A programmer named Blanka has produced a video showing Windows XP running natively on a new Intel-powered iMac, thus winning a $13,854 prize. The iMac was dual-bootable, offering the choice of Windows or Mac OS at startup - you can find the video over at Engadget.
When Apple announced last year that it planned to move Macs to the same processors that powered Windows PCs, there was plenty of discussion about whether or not the new Intel-compatible Mac OS would run on machines made by Dell, HP et al. But few thought that Apple would allow Windows XP to run natively on Mac hardware – after all, the new Intel chips had built-in Digital Rights Management that could stop such shenanigans, right?
However, Apple has displayed a surprisingly laissez-faire attitude to attempts to run Windows on the Mac. Instead of building in copy protection, it simply used a different boot structure (EFI instead of BIOS, fact fans). Logically, it’s not hard to see why – it could mean more hardware sales for Apple. Microsoft, meanwhile, sees more software sales – without having to develop an Intel-specific version of a desperately slow Virtual PC emulation software.
This isn’t the first case of a dual-boot operating system on the Mac. Linux fans have long been able to run their favourite flavour of the open-source operating system on the same machine as the Mac OS, and back in the nineties many Mac fans flirted with the rather lovely but almost totally useless BeOS software that was once mooted as the foundation for Mac OS X.
But this is the first time that the world’s number one operating system has been able to run natively on the Mac. The full solution will apparently be available as a downloadable bootloader in the near future. Whether hardcore Mac users will want to enter a world of viruses and poorly designed interfaces is debatable, but the agnostics among us are rejoicing that we’ll finally be able to see websites as they’re supposed to look, and use that pile of Windows-only gadgets that’s been building up with corner for the last decade. USB-powered missile launcher, anyone?