Apple threatens Microsoft on x86 platform. Oh sweet.

Naturally, the talk about Apple putting Intel chips into Macs has the open source community chattering, and a massive thread on Slashdot revealed a few interesting things about the current possibilities for using open-source tools to run OS X on generic PC hardware, using tools such as Linux as a layer to simulate the proper hardware environment.

The great thing is that there is already software, PearPC, the PowerPC Architecture Emulator, which can simulate Macs on PCs running Linux. Right now, PearPC is relatively slow in convert PPC instructions to x86, but with future Mac software recompiled for x86, an entire technical hurdle will disappear. Speculations on running OS X on Beige box PCs also at PearPC community site.

It will not be hard to get current Mac software to run on Intel chips. The Unreal Tournament developer reports that it is not at all hard to get his games switched over.

I thought this concept was interesting...

The future of Linux in the server market is secure simply because IBM has invested in Linux on the server. IBM never abandons rich customers who have purchased legacy (which, in this case, is Linux servers) from IBM.

However, the desktop is where Linux will die before it is even established. Apple will not drive a stake into the heart of Linux, but rather, the hordes of hackers and Taiwanese-run peripheral factories in China will kill Linux on the desktop. There are 3 scenarios. First, the hackers write a patch that will enable Mac OS X to run on conventional x86-based IBM PC clones. Second, the Taiwanese engineers will violate scores of American patents and build a cheap (possibly, $10.00) hardware plug-in card that will enable OS X to run on conventional IBM PC clones. The 3rd possibility is a combination of the first two.

An interesting side effect of these efforts will be taking marketshare from Windows XP and successors. In the server market, Linux has taken market share from UNIX instead of Windows. However, on the x86 desktop market, there is no 3rd OS to compete against MAC OS X. There are only 2 OSes: Windows and OS X on x86. They will compete head-on, against each other.

Although I would rather that Apple have picked another processor (e.g. ARM), I would be pleased to see Apple crush Windows on x86. Apple has a good chance of winning this matchup since the goodwill of open-source developers is on the side of Apple.

Apple's team: million-person army of open-source developers + freeBSD + most-consumer-friendly (i.e. idiot proof) OS called OS X
Microsoft's team: couple thousand paid but possibly disgruntled slaves (including) H-1Bs + consumer-unfriendly OS. "It" is no contest. Apple wins by 70% marketshare.

This is nothing but good news for Apple. Microsoft should be paranoid as hell...

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