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Old Aug 30, 2002, 02:45 PM   #1
Ash
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OSX on x86 Codenamed Marklar?

eWeek just came out with an article claiming that Apple has a feature-complete version of OS X running on x86 architecture that is codenamed Marklar.

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,496270,00.asp

It pulls together a lot of older rumors and Star Trek history, but has a few new interesting tidbits.

- Ash
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 03:24 PM   #2
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so basically all i got from this is that it's a "fall-back plan" if motorola and ibm refuse to make chips for apple and they can't find anyone else to do it either.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 03:47 PM   #3
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Talking

And Nick de Plume is a reliable source since when?
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 03:49 PM   #4
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A lot can happen in 15 years

So I will be 40 when Apple decides to release OS 11 according to Jobs who says that OS X is the OS for the next 15 years. A lot can happen in that time. This would definitely allow enough time to develop a commercial release of OS X for the x86 if Motorola and/or IBM fail to deliver for Apple. Though they have a version of OS X running on an x86 platform, the article makes the point of mentioning the amount of effort it would take by 3rd party vendors to rebuild software and hardware for Mac OS X running on x86. Also, Apple would have to figure out their closed architecture on the x86 platform if they opted to maintain their closed archictecture model. We won't see it any time soon, but maybe in a couple of years.

Now all they have to do is sell empty PowerMac towers.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 04:29 PM   #5
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"Marklar" must be Klingon for "Isn't gonna happen."
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 04:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by MacCoaster
And Nick de Plume is a reliable source since when?
i personally do not know nick de plume, but i do read thinksecret regularly... i have to say most of the stuff he writes (rumor-wise) is reliable

his site seems to be one of the more respectable rumors sites (besides MR of course )
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 05:11 PM   #7
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lol

from http://www.slangsite.com/slang/M.html :

marklar:
A noun standing in place of any noun you have temporarily forgotten. Synonym of thingy, thingumbob, whatsit. Also may be used deliberately when the meaning is abundantly clear anyway. Derived from its use by space aliens in an episode of South Park
Example: On Marklar, everyone and every thing is referred to as marklar. We come in marklar. Take us to your marklar.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 05:41 PM   #8
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Not a bad little article but seems like all they did in the way of research is look through a bunch of rumors sites.

There's one bit that I found interesting:

Apple would have to also coax most of its third-party developers to rewrite their applications from the ground up in the company's Cocoa application environment.

If that's all that it takes to make an app x86-compatible, then the whole switching-over-to-Intel thing doesn't seem so farfetched. Yes, most OS X apps now are Carbon but won't developers be switching to Cocoa anyways as they introduce new apps? I've only dabbled with the development tools but Cocoa seems to be the way to go if you're writing a brand new app for OS X.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 06:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by dongmin
... Yes, most OS X apps now are Carbon but won't developers be switching to Cocoa anyways as they introduce new apps? ...

When they write an application in Cocoa, it will only run on OS X, not on a classic Mac OS. That might cut out half their customers today. I think Carbon will be around for several years, in the consumer applications. Now high end products are a different story. Nobody would want to run Shake on OS 9 anyway.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy

When they write an application in Cocoa, it will only run on OS X, not on a classic Mac OS. That might cut out half their customers today. I think Carbon will be around for several years, in the consumer applications. Now high end products are a different story. Nobody would want to run Shake on OS 9 anyway.

I didn't mean now, obviously, as the great majority of Mac users still boot off OS 9. But in 3 years let's say, I would think that 90% or more would be running OS X.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 06:58 PM   #11
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I don't see why a Carbon app could not be recompiled for OS X x86 just like a Cocoa app. Carbon wraps to exactly the same low level APIs as Cocoa does. Therefore, as far as I can see, this claim is simply not true. Classic would be the problem not Carbon.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 07:08 PM   #12
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Is anyone really surprised by this?

It's Apple's life preserver, if bankruptcy becomes imminent they will release something like this to either save the company or at least spite MS before fading away.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 07:49 PM   #13
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Originally NextStep only ran on m68k based black hardware. At its peak, it ran on 5 different architectures. In the end, they just kept the black hardware and Intel versions alive. Today its called OS X and its only sold for a single architecture. One can only wonder what the future will bring..
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 08:03 PM   #14
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Maybe this is a hint to motorola (and somewhat to IBM) to get a good desktop PowerPC chip out on the market

I think this would be a desperate act for Apple, designed only to be used when they're on their death bed

Of course, I doubt that will happen any time soon
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 10:00 PM   #15
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you'll have to pardon my ignorance about intel processors as i probably dont know what i'm talking about... but why would apple expend so many resources building osx for x86? we're all waiting for the 32-bit ppc to die in hopes of the G5 and it would seem rather counter-intuitive of apple to focus on what many of us agree is an inferior structure. i had heard somewhere that amd chips use an x86 emulator but that athlon was some different type of processor which was more powerful (i am probably totaly wrong but i have a friend who swears by the speed advantage of amd over intel). why isnt apple focusing on this architecture or some of the other 64 bit processors that are already in production? if its mhz that is the major concern, the newest breed of 68k chips are getting close to 2ghz, but i dont see anyone rushing to port operating systems back to that architecture.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 10:13 PM   #16
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If they were ever to port OSX over to any version of the x86 platform, it would be 64-bit. The Itanic2 and the AMD Clawhammer will be the x86 variations of the future. The chips that they ported OSX to were most likely 32-bit, but porting it to 64-bit shoudn't be to difficult. I have to agree with everybody else that it probably won't happen. x86 is a dying architecture. Intel has pipelined the P4 to hell, the Itanic isn't even x86, and the AMD chips are more RISC than x86. This is only a last-resort option, and there's about a 99.98% chance of this actually happening, so I wouldn't worry.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 10:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by dongmin
I didn't mean now, obviously, as the great majority of Mac users still boot off OS 9. But in 3 years let's say, I would think that 90% or more would be running OS X.
I bet 90% aren't running OS 9 and OS X combined. The majority of Mac users are probably running OS 7-8, because there are millions of Quadras and old PowerMacs (not to mention Mac II's and 68k LC/Performas) still out there being used by people who are oblivious to OS upgrades or anything beyond Word 5.1. I run across these people almost daily.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 10:29 PM   #18
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Well...

Quote:
Originally posted by FattyMembrane
you'll have to pardon my ignorance about intel processors as i probably dont know what i'm talking about... but why would apple expend so many resources building osx for x86? we're all waiting for the 32-bit ppc to die in hopes of the G5 and it would seem rather counter-intuitive of apple to focus on what many of us agree is an inferior structure. i had heard somewhere that amd chips use an x86 emulator but that athlon was some different type of processor which was more powerful (i am probably totaly wrong but i have a friend who swears by the speed advantage of amd over intel). why isnt apple focusing on this architecture or some of the other 64 bit processors that are already in production? if its mhz that is the major concern, the newest breed of 68k chips are getting close to 2ghz, but i dont see anyone rushing to port operating systems back to that architecture.
OS X is based on BSD. Apple either began development on the x86 platform then migrated over to PowerPC, they did it for the hell of it, it provides them with a market beyond PowerPC, or to have a contingency plan if the PowerPC architecture no longer competes in the real world due to "whatever." I also would like to add, "Why not?" Why not port OS X to everything from Amiga to Super Sparc systems? The developers love to do it and in the end, the consumer gets a better OS.

The "hammer" 64 bit architecture from AMD will be backwards compatible with x86. I believe this is the emulator you are refering to. As far as AMD having a speed advantage over Intel, on certain bench marks they each better the other in various tests. AMD just added more pipes to the processor which has definitely boosted its perfoemance in regards to its Intel equivalent. Intel's chips, if I am not mistaken, still have better throughput and floating point performance numbers. AMD is catching up though.

Who knows what Apple is focusing on? It is a strange time for them. To be competitive in the consumer market, they need to keep costs low. In the professional market, they need to boost performance. It makes no sense for them to concentrate all energy on 64 bit chips designed for expensive servers. I would be happy to see Apple adopt an architecture that has legs and good value to boot. Whether it be Intel, AMD, IBM, Motorola, Samsung, or Sun that provide the chips, I just want a stable, blazing fast Mac OS X.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 10:38 PM   #19
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it seems to me to be good to stay diversified, and by keeping an x 86 development project going, Apple may be reducing any risk factors associated with sticking with the PowerPC.

The issues regarding Cocoa vs Carbon do seem interesting. Notably, Apple has always put a big emphasis on Cocoa. Maybe this is one reason. Considering Cocoa has its roots way back in NeXT (which as Rigor pointed out, ran on several architectures), the link seems more than coincidental.

With respect to the idea that Apple would release this only if it was on its death bed, well, I am not so sure about that. For instance, no respectable developer would spend a fortune recompiling their apps to run on a platform that was about to go wayward. Again, if Apple was down for the count, I doubt it would want to spend the massive amounts it would take to finalise and then market this product to the windows Calvinists [think of all the additional device drivers, code optimisations etc that would have to be undertaken just to make it useable. Even on Mac related hardware we are still awaiting the arrival of some driver related support]

Finally, with respect to Nick de Plume, I have found that in the murky world of apple related rumours, the info he has published in the past tends to be quite reliable. Now, the guys at MOSR on the other hand...
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 11:18 PM   #20
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Re: Well...

Quote:
Originally posted by tortus


... I would be happy to see Apple adopt an architecture that has legs and good value to boot. Whether it be Intel, AMD, IBM, Motorola, Samsung, or Sun that provide the chips, I just want a stable, blazing fast Mac OS X.

I think you might like to have an architecture that will run your existing Mac software too. I believe most people would, and that is one very good reason to stay with the PPC. Apple just made a huge change going to OS X, and to follow that with a CPU change would be the one-two punch for developers, and customers.

There is lots of discussion about the merits of the PPC vs. the X86 CPU architecture. Without bringing up the arguments, just consider two facts.

First, IBM has taken the PPC/POWER family very far. IBM has the know how to come up with something better if they believed this architecture was too limited. They chose to stick with PPC/POWER. It has potential.

Second, Intel has the know how to come up with something better if they believed the X86 was too limited. They chose to design the 64-bit Itanium processor. The X86 must not have potential, in Intel's eyes.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 11:22 PM   #21
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Re: Well...

Quote:
Originally posted by tortus
OS X is based on BSD. Apple either began development on the x86 platform then migrated over to PowerPC, they did it for the hell of it
Actually it's based on the Mach kernel, which does hardware abstraction. OS X has a BSD subsystem as well, but it's not BSD. Mach can, and does, run on a number of CPUs, so does BSD.

If you remember when Rhapsody was first unveiled, Apple talked about "Yellow Box" which was a set of APIs for use on x86 systems.

Apple talked about this, and how it would allow developers writing in Cocoa (Objective C) to write their programs once, and run anywhere, much like Java. They killed off Yellow box around the same time that they introduced Carbon.

Yellow Box applications would have had the Windows GUI, but there's no reason Apple can't get the whole OS, Aqua and all, running on x86.

At any rate, they have been working on this from the beginning.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 11:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by dongmin
If that's all that it takes to make an app x86-compatible, then the whole switching-over-to-Intel thing doesn't seem so farfetched. Yes, most OS X apps now are Carbon but won't developers be switching to Cocoa anyways as they introduce new apps? I've only dabbled with the development tools but Cocoa seems to be the way to go if you're writing a brand new app for OS X.
Ugh!

Does Nick and Mathew even know what they are talking about?!?!?

Q: What is the FINDER written in?

Dave
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Old Aug 31, 2002, 12:05 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by FattyMembrane
i had heard somewhere that amd chips use an x86 emulator but that athlon was some different type of processor which was more powerful
I think I know what you may be referring to... AMD K7s convert x86 microcode in the core of the processor into a RISC-like microcode which they work on. They may have taken this route because the leader (and other members) of the K7 team were harvested from the Alpha Processor project (a brutally fast, 64bit RISC processor). If the Alpha hadn't been bought out and killed off as a sacrafice to Intel's Merced program the next revision would probably have been released by now and it could very likely have been the the fastest chip around.

Quote:
if its mhz that is the major concern, the newest breed of 68k chips are getting close to 2ghz, but i dont see anyone rushing to port operating systems back to that architecture. [/B]
Huh? Who exactly is making a 2GHz 68k processor? Last time I heard, the 68k made it to the 68060. It wasn't being used much and it was about as fast as a pentium. Check out this page for info... http://e-www.motorola.com/webapp/sps...NM934310184622
There are other processors that Motorola makes like the Dragonball and Coldfire. They have similar processor names like 68320 but I don't know to what extent they conform to the old 68k machine language. They certainly don't clock at 2GHz. Dragonball is used in PDAs and Coldfire seems to clock Up to 66MHz according to Motorola's web site.

Quote:
Originally posted by edvniow
If they were ever to port OSX over to any version of the x86 platform, it would be 64-bit. The Itanic2 and the AMD Clawhammer will be the x86 variations of the future.
Itanic2 is NOT an x86 processor. It is an EPIC processor. EPIC is Intel's implementation of the VLIW processor design... (Transmeta also makes VLIW processors)
EPIC is HUGELY complicated. It doesn't implement hardware branch prediction and the compiler actually has to *guess* how the code will execute at compile time to optimise it. It has been said that it will be harder to write robust EPIC compilers than to create the processors themselves... and Intel is about 2-3 years behind their original schedule.

This is a pretty good reason NOT to port OS X to the Itanic (what a stupid name). If Apple wrote everything in C or C++ they could probably use an existing Itanic compiler. Unfortunately, there is still a big reliance on objective C in OS X. Apple would need to invest SIGNIFICANT work in order to develop a mature compiler for their development environment... a compiler that has to generate code on a processor that is radically different than anything anyone at Apple has ever worked on.

just my 2 cents... ffakr.
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Old Aug 31, 2002, 12:08 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveGee


... Q: What is the FINDER written in?


Is it still written in Carbon? Someone suggested that Apple wrote it in Carbon just to prove to developers that this is a good API. Don't know whether there is truth to that. However, it is my understanding that Cocoa makes development a little easier, and possibly better. Apple improved the Finder in Jaguar I hear. Could it be in Cocoa now? Just wondering.

Last edited by snoopy; Aug 31, 2002 at 12:11 AM.
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Old Aug 31, 2002, 12:11 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveGee


Ugh!

Does Nick and Mathew even know what they are talking about?!?!?

Q: What is the FINDER written in?

Dave
No, apparently they don't.
A: FINDER is a CARBON app. It has been said that the very OOP design of Cocoa would not serve the Finder well.

The problem is not that new application won't be written in Cocoa... they most likely will since Cocoa is a Rapid Application Development environment.
The problem is that the bread and butter apps that sell Macs (Photoshop, Quark, Illustrator, Office) are written in Millions upon millions of lines of Carbon (or Classic) code. Do you expect that Microsoft will rewrite a million lines of code so we can get a Cocoa version of Office? Or will they simply continue to release Carbon versions forever?
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