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If some apples are windows, then some windows are apples.
September 23, 2006 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Why can't I install an Intel version of OS X on my Windows machine?

I am confident this question has an obvious answer. If the hardware on Intel Macs is such that they can run XP, why wouldn't an Intel build of OS X work on a machine originally built for Windows?
posted by one_bean to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You can: http://www.osx86project.org/
posted by jacobian at 8:28 AM on September 23, 2006


More correct answer: You can, but it's illegal since it violates Apple's terms of use of their operating system. Basically they state that you can only run their OS on their machines.
posted by patr1ck at 8:33 AM on September 23, 2006


Apple doesn't officially support installation of OSX on commodity PC hardware for a number of reasons.

1. hardware sales are the core of Apple's business, and Apple is only successful because it can sell its hardware at proprietary prices. Apple's OS business is subsidized by profits from hardware sales. If you purchase OSX and install it on commodity hardware, Apple loses money on you.

2. the spectre of Microsoft. If Apple makes an active attempt to compete for the OS market for commodity PCs, Microsoft will terminate development on Office for OSX.

You might say "Good riddance", but many customers won't, and without Office for OSX Apple would lose more customers than it would gain.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2006


Briefly: Intel Macs use a very small subset of hardware, meaning that OS X for Intel doesn't have to support the wide array of hardware on PCs. Apple likes it that way, not just from the perspective of a hardware seller, because it gives the OS a degree of quality control that's more difficult on XP, where you're dealing with literally hundreds of variations in motherboard chipsets, card chipsets, etc.
posted by holgate at 8:53 AM on September 23, 2006


Oh, and the main reason you can't just install OS X on a commodity PC is the bootup method.
posted by holgate at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2006


yeah well, that and the TPM chip that's present on the apple motherboards.
posted by joeblough at 8:58 AM on September 23, 2006


Bob Cringely had an idea last year that I'd love to see Apple take up. Full article here -> http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050825.html

Andrew Sullivan-esque money quote: "But Apple doesn't want to give up its profitable hardware business to compete head-to-head with Microsoft. And remember, Apple totally dominates the portable music player market and will probably sell 25 million iPods or more this year.

Every one of those iPods is a bootable drive. What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version -- OS 10.4 -- on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

It wouldn't kill Microsoft, but it would hurt the company, both emotionally and materially. And it wouldn't hurt Apple at all. Apple hardware sales would be driven by OS 10.5 and all giving away 10.4 would do is help sell more iPods and attract more customers to Apple's store.

posted by hwestiii at 9:14 AM on September 23, 2006


What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version -- OS 10.4 -- on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes?

Then many of the smaller iPods would lose 50-100% of their capacity to hold music. OS X's disk footprint is not small.

And of course, if Cringley means that this bootable iPod version runs on all kinds of Windows systems, the problems mentioned elsewhere in this thread -- the wide variability of PC Hardware -- would indeed raise their heads and quite probably turn off a lot of potential customers.
posted by weston at 10:47 AM on September 23, 2006


Then many of the smaller iPods would lose 50-100% of their capacity to hold music. OS X's disk footprint is not small.

I think its reasonable to presume that an idea like this this would only make sense on the hard-disk iPods.
posted by hwestiii at 10:52 AM on September 23, 2006


And it's still a load of nonsense. The hard drive in an iPod is designed to spin up every few minutes, read a little bit of data, and go back to sleep. It's not designed to work as a general purpose drive that's awake, and under moderate to heavy load, all the time. You can certainly boot and run a computer from an iPod, and it'll work for a while, but the drive ends up dying much earlier than a normal drive would.
posted by xil at 12:04 PM on September 23, 2006


I's not designed to work as a general purpose drive that's awake, and under moderate to heavy load, all the time.

That might have been true of the first 1.8" drives but the manufacturers seem to have moved beyond it. My Fujitsu P1510D came with the same size hard disk that's in an iPod, and the computer boots from it all the time, every time, and keeps it spun up pretty much continuously.

Even if it were an issue, with Cringely's idea, most people would probably boot Mac OS X off their iPod a few times to try it out. Then they would buy it (or not) and delete Mac OS X from their iPod to reclaim the space. I don't think a few boots would have a major impact on the iPod's life.
posted by kindall at 12:45 PM on September 23, 2006


Apple Intel hardware uses a BIOS replacement called EFI. Most Windows hardware does not yet use EFI, and I don't think Windows XP even supports it.

Read more about EFI and other Apple/Intel issues at the Apple/Intel FAQ.
posted by rachelpapers at 1:08 PM on September 23, 2006


yes thats true, but what Boot Camp does is add bios emulation to the firmware so you can boot XP on a mac.
posted by joeblough at 1:26 PM on September 23, 2006


Could you run Intel OS X in an emulator, side-by-side with Windows? Or would that just not work for some reason?
posted by reklaw at 4:37 PM on September 23, 2006


reklaw, you're thinking of Parallels for Windows...
posted by onalark at 4:50 PM on September 23, 2006


reklaw - VMWare OSX86 has been done.
posted by stew560 at 7:10 PM on September 23, 2006


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