Who can answer this?!-same software OS X and XP

  • Posted: 25 June 2001 06:10 PM

    Sheer speculation here, but since OS X and XP are Unix based, does this mean that software created for XP will be able to run on OS X(+) Macs with realtively little (perhapse even no) modification?

    Will, at the very least, PC emulation become easier and faster?

    Could all this be the main reason for the creation of OS X?

    Would certainly finally squelch the software gap issue. Mac would be a truer competitor to Windows than it has been since the early 90s.

    Or am I just letting wishful thinking go too far?





  • Posted: 19 June 2001 08:19 PM #1

    Interesting idea, where did you read that XP was Unix based?  My understanding is that it is based on the same code set as Windows NT/2000, and that only some networking services were Unix based.

    If what I have gleamed is true, then no, I really doubt that Windows apps will be able to be recompiled to run on Mac OS X.  There are too much Windows specific functionality for it to be realistic to expect anything but command line programs to recompile, even if it were based on Unix.  But I am interested in your source, if you have one, just so I can read and understand it all better.


    Signatures are for geeks…. I’m a geek.

  • Posted: 19 June 2001 08:41 PM #2

    I heard the rumor that probably spawned this. The tale goes that Microsoft is also secretly developing another OS based on UNIX that will replace XP. That would mean that MS is dumping both code bases that have supported their sales forever, and at nearly the same time.
    Right…and Steve Jobs is my dad.

    I’d be totally shocked if MS EVER based an OS on anything even close to being open source.


    "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin

    What’s the difference between a Mac and a PC? Macs are designed, PCs are assembled.

  • Posted: 19 June 2001 11:34 PM #3

    Sorry. Seems my speculation was based on faulty ideas regarding XP. I could swear that I read somewhere that it was Unix based. Now that I think of it, the whole protected memeory selling point of XP, a Unix staple, drew me to conclude that it too was Unix based.

    Someone staighten me out here. XP is built on NT, correct? Isn’t NT Unix based?



  • Posted: 20 June 2001 12:53 AM #4

    On 2001-06-20 02:34, ronito6 wrote:
    Someone staighten me out here. XP is built on NT, correct? Isn’t NT Unix based?

    I believe that Windows NT it has some sort of layer to make it POSIX compliant but NT has its own kernel, etc.  It may have a few little parts that are ‘borrowed’ from Unix but you can’t say it’s based on Unix the way you can for Mac OS X.  It really is a separate OS type from Unix-like OSs..


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    Posted: 20 June 2001 05:51 AM #5

    The NT kernel is actually based on what Microsoft took out of the OS/2 project when they broke with IBM over it.  The way I understand it, that kernel was itself based on something two people had written on their own.  Please don’t hold me to that or start quoting me, because I am not 100% sure on that.

    In any event, NT, and hence Windows XP is definitely NOT Unix based.


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  • Posted: 20 June 2001 07:37 AM #6

    The NT project was headed by Dennis Cutler who also helped develop VMS for Digital Equipment Corp.  I remember reading a book on NT a few years ago (I believe it was Inside Windows NT) and as a former VMS programmer was amazed at how common the internal naming and structure of NT was like VMS.  I always considered NT to be an updated VMS with a Windows interface.


  • Posted: 20 June 2001 08:07 AM #7

    Yes that sounds right.  I didn’t think that I was crazy.  I think the last thing that Microsoft would ever do is use Unix and admit defeat.  But now if you think about it, every other new modern operating system is a Unix derivative.  Another reason why I feel Apple is on the right track.


    Signatures are for geeks…. I’m a geek.

  • Posted: 20 June 2001 08:25 AM #8

    And of course, there are all those comments that have come from Microsoft about the “dangers” of open-source; I read (at News.com?) that one exec had gone as far as saying the open source revolution is a “cancer.”

    The worst thing that can be said about open source is that some companies are stupidly giving away their competitive advantage. (That they are not doing, or Linux wouldn’t still exist.)

    But I’m getting off topic. No, MS will never, ever, not even kind of think about using a Unix foundation for Windows. That is, unless they did it silently, which would be ruthelessly illegal.


    —Ricky Spero
    Anchor, The Apple Weekly Report
    The Mac Observer

  • Posted: 20 June 2001 11:51 AM #9

    Just to clear it up…XP is based on NT technology. It looks like 2000 with a few network changes. Tht log in process looks sweet! Went to a LanParty to play QuakeIII and someone had the Beta on thier system. Other wise it looks much like Windows 2000


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  • Posted: 20 June 2001 01:30 PM #10

    Thanks for the replys! All great! Really learned something here today.



  • Posted: 21 June 2001 09:23 AM #11

    My understanding goes with those above that XP uses the NT/2000 code base, and they are bringing that to both the consumer and pro level to try and have more stability all the way around.  A couple points though:

    1) as far as porting, even if it were *nix based, isn’t the problem that the apps are written for X86 instruction sets, not PPC. 

    2)  I’m not sure on this one, just my speculations, but isn’t MS going to run into the same problem here that Apple has with OS X in that most software is going to need to be ported since a lot of Windows software for win9x code base won’t run on NT, and a lot of NT code base won’t run on win9x.  Isn’t there going to be a transition period involved here as well?  I realize it won’t be as big since almost all major vendors make there programs support win9x and 2000, but I would think it would be an issue to some degree.

    Others thoughts on this?


  • Posted: 25 June 2001 01:30 PM #12

    Porting from x86 to PPC instruction sets isn’t really the biggest issue. Look at Linux, for example. Once the core instruction sets (the X Windows API, for instance) have been ported to each architecture and optimized, porting applications from one system to another can be as simple as a recompile.  Sometimes it is more complex because the application relies on architecture specific items, but it is often as easy as a recompile. This is reliant on the core APIs (especially windowing APIs) being an open standard and having been built for each different architecture (to take advantage of Altivec or MMX, for example).

    So the real issue is the api sets and core design to use. If XP were ever to migrate to a true UNIX environment, all of the current Windows API code would have to be ported to use the UNIX underpinnings and system calls and services.  This is similar to what Carbon is to Mac OS X. 

    Another option would be to use a new UNIX based OS as a facilitator for a x86 native Windows API set. Basically this would mean using the exact same API specifications and then allowing those APIs to draw directly to the UNIX OS’s windowing system. If you’ve heard of Wine for Linux x86, you’ll be familiar with this concept.  Classic is another example of this sort of concept.  It is somewhere between emulation and facilitation.  Because of this, PPC would never be able to use this UNIX version of the Windows API. No Wine for Linux PPC. Dang!

    Then there is always the possibility of ditching the current Windows API set, losing all backwards compatibility with current Windows apps and moving on to a more well thought-out and more open designed system.  I wouldn’t hold my breath for this though.

    I hope this was in some way useful to someone out there. Have a good day.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mrtrumbe on 2001-06-25 16:33 ]</font>

  • Posted: 25 June 2001 06:10 PM #13

    I have heard that Microsoft developed their own UNIX based OS years ago, and they abandoned it. They also made Windows NT for the PowerPC and it too was abandoned (1995) for lack of interest.


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