Mac OS X on pentium and amd

Discussion in 'Hardware Rumors' started by jermsmingy, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. jermsmingy macrumors regular

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    #1
    before you flame me consider this. I don't think that apple will allow clones again, but since from what I hear mac os x is either mostly ported or can easily be ported to wintel. What if apple did that but the only way that you could run os x on a pentuim or amd is if you bought the computer from them. so you could buy a quicksilver with a g4, pentium 4 or and amd. Now, granted they could only ship the the ported version of mac os x with these computers to guarentee that people would not install it on a wintel box, but I think apple could do it. Then no one could say that apple is slower or behind, because people could use the processor of their choice. Also, this wouldn't hurt apple's hardware sales.

    Just wondering what you guys thought.
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #2
    Let me start by saying that I don't think this would happen.

    But here are some points that I think would be interesting to discuss.

    1. Would OS X on a 2 Ghz P4 be any faster than on a Dual 1 Ghz G4? If not, then switching to Intel/AMD would not buy anything of substance. I read something in the "mainstream" media about the PPC platform being a lot faster than Intel/AMD for Linux, even taking into account the clock speed differences.

    2. If Apple does go this route, I expect that the motherboards would be designed by Apple. That way, there wouldn't be any clones. If Apple were to go with a standard Intel motherboard with a Mac ROM installed, how easy would it be for some techie to "clone" a Mac ROM?

    3. How happy would developers of Mac software be to learn that they would have to port their Mac software over to the Intel platform while still keeping the PPC version? If Apple were to switch to Intel, they would have to drop PPC. No "straddling" on this one.
     
  3. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    #3
    nope

    as interesting as this could be, it will NEVER fly.

    first, it would pose too many problems trying to get all software to run correctly on two VERY different archetectures.

    apple would obviously have to double its hardware development, 2 processors, 2 motherboards......

    the gap is not wide enough to warrant such an investment in "new" technology (to apple). if you know enough about the ppc vs pentium, the pantium is rarely faster mhz to mhz and most of the time it is doing the same process a ppc does in one clock cycle in 2 clock cycles. that is the reason for the astronomical clock speed. the pentium 3 is much much better in this case.

    the only reason i see for a switch is to get moto and ibm off their asses and get some germanium (sp?) and soi going real fast. or apple could just buy the semicunductor division from moto.
     
  4. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    #4
    Re: nope

    Don't people realize that apple could never afford the semi conductor division of moto, nor would moto ever want to sell it. apple MIGHT buy out moto's interest in the aim alliance, as they have a right to do (or something like, I'm not totally clear on the details), but the semi conductor division would probably be worth billions.

    Other than that, I agree: running OS X on intel would probably not serve much of a purpose, and would only complicate things.
     
  5. blakespot Administrator

    blakespot

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    Alexandria, VA
    #5
    Re: nope

    I think it's only if Motorola dropped the ball (well, farther than they have) on the PowerPC that Apple would go x86, but a proprietary system architecture (you'd need Apple hardware). But as for the scenario of supporting multiple platforms with one OS---driver issues would be the biggest hurdle. Let's remember that OS X started its life as NeXTSTEP on the 68030/040-based NeXT machines. It was then ported to x86 and eventually became ported as OpenStep to Sun's as well as HP machines. The "fat" binaries that floated around contained code enough to run on Intel, Motorola, Sun, and HP machines. There were differences in stability though. HP's implementation was not nearly as stable a the original Motorola platform, which is the most stable, but not as fast as some of the Intel hardware, etc.

    It can be done--but it's a headache. But remember---OS X did not, by any means, start its life on PowerPC.


    blakespot
     
  6. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #6
    I think that it would take way too long to port OS X to the wintel platforms. Consider how many different pieces of hardware are out there for the peeecee. You have several brands of video cards as well as sound and network cards. That alone could delay it for months. Either that, or Apple would have to say that it would only run on certain configurations. With specific motherboards as well as other cards (for sound, ethernet and such) creating the drivers could be a task that Apple just doesn't want to tackle at present. If m$ ever does go the way of the dodo bird (as we all are praying for), then Apple would need to address all the peecee people that get left in the dark (OS wise).
     
  7. firewire2001 macrumors 6502a

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    Hong Kong
    #7
    UX

    "I think that it would take way too long to port OS X to the wintel platforms"

    Well think of it this way... if you look at any other release of UNIX or LINUX, they have moderate compatiblity, but almost always full compatibility with video cards, sound cards, and keyboards and mouses - the essentials. These drivers are all open source, and wouldnt be hard at all for apple to port... for instance, apple still uses many of the same printing packages/drivers that mainstream UNIX uses today...
     
  8. alex_ant macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #8
    I think if Apple were to port to Intel (which they would not do), they should have the decency to send the following letter to all current registered Mac owners:


    Dear PowerPC Macintosh owners,

    **** you.

    Sincerely,
    (hand-written signature)
    Steve Jobs
    President and C.E.O.,
    Apple Computer
     
  9. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

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    #9
    I still think that the chances of Apple porting OS X to the wintel platforms has about as much chance of a blizzard happening in Miami, FL. Yes, it could happen, but not in our lifetime, or this millenium. :D

    Mac's rule, peecee's just drool
     
  10. pishnaris macrumors newbie

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    West Virginia
    #10
    Remember NeXTStep?

    The NeXT OS, which was by far the best OS ever developed, and is the parent of our beloved OSX, was ported to Intel processors...it never made it. NeXT was just plain unbeatable, hardware and software-wise. Unfortunately, it was WAY TOO expensive, and the 68040 at 33mhz was as far as it went.

    But what a machine it was in 1990!
     
  11. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030

    Catfish_Man

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    Portland, OR
    #11
    Re: Re: nope

    'Fraid you're wrong about Apple not being able to buy Moto's semiconductor division. It's in their contract, they can buy it for (if I remember correctly) 500 million. 500 mil is a big chunk of cash, but Apple could theoretically afford it.
     
  12. rEd Eye macrumors regular

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    Nov 28, 2001
    #12
    Imagine being able to choose the hardware you wanted at an affordable(key word "competitive") price,whilst using a superior os.
    I don't think that there is a chance in hell that Apple would give anyone this chance,because no one would bother with Apple$ hardware anymore!
    My guess is that soon enough M$ or whomever will copycat Apples idea of revamping unix into a prefab consumert os,that's just as good,if not better than os X.Then the **** will hit the fan,because Apple won't be better anymore!
    Although I am a mac user,I am obviously not a fanatic,as you can probably tell.I find the Apple os more functional for my purposes,therfore I have no choice but to buy their hardware.Given half a chance,I would happily build myself a tailored to my needs hardware setup,and slam os 9,and os X into it,leaving the Apple prefab kit to those whom are looking for a second BMW to go picnicing on Sundays with.

    (Anyone ever noticed how os X strangely resembles Win XP?:D)
     
  13. b8rtm8nn macrumors member

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    Dec 13, 2001
    #13
    I wouldn't be surprised if OSX Server would be ported to a different platform in a couple of years, but only the server. That would mean a venture of an IBM or HP providing high end server hardware and drivers that are labeled Apple, and it would probaby work is OSX Server keeps maturing at the rate it is. ever happen for the desktop/laptops though.
     
  14. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #14
    Re: Re: Re: nope

    Catfish,

    I'm afraid that you're confusing Motorola's semiconductor division with their PPC interests. MOT's semiconductor division is huge and while Apple has $4 bln, they're not prepared to spend it all for a division that, while has high revenues, has low profits (if any).

    The $500 mln that you're talking about sounds like MOT's PPC interest only (although I've never heard of it --- doesn't mean it's not true). $500 mln wouldn't be enough to buy the entire semiconductor division.

    But I guess it's just semantics.
     
  15. jbouklas macrumors regular

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    NY
    #15
    Cross-platform binaries

    If you remember the NeXT years, Steve Jobs released NeXT for the NeXT boxes, Intel, and SPARC. He built the binaries of the OS in such a way that a program written for the Intel platform would work on any of the others. This is what OS X needs to be a giant. If we had OS X on Intel, Mac, and Sparc, with cross-platform binaries, then one piece of software would work on any hardware platform. This would be tremendously useful to Apple, as they could have iMac workstations, a couple of Transmeta-based servers, and whatever communicating with Intel boxes all over the world. It would be the perfect corporate tool. But, M$ should be long dead first.

    -Jim
     
  16. pishnaris macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Recollection

    My recall could easily be faulty, but I don't believe a NeXTStep app, written for the 68040 would run on an Intel or Sparc machine...the app still had to be compiled for the other platform, although that wasn't a terribly difficult thing to do.
     
  17. teabgs macrumors 68030

    teabgs

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    #17
    I hate to break it to you man, but OSX came out BEFORE XP.

    Win XP looks strangely like OSX....just like every other version of windows looks similar to mac OS.
     
  18. jermsmingy thread starter macrumors regular

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    Houston
    #18
    you guys missed my whole point!

    my whole point was what if apple but a pentium or amd in their hardware.
    PowerMac pentium IV. I would buy the g4 still but I think it would reach a different part of the market. My only question is, I am not a developer, but you all keep saying that if it ran on a different chip, then developers would have to maintain different versions of the software. Why is that. I can understand if their program accesses hardware, but os x doesn't let any program do that. It accesses the hardware and then lets the programs use it. Someone please explain.
     
  19. sparkleytone macrumors 68020

    sparkleytone

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  20. jbouklas macrumors regular

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    #20
    Here's some proof...

    This is a magazine clipping from the good old days. Outlines what I've been saying:NeXT OS
     
  21. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #21
    Re: you guys missed my whole point!

    I don't think that we missed the point at all. While I believe that it's possible that Apple could get OS X to work on an Intel/Apple hybrid machine, I don't think that said machine would be any faster than what's currently provided with the Dual G4. I'm not sure about this, just speculation based on what was said about the PPC being a better architecture for Linux.

    And for Apple to switch to Intel, I think that they would have to drop PPC altogether as the different processor lines would cause confusion in MacLand. I can see it now, harried salespeople trying to explain why a 1 Ghz G4 Power Mac costs more than a 1.7 Ghz P4 Power Mac. "But these go to 11."
     
  22. PCUser macrumors regular

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    #22
    Re: jermsmingy

    A program is written in a high-level lanugage (like C, C++, etc) and is compiled (exculding, of course, things like Java, but it can't make a very good stand-alone Word processor) to Assembly.

    Assembly is a processor-line-specific language. The PPC processor line has it's version of the Assembly language, and the x86 has it's own. They are incompatible.

    Once the code is turned into Aseembly, it still needs to be able to call system libraries that are dynamic (ie, they aren't part of the compiled code, such as system calls to make windows and buttons, etc), so they are linked to those libraries. Once everything is linked together by a program called a linker, it is handed to an assembler program that turns the Assembly code into machine language.

    Machine language is processor-line-specific, as well. Apps assembled for PPC will not work on 68k or x86. Apps written for x86 will not work on 68k or PPC.

    So, it's not to do with talking to the hardware calls. That isn't the issue. The issue is that source code turns into processor specific Assembly (Motorola has different ideas about what should go into Assembly then what Intel and AMD think), is linked to system libraries that are compiled as well, and then turned into machine code.


    Yes, you can emulate the other chip architecture (ala VirtualPC, etc), but it will never be as fast as the actual chip itself is at comparable speeds.

    Also, the system libraries must be generated for x86 if you want MacOS X apps to work on x86. Right now, those libraries are written and compiled with PPC in mind. Quartz, Cocoa, Classic, etc are written and compiled for the PPC architecture. Darwin, the core of MacOS X, works on x86. But no GUI-level libraries do.
     
  23. jbouklas macrumors regular

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    NY
    #23
    What about NeXT Step?

    How did they do it with NeXT Step? It was advertised that one application could run on several hardware platforms. How did they do it?

    -Jim
     
  24. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    Chicago
    #24
    Not bloody likely.

    Think of this...

    Apple is currently competing with Dell. One of Apple's best weapons in this competition is its ability to differentiate in its OS and software. Now lets port all of that software to Intel. In my opinion that takes away a great weapon.

    Now its possible that Apple moves away from directly competing with hardware vendors. But as of right now, they make most of their money from hardware. Taking away the ability to sell that hardware would kill them.

    Matthew
     
  25. PCUser macrumors regular

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    #25
    Re: jbouklas

    Well, I don't know how NeXT did it, but the only thing I could think of would be to make it so the system libraries handled every call...

    Such as basic calls to add, divide, subtract, access memory, etc. The whole works. You'd have to recreate the entire Assembly language in the system libraries (no small feat).

    You'd also have to write your own compiler, linker, assembler so that it compiles your code to call the system libraries for everything.

    That would be a lot of time to do. And, I imagine, it would a slower then if you wrote it the standard way. It'd basically add another layer to everything. Right now, when I write a simple C++ app and compile it, it talks directly to the chip to make calls to add two numbers... if I was to recreate a system-independent system library to do the same thing, my app would get compiled to call the system library to talk to the chip to add two numbers.
     

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