A Different Kind of Classic for Mac OS X?

by Brian Jepson

Boing Boing reports that the Mac OS X for x86 rumor is resurfacing. Who knows if it's true?

Imagine if Apple got Mac OS X running on x86 hardware and included a
Windows environment based on Connectix technology that let you
run Windows apps with Classic-like integration. Connectix is
already a Windows-bundling OEM. In their forums, Connectix reps have
expressed interest in running Windows apps in a separate
window, rather than in a single Window that contains the Windows desktop.

All the pieces are there, and Apple's more than capable of assembling
them. Running on x86 hardware would allow for Windows compatibility
without the performance penalty that Virtual PC users are currently
experiencing. All you'd have to do is get a copy of Windows to go with
your x86 Mac if you wanted to run Windows apps. This could make the Switch a little easier for some folks.

Would something like this make it easier for you to Switch?


2002-11-14 10:54:13
I hope this never happens
A lot of people seem to think this would be a nifty idea, and it certainly seems so at first.

If Apple released Macintoshes on x86 hardware, you could guarantee that somebody would eventually release a compatibility environment for Windows programs, if not Connectix, then some open-source group. It would happen.

How could this be bad? I'll tell you.

Once the compatibility environment is available, software developers will have one more rationalization not to develop specifically for the Macintosh. We'd increasingly have to rely upon Windows programs, which would only reinforce that trend.

In addition, I don't believe that any compatibility environment could be one hundred percent compatible, so the Macintosh would eventually devolve into a lesser Windows implementation.

If Apple switches their platform to x86, it's just the beginning of the end.

2002-11-14 11:29:18
It was already easy to switch. I just went out and bought a Mac (dual-Gig G4) and then bought some software for it, and then started using it! And this after more than a decade of Windows use.

OS X on x86 would spell doom for one of the most innovative comapnies out there (Apple). As far as Apples chip woes are concerned I really hope the rumors about IBM PPC chips are true.

If I wanted to run Windows apps, I'd run Windows...

2002-11-14 12:08:52
Apple is a hardware company
at least as far as their profit goes. They make their money selling computers, not selling software.

If they switched to x86, you can be sure they would put doodads in the ROMs _and_ the OS to make sure you couldn't do something like install it on a whitebox x86, only one from Apple.

VirtualPC or SoftWindows is good enough if you only need a couple of Win programs and you don't work in them all the time. But I again ask if there's not a Mac OS X equivalent, or a UNIX/X11 equivalent that would do the job?

I know that's not the case for certain programs, including audio and video, but many people "need" applications that they only use for a very limited task. The truism that "90% of M$ Office users use less than 10% of the features" sounds right in my experience.

Apple may someday go to x86, although it seems unlikely, but it will never allow a hardware free-for-all.

2002-11-14 12:41:22
Increasing Apple's marketshare
I talked a little bit about this more than a year ago:


2002-11-14 12:43:30
OS X 86
Who would write software for OS X 86? What's the point of running windows in a classic like space with no OS X software? Wouldn't it make more sense to offer windows compatibility ala classic under OS X PPC? That would preserve the switcher's software investment until they were ready to upgrade to OS X native.

2002-11-14 17:00:33
More Interested in...
More interested in seeing Yellow Box make a come back. Yellow box is Cocoa for Windows. It would allow one to recompile apps written in Cocoa/ObjC under Windows. This way as a developer, I can port my OS X apps to Windows. I know, I know, who would really want to do that? I for one. It means a much larger market. It would be good for client/server applications where the client or even the server is developed on Mac OS X and ported to NT/Win2k/XP. My clients could be both Mac users and Windows users. Yellow Box could be ported to Solaris and Linux just as easily. OpenStep was doing this originally. OpenStep was originally very cross platform. Having written some large Mac OS X applications, I absolutely find it to be the best development environment I've ever used! I want to be able to develop cross platform applications and I don't want to use Java to do it! Java is still slow and awkward. ObjC is fast and easy! Sure I can write Java apps using Cocoa but they means they only run on Mac OS X! I WANT CROSS PLATFORM TOOLS! (early WebObjects did this and Apple pulled the plug with newer versions) Apple could surely sell a rebranded OpenStep for multiple platforms with licensing and still maintain their normal operations. Part of the bundle concept besides supporting multiple languages, it also supports multiple architectures. i.e. x86, PPC, SPARC, etc. I could distribute my application for every architecture on a single CD in a single box.

Apple should consider giving the developer tools to be cross platform away for free but only with a purchase of Apple hardware. Then sell platform licenses with each copy of the YellowBox(OpenStep) runtime. i.e. you get everything you need to develop cross platform with a new Mac purchase. Then say you've got a Sun workstation and you want to run this application on it. Well, then you'll need to buy YellowBox (OpenStep) runtime for that hardware. Once it's installed you can run any Cocoa/ObjC application natively.

They would sell a whole bunch of developers a whole bunch of Mac's with the developer tools. Then sell them runtimes for multiple platforms then sell them Enterprise tools ala WebObjects. I am still pissed that they tool ObjC out of WebObjects and stuck with only Java and dropped YellowBox altogether! Now that the XServes are taking shape and the enterprise market is being targeted perhaps these things will return. Data centers are full of legacy hardware. Netware, Win2k, Linux, Solaris, OS390, etc. No one is going to replace all their old stuff completely with XServes.

Back to the topic at hand:

What you are advocating is something akin to running VirtualPC rootless in the same way that XDarwin is rootless. i.e. Run a Windows Apps side by side with Mac OS X native apps without being in a window wrapped in the WinXP/Win2k Desktop GUI.

That's not a bad thing to have but it would negate the native porting of the application to OS X as stated by others. Why would someone port it if you can run it under emulation?

2002-11-15 11:39:57
Rootless VirtualPC?
""What you are advocating is something akin to running VirtualPC rootless in the same way that XDarwin is rootless. i.e. Run a Windows Apps side by side with Mac OS X native apps without being in a window wrapped in the WinXP/Win2k Desktop GUI.

That's not a bad thing to have but it would negate the native portingof the application to OS X as stated by others. Why would someone port it if you can run it under emulation? ""

You make a good point. But a Classic Windows would have the same limitations that the Classic Mac does. I would be frozen in time and therefore would become obsolete. No one writes software for Classic anymore and no one would write for a Classic Windows. This would be a bridge for switchers and thus could co-exist with Virtual PC.

2002-11-15 12:02:12
3 Ghz P4 Smokes G4
The P4 is fast, the PPC is slow. Face up to reality. 3+ Ghz beats 1+ Ghz no matter if the P4 architecture is less elegant than the G4 or 'gets less done per clock'. If you've seen the latest benchmarks, the G4 is getting trounced- even with Altivec enhanced software.

Apple should switch to Intel hardware sooner rather than later. The current disparity between the G4 and P4 would allow for an emulation transition similar to the one used when they went from 680x0 to PPC.

Don't let MacOSX run on commodity pc hardware- the harware sales are too important to Apple. Do create best-of-breed Apple/Intel hardware that can run Windows natively, and has emulation to run old G4 software. A simple recompile will allow macosx software to run on the new intel hardware natively.

Then Apple has it all- parity in the speed race, the best UI, Unix core, and full Windows compatability. There is no downside.

2002-11-16 06:38:57
It might make it easier, but why switch then?
But at the same time would take the reason to switch ad absurdum. Lot's of the people from the switch campaign switched because the Mac just works - no drivers needed etc...

Now why does a mac just work and why don't we need stinkin drivers?

Just a fwe short words: Because Apple controls the Hardware! All parts play nicely together, third party hardware is not as much present in a mac as in a windows machine, therefore we don't need no stinkin drivers...

I hope and i urge Apple, never, really never come out with a MacOS for X86 unless you really, really must!

2002-11-17 14:55:02
Apple NEEDS this...
I'm posting this anonymously because I *have* too. I've been battling my boss and our VP of IT on this point to switch to Macs but it's not going to happen. Let me explain why.

I work for a Fortune 500 Company. In companies this large, you have to have standards. Standard machines with standard configs with standard software etc. There are very good reasons for this. Gradually, Macs have been getting phased out for machines running Win 2000. With the advent of Mac OS X, this trend slowed because the OS is now being seen (finally) as stable (albeit a little slow...) However, now there are two bigger problems.

1. Speed. 3 GHz Pentiums are cheaper and are trouncing Dual 1.25 GHz G4s. PIV's will probably hit 4 GHz before Apple hits 2 GHz... (Thanks Moto...)

2. App. Compatibiltiy. We run CRM, we run ERP, we run apps where there simply isn't Mac compatibility and this isn't going to change. We're talking about enterprise software that costs millions of dollars. While VPC works admirably, there is still a noticeable speed hit.

Here's the ideal scenario.

Imagine Apple "switched" to some 64 bit x86 chip. They would, of course, build a motherboard with custom ROMs so that Apple still controls the hardware. Then, get Connectix to write Virtual PC for Mac (x86) and we'd have the most compatible computer ever. OSX with the ability to run Win apps at almost close to full speed. Think of this for a second. If you just want to run Mac apps fine. You can. If you want to run Win apps, by a copy of VPC and the Win OS of your choice and you're set.

Run any OS, run any app, run it really fast.

People would switch in droves. Most importantly, I could finally convince our VP of IT. Until that day, Macs are only getting more scarce around here.

2002-11-18 07:01:07
p4 vs. g4...faster? get real loser.
please, the benchmarks you are talking about had ADVERTISING for the P4 on the same page as the 'review'. can you even spell 'SHILL?"

on blast, the g4 is faster by 5x than a p4 2.53.
on rc5, it is 7x faster. WHY? optimized applications for altivec. moron.

even on the tests they did do, the p4 was 1.5-2x faster, NOT 3x, as the mhz would suggest (and even there it was questionable, due to the fact they used software (after effects) that is only marginally aware of the second processor (dont beleive? see the 933 vs. dual gig mac tests. THEN OPEN YOUR MOUTH.) if they wanted to be 'fair' they would have done some 3d tests where all processors are used, on both platforms.) mr 'chazz' as he calls himself, is a pundit- not even worth reading anymore, as he is paid for by advertisers. his conclusions have little to do with reality.

he even states windows xp is crash proof. this is true only if you don't 'push it'. frankly, i HAVE a computer so i can push it. and i do. xp is NOT stable enough for power users. (those who continually run (and leave open) 30-40 applications, including development, quicktime movies/streams, browsers, remote access clients, design/3d apps, etc. ) multitasking.
my uptime runs in months- not days like windows.


2002-11-23 14:17:18
Apple should buy out SUN MICRO

Why submit to a inferior foe, SUN is where apple would like to go so do a stock deal and play with the big boys, maybe some day buy out HP, imagin OSX on a Cray.

2002-11-23 15:22:04
Don't Follow OS/2
IBM had the bright idea of adding the capability to run Windows software and as a result, most developers simply developed for Windows. OS/2 users discovered that running Windows from OS/2 required much more memory, offered slower performance than stand alone Windows, and had the added penalty of incredibly slow start times for applications unless Windows was left continuously running in the background. Who knows how well OS/2 could have done if only IBM has spent their energy developing OS/2 native apps (and more efffective advertising). Mac OS X running Windows apps is a BAD idea for the mainstream.
2003-04-27 14:54:58
p4 vs. g4...faster? get real loser.
you are all losers, get a life and get off your computers. There are lots of things to do in this world that dont include using a mouse or keyboard,,,, wake up dorks
2003-06-10 23:31:16
I would love OSX on X86
What would happen if Microsoft was to buy dell? Would the loose MILLIONS or GAIN MILLIONS? I feel that Apple would really prosper by releasing OSX on X86! Think about it! They own the operating system so their machines would run as good as, or better than any other brand. They sell the operating system and the machine and gain huge amounts of market share in both the hardware and software sector! Apple makes awsome software for example: itunes, iphoto, OS X, Final Cut Pro just to name a few. I am a Power User and just like almost every other power user I will not buy a prebuilt computer!! I want to know what is in the machine and how is was installed! I also want to be able to change and upgrade parts. The way that apple does business currently I fell is only catering to a certain type of buyer! I do not think they will loose that buyer but they will gain many many more buyers! Please free me from MICROSOFT!!!!! You build OSX for X86 and I will buy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2003-08-14 22:45:42
p4 vs. g4...faster? get real loser.
lol, listen to this clown. You are on the o'reilly network, not AOL shithead