The Macintel Report

Apple vs. OSx86, What Intel Transition Means to Apple, Linux Running on Macintel, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.02.23

This Week's Macintel News

This week's top Macintel news saw the OSx86 Project shutting down their forums until they could remove postings that Apple claimed violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). What Apple objected to was precisely the purpose of the site - explaining how to get OS X for Intel running on a "generic" PC.

Working in the other direction, both Gentoo and Knoppix Linux are now running on Macintel hardware. No word yet on Windows on Apple's new Intel Macs....

In other tech developments, Intel is taking the first steps in "killing off" the Parallel ATA drive interface we've been using for years; Serial ATA (SATA) has already displaced it in many areas. Intel is also pushing for 3G wireless support in next-gen laptops. All this and more in this week's news roundup.

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

OSx86 Project Shut Down

The Macintel Transition

Linux Running on Macintel

OSx86 Project Shut Down

OSx86 Project Forum Halted after DMCA Violation Claim

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"The OSx86 Project, a website set up to co-ordinate coders' efforts to get the Intel version of Mac OS X to run on any x86-based hardware, has been partially shut down. The project's principals pulled the site's forum after being served with a cease and desist notice alleging violation of the US' Digital Millennium Copyright Act....

"...the software writer who posted the 10.4.4 patch, Maxxuss, also discovered that Apple programmers had embedded a rhyme in certain parts of the OS....

"The message reads:

Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind,
he'd do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.
Please don't steal Mac OS!
Really, that's way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc."

Apple Ups Pressure on OS X Hackers

BetaNews' Nate Mook reports:

"Almost immediately after Apple began distributing development systems with Mac OS X for Intel processors last year, hackers got to work on making the operating system run atop generic hardware. Now, the company has upped the ante in its battle to stop them.

"In order to keep control of where its software can be run and prevent potential piracy, Apple employed security measures that included a TPM, or trust platform module, chip. Without the presence of this, and other hardware only available from Apple, Mac OS X would simply refuse to run.

"As with any protection mechanism, however, it was only a matter of time before intuitive technophiles were able to find their way around it. Apple largely sat back and watched the work while it finalized the Mac OS X for Intel release, with rumors claiming the company was patching the holes as hackers found them.

"But things changed this week, as Intel-based Macs reached more consumers and the MacBook Pro began to ship."

Link: Apple Ups Pressure on OS X Hackers

Patch Posted to Run Mac OS X 10.4.4 on 'Generic PC'

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"A utility has been released that will allow the Intel-oriented version of Apple's Mac OS X operating systems to be run on machines other than the company's own iMac and MacBook Pro. However, the coder behind the patch, Maxxuss, warned that the software is a work in progress and that there's 'still a lot of work to do'.

"That said, for folk who like to 'play around', he said, the software will help them get started. The code requires a computer with an SSE3-supporting processor. It also appears geared toward set-ups in which Mac OS X is run alongside another operating system using virtualisation software like VMWare."

Link: Patch Posted to Run Mac OS X 10.4.4 on 'Generic PC'

OSx86 Project: Reports of Our Death Greatly Exaggerated

OSx86 Project has posted:

"As most of you know, two days ago we were contacted by an Apple representative concerning links, posted by our members, to the newest patches by Maxxuss on his site. Since the beginning, we have made it known that we would be very willing to work with Apple regarding any concerns they had with their intellectual property and this site (I actually wrote Steve about it a few months ago . . . but that's another story . . . ). After speaking with the lawyer representing Apple, we've removed the handful of links to Maxxuss' website from the Forum.

"Apple is certainly well within their rights to protect their OS and we have always supported them in this effort. Our first-class moderating staff has helped ensure that direct links to any patches are not allowed. We have in the past linked to the homepage of Maxxuss - but not to the offending 10.4.4 patches - in the interest of news, but we've removed those links just in case.

"News of Apple's DMCA concerns with the links on our site have traveled far and wide over the past 24 hours. Most major tech news site have covered it in one way or another, some accurately, some not. I'd like to be clear regarding the history of this site.

"Back in the summer, after Steve announced the Intel transition and the Net was filled with rumors of faked leaks, it became apparent to a few of us that the transition was one that many people would want to discuss. We first started the wiki, then the forum, then the full-fledged news portion of the site. Since that time, we've been recognized as the leader in discussion of all things 'OS X on x86' related.

"This site was not founded to be a 'watercooler for hackers' as CNet posited. Instead, it was simply meant to be welcoming Mac community for switchers and experts alike. We think that we've accomplished that goal - a large portion of our forum membership is comprised of new iMac users who have commented on the accepting ethos of our forum.

"We welcome everyone. Hackers came (as we knew they would) but as long as they accepted the rules, they were welcomed as well. It's also important to note that situations like this, in which members post questionable material and the site is served with legal notices, are not uncommon; a similar situation occurred in the early days with Neowin and Microsoft.

"So that's the story. Apple doesn't 'have it in' for our site; they were simply concerned with a few links posted by our members. Those links have been removed and we're back.

"Thanks for your patience with this matter, and to those who are new . . . welcome to the most talked-about forum on Earth right now."

Link: Reports of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated...

The Macintel Transition

What Mactel Means for Apple

ZD Net blogger Paul Murphy says:

"When Apple first announced its switch to 'Intel Inside' most people seemed to rationalise the change on the grounds that users fundamentally don't care what's inside as long as the product meets their needs, that IBM wasn't meeting Apple's supply requirements on either volume or performance, and that Intel would.

"In addition, most analysts glossed over the reversion to 32-bit CPUs brought on by the switch....

"That was then, today Apple is shipping an Intel based iMac and is taking orders on an Intel based laptop. Unfortunately what is most obvious about these two new Macs is that they contradict expectations built up around the operation of Moore's law by more or less matching, instead of significantly exceeding, The right to watch Microsoft Word run more than twice as fast on the other guy's Windows/XP machine isn't going to sell a lot of MacBooks or iMacs. the products they replace and costing exactly the same as, instead of being cheaper than, their predecessors."

Concerns Over Apple's Intel Transition Seen Exaggerated

Forbes' Maya Roney reports:

"Piper Jaffray research analyst Gene Munster called concerns about the impact of Apple Computer's transition to Intel processors on Mac sales 'blown out of proportion.'

"'There may not be significant upside to Apple estimates over the next two quarters based on the Intel transition, but we believe numbers are achievable and we see now as the time to get positioned for the next peak,' wrote the analyst in a research note Tuesday."

Link: Concerns Over Apple's Intel Transition Seen Exaggerated

Intel to Kill Off Parallel ATA

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel's upcoming ICH8 South Bridge chip, a key component of its 'Broadwater' family of chipsets, will wave farewell to the Parallel ATA bus, if a presentation slide said to have come from the company and posted online is to believed. Also for the chop is the AC'97 sound system.

"According to the slide, posted on Chinese-language site HKEPC, the ICH8 South Bridge will increase the number of USB 2.0 ports supported to ten. As expected, the part will support Intel's Active Management Technology, which will presumably give remote systems managers the ability to engage another ICH8 feature: USB port disabling."

Link: Intel Next-gen South Bridge to Kill Parallel ATA

Intel Wants 3G Wireless in Laptops

ExtremeTech reports:

"Intel and the GSM Association signed an agreement on Tuesday to facilitate the addition of 3G technology into notebook computers.

"Both organizations will develop guidelines for the integration of 3G modems and SIM cards into laptop computers, enabling automatic connection to both 3GSM networks and Wi-Fi networks around the world.

"Notebook PCs will use SIM cards, the small cards used by cell phone providers - especially in Europe - to link a phone to its mobile network."

Link: Intel Wants 3G Tech in Laptops

Microsoft Testing 'Core Duo Power Drain Bug' Fix

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Microsoft has pledged to post a patch that will fix the power drain bug that has hit some Core Duo-based notebooks when they're connected to USB 2.0 devices. Separately, it has been claimed Intel has also finished a fix, though at this stage it remains unclear when one or both solutions will ship to users.

"The bug, which sees an affected notebook's battery charge drain away whenever a USB 2.0 peripheral is connected to the system, emerged in independent testing last month...."

Link: Microsoft Testing 'Core Duo Power Drain Bug' Fix

Linux Running on Macintel

Gentoo Linux Running on Macintel reports:

"So it's not Windows, but some Mac ninjas have figured out how to book Gentoo Linux on a 17-inch iMac Core Duo. No specs yet, but check the page for their patches and instructions. Now if they could get VMS to boot on thereÖ."

Link: Linux on the MacIntel

Knoppix Linux Running on Macintel

OSNews' Thom Holwerda and Jaime Ieong report:

"We reported a few days ago that we had Linux booting on the Intel-based Macintosh. We have been looking at Linux on this hardware some more, and we are glad to report that we now have a full-fledged Knoppix distribution working, complete with the X Window system. We are releasing the first pictures of Knoppix 4.0 running on a 17-inch iMac Core Duo...."

Link: Knoppix on the Intel-based Macintosh

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