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Jobs & Gates to Tie The Knot. (Sort of.)
April 5, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Dual Boot, Officially. Now that the contest is over, it could be time for both sides of the Cola OS War to put aside their differences and shake hands ... though not without a little good-natured snark: "Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries." Oooooh ... burn.
posted by grabbingsand (102 comments total)

 
* Sleeps soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that Macs can dual boot, and the war on terra is won *
posted by Jimbob at 6:46 AM on April 5, 2006


By the way, my Linux box has been dual booting for bloody YEARS. Don't know what you Macintel users are all so worked up about.
posted by Jimbob at 6:51 AM on April 5, 2006


*** CONDENSED FLAMEWAR GENERATOR ***

Mac users are gay. Windows users are fascist sheep. Linux users smell. OS/2 users need to meet girls. Sun users are witches and they touch kids.

People who don't use computers are retarded.

*** BYTES SAVED: 1,030,934,944 ***
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 6:55 AM on April 5, 2006


It is kind of funny, though... did apple have this technology all along? Did hackers force its release?

Out of curiosity, what's so great about EFI that isn't in GRUB or LILO? I mean... we are just talking about booting an OS, here.
posted by ph00dz at 6:57 AM on April 5, 2006


Wow - this is GREAT! Now I can combine the overpriced hardware with the inferior software!
posted by twsf at 6:57 AM on April 5, 2006


Yes, can someone please explain the EFI/Bios claims?
posted by OmieWise at 6:58 AM on April 5, 2006


What we really want to know is...can it boot BeOS?
posted by Jimbob at 6:59 AM on April 5, 2006


Yes, can someone please explain the EFI/Bios claims?

I'm still waiting for someone to explain the "Industry Standard" thing, when I've never seen it on any PC I've ever touched.
posted by Jimbob at 7:00 AM on April 5, 2006


There's no way that Apple was caught by surprise, they knew that someone would figure it out.

I definitely believe that they postponed releasing this software until the last minute. I'm seriously considering getting a Mac laptop now...
posted by anthill at 7:00 AM on April 5, 2006


I'm wondering if they released this earlier because of the number of people trying to run the patched Windows install on MacBook Pros. I've heard that the power management / fan control isn't supported by default in Windows so it's completely likely that people could burn out their laptops. Releasing this early might cut down the warranty support for fried computers.
posted by mikeh at 7:05 AM on April 5, 2006


Can I play Spore when it comes out? That's all I care about. Now it seems I can. So, Yay!
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 7:07 AM on April 5, 2006


Wake me when I can easily run OS X on PC hardware.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:08 AM on April 5, 2006


Macs are dumbed down for the 'challenged'.

Windows only implements something after someone else does all the creative thinking involved.

They both suck.

linux won't run the programs I NEED so that sucks too.

Then you die.
posted by HTuttle at 7:09 AM on April 5, 2006


Here you can read about EFI vs BIOS...
posted by Djinh at 7:11 AM on April 5, 2006


Why would we want to get rid of something that works perfictly well?

The fact that PCs use the BIOS to boot and x86 backwards compatibility means we can boot any x86 OS written in the last 25 years or so. I think that's pretty cool. Switching to a new "Ultra modern" boot system would make that impossible.

And does anyone support EFI other then Apple?
posted by delmoi at 7:13 AM on April 5, 2006


Now I've just got the Sex Pistols singing "eeeeeee efffffffffffff iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" in my head.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2006


Can you run windows in VMWare on the Mac yet? Dual booting is stupid; virtual booting is the way to go. Why chose? Run both OS's at the same time!
posted by delmoi at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2006


delmoi writes "Why would we want to get rid of something that works perfictly well?"

Djinh's link explains it pretty well. The cost of that compatability is firmware dependent on outmoded chip architectures.
posted by OmieWise at 7:16 AM on April 5, 2006


Delmoi, I believe there's a number of virtualization schemes for Windows-on-Intel-Mac that are either currently available or soon to be rolled out
posted by rxrfrx at 7:18 AM on April 5, 2006


Gee, HTuttle, how do you get through the day? ;)
posted by bouncebounce at 7:18 AM on April 5, 2006


This is pretty awesome, but I'd like to know more about the video driver situation before I begin dancing in the streets.
posted by Ryvar at 7:19 AM on April 5, 2006


Dual booting is stupid; virtual booting is the way to go. Why chose? Run both OS's at the same time!

That's expected this week.

(I wouldn't be surprised to see VMWare itself before too long)
posted by mkultra at 7:21 AM on April 5, 2006


Hmm, the article Djinh linked too makes some good points, and was written by someone who works at one of the two BIOS companies.

Still, I think a 'extra step' bios might be better. The PC boots with BIOS first, then steps up to virtual 'mini-os' that loads io drivers and boots other OSs that support it.

You could even imbed. a multithreader in that mini OS and boot multiple OSs at the same time.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 AM on April 5, 2006


delmoi: "And does anyone support EFI other then Apple?"

I'm pretty sure Solaris 10 can boot from an EFI machine. Not sure if it's supported yet.

Why would anyone want to run windows on a mac? Games. I use macintosh because it's a fairly hardcore unix under all that pretty wrapping. It's secure, fast, and the UI is very consistent. However, there are very few games available, and the ones that are usually take forever to be released on Mac OS.

If I could dual boot into windows to simply play HL2 and then boot back into OS X to work, I'd be very happy.
posted by splatta at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2006


Djinh, that's an interesting article about EFI, even though it is totally skewed towards the EFI side of things since it's written by AMI's EFI product manager. Cool stuff, regardless.
posted by antifuse at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2006


* Begins saving for Mac, without looking back *
posted by VulcanMike at 7:28 AM on April 5, 2006


delmoi writes "Still, I think a 'extra step' bios might be better. The PC boots with BIOS first, then steps up to virtual 'mini-os' that loads io drivers and boots other OSs that support it."

I don't think you understood what the article was saying. I can't make any claims for whether or not the article is actually correct, but the entire described problem is contained in the need to boot into BIOS first. This is what limits new chip architectures.
posted by OmieWise at 7:35 AM on April 5, 2006


It feels dirty. But now I can play F.E.A.R. on a mac...
Now to un-train my automatic gag reflex to working with windows, or learn to enjoy verp taste.
posted by Jeremy at 7:36 AM on April 5, 2006


Why would anyone want to run windows on a mac?

Or people who develop cross-platform software. Web designers can test their stuff on WinIE without needing an additional box. I develop stuff in .NET, but I love me my BBEdit.
posted by mkultra at 7:37 AM on April 5, 2006


Indeed, my next laptop is going to be an iBook/MacBook whenever they ship (June they say now). I'm not going back to regular PCs. Ever.

Satan is shopping for ice skates right now.
posted by SirOmega at 7:38 AM on April 5, 2006


Ahem: EFI.

ph00dz: Out of curiosity, what's so great about EFI that isn't in GRUB or LILO? I mean... we are just talking about booting an OS, here.

The general process for booting a computer starts with a mini program that runs some diagnostics, detects available hardware, and looks for some kind of a bootloader on a storage medium. GRUB and LILO don't even start until this program has identified that they exist in a special block of a boot disk or network device.

Jimbob: I'm still waiting for someone to explain the "Industry Standard" thing, when I've never seen it on any PC I've ever touched.

EFI appears to be the default with Itanium systems, and has been released outside of Intel to a standards consortium.

delmoi: And does anyone support EFI other then Apple?

Microsoft (for 64-bit systems), Linux (IBM and Red Hat if you want official support), FreeBSD, Sun and HP. Seems like the gang is mostly in on it. I'm wondering about Microsoft's refusal to support EFI in their consumer OS line.

Personally, I'm thinking that maintaining that level of backwards x86 compatibility is a liability, especially given how far forward virtualization and emulation software as come over the last decade.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2006


Why would anyone want to run windows on a mac?

Because it's the fastest Windows laptop available?
posted by scottreynen at 7:47 AM on April 5, 2006


Why is it so hard to get the Mac OS to run on any intel machine? Is it a technical limitation? Or just a intellectual property thing?
posted by mondo dentro at 7:52 AM on April 5, 2006


Ryvar, has nailed it on my own reservations, but I have to wonder/agree, once the video drivers demonstrate their worthiness, this will become a very attractive option for me.

I don't think my T42p need worry just yet, though.
posted by Busithoth at 7:53 AM on April 5, 2006



posted by mecran01 at 8:11 AM on April 5, 2006


Or just a intellectual property thing?

Yep. Apple doesn't like OS X being run on x86 hardware.

The thing is,Apple makes the bulk of their money on hardware, Microsoft on software. As long as you're buying a MacBook Pro and a copy of Windows XP, as is necessary for the topic of this post, both companies are satisfied.

For the reverse situation Microsoft has nothing to do with OS X on x86 (since x86 hardware is third party), but Apple does, and the fact that it costs them hardware sales is the reason it's strictly an underground phenomenon.
posted by Ryvar at 8:12 AM on April 5, 2006


Also, Apple very strictly controls the hardware environment, and writing your OS to a single hardware platform (roughly) means that it can be more robust.
posted by antifuse at 8:26 AM on April 5, 2006


It no workie on my MB Pro! :( :(

And I've got the latest OS and firmware.
posted by pmbuko at 8:29 AM on April 5, 2006


It gets increasingly difficult to wade thropugh the wise ass comments, the clever snippets, the I know better than you remarks that increasingly become the comments at Metafilter.
The trouble with that post is that is from the maker of Mac. But Circuits, the tech section of the New York Times (tdaoy) in fact gives a very nice review of the Mac and says it does all it claims and is a wonder to work with. Now if you don't like Mac, just ignore the post and move on to something you do like. If you like your Mac, that's nice, but no need to put down what others use.
posted by Postroad at 8:37 AM on April 5, 2006


postroad: so which is better, Mac or PC?
*runs for the hills
posted by slater at 8:41 AM on April 5, 2006


Goodbye to Virtual PC lag. Or is it?
posted by itchylick at 8:55 AM on April 5, 2006


Slater: Pepsi.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 8:55 AM on April 5, 2006


People keep saying that this will somehow hurt OS X development. But I cannot imagine anybody who sets up dual systems on a mac ever settling on Windows, unless MS somehow miraculously figures out how to solve its malware problems.
posted by empath at 9:06 AM on April 5, 2006


itchylick: Goodbye to Virtual PC lag. Or is it?

I wouldn't say that. Dual-Boot does not scratch my itch of needing to pull data from an MSWin process into my Macintosh World. Of course, Virtual PC doesn't either due to the bad 3D support.

For me the ideal would be a 3D-accelerated compatibility layer that would work just like X11. Or Rosetta, or the Unix Compatibility Layer for MS Server products.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2006


Goodbye to Virtual PC lag. Or is it?

Virtual PC is painfully slow because it has to emulate an Intel processor on a PowerPC processor. In theory, you should be able to use virtualization software like VMWare on a MacBook and run the hosted OS at more-or-less full speed (assuming you have loads of memory).
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:19 AM on April 5, 2006


Armitage Shanks: I don't think it should even require "lots of memory" or a sandboxed VM. Of course, you might want to run multiple systems, each in their own sandbox. But I think from a user perspective a compatibility layer would be ideal. The problem is that a compatibility layer would be less than ideal for MS.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:27 AM on April 5, 2006


Damn! No wonder it's snowing today, it's all leaking out of Hell.
posted by ssmith at 9:32 AM on April 5, 2006


Usually, virtualization is great for CPU-based things, but it adds a lot of overhead to I/O. Anytime a guest OS wants to write to the hardware, the virtualization software has to trap it as an invalid instruction, context switch out to the virtualization layer, figure out what the emulated machine was trying to do, perform the I/O on its behalf in a way that won't crash the hosting OS, and then context-switch back into the virtualized OS. This is WAY slower than just writing a stream of bytes directly to the hardware.

The biggest reason most people want to emulate XP is to play games, and that kind of overhead will slow an emulated game down dramatically. Unless they figure out some way to virtualize hardware better on Intel, VMWare et al are never likely to be very good for running games.
posted by Malor at 9:34 AM on April 5, 2006


delmoi, the BIOS is a joke. It should have been killed more than a decade ago. Play around with OpenFirmware or EFI and you'll quickly realize that the minimal (née non-existante) benefit of the backward compatibility of the BIOS is a trivial bit of nothingness compared to what you're losing by using a 25 year old technology built for the completely brain-dead, non-networked gear of 1981.

It's interesting to see how many commenters in this thread really have no idea what they are talking about. I've noticed that a lot since I switched to a Mac a year and a half ago. There are legions of anti-Mac folks that argue from a position of almost complete ignorance. Odd.

This is not significant from a technical standpoint at all. This is significant because Apple is officially supporting running Windows on Apple hardware.
posted by teece at 9:41 AM on April 5, 2006


This is significant because Apple is officially supporting running Windows on Apple hardware.
They're not officially supporting anything yet. And I doubt they will support running it, they probably will support the bootcamp "tool" that allows you to run windows. It makes business sense "If the reason you're not buying a Mac is because of some software package not supported on OSX well here's an alternative"

I can combine the overpriced hardware...

Check the pricing. The big reason I'm typing this on a MBP right now is because it's really comprable to any Dell or Lenova laptop of similar specs and quite frankly from a form factor this is pretty much as good as it gets.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:59 AM on April 5, 2006


I currently have a Mac and a PC and a KVM switch to use them both with the same monitor and keyboard. It's a lot more convenient than rebooting like you would have to with this solution.

So I can't wait until they get the virtualization stuff working. Then I might switch (again) to an Intel Mac mini.
posted by smackfu at 10:14 AM on April 5, 2006


Regarding dual-boot vs virtualization, I thought this post on the OS X Server mailing list states it well:

FYI, virtualization company Parallels announced that it will be bringing its Parallels Workstation virtualization product to Intel-based Macs . Parallels is a quasi-hypervisor-based (with a kernel module) virtual machine solution already shipping for Windows and Linux, and is the first desktop virtualization product to support Intel VT/Vanderpool CPU "partitioning". It's also only $50. Parallels also has a long list of officially supported guest OSes, and that's just the ones that are *officially* supported. So either way, we'll have a nice dual boot solution AND a nice virtualization solution!

I do hope that any virtualization solution from Apple would also support multiple instances of Mac OS X/Mac OS X Server.

Of course, the native dual boot with full native graphics support hits another big market of people who want to do this on their Macs: games.

So both of these solutions have their place currently.

posted by spock at 10:17 AM on April 5, 2006


They're not officially supporting anything yet. And I doubt they will support running it

You're right, of course, but you just said what I meant. Apple giving you the tool to run Windows (and the drivers to do it) is extremely significant. They've said they won't be supporting Windows (thank God), but they are supporting Base Camp.
posted by teece at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2006


Malor - thanks for the insight about IO in a virtual enviornment - probably the most useful thing I've learned today!
posted by rks404 at 10:20 AM on April 5, 2006


I'm honestly surprised at this move. It's not just that Apple will be supporting Boot Camp; Boot Camp itself will be a part of the next OS X release. If Boot Camp were a third-party release, or even an unsupported one along the lines of the Windows Powertoys, then I could see Apple doing it; making dual boot functionality a part of OS X seems to invite a giant tech support shitstorm.

Also, I just tried pricing an Inspiron E1505 with similar specs to the base Macbook Pro (major differences: WSXGA on the Inspiron with a higher resolution than the MacBook and 1GB of memory versus the MB's 512, but only an ATI X1400 w/ 256 versus the Macbook's X1600 w/ 128). Came out to about $300 cheaper, though that's mainly because of the perpetual incentives Dell offers. I was going to say this was another loss for Apple, but actually it's not so clear-cut these days. For a thrifty individual who'd love an Apple laptop but couldn't justify the price versus the PC alternative, it looks like I'll have to consider the next Macbook/iBook far more seriously when it arrives.
posted by chrominance at 10:25 AM on April 5, 2006


So when will roll-your-own folks like me be able to build Macs out of spare parts from Best Buy? When will arstechnica start publishing parts lists for budget box, hot rod, and God Box Hackentoshen? Real Soon Now?

posted by jfuller at 10:31 AM on April 5, 2006


I don't believe this is about games. It will be a long time coming before game publishers start supporting these Macs and Joe Gamer isn't going to wait while he's chomping at the bit to play the new FPS. Not to mention gaming equipment is expensive to begin with, now toss in Apple's luxury premium and, well, your Macbook isn't the new Alienware. For the money you get less computer.

1. Corporate use.

2. All the Windows software out there.

3. Hardware.

4. Less of a gamble for switchers. They can always switch back.

5. Its inevitable. Someone was going to sell this software. Might as well be Apple.

I think point four is the most interesting. I'd love to see how many "switchers" went back to Windows or how many people demo'd OSX only to find the one menu bar limiting and one-button mouse to be too foreign.

As much as we all love an OS war, the malware argument is prety weak. When the LCD is using your product they will install monkey-puncher-2000 and weatherspy as soon as their friends forward them the links. When you have 90% of the marketshare you will get a fair amount of viruses too. These are just machines that run code. Nothing magical here. If you're executing instructions there's a good chance I can get you to execute something that benefits me, be it spyware or a virus, no matter how many nag screens are tossed up.
posted by skallas at 10:31 AM on April 5, 2006


BTW to anyone suprised take a look at apples stock price today already up between 8-9% on this news alone.

http://finance.google.com/finance?q=AAPL&btnG=Search

I think many analysts think this is going to be one of the real ways for Apple to increase market share.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:44 AM on April 5, 2006


>Came out to about $300 cheaper, though that's mainly because of the perpetual incentives Dell offers.

Err, you know you still have to buy windows for that computer. So toss in another $200. Now you're looking at a 500 premium to dual-boot. If its worth it to you, that's great, but to most people I would think that's a bit pricey.
posted by skallas at 10:50 AM on April 5, 2006


"Dual booting is stupid; virtual booting is the way to go."

i.e. Fast, reliable system performance is stupid. I'd rather run a slow, buggy, hobbled version of Windows in a little window on my desktop.

Being able to boot with Microsoft's OS on a MacOS machine is huge. It should greatly expand the marketplace for Macs, both for home and for business, in a way that emulation was simply unable to do.

When it comes to making a profit, Apple is a hardware company. Always has been. Probably always will be. Despite some successes, they only have a 2.2% market share of the PC market. With this change, Apple has just expanded the potential marketplace for their systems to the other 97.8% of the hardware market. What's more, their strong brand presence and emphasis on groundbreaking design makes them an instant status symbol -- the BMW of the Wintel market.

Their prior 2.2% market share most certainly isn't based on the quality of their hardware's design. It's based on the dominance of Microsoft's OS. With dual booting, that dominance is now gone. Apple is free to compete as a Wintel PC manufacturer on the basis of their hardware... and their hardware is good. What's more, they can leverage their unique advantages relating to the MacOS in order to sell more hardware into the Wintel market. That's something that no other Wintel manufacturer can do.

Case in point... how would you describe the user experience of using an iPod and iTunes on a MacOS machine vs. using it with a Wintel box? Do you think that user experience might be a deciding factor for making a PC buying decision if you were, say, a teenager, or a college student getting a computer as a graduation present? What if the manufacturer of the iPod you have started leveraging their software design in the future to enhance and expand that user experience difference, and made a point of letting you know all the great things you were missing out on?

What if you recently got a digital camcorder, and wanted to put together a few movies without a lot of difficulty? Chances are, you'd have to pay out an extra $100 or so for software to do this... unless, of course, such a piece of software already shipped on a Wintel box. If you were buying a new PC to do this, would you be willing to save $100 on software if it meant paying out an extra $100 on hardware? Really cool looking hardware? That played all your favorite games?!

Basically, Apple is in an enviable position in the Wintel market, in that they can leverage their other products in order to give them a competitive advantage against all their hardware rivals, such as Dell, Gateway, etc. Microsoft could have tried this in the past by going heavily into PC hardware, but the hardware manufacturers would've rebelled and screamed bloody murder, because it would simply have been unfair.

Well, this is kind of an unfair advantage too. It will allow Apple to greatly expand their market for PCs and should increase their economy of scale and hardware profits significantly. That said, it won't set off the same kind of monopoly/anti-trust lawsuits that we'd see if Microsoft went heavily into the PC market.

Overall effect:
1> Apple expands its market share greatly. Leverages its advantages.
2> Traditional PC manufacturers squirm, lose market share, try to figure out new ways to differentiate their product in the marketplace.
3> Microsoft sells more copies of their OS -- the expensive boxed versions, not just the cheaper pre-installed versions -- but they see money being made and Apple cutting into their business. Sure, these new PC users are buying copies of their OS, but they're predominantly choosing to boot their systems up in MacOS, and not in Windows. Their traditional PC manufacturer partners are unhappy, but Microsoft is equally frustrated with the manufacturers and their lack of ability to keep Apple out of the marketplace, as Apple's Wintel presence is likely to interfere with the sales for an upcoming music / video player Microsoft has coming down the pipe.

The internal thought process within Microsoft? "How are we going to clobber Apple on hardware? We can't give one hardware manufacturer an advantage, or another is likely to complain. We can't step into the hardware marketplace either and use our full advantages... yet. That said, Apple gets much bigger, then who would fault us? No monopoly, no foul..."

Time to sell the Dell stock, methinks.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:55 AM on April 5, 2006


The intel macs come with a 2 button mouse. Macs have supported 2 button mouses for the longest time.
posted by visual mechanic at 11:10 AM on April 5, 2006


The Macbook Pro does not come with a 2 button integrated mouse. Control+Click for right-click.
posted by skallas at 11:16 AM on April 5, 2006


I don't believe this is about games. It will be a long time coming before game publishers start supporting these Macs and Joe Gamer isn't going to wait while he's chomping at the bit to play the new FPS.

Game publishers don't need to support these Macs. ATI needs to add Apple's specific model of the x1600 (which is probably just a firmware revision of the stock Wintel card) to the video cards supported in their Catalyst drivers for XP. That's it.

Otherwise the system is simply stock x86 hardware running Windows XP. As far as I can tell all the tools are in place for running Oblivion and Splinter Cell on your Mac except for ATI driver support.

Unfortunately, as those of us who have bought ATI cards in the past have learned - ATI really, really fucking blows when it comes to drivers. There's a healthy 3rd-party ATI driver scene as a result, and what I don't have sufficient knowledge to comment upon is whether the drivers provided by Apple will given that scene enough of a starting point to step up to the plate.
posted by Ryvar at 11:26 AM on April 5, 2006


insomnia_lj writes "strong brand presence and emphasis on groundbreaking design"

You mean like the iPod that comes in Easily Scratchable White or Easily Scratchable Black? And white earbuds either way. Yes, they sure match the black iPod. Honestly: Apple is the Henry Ford of computer design. You can have any color laptop you want, as long as that color is glossy white. The lack of variety is going to put off people who care about that sort of thing.

insomnia_lj writes "how would you describe the user experience of using an iPod and iTunes on a MacOS machine vs. using it with a Wintel box? Do you think that user experience might be a deciding factor for making a PC buying decision if you were, say, a teenager, or a college student getting a computer as a graduation present?"

In a word: Sucks. Given that 95% of computer users have never used iTunes on a Mac, Mac is not doing themselves any favors with the program. iTunes doesn't work in a Windows environment, doesn't fit the Windows GUI design rules, and is pretty much a pain in the ass non-intuitive hunk of annoyance for anyone trained on a Windows box. (How fucking long before they allow me to tell it to re-scan my library folder, and auto-prune empty directories or auto-add/remove files? Jeez.) That one application is enough - how many people are using that (because they think they have to, to use their iPod) and asking themselves "Damn, is the whole Mac OS like this? Christ." Bundle in Quicktime (what a shit GUI that thing has) and you've effectively pissed off the majority of the kids you seem to think are being groomed to be future Mac users.

insomnia_lj writes "unless, of course, such a piece of software already shipped on a Wintel box"

Like Windows Movie Maker? Came on all of my machines. Have made some pretty nice videos from my digital camera. Not the most spectacular program but it is free.

insomnia_lj writes "Microsoft sells more copies of their OS -- the expensive boxed versions, not just the cheaper pre-installed versions"

You're assuming that the people who buy the MacBooks will also buy Windows. If they wanted a copy of Windows, are they going to buy a non-Windows laptop and then pay a lot more money for a retail Windows disk? And if they just want the laptop - assuming they are groomed for Mac from birth, as you posited above - why would they buy a copy of Windows?

The small number of people who work in a Windows corporate environment and prefer to use a Mac at home will be pleased with this, because they can buy one computer and use it at home and at work. The people who do multi-platform development will be pleased, for obvious reasons. The average user isn't going to run out, all excited, to buy a Mac just so he/she can dual boot.

You need to remember for the most part that the people who take part in these debates on MeFi or elsewhere have a better than average grasp of computer skills. While you or I might see this as an advantage it is important to remember that most people won't follow your thinking. The average person - let's call him/her Joe User - can't be trained not to click on everything or not to install things all willy-nilly. How do you expect Joe User to learn two operating systems, especially when quite a lot of people have a hard time understanding what exactly an OS is in the first place? Can you imagine the tech support headaches? Joe User buys a copy of Mac Office for his Mac Laptop and then gets pissed when it won't install in Windows - because he's using a Mac!
posted by caution live frogs at 11:33 AM on April 5, 2006


how would you describe the user experience of using an iPod and iTunes on a MacOS machine vs. using it with a Wintel box?

I use a Mac and XP boxes with a KVM switch and have iTunes on both. In my experience it works just fine on both. What's the difference?
posted by normy at 11:34 AM on April 5, 2006


The Macbook Pro does not come with a 2 button integrated mouse. Control+Click for right-click.
posted by skallas


Hopefully mac laptops will one day switch to two buttons. Not for me, but so mac critics can move on to something else.

(because, you know, the numbers of people who put down 2000 bucks at least on a macbookpro and returned it for lack of two buttons must be in the tens...)
posted by justgary at 11:35 AM on April 5, 2006


(oops - "see this as an advantage" where "this" = dual booting)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:37 AM on April 5, 2006


This is a great day for downsizing the Dark Side!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:40 AM on April 5, 2006


I started to download this for my shiny new MBP but then I realised, why on earth would I want to dual boot? I really can't stand using windows. I'm more interested in Crossover Offic from Codeweavers (when it comes, although I haven't checked yet so it may already be around). All I need is an instance of IE for testing webpages.

The icon is rather nice.
posted by bouncebounce at 11:42 AM on April 5, 2006


Bounceboue, this is big for reasons of marginal market cross-elasticity; people who are/were considering Apple, but needed some Windows application for work. That it has Apple's imprimateur (rather than a third party's, or a hack) makes a huge difference.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:49 AM on April 5, 2006


i.e. Fast, reliable system performance is stupid. I'd rather run a slow, buggy, hobbled version of Windows in a little window on my desktop.

It seems to work pretty well w/ VMWare.
posted by smackfu at 11:50 AM on April 5, 2006


>a macbookpro and returned it for lack of two buttons must be in the tens

No, the problem is the assumption that people are going to flock to these machines because of the dual booting option. Joe User is going to think "2000 dollars and I dont get a right click when I use windows?" That is a deal breaker. Its not a return, its worse, its a lost sale.

Secondly, some of the things you can't change in the world of laptops are the keyboard, mouse, and screen. The manfucaturer is purposely hostile to the 2-button convention in windows. The joys of dual-booting will be silenced by the carpel tunnel of constantly reaching over to do a simple right click. Of course, Joe User can buy a 2 button mouse for his 2000 dollar machine, carry it around, and pull it out of the bag constantly.

caution live frogs makes excellent points about the Apple experience. I can't say if UI is learned or natural, but as a primarily Win/KDE guy I cannot stand OS X's UI and fail to see how foreign UI apps like itunes and quicktime would make anyone want to switch OS's. I can get a lot done through terminal and automator when I do have to use OS X, but Joe User is stuck in his point and click world. Its still two very different worlds and this dual-boot option will get raves from the usual gallery of geeks but its not some kind of big win for the Dell crowd. Nor is it the next step in computing. If anything I'd wait to see how the marraige of cheap ram, multi-core cpus, and virtualization work out in both the OS X and Win worlds before declaring a bootloader trick and very basic driver support from Apple for XP to be groundbreaking.
posted by skallas at 11:51 AM on April 5, 2006


Hopefully mac laptops will one day switch to two buttons. Not for me, but so mac critics can move on to something else.

I hope not, because having that huge bar as a button is a lot of what makes a trackpad useable for me. I use contextual menus a lot, but since my other hand is always on the keyboard, I prefer the control click method anyway.

I may be something of an exception, though, since emacs is so hardwired into my brain that I start to get shifty if my pinky is off the control key for more than a few seconds. And my control key is also in the One True Location: where lesser keyboard layouts put that useless caps lock.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:52 AM on April 5, 2006


Of course, Joe User can buy a 2 button mouse for his 2000 dollar machine, carry it around, and pull it out of the bag constantly.

Joe Gamer, at least, is going to be using an external mouse regardless because nobody plays games with a laptop touchpad, so this doesn't affect those of us who are interested in this for that reason.
posted by Ryvar at 11:56 AM on April 5, 2006


Joe User is going to think "2000 dollars and I dont get a right click when I use windows?"

I'll just have to disagree, in regards with the macbookpro at least. I don't think 'joe user' is buying a 2000 dollar laptop. He's buying the cheapest dell or the best buy special.

If you've decided to put down that much money on a laptop, a mac, I think that person has obvious reasons for doing so, and the lack of two buttons isn't enough to break the deal (for most people).

You might have a point when it comes to something like the iBook, though still, with the ability to add a two button mouse I doubt the sales loss is as great as you seem to think (if it were it seems they would have switched to two buttons by now).
posted by justgary at 12:20 PM on April 5, 2006


This is cool. The penultimate piece is finally in place. Now I'm just waiting for Apple to catch up and start putting art digitizers directly into their laptop screens (and make the form-factor convertible to slate) like high end PC laptops, and I'll be buying one so fast you'll say "gosh, that was rather fast, wasn't it." :-)

And I'm pretty sure Apple is working on this kind of stuff for their laptops, and you'd hope that they'll manage to leapfrog the current generation of PC laptops when they finally get it to market, so with the dual boot support in place, my next machine could be pretty cool :)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:29 PM on April 5, 2006


Did anybody else notice in the Wikipedia EFI article: "EFI is one of the pieces of the framework necessary to implement Trusted Computing, which is (among other things) a method to implement hardware-based Digital Rights Management."

Danger, Will Robinson....
posted by brett at 12:49 PM on April 5, 2006


The lack of variety is going to put off people who care about that sort of thing."

Oh puhleeeze.

Customer: What colors does your PC come in?

Dell Representative: Well, this model only comes in beige, but we have another model that comes in dark grey!

What percentage of Wintel PC sales are beige boxes, do you think? 95%, 98%? I'm sure Apple will really miss taking money from the other 2%, after their potential marketplace has just increased fortyfold.

Color isn't as important as design... and there are very few Wintel owners who don't walk past the Mac section with a bit of a wistful sigh.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:51 PM on April 5, 2006


i.e. Fast, reliable system performance is stupid. I'd rather run a slow, buggy, hobbled version of Windows in a little window on my desktop.

The basic point is that dual-booting only meets the needs of a subset of the population that cries, "but what about the games" at every opportunity. Dual-boot is useless to me if I have to reboot every time I need to transfer information between systems.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:52 PM on April 5, 2006


ATI needs to add Apple's specific model of the x1600

Part of the Boot Camp process is making a Windows driver disk. It includes a driver for the MacBook Pro ATI card that is fully functional. I assume the iMac is the same (the Mini was already supported before).
posted by teece at 1:18 PM on April 5, 2006


The last time I checked, Dell and IBM were making mostly black PCs.

The last time I checked, Apple was making mostly white Macs.

yeah.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:34 PM on April 5, 2006


insomnia_lj writes "Color isn't as important as design... and there are very few Wintel owners who don't walk past the Mac section with a bit of a wistful sigh."

Um... no, not really. Macs come in a fairly small number of configurations. This year it's Shiny White with Rounded Edges. A few years back it was Smooth Pastel Colors. They even went through an Everything Is Clear stage in between. I don't find them to be that attractive. I don't like the monotony. Every Mac laptop is the same basic shape and design. Think Different, just like everyone else.

I'm not saying that Dell makes the most attractive PCs, of course not. But I do have options, because when I shop for a computer I don't have to buy it from Dell. If I think ATI cards are shit and want nVidia, I can buy a laptop with nVidia components. If I want the thing to be robust enough to handle rough usage, I can get Windows installed on a tank-like ruggedized system. If I like to build my own system, I can do it, using the crazy modified case I made myself. And guess what - no matter what I do, my OS is supported, officially. No fear that I've voided my warranty just because I modified the hardware configuration or installed generic memory.

In short, I do not need someone else making my design choices for me. The only person who knows how and where I use my machine is me. The "wistful sigh" bit is you projecting your love of Macs onto other people. Anyone who isn't a fan of that specific design style isn't going to be very impressed.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:40 PM on April 5, 2006


I love it when people talk about what "Joe User" will or won't do in discussions about the Mac. You need Joe User to reach 90% market share. You probably even need Joe User to reach 30% market share. You don't need Joe User to go from 2.5% (or whatever Apple has now) to 5%, and maybe even 10%.

This move isn't going to mean much to the average Windows user, it's not going to mean much to the average Mac user. It means something to people all around the margins of those two groups. It's probably going to mean something to the college students who like the mac and like to game, but don't have the room or the cash to have a mac and a PC.
posted by Good Brain at 1:41 PM on April 5, 2006


"You mean like the iPod that comes in Easily Scratchable White or Easily Scratchable Black? And white earbuds either way."

And yet, they're selling like hotcakes. Go figure. Most people have to buy an iPod and get addicted to it before they discover that it's easily scratchable, I bet... At which point, it gives them a great reason to buy more accessories. Hey, look... colors!

"iTunes doesn't work in a Windows environment, doesn't fit the Windows GUI design rules, and is pretty much a pain in the ass non-intuitive hunk of annoyance for anyone trained on a Windows box."

Exactly. It works as designed. (i.e. Better on a Mac.)

"Like Windows Movie Maker?"

Yes. Precisely.

"You're assuming that the people who buy the MacBooks will also buy Windows. If they wanted a copy of Windows, are they going to buy a non-Windows laptop and then pay a lot more money for a retail Windows disk? And if they just want the laptop - assuming they are groomed for Mac from birth, as you posited above - why would they buy a copy of Windows?"

To be honest, they're quite likely to just use the Windows install CD from their last PC, or borrow it from a friend. They're finally free to switch to a Mac without any undue pain.

And did I say that they were groomed for a Mac from birth? Hardly. Most teens are more groomed for Wintel, just because it's the dominant gaming platform. That said, if Apple is going to come prepared with good video capabilities for gaming, that disadvantage just disappeared. That means that Apple can leverage all their strong points to get Wintel buyers to buy their computers... and iPods (and their incredible popularity/status value) are a great way to do that, with a demographic group that is extremely succeptable to their message.

That audience? Young. Emurgent. Influenced by style. Prone to influence friends. Puts value on and willing to pay for "coolness factor"... (especially if its their parent's money.) Purchasing decisions more likely to be based on status, peer pressure, advertising. Grew up using technology. Likes and is comfortable using gadgets.

Last Christmas, I got my mid-twentysomething enamorata a nice little mp3 player on sale for a little over $100. It had a hard drive larger than the iPod that cost twice as much, and I had enough money left over to get her several other really nice gifts as well. The mp3 player has a small, stylish design, and even came with a shoulder strap a-la iPod. Sure, it's software isn't that hot, but she has a Wintel box, and Apple's software is no great shakes either.

And yet, it remained unopened near her computer for over a month until I set it up for her, adding all her favorite music. I got this feeling at the time that she really would have preferred an iPod instead. I suspect she viewed an iPod as a player that was easier to use and program -- regardless of reality. As such, she would've been more prone to use it earlier and would've felt more comfortable doing so -- regardless of reality. Perception matters.

Now that her favorite music is on it and she's used it a bit, she's come to appreciate the player. That said, she prefers to let me take care of the programming for it.

She mentioned that she wants to get new ear buds for it. I, for one, wouldn't be surprised if they are white.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:51 PM on April 5, 2006


This release is more than big, and the reality of it will start to really bite home around the time that Microsoft releases Vista (2012?) and people have to start making decisions about whether or not to upgrade their hardware.
posted by Duug at 2:00 PM on April 5, 2006


This move isn't going to mean much to the average Windows user, it's not going to mean much to the average Mac user.

That was my first thought - I know a fair number of folk who prefer Macs and use them at at home and Windows at work who will be rubbing their hands with glee at this news, but they must be a tiny percentage of users, and I just can't fathom who besides people like them and cross-platform developers would find this particualrly useful. Unless there's there's a vast untapped market for people who want really nice-looking computers but can't be bothered switching to OS X... which is possible, I suppose.

The joys of dual-booting will be silenced by the carpel tunnel of constantly reaching over to do a simple right click.

You must have very tiny hands if you need to 'reach over' to the ctrl key when your thumb is on the trackpad button of a laptop ;-)
posted by jack_mo at 2:03 PM on April 5, 2006


speaking as an owner of 4 PCs over the last 12-13 years, the price wasa barrier to buy-into iMac. and it has come down a lot lately.

In the last week, before the bootcamp announcement, I'd given up on dual-booting an iMac for the next year or so (I'm technically proficient, but not "gifted"), so I had spec'd two Windows-based systems to meet my current and future needs (roughly: AMD X2 4200+ CPU / 2 GB RAM / Asus MB / 1x74GB HD, 2x 250GB HDs / Dual-head video card / DVD writer / FD & Media reader / Full Tower Case) and they came out to about CDN$2000 each (taxes in).
What's missing? Well, a monitor for one (but I was going to re-use a gently used 19" Trinitron and a slightly older 17" trinitron), a second optical drive (was going to re-use one from my current setup), a current video card (was going to get the Matrox Millennium G450 for it's colour fidelity over any of the current crop of mega-fast "gaming" video cards).

Well, for that same CDN$2k I can get most of what I want in the system and a beautiful 20" widescreen LCD monitor in an iMAC. My wife is a student, so actually the iMac would cost CDN$1750, plus taxes, and with just a little more dough, a retail copy of WinXP Home edition...I can re-use the software I know and love, I can grow into the software that's available for the Mac, and I can get the best of both worlds today.
Yeah, dual-booting's gonna be a bit time consuming...but nothing worthwhile ever came free...

That's the exciting part of today's announcement, for me...
posted by I, Credulous at 2:14 PM on April 5, 2006


In case anyone is interested there is an early review of the process on O'Reilly mac devcenter. No word yet about 3d performance though.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:18 PM on April 5, 2006


And did I say that they were groomed for a Mac from birth? Hardly. Most teens are more groomed for Wintel, just because it's the dominant gaming platform. That said, if Apple is going to come prepared with good video capabilities for gaming, that disadvantage just disappeared. That means that Apple can leverage all their strong points to get Wintel buyers to buy their computers... and iPods (and their incredible popularity/status value) are a great way to do that, with a demographic group that is extremely succeptable to their message.

And that message? "We think you're silly enough to boot to Windows to play WoW, then boot to OSX to access iTunes, on overpriced hardware and an operating environment that won't be supported by either Windows or Apple, all so you can somehow look cool."

Multiple boot systems are nothing new. Anyone with System Commander remembers the days of having several OS installs on a single machine, so they could write and test 16-bit code across Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, Windows NT 3, OS/2 2.11, and OS/2 Warp. This was utility, not coolness, and no, it wasn't fun.

That audience? Young. Emurgent. Influenced by style. Prone to influence friends. Puts value on and willing to pay for "coolness factor"... (especially if its their parent's money.) Purchasing decisions more likely to be based on status, peer pressure, advertising. Grew up using technology. Likes and is comfortable using gadgets.

The easily led, in other words.

It's a nice gimmick, and may meet the needs of a subset of customers (cross-platform developers, for example.) I'm not really sure what it gains Apple, actually. This will be fun to watch, though, as the polarization folks crawl out of the woodwork once again to do battle over what amounts to which socket wrench size is better.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:28 PM on April 5, 2006


We think you're silly enough to boot to Windows to play WoW, then boot to OSX to access iTunes,

[nitpick]Actually, World of Warcraft is available for Mac, and iTunes is basically the only Apple application available for Windows. Couldn't have picked worse examples, really.[/nitpick]
posted by designbot at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2006


teece: PC games aren't tested against 3rd party manufacturer's drivers. Largely those drivers exist to provide full 2D desktop compatibility and not much else - I'm sure Apple is no different than any other 3rd party manufacturer here.
posted by Ryvar at 2:38 PM on April 5, 2006


This is cool and all, but there's one big problem from my point of view: it only works with the full version of Windows XP with SP2. You can't install an earlier version of Windows (even XP) and then upgrade. That's another $200-$300 hit, at least.

I already own more versions of Windows than I have machines. I don't really want to buy more.
posted by timeistight at 2:59 PM on April 5, 2006


FormlessOne: It's a nice gimmick, and may meet the needs of a subset of customers (cross-platform developers, for example.) I'm not really sure what it gains Apple, actually.

Well, I see two things.

First of all, by supporting dual-booting with supplied drivers, they can exercise some control over how WinXP interacts with their hardware, which is important from a warranty standpoint. So the company gains some goodwill with customers by not looking like it has a stick up it's ass regarding WinXP on Apple hardware.

Second, the games issue seems to be one of the frequently cited barriers to macintosh adoption. It is also another carrot for G4/G5->Intel upgraders.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:01 PM on April 5, 2006


"Um... no, not really. Macs come in a fairly small number of configurations. This year it's Shiny White with Rounded Edges."

And yet, teens are eating that design style up. And paying a premium, too.

"I'm not saying that Dell makes the most attractive PCs, of course not. But I do have options, because when I shop for a computer I don't have to buy it from Dell."

Indeed. But that doesn't stop Apple from becoming the BMW of the Wintel market. They don't need 90% of the market. If they got 10%, that would be a huge coup.

"In short, I do not need someone else making my design choices for me."

That's a perfectly reasonable statement to make... but what about all of those who like design and status, and who don't want to build their own systems. (i.e. Most people.)

The "wistful sigh" bit is you projecting your love of Macs onto other people.

Sure, I love their design... which is sometimes revolutionary and positively droolworthy. While I know that there's a price to be paid for it, both in customizability and in cost, I still love seeing their latest hardware, even if I don't purchase it.

It's not just me, of course. Apple has won so many major design awards, they've probably stopped counting. That doesn't mean you're going to like it, of course, but apparently all those iPod buyers out there do, to the point that they're willing to pay more for it.

I'm not prone to make buying decisions based on design, but I do appreciate good design, and if I can get it along with the other features I really need, then it makes for a very attractive purchase.

By going dual boot, Apple has suddenly become much more attractive to a whole lotta people... many of whom are far more succeptable to design than I am. If I'm thinkin' about it, then it seems likely to me that a teen who loves his iPod may have visions of Apple sugarplums, come next Christmas.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:03 PM on April 5, 2006


At first I thought this was a great opportunity for me to get the Macbook Pro. Then I realized Office and Adobe apps are still not Universal binaries. So I either pony up now for the Windows version or run them in emulation via OSX's Rosetta. Neither option is very attractive from a financial standpoint.
posted by infowar at 5:07 PM on April 5, 2006


infowar,

I can say, typing this on a Macbook Pro, that Office, at least, is fairly quick on its feet, even though it's running in Rosetta.

I can't speak for Adobe apps, and would imagine they take a much larger performance hit, but Word, Excel, etc, seem pretty snappy.
posted by kbanas at 6:31 PM on April 5, 2006


What's this all about?

It's about a merger in the next year or two. It's about Microsoft likely buying Apple outright, and setting the OSX team to work with the Vista team, to develop a truly modern OS, ideally combining the best features of the XP jungle with the style and security of OSX.

Why?

Two reasons.

One: Windows is fucked. It's done. Vista will be the last iteration of the old x86 world. It's too fat, too bloated, too cobbled together.

The other reason?

Google OS.
posted by stenseng at 7:31 PM on April 5, 2006


This is cool and all, but there's one big problem from my point of view: it only works with the full version of Windows XP with SP2. You can't install an earlier version of Windows (even XP) and then upgrade. That's another $200-$300 hit, at least.

Nah. You can create a new install disc using your previous Windows XP install and slipstream Service Pack 2 into it. There's a plethora of guides on the net on how to do this.

At first I thought this was a great opportunity for me to get the Macbook Pro. Then I realized Office and Adobe apps are still not Universal binaries. So I either pony up now for the Windows version or run them in emulation via OSX's Rosetta. Neither option is very attractive from a financial standpoint.

WINE is currently running fine under Mac OS X. This adds further compatability to the mix. You can run Office 2003 (save for Outlook) or Office 2000 with Outlook. It's another option to get what you need.

Essentially put, the Mac has become the most flexible hardware platform available. They officially will now run the most important operating systems available on the market... (EFI support for BSD and other variants I'm sure is there or coming).

With the virtualization tech embedded in the Core Duo, it opens a new future to computing, as well. The missing ingredient now is in-OS virtualization. Sure, there's Xen for Linux, but that's better as a server environment.

Desktop virtualization will mean a whole new ballgame.
posted by id at 8:35 PM on April 5, 2006


"It's about a merger in the next year or two. It's about Microsoft likely buying Apple outright..."

That ain't gonna happen, simply for antitrust reasons alone. Besides, if it did happen, at least a third of the Apple employees would leave within six months. Apple's true worth is in its employees.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:36 PM on April 5, 2006


Like smackfu, right now I have two computers on a KVM switch, an old Apple G4 with OS X and OS 9, a PC booting WinXP Home (German), WinXP Professional (English), and Fedora Core 4. The switch is nice, and it will support up to 4 computers and two monitors. But lots of computers tend to be loud, make the room too warm in the summer, and use more energy than I like them to.

What I would like is to be able to switch between OSes at will on one computer. What I would settle for is a computer that will boot any operating system I care to purchase or download.

If this is a step towards that (and it sure looks like it is), then my next purchase will be a Mac.
posted by moonbiter at 2:23 AM on April 6, 2006


Thanks kbanas. Although it really is the Adobe apps I'm more concerned about.
posted by infowar at 6:59 AM on April 6, 2006


teece

"It's interesting to see how many commenters in this thread really have no idea what they are talking about. I've noticed that a lot since I switched to a Mac a year and a half ago. There are legions of anti-Mac folks that argue from a position of almost complete ignorance. Odd."

Dude. Welcome to the club. I've been a Mac user since December 1984 (Mac 512k, baby!) and it's always been like that!!
posted by Lectrick at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2006


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