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PPC Emulator Could Ultimately Bring OS X To PCs

PPC Emulator Could Ultimately Bring OS X To PCs

by , 12:45 PM EDT, May 17th, 2004

You've likely heard the argument for making Apple's Unix-based OS X available for PCs. Whether you agree with the supporters of such a move by Apple or not, you may find PearPC of interest nonetheless. Wired news is covering a pair of programming students who have come up with a PowerPC emulator that runs on x86 PCs. The emulator allows users to run OSes that would normally require a PPC-based computer, including OS X. From the article:

Now Windows and Linux users can do the reverse. Released last week, PearPC is the first software emulator to allow Apple Computer's OS X to run on an Intel- or AMD-based machine.

Developed by Sebastian Biallas and Stefan Weyergraf, a pair of 23-year-old computer students from Aachen, Germany, PearPC re-creates in software the PowerPC architecture, the hardware used in Apple's Macs.

The free, open-source software allows Intel- and AMD-based PCs to run several operating systems compatible with the PowerPC, including Mandrake Linux, BSD, Darwin and, most importantly, Apple's Mac OS X.

Users can download and install a copy of PearPC, and then install a boxed copy of OS X, which can be purchased from Apple for $130.

The article goes on to say that the free software is buggy and very slow. Read the full article at Wired News.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The first thing some of you may be asking is, "What good is it?"

While it is true that PearPC is in its infancy, it does, or at least will eventually, provide some padding for those unsure about making the jump to Macs. Skittish Switchers can get their feet wet in OS X while not having to shell out the price of a new computer.

This is not a bad situation for Apple either, at least it isn't currently. Apple will get to sell a few extra copies of OS X to people either looking to make the switch, or folks just curious about life on the other side of the tracks. There's no need to worry that such an emulator will siphon hardware sales; emulators, by their very nature, are slow and dim-witted compared to the hardware it mimics, and can never be a good replacement for that hardware.

Still, there will be those who insist that slow and skittish is good enough. To them, we say go for it; those folks would likely not buy Apple hardware to begin with.

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