Can I run a portable windows app on a G4 Mac?
November 15, 2007 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way for me to run a USB-based portable Windows app on a G4 Mac?

A friend recently introduced me to portable applications that run off a USB stick without having to be installed on, or leave files behind on, the actual PC.

I have found a few that have been handy to use at work, with no install rights on the XP box there. But I have a Mac at home, and I'd like to run at least one of the applications on it. It's a G4, not an Intel, so I can't do the Parallels or Boot Camp dance.

It's just one teensy little no-install, no-.ini, no registry, etc. executable. Is there a way I can run it on a Mac without buying a new Mac or spending 20 hours setting up some complicated virtualized windows system? Can I run it? Pleez? (makes sad puppy eyes)

My friend doesn't know Macs, but he mentioned something for linux called WINE that will run windows apps. Is there a WINE for OSX? That will work on a non-Intel Mac?
posted by penciltopper to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You will need to set up said complicated virtualized Windows system.

There's a WINE for OSX that's called DarWINE. It requires an Intel mac.

You're out of luck.
posted by zsazsa at 10:57 AM on November 15, 2007

Try the first hit in a Google search for wine os x.
posted by jjg at 10:58 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: I looked up the FAQ for the DarWINE that jjg refers to and it says:

"Is the Darwin/Mac OS X release of Wine currently able to run Windows executable (.exe)?

No. We are currently working on integrating an x86 emulator in wine in order to run Win32 exe on a PowerPC Box. "

Does that mean I'm still out of luck, with my PPC box?
posted by penciltopper at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2007

If you can still find a copy, Virtual PC for Mac with an XP install will do what you're looking for. Works like Parallels, except Windows runs through an emulation layer. Similarly, you could run XP under qemu or the nice, fancy Q, but I don't know what the state of USB is with qemu running on the G4.
posted by eschatfische at 11:21 AM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Which portable applications are these? It's possible that there are OSX versions that you don't know about.
posted by interrobang at 11:42 AM on November 15, 2007

I think it might help to note that many OS X applications are 'portable'. The app icon you see is actually a folder that, in many cases, contains everything you need to run. Your preferences will be saved somewhere else, but you could copy your pref files and drop them in place when you get where you're going (or just use the app defaults).
posted by tylermoody at 11:45 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: @ interrobang:
Mostly organizer stuff:
KeePass for all my various passwords
Essential PIM Portable and/or Sunbird - still trying to decide which I like better for the way I have to do my schedule. I think I like Essential PIM better, since it does a better job of linking up with Outlook at work.

Something that works offline, and with both XP and Mac, is key.

To stave off the next batch of comments relating to calendar synching:
Yes, I've been told that I could "just" set up a google calendar account and have that sync with Portable Thunderbird with the Lightning extension, and then set up iCal at home to also sync with that google calendar, as long as I also configured google gears so that it would work offline. If I wanted to maintian to do lists as well, I'd probably also want to set up Remember The Milk to integrate with the google calendar and then, yadda, yadda.

But that's a lot of configuration effort, several things to maintain, different interfaces that all handle items differently...and you know what? I'm lazy. And that all sounds like it would occupy more time than just writing things down on a piece of paper. Sigh.
posted by penciltopper at 12:07 PM on November 15, 2007

I use KeepassX on my Macbook and Portable Keepass on Windows. I keep the Keepass DB file on a thumb drive alongside Portable Keepass. Works perfectly.

I've used Essential PIM in the past, but I haven't looked at a replacement for it on the Mac side.
posted by phrayzee at 12:26 PM on November 15, 2007

What you probably want is Virtual PC for the G4, but it honestly is more trouble than it is worth. Blow a few dozen gigs of disk space and at least 128M RAM for a virtual 586 that runs at about 1/3rd of your clockspeed because every CPU instruction must be translated in softare.

Your best bets are probably with the OSX ports of Sunbird and Keepass.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2007

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