5358 Apr 10 09:56 top_output_Tue Apr 10 09:56:06 EDT 2001.txt
-rw-------   1 chris  staff   4096 Apr 10 10:05 top_output_Tue Apr 10 10:05:52 EDT 2001.txt

The bottom two files are the ones we're interested in. To see them, you can open them in the Finder like you may be used to, or you can simply display them from the command line, like this:

more top_output*

You can type out the full filenames, but using the asterisk catches everything that begins with "top_output", which should just be the two files we're interested in. This will present you with a big table full of data. If you don't understand what you're seeing, try the man page for the top command:

man top

I won't bother explaining those details, but that should get you started. I'd be interested in learning if this gets a clear picture of how peformance might change by applying the optimizer. If you have followed this so far, you could get more data by taking periodic snapshots of the top command before & after running the optimizer, and comparing the performance of big applications like IE across that time frame.

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already prebound?
Authored by: litedoctor on Apr 10, '01 11:31:12AM

Odd, I ran the prebinding command listed here, and all I got was a root prebound message an instant later. I thought it was supposed to take a while to run? Did I type it wrong (double checked, don't think so) or did my system get optimized all on its own?

B&W G3/300/192MB/6G, 9.1 and X on one partition.

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already prebound?
Authored by: babbage on Apr 10, '01 04:54:22PM
I'm not sure. It's possible that your system was already updated. You can get information on the command by looking at it's help text or man[ual] page. (Sample output below, following the convention that the command prompt is denoted with a % and lines without the percent sign are generally the output of a command:
/Users/chris% which update_prebinding
/Users/chris% update_prebinding --help
Apr 10 16:31:48 update_prebinding[650] Start of update_prebinding
usage: prebind {-debug} {-verbose} {-root }
               (-pkgs ( )* ) | (-files file1 file2 ...)
  Calls redo_prebinding on executables and libraries in dependency order
  -verbose: display additional status and warning messages
  -debug: don't actually try to redo the prebinding for any files
  -pkgs: specifies package/install root pairs of changed files that require
         prebinding to be redone.
  -root: specifies the directory to be searched for dependent libraries
         If neither -pkgs or -file is specified, all libraries and executables in -root
         are rebound.
/Users/chris% man update_prebinding
[Omitted, see pages for yourself if you'd like. 
 Interestingly, the timestamp is 14 Feb 2001 --
 this seems to be something Apple is contributing
 to the BSD community.]

So, the command lives in /usr/bin with a lot of the other Unixy system stuff.

It looks like you could try to run it again with a -verbose flag to see if that helps, though I'm not sure what exactly that would tell you. Personally, heeding warnings that it would slow your system way down, I ran it over a telnet session from my NT laptop while getting other work done. I wasn't really paying attention to how long it took, though it seems like it might have been about 10 minutes or so. I'm running an old iMac Bondi Blue with a 233 mHz G3 processor & 64 mb of ram and both OS9 & OSX on the same partition.

I'm not really clear on what it did, but it took quite a while to do it. Whatever it was. If it only took a few seconds for you, I'd guess that nothing happened, and maybe nothing needs to happen. *shrug*

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RE: update_prebinding/MOSR Tip
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 12, '01 03:39:21AM

OK I tried this again, I knew better, and OS X told me I should have listened to myself and then it threw up on my nice new tie. I was denied access to applications, folders, and partitions with what seemed to be no pattern at all. Booted into single user mode (option+s, right?) and noticed there was a message: "to use update _prebinding run fsck -r and then run update_prebinding or redo_prebinding" or something like that. So I followed the instructions and ended up getting the same message I recieved last time: "WARNING: No physical memory suitable for paging or swap available, temporarily disabling [something]..."

My apologies that the error messages are neither verbatim nor complete, I thought I could fix it all {grinning sheepishly}. So I called Apple at this point and tried working a few things out but nothing wanted to work so they had me re-install OS X over the copy I had on the drive; they said it was like a "Restore-in-Place." That didn't work either so I said "fuggeddabaudit," booted into OS 9.1 on seprate partition and erased "Ecks," my OS X partition.

Better luck to all.


PS: My remarks in regards to "getting owned" were in complete sarcasm.

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What Apple Says
Authored by: klktrk on Oct 21, '02 02:24:46PM

From the horse's mouth:
"'Optimizing' refers to the execution of a process called 'update_prebinding,' which allows applications to open faster by precalculating the address information of system data the applications use. This optimization is performed on the Mac OS X startup disk when Apple updates certain system components. Though update_prebinding may be executed manually, it is not necessary to use it at any other time."
--From Knowledge Base article ID: 106300

By the way, if your directory is corrupted this could mess up your system. Fix your directory with DiskWarrior first, then do this. Or, just don't do it. It will not radically change your experience for the better.

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