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Realtek's Wireless Driver Drives Thoughts of an Apple Netbook

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-get-there-from-here-in-cupertino dept.

Portables (Apple) 136

Slatterz writes "With Macworld 2009 mere weeks away, one rumour that seemingly won't die is the idea of a Mac OS X Netbook PC. Asking a company to provide OS X drivers for their netbooks has, up until now, been met with silence, and probably a little quaking on the vendor side as they wait for the heavy footsteps of Apple's army of lawyers. It seems, however, that Realtek, who provide the WiFi chip found in the MSI Wind U100, are dipping their toes into the legally iffy world of the Hackintosh. Forum users at MSIWind.Net asked politely for drivers, and after a lot of patience, Beta drivers were provided."

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136 comments

Nothing in the EULA (4, Insightful)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132497)

There is nothing in the Apple EULA that prevents anyone from creating a driver for their hardware to work with OS X. The fact that RealTek does not make -or may never make- hardware for Macs is immaterial.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132929)

I think the bigger thing that component manufacturers are worried about is that Steve Jobs will call up MSI and say "Hey, we'd like to contract with you to develop a Mac netbook based on the Wind to run OS X. Oh, and by the way... don't use any RealTek chips in it."

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133143)

I think the bigger thing that component manufacturers are worried about is that Steve Jobs will call up MSI and say "Hey, we'd like to contract with you to develop a Mac netbook based on the Wind to run OS X. Oh, and by the way... don't use any RealTek chips in it."

I am not a lawyer but that sounds like tortious endangerment of interstate commerce to me.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (4, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133335)

I think the bigger thing that component manufacturers are worried about is that Steve Jobs will call up MSI and say "Hey, we'd like to contract with you to develop a Mac netbook based on the Wind to run OS X. Oh, and by the way... don't use any RealTek chips in it."

I am not a lawyer but that sounds like tortious endangerment of interstate commerce to me.

Quite right, you're not. If you're Apple and you approach a manufacturer, nothing prevents you from stating that you don't want to have a particular supplier's products in your custom built product. Now if Apple were to tell MSI that to do business with Apple, they would have to completely drop RealTek as a supplier from all of MSI's products then you might have a point.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133887)

Only if you are super blatant about it. Nobody(who isn't a complete idiot) is going to call up and tell the other guy about how he has a personal grudge against RealTek because of their driver support for hackintoshes.

On the other hand, if Steve just happens, on the good faith advice of his engineers, to have some legitimate concerns about the quality of upcoming Realtek chipsets... Well, maybe another supplier would mean reduced liability exposure...

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133241)

But why would he do that if there is a RealTek driver already? It's not like Macs don't come with expansion card slots (PCI or ExpressCard) that could take a WiFi card with a RealTek chip. Provide drivers for OS X that allow people to buy these cards and use them in a Mac Pro or a MacBook Pro, and then when Apple's looking for their next supplier you can say 'oh, and we already have drivers for your OS so you don't need to spend any money developing them.'

Re:Nothing in the EULA (3, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133311)

It's not like Macs don't come with expansion card slots (PCI or ExpressCard) that could take a WiFi card with a RealTek chip

Actually the MacBook doesn't have an expansion slot - that's what caused the big hoo-ha about the lack of Firewire support, there's no way to add it in later.

For the other Macs you're absolutely right - especially if they had a wireless N driver as I could conceive of some Mac users upgrading toa third party card to provide wireless N functionality.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133451)

Macs _do_ have wireless N cards.
They just call them airport cards and don't make a big deal about it.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136019)

Not the earliest model MacBook Pros, and not any of the G-4/G-5 laptops. All of those do have card slots though (Well probably not all of the G-4/G-5 models do, but most do, and the early MBPs do).

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136183)

They never made any G5 laptops. ;)

As for the G4s, they're all Mini-PCI, but with a proprietary form factor, IIRC. (And, IIRC, G3s with the original AirPort card had a hidden PCMCIA slot for it.)

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136219)

Ehh... I'm sketchy on the pre-Intel models. I know for a fact that my early MBP had G-wireless and a micro port though :-)

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133481)

MacBook Pros do. I have never used it... But it is there. Also a lot of older Macs do as well. And on old system you are more likely going to need a replacement Wireless card.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133703)

It's not like Macs don't come with expansion card slots (PCI or ExpressCard) that could take a WiFi card with a RealTek chip

Actually the MacBook doesn't have an expansion slot - that's what caused the big hoo-ha about the lack of Firewire support, there's no way to add it in later.

For the other Macs you're absolutely right - especially if they had a wireless N driver as I could conceive of some Mac users upgrading toa third party card to provide wireless N functionality.

Well, MiniPCIe is certainly available on the MacBooks - it may not be exposed as a connector, but the old wireless card most certainly is connected via MiniPCIe (really, PCIe x1). So RealTek may pitch to Apple to use their chipsets in future Macs. (It's not like the crab isn't used elsewhere - unless things have changed recently, Apple uses the Realtek audio chips).

Anyhow, USB is available on the MacBooks as well - as USB2 is fast enough for 802.11n.

And the lack of Firewire/Expresscard on the MacBook was because the circuit board only runs along two sides of the case - and the edge where there are connectors already has connectors down its entire side. The only option Apple has is to put the connector on the back (fugly), or put the connector on the other side (oh wait, there's an optical drive in the way) with a ribbon cable. Or use one of those godawful 4 pin connectors (seriously, given the weight of a Firewire cable, it feels like the cable will rip that thing out just from gravity).

Re:Nothing in the EULA (4, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134955)

Sorry, are you really claiming here that Apple left the firewire port out for the sake of aesthetics and/or to protect us from the tyranny of a four-pin port?! It was left out as a profit-maximising measure because they know that the MacBook is incredibly popular with musicians and they want to force people who rely on FireWire (i.e. anyone who wants to get multi-channel audio into a laptop at a decent sample/bitrate) into buying the MacBook Pro. Simple as that.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26136775)

No, it's not that simple.

They left it out for design reasons mostly. There's a very good analysis of this if you google around a bit. Here, let me do it for you, you lazy ass.

http://tinyurl.com/6hfhnh

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137525)

Apple knows how to make a USB port that can also function as firewire - every iPod was like that until they dropped firewire. So, I don't buy the design argument - at least one of those USB ports could have doubled as a firewire port.

four-pin port tyranny (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137557)

It's true, and thanks to Apple, we are spared the wrath of these genocidal monsters. Four pin firewire has led to the deaths of countless thousands while millions of others slowly starve in the death camps. Thankfully Apple put an end to these Pinochets-in-plastic when they built the new MacBook without the four-pin port. Remember, folks, first they came for the floppy drive, but I did not speak out, because I didn't like floppy disks at all. Then they came for USB 1.1 but I did not speak out because I'm actually fond of faster protocols. Now that they are coming for these Little Eichmanns I can only jump for joy. Apple macht frei!!!

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133461)

But why would he do that if there is a RealTek driver already?

As retribution for encouraging running OS X on non-Apple brand hardware.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133357)

Apple doesn't strike me as a company that would contract out such a project.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (5, Interesting)

code4fun (739014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135951)

One point about RealTek's driver, it looks like a plain Ethernet device from OS X. From what I understand, you need a special program to set the wireless settings. That is, you can't use existing wireless configuration. It also doesn't work as smoothly as Airport, either. What others have done on the MSI Wind is buy a wireless card off eBay that uses the same chipset Apple uses. This way, OS X sees it as an Airport device.

I'm more interested in Apple coming out with a netbook based on the ARM processor that will give me a day's worth of use instead of 4-5 hours on the current netbooks. In addition, I would like to be able to use the device as a tablet so I can jot things down and read PDF documents. Now, that's a netbook! Build it and I will buy.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

p4ul13 (560810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132939)

And even if there were something in their EULA stating that other companies are not allowed to make drivers for their OS, how would that be enforced? I mean they need other companies to provide drivers for their devices, so they can't really be that picky about what drivers they allow or not.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133615)

The only thing they could really do is add a driver signing system like Vista has. And unlike Vista, they could actually enforce their rules.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134073)

Just to clarify: you want to be a twitter sock puppet. The idea of twitter shoving his hand up your asshole turns you on. You want a dude to fist your asshole. Just to be clear.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136281)

So you've found a reliable way around Vista 64bit driver signing? Do tell!

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

sirsnork (530512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136977)

No one mentioned 64bit, 32bit Vista you can just say install anyway, which is what Apple wouldn't allow you to do if they implemented such a system

Re:Nothing in the EULA (3, Insightful)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133019)

And not only that, but this is one of the reasons that Darwin was open sourced in the first place. My company has done the odd bit of consulting here and there with other entities that provide all sorts of weird hardware drivers for OS X, and they don't call Apple and ask them for one first.

Because they don't have to. That's part of what Darwin is for. This is FUD, and should be treated as such.

Not worth it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133361)

This kind of thing is SO not worth it.

Just like supporting Teh Lunix with drivers, providing Apple drivers will neither increase customer satisfaction nor sell more units.

Apple and Lunix users are a small but disproportionately vocal user base. Teh Lunix support will, statistically, only increase sales perhaps 2%... and it's an acquisition of a very whiny and ungrateful customer base at that.

Apple users would be a bit better... but it still gains you nothing. For the tiny perhaps 2% increase in customers (and wildly generous to even estimate that), you are buying yourself a lawsuit with Apple... an extremely litigious and brutal monopoly. The potential units sold aren't even going to come close to the cost of the lawsuit.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

giminy (94188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133405)

The fact that RealTek does not make -or may never make- hardware for Macs is immaterial.

But they do! RealTek makes chips which are placed on PCI wifi cards (check out the RTL8185).

With this driver, those wifi cards can be used in a Mac Pro or Power Macintosh with PCI slots.

So Realtek has a legitimate reason to make these drivers. osx86 support is just a side effect.

Re:Nothing in the EULA (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133757)

Many manufacturers do not make drivers for the Mac for the same reason that many do not make drivers for *nix. The simply do not want to have the responsibility of support.

This does not mean that no one supports mac. I use a third party wireless device for one of my old Macs. I wanted the 'n' spec, and the only way to get it was to hook up through the USB. It works well enough, not as seamless as built in Airport, but it is, obviously, faster.

And this brings up a second issue. Many things have always work out of the box with Mac simply because these things are standards compliant. For instance, PS printer, PIP cameras, and external drives, all work without drivers. It would be nice if there were a standard for wireless network devices so I would not need a special driver. But this is a difference of philosophy. On the PC side, every device was to take over your computer. In the old days, even the internet service wanted to take over you computer. So a custom device driver was written, and other malware was installed. Sometimes this provided nice integration, but most of the time it just lead to driver conflicts. I much prefer a generic abstraction layer that can accept many devices and a front end of the users choice.

There is no need for this speculation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26132499)

This is not about free software, Apple users are all heterosexual straight people who exclusively prefer penis in vagina intercourse. Also their computers are wack and expensive, so GO TO IRAN YOU GODLESS HORES!

Re:There is no need for this speculation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26132689)

What's a hores?

Re:There is no need for this speculation (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132973)

An ancient Egyptian god [wikipedia.org] who performs sexual activity [wikipedia.org] on hoofed mammals [wikipedia.org] in exchange for money

Re:There is no need for this speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133203)

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

Keep drinking that ethanol!

Re:There is no need for this speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133659)

Come on. The Eye of Horus. Just BEGGING for a goatse link.

About time (5, Funny)

dread (3500) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132507)

Suddenly I think I will play with the Wind tonight.

Re:About time (1, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132785)

That's a horrible euphemism and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Re:About time (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133371)

Suddenly I think I will play with the Wind tonight.

Just don't break it.

darwin (5, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132537)

Doesn't OSX run on Darwin [wikipedia.org] , An open source bsd based OS? Why would you not be allowed to create drivers for darwin?

Re:darwin (5, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132827)

The story is bunk. Its making a lot of assumptions due to lack of knowledge on just why a Hackintosh is illegal, and how this is not.

Nothing prevents ANY company from making drivers that will run in OS X. The ONLY prevention is from someone putting OS X on a non-apple machine due to the licensing agreement.

So Dell, HP, MSI any of them can make drivers for their machines that work in OS X, they just cant put OS X ON their machines nor inform you how to do it.

Re:darwin (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133367)

nor inform you how to do it.

Oh really? I seriously doubt that Dell, HP, etc... signed into a contract with Apple forbidding them to explain how to install OSX.

They just don't want the hassle of an Apple SLAPP.

Re:darwin (1)

Wumpus (9548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133515)

I think falcon5768 refers to the DMCA, and to the fact that to install OS X on non-Apple hardware you must circumvent the copy protection, which you're not allowed to do or instruct others about.

Re:darwin (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133607)

Last time I checked, the protection in OSX is not copy protection, it's a hardware lock in system, but in no way does it prevent copying or access to OSX.

Re:darwin (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133817)

Last time I read up on the subject, I found Amit Singh's article claiming that various executable files in MacOS X are encrypted and require a 64 bit code delivered by the SMC chip to decode them. Quite foolproof (little chance of things going wrong for users of Apple hardware), not very difficult to circumvent, but 100% necessary to circumvent to get full MacOS X running. It doesn't prevent copying the installer DVD with the encrypted executables, it doesn't prevent installing MacOS X with the encrypted executables, but it prevents the _real_ code from every being available to your computer.

Re:darwin (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133673)

can make drivers for their machines that work in OS X, they just cant put OS X ON their machines nor inform you how to do it.

And that is what makes this story likely to be true. IE Realtek has been asked to provide drivers by people who clearly plan to use those drivers to extend the functionality of devices that apple lawyers keep a real close eye on, with the intent to prevent this application. While Realtek's work wouldn't aid in overcoming copy protections, it probably encourages people to overcome those protections. Clearly taking a close look at laws like the DMCA was required before proceeding, and they apparently came to the conclusion that they were in the clear.
I see that with things like mod chips, catering to businesses/people that violate US laws, is usually a fuzzy line.

Re:darwin (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134149)

If Realtek helped they can kiss their contract renewal goodbye.

In fact I fail to understand what realtek chip does inside an Apple computer.

Re:darwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26135591)

In fact I fail to understand what realtek chip does inside an Apple computer.

You fail... Period.

Non-Story (4, Informative)

Benanov (583592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132541)

Really, this is a non-story. RealTek makes GPL drivers for *nix, so I'm sure at some point it wasn't going to be really hard to make a driver for Darwin.

I'm also certain that RealTek makes chips that can be used in USB dongles (RaLink certainly does) so therefore it's a cheap way to provide connectivity to an older Mac which has USB but no wireless (I'm sure there are a few models still in production; I'm not a mac head).

Re:Non-Story (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134297)

The API for mac drivers is quite different from Linux so it's not just a simple recompile and test. Not that you said that's all it has to be of course!

Since OS X is based on Darwin (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132613)

Since OS X is based on Darwin, and Darwin is open source. What is the legal problem with making low level drivers available for Darwin?

Re:Since OS X is based on Darwin (4, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133135)

Because when you think about it that way it doesn't make for sensationalist flamebait articles on slashdot. Duh.

Odd. (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132621)

So the realtek driver doesn't show up as an "airport" device; but as some other sort of connection. Does anybody know if this is just realtek being realtek(that is to say, painfully mediocre and not really adequate), or is "airportness" like CD-Burning support, something that is confined to Apple-shipping hardware by design?

As somebody mentioned, OSX's lower levels are largely open, at least enough to write drivers for; but that doesn't mean that the higher level polish stuff is. Anybody know?

Re:Odd. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26132671)

If they integrated into Apple's Airport utility, they would probably be violating some agreement with Apple.

By providing drivers to a separate bluetooth device, it provides a workaround that hopefully keeps Apple away.

Re:Odd. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26134577)

Unless Apple changed it in Leopard, the Airport interfaces are SPI, not public API. That essentially means that nobody other than Apple can produce drivers that even link against those parts of the I/O Kit. So no, this has nothing to do with any agreement and everything to do with why every third-party wireless device has to have its own configuration tools.....

Re:Odd. (1, Funny)

julian67 (1022593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132915)

Wow, if I buy an Apple I can burn CDs with a wireless adapter! I'm bending over now...

Re:Odd. (2, Interesting)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133263)

I don't know, but some early revisions of the Linksys WMP54G were compatible with Macs, simply because the Linksys and Apple Airport card used the exact same reference design with no changes. They show up in the Airport menu as "third party" but work exactly like the built-in airport. Later revisions used a smaller version of the chipset though, and they weren't Mac compatible.

Re:Odd. (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134221)

Educate us non "Mac People", what the HELL does a wifi adapter have to do with burning CD's?

Re:Odd. (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134579)

Re-writing the GP's point "is airport-support like cd recording support, so third party wifi cards suffer from the same integration issues as third party CD-Rs, which aren't quite supported?". It wasn't that unparsable to begin with though.

Re:Odd. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135223)

Sorry about the bad wording. On Apple machines, Apple's built in CD burn support works only with optical drives shipped by apple. My understanding is that there is something baked into the firmware that identifies them to the system.
Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipping Drive)
is what you will see in system profiler.

This is a deliberate move on Apple's part, since third party burn tools work with any drives, and there have been various hacks at various times to make Apple tools work with third party drives. CD burning has nothing to do with wireless. I was asking if "airport" functionality was analogous to CD burning functionality in that Apple arbitrarily restricts them to 1st party hardware.

Re:Odd. (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135601)

ahh. I'm not plugged into the Apple or Windows world at all anymore (never was plugged into Apple).

nonsense. just plain wrong (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135707)

I just finished a disk burn in my PowerMac G4 which has a Lite-On LTR24826 dvd-burner - a drive that has never been officially fitted to any Mac. Apples disk burning works with any drive

Re:nonsense. just plain wrong (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136989)

Perhaps they've changed something, I don't really follow the issue; but these guys [patchburn.de] seem to believe that something is going on enough to have bothered hacking around it.

Re:Odd. (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137353)

So the realtek driver doesn't show up as an "airport" device; but as some other sort of connection. Does anybody know if this is just realtek being realtek(that is to say, painfully mediocre and not really adequate), or is "airportness" like CD-Burning support, something that is confined to Apple-shipping hardware by design?

According to this page last updated in 2007 [google.com] , the driver that provides a common API for wireless devices appears to be poorly documented and closed source.

Ralink's USB wireless driver doesn't show up as AirPort device either. It reminds me of wifi in the pre-Windows XP SP1/SP2 days; there was no standard API for wireless device management, so wireless devices were implemented as Ethernet devices with vendor-specific setup utilities.

I can do better (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132627)

Real Realtek's Tech Wireless Driver Drives Thoughts of an Apple net Netbook book.

On the legal issue (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132653)

While everyone is asking why this would be a legal problem, I can only assume that the writers of these articles are taking the view that if Realtek have produced these drivers as part of some future OSX-based netbook then they would probably be protected by some kind of NDA with Apple. Obviously if this rather unlikely scenario is assumed correct then Realtek would potentially be breeching said hypothetical NDA by providing the beta drivers to members of the public.

Or something like that anyway.

Re:On the legal issue (4, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132703)

Which is probably as good as saying Realtek has no such agreement with Apple.

I don't think Apple will produce a traditional net book. Look for something like a larger iPhone/Ipod Touch or a 12" Mac Book Air (that is so light weight you can tie a string to it and use it for a kite).

Re:On the legal issue (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26135153)

Yes, Apple will decrease the weight of the Air further by removing all components which Apple considers non-essential. Like the keyboard (it'll be touchscreen-based) and the battery.

How will the Air be powered without a battery you may ask? Use it as a kite. In a lightning storm. Also, you need some wire, a key, and a Leyden jar...

Initial reviews will claim that the new Air has excellent tactile feedback. :)

Re:On the legal issue (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135945)

...Look for something like a larger iPhone/Ipod Touch....

Doesn't the iPhone/iTouch do everything that any net-book can do plus more? Apple could make an accessory for these that supplied a larger screen and keyboard. The iPhone could dock into the larger unit whenever a larger screen/keybord is wanted/needed.

PCI Cards et al. (5, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132669)

While this effort might be targeted at the MSI Wind, the work performed should allow any device that use the chipset to work with MacOS X. Think of PCI cards for MacPros, or USB sticks allowing older Macs to get 802.11N support.

Re:PCI Cards et al. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26132903)

802.11N is not finished yet. Stop buying draft N hardware. You're ruining the standard.

802.11n is the Duke Nukem Forever of wireless (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136927)

802.11N is not finished yet. Stop buying draft N hardware. You're ruining the standard.

I might have agreed with this (or rather, with criticism of manufacturers releasing "Draft N" hardware) 18 months back. However, 802.11n has been awaiting final release for ages, and it supposedly *still* isn't due until the end of next year. That's a ridiculous length of time.

According to the date on this article [pcworld.com] , the first "draft N" routers were already out more than 2.5 years ago. Slap another year on that and you're talking up to 3.5 years wait for someone who wanted an official 802.11n device instead of enjoying the benefits of Pre-N/Draft-N in the meantime.

I couldn't in good conscience criticise someone for not waiting another bloody year, even if it's not 100% clear if all the current routers will definitely support the final 802.11n standard.

No thoughts of a Netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26132801)

This actually does absolutely 0 to drive thoughs of an Apple netbook.

          If *Apple* tried to release a netbook, it'd probably cost over $900, which puts it well out of the netbook category; one defining characteristic of netbooks (that distinguishes them from just being a slow, small, notebook) is the low cost.

          As for running it *on* a Wind... should be possible I guess, people have been hacking OSX onto machines for years.. but IMHO, running OSX on a machine doesn't make it an Apple either. I'd rather run free software like Ubuntu that they *want* to be freely run though, rather than software like OSX where, even when you bought and own it, they are going to try to tell you what you can and can't do with it. (Example: Psystar... they bought every copy of OSX they shipped out full retail, and Apple still takes them to court.)

Re:No thoughts of a Netbook (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134823)

I'd rather run free software like Ubuntu that they *want* to be freely run though, rather than software like OSX where, even when you bought and own it, they are going to try to tell you what you can and can't do with it.

Irrespectively of discussions on the morality of the specific things asked, Ubuntu has loads of (is mostly?) GPL software, which is vastly criticized by BSD aficionados precisely because "they are going to try to tell you what you can and can't do with it", so you might want to be more careful about the criticisms you level at people.

Re:No thoughts of a Netbook (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135997)

...If *Apple* tried to release a netbook,...

They already make two, the iPhone and iTouch. Maybe they'll add a larger screen/keyboard unit for these to dock into.

Re:No thoughts of a Netbook (2, Funny)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26137387)

They already make two, the iPhone and iTouch

If your iPhone has a hinge, I think you may just have been ripped off by an unscrupulous and rather lazy counterfeiter.

OMG someone is writing drivers for Mac OS X?! (3, Insightful)

Henriok (6762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132835)

OMG OMG OMG! Some company is actually writing drivers for Mac OS X! That's about bloody time! Everyone is wining on Apple to write drives for every thinkable gadget out there when it should be pretty obvious to ask the manufacturer of that gadget to do just that. Is this so hard?! It's not Apple's fault nor responsibility that MP3 player X doesn't integrate with iTunes, or cell phone Y with iSync, or video card Z.. or.. or..

Re:OMG someone is writing drivers for Mac OS X?! (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133453)

Everyone is wining on Apple to write drives for every thinkable gadget out there when it should be pretty obvious to ask the manufacturer of that gadget to do just that. Is this so hard?! It's not Apple's fault nor responsibility that MP3 player X doesn't integrate with iTunes, or cell phone Y with iSync, or video card Z

And yet people use those same arguments as the reason Linux isn't ready...

Re:OMG someone is writing drivers for Mac OS X?! (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133841)

All Linux needs is a dedicated hardware manufacturer that is creating complete solutions for users in hardware and software. For example, the entire OS X, iTunes, iPud, iTunes store solution. Where are the applications like that?

Get some and we can talk.

Re:OMG someone is writing drivers for Mac OS X?! (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26135047)

Ok, I'll bite.

There are several hardware resellers that will build you a 100% Linux-compatible computer from the ground up (and it would probably be cheaper than buying from Apple).

There are also several open source tools that are equivalent to all the software you mentioned.

Now, I do not have an ipod, so I'll let someone else respond on that gadget's compatibility...

Re:OMG someone is writing drivers for Mac OS X?! (1)

Redline (933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136765)

All Linux needs is a dedicated hardware manufacturer that is creating complete solutions for users in hardware and software. For example, the entire OS X, iTunes, iPud, iTunes store solution.

Dell PC with: Ubuntu, Rhythmbox/Amarok/Songbird, almost any mp3 player, Amazon Music Store/Magnatune or whatever (I don't buy media online).

Happy?

Bullshit. (2, Informative)

petard (117521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26132959)

The driver is not specifically for the wind. That's the same chip used in cheap USB wireless adapters like this one [geeks.com] and RealTek has been providing their OS X driver for some time. The driver and associated utility do not work very well, FWIW, and I don't suggest trying to use them with a Mac unless you really have no other option.

Done Before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26132975)

Wasn't the MacBook Air their failed attempt at something to comepete with the eeePC and the numerous clones?

Re:Done Before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133827)

No, it was their failed attempt to compete with business class ultralight notebooks.

What is a netbook? (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133001)

A netbook should have the following characteristics:

1. Small (10" or less screen)
2. Long Battery Life (4 hrs +)
3. Light weight (under 2 kg)
4. Cheap (under $500 US).

Apple can do 1 and 2, and 3 but 4, I don't think so.

Re:What is a netbook? (3, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133341)

A netbook should have the following characteristics:

1. Small (10" or less screen)
2. Long Battery Life (4 hrs +)
3. Light weight (under 2 kg)
4. Cheap (under $500 US).

Apple can do 1 and 2, and 3 but 4, I don't think so.

No, but they can convince people that netbooks are an unsustainable business model

http://theappleblog.com/2008/12/15/netbooks-the-race-to-the-bottom-has-begun/ [theappleblog.com]

Netbooks aren't small computers, they're large PDA (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134033)

I saw someone make a comment, and I don't remember who or where, but I think it's insightful. Netbooks should be thought of more as larger, more capable PDA's/Smartphones, than they should as smaller, less capable computers. Given that premise, it would make sense to use a modified version of Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch OS with slightly expanded capabilities, instead of trying to get a stripped down Mac OS X to work well on a netbook.

I think Apple might find they *could* build a winning Netbook if they took that approach. Maybe they already are. Apple likes to deny they are doing something right up until they announce at WWDC.

Re:Netbooks aren't small computers, they're large (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134171)

I saw someone make a comment, and I don't remember who or where, but I think it's insightful. Netbooks should be thought of more as larger, more capable PDA's/Smartphones, than they should as smaller, less capable computers. Given that premise, it would make sense to use a modified version of Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch OS with slightly expanded capabilities, instead of trying to get a stripped down Mac OS X to work well on a netbook.

I think Apple might find they *could* build a winning Netbook if they took that approach. Maybe they already are. Apple likes to deny they are doing something right up until they announce at WWDC.

That's not true. As one of the comments on the Apple Blog put it

wait a minute... on an iphone, can i...

view flash-based websites? nope
edit word docs? nope ...edit any docs? nope
copy/paste? nope
multi task? nope
install any application i want? nope
change my background? nope
delete all the icons on my desktop? nope
instant message across different networks? (even messaging on single networks suck) nope
video chat? nope
connect to bluetooth devices? nope
replace the battery? nope

You must be retarded if you think itâ(TM)s possible to do the same things on an iphone than on a netbook. I have an iphone, and while itâ(TM)s an excellent smart phone (despite its flaws), Iâ(TM)d shoot myself the day I had to rely on it as a computer. You must also think Iâ(TM)m stupid if you think I consider your post to be a legitimate response instead of a failed attempt at defending the un-defendable.

See that's the problem. An x86 PC with a desktop OS is a hell of a lot more flexible than a typical PDA or Smartphone.

Though I suppose Apple being Apple they could take an iPhone, take out the baseband ASIC and the crippling lockdown, add a larger screen and keyboard and sell it cheaper than the cheapest MacBook and their fanbase will say it is the best thing since sliced bread.

And since it's ARM based rather than x86 it won't run desktop applications and thus won't compete with the Macbook Air.

Re:Netbooks aren't small computers, they're large (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134673)

From my original post. . .
". . .it would make sense to use a modified version of Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch OS with slightly expanded capabilities. . ."

There's no reason the modified version of the OS for the Netbook couldn't have a lot of those things added to it. The iPhone OS already has the capability to add applications. So, Apple could either port Open Office, or their own iWork productivity suite (perhaps a stripped down 'express' edition). Apple could port iChat for the netbook to add instant messaging and video chat capabilities. The point is that the iPhone core OS is more lightweight than the full Mac OS X, and can be used to run lightweight applications. You'll probably not be playing WoW or editting video with such a netbook, but you could probably do some image editing (a lightweight port of iPhoto).

As for your last comment about replacing the battery - what on Earth does that have to do with the iPhone OS?

My point, which you seemed to have missed, is that creating a successful netbook is about managing user expectations. Don't market it as a full Mac computer, and don't design it that way. Build upwards from the iPhone OS, adding things like cut-and-paste which won't measurably bloat the OS, instead of trying to remove things from the full Mac. Then create some lightweight versions of apps for document viewing/editting, basic photo editing, etc, and you have a product that a lot of people would probably like. You can even charge people extra for some of the apps (but keep the prices in perspective with the market you are targetting - think about charging $30 for the stripped down iWorks Suite, instead of $100-$200, for example).

BTW, for anyone curious, I'm not an Apple fan-boy. I use a Dell which dual boots Windows XP and Vista. I just don't think that the netbook market is an impossible business model. There are lots of people on Earth who probably can't ever afford a full Mac computer (even a discounted used unit), but who might be able to afford a $250 Apple netbook (particularly when it hits the used market and drops to $150 or $100) .

Make sure it is *compatible* with Mac, of course, so that files can be transferred back and forth easily (maybe via firewire, usb, or bluetooth), and users can chat/IM with Mac user (and Windows and Linux users for that matter).

Re:Netbooks aren't small computers, they're large (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136327)

...Though I suppose Apple being Apple they could take an iPhone...

and make a "dock unit" with screen/keyboard, bigger battery and appropriate software which existing iPhones/iTouch handhelds slide into. The millions of existing users of these gadgets would be able to expand their handy pocket computers into net-books whenever they wanted to.

Re:Netbooks aren't small computers, they're large (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136727)

A lot of the weaknesses you bring up are either the fault of or related to the limitations of the device, not the software. Copy/paste seems to be a mechanical issue (I'm not sure how you'd work highlights using multitouch). The OS can actually do multitasking: The phone, texting, and mail apps all run at least some background processes and the phone and text app can both foreground themselves. A decision was simply made to prevent other apps from multitasking in order to conserve the very small memory footprint.

Several of these complaints could be adjusted on a machine with more muscle, a bigger screen, and a keyboard/mouse based input system without significantly changing the underlying OS.

Re:Netbooks aren't small computers, they're large (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134679)

As an owner of both PDA and netbook, I don't think this is correct. If you compare with my PDA (Palm Tungsten E2) and with my full sized computer, my netbook (ASUS Eee 900HA) is about 95% computer and 5% PDA. My netbook came with XP, and can run pretty much any PC software except newer 3D games. Older games like starcraft run great. AutoCAD 2005 runs fine. My PDA fits in a shirt pocket, and is fine for reminders, phone list and games to kill time, but you wouldn't want to try to "create" anything on it, like compose documents or build spreadsheets etc.

Re:What is a netbook? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134269)

iPod touch much?

Re:What is a netbook? (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26136141)

...Apple can do 1 and 2, and 3 but 4, ...

Here is an opportunity for an enterprising company. Make a "dock unit" for the iPhone/iTouch which has a screen/keyboard and battery. I don't think Apple's lawyers would get antsy if someone turned Apple's handheld computers into a net-book this way. How much do screens and keyboards cost? After all, how many "sound docks" are available for iPods?

AIr Book is a netbook in everything but price (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133155)

The AirBook is only 2-some pounds, has limited core and disk memory and peripheral connectability. Except it costs four times other netbooks. But I can barely read the fuzzy screens the cheap ones.

Re:AIr Book is a netbook in everything but price (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133259)

We can barely understand your posts the incoherent ones.

Re:AIr Book is a netbook in everything but price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26135131)

The MBA uses much better components than any of the netbooks do. While it lacks a lot of the useful features of other thin&light/ultraportable notebooks in its price range (like the x200), it is far beyond a netbook in performance.
 

realtek hackintoshers delight (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26133243)

Hackintosh community has been delighted to have realtek drivers for OSX for some time now. Asus P5W-DH mobo, for example, comes with realtek 8187 wifi and is fully working with OSX for more than a year.

Re:realtek hackintoshers delight (2, Informative)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133369)

Realtek has been awesome at providing Mac drivers for years. xlr8yourmac.com has talked about this extensively. A lot of third party pci ethernet cardsbased on realtek chips were made to work via realtek drivers in the past. This goes back to before 2000 when OS 9 was the current Mac operating system. http://www.google.com/search?as_q=&num=10&btnG=Google%2BSearch&as_epq=&as_eq=&lr=&as_ft=i&as_filetype=&as_qdr=all&as_occt=&as_dt=i&as_sitesearch=www.xlr8yourmac.com&safe=off&as_oq=realtek [google.com]

I don't know why they would risk it (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26133455)

Apple has a history of allowing development by third parties for a time, and then ordering a "cease and desist" leading to a loss of the development costs and killing any future profit. I suspect Jobs fears someone actually doing apple better than apple. Just a guess on my part, but it would no doubt erode his business model. As I remember he killed the upgradable Umax clones etc This is only a driver, but...

Re:I don't know why they would risk it (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26134217)

They could buy a Apple mini, download XCode (or install from DVD), launch XCode and code kernel extension of whatever chip they will support. Others could ship PCI/PCI-X cards based on their chip and put "OS X compatible" to the box.

They don't do it and yet they help hackintosh community or something?

It seems Apple got rid of Realtek junk on next edition of Macs and someone is out to take revenge.

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