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Apple Secretly Maintaining x86 Port Of Mac OS X

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the diversity-in-the-workplace dept.

OS X 736

Earlybird writes "According to this eWeek article, Apple has ported the whole of Mac OS X to the x86 architecture and is maintaining it in parallel with the PowerPC builds. Dubbed Marklar, the project is perceived as a fall-back plan, and, quoth the article, 'has apparently gained strategic relevance in recent months, as Apple's relationship with Motorola has grown strained and Apple looks to alternative chip makers.'" Believe what you will ...

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lies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177351)

this is unconfirmed and highly suspect, as someone who works at apple i can attest to this. they were talking about maybe doing it

Re:lies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177405)

IBM will release a new CPU based on the Power4 ... for desktop use !! maybe the G5 ?
It will have about 160 parallel instructions : altivec ?
Will Apple use IBM powerpc CPUs in future ?

Re:lies (-1, Offtopic)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177411)







Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177492)

links are broken asshole. nice job.

1P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177353)

weee!! primeiro post! :)

mac l00s3rs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177354)

everybody knows macs are only good for people new to computers and photoshop anyways. If apple ever is in the business of selling software and profiting rather than hardware, then they'll be screwed. Then everyone can use the superior x86 hardware and sotware.

Re:mac l00s3rs (1)

c1pher (586281) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177426)

"superior x86" architecture.


Re:mac l00s3rs (0)

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Nope. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177357)

If it's not on KaZaA, it doesn't exist.

Stick with PPC (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177358)

If they can't stick with Motorola, they should go with IBM.

It's one thing to go from 68k to a more powerful PPC architecture. It's another issue altogether to move from a PPC to an Intel or AMD cpu. The emulation speed would be a hell of a performance hit.

Re:Stick with PPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177377)

There is no "Emulation" as the PPC Software would be recompiled for x86, thus whupping most PPC systems on current x86 hardware

Re:Stick with PPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177454)

Well, if they want to include Classic, they'll have to have emulation. Classic's slow enough already.

They won't switch to x86 until Classic and every other reminder of Mac OS 9 isn't needed anymore.

Recompiling (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177474)

Right. You expect people to recompile for x86?

Do you have any idea how long it took Apple to get everyone to recompile all their software for the 68k software for the PPC? It took years. If apple had started off telling everyone to compile FAT binaries from the time that Mac OS X was released, maybe we'd be okay. But the mac os x developer community is somewhat mature now, and there is a fairly large mac os x software library. Large enough going back and getting everyone to recompile everything would be hellish.

I'm sorry, you need an emulation layer to help people crossgrade gracefully. This isn't linux. Usually, people don't have the source code to apps they install. People expect to install by dragging a package icon from one window to another, not by typing "./configure; make install", waiting 15 minutes, and then poking through your hard drive trying to figure out where the Makefile install script put its junk.

Gee, there's a great line. "Buy mac os x for the PC! But you won't be able to run any classic mac os apps! Or any commercial apps where the CDs were pressed before april of 2003, or any shareware apps, because the shareware developers will be too lazy to configure confusing FAT binaries for an archivecture they don't use! You can run Microsoft Word, IE, and Fink, though!"

I really hope apple has some plan for dealing with this, some kind of CLR-style "partial compilation" VM thing so that one executable can contain machine code for two architectures without having to take the disgustingly inefficient fat-package route. If every single application has to come with two binaries, one for each of the two architectures, and there's PPC-only shareware apps made by lazy ppc users and x86-only shareware apps made by lazy x86 users floating around.. that's just going to be the biggest mess imaginable.

I can't even imagine what it will be like trying to explain to the average iMac owner why their new software comes with two CDs, one marked "x86" and one marked "PPC". And let's not even get into devices, or software that's been written to use Altivec.

Re:Recompiling (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177527)

"inefficient fat-package route"

How much of application bloat is actually executable object code? I'm sure data and graphics take up a large part of the disk usage. Still, even assuming each application will double in size, it's not even close to the same problem as it was in the days of 300MB hard drives.

Re:Stick with PPC (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177424)

"It's one thing to go from 68k to a more powerful PPC architecture. It's another issue altogether to move from a PPC to an Intel or AMD cpu. The emulation speed would be a hell of a performance hit."

Nobody said anything about emulation. A port is a native compilation, and therefore no performance hit is taken. Furthermore, your assumption that PPC is automagically more powerful than Intel architectures is a clear indication that you are severiously under-informed. I won't go so far as to call you a newbie, but your bias suggests that you have a ways to go before you become a seasoned professional. Keep on plugging though, and try to be more open-minded. Consider doing research before forming conclusions, for example.

Re:Stick with PPC (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177455)

But surely the apps would need to run under emulation unless you're suggesting that Apple has been maintaining parallel ports of those as well

Re:Stick with PPC (-1, Flamebait)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177497)

PPC = RISC architecture

x86 = CISC architecture

therefore PPC >x86

Re:Stick with PPC (1)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177532)

x86 = CISC architecture

Actually, wrong. The x86's have a CISC *instruction set*. All the major x86 chip makers have used RISC cores on everything released since the original Pentium-class chips.

RISC (greater-than) CISC

Another fallacy. RISC chips can usually attain significantly higher clock speeds than CISC chips, but at the expense of doing less per clock. This does not make either one automatically "faster" in terms of total computational power, just different in their approaches to speed.

Re:Stick with PPC (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177541)

Looking at the PPC instruction set, it looks a little more robust than a "reduced" instruction set to me. They all look CISC, except for the old favorites, such as the 6502...

As far as which is better depends on your assembly language preferences. I prefer accumulator arithmatic of the RISC, but since we use compilers these days, this point is moot.

Re:Stick with PPC (1)

toganet (176363) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177500)

You're missing the leap implicit in our young friend's comment:

The apps they are talking about are Carbon or Classic apps that would need to be significantally modified to compile on x86.

So, Apple would have to write an emulator to allow these apps to run within OSX on x86. Problem is, they'd be doing this from scratch. I mean, know any good PPC emulators?

On the other hand, could they do something like add a slower G4 to the system, as a CPU dedicated to these legacy apps, and then tweak the Carbon APIs to use it? There is a precedent here from the days of the first PPC's and PPC upgrades.

Re:Stick with PPC (3, Interesting)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177529)

Nobody said anything about emulation. A port is a native compilation, and therefore no performance hit is taken.

When Mac went from the 68K to the PPC, they included emulation software, do that the PPC could still run the 'legacy' 68K code. Because the PPC was enough faster than the 68K, the emulated code still ran with 'reasonably acceptable' speed.

Intel isn't much (if at all) faster than similarly timed PPCs, so trying to do a PPC emulation on an Intel CPU would probably be a horror story.
(the '386 architecture is also not quite as elegant as the PPC architecture. Most of the registers would have to be stored in RAM, and that would hurt you BIGTIME).

Re:Stick with PPC (4, Interesting)

MaxVlast (103795) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177545)

He's thinking about when Apple went from Motorola 680x0 chips to PowerPC ones. The OS had a 68k emulator that allowed it to continue to run old apps. The poster is expecting that if Apple releases an OS on x86 hardware, the OS will include an emulator so granny won't then wonder why her old recipe application doesn't work on her new computer.

As someone who's been if a few multi-architecture operating systems (BeOS, OpenStep, NEXTSTEP), I can say that it isn't as pleasant as everyone says. While OpenStep made it pretty easy to cross compile, there were always apps that just weren't available for your platform (particularly NEXTSTEP for HP Apollo machines.) It's not a good place to be, and it is always frustrating for users. How many PPC BeOS apps were there when the BeOS stopped being something a lot of people did? Certainly not as many as there were for Intel.

My basic point is that it will be a major pain in the ass for all of the users for gains that aren't yet a big enough deal to convince me.

Re:Stick with PPC (1)

mr_zorg (259994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177445)

What emulation speed? Why would there have to be emulation? Sure, you couldn't run out of the box Mac OS X apps --- you'd have to recompile them...

Fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177359)

First Post You fucking fagg0ts!! I rule you all! Stupid Sporks!

The secret is out! (1)

AntiGenX (589768) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177360)

Great! That means it's only a matter of days before it shows up on a peer to peer network!

dear god... (0)

pouncer7 (580711) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177361)

FP, but honestly... OS X on x86?

Don't expect to see it anytime though (1)

Killjoy76 (200335) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177362)

Apple might be keeping it around as an extreme emergency backup, but don't expect to see it anytime in the forseeable future. The problems that would arise out of moving everything to x86 would be just too extreme. Software manufacturers can't just recompile their apps and have them work, it would take a lot more than that.

Bring it on (1)

malus (6786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177363)

I say to Apple, "Give me OSX for x86."

I have three useful x86 machines sitting right here begging for it.

Re:Bring it on (3, Insightful)

sabNetwork (416076) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177486)

If rumors are true, you aren't able to use the x86 OSX on non-Apple x86 computers.

Re:Bring it on (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177520)

I know this has been said billions of times before, but APPLE IS A HARDWARE COMPANY. THEY SELL HARDWARE. If they switch to x86 processors, I'm sure they'll have some custom enabler chip that will force you to buy an Apple computer to run OS X.

I'm sure the development costs for OSX (and iTunes, iMovie, iDVD,, and the other good free programs Apple makes) were far higher than the $129/license Apple's asking for it. Take away the high-margin hardware sales that subsidize all the software, and Apple would be bankrupt within a year.

other sides (5, Funny)

skydude_20 (307538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177365)

Intel: "Soon the Rebellion will be crushed and young Apple will be one of us!"

Re:other sides (2)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177472)

Jobs: "Powerful is the Dark Side of the force. Give in to the dark side, you must not"

Re:other sides (3, Funny)

qslack (239825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177488)

Lucas: "Powerful are my lawyers. If smart you are, mess around you will not with my trademarks."

Re:other sides (3, Funny)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177522)

Woops, my bad.

Jobs: "Powerful is the Dark Side(TM)* of the force. Give in to the Dark Side(TM), you must not"

*the Dark Side(TM) trademark is property of Lucasfilm LTD and this post makes no claim of ownership of said mark. Used without permission.

Since when is this secret? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177366)

They've had this knocking around since the early stages of OSX.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177367)


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I Doubt It (5, Interesting)

gabeman-o (325552) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177369)

I find this extremely difficult to believe. Apple has had their developers make significant rewrites with the introduction of AltiVec and Cocoa, how can they expect developers to rewrite their software for x86?

Re:I Doubt It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177535)

You just can't stand that you're one of the Apple zealots and that when we're right about OS X/x86, you're FUCKING WRONG.


Ported all of Mac OS X to x86? (4, Funny)

qslack (239825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177371)

They have ported all of Mac OS X to x86? Not just the kernel?

Let's pool $100,000 (Blender-style) and bribe the guy who runs their internal CVS repositories. Anyone wanna throw in a few bucks for macosx-x86-0dayl33t.iso? :)

Re:Ported all of Mac OS X to x86? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177392)

Exhibit #19,286,579 in the trial of "RIAA, MPAA, and BSA vs. Software Pirating Open-Source Hypocrites on Slashdot."

Re:Ported all of Mac OS X to x86? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177536)

CVS is a joke. No real company uses it. (If your company uses it, then you're a joke, too.)

-- The_Messenger

Leaked Photos of Hardware (4, Interesting)

Eravau (12435) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177372)

How long 'til we get to see some leaked photos of Apple-specific X86 hardwware?

Re:Leaked Photos of Hardware (2, Insightful)

morgajel (568462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177539)

oh, I'd imagine the photoshoppers are hard at work right now:)

Mac OS X86 and hardware. (2, Interesting)

mwber (235552) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177374)

It seems like they could still couple hardware and software if they went to x86, just not as tightly. They could keep lists of "recommended" hardware, with some sort of rating or ranking system. Perhaps they wouldn't even attempt to write drivers for more than a couple peripherals and allow open source drivers to emerge if they're needed.

Just a thought.

Re:Mac OS X86 and hardware. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177465)

Or maybe they could just use Intel-based chips, but dump the legacy BIOS crap and go with an OpenFirmware-based system. Hell, maybe Apple should just make the jump to x86-64 for their new platform, since it looks like they'll be able to source those chips from two suppliers: "Hammer" from AMD and "Yamhill" from Intel.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177375)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these!

OS X on x86 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177382)

the day OS X is released for x86 hardware, i'll have a sex change.

I'd buy it. (2, Flamebait)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177387)

I'd definitely buy it if it were released. I'm all about having choices in the market, and OS X running natively on x86 hardware would be a step in the right direction. Both from the standpoint that I'd have more choices of what OS to run on my PC-compatible box, and in terms of what hardware I can choose to run Mac OS X on.

Come on, Steve -- give me a 2-button trackpad on a Titanium powerbook, that's all I ask for. I'm paying three grand for the thing, the least it could have is the number of mouse buttons *I* want on it.

Why Mac OS X on PC platform makes sense (long) (4, Insightful)

eyefish (324893) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177388)

Here I'm posting an article I wrote about the Mac OS X on the PC Platform long ago and that I tried getting publish on /.. Well, maybe now is a good time to post it after all

As we all know, with Linux we have the best free (as in beer) operating system in the market. It's fast, it's stable, it's well-supported, it scales, and it has a GUI environment that although very acceptable to the Linux community, it really is not up to par to the elegance and simplicity of the Mac OS/X GUI (and god spare me some flames, even the Windows XP interface feels better than the "stock" KDE or GNOME shipped with Linux).

On the other hand, we have Mac OS/X, the most amazing GUI out today for any platform. It certainly makes our friend Bill G. jelaous. It also has an amazing rendering engine by sporting PDF under the hood. However, even though it has a great backbone in the form of an open BSD system, the truth is that it is doubtfull the apple folks will get the steam, hype, and generally market support that Linux is constantly getting lately in all media, corporations, and geeks alike. Add to that the fact that Mac OS/X runs only on the PowerPC platform (at least officially), and you get a lot of potential market away from Apple.

So how about this, why not have Apple port it's whole Mac OS/X upper layers to the x86 platform, publish some specs for Linux vendors to "plug under", and run it on top of such Linux-based (as opposed BSD-based) systems???

With this we'd get the great support Linux enjoys in the enterprise (even when I'm first to recognize that BSD is just as good technical-wise, but this is a market-driven world folks), it'd also get the support from the millions of geeks who own a x86 machine, it'd get the support of all the OEMs who would almost inmmediatelly start providing hardware/software products for the platform, and just as important it would get the support of the common user thanks to its simple, elegant, and fast GUI system.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure soon after we could start converting all Wintel users to the new platform ("Mac OS/Linux"?), since a new hardware investment would not be needed. Just a software download and a much lower price than a Windows license (say, 50 bucks?).

I know, some will argue that "what makes Macs different is the tight integration of the OS with the hardware" and blah blah blah, but heck, should this that I propose take off, I'm sure that Apple will have enough leverage to publish standards making this integration much simpler and still remain open, while benefiting everyone.

Note that since the Mac OS layer would sit on top of a MacOS-compliant Linux distro, it means that teckies will NOT be forced to use the Mac OS GUI, since they could use their Linux distro as usual, minus the Mac stuff. They could even keep using their old KDE or GNOME GUIs.

So, how does Apple make money? selling the top layer (software services and GUI), and if they want even selling slick custom-built hardware boxes like they do today with the OS pre-installed.

Now, please stop all the flames about "sotfware should be free and I shouldn't have to pay to use the Mac OS/X layer on top of Linux" and all that. Software should be free, but people also have families to take care of, and Apple's effort should be rewarded by paying them. Case closed.

As for Linux, imagine all of a sudden a flood of trully useable applications being ported from the Mac (and even Wintel) world to the new "Mac OS/Linux". This would eliminate the barrier many have when trying to move from Wintel to Mac: "my apps don't work or I can't access my data".

Also imagine the simplicity of installing, deinstalling, and managing applications that Mac OS would bring (do not tell me how debian, RPMs, etc are great, they suck big time if you ever had to use them regularly; yes I have).

This, I think, it's what would really bring a true competitor to the Windows monopoly. I'm sure that *I* would switch inmediatelly.

And BTW, as an example let's take my own case: I do not use Linux regularly because it's just too darn hard to do anything (unless you _already_ knew how to do it). Sure once you get it working it's fine and dandy, but heck, sometimes to get it to work you have to get the sources, read the FAQs, HowTos, set some flags, find dependencies, get extra libraries, etc.

Likewise, I don't use Mac OS/X because I can't go out and afford to buy a whole new machine architecture. I already have my decent 1.2Ghz Celeron, it works fine, why should I switch and spend US$1,700 just to use a nice GUI?

However allow me to keep my machine, give me the stability and power of Linux, and the elegance and simplicity of the Mac, and you can count me in right away.

Now don't get me wrong, Linux is *awesome* for someone that knows how to use it, or has the time to learn it. I think's it's an amazing platform for Apache, mySQL, PHP, firewalling, routing, Java, Perl, etc, but it could be much more if it was easier to administer and use.

You gotta understand that the people in large corporations are afraid of getting into something they don't understand or think it's too complex, this is why Windows NT has gotten such a large market share; People very close to me admit it, they use WinNT even if they have to reboot it once every 2 weeks because it is *easy* to use. And folks, yes I agree that maybe "they're not qualified enough to have such a job", but the reality is that they are here to stay and always will be here to stay, and Microsoft is counting on them.

Add to all this the distressing fact that the Windows OS _is_ getting better all the time (ask a Win95/98/Me user how many times they rebooted WinXP lately, or check out the Windows .Net Server Beta). Eventually (the truth hurts folks), Windows will be as fast and stable as Linux, and yes, they will copy the Mac look and get away with it just as they did with Windows. And they will have a market of several hundred million users who (like a herd) will simply follow Microsoft because simply they're not tech-savvy enough to realize that there are other choices. And developers will continue increasingly target the Windows platform because numbers speak: Do I sell for 4 million Linux machines, 5 million Mac machines, or 500 million Wintel machines?

This is the time folks to trully all come together and trully create a second option to Wintel. Let's combine the best of what we have (a Linux foundation, X86 hardware, and Mac OS upper services and GUI layers), and trully create something we can be proud of a few years from now.

So what's the next step? Someone should send this article to Apple's Steve Jobs, and have Steve meet with the heads of the major Linux distros to define some specs that all would follow to support the Mac Layer. Rally some OEMs to make their products "Mac Linux"-ready (so that they could support the tight-integration features that makes Macs such a joy to use today), and rally the big software developer houses and let them know about this and get them excited, and let's all rally behind this effort and give them all the support the open source community is famous for. This could be the beginning of a trully beautiful relationship...

Re:Why Mac OS X on PC platform makes sense (long) (0, Flamebait)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177431)

It also has an amazing rendering engine by sporting PDF under the hood.
Actually, Quartz is a stupid software rendered piece of junk that will get blown away when Microsoft releases a "real" next-gen GUI API in the form of the 3D accelerated Longhorn desktop. Quartz is a holdover from the early 1990s, something that Steve foisted on Apple, causing them to miss the boat on where graphics was really heading, into the hardware accelerated realm. Case in point: Quartz "Extreme" which utilizes all the power of a GeForce4 just to accelerate compositing and window effects, instead of actually accelerating DRAWING. And why can't QE accelerate drawing? Because tying the Quartz API to PDF (instead of making the rendering backends generic and abstract, is it should be) has tied them too tightly to fully utilize OpenGL acceleration.

Re:Why Mac OS X on PC platform makes sense (long) (2, Flamebait)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177510)

Really? Quartz Extreme rocks in Jaguar. It keeps my CPU usage waay down, and looks crisper and beautiful.

Microsoft announced they're 3 years away. Vaporware as far as I'm concerned.

you don't even know what you're talking about (1)

geek (5680) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177513)

sorry, but you don't

Re:Why Mac OS X on PC platform makes sense (long) (1)

doomy (7461) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177483)

Linux is not free as in beer. Linux is free as in freedom. To be free as in beer, the beer has to come with source. In this regard, MacOS X is free as in beer, since you get it when you buy a mac.

Debian packaging is actually quite good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177514)

On the contrary, I find that Debian packaging is quite good. Theres nothing like a central list of software packages availible to make things nice and easy -- no searching on the web for .debs.

Also, though I would love to see Apple port the upper layers of Mac OS X over to x86, I think they'd be losing profit. When you think about it, their greatest source of income is their hardware. If they eliminated the need to purchase their hardware in order to use their awesome GUI, they'd go broke very easily. That's primarily why I think this port won't happen for a while.

On another note, why isn't it possible for outside people to port JUST Aqua over? I don't care if the install programs can't detect my hardware in a snap (I can do that myself), but I'd sure love to have the pretty GUI on my desktop... It'd be a step in the right direction.

Business as usual (5, Insightful)

brindle (8241) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177391)

Of course they have an X86 port.

If they release on intel hardware it will be for a finite set of manufactures to a limited set of specs, so that they can continue to deliver true plug-and-play. Expect to pay more for intel based hardware that runs Mac OS X.

And don't be too disapointed if your current system is not supported.


Performance (2, Interesting)

hobbesmaster (592205) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177394)

I wonder what type of performance OSX gets on x86 processors; photoshop doesn't count.

To quote Chris Farley (2)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177396)

Holy Snikees!!!!

I say bring it on. Of course this would mean a custom bios and only "Apple approved" hardware would work, but this should at least bring the cost down.

Imagine a $600 Imac that you could use your own monitor with!!! My check if officially prewritten.

Oh it would probably be a swift kick in the balls to MS as well :-)

Bah! (1)

aero6dof (415422) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177397)

Its just a bargaining chip to deal with Motorola - who would be stupid to believe that it's actually going to happen. For one, Apple would have to weather the storm as MS decides to bury OS X.

Wouldn't be surprising (1)

haloscan (566834) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177398)

The chance that Apple is maintaining an x86 port is possible but would most likely cost them business-wise if released. The simplicity and stability of the OS are what makes it most attractive to those who purchase Macs and releasing it would complicate matters with new drivers having to be built for the numerous amounts of hardware available for the x86 platform.

On a sidenote, the project name is an interesting choice ("The project (code-named Marklar, a reference to the race of aliens on the "South Park" cartoons)").

It's been long known.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177400)

That AMD and Mac seem to be cohorting for an x86 version of MAC OS X. Check out for your news on PC's, as /. can be just a few months behind. Also who is then waiting for the 64 bit version of MAC OS X, since AMD plans the ClawHAMMER series of chips all to run 64 bit, and still be as fast at 32 bit, rather than the ITANIC (which sank if you ask me) that "emulates" 32 bit processing making it extremely slower.

I hope this marklar work out. (4, Funny)

laserjet (170008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177401)

I hope this new marklar really works on marklar marklar. Marklar seems to be the marklar of the marklar, not just another markler off the old marklar. Marklar really does need to marklar another marklar maker in order to be marklar with the marklar. Marklar is just not marlar anymore, and this seems to be a good marklar to the marklar. A small marklar to marklar, really.

rofl! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177429)

rofl! god damn i wish i had mod points.

Re:I hope this marklar work out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177508)

What are you talking about? Can anyone explain this to me?

Re:I hope this marklar work out. (0, Offtopic)

jerryasher (151512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177525)


Endianness (0)

cheezfreek (517446) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177403)

As far as I can see, this is a Very Good Thing for Apple. Port your operating system to a chip that has the opposite endianness as PPC, then you've got both big- and little-endian systems covered. So, if you need to change hardware, for whatever reason, that will make it much, much easier to port to that new architecture. Whether they actually release it for x86 or not isn't the point. They get much more leverage over their hardware providers this way.

Believe what you will... (1)

mookie-blaylock (522933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177406)

... but it might help to not get ahead of yourself.

While the x86 ports of MacOS have been rumored to exist for ages, the buzz doesn't seem to suggest that Apple is totally ready to give up on PPC just yet.

The Apple rumor scene has been abuzz about the rumored desktop version of the Power4 -- even the article mentions this. This CPU supposedly has Altivec functions included, which Apple has been going crazy about since the G4 came out. IBM said they'd discuss it at the Microprocessor Forum -- and I'd keep my eyes on this.

While it's all speculation, it makes more sense than requiring yet another shift in architecture and requiring everyone to rewrite their apps to run on an x86 version of Mac OS X.

Wait a sec (1)

bennyboy (122851) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177407)

This would be more then just porting the X86 hardware. What about other hardware that is used in current apples that will have to be ditched. Motherboards.. video cards.. etc. It doesnt seem as simple as ripping out the ppc and dropping in a p4. Does any one really understand the intended migration, cause this seems far fetched to me.


Re:Wait a sec (2)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177499)

Motherboards.. video cards.. etc.
If you hadn't noticed, the current Mac's are basically just PCs with G4s in them. I mean the system bus is PCI, the graphics bus is AGP, they have Firewire and USB, they use ATA hard drives, DDR-SDRAM, and NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards. The only things they'd have to change around are the code hooking into some motherboard/firmware level stuff (Apple-Evil-Proprietory-Boot vs ACPI for example) and they'd be good to go.

Re:Wait a sec (1)

money_shot (301137) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177511)

Take a good look at the hardware in an apple today... ide controllers, ati/nvidia video, standard CD/DVD players/burners, standard firewire/usb buses.

I don't see where there would be all that much work past a new mobo.

- money_shot

Actually, this idea isn't new... (1)

TaliesinWI (454205) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177408)

I remember Apple having ads in a few PC mags way back (like almost a decade ago) talking about how they were going to port MacOS to the Intel architecture. This would have been when Windows 3.1 was the best Redmond had to offer, but I'm not sure the MacOS of that era would have been much better. :)
I'll see if I can find the damn magazines and I'll post issue numbers.

Re:Actually, this idea isn't new... (4, Insightful)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177475)

This would have been when Windows 3.1 was the best Redmond had to offer, but I'm not sure the MacOS of that era would have been much better.

Geez, are you kidding? System 7 was FAR AND AWAY better than 3.1 ever was. I remember reading a compariason of System 7 to Win 3.1 in a MacUser issue from back in '90. System 7 formed the basis of the Mac's OS for almost 10 years, and though it was showing a little bit of age as it progressed, it was still a remarkable OS.

They're going to Marklar their Marklars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177420)

If Marklar Marklars their Marklars, then Marklar will be Marklared to Marklar with Marklar, quickly Marklaring all Marklars with Marklar, or simply Marklaring other Marklars with Marklar. Doing Marklar is not a good Marklar, even for Marklar with their Marklar, Marklar, Marklaring Marklars with Marklar Marklars, etc.

Ask Marklar to not Marklar the Marklars with Marklar, but with Marklar's Marklaring Marklars. Marklar, Marklar!

OS X is already available for Intel. (2, Informative)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177423)

Darwin is the core for OS X and there is a port for it called GNU-Darwin-x86. Aqua is the GUI and I think that there are some people working on this.

Re:OS X is already available for Intel. (0)

mackstann (586043) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177468)

yes darwin has an x86 port but it is very rough. either way, darwin != osx, i think we all know that.

The Marklar. (0, Offtopic)

TheHouseMouse (589773) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177430)

Greetings, welcome to Marklar. Here on Marklar, we refer to all people, places, and things, as Marklar. If Marklar here wants to bring all his Marklar to Marklar, that would be fine. But you must explain one at a Marklar.

Re:The Marklar. (0, Offtopic)

sparkleytone (561198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177479)

what the marklar are marklars marklaring about here in this marklar? only marklars with lots of marklars can actually believe this marklar. its marklarily marklar that this marklar is just plain marklar. the marklar from has taken a marklar on all of you marklars. marklar can't believe that this marklar made it to be marklardotted. take me to your marklar.

Remember--Microsoft is an Apple Investor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177432)

I can't see Microsoft ever letting this happen, as many of you will remember that Microsoft has bailed Apple out financially on more than one occasion and are still a major investor. And we all know how much Microsoft likes competition...

That agreement has run out. (1)

Blaede (266638) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177538)

Apple can do whatever it wants.

Why PPC is a lower form of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177449)

Apple Sucks.. i mean.. everything runs slower on a Mac.. The applications take so much longer to load up than they do on a PC. Its widely known that the PPC arch is inherently slower than x86. I mean.. think about it.. Big Endian is bad! They are finally seeing the light. Too bad it took them this long!

what i wanna know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177458)

could i install a x86 port of mac osx on any x86 machine (like a dell, hp, or whatever) or could i only install it on x86 based macs that they will probably start producing?

BTW, wont it be cool when you can set up a dual boot for mac osx and windows 2k/xp.

Please! (1, Flamebait)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177463)

If there is a god out there, please let this be true, and please let Apple switch to AMD processors that don't cost so damned much for such crappy performance!

It would have its places... (1)

desau (539417) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177464)

Well.. I wouldn't dump GNU/Linux/KDE for it, but I would replace my wife's Windows XP in a heartbeat.

Re:It would have its places... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177531)

You said "GNU/Linux"! Bet you're sucking Stallman's cock at this very moment!

Believable (5, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177466)

I'll believe Apple has an x86 port of OS X. But, the OS is not the main problem. Apple can't switch to the x86 because their app vendors would be in hell trying to port their AltiVec optimizations to MMX/SSE/3DNow!/SSE2. Nevermind that Apple would suddenly be just another PC vendor.

It is much more plausible that Apple is switching the 64-bit IBM Power4 CPU. IBM is presenting this new desktop version of the CPU at Microprocessor Forum on October 15th. The CPU has a mystery vector unit with 160+ instructions, just like AltiVec. There was a post to the gcc-patches mailing list proposing a patch to enable altivec support on the powerpc64 target, and this patch originated from Alan Modra at IBM's Linux Technology Center.

All evidence indicates that IBM will produce a desktop CPU with an AltiVec unit. Apple has hit the wall with Motorola, and are now selling overclocked G4 miracle CPUs just to stay in the game. I think Apple will switch to Power4.

Lower prices, at least... (2)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177470)

I can see one consumer advantage right away-- Lower hardware costs. The ability to take it anywhere for repairs, not just apple certified (or uncertified, for that matter), which are fewer and farther between and generally higher priced to boot. Don't have to worry about those specialized apple motherboards anymore either. Not that they still wouldn't have their own software issues, but it certainly can't hurt...

Please... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177473)

... How many times can slashdot post an article like this before it gets old?

Let's see: 5/ 1644246&mode=thread&tid=181 1/ 165248&mode=thread&tid=179 26 &mode=thread&tid=107 01 54236&mode=thread&tid=107

And that's just in this last year. Give it up, people! It's not going to happen.

Remember OS/2 for the PPC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177484)

Yeah... exactly.

x86 port doesn't mean it will run on a Dell (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177491)

Just becaus they have it running on x86, doesn't mean they plan to sell Mac OS X separetely from their computers.

There is NO reason that Apple would stop making their own hardware. Hardware that would be radically different from PCs designed to run Windows. Hell, I doubt you'd even be able to install Windows or an x86 Linux distro on an x86-based Mac. It would surely have competely different BIOS and ports and everything.

All I have to say...... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177493)

is I hope there is a leak..


Yup. (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177501)

I believe that Apple has a working x86 version of Mac OS X, and furthermore, that they should put it on the market. This operating system is a very real, very strong competitor to Windows XP. (I further believe that Windows XP would never have happened if it wasn't for Apple's bitchen new graphics--when someone at Microsoft saw that for the first time, I bet they shit their pants.) If there's a concern over companies porting their software to the PC platform, Apple needs to make all their existing APIs work on the x86, and should offer to outsource, for application developers, the conversion of assembly level code to x86. (They might offer, for a nominal fee, to find and resolve bugs that result from a change in architecture.)

People are sick of Windows. They're sick of the difficulty in using it. They're sick of the bugs, the problems, and the cost. I think Mac OS X has the opportunity to crush Windows XP.

And probably a custom bios... (0)

dameron (307970) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177503)

That would mean you'd have to have an (at least) official Apple X86 motherboard or get the bios ROM from some other source (p2p networks) so that you could only run the code on "Apple Macintosh" branded x86 systems (picture the G4 case with an intel board in it). You'd probably still have to drop down the 30-50% premium for owning a "Mac".

And as far as PPC emulation being too slow for classic mode, I believe Apple could do it, especially considering the minimum hardware requirements called for by most classic mode software (a G3 at 300Mhz should run most of them fine) relative to the speeds of x86 hardware in a the next year (3.5 Ghz or more). I think an emulation platform ten times faster should make up for the difference.


Marklar! LOL! (1, Informative)

8Complex (10701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177504)

FYI, Marklar is the planet that the boys took a space ship to on South Park in one episode. The people of Marklar had only one word for all nouns -- Marklar.

They got chased up by missionaries that wanted to convert the entire planet to Christianity and the Marklars ended up kicking the missionaries off the planet and allowing all of the Ethopians to move to Marlar to live since they couldn't survive in Ethopia. :-)

So in relation -- Marklar... a strange foreign land. Kind of suiting for OSX on X86, eh?

The only reason I clicked on this. . (1)

The Real Chrisjc (576622) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177506)

. .was to look at the lovely apple OS X styling of the slashdot logo :)

I believe it (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177507)

But I don't think they're going to release it on anything other than their custom hardware, which will be overpriced like their PPC hardware.

Who cares if moto can't provide the chips, they're getting Cu-connect PPCs from IBM now, right?

Once again.. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177519)

didn't we already know this?

Apple maintains this in case they decide to switch the Mac processor to x86.

It's not so that OSX will work on your PC.
It's so that apple can build a Mac using an intel chip instead of ppc.

X86 is not equivalent to "Industry Standard" (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177524)

If apple were to move to X86 (still probably unlikely, even according to the article), I somehow doubt that they would move to the industry standard platform.

Think about it - if Microsoft can put hooks in Windows XP that prevent it from installing on a different OEM than the one you got it from, what's to prevent apple from doing the same? Further, they could easily make their X86 hardware different enough to prevent any random clone from working. In fact, SGI did something similar a few years ago, not that it did them any good. The point is that, even if they go X86, a mac could still be proprietary. There's much more to the Industry Standard platform than running on Intel.

Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4177526)

If you have a flexible OS that is fairly portable, wouldn't it make good sense to have an OS X on intel/AMD somewhere in Cupertino-just in case?

I know it's not as simple as that as some components of X would need a fair degree of work to get them on another architecture, but nevertheless having the bulk of the work ready to go 'in an emergency' just seems to be common sense.

All this (if correct) is just another valid option for Apple. It doesn't mean they'll be moving to another architecture anytime soon and if they were to move on at some time in the future, it might turn out to be something completely different. Who knows.

Unless I'm mistaken, Steve Jobs recently stated at a shareholders meeting that the PPC roadmap looked pretty decent.

Believe me. The RDF was turned off at that meeting. If there were 'real' doubts over PPC he wouldn't have said what he did.

Maintaining a non-PPC version of their OS (if the news is even partly true) doesn't mean much right now.

It would be a case of simple common sense.

Makes sense (2)

lkaos (187507) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177530)

Presumably, Apple isn't really "porting" to x86. OS X is based on FreeBSD which was developed for x86. I seriously doubt that they made many assembly level changes that required serious parellel development.

If one thinks about it, maintaining a version of OS X on multiple platforms makes sense. It helps catch bugs since undefined behavior can be more volitale on certain platforms (and hence, easier to catch). One of the best ways to squash bugs out of a program is to have it run on a variety of platforms.

I wouldn't be suprised is OS X ran on a whole bunch of platforms... Of course, that doesn't mean that 1) Apple has any plans to release ports or 2) that there is decent hardware support on any other architectures.

Lose Carbon & AltiVec? 3rd parties not gonna (2)

mactari (220786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4177543)

I've actually been thinking about this a bit, and couldn't decide if I fell on the, "There's no way Apple's duplicating their efforts on x86; it's just not economic. They're already late releasing OS X and its updates as is," side or if I figured that "Motorola and IBM just aren't getting it together with the PowerPC; it might be time to jump ship".

I usually end up thinking that if Apple used x86, the OS would lose all its tricks that are G4 specific (particularly things that used the AltiVec instruction set [] ). These are the things that it's used to make Photoshop run faster -- not to mention iMovie, iDVD, etc -- if the OS swapped over to another processor architecture. If a Mac is slow now, wait until it loses the one ace up its sleeve when it comes to digital video. Seems that'd shoot Apple's new niche (one-stop digital hub) all to heck.

Not to mention what the switch would mean for third parties that would have to recompile (again!) for the new platform. I doubt the Classic environment is making its way to x86! Not a big deal in itself, and a break from Classic would be super, but hang on... That probably means Carbon, the compatibility layer that helps apps written for Classic run natively on OS X, is also out. Now we're talking problems. Legacy 3rd party code is out the window in many cases.

I do wonder if Apple's gone so far as to utilize whatever's the equivalent of MMX in the Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon's instruction set to overcome the problems it'd suffer by switching (pardon the pun). I still can't imagine Carbon's x86 compatible. Cocoa ("new improved NextStep") would probably be all that would make the jump.

I suppose it can't be that tough to port if you limit to Cocoa, though. As people have pointed out before, Darwin [] 's got an x86 version now and NextStep (the OS Apple bought that was supposed to turn into OS X a little more quickly) ran on x86 hardware. I always thought it'd be silly to duplicate all the effort of the tweaks Apple put into Next for PowerPC as they were already way behind on OS X without clear x86 plans, but perhaps those tweaks aren't as fancy or ugly as I'd assumed.

I still don't think this means Apple's leaving hardware, any way you slice it. There will be something, even in x86 Macs if they show up, that makes it so that you can't run OS X without quite a bit of custom hardware that Apple controls.
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