Ever since the Intel announcement last year, people have speculated on the possibility of running the Intel Architecture version of Apple’s OS X on PC hardware (Dells, etc.). The speculation continues, fanned this week by the flames of Boot Camp and Parallels Workstation. Robert X Cringely apparently has a controversial post up about it (which I admit I haven’t read yet), and lots of the blogs are talking about his ideas.
But a thought just came to me that made me realize that we won’t likely ever seen Apple officially support or sell OS X for PC hardware. It can be summed up in one word:
Running Windows on Apple hardware is pretty straightforward, because Apple has released Windows drivers for all of its stuff in Boot Camp (wireless, network, sound, display, etc.). But imagine installing OS X on your homemade PC with parts from a dozen different vendors, and having to track down Mac OS X drivers for all of that hardware. That would depend on every PC device maker developing and releasing Mac OS X drivers for their stuff, in addition to the Windows drivers.
Not very likely to happen, in my opinion.
What do you think? Would it be worth it for the ATIs, Nvidias, and Creatives of the world to develop and release Mac OS X drivers for their stuff, in case someone wants to run OS X on a PC with their devices in it? What’s the benefit to them, besides a few potential extra sales? Would they ever open up enough to let the open source community get the info they need to write the drivers? Post a comment if you have any thoughts.
EDIT: Just read the Cringley piece, and it’s painfully obvious that he doesn’t understand the technical means of how Boot Camp works (makes EFI emulate a regular BIOS), and why it needed to exist (Windows needs BIOS, and doesn’t support EFI). If he did, he wouldn’t imply that Apple could release a magic piece of software like Boot Camp that could make OS X run on standard PC hardware, as if they could get around the driver problem I mentioned above with a firmware patch (which, at its heart, is all Boot Camp really is). He also seems completely oblivious to the huge impact that decent, “real” virtualization (via Parallels Workstation) has had on people who want/need to run Windows on Apple hardware. Microsoft Virual PC is not the only game in town (not to mention VMWare, QEMU, etc.).
I know that the industry hangs on every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of Robert X. Cringely, and that he always has something interesting to say, to stir up the pot, but he’s misinformed on this issue. I wish he would do his homework before making one of his pronouncements like this…