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Windows: the new Classic.

Something occurred to me today that I haven't seen talked about everywhere: Windows emulation on Mac OS X won't be "emulation" anymore. Sure, Microsoft or whomever makes a Windows "emulator" might throw Windows into its very own "environment" ("Wininwindows," anyone? - it makes sense to keep the taskbar and the dock separate), but with an Intel chip inside each Mac, "emulation" isn't "emulation" when they're running the same processor!

That all translates into one thing: Windows: the new Classic.

10 Responses to "Windows: the new Classic."

  1. Well, in the days when 32-bit was new, there was Windows-on-Windows when 16-bit code ran on the 32-bit OS. I've also seen Windows-On-Windows mentioned again with the x64 world: 32-bit code running on the 64-bit OS.

    Windows-On-Mac? Hard to say 😀

  2. Yeah. as I mentioned in a post on my site, I can see wine running and allowing me to run my Windows applications "natively". Wine (and I honestly don't understand it that well) could provide integration into the mac environment (dock, etc) similar to what X11 does. What I am worried about here are a few things - that windows developers may stop developing mac versions of their applications as a result. The side effect of this might be that they make sure that it works with wine, which means it would work under linux as well. This could be a boon to linux. But I want to see the mac succeed.

    But this does solve a number of endianess problems that I've seen in various projects, and well generally my thought process leads me to seeing macs better integrated into a windows environment.

  3. Yup - I'm betting that 10.5 will include Wine. It just seems natural.

  4. Indeed, I'd really like for a Wine like thing (so like rootless X servers, back before Apple included X11).

    I only use two Windows applications: Vision Manager (a thing that integrates with the voice mail server at work) and Internet Explorer (to run a ITIL call/request/asset manager thing, also at work). The former should be easy, the latter might be quite a lot harder.

  5. Guys, just to be clear: I don't expect Apple to ever ship by default a Windows emulator for Mac OS X. I'm just saying that, like Classic, Windows apps will be able to "run natively but in their own environment" (i.e. Windows xx == Mac OS 9.x).

  6. Yes, Wine for "Mactel" is a no-brainer. However unless Apple did a lot of work on Wine, it would not be *that* much better a solution than VirtualPC is today. The main difference between Wine and VPC would be performance but because Wine would actually be running inside X11, you wouldn't have the kind of seamless integration between Mac and Win programs one would hope for. Actually I think VPC pulls some tricks that makes for better integration than what you might get with Wine today. I don't think Wine is nearly the resource hog Classic is but the integration would almost certainly be worse.

    Who knows, maybe Apple *will* do the work and use Wine as the foundation for a "Red Box" the way they used Konqueror as the foundation of Safari/WebKit.

    BTW, for people who think a Mactel version of VirtualPC will let them run Windows and Windows apps at near full speed, guess again. I use VirtualPC for Windows (where Windows is the Host OS) quite a bit and it's still

  7. Who knows, maybe Apple *will* do the work and use Wine as the foundation for a "Red Box" the way they used Konqueror as the foundation of Safari/WebKit.

    They won't because shipping something like that with Mac OS X would only be an invitation for developers to create Windows-only versions of the software, since the apps would run on the Mac without the user having to install or configure anything to do so. OS/2 was killed because it tried to do the same thing.

  8. They won't because shipping something like that with Mac OS X would only be an invitation for developers to create Windows-only versions of the software

    I think that risk is overstated. There are tons of people, at home and at work, who use Windows because only an app or two keeps them from switching. A decent Red Box would eliminate that last barrier and Apple could sell a whole lot more computers, which is their aim after all. As for their applications business, I highly doubt a Windows app in Wine would lose them very many sales of their fine programs like Final Cut Pro. At worst, a few developers stop releasing Mac versions but users don't lose the apps, they just lose having quite as good an experience using the apps.

  9. It's highly unlikely they would use Wine for two reasons:

    1. remember OS/2? At first, it was a better Windows than Windows in the 3.1 era (emulation), then it fell behind rapidly(Win32 API extensions). The problem with a reimplementation of the API is that the developers will always fall behind when new developments arrive. Microsoft dictates the pace and can introduce new technologies at will. There are some signs on the horizon that today's Win32 won't be the future of Windows programming (think Longhorn, which will eventually arrive some day 😉 ). So I don't think Apple would do this without licensing technology from MS, and that is also unlikely. So I'd rather agree with Erik that we will probably see VPC (or another emulator) running really fast, similar to VPC for Windows or VMWare.

    2. IMHO, reviving the Yellow Box for Windows concept would be economically much more feasible with a free runtime environment because it would make the Cocoa part of the Mac software market larger, it is already (sort of) there with the old WO developer environment and might only need an overhaul while being a lot faster than Java or other bytecode interpreters. This approach might also lead to more switchers as they could get to know lots of good Mac software before switching and push ObjectiveC and thus Mac software development - PulpFiction or OmniGraffle on the dark side, anyone 😉

  10. Coming to think about it - forget number two, recent OS X releases have probably introduced too many technologies that might be hard to implement on the other side - CoreGraphics, Spotlight et al., so it's probably not gonna happen although Apple once promised exactly that back in the Rhapsody days...