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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Andrei in the office

MacTel? A good idea?

Recently, on of all places a poker forum for mac users, the question was asked if this whole Mac on Intel thing is a good idea. So I responded:

Apple is now at a point where they can afford to jump on the Intel bandwagon. And it's not because of the chip or the speed. It's because they are positioned to fend off two possible problems with the move. 1) a drying up of hardware sales during the conversion. 2) MIcrosoft strong-arming Intel to make decisions that are not beneficial or even harmful to Apple.

Does the change really matter? The Apple OS is clearly superior to the Microsoft OS. And one doesn't have to be a pundit to see that. The OS will run just as well on Intel as it does on the IBM series.

The consumer on the other hand (relatively uneducated) will hear "Intel" and believe that now, Apple is playing in Microsoft's world so there's more reason to switch. The truth is that the applications will be little changed. Sure, any application that is trying to do cross microchip emulation will be great. This consists primarily of Virtual PC.

The most important issue will be lost. Apple has an OS that can run on any microchip. They can change that out almost as easily as they can swap out the video card. The real question becomes.... once this change occurs... what happens if Microsoft decides they can move to IBM's PPC series?

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But... as fine as it is to try and keep the Apple OS away from the PC hardware realm... the long and short of it is that Mac OS X... is based on FreeBSD... and last time I checked there is an Intel version of BSD. What the Mac lovers don't want people to know is that the truth of Mac OS X is that it is a pretty GUI shell, uh, interface on top of BSD on a chipset that happens to be byte-flipped the opposite way from the Intel chipset.


I know that's a little too simplistic but.. in the end they could end up selling more computers. Look what they've done with iPod and such! :)

Ah... I knew something was gnawing away at my mind, a reason deep down that I didn't like the switch to Intel chips. It's that darn byte order! I guess just having dealt with hardware for so long I got used to network byte order, making everything else seem so... heathen! ;-)

I dunno--I've been really liking having a computer that doesn't have a noisy fan. Ahh... silent computer... so peaceful :-)

At first I was shocked. As a long time Mac fanatic, it felt like a punch in the stomach. Then I realized...it's all about the OS. Whatever gets OSX on more machines is a Good Thing (for everyone, not just Apple). The fact that they already have a working on-board translator (Rosetta) as well as a super-quick binary-maker solves the two biggest problems: making existing software work on new MacTels and Mac software companies needing to "port" their existing Mac software. Plus, with the Intel chip, it will be MUCH easier for non-Mac software companies to create Mac versions...including games! This move is a win/win for everyone: users, Apple, and 3rd-party software companies looking to get into the Mac market (which will continue to grow). I think the move is perfect timing, and a fantastic move on Apple's part.

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