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Apple Intern Spent 12 Weeks Porting Mac OS X To ARM

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the really-small-tattoo-gun dept.

OS X 368

An anonymous reader writes "Apple hasn't released a Mac OS X device running on ARM yet, but a recently discovered thesis from a former Apple intern going by the name of Tristan Schapp details a 12-week project carried out in 2010 to port the OS to the ARMv5 architecture. The port got as far as booting to a multi-user prompt, but then hit hurdles to do with drivers and cache. The good news is that same intern now works for Apple as part of the CoreOS team. With rumors last year that a MacBook Air running on ARM could appear by 2013, could he be part of a team making that happen? If he is, I bet it will use the new ARMv8 architecture announced late last year."

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Stop masturbating over apple (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953339)

If you like freedom even a little bit you need to tell Apple to fuck off. If you buy anything from Apple, even some itunes shit, then you're just a bitch.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953391)

If you really like freedom even a little bit, you need to recognize Apple's freedom to run their business however they want.

If you really like freedom even a little bit, you need to stop using rhetorical hyperbole posted on websites as a basis for decisions.

Collude to take away freedom (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953597)

If you really like freedom a little bit, you need to be on your guard lest all manufacturers of computing devices priced for home users collude to design their products to take away the computing freedom of home users. This already happened decades ago in the video game industry.

Re:Collude to take away freedom (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953961)

Yeah, people sure were writing their own programs to run on their Coleco Telstar systems.

Re:Collude to take away freedom (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953975)

This already happened decades ago in the video game industry.

Happened decades ago with everything Apple too. Turns out the big difference between Apple users and PC users is that Apple users are gullible enough to be tricked into lack of freedom being a feature.

Re:Collude to take away freedom (0)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954011)

[offtopic]This has happened with Apple currently accept in the business world. It's sick how many times you have to tell a CEO why he has to sync each of his iDevices to iTunes when he hooks it up to a computer. Then it's your fault (read mine) when he has a device set to auto sync and it removes something from one of his other devices.[/offtopic]

For this alone Apple can bite a big one.

Re:Collude to take away freedom (4, Interesting)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954145)

If you really like freedom a little bit, you need to be on your guard lest all manufacturers of computing devices priced for home users collude to design their products to take away the computing freedom of home users. This already happened decades ago in the video game industry.

Due to a wonderful concept called "free markets" this will almost certainly not happen. That is, unless perhaps the government decides that "free computing" is dangerous, and mandates that all PCs are locked down. The government, in particular the current US idiocracy, is the main enemy of free markets. In fact, the PS3 tried to make one if its distinguishing characteristics that it was a general-purpose device, but apparently rethought that for various reasons. Since video consoles are essentially fixed-function devices I guess it made sense to Sony, besides Sony's approach was always half-hearted.

Until then, someone will always offer "unlocked" computers due to market demand. Macs are in this category, along with virtually all desktops/laptops in the world. One of the more interesting developments in the area of "cheap, general purpose computing" lately is the sub $50 Raspberry Pi. Now there's a hacker platform if I've ever seen one! =:-D

Re:Collude to take away freedom (5, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954153)

I'm curious, how has Apple designed their consumer computers to take away computing freedom?

Apart from switching to x86, and including tools in OS X to make dual booting other OSes easier, and putting socketed CPUs and removable GPU boards based on MXM in the iMac, or adding extra choice for software purchases with a new distribution method (that has no effect on prior methods of obtaining software...)

I mean, sure they modified the firmware on hard drives used in the iMac to use the LED activity output to monitor the temperature, thus causing the HD fan to spin up to full if you fit a non-Apple HD in that bay, but there is a simple method to tell the iMac that a non-custom-iMac drive is installed, since it has a factory option for an SSD where this different pinout is set back to standard SATA. Some people seem to believe this engineering choice is "proof" that Apple want to make it harder for you repair your own machine... in the same generation of hardware where they switched from soldered-on CPUs to socketed ones that are replaceable with standard Intel chips from newegg. Curious!

So, how are they taking away computing freedom from home users? I mean, sure they have iOS, but are you forced to choose to use it? What was the state of "freer" handsets before and after the iPhone? Someone on here tried to argue that Apple's entry into smartphones has been bad for "open" mobile computing because before there was Symbian and Win Mobile 6 (thus, a value of 2) and afterwards there's only Android (value of 1) and 2 is bigger than 1. Despite trying to convince him that Android is in better shape than ever and offering much more as a whole than the numerically greater but technically and figuratively worse older offerings just wasn't cutting it.

It's never been better for computing choice and freedom, not only despite, but in many cases *because* of Apple - especially with the success of the iPhone (which you are free not to use, and is certainly not the "freest" handset, but has sure done a lot to push Android on).

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1, Troll)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953415)

I have some hope that Apple will open up some more under Cook.

Regardless, Apple is certainly not any worse than Microsoft, the maker of the only other viable desktop/laptop OS, in the "do no evil" department.

Apple also produces some of the nicest products, and what's widely regarded as the best user experience - and has the highest customer satisfaction for its products of any of the big players.

Apple innovation has also outshined the rest of the industry in a big way over the last few years.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953547)

I have some hope that Apple will open up some more under Cook.

It would actually be interesting to hear more about what Tim Cook is, umm, cooking. After Jobs passed away, I don't remember seeing any Cook news in Slashdot, for example.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953837)

I have some hope that Apple will open up some more under Cook.

It would actually be interesting to hear more about what Tim Cook is, umm, cooking. After Jobs passed away, I don't remember seeing any Cook news in Slashdot, for example.

That's because people don't hate Cook ... yet. I'm sure as soon as he does one thing that Apple haters don't like they will wish upon him the same fate as Jobs.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954221)

Tim Cook is the new John Sculley.
That is what I think.
Sell Apple stock now.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953593)

Nicest product is based on your personnal preference. It appears that there are quite a lot of other devices that appeal to a lot of people. The best user experience is certainly not the case. Being locked in quite destroy the user experience for a lot of people. Having to delete the content of the ipad when syncing someone else new app to try it out is certainly not a good user experience. Hell, even Woz says that there are things better done on his Android.

Finally, most of the products of apple aren't innovation. They certainly didn't make the first cellular phone, nor the first mp3 player, or tablet. But they did it differently enough, with a touch, at the right time (they've failed before for certain of those devices, too), and with incredible marketing. I'd say that's their best point. An example is that they've been littering all movies for years, and it's finally been paying off.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953607)

Apple already have a lot of things that are open source...
now compare that to microsoft....

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953689)

Apple also produces some of the nicest products, and what's widely regarded as the best user experience - and has the highest customer satisfaction for its products of any of the big players.

News flash: Mercedes drivers are very content about their cars. Your statistics however, do not work. I'm glad for apple customers that they are happy, the rest of the world does not buy Apple and are also happy with that choice.

Apple innovation has also outshined the rest of the industry in a big way over the last few years.

How long have we have to hear this mantra? Apple releases nice products yes, but they did not invent anything themselves, or 'shine out' as you say. If anything shined, it are the chip and display manufacturers.

I don't care Apple users being spoiled digibete users. I do care them praising their product as if it was divine. It's just electronics, like any other. Software, like any other. And not even better software, just more limited software. Count the number of forum threads that are like 'how do i do this or that with my mac' where the answer simply is: you can't. No choice, no alternative, you wanted something and you can't. Yet those customers are most happy with their apple. It are also the people who think Apple computers are the most secure, invulnerable for viruses, etc.

Don't get me wrong, i like the products and their styling. But when it comes to useability, i have no illusion at all that Apple is any better _for me_ than any other OS like redmonds or a desktop linux.

So can you please stop thinking that because of 5% of the customers think their product is 'the best', that the other 95% are utterly stupid. The other 95% did _not_ buy Apple. And it was for a reason. Do not abuse statistics.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954149)

" Apple releases nice products yes, but they did not invent anything themselves, or 'shine out' as you say."

Then why does the rest of the industry keep trying to copy what Apple is doing? Over and over and over again.

iPods
iPhones
iPads
Ultrabooks
UI

As for your 'statistics', you might want to see who the number 1 PC vendor in the world is.
http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/apple-storms-past-hp-lead-global-pc-market [canalys.com]

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0, Troll)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953699)

I do think Apple are worse than MS. Apple is responsible for translating the closed Console ecosystem to phones, tablets, and soon, PCs. Insisting on a 30% cut of whatever they do allow you to sell on their platform is quite bad.

MS are malevolent old-school nerds. Apple is monopoly 2.0.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (3, Interesting)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953749)

Apparently you don't understand that the 30% is essentially the cost of running the store. Apple makes only a little bit of profit on the App Store.

iOS developer program copied from Xbox 360 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953921)

I believe obarthelemy was referring to the $99 per year to run programs that you compiled on a machine that you purchased. Apple copied this from Microsoft's XNA Creators Club (now called App Hub), along with the rest of the pricing structure for the iOS developer program.

Re:iOS developer program copied from Xbox 360 (2)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954071)

Obarthelemy explicitly mentions the "30% cut of whatever they do allow you to sell on their platform". How you go from there to the $99/year entrance fee is quite mind-boggling.

Re:iOS developer program copied from Xbox 360 (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954237)

That's just tepples. He lives to complain about Apple, logic need not apply. He'd complain that Apple products are racist because they are all white (if you conveniently ignore the other colors they have in their products).

Re:iOS developer program copied from Xbox 360 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954293)

How you go from there to the $99/year entrance fee is quite mind-boggling.

It was the mention of "the closed Console ecosystem", and I was giving an example of a well-known video game console whose developer program's price structure was identical to that of iOS down to the cent. If the developer program didn't have an annual fee, one could circumvent the 30% cut by distributing an application outside the App Store and requiring users to register as developers.

Re:iOS developer program copied from Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954169)

that fee is only for enabling distribution through the store. you're free to distribute it outside the store and pay nothing

and yet big apps are not in the store (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954157)

Office mac top's out at $280 does it really cost $84 per unit to run a store?

CS 5.5 costs $1,299 - $2,599 apple store max's out at $1000 and does it really cost $390 - $780 per unit to run a store?

For big apps apple will need to have a lower cut and a much better way for site licenses and multi unit pricing systems / let app makes set a lower price per unit for say packs of 25, 50, 100 and so on.

Re:and yet big apps are not in the store (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954283)

For big apps apple will need to have a lower cut and a much better way for site licenses and multi unit pricing systems / let app makes set a lower price per unit for say packs of 25, 50, 100 and so on.

For all we know they do! The 30% app store cut is just what we see publicly. This doesn't prohibit Apple and software manufacturers from cutting private deals that use a different percentage. It also doesn't prohibit Apple from selling codes in bulk to companies for certain apps.

I'm not saying that this is currently being done, just that there's nothing preventing this sort of thing and it could be happening right now without public knowledge of it.

Re:and yet big apps are not in the store (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954307)

Why don't you set up a store and find out? You pay for the bandwidth to download CS5.5 for 20,000+ people. And program the interface. And support all the credit card transactions. etc. etc. etc.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954213)

Do you really think it costs that much to run a software repository? Come on.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953941)

Arguably, MS seeks an outcome where their market power allows them to command high margins on the most lucrative parts of the IT business, particularly its corporate side.

Apple seeks an outcome where they cryptographically control all the devices and you can buy back the ability to do certain things with them.

These outcomes are known as 'a distorted market economy' and 'feudalism' respectively.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953995)

Yeah, phones and tablets were soooo open before Apple got involved.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954137)

Um the closed console model for phones existed long before Apple. The reason most people don't remember back then didn't buy many apps because they were all shit. And back then it was the carrier controlling the access not the phones manufacturer. And you were lucky to get if the store only took 45%.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954289)

Yeah, that 30% cut for handling all the credit card processing, hosting, bandwidth, servers, storefront etc... Such a travesty.

Seriously, the 30% cut just for managing the payment stuff *alone* is a bargain, as anyone who has ever had to handle a merchant account and payment processing will tell you, especially for small transactions. It is very expensive and time consuming to deal with.

Apple's official financial statements have confirmed year over year that they do not make much at all on the store - the 30% really just covers the cost of running the thing. That's not the point of the exercise for them, though - the store exists to drive hardware sales, and the third party developers are a major part of that.

If you're stuck thinking that the 30% cut is some sort of daylight robbery or "quite bad" then you really have no idea what the costs (in time, resources and hassle) it is to handle distribution yourself.

Also, "responsible for translating the closed console ecosystem to phones"? How short is your memory?! Phones were anything *but* open before Apple entered the market. If anything Apple has made it more open, by driving the success of its main competition - Android.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954047)

I'm reminded of this joke.

http://www.tensionnot.com/jokes/operating_systems_and_airlines

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954275)

Then everybody just wants OSX Air... :|

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954287)

Regardless, Apple is certainly not any worse than Microsoft, the maker of the only other viable desktop/laptop OS, in the "do no evil" department.

Are you really that stupid that you can't use google?

Google: Linux --> About 195,000,000 results (0.23 seconds)
Google: Desktop Linux --> About 417,000,000 results (0.24 seconds)
Google: Linux Desktop Environments --> About 3,130,000 results (0.27 seconds)
Google: How to make Linux look like windows: --> About 56,100,000 results (0.28 seconds)
Google: How to convert a windows user to linux --> About 397,000,000 results (0.29 seconds)

So I guess your right after all the only OS for desktops or laptops is Windows.

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953617)

Megabitch reporting in.

Buying ONLY Apple (iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, Apple Remote, Apple Recharger, Apple Keyboard and mouse, Apple Software, etc), I must be satan's bitch for you. GOOD!

I rather would like to tell Samsung to fuck off for intoxinating their working with cancer inducing chemicals. They have been voted the third worst employer in the world. (no, Apple was not even on the list)

Re:Stop masturbating over apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954023)

s/Apple/Google/

FTFY.

--
Jordyn

NVIDIA (4, Informative)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953357)

NVIDIA is also working on high-end desktop/workstation ARM CPUs, under "Project Denver".

If something compelling emerges, perhaps ARM could be a player for sheer compute power.

Fat binaries might be useful again... ;-)

Re:NVIDIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953873)

Fat binaries might be useful again... ;-)

Cue Freddie Murcury:

Fat bottomed binaries, you make the rockin' world go round

Re:NVIDIA (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954141)

If Nvidia is working on it, it seems quite likely that ARM, as in the instruction set, won't; but ARM, in the same sense that "x86" can also describe a computer built around a specific CPU, quite possibly will.

Given Nvidia's (comparatively mature) GPU compute ambitions, and their displeasure at the fact that Intel has been shoving them out of all but the fat-'n-bulky laptop designs and discrete GPU desktop/workstation designs, it seems very likely indeed that Nvidia wants two things from ARM:

1. An ARM fast enough to, when combined with an Nvidia GPU, produce a tablet/laptop that people won't laugh at in comparison to a ULV i3/5/7 + Intel GMA.

2. An ARM fast enough(and with enough PCIe lanes and memory controller ability) to do boot, housekeeping, and care and feeding, for a big stack of 'Tesla' compute silicon.

Neither really requires(nor would it be obviously sensible) ARM to go up against high-wattage and relatively low thread-count x86 parts(in which struggle Intel is a very, very, dangerous adversary, and AMD a dogged and inexpensive one); but they likely would want something that can provide an adequate user experience compared to the intel power-constrained stuff, and something that can allow them to sell all-Nvidia Tesla compute stacks.

Re:NVIDIA (0)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954247)

Mac OS X programs mostly are 'fat binaries'. If you right-click and 'view contents' of an application you'll see that it's really just a directory filled with files. You'll often see that there are x86, x64, and PPC binaries in the same package, sharing the same 'resource' files (which are now actually files instead of HFS magic).

It would be trivial to add more architectures to Mac OS X. Basically all you need is a compiler (which already exists) and for developers to actually target it.

Hello! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953373)

I am Tristan Schnapp.

I am think you would like to know that if i removed the 'n' from my surname I would be Tristan Schapp.

Re:Hello! (1, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953427)

*pushes Tristan out the door*

Sorry for the disturbance, folks. The fellow had a little too much schnapps and was starting to bother people.

Likely be faster... (2)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953397)

It's always disconcerting to be on the wrong end of the power/performance curve when it means your computer will have less raw CPU in search of lower power requirements.

However, a change of platform generally means new compilers and fresh code.

I'm not convinced there will be any real-world performance difference when this is factored in.

Re:Likely be faster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953943)

So what does this mean for all the people who were saying that the iPhone runs a stripped down version of OS X? I've always chalked it down to the fanboys wanting to believe OS X was on every Mac product. But this news is living proof that no flavor of OS X was ever part of iOS, right? iOS and OS X are completely distinct operating systems. The only thing they have in common is they both were invented in Cupertino, CA.

Software engineer seeking challenging position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953437)

Software engineer with proven track record seeking challenging position.

Qualifications:
C
ObjectiveC
Various build and integration tools

Job experience:
Apple 6/2011 to just recently

Internships
Apple 6/2010 to 8/2010

Education
BA - comp sci - 6/2011

*references available upon request

Apple history (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953447)

Its not like Apple hasn't changed CPU architectures before. 68K->ppc->intel and if you want to count the Apple II, you can also include 6502->68k

Re:Apple history (5, Interesting)

brwski (622056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953753)

And not only that, this is in NeXTStep's DNA. That OS was made for portability, and ran on at least (if this link is accurate) four different [wikipedia.org] processor families. Apple also had a concurrent build of OS X on Intel while they sold PowerPC machines. Fat Binaries also would allow Apple, if they felt like it, to make the CPU all but invisible to the user for properly recompiled programs, letting them have multiple processors in their lineup (this does, however, leave anything older or not recompiled out in the cold; that doesn't seem to matter much to Apple, however).

This is just smart business; something goes wrong with Intel, they're ready. A new, decent competitor pops up? port it, and if it proves to be better, run with it. To not to have these projects going would seem to be a mistake.

Re:Apple history (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953809)

And considering an intern could port a complete OS port in a mere 12 weeks, shows how portable it is. This person presumably had never touched the OS-X source before, yet manages to pull it off. And indeed I recall rumours that OS-X was running on Intel from before the time the rumours came that Apple was planning to switch to Intel. I suppose portability is simply part of the demands by management. I don't think Microsoft will have such an easy time if they were ever to switch to another architecture.

And those driver issues: no surprise. That's by nature fairly low-level stuff talking directly to hardware so will need more work. Not counting third-party drivers of course.

Re:Apple history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953939)

it was running on intel from the word go. rhapsody preview builds were x86 as were systems from NeXT

Re:Apple history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954041)

Microsoft are releasing Windows 8 for ARM. It remains to be seen if they're having an easy time of it, though.

It already exists (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953459)

Does it actualy matter? (-1, Flamebait)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953461)

Does it actually matter what CPU your platform is running when the OS is totally locked down?

Re:Does it actualy matter? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953561)

Does it actually matter what CPU your platform is running when the OS is totally locked down?

Yes, I still haven't gotten rid of my last ppc mac, darn thing just won't die, all the intels are upgraded to the most recent OS and software but the old ppc is the odd man out. Runs itunes just fine, and not worth the money to upgrade it (Not going to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to merely do what it already does just fine). Now we'll have equally incompatible ARMs floating around too. Great.

Re:Does it actualy matter? (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953781)

OS X is nowhere near "totally locked down".

But to answer your question, it matters to anyone who wants to be able to run apps written and compiled for a different CPU.

Re:Does it actualy matter? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954077)

>> anyone who wants to be able to run apps written and compiled for a different CPU.

The "I want to run my old ARM app" argument is bogus here. There's a lot more to binary compatibility that it just being compiled for the same CPU. I'm pretty sure you won't be able to run another ARM platform's apps on your ARM-based Apple.

Re:Does it actualy matter? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954267)

Who said anything about running "old ARM apps"? (I'm not an idiot; I don't think that you can run old Newton apps on an iPad just because they both have ARM processors.) I was answering your question about why anyone would care whether OS X was running on ARM or Intel: because apps compiled for Intel processors wouldn't run on an ARM CPU (at least not without some performance-sucking battery-draining deal-killing emulation layer).

Re:Does it actualy matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953801)

Please elaborate in which way OS X is locked down in any form?

Mac OS X is an UNIX system and not to the least bit locked down. Not at all.

Re:Does it actualy matter? (-1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954165)

Lets start with being able to get source code for the OS or any of the apps. Then we'll continue by discussing the DRM.

Re:Does it actualy matter? (4, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954269)

That's like saying America is socialist because of the welfare state or is laissez-faire because we have a robust capitalist system. Neither is true and it is a matter of degrees.

Not being open source doesn't make something "completely locked down." If that's what you want, more power to you, download Linux or FreeBSD.

Re:Does it actualy matter? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954215)

Compared to iOS, OS X is a hippie commune all smoking freedom joints in a big freedom love-in; but it has its quirks [oracle.com] ...

Re:Does it actualy matter? (2)

wzinc (612701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954107)

You do need a password to log-in; I can't believe Apple would do that to us!

I have a peculiar feeling... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953475)

... Telling me that the AC who wrote this is actually Tristan Schapp.

Not this again (0, Flamebait)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953515)

Apple learned their lesson last time with the G3/G4/G5 chips, and I find it hard to believe they would do something as stupid as introducing a third chipset (Intel, A4/A5, ARM) into the mix, especially with one of their mainstream laptops. Nobody wants to go through that - not the users, nor the developers.
A more likely scenario is a MacBook Air based upon iOS with a built-in touchscreen.

Re:Not this again (3, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953645)

Um... the A4 and A5 are ARM chips. That's what they're talking about this hypothetical MacBook Air running on.

"A more likely scenario is a MacBook Air based upon iOS with a built-in touchscreen."

An iPad with a keyboard? Not likely. But what kind of processor would make most sense to put in such a device? How about one that iOS already runs on: ARM.

Re:Not this again (1)

Devout2 (2026726) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953677)

A more likely scenario is a MacBook Air based upon iOS with a built-in touchscreen.

I hope they are doing it in order to be ready just in case ARM becomes the dominant PC CPU architecture because of Windows 8 supporting ARM. Or, that they're doing it in order to start experimenting merging iOS with Mac OS X further on some weird kind of new device.

Re:Not this again (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953917)

ARM is quickly getting more and more powerful. Modern Intel chips are total overkill for by now 99% of common tasks - it makes sense to me that laptop makers would look into less power hungry chips that are powerful enough to build a next-generation laptop.

It won't be a speed monster, but it should be good enough for normal business work: e-mail, documents, web surfing - and many businessmen already do this on their iPads. Having an actual laptop (with the advantage of a real keyboard and the clamshell design that allows you to raise the screen) which supports desktop-type software and the battery life and instant-on of an iPad would be great. Best of both worlds.

Unfortunately we'll only see such a laptop from Apple, or from players that dare to go Linux (Asus would be a candidate for that), as I don't see Windows on ARM any time soon.

Par for the course. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953523)

Sounds like standard intern hazing.

"Hey, Tim, take this source code (*drops huge book of source on desk*) and port it to... uh... ARM."

**12 weeks later.**

"Holy crap, he made it work."

At least it wasn't SPARC.

Re:Par for the course. (-1, Flamebait)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953789)

It's probably just a single layer, out of many (drivers).

I bet Apple made a whole lot of stuff that simply ended up in the bin. Failing is learning. Learning is knowing how to do stuff better. Doing stuff better from a dumb-ass consumer perspective is what Apple's been doing.

I'm not sure if this port will actually do Apple any good. They are either getting serious with tablets, now that Windows 8 and the unlocked Spark KDE tablets are comming to market (fully usable computers you know), or they are rewriting OS X largely. I have a feeling that they are doing the last, since Apple's about to rebase on the upcomming X.org (project managed for release by an Apple guy this time) and that involves an actual modern GPU architecture (like Gallium3D, like Windows GPU drivers are now written).

Poor Apple... with their outdated OS X, useless iPad and simply useless iPhone... They have been surpassed by Fedora and Windows. Spot the John Doe who comes whining down, screaming about user experience (*cough* glossy UI over shitty internals*cough*) in about 3... 2... 1...

Droping X86 may be suide for apple (2, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953527)

As how meany big apps will want to change architecture on apple yet again?

This may brake Photoshop plugins as well

Dropping X86 will take away windows dual boot as well.

Steam games and other games may also die on the mac

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (2)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953609)

i doubt they will stop selling Intel based MBP's. this will probably be for a lower end laptop for the $500 laptop market.

as it is now a $500 laptop about $200 goes to Intel/MS for the hardware and OS. add in the screen and other hardware. the margins on them are razor thin. it take 8 cheap HP laptops to equal the profit of one MBP.

If apple can make a $500 laptop that does the basic tasks for most people it's all over for Intel/MS in the lower end laptop market. Internet, email, basic games, basic apps. there will still be $2000 MBP's for photochop and xcode and other big tasks but for most people a $500 apple laptop will be a killer deal

and there will tens of thousands of apps at launch with the mac app store and iOS app store

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (4, Interesting)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953629)

Apple is certainly big enough at this point to support two architectures. You may or may not be aware that, with Xcode, generating a fat binary supporting multiple CPU architectures involves nothing more than a setting. Of course testing may not be quite that smooth, especially at first.

At any rate, I'm quite sure Apple won't drop x86 support for the foreseeable future. However, there may be some real advantages to supporting both, including price competition for Intel.

Don't forget that Microsoft has already promised Windows for ARM (NVIDIA's "Project Denver"), so it may also be in Apple's best interest to be a player there as well - especially if the NVIDIA CPUs have some real advantages.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953803)

Sure, Apple is, but how about Adobe? As I recall they were dragged kicking and screaming into native x86 Mac code after years of procrastinating.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (4, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954115)

Adobe deserves to die imho. They were indeed dragged kicking and screaming. Same for MS Office. You either adapt or die, if your code is so shitty you can't port it between slightly different architectures without breaking it, you have a really bad development team.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

armandoxxx (2484940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954017)

double architecture support wont be a problem ... but developmen in Xcode (with bunch of bugs and chrashes) will be !

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953647)

Windows 8 is supposed to have ARM support, so may still be able to dual boot.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953761)

Except that unlike x86 Windows, Windows 8 ARM is likely to be locked down, i.e. it's doubtful whether an ordinary consumer can install their own copy on generic ARM hardward. I don't think Microsoft wants to subsidize the cheap Android tablet hardware market.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954103)

I don't think Microsoft wants to subsidize the cheap Android tablet hardware market.

Uh, hey stupid, a large part of their business model up to this point has been selling software that can be installed on any compatible device. Note the word "selling" in that sentence. How the fuck is that subsidizing anything? So MS is "subsidizing" the motherboard makers now because they deign to sell boxed copies of Windows that can be installed on them? MS locking down their tablets has nothing to do with not wanting to subsidize anything. They just want to monkey-see monkey-do Apple and get some of that iPad money. You are an idiot.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953735)

I'm willing to bet that Fusion and Parallels users outnumber Boot Camp users by magnitudes. If that's the case, Boot Camp may go the way of the dodo.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

Devout2 (2026726) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953765)

Dropping X86 will take away windows dual boot as well.

Steam games and other games may also die on the mac

Not necessarily as Windows 8 will be available for ARM as well.

I think this may actually be what Apple porting OS X to ARM is mostly about.

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953881)

Windows 8 is ported to ARM as well (also Office). About Steam... If it was actually working on OS X with their shitty and outdated fixed-pipeline-driver architecture that is slower than a snail...

Re:Droping X86 may be suide for apple (1)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953983)

This is just Apple keeping its options open. If Intel fails to deliver its promised low power CPUs Apple needs to know what effort would be needed to switch processor families. If it was a real strategy to move to ARM then it would have been more than a 12 week Intern project. What would be suicide for Apple would be to stuck in the PPC debacle again, ensuring OS portability is a good way to avoid that.

The apps will go where the market is. If there is a big enough market they would eat the porting costs, especially as Apple would want to make it as easy as possible. In theory, for applications that only use standard APIs, it should be as simple as checking a box in XCode and rebuilding the project.

Free lunch!!! (-1, Flamebait)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953537)

So, first they uesed the cheapest factory and labor from China, and now they are actually paying ZERO dollars (as it is the normal salary for any intern) to get their OS ported to ARM!!! What the...... Honestly, i think these guys don't even have ass, or even if they have, i could not imagine putting anything inside, that's how tight they are.

Re:Free lunch!!! (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953679)

I don't know anyone that did a free internship as a developer. Most interns in this industry are quite well paid.

Re:Free lunch!!! (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953935)

Yep. I know some interns are unpaid--maybe a majority for all I know--but I was paid well when I did an internship in the mid 2000s.

Maybe that has changed with the economy, but I kind of doubt it. There has always been two camps and probably always will be: Those who use internships as free labor, and those who use internships to look for potential hires. The latter are extremely likely to do what they can to make the job appear desirable, including actually paying their interns.

Re:Free lunch!!! (3, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953697)

Getting in the door with an internship [nytimes.com] is quickly becoming the best way to not get paid to do something you weren't hired to do.

Re:Free lunch!!! (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953705)

If they don't have ass, where's all this crap coming from?

Re:Free lunch!!! (1)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953999)

So, first they uesed the cheapest factory and labor from China, and now they are actually paying ZERO dollars (as it is the normal salary for any intern) to get their OS ported to ARM!!! What the...... Honestly, i think these guys don't even have ass, or even if they have, i could not imagine putting anything inside, that's how tight they are.

Yeah. Interns should just make coffee and run errands. How dare they give them the experience of porting an OS from one platform to another. Its outrageous!

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953577)

So he spent 12 weeks porting a kernel that had already been ported 3 years ago? iOS and Mac OS X are already the same kernel. Of is the real story that he was back porting lion advancements to the iOS version.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953861)

Porting a system to a new architect is not all about the kernel. OS X and iOS Darwin, as an open source kernel could easily be ported even to a completely irrelevant platform like SPARC, even by third parties, but the binaries and system drivers of OS X or iOS would not magically work on that system.

apple tv? (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953579)

Assumption is its for the new mac book.
Would be funny if it turns out to be the much rumored apple tv.

Re:apple tv? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954175)

Much rumored Apple TV? It looks like an Apple TV product can be purchased from apple.com for $99.

One of Many Reasons for Intel UltraBook Program (4, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953643)

It's no secret that one of the reasons Intel is subsidizing manufacturers over $100M for the Ultrabook project is to keep ARM at bay. This is compounded by Microsoft offering a ARM version of Windows. Apple putting out a really nice A8 MacBook Air could really shake things up.

However, the real issue Apple is going to have is MacOS or iOS. There's a lot of compelling reasons to move to iOS for Apple, but ultimately the closed nature of iOS would likely alienate the large programmer base they have built up.

Re:One of Many Reasons for Intel UltraBook Program (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38953925)

However, the real issue Apple is going to have is MacOS or iOS. There's a lot of compelling reasons to move to iOS for Apple, but ultimately the closed nature of iOS would likely alienate the large programmer base they have built up.

I don't think Apple is doing away with MacOS X. Remember that something like 80-90% of the code is shared between MacOS X and iOS. Apple has plenty of money for developers to maintain the two.

news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953717)

Gosh, even Slashdot is with this OS X on ARM bullshit. The guy worked porting Darwin, the kernel used by OS X, to some ARM plattform.

But guess what? Darwin is also used by iOS, since the very beggining - Darwin on ARM is hardly news since 2007.

OS X's darwin kernel already runs on ARM (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38953741)

Since the various ARM SoC devices are radically different in how they boot and ennumerate devices a 12 week port time is pretty impressive but Darwin aready runs on arm v5 (and v7). iOS uses the darwin kernel. Since this was a marvell and not a samsung/apple A device a lot of work would have to be done to get the kernel to boot but the basic build system already fully supports ARM.

It's not a secret Apple keeps their options open arch-wise. After the switch the Intel it came out apple had an x86 build of darwin running for years before the switch was decided on. Keeping code portable is a good way to flush out bugs you might have otherwised missed and allows apple to try projects like iOS without a massive effort to get the basic system up and running.

iPAD and iPhone will obiovusly be getting arm v8 chips in a few generations. And I could see apple doing a hybrid macbook air that uses an arm chip to do background network access and the like but it's going to be a long time before ARM chips are playing in even Sandy Bridge territory, let alone what Intel will have in 2 years. I really don't see an arm-only apple notebook anytime soon.

What so great about ARM? (1)

_0x783czar (2516522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954021)

I've been hearing a great deal about ARM and it's rise in popularity throughout the Mobile world. But I have to ask: what's so great about it? I'm honestly curious. Can anyone explain it to me?

OS News has a followup on this article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38954029)

http://www.osnews.com/story/25588/No_Mac_OS_X_wasn_t_ported_to_ARM_by_an_intern

What an awesome job (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954073)

Some people get all the cool gigs.

Amazing! (1)

plasmidmap (1435389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38954299)

An acadmeic thesis that was actually read!

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