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OS X to run Windows XP apps natively?

updated 02:40 pm EDT, Fri April 21, 2006

OS X to run Windows apps?

Apple may be planning to implement the Windows API (Application Programming Interfaces) directly in Mac OS X 10.5, which would allow Mac users to run Windows XP applications natively in Mac OS X without rebooting and without the need for virtualization software. Robert Cringely, in his latest column, also reiterated that Apple may migrate Mac OS X to a faster kernel, abandoning the older Mach microkernel presently in use. Apple and Microsoft in 1997 agreed to a five-year patent cross-licensing agreement, which ended in August of 2002 -- 10 months after Windows XP began shipping. The columnist believes Apple may be planning to utilize Microsoft's own Windows API, coupled with a faster kernel under the hood to offer users the ability to run Windows XP applications natively from their Mac OS X desktop, with the optional ability to dual-boot into Windows Vista once it ships in 2007.

by MacNN Staff




  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bring it on...

    ...yesterday wouldn't be too soon...!!

    This represents a potential 30x+ market share opportunity for Apple... Such economy of scale should also reduce pricing, yippee...

  1. himself

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not again...

    I would give a lengthy explanation as to why this would never happen; it make no sense for Apple to do this, on numerous levels.

    But then I remember when I believed that Macs would never go Intel...

  1. bborofka

    Joined: Dec 1969


    death of Cocoa?

    Who would program for Cocoa anymore if Windows apps would just run natively in OS X?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ain't going to happen

    himself is right, idiot cringley is just hypothesizing.

    Basically you're talking WINE here, if I understand WINE. But WINE still lacks some of the API that's needed. Plus, to me at least, running 'natively' means that it will look like a mac app, not a windows app (i.e. not like how X11 apps look, crappy). And that won't happen because there's too many differences (not to mention, if they ran as mac apps, windows users would be confused).

    Finally, what's the point? hardware virtualization is around the corner, and a whole lot easier to deal with.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who cares how it's done?

    As long as I'd be able to run the few windows apps I need (mainly AutoCAD) I don't care how they manage to do this, as long as it works! And I think a majority of the population would agree. Tell me, would that hardware virtualization work under a PPC processor? It'd be nice if I didn't have to use Virtual PC and slow EVERYTHING down just for windows to run on the side while I multi-task.

  1. RevEvs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    gah macnn is getting wors

    this wont happen. so many reasons why.

  1. Marshall

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: who cares

    Hardware virtualization is already here for the iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro. I have Parallels running right now on my secondary monitor. Boots and runs faster than my Dell P4 desktop PC, and doesn't slow the rest of the system down (provided one has enough RAM). Combine it with Virtue and you can rotate your desktop to XP. :-) Works on the new Mini too, but doesn't use hardware virtualization there.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not all apps will "just

    Not all apps will "just run", small, not internet related software will indeed run native but games and other big apps will need special tinkering to properly work in osX. It will bring developing time to its minimum because 99% of the API's can be reused from the windows version.

    A smart move, bring it on!

  1. technohedz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    kinda something there

    10.4 freezes OS X to be a developer stable platform. Freezes may be too strong of a word, but the phrase 'moving target' was basically written off. The kernel extensions were set up so that developers needing lower level support would use KPIs on top of the abstraction layer. Apple could easily switch the kernel type out, but there are downsides to it. Rebooting, needing to recompile the kernel and add or change things for the tiniest bugfix that is currently addressed w/ the extension architecture. Even if Apple went w/ a monolithic (sounds old doesn't it) kernel, Avie leaving wouldn't really justify it. It's not as if the guy was incapable of coding kernels or anything. Why even stick around to this point if he fundamentally disagreed with the direction the kernel was going? The possibility exists, but tying it to Avie's departure is grasping.

    There's going to be bootcamp and virtualization for XP in 10.5. There's no reason not to have it. Knowing that people will buy 'macdrive' or install spyware that can read HFSx++journaled, means that it is to Apple's advantage to sandbox everything as soon as possible and monitor it's co-operating system buddy. The Classic system would just about do the trick. Want to double-click a document and launch mal-wareXP 2.5 when you're running OS X? Forget it, compartmentalize it and at least allow users to 'warn when starting other operating systems'. The hardware and software is there right now so it's not far fetched. It's the agreement part that just doesn't seem right.

    While the guts of the deal in 1997 seemed cloaked in secrecy, it doesn't seem to be a stretch of the imagination to think that in exchange for ceasing litigation and a paltry investment; both companies would grant usage rights to any code that was already in the others hands. To read this as a complete sharing agreement seems to almost demean the intelligence of Apple and Steve Jobs. If it was sharing up until 2002 with full rights, then wouldn't Apple be able to offer Microsoft Office? Why the MacBU under microsoft? Just license the name and sell the product direct. I think it will be a bring your own extra OS festival, unless Apple Legal dropped the ball down and past h*** to share all technology completely up until 2002.

    Even native windows applications don't look native to windows. If it's worth running on XP over OS X, then you probably have a license to something with an UI that looks nothing like either platform...or at least nothing like XP.

    Cringely is just covering all bases. To be honest it does almost nothing to help MS and everything to help Apple. It's the logic he applies in justifying his predictions that fails the test of reasonable intelligence.

  1. Saint_Stryfe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm no programer...

    but would'nt the eaiser way be, unlike WINE tries to do, is to not re-invent the wheel? Use a copy of Windows, create something so it can use Windows' APIs.

    If I'm mistaken, please correct me, but I think WINE is trying to reinvent Windows API's so they don't need to pay for them- thus why it doesn't work so well.

    I think in the next two years, it's safe to say I could download any program, double click the EXE file, and it will run - Windows or Mac.

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