Native Windows Emulation in OS X

My prediction: Apple is slowly working towards phasing out Microsoft products entirely, and natively supporting Windows applications in a Mac environment.

1. With the release of their own alternative to Internet Explorer and Powerpoint (Safari and Keynote, respectively), Apple seems to be slowly phasing out their reliance on Microsoft applications.

2. WINE and CodeWeavers’ CrossOver Office let Linux users run Windows applications natively, without requiring Windows (or a Windows emulator) to be installed (screenshot). Unfortunately, both applications require an x86 processor.

Apple is built on Unix and now natively supports X11. If they were smart, they’d be working on porting WINE over to PowerPC processors right now. OS X would be the only operating system capable of natively running Macintosh, Unix/X11, and Windows applications simultaneously.

If someone’s already working on something like this, let me know about it.

18 thoughts on “Native Windows Emulation in OS X

  1. I’d much rather see them move to supporting OSX on X86. The big hurdles of course are two things: one, making the underlying OSX technologies not present in Darwin work on a different instruction set, and two, driver support. Something tells me that Apple has been accomplishing hurdle one in parallel for a while. The second hurdle is what is keeping this from happenning. Based on the processor speed gap Apple faces, they’ll need to give up the lucrative hardware margin or else face being a consumer only product. It isn’t Microsoft that is the enemy, it’s Motorola and Quark.

  2. Man, is that ever true. But I don’t see them abandoning their primary revenue source any time soon. Emulating Windows lets them compete without sacrificing hardware sales.

  3. You may eventually see a Mac running with an x86 processor, but I doubt you will ever see it running on anything other than an Apple Computer (at least as an installation option, maybe someone might hack around the problem). One of the reasons that Macs work so well typically is the core hardware is controlled by the OS development company. If you had the same sort of any hardware can be used mentality that is in the PC industry, there would be lots of issues. I personally want the Mac to run well as it does today, and it seems the most cost effective way to do that is have an genuine Apple system…

    However, who knows what the future holds 🙂

  4. Unfortunately, WINE will never be ported to a PPC architecture, simply because it’s practically impossible. The thing is that WINE isn’t an emulator (WINE stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator)… It takes Windows API calls and effectively converts them into X Windows calls. Everything else remains the same: Bog standard x86 bytecode.

    If Apple were to release the much fabled x86 version of MacOS X, it would be fairly easy – it already runs (sort of) on FreeBSD, MacOS X’s cousin OS.

    However, a Win32 application emulatoion environment under MacOS PowerPCwould be very cool, and not a great deal of work on top of VirtualPC. I believe that it would be a much more interesting to the population at large than a full OS in a window emulator.

  5. I would rather see Apple provide a Win32 compatibility layer for OS X than port OS X to x86. This solution would provide the ‘ultimate’ workstation, compatibility with Legacy Mac apps, *nix apps under X11, and Windows apps under this new compatibility.

    As for WINE ‘never’ being ported to PPC, it has been done already: http://kt.zork.net/wine/wn20001211_73.html#4

    This could be the beginning…

  6. Umm… if you use Babelfish.altavista.com to translate the page you will see that this WINE is not the windows emultaion package but instead an application for use in the medical profession. Looks like a WebObjects based product.

    Getting WINE running on OS X looks to be no trivial task.

  7. if apple is interested in staying alive they will need to port over to x86 eventually cuz let’s think about this the majority of computer users have 86x and now lots of companies are using Linux x86 computers and the only logical thing for apple to do is give their OS the chance to run on already existing and faster computers. So what if compatiability and their stable OS goes out the window they can still produce their own OS with their own hardware and that will allow them to garuantee stability for the users that like to pay the extra $1000’s for that insurance.

  8. Apple will stay alive just fine with out porting to the x86, although it’s a nice thought being able to run osx on my pc. I also Own an imac G4 800Mhz and the mac is way faster than any pc currently available. eg, the Dual 2Ghz G5 compaired to a Dell dual 3.06Ghz Zeon. the reason the mac runs so well is that it wasn’t built by a jack the lad. everything just works and I don’t see them changing this anytime soon.

  9. VirtualPC does not run on G5’s (presumably some assembler usage issue). Question is: whether MS will make VirtualPC G5 compatible. That will show MS’s true colours on this issue.

    One of the major factors stopping people from switching is their investment in Windows-based software. Would make so much sense to me for Apple to own the pentium emulator. If they did a good job of it, plus maintain their newly acquired hardware edge, Windows software could run just as fast on a (Power)Mac as on most PC’s! I for one would buy the software.

    Luc ( kfglq*)

  10. ” VirtualPC does not run on G5’s (presumably some assembler usage issue). Question is: whether MS will make VirtualPC G5 compatible. That will show MS’s true colours on this issue. ”

    Uh-duh. It is in Microsoft’s best interest to update VirtualPC for the G5 processor.. because when you buy VirtualPC you also have to buy a copy of Windows XP to run Windows apps with. Virtual PC is just an emulator, it is not an operating system. MS is not restricted then to selling Windows to just one hardware market, but they can sell to anyone with a computer.

    I’ll be interested to see how the Darwine project on SourceForge turns out..

    mike

  11. Lets face it, with Apple having an ever decreasing market share, nothing is certain. Also, despite their best attempts to appeal to the Unix community, surely it makes more sense to use Linux if what you need is a Unix-like OS. It’s cheaper, and supports faster and cheaper PC hardware.

    Apple, whether they wish to acknowledge it or not, have found themselves in the position of selling lifestyle objects and have fallen way behind in terms of creating computers people actually want to use – despite the hype. They are an also-ran.

  12. Quote: If they were smart, they’d be working on porting WINE over to PowerPC processors right now. OS X would be the only operating system capable of natively running Macintosh, Unix/X11, and Windows applications simultaneously.

    If someone’s already working on something like this, let me know about it.

    Someone is:

    http://darwine.sourceforge.net/index.php

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