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Apple-Intel architecture

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The Apple-Intel architecture is a name used for Apple Macintosh personal computers developed and manufactured by Apple Computer that use Intel x86 processors, rather than the PowerPC and 68k processors used in their predecessors.


[edit] Running operating systems other than Mac OS X

On April 5 2006 Apple made available for download a public beta version of Boot Camp, a collection of technologies which allows users of Intel based Macs to boot Windows XP Service Pack 2. On March 28, 2007 Boot Camp 1.2beta was released which supports Windows Vista. The final version of Boot Camp will be included in Mac OS X v10.5, "Leopard".

Linux can also be booted with Boot Camp.

Prior to Boot Camp, which provides most hardware drivers for Windows XP, drivers for XP were very difficult to find.

Being able to boot between multiple operating systems has the following benefits:

  • Being able to choose the user's preferred system and its interface.
  • Being able to use more software by being able to run programs designed only for Windows, which would likely be faster than emulation or a compatibility layer.
  • Being able to use software that is designed only for, works faster on, or is more intuitive on one OS.
  • Being able to make transitions between operating systems easier by using the same familiar hardware.
  • Being able to use an Apple-Intel computer to provide support for both systems using the same hardware.
  • Being able to test applications across different operating systems without having to invest in twice as much hardware, or to test files/documents between different platform-specific software suites.

New hardware and firmware components that must be supported to run an operating system on Apple-Intel hardware are listed below.

[edit] Technologies

[edit] Extensible Firmware Interface

Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) is the firmware-based replacement for the PC BIOS from Intel. Designed by Intel, it was chosen by Apple to replace Open Firmware, used on PowerPC architectures. Since current operating systems such as Windows XP are incompatible with EFI, Apple released a firmware upgrade with a compatibility support module that provides traditional BIOS support on their Boot Camp product.

[edit] GUID Partition Table

GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical hard disk. It is a part of the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) standard proposed by Intel as a replacement for the outdated PC BIOS, one of the few remaining relics of the original IBM PC. The GPT replaces the Master Boot Record (MBR) used with BIOS.

[edit] Trusted Platform Module

A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a microcontroller that stores secured information. Intel Macintoshes use the chip to prevent Mac OS X from running on non-Apple PCs. TPM technology is considered controversial by some users due to its presumed role in future DRM technologies, but to date Apple seems to have chosen not to implement its functions beyond requiring the chip to be present to install Mac OS X.

[edit] Dont Steal Mac OS X.kext

Dont Steal Mac OS X.kext is a file present in Intel-capable versions of the Mac OS X Operating System requesting that users of Mac OS X not "steal" it. Currently the extension is only included with the version of OS X that runs on the Intel Core processor family and is located at /System/Library/Extensions on the volume containing the operating system. The extension contains a kernel function called page_transform() which performs AES decryption of "apple-protected" programs. A Mac OS X system which is missing this extension, or a system where the extension has determined it's not running on genuine Apple hardware, will be missing this decryption capability, and as a result will not be able to run the apple-protected binaries Dock, Finder, loginwindow, SystemUIServer, mds, ATSServer, translate or translated.

[edit] Virtualization

With support of Intel's VT-X technology, the Core Duo allows for high performance (native) virtualization—the ability to run and switch between two or more operating systems simultaneously, rather than having to dual-boot and run only one operating system at a time.

The first software to support this is Parallels Desktop for Mac, which was released in June 2006. Although it works on a Core Duo, the virtualized machine has only one CPU. Other limitations and conveniences relative to Boot Camp mean that the best choice depends on the circumstances. VMware has also been testing a Mac OS X version of their software.VMware press release for VMware for Mac OS X

Microsoft announced on August 7th, 2006 that Virtual PC for Mac will not be ported to the Intel Mac platform.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

This article was started using a Wikipedia architecture article
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