April 20 (Revised 3:50 p.m. PDT)
QuarkXPress Updater Cuts Some Lag Under OS 9
Quark revises stance on third-party contributions to slowness

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

See our Tech Tip archival section for more tips on improving Quark's performance under OS 9.

Earlier this week, Quark Inc. quietly released an updater to version 4.1 of QuarkXPress. Yesterday the company sent out its newsletter proclaiming that the new update fixed "the QuarkXPress contribution to the slowness problem when switching tools running under Mac OS 9 (and when running under Mac OS 8.6 with the Font Manager Update 1.0 installed)," as well as two other significant bugs.

In its technical newsletter released yesterday, the company had accused Adobe's ATM 4.5.2 of contributing to the lag. After this was published here today, the company sent out a request that we change this information to reflect that Quark in no way blames Adobe or ATM for contributing to this problem. Quark did not revise its stance on Mac OS 9, however, which it says is a contributing factor to the problem, as is OS 8.6 with Font Manager installed.

The new message from Quark reads: "In our previous issue, we implied that the slowness problem when running QuarkXPress under Mac OS 9 was partly caused by ATM v4.5.2—this is incorrect. The problem had been tested and reproduced even with fonts loaded in the System Folder, when ATM was not active at all."

It goes on to state: "Our previous article also stated that we await an update to ATM to correct the ATM portion of the problem. However, since ATM is not actually a contributor to the problem, it is Adobe's decision whether or not ATM needs to be updated to address this problem. Many QuarkXPress users tell us that simply updating to QuarkXPress or Passport version 4.11 corrects the problem for them and that they are satisfied with the speed and performance of QuarkXPress 4.11 running under Mac OS 9 or OS 8.6 with the Font Manager Update 1.0."

At any rate, we decided to find out what this means to the end user by putting the update to the test on the most extension-loaded, font-bloated machine we had available—an old Power Mac 7300/200 running Mac OS 9.0 and ATM Lite 4.5.2. The result? Well, the lag wasn't fixed entirely. In fact, in an actual print publishing environment, the lag would still be intolerable. However, here's what we found:

  • A document using several fonts and images took 35 seconds to draw on screen under 4.1; it took 30 seconds to draw under 4.11.
  • Selecting a text box for the first time took about 19 seconds under 4.1; it took seven seconds in the new version.
  • Scrolling down the page to reveal the folio line containing a font used nowhere else in the document took 23 seconds in 4.1; the same move took three seconds in 4.11.
  • Selecting a box with the selection tool and then switching to the text tool took 19 seconds under 4.1 (to the point when the cursor was revealed); in 4.11, this took six seconds. The lag when switching between tools seems to occur only on the first instance in 4.11.

It should be noted that on some systems no lag is felt whatsoever, even when running OS 9 and numerous extensions. If you continue to experience lag problems, please see our archival Tech Tip section for a few ideas to help cut back on the problem.

The 4.11 updater works only with QuarkXPress 4.1 or Passport 4.1. Those using earlier versions of Quark 4 need to download the 4.1 updater separately from Quark's Web site. It's a free update. Users can download the 4.11 update from http://www.quark.com/files/index.jsp, as well as the updater for QuarkXPress 4.0.x to 4.1. For more information, visit http://www.quark.com.

Post a comment or question on the Creative Mac World Wide User Forum!

HomeMore News Headlines