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Thread: OS X comming to x86. maybe

  1. #1
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    OS X comming to x86. maybe

    Yup its true apple built a version of OS X for the x86 platform. There not planning to release it its just there as a worst case scenario thing. Kind of a pity I think that lots of people would be willing to buy OS X if it wasn't tied in with the over priced hardware. Sure I-Macs look cool but in my opinion they fall short in every other area compared to a cheap dell or Compaq. Come to think of it apple is kind of like Microsoft with out the monopoly. Only after being ported to x86 could OS X be a serious contender to Microsoft. Unless of course Microsoft owns apple witch wouldn't surprise me.

    Any ways one of the more interesting things I've read this week defiantly worth a look.
    find it here: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,496270,00.asp

    As Apple Computer Inc. draws up its game plan for the CPUs that will power its future generations of Mac hardware, the company is holding an ace in the hole: a feature-complete version of Mac OS X running atop the x86 architecture.

    According to sources, the Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker has been working steadily on maintaining current, PC-compatible builds of its Unix-based OS. The project (code-named Marklar, a reference to the race of aliens on the "South Park" cartoons) has been ongoing inside Apple since the early days of its transition to the Unix-based Mac OS X in the late '90s.

    Sources said more than a dozen software engineers are tasked to Marklar, and the company's mainstream Mac OS X team is regularly asked to modify code to address bugs that crop up when compiling the OS for x86. Build numbers keep pace with those of their pre-release PowerPC counterparts; for example, Apple is internally running a complete, x86-compatible version of Jaguar, a k a Mac OS X 10.2, which shipped last week.

    Apple did not return calls requesting comment.

    But a switch to Intel or Advanced Micro Devices Inc. processors is probably not in the cards for tomorrow's Macs, sources said. Such a move would require a massive revision of Apple's closed hardware architecture and a fundamental rethinking of its business model, which is founded on tight integration between its proprietary system software and hardware. Apple would have to also coax most of its third-party developers to rewrite their applications from the ground up in the company's Cocoa application environment. (Most major vendors have instead tuned their applications to Carbon, a set of Mac OS X-compatible APIs originally culled from the classic Mac OS and rooted in the PowerPC architecture.)

    Nevertheless, Marklar has apparently gained strategic relevance in recent months, as Apple's relationship with Motorola has grown strained and Apple looks to alternative chip makers.

    Apple has reportedly been dissatisfied with the slow rate of Motorola's PowerPC development after committing to the PowerPC G4 as the centerpiece of its current desktops and professional laptop systems. The Power Mac G4 systems Apple unveiled in August topped off with a dual-1.25GHz system, a disappointing increase from the dual-GHz top model released in January. Meanwhile, users have debated whether the DDR support in the new systems is fully exploited by the G4 processors Motorola was able to provide.

    The likeliest solution to the Motorola impasse, sources said: A desktop version of the 64-bit Power4 server chip in the works from IBM, which co-developed the PowerPC platform alongside Motorola and Apple and has provided CPUs for a variety of Macs. Sources told eWEEK that Apple and IBM are collaborating closely to equip the Power4 with the Altivec vector-processing capabilities built into the PowerPC G4. IBM is expected to discuss its new CPU at October's Microprocessor Forum.

    As it weighs the future of the Mac as a PowerPC platform, Marklar offers a relatively low-cost way of keeping the company's options open. "It's a hedge," one observer said. "It's a small price to pay to make sure Apple has a fallback plan."

    "Steve [Jobs] has said Mac OS X is the OS for the next 15 years," another source said. "Marklar is a way of making sure that's true."

    Jobs himself has hinted that Apple won't be constrained by the PowerPC alliance if better options present themselves. The Apple CEO renewed speculation about Apple's hardware future with remarks he made at a July meeting with analysts. "Between Motorola and IBM, the roadmap looks pretty decent," Jobs said. However, he said that after early 2003 (when he forecast the transition to Mac OS X would be complete), the company will re-examine its processor partnerships. "We'll have options, and we like to have options"

    At the company's shareholder meeting in April, however, Jobs asserted that Apple has "no plans" for a switch to Intel. When a shareholder argued that a move could be beneficial to the company, Jobs replied, "That is an opinion."

    Despite its current PowerPC pedigree, Mac OS X's roots tap Intel hardware. In December 1996, Apple acquired NeXT Software Inc. and its Intel-compatible OpenStep operating system. Under the company's "Rhapsody" OS strategy, it planned to base the next-generation Mac OS on OpenStep, shipping an Intel version to provide a cross-platform development environment. While developer previews of Rhapsody for Intel were released, it was never shipped to customers and quietly left the limelight as Apple's software strategy was refined into today's OS X.

    Apple's current efforts come nearly a decade after the company grounded its "Star Trek" program, a collaboration with Novell to develop the Mac's System 7 on Intel microprocessors. While a working prototype was put together in just three months, interest from PC vendors never materialized. In 1993 the project was rolled into Apple's Advanced Technology Group before it fell victim to budget cuts.

  2. #2
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    .... I dunno, somedays i think i've upgraded about (win3.1, win95, win98, Linux6.2, win2G) 5 times too many already... DOS6.2 was a lot more fun it seems... or maybe 'putin' life has just gotten a lot more complicated and it doesn't seem as much fun, and a lot more expensive anymore... Naw, in this race you can't really stop or go backwards or stop spending more loot without getting ran over, can you.

  3. #3
    Old Fart
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    I would be willing to try anything that gives Windows valid competition and having had a bit of exposure to OSX I think this is a good idea. Don't get me wrong, in no way am I badmouthing Linux. Linux is a great OS, no doubt about it. However, the punch that Apple's brand name packs would give it a serious jumpstart at taking some of M$'s OS marketshare.
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  4. #4
    Mac OS X for x86 is fine, but I think Motorola will try hard to keep Apple using their PPC architecture for their mainstream machines. This is just a back up plan for Apple incase Motorola does act stupid.

    HOWEVER: the question that will be on everyone's mind is how will Mac OS X on x86 perform compared to other operating systems on the market. x86 being the resource hungry architecture that it is might not meet the demands of Mac OS X. If Mac OS X comes to x86, it will come to high-end workstations.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Umm, even if they did port MacOS X to x86, no Mac programs would run as they do now..., it truly would be an operating system without programs. Sure BSD CLI programs for x86 architecture would work, but Office X, Adobe products, and all the other reasons that people who say that there are no programs for Macintoshes...

    Anyway, MacOS X was designed for an EASY transition from MacOS 9.2.2, that is why there is the resource hog called the TruBlue Environment (Classic). Carbon was designed to make porting old apps easier, and over half the progams out there are still Carbon ports and not Cocoa.

    Darwin, the BSD-type uderlayer has been working on x86 for a bit now, but that is not OS X, it doesn't have Aqua or much else for that matter...

    And, Macs are built from a very limited variety of parts, PCs are built out of a wide variety of parts, it would take a lot to just start coding compatibility for every possible PC configuration...

    It just seems well, a little far-fetched..., I mean they have radically changed the architecture before and left behind all the people that didn't change, but it isn't RISC that sucks, it is Motorola...

    If IBM would only build the PowerPC chips...
    The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of dusk. -Hegel

  6. #6
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Heres another article with some more info
    Its not software piracy. Iím just making multiple off site backups.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Red face

    I think Apple should stick to Macs. No offence to Mac users or anything, but why would you even buy a Mac? I've found that the computers that Apple make are quite ummm... well, no need for insulting Mac. Anyway, I wouldn't buy Mac OS X for x86 simply becuase im fine with Windows and RH Linux 7.3. I've seen Mac OS X already and it doesn't impress me. I wouldn't be surprised if OS X for x86 doesn't sell well becuase there is no reason to buy it. Tech Gurus are happy with Linux/Unix and the average joe winodws user is happy with windows.
    -Just my 2 cents

  8. #8
    Senior Member problemchild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    I would buy it just to have something to play with. I haven't used Macs with any degree of seriousness since System 7.5.5, so I'm curious to see what Apple has cooked up these days. Everything I hear is good, and I'd like to see for myself. I've seen a couple in Circuit City and those places, but I've never gotten a chance to really play with it and break it.
    Do what you want with the girl, but leave me alone!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    On the upcoming BSD con in Amsterdam there will be a demonstration on how to put your own Mac OSX box together with other parts


    I will be attending (since it's 20 minutes away from my place ) and perhaps more Euro AO ppl would like to join me.


  10. #10
    The Mac OS has always been built to be x86 compatible. However, with Microsoft bailing out Apple years ago for $150 million. Mac signed an agreement to avoid product competition. With this agreement out mac continued with their own hardware line and remained independant. With the agreement "contract" over Mac starting the competition by placing the switch comercials. They have been debating the release of the OS for intel for the longest time. However, this may not be released if it will cost Mac huge hardware sales.

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