MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Matthew Rotheberg summarizes some recent announcements and rumors regarding our favorite computer manufacturer in a recent eWeek article.

In particular, Rothenberg discusses the OS X on x86 rumors (Marklar), and the possibility of Apple marketing OS X on x86 as recently suggested by certain rumors.

The article also hints that Summer is the expected time-frame for Panther (OS X10.3).

 

usersince86

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2002
377
751
Columbus, Ohio
"What's going on here? I happen to believe that Apple is indeed dipping a toe here and there into the waters of PC compatibility. I also believe (like most Mac observers) that there would be tremendous hurdles to any such effort, client or server.

As has been said many times before, Apple is primarily a hardware company; that's where the margins are, and the company is not about to gut its core business on the slim chance that it can win significant OS share from disaffected Microsoft customers."


Maybe it's a survival strategy (in case IBM delivers as poorly as Moto). And why couldn't Apple design a box with an AMD or Intel chip, anyway? Remember, they don't make the chips now, either.

"My theory? Apple, like any smart technology company in these troubled times, is working very hard to expand its vision—to evaluate all possible scenarios in case one of them contains the germ of a business model that will carry it through the coming decades. To evaluate something as radical as a multiplatform Mac OS, Apple has had to ease up on its traditional veil of secrecy and afford more vendors and customers a peek."

My theory? Maybe -- MAYBE -- the strategy isn't so much to make the Mac OS usable on a PC as to make a Mac run Mac OS, Linux and Windows???
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
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5,137
I'm guessing we're all talked out about the x86...

but from the article:

Meanwhile, I've also heard rumblings that Apple has shown off Marklar to a number of server hardware manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard.

OS X x86 Server? Does this seem like it would have much appeal?

arn
 
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daRAT

macrumors regular
May 12, 2002
134
0
Kennebunk, Maine, USA
Originally posted by arn
I'm guessing we're all talked out about the x86...

but from the article:



OS X x86 Server? Does this seem like it would have much appeal?

arn

Actually, I could see OS X on a x86 box long before a workstaion or hone users pc. For one thing, all the software required for a server would be already on the OS, web, mail, backup, ftp etc. It could be billed as a true turnkey system, plug it and use it. This is where Apple really shines.

IBM is touting Linux servers, why not a Unix based server running OS X and using HP servers? Apple has the R&D and the people to keep it moving forward (OS X) and is commited to the OS.


Finally, the license plan (I believe it is unlimited users right?) is very appealing. :]

BTW Merry Christmas all! :D
 
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jg3

macrumors member
May 3, 2002
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0
Urbana, IL
The thing that just doesn't make sense about the whole OS X on x86 deal is that binaries *will* be incompatible across hardware platforms. There's just no way around it (short of JIT recompiling, which would be horrendously complicated). So even if developers could be convinced to release two versions or fat binaries, there would still end up being MASS confusion over whether or not program X will run on this computer or that, which file to download, etc. I have a hard time believing that Apple would be willing to foist such hysteria upon its users, particularly while we are still working through the last stages of the classic to OS X transition.
 
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melchior

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2002
1,225
108
they've done it before...
68k vs. ppc
classic vs. X

but admittedly it would be something to be averted if possible.... but this would not be such a terrible thing for a server machine, it is really only a hurdle for the desktop systems with.

but if you think about it in simple terms... do you want one set of binaries OR a 3ghz x86 processor?
 
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Iain68

macrumors newbie
Oct 22, 2002
3
0
CANADA of Course
I hate to say it, but apple isn't going to release a copy of Mac OS X anytime soon, as there is no econmic support out there. Why would they bother, when there are no applications out there, no developers other then apples own. It just doesn't make econmic sense! It is gonna take a lot more thena coupel interested people to get an x86 port evenbeing thought about.
 
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Originally posted by jg3
The thing that just doesn't make sense about the whole OS X on x86 deal is that binaries *will* be incompatible across hardware platforms. There's just no way around it (short of JIT recompiling, which would be horrendously complicated). So even if developers could be convinced to release two versions or fat binaries, there would still end up being MASS confusion over whether or not program X will run on this computer or that, which file to download, etc. I have a hard time believing that Apple would be willing to foist such hysteria upon its users, particularly while we are still working through the last stages of the classic to OS X transition.
NeXT/Apple has come up with FAT binary technology. They can possibly do x86 + PowerPC in one package. They've done that with 68k + PowerPC.

Who knows, though. But if Apple released Marklar. I'm buying it the instant they do.
 
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locovaca

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2002
342
607
Iowa
If it were to succeed with one platform, it would have to be servers. People don't spend money on servers to go and install games/photoshop/office on them- they install apache, sendmail (or whatever they choose), and go on their way- that is, if they install anything at all. Usually they get the server with all the software they need, throw in the pertinent info like their DNS names, and let them chug. With an X86 server, Apple wouldn't need to implement special features like QE, rendevous, or any other enhancements simply because they're not needed. That's the very reason why true server admins hate Windows- there is too much extra crap running for an effective/secure server. With Unix/Linux a quick ps command will tell you what is running, and almost every service can be shutdown and restarted independantly. Sounds a little bit like OS X, doesn't it?

The only problem with this idea is that I don't think it would be successful in the long run. Serious servers don't even run GUIs, they're all CLI based for easy remote adminstration. OS X would be extraneous for them because they would never use the Crown Jewel of it- the GUI. Most of the time these servers don't even have monitors or keyboards hooked up- everything is done ssh. Small, workgroup servers would be the ideal target for these- usually they run Windows or a Windowed Linux system. As long as they didn't have any kind of proprietary software, then a Marklar product may work for them, but then you face the uphill battle of "Why switch?" The benefits of X wouldn't be realized in this scenario because, once again, a server is a box that just sits there. Anything can do its job. Thus, there'd be little reason to spend the time (no matter how little it would be) converting admins to the new box.

It's a nice idea, but the market for it is so small that it wouldn't be worth releasing it. So, I don't think it'll happen.
 
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sparkleytone

macrumors 68020
Oct 28, 2001
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0
Greensboro, NC
if m$ tries to incarcerate the server/enterprise market with technologies like palladium, then there will definitely be in interest in something like OS X Server on x86. In fact, there would be a great interest I am quite sure if Apple made it extremely platform independent. Imagine OS X Server running on SPARC, x86, Itanic, PPC (incl. the Power4), Alpha, etc etc etc. It could be a powerful competitor.
 
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melchior

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2002
1,225
108
it has been said by a lot of people, but a lot of other people don't seem to be clear on it. there is no way that apple will simply release marklar to run on any old x86 hardware. if this is your only viewpoint then the it might just be possibly, if they lost all their $4 billion in cash and had nothing left to sell.

but released as the ppc is released today. os x won't run on a ppc chip if you don't have a true apple motherboard (apple are not the only one's using ppc). apple would do the same with an x86 chip, they would still be a hardware company, selling their computers for exuberantly bloated and over-market prices, but finally they would be competitive with speed once more.

and macoaster's point of a dual architecture computer would be excellent.
 
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wrylachlan

macrumors regular
Jan 25, 2002
102
0
Turnkey...

The reference above about turnkey systems kind of got me thinking. What about a dedicated Final Cut Pro/Shake/Cinema Tools box running on Marklar. Why would you waste a Video Editing box running Office anyways so you wouldn't need to support anything other than Apple's software. No porting any of the iApps. No porting of anything that is not needed for a turnkey video editing solution. And it allows you to test the x86 waters.
 
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ktlx

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2002
313
0
Originally posted by sparkleytone
In fact, there would be a great interest I am quite sure if Apple made it extremely platform independent. Imagine OS X Server running on SPARC, x86, Itanic, PPC (incl. the Power4), Alpha, etc etc etc. It could be a powerful competitor.

Not hardly. Solaris, HP-UX, AIX and Linux have the full backing of companies that know how to make servers and what their customers want. Apple does not have this experience yet. Until it scales its servers up, it never will gain this experience. Anyone can make a one or two processor server. That is childs play.

Where people get into difficulty is when you start talking 8+ processors. Linux is not there yet but has tremendous backing by powerful companies and will be there long before Apple will. Mac OS brings nothing unique to the table for the large server environment so IBM's only interest in Apple will be as another source of revence to drive its PPC development.
 
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Marianco

macrumors member
Mar 18, 2002
44
0
Apple on x86

People have beaten this topic to the bone.

Apple won't release an x86 version of OS X unless it runs only on Apple x86 Hardware. Doing otherwise will kill their sales and profits.

This means the same price points as today. For the people looking forward to use their cheap PC hardware to run a bootleg of OS X, it's tough luck.

The only version of OS X that would make sense to port to x86 is the server version which retails for $1000 a copy. This is less likely to cannabilize the majority of sales for Apple Hardware. Of course the trailer folk will complain. But then Microsoft's server software costs a great deal more depending on the number of users. Heck, even a full version of Windows XP Pro costs $300, and is bound to a single machine.

Once the PowerPC 970 comes out, Apple will be very competitive with x86 platforms in performance, with a huge upside if they branch out into larger servers.

Note that Apple can never compete with the low end PC companies. Those companies don't have to create their own operating system. Even Dell has relatively zero cost for research and development. Microsoft does it for them.

What I would love to see is if Apple can sell the server OS to run on other PowerPC and Power CPU platforms - such as IBM's big iron mainframes - in place of Linux. Imagine that! Wouldn't it be great to run OS X on ASCII Blue?
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,479
Palookaville
Cocoa Only?

Consider a Cocoa-only version of OSX for generic x86 -- because of its limitations, it would not threaten to cannibalize Apple's hardware market, and might serve to jump-start development of Objective C applications that would compile for both platforms. It would be easier to port and support generic x86 Cocoa then it would Carbon and Classic (and the latter may not even be feasible).

That's my theoretical entry-point for Apple on x86. I agree with the observations that it makes no economic sense for Apple to release a complete version of OSX for generic x86 hardware.
 
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Foocha

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2001
588
0
London
IJ Reilly - that's an interesting idea. The thought of releasing OS X on x86 would be irrisitible to Apple if it wasn't for the issue of canabalising Apple hardware sales. Cocoa only would prevent the likes of Microsoft, Adobe & Macromedia products from running on it, so it certainly wouldn't canabalise hardware sales. However, the flip-side to this is - what appeal will it have to x86 owners? That's a genuine question - I'd love to hear some good answers.

As a server, OS X on x86 would be squeezed between Windows and Linux - its performance in areas like TCP/IP is inferior to both, it's more expensive than Linux, but cheaper than Windows. It's easier to use than Linux, but harder (for Windows users) than Windows. Its only real edge over the other two is for serving Mac clients and this is likely to be of little interest to the general x86 server owning population.

Ho hum.

I'm a Mac devotee, so anyone proving me wrong on any of the above would make me very happy ;)
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,479
Palookaville
I'm afraid I can't prove you wrong on the downside issues, but the scenario I've created in my mind is somewhat different. I envision Apple seeding Cocoa OSX-86 to developers and possibly other sites, such as universities or labs where porting over special-purpose Unix applications might make sense. This plan would require a certain amount of one-on-one cultivation and hand-holding on Apple's part. Simply shrink-wrapping the product and seeing who buys it only invites failure, or at least, predictions of failure.

This would almost certainly not be a money-maker for Apple in the short run -- but it might get the camel's nose under the tent for both the Mac and Objective C. It might also explode the perception that Apple is caught forever in a proprietary hardware box.

A historical footnote: Before OSX was OSX, it was Rhapsody, and Rhapsody was intended to be a cross-platform OS with Cocoa (then called "Yellow Box") as its principal development environment. Apple only switched from that strategy when Mac developers indicated that they could not move to Objective C fast enough to make it happen. The point being, this "OSX Jr." I'm proposing is not just a flight of fancy -- it has a precedent in Apple's recent past.
 
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Hawthorne

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2002
198
0
In front of my Mac
Quick,

Make a list of the integrated hardware/software manufacturers who succeded in porting their OS to x86 to compete with MicroSoft...

Be ?

NeXT ?

Thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts... :)

Heck, even Novell got it's @ss kicked by The Collective in a software-only battle. OS X on third-party machines would mean the end of Apple, unless the Windows world becomes unattractive to most users due to DRM and restrictions, which is the scenario proposed in this article.
 
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