PhilO

Apple unveils software to let Macs run Windows

21 posts in this topic

Apple is going to be offering a program that will let people dual-boot their Intel Macs with either Mac OS X, or Windows XP. More here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12166580/

Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that Apple would provide a similar patch to let buyers of Mac OS X run it on any PC compatible, when hell froze over. (This is a joke, the above isn't.)

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A VERY good step IMO. Now with the software compatibility problems gone (if the program doesn't have any bugs), we might see a migration to Macs in the future. I certainly would consider a Mac for my next computer.

And it looks like MS has less competition now.

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On the second thought, this might me trouble for MS as more users may start to like Mac OSX.

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On the second thought, this might me trouble for MS as more users may start to like Mac OSX.

There's a lot to like about Mac OS X (mainly because it's based on a version of Unix with a very nice GUI, though it did take Apple a long 10 years to accomplish that). Compatibility issues aside, it's a superior operating system to anything offered by Microsoft. But between compatibility issues (think several hundred million PCs in corporations alone) and Jobs' stubborn refusal to sell a version that runs on stock Intel hardware, Apple isn't going to be making great inroads in terms of market percentage share. They aren't anywhere close to exceeding single digit percentages.

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I just want to interject here and say that the alleged compatibility issues between the two platforms are a myth. As a long-time user of both platforms (I've worked on them both for over a decade and own both at home), I've never once had a problem switching my files between the two.

As long as the software is made for both platforms, they are fully compatible. It's not often that I come across software that isn't available for both, although I'll conceed that there are a few programs available on each platform that aren't available for the other.

At any rate, what I'm trying to say is that compatibility issues between MacOS and Windows do not exist.

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Perhaps it's a myth in your field, but in mine (engineering) it isn't. There are a number of engineering apps I've found to not have MacOS versions.

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At any rate, what I'm trying to say is that compatibility issues between MacOS and Windows do not exist.

That's a silly statement, Don. Of course they do. It may be true that for *most* of the very widely deployed systems such as Microsoft Office, you can share files back and forth, but there are countless PC programs that flatly haven't been ported to Macs (such as 90%+ of PC games for example). The reverse is also true, there are many Mac programs that have never been ported to PCs. It's more than just file compatibility.

If you include *comparable* functionality, then the gap narrows, but similarities are not identities.

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This may not be a good thing for Apple. Although it might result in more initial sales for macs, it also could reduce the incentive for developers to port to OSX. After all, if macs can run Windows, why waste the effort? This is the problem IBM's OS/2 confronted - they touted "It can do Windows programs!" only to find their developer support dry up.

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I have to say that I'm curious as to the rationale here. This is going to make it easy for Apple users to discover, perchance to like, Windows. On the other hand, it will do nothing for PC users, who have no incentive to pay a premium for a Mac and then still use Windows.

Conceivably, there's a tiny niche of people who would love to use Mac 95% of the time but must use a PC for the other 5% (e.g., because of a specific software package).

I don't get it.

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Conceivably, there's a tiny niche of people who would love to use Mac 95% of the time but must use a PC for the other 5% (e.g., because of a specific software package).

I think it's larger than a tiny niche, but yes, this appears to be the people they are targeting. But again, my own fear is that this will lower the incentive to develop for OSX. I love my mac mini :-(

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I think it's larger than a tiny niche, but yes, this appears to be the people they are targeting. But again, my own fear is that this will lower the incentive to develop for OSX. I love my mac mini :-(

Developers don't nearly as often develop for OS X, not because it isn't cool, but (1) because of the very, very low market penetration of Macs, and (2) development tools themselves abound for Windows, but not nearly so many exist for the Mac, and most are offered directly by you-can-have-any-color-you-want-as-long-as-its-white Apple itself. The preferred native language is now Objective C, which is virtually only used by Apple, further reducing the pool of developers.

#2 is partially related to #1. Both would be addressed if Apple sold OS X for stock Intel hardware, particularly if they included a Virtual Machine with the OS that could easily install Windows to run right inside OS X. Then OS X market share might actually break 10%.

One reason why the Microsofts and Intuits can afford to make a Mac version is that they already have immense branding and advertising presence for their products (from the PC, not the Mac, world), and their products are general-purpose enough to be needed by a large fraction of Mac users, e.g. Microsoft Office and Intuit's accounting software.

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A VERY good step IMO. Now with the software compatibility problems gone (if the program doesn't have any bugs), we might see a migration to Macs in the future. I certainly would consider a Mac for my next computer.

The software incompatibility is still there between the two OS's. It takes time to shut down your applications, reboot under another OS, and restart your desktop application configuration every time you need to switch. You won't like that part.

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I guess this means that Apple computers now will be getting a ton of virus' also.

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Given that Apple has made the move to Intel hardware, this was inevitable. There were already people in the hacker community working on getting Windows to boot on Intel Macs; eventually they were going to succeed. All Apple is doing here is embracing something that they could not prevent.

I will be very surprised, though, if this ever goes the other way (MacOS running on generic PC hardware). The reason for that is that a significant reason why MacOS is as stable as it is is precisely because Apple can limit the hardware on which it has to run. Drivers for various pieces of third-party hardware make up the majority of the codebase of operating systems like Windows and Linux, and those drivers (and their interoperation) give rise to more than their share of the total bugs experienced by users. For MacOS to run on third-party hardware, Apple would have to dive headfirst into that quagmire -- and I don't think they'd be able to handle it significantly better than Microsoft did. It would cost them the very thing that most distinguishes MacOS from Windows in the first place.

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Developers don't nearly as often develop for OS X, [...]
Right, but won't they develop for it even less once Windows runs on macs?

(As a side note, I definitely agree that Apple's dev tools aren't too good. You pretty much have to choose between Objective C and Java, unless you want to install some language bridge from sourceforge like PyObjC, which has sucky support (like all open source stuff). But I don't trust MS's dev tools either; they have no incentive to make it easy to make cross-platform stuff. So right now I'm searching for third party tools only.)

#2 is partially related to #1. Both would be addressed if Apple sold OS X for stock Intel hardware, particularly if they included a Virtual Machine with the OS that could easily install Windows to run right inside OS X. Then OS X market share might actually break 10%.
I am skeptical that opening the OS would help their marketshare - if I was at Apple I wouldn't risk it (hardware sales would crumble). But anyway, this will never happen. I'm more worried about developers not caring about OSX once Windows runs on macs.

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I guess this means that Apple computers now will be getting a ton of virus' also.

Viruses from the Windows partition wouldn't affect the OSX partition. Viruses that wipe your entire drive clean, though, would affect it I guess. But nobody writes those anymore...installing spyware to steal your information is "where it's at" :angry2:

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Frankly I still don't like the idea: I didn't pay the extra money for an Apple just to run Windows on it.

I appreciated how tightly integrated their products always were, regardless of whether it hurt their presence in the market: it has always been their hardware, with their OS running on it, no exceptions--and I loved that.

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Frankly I still don't like the idea: I didn't pay the extra money for an Apple just to run Windows on it.

You don't need to run Windows on it - they won't be prepackaged with it.

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That's a silly statement, Don. Of course they do. It may be true that for *most* of the very widely deployed systems such as Microsoft Office, you can share files back and forth, but there are countless PC programs that flatly haven't been ported to Macs (such as 90%+ of PC games for example).

[And to HaloNoble6]

That's why I specifically said, "As long as software is availabe for both platforms..." I was addressing the common misconception that people have about there being no compatibility at all.

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[And to HaloNoble6]

That's why I specifically said, "As long as software is availabe for both platforms..." I was addressing the common misconception that people have about there being no compatibility at all.

Ok.

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But I don't trust MS's dev tools either; they have no incentive to make it easy to make cross-platform stuff. So right now I'm searching for third party tools only.)

wxWidgets is an interesting, free, open course cross platform framework. You can target Windows, OS X, Linux, Unix. Qt is fairly cool, and also can target those platforms, but it's really expen$ive if you want to use it to develop commercial applications. I wouldn't dismiss Microsoft's own development tools, I personally haven't found anything better as far as a C++ IDE suite goes. Their "Express" tools are free. Both wxWidgets and Qt can easily compile under the full Microsoft tools (by design), I don't know about the Express versions.

Java remains a possibility, but Swing is notoriously slow and crappy. On a modern machine the speed issue would be less relevant. Eclipse is the (free) tool of choice for Java development.

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