David Zicarelli of Cycling ’74 has posted some initial notes on what’s new and different in Max 5. He
For current users, I would describe Max 5 as analogous to Apple’s transition from Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. At some point, Apple decided that the technological foundation of their operating system was unsustainable, and required a completely new approach. We came to the same conclusion about many aspects of Max, and especially about the graphical interface — often the most complicated and difficult system within any large application software project.
Max was based on the way the Macintosh worked in 1987. Since then, a lot of things have changed about graphical interfaces, file systems, and pretty much everything else. As a result, the assumptions of 1987 were simply too deeply embedded to keep Max going for another 20 years with the same internal codebase. This became increasingly apparent in recent years, as we seemed be doing nothing but patching Max to keep it working with the latest hardware and software.
I’ve wanted to make Max better, but recently most of my work has been the drudgery of making it operate on OS X, or on Windows, or on Intel processors. While I’ve been doing this, I’ve also been accumulating ideas for what I would do once I got over all this kind of work.
Well, that day did come when we finally finished the Intel port of the OS X version, although it took about a year longer than I thought it would. Once I was able to clear that off my desk, I began organizing my thoughts about what Max requires to survive another 20 years.
He mentions the possibility of Max being available on Linux, changes to the way some objects work, and updates to the GUI. In respect to the GUI, my friend Paul puts it best:
I’m excited to see what their new interface changes will entail. I kind of liked it’s raw ugliness, same way I really liked Slashdot’s 1993 ugliness before they shined it up. Its like a really ugly comfortable couch that you know you should get rid of eventually.
(Obviously, Max is for visual thinkers)