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This week in Apple

Intel will offer test versions of software tools aimed at letting Mac developers improve the performance of programs that run on its chips.

Intel plans to offer test versions of software tools aimed at allowing Mac developers to improve the performance of programs that run on its chips.

The company said this week it will offer beta versions of both its compiler and its performance libraries, which contain code optimized for both digital media and scientific computing tasks.

Kevin Smith, director of the Intel compiler lab, said that Intel's tools could appeal to those who already use its tools for Linux and Windows-based programs. He also said that the company's compilers typically offer the best performance on its chips.

When Apple Computer announced in June that it planned to move to Intel chips, one of the companies left in the lurch was Terra Soft Solutions. The small company had carved out a nice niche specializing in selling Linux for Macs and other machines that use IBM's PowerPC chips. In the days following Apple's bombshell, Terra Soft quickly announced plans to seek out alternative hardware on which its Yellow Dog Linux could run.

This week, Terra Soft announced it has filled some of the void created by Apple's move. Under a new deal, Terra Soft will resell PowerPC-based servers from Mercury Computer Systems. Mercury's XR9 systems use the same G5 chip as Apple's Xserve, but at 2.4GHz, the chips are slightly faster than those used in Apple's top-of-the-line servers.

For those who already have Macs, Apple is offering free repairs for early iMac G5 desktops impacted by a component problem that's preventing some models from powering up or displaying images. Under a program launched last week, the company will cover repairs for up to two years from the purchase date for iMacs that encounter a video or power problem related to the component glitch.

The iMacs in question were sold from September 2004 until June 2005, so until now repairs have been covered by Apple's standard one-year warranty. The computer maker said affected systems have serial numbers starting with numbers in one of four ranges: W8435-W8522, QP435-QP522, CK435-CK522 and YD435-YD522.