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Windows on Intel Macs - Yes or No? 714

Posted by Zonk
from the will-they-or-won't-they dept.
With the announcement of the Intel chip based MacBook, the door is now open for running the Windows OS on Macintosh hardware, right? jaypatrick writes "BetaNews reports that along with the announcement of the first Intel based Macs yesterday, many users have rejoiced in being able to dual-boot both Mac OS X and Windows. Unfortunately, this is not the case; due to Apple's use of the extensible firmware interface (EFI) rather than BIOS, current Windows releases will not run on the systems." I guess not. But, wait... Big Z writes "Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing, said in an interview Tuesday that the company won't sell or support Windows itself, but also hasn't done anything to preclude people from loading Windows onto the machines themselves." I think someone actually trying it out is the only way this is going to get straightened out.
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Windows on Intel Macs - Yes or No?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:10PM (#14455454) Journal
    When something like Linux is ported to anything, it's because there is a cult following in the community and this is what they specialize in. Window's has a cult following, it's just not specialized in this sort of development.

    The benefits of a port might be because of cheaper or easier to find hardware capable of running something that it wasn't meant to but is very useful to users. I don't think this is the case in putting Windows on an Intel Mac because Intel Macs are cheaper than what I can piece together in PC x86 form. Don't get me wrong, Macs are nice machines but they're not exactly easy to upgrade or fix on your own.

    I'm sure someone will port the extended firmware interface to run Windows through a virtual layer (if it needs it) but this can only introduce Windows running as fast or slower than the speed it could run at without EFI.

    For this reason, I doubt people are going to find much use using the port since it's a) cheaper to piece their own machine together and leave the specs up to themselves and b) Windows will probably run slower.

    Yeah, there might be someone out there bragging about running Windows on an Intel Mac but he's probably the rare Window's equivalent to the guy with a penguin displayed on his microwave's LCD.
    • The only reason Windows won't run right now is because of the Intel Mac's usage of EFI over BIOS. Windows only supports EFI on Itanium, and we all know how popular that platform was.

      Anyway, the code is already there for EFI support in Windows - but only on the 64-bit Itanium platform. Microsoft has said that they will support EFI on Vista, so while you're right for about the next eight months or so about needing an emulation layer for BIOS, by the end of the year Windows will run natively.

      Yes, I know the av
    • Run slower?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BobPaul (710574) * on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:18PM (#14455558) Journal
      For this reason, I doubt people are going to find much use using the port since it's a) cheaper to piece their own machine together and leave the specs up to themselves and b) Windows will probably run slower.

      It's not like the BIOS is a processor architecture. I highly doubt that any work required to make Windows XP work with EFI will not drastically, or even noticably affect the speed of the machine.

      GRUB already works with EFI, and GRUB can launch Windows... From my experience, WindowsXP has pretty much ignored anything about the hardware that the bios has told it (I've disabled HDs, but windows sees them, etc). Could it be possible that GRUB could be installed on a Mac and used to load Windows?

      Otherwise both WinXP 64 and Vista support EFI... one could always wait for Vista or illegally grab a beta...
      • Re:Run slower?? (Score:2, Informative)

        by BobPaul (710574) *
        I highly doubt that any work required to make Windows XP work with EFI will not drastically,

        Oops, sorry.. that not shouldn't be there.
      • Re:Run slower?? (Score:5, Informative)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:55PM (#14455969)

        GRUB already works with EFI, and GRUB can launch Windows... From my experience, WindowsXP has pretty much ignored anything about the hardware that the bios has told it (I've disabled HDs, but windows sees them, etc). Could it be possible that GRUB could be installed on a Mac and used to load Windows?

        I haven't seen Apple's EFI implementation, but the EFI spec says it takes over the duties of a bootloader and can be used by itself to boot from different partitions. There are defined codes for all the Windows filesystems. I don't even see why you'd need GRUB at all.

      • Re:Run slower?? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cowbutt (21077) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @01:21PM (#14456239) Journal
        I highly doubt that any work required to make Windows XP work with EFI will drastically, or even noticably affect the speed of the machine. [using BobPaul's corrected quote]

        ...especially seeing as the Core Duo supports the new Vanderpool [wikipedia.org] Virtualization Technology (VT) extensions, making the x86 architecture now completely virtualizable, meaning that the tricks used by VMware and friends [events.ccc.de] are no longer necessary.

    • It's not that complicated. Most of the system is probably OK, and I think that some (all?) IA-64 machines used a variation of EFI. Except when entering standby and a few things like that, Windows won't talk to the firmware. What we need is a EFI HAL for 32-bit Windows -- or just an ugly translation hack loaded before Windows boots. It won't slow down much.

      The "cheaper to build yourself" argument doesn't apply to laptops. I think Apple machines could attract some Windows professionals there, if Apples has k

    • by sauron_of_mordor (931508) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:21PM (#14455609)
      Windows already runs on EFI on some architectures.
    • by blueZ3 (744446) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:25PM (#14455643) Homepage
      Let's face it, one reason people "buy" Windows is that the cost is hidden in the cost of the machine. This is also generally true of OS X (the cost is hidden) but the hardware is "cooler." Your average consumer who buys an Apple does so because of design or ease of use.

      In order to run Windows on Mac hardware, it would first be necessary to buy Mac hardware, which isn't cheap. (The value proposition of Macs is a separate issue). Then, you have to look at the OSX interface goodness and decide that you want Windows instead. After that, you have to do whatever porting is necessary and install Windows. All this to get cool hardware running a not-so-cool OS. I mean, Apple is the BMW of computers and Wintel is the Ford. Are you really going to buy a 3 series and stick an Escort engine in it?

      If and when Windows supports booting without a BIOS, I can see some folks having dual-boot Apple hardware. Especially folks who want Apple's nicely designed hardware but still want to run Windows games.

      But an out-and-out port seems unlikely.
    • by MarcQuadra (129430) * on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:33PM (#14455737)
      I don't think it'll be that hard. All we have to do is get GRUB working on the thing and I bet Windows running the ACPI Uniprocessor HAL will pick up the devices. GRUB has an EFI port, IIRC.
    • by macurmudgeon (900466) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:50PM (#14455905) Homepage

      Looking at the problem from your angle, you're right. As a Mac user who needs to occasionally run Windows, I think you miss the point. It's not about cost as much as convenience and quality of experience. Many Mac users are in the same boat. We need to run some Windows program but would love the opportunity to get in and out of Windows as quickly as possible without extra computers or the molasses speed of emulation.

      When I get my new Macbook, I will still need to run Windows and certainly won't want to drag around a second notebook. I run VirtualPC now and am very much looking forward to being able to run Windows natively. Remember that over half of all Mac sold are laptops.

      You are also forgetting that many Mac owners don't want to run some pieced together kludge box any more than most people who are proud of their cars want to drive some pieced together junk pile, faster, cheaper or not. Performance and cost aren't the issues as much as the elegance of the solution.

    • The benefits of a port might be because of cheaper or easier to find hardware capable of running something that it wasn't meant to but is very useful to users. I don't think this is the case in putting Windows on an Intel Mac because Intel Macs are cheaper than what I can piece together in PC x86 form. Don't get me wrong, Macs are nice machines but they're not exactly easy to upgrade or fix on your own.

      Windows will run on EFI eventually (some versions do now). EFI supports BIOS compatible partitions. The

    • When something like Linux is ported to anything, it's because there is a cult following in the community and this is what they specialize in. Window's has a cult following, it's just not specialized in this sort of development.

      It's not the Windows users who are interested in running it on Macs, it's the Mac users. You say:

      ... Intel Macs are cheaper [sic] than what I can piece together in PC x86 form.

      Don't get me wrong, Macs are nice machines but they're not exactly easy to upgrade or fix on your ow

    • Windows does not have a cult following. Its just what comes with their computer. Proof:

      Search on "Windows cult following":

      http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en& q=windows+cult+following&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 [google.com]

      Search on "Apple cult following":

      http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en& q=apple+cult+following&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 [google.com]

      Notice that the Windows cult following has some of the Apple cult following hits.

      Macs are nice machines but they're not exactly easy to upg
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:10PM (#14455455)
    Apple hasn't done anything to preclude Windows, or any other OS, from being installed on the Intel-based Macs. That is a perfectly accurate statement. Apple Vice President Phil Schiller's two direct quotes on the subject, the most recent which was made on January 10, 2006, can be seen here [appleintelfaq.com]. Intel has also specifically said [appleintelfaq.com] that Apple will not be using proprietary chipsets and/or processors, and they'll just represent standard Intel offerings.

    Windows XP would directly boot and install on the Developer Transition Kit platform because it was just a standard Intel motherboard and processor, and also used a standard Intel BIOS [appleintelfaq.com].

    However, the shipping Intel-based Macs use EFI [intel.com] (Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]), Intel's "next generation of BIOS". (more info [apple.com])

    Windows XP 32-bit does not currently support EFI for booting. Windows XP 64-bit does, but Intel Core Duo is not a 64-bit chip. Now, there are a bunch of other variables, such as whether or not Apple's current EFI implementation offers BIOS backward-compatibility, and so on, but it's clear that regardless, EFI is the future, and it's only a matter of time before the PC world at large transitions to EFI. Further, Windows Vista does support EFI. See here [google.com] for Microsoft's presentations on EFI, particularly the first two links.

    That said, dual booting is intensely annoying anyway, and the really interesting thing will be able to just run Windows (or some other x86 OS) and Mac OS X side-by-side.

    What we will *definitely* see are "Virtual PC"-like programs that let you run Windows alongside OS X (in a Window, or taking over the screen, etc., with a hotkey to flip back and forth, for example).

    It's important to note this will NOT be emulation: Windows (or other x86 OS) will run at essentially the native speed of the underlying hardware (with certain exceptions). There could even be direct access to video, with support for things like DirectX.

    vmware already has a version for Mac OS X in development, and Microsoft has already announced [eweek.com] they will be developing a version of Virtual PC for Intel-based Macs that one can only presume will be a virtual machine. Then there are things like QEMU, Xen, etc. The Darwin/Mac OS X version of WINE, DarWINE, has even been working under betas of Mac OS X for Intel. Now that Intel Macs are shipping, it will only be a matter of weeks/months before we have several options for running Windows itself, and/or Windows applications at essentially the native speed of the underlying hardware.

    And since Intel Core Duo [intel.com] also supports [wikipedia.org] Intel's VT hardware virtualization, the possibilities of future virtual machine technology are even more interesting. But the bottom line is that Apple is again leading the way with the adoption of technologies like EFI and ExpressCard [expresscard.org]. Naturally, it will take a little while for Windows to catch up. ;-)
  • One box... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tradiuz (926664) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:11PM (#14455462)
    Well, the thing I really want to see is someone tri-boot, OSX, linux and WindowsXP. Obligitory: I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these could do.
  • Mac users are loyal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mayesa (944673)
    Mmmh.. I dont think Mac users will migrate. Why would they do that?
    • To play games. And they don't need to migrate, they can use dual booting.
    • by glaucopis (874967) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:28PM (#14455677)

      Mmmh.. I dont think Mac users will migrate. Why would they do that?

      It's not about migration. I'm a Mac person, but my graduate program requires a couple of Windows-only programs. At least 75% of my time is spent on programs with Mac versions available (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc), but due that other 25% (for Rhino and AutoCAD), I can't use a Mac. So right now I'm on a Windows-only machine, and have to suffer through Windows 100% of the time. If I could get a Mac running Rhino and AutoCAD at full speed, and could use OS X for all other programs, do you understand how wonderful that would be? It's not about games, and I'm not looking to escape from OS X to Windows, I'm desperately trying to get back to Macs.

  • grub or lilo? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkClown (7673)
    Could grub or lilo be built on the osx side to handle this?
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:14PM (#14455508) Homepage

    I think it's in Apples best interest to allow Windows on their hardware for two reasons. 1st, people who are apprehensive about switching to Mac could do so slowly with a dual boot setup. 2nd, Apple could sell more hardware this way as it would appeal to Windows users.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • This is a little silly. For the money the MacBook costs, you could get an immensely powerful Windows laptop. With a mac you pay a premium for the hardware and software combination (MacOS X). The only reason to install Windows on one is to wind up the mac zealots (which is possibly why this whole article should be -1 Flamebait.
      • The only reason to install Windows on one is to wind up the mac zealots

        Well, I'm a bit of a Mac zealot myself, and I don't see myself getting "wound up" by the idea of Windows running on a MacBook at all. On the (thankfully rare) occasions that I absolutely have to run a Windows-only app, I'll be very happy to be able to do so at native speed on my own machine, rather than having to find a Windows box I can use or deal with the slowness of VirtualPC on PowerPC. I agree that buying a MacBook, or any other
    • I think it's in Apples best interest to allow Windows on their hardware for two reasons. 1st, people who are apprehensive about switching to Mac could do so slowly with a dual boot setup. 2nd, Apple could sell more hardware this way as it would appeal to Windows users.

      Personally, I don't agree with your assumption that people could become comfortable over time if they were using both Windows and MacOS on the same machine. I myself have a Linux server, an XP machine, and a Mac Mini in my home. I use the Li
    • 1. oh come on. who's gonna be using windows for 2 days and then say, hmm, let me try out this other OS on my machine? you can see how hard it is to switch people just from exploder to firefox. nobody would switch just because the OS is there.

      2. which part of the hardware would appeal to windows users? the expensive part, or the part they paid premium on just because it came from apple. why would you buy an expensive box to run windows, when you can buy a cheap one?
  • They might just use a different BIOS and not do anything additional to make windows not work. So no trusted computing type stuff to prevent you from running windows but you might need to hack your bios or trick windows or something.

    Just a guess.
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:15PM (#14455514) Homepage
    Not worried about Linux much, I'm sure that one is already ported.

    But unless I can tri-boot the big-3 (or more to the point, VM them), we're all gonna have to keep the Windows XP boxen around for Development (read: games). This is not acceptable, PC's are just too loud and power hungry.

    Apple knows this, so does everyone else. By the time they ship, the "problem" will be solved.
    • But unless I can tri-boot the big-3 (or more to the point, VM them), we're all gonna have to keep the Windows XP boxen around for Development (read: games). This is not acceptable, PC's are just too loud and power hungry.

      Absolutely.

      It makes me wonder if there would be a market for a "development" machine, to be purchased by small software and web design firms. Someone could purchase Mac hardware, preload the machine to triboot with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, and sell it to dev firms.

      Thoughts?
    • Just imagine all three trying to co-exist:

      OS X: Quit crowding XP!

      XP: But I need room for my Recycle Bin!

      Linux (shaking head): Amateurs...

    • This is not acceptable, PC's are just too loud and power hungry.

      How exactly do you suggest that the PC hardware found in the new Apple computers will remedy this situation?
  • Legacy Bios Support (Score:5, Informative)

    by GoodOmens (904827) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:15PM (#14455515) Homepage
    They can include support for Legacy BIOS in EFI. If apple includes this option (or if there is a way to flash your bios with legacy bios support) then you WILL be able to boot windows on new mac hardware.

    However 64 bit windows and Longhorn both do / will support EFI so that is always a option (although the current intel chips in the macs are 32bit I believe).
  • You might not be able to boot into WinXp on an intel mac, but I'm pretty sure you will be able to use Virtual PC. Heck, you might even be able to do that now with Virtual PC 7.0 with Rosetta, but it would be kind of inefficient with a x86 emulator to PPC back to x86.

    With that said it won't be too hard to get native x86 speeds with a newer version of Virtual PC in the shorterm future. I'd wager before the end of this year it will be out.
  • More interesting: When will Apple have IntelMac's with VT (virtualization) support enabled?

    Once that happens, you could run Xen in the Mac to run windows in a VM.

    It's unclear whether the first Core Duo parts support VT, and whether the firmware on the MacBooks/IMacs support it as well.
  • by Snamh Da Ean (916391) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:16PM (#14455532)
    ...the posts breathlessly announcing "Hackers manage to make Windows run on Apple", "Hackers manage to make Windows run on off the shelf Dell PC", "Hackers manage to make Windows run on X-Box", "Hackers manage make Windows run", complete with little pictures of the device in question displaying something characteristic of Windows....
  • Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by E-Sabbath (42104) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:16PM (#14455535)
    The real question is, how well will WINE/Cedega work on the new Macs? I know a lot of Mac people who want to play PC games, and this could well be their chance. Contrawise, I know a lot of people who'd love a Mac, but the games issue is what's stopping them from moving over.
  • Apple may not have done anything to break windows compatibility, but Windows won't work anyways.

    The only version of Windows that can boot from an EFI bios is Windows XP 64-bit Edition, but the Intel Macs have 32-bit CPUs.
  • by Oz0ne (13272) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:17PM (#14455549) Homepage
    Dual booting is nice for a play thing, and in some very specific instances, but not as a general practice. There's a lot of hardware you could get that's nearly as nice, for cheaper.

    Honestly, what's the draw to this? Back in the mid 90's I understood it completely with windows/linux. Linux didn't provide what most people needed to be productive back then, and costs were prohibitive to have dual machines for most of the people that were interested in linux at the time.

    Now we have a high end (and high priced) peice of hardware, that runs an operating system that provides everything you need to be productive, and it's polished as heck. So why would you want to dual boot to anything? You can get the performance out of many other peices of hardware for cheaper if you want to run windows.
    • The draw is simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sterno (16320) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:50PM (#14455903) Homepage
      I'd much rather have a laptop running OSX than running Windows and I can only run OSX on Apple hardware. Besides, Apple does make some very nice hardware.

      The issue with dual booting is that I have some software that simply does not exist for OSX and likely never will. The software is rather performance intensive and so virtualization is not a viable solution. Thus the need to dual boot. Eventually I hope to move completely away from using Windows at all, but for now, sometimes I have to use it.
      • by stefanb (21140) *

        The software is rather performance intensive and so virtualization is not a viable solution.

        I think you're confusing virtualization with emulation (Virtual PC). If you feel VMware is too slow, then that's the lack of real virtualization technology in all x86 processors so far. Yonah is the first one to include VT. VMware has to work around those missing pieces with quite a bit of emulation, so that's slowing it down.

        I don't remember where exactly I read the numbers, but I believe one of the Xen people s

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:17PM (#14455555)
    What is the purpose of dual booting? In my college days, sure I had 5 OSs booting off the same drive, but that had nothing to do with needing to get work done.
    OS X is superior for Web surfing, Document creation, Multimedia and personal file and web serving.
    Now I know that there are legitimate uses for Windows (CAD, games, etc) but why would you want to dual boot? A cheap windows machine can be made by your local shop for 400 bucks.

    Get a KVM switch and you've got two dedicated machines you can use at the same time.

  • EFI emulates BIOS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by randomErr (172078) <ervin...kosch@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:18PM (#14455570) Homepage Journal
    Isn't there a shell in EFI that will let you emulate BIOS? You should just have to configure EFI to launch the BIOS shell.
  • I'm pretty sure this hasn't been tested yet, but could one use elilo to boot Windows on a MacIntel machine?

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/elilo [sourceforge.net]

    - Necron69

  • I'm also upset that my nintendo DS won't run the PSP operating system, I mean come on, they're both hand held gaming consoles, I should be able to dual boot, right?! /snark.
  • So what if I buy an Apple machine but use Windows exclusively on it? Do I have to pay for the OSX license?
    • Re:Apple Tax? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by John Nowak (872479)
      Yes, the Apple tax is part of buying hardware from Apple. Makes sense to me. Of course if you actually bought a Mac just to run Windows on it exclusively, that would be horribly sad... I can't imagine you actually doing it once you got used to OS X.
  • EFI vs OpenFirmware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by leandrod (17766)
    Why oh why use EFI instead of OpenFirmware?
    • by Karma Farmer (595141) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:52PM (#14455930)
      More important to me are the lack of a full-size 5-pin DIN keyboard port, a DB-9 serial port, and 5 1/4" floppy drive.

      The fact that I can't use my 23 year old floppies and keyboard really bothers me.
  • I'm about to drive from Illinois to California. I've got a nice new Powerbook G4 I'd love to bring. But I probably won't bring it because the GPS options for Mac are HORRIBLE. If only I could run Windows for that one reason. Now I have to bring my stupid old Dell laptop instead.
  • Ironically, on the 'Microsoft [canoe.ca], Apple sign five-year pact story,' there is a flash ad at the top that reads:

    "Microsoft Office has evolved.
    Have you?"
  • Windows on Intel Macs - Yes or No?

    Not only no, but hell no. What on God's green earth for?
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:53PM (#14455936)
    ...Dev Studio and its tangents. My day job is developing windows software, and if I can run Dev Studio at full speed on the machine, I'll do it, cause that program is slow enough on my P4, and almost unusable on VirtualPC for my current Mac. Of course, as soon as I could, I'd switch back to OSX.

    Apple is still a hardware company, and if I can use the MacBook all the time instead of this POS Dell I've got, then I'm still happy regardless of what OS is on the screen.
  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @01:00PM (#14456011)
    Will OS X for Intel Mac's run on a generic PC well enough that it's accessible to a fair number of people. That will cause developers to target OS X more, and make it viable. Otherwise people are going to have some pretty overpriced Windows Mac's.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @01:04PM (#14456060)
    So which way to the first full dual booting machine? Some hacking to get around Windows EFI issues to get a dual booting mac going, or full shipping OSX hacked to real functionality on Generic PC's?

    Yeah I know OSX on generics has been done, but to keep the race fair lets make it official shipping OSX which is suppossed to be harder to hack.

    Personally I am interested in a new dual booting machine and would prefer the windows on Mac option as that probably needs less hacking to get it to work and will likely be more stable.
  • by copponex (13876) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @01:21PM (#14456237) Homepage
    Heh.

    But really, once Windows XP and Linux are booting on a Mac, I doubt many developers in the world will ever buy anything else. This might be the unseen shift everyone has been waiting for - now you can get a decently performing dual processor machine that runs nearly every OS for less than $1300. With a 500GB internal drive on an iMac, Linux/Windows/Tiger can live comfortably.

    Remember, once Mac applications are running natively on Intel, it won't be too hard to port them to windows, and vice versa. If Apple ever releases an XCode that will wrap Windows widgets around Objective-C... kinda close to game over.
  • by KrisCowboy (776288) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @02:25PM (#14456965) Journal
    For its part, Microsoft encouraged Apple to build hardware compatible with Windows.

    That's really really funny. Ever heard someone say "you only get what you deserve"? Boys and girls of M$, pack your stuff...Steve Jobs got a brand new bag.
  • XP, no. Vista, yes (Score:3, Informative)

    by nsayer (86181) <nsayer&kfu,com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @03:42PM (#14457776) Homepage
    I suspect that unless someone comes up with a replacement HAL that can deal with EFI, we will likely have to wait for Vista for an EFI compatible Windows.

    A friend of mine inside Fruitco says that if you hold down "option" during boot, you'll be able to select among the available bootable partitions, so it does look like booting EFI compatible OSes should be easy.

    It's clear that Linux or one of the BSDs or some other *nix will be first to boot on one of these machines before Windows. Of course, my question at that point would be, what's the point? [apple.com]

  • by SalesEngineer (640818) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @04:13PM (#14458112)
    XP has to have the runtime services provided by the BIOS to boot (INT 19h, INT 13h, data tables, etc.). The XP bootloader also starts in "real mode" (think 8086, 1MB memory limit, 16-bit instructions, etc.).

    EFI doesn't provide any of the BIOS interfaces natively. It also boots up in 32-bit protected mode, which the XP loader can't use.

    Any EFI system that can also boot OS from current PCs (XP/DOS/Linux) carries an extra component called the "compatability support module" (CSM). This overlays the BIOS interface onto some EFI implementations, but this is only licensed from a few BIOS vendors.

    Apple doesn't need the CSM code to boot OSX, so it's not on their platforms.
    No CSM ... no Windows XP.

    Vista might work, because it has a native EFI install mode ... but Vista EFI might only come in the 64-bit flavor. Apple's current platform is 32-bit only. The current EFI standard (EFI 1.10) doesn't support x64. The upcoming standard (UEFI 2.0) does support x64, but won't boot an x64 OS unless the firmware is 64-bit (runtime calls to the firmware have to match the native platform firmware, and x64 can't make callbacks in 32-bit protected mode ... so 32-bit firmware only boots a 32-bit OS, and 64-bit firmware only boots a 64-bit OS)

    So Vista would only be viable if (a) Apple makes a 64-bit MacIntelTosh, or (b) Microsoft makes a 32-bit EFI/UEFI version of Vista.
  • Important Point! (Score:4, Informative)

    by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <(sherwin) (at) (amiran.us)> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @06:36PM (#14459363) Homepage Journal
    Yes, you need an EFI-capable operating system.

    However, keep in mind that these systems are Vanderpool enabled. The intel core duo processor has VT (vanderpool features).

    What does this mean?

    Side by side independant OS virtualization utilizing Xen. Including Windows.

    http://www.xensource.com/news/pr030105.html [xensource.com]

    At a minimum, you can have EFI Linux and EFI OS X running side by side.
    Then you can run XP or Vista or DOS or Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in Qemu or VMware or whatever on Linux, or on Virtual PC on OS X.

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