Since Apple switched to using Intel processors for certain Macintosh models, I’ve been excited by the possibility of running Windows on a Mac. Some say its sacrilege. I say it’s sensible. I love the Apple hardware, but am not a fan of the software, which (in my opinion) is proprietary and expensive. I also know Windows very well (including how to keep it secure). Ideally, I’d have a Mac Mini, dual-booting a major Linux distribution and Windows XP.
There have been various reports of people who have managed to write an EFI boot loader for Windows on a “MacIntel”, as well as reports of those who have turned their systems into an unbootable and unsupported heap of PC components in the process; but Apple provided me with a nice birthday present earlier this month by announcing Boot Camp – software to allow dual-booting of OS X and Windows XP, including driver support.
I’m not quite ready to switch yet – Boot Camp is still a beta and the final release will be included in the next version of OS X (meaning I’ll have to shell out another wad of cash to upgrade to OS X Leopard before I can use a release version of the Boot Camp technology). I’m also wary of first generation MacIntel hardware and would like to see support for Windows XP Media Center Edition, so guess I’ll be watching this space for a little longer.
In the meantime, these links provide really useful information on the progress of Windows on a Mac:
- MacWindows: Running Windows on Intel-based Macs
- [Windows] OnMac (XOM)and the OnMac Wiki
- Apple Boot Camp public beta
- Parallels (virtualisation solution for MacIntels)
For Mac users who fancy using Linux, there are some PowerPC Linux distros (like Yellow Dog Linux) and if you’re not convinced as to why you might want to use them (after all, isn’t OS X just another Unix operating system anyway?) I recommend Giles Turnbull’s article entitled why install Linux on your Mac? Then there’s the Mactel-Linux project to adapt Linux to MacIntel hardware as well as reports that Red Hat plan to include Intel-based Mac support in Fedora and a variety of sites claiming to have other distros working too. Whilst it sounds a bit of a mess (chain-loading LILO via NTLDR), there’s also a triple-boot solution (OS X/XP/Linux) using Boot Camp (from the OnMac guys).
Finally, for those who want to play this the other way around and run OS X on a PC, there’s the OSx86 project.