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Apple Businesses

Darwin on Crusoe? 257

MacOS Rumors is running a blurb that Apple is exploring porting Darwin to other processors (including Transmeta's Crusoe processor) due to frustration with availability of high speed Motorola G4 processors. An interesting though, a Mac without a Motorola chip... Of course, it's just a rumor at this point... (update: I've got it confirmed from "anonymous sources" that this is true)
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Darwin on Crusoe?

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  • aye, and they almost certainly will create a G4 emulato-- err, Code Morpher ;) but i would think that would require a lot more work (since it has to run spectacularly well, and we're dealing with low-level code here.)

    i would like to see it on both, chances are, though, that the x86 port of darwin would be available before the g4 crusoe.

    theoretically, since the code morphing software resides in flash memory, once it does happen, all you'd need to do is flash it, and give it a new hdd (or lose your windoze data.)

    either way, i wouldn't use darwin as my main os,.. it's cute, it's interesting, but i'm fairly certain it's not going to perform up to my standards (especially on a crusoe.)
    ...dave
  • "Considering that the G4 and Athlon have very similar architectures,"

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    G4 = Altivec (128bit SIMD)
    K7 = 3DNow!/MMX (32bit SIMD)

    G4 = Limited quantities, low-ish Mhz
    K7 = Less limited quantities. Big-ish Mhz

    G4 = RISCy instruction set
    K7 = CISCified instruction set

    G4 = Uses some pipelines for efficiency.
    K7 = Uses more CPU pipelines for greater efficiency.

    G4 = Flat memory model.
    K7 = Segmented until you switch into protected mode.

    G4 = More registers than you can shake a stick at.
    K7 = We have cache. Who needs registers?

    Ok, they're both made out of silicon at some point, but they're as similar as tampons and kurt@thepope.org (Nice rash, btw ;-))
    ---
  • I have been told by a fairly in the know person that there is some sort of deal between M$ and Apple in regards to the production of Office for the MacOS and not being allowed to port OSX to x86 machines. Wether this is true or not, it seems possible.

  • As has already been pointed out, Mac OS Rumors is not very reliable. For a thorough debunking/parody, check out mosr.net [mosr.net]. One of their pages [mosr.net] has links to more parody sites:

    dmoz [dmoz.org] has links to a couple of parody sites as well.

    http://macosrumorz.8m.com/ [8m.com] - hilarious poem at this one
    http://macosrumorz.8m.com/mosr.html [8m.com] - hilarious picture of Meader...
    http://macosrumors.8m.com/ [8m.com] - another parody...
    http://members.tripod.com/~MacOSHumor/ [tripod.com] - pretty funny
    http://macosrumorsrumors.8m.com/ [8m.com] - another one...
    http://paulschreiber.com/mosrr/ [paulschreiber.com] - another one...

    Paul

  • It's like Henry Ford's famous remark that the consumer can get the Model T in any color, so long as it's black.

    Crusoe will emulate any chip, so long as it's an x86.
  • There was no mention in the article about running on x86. This is more about being able to integrate more than one CPU type into the UMA-x chipset boards to eliminate shortage issues. IMHO, Apple doesn't want to make this move because of the heat and power advantages a small die size offers with the PPC as opposed to the huge/hungry x86's. They also are probably reluctant to use crusoe when they've gotten g4's to work in portables in house...too large of a performance hit.

  • The reason Apple wouldn't allow it is because the current situation allows Apple to continue to gouge their customers by forcing them to buy Apple hardware.

    True. But another good reason is that supporting an OS on commodity PC hardware is expensive.

    If they did ship an x86 Mac, people would continually bitch that there wasn't drivers for their nVidia cards, their winmodems, their oddball SCSI cards, their software-driven printers, their old scanners, ATA-66, weird PCMCIA chipsets and so on.

    The inability to supply every possible driver on the x86 platform is a huge concern -- it's hampered the success of Solaris x86, OS/2, BeOS, and pretty much every other OS except Windows and Linux (and even Linux is always going to have it's winmodem problems.)

    Besides, the article is about "Darwin" not MacOS proper. Darwin is the Mach kernel and the BSD layer. It's been open sourced (= no direct revenue for Apple), and a x86 source tree already exists with a bunch of drivers from the OpenStep/Intel era.
    --
  • Maybe Apple has no interest on shipping OSX or any of their os's on other processors. I think there is one tangible advantage of encouraging diverse development of darwin's kernel. The more platforms darwin runs on, the more people are working on the kernel. If Apple never ships a non-ppc machine, this move still enhances the quality of the os they bundel with their ppc boxes. I think they are trying to build a larger developer community for darwin in order to enhance the foundation of OSX on PPC.
  • From the article you site:
    According to an email Strum received from Apple, which CNET News.com obtained a copy of, the company said its contract with resellers restricts sales to end users only, meaning the computers can't be redistributed by Freemac. Strum, as one might expect, thinks that argument doesn't wash because a corporate customer buying from a CompUSA redistributes products to employees.

    Looks to me like apples hands were tied. It is entirely possible that the distbutors threatened apple with a really, really big stick.

    While there are many ills that can be laid at the feet of apple (I know, I own a performa 6400 with a yellow flickering 15" Av Monitor), I don't think they had much choice in the matter.

  • Even if the Crusoe could emulate all x86 instructions, it will still be prevented from running more than one type of filesystem.

    Crusoe runs whatever file systems the developers of the operating system it's running (and developers of "third-party" file systems - which, on free-software OSes, could be thought of as "file systems not in the official code base", e.g. ReiserFS for Linux) tell it to run.

    Unless the code morphing includes translations from all types of filesystems to one generic filesystem

    It doesn't, but many OSes (dating back at least as far as SunOS 2.0, in the mid '80's) have a "virtual file system" or "installable file system" mechanism that allows more than one file system type to run on that OS; code above the file system makes generic "read file", "write file", "remove file", etc. calls, which turn into calls to the "read file", "write file", etc. functions for the OS in question.

    That's how UNIXes these days support their default on-disk file system, and the ISO 9660 file system on CD-ROMs, and remote file systems such as NFS (and SMB/CIFS, at least on Linux, with smbfs); that's how Windows NT supports the Windows 9x version of the DOS file system, and NTFS, and the ISO 9660 file system, and remote file systems such as SMB/CIFS (and NFS, with third-party add-ons); and so on.

    MacOS X has, as far as I know, such a mechanism (it may or may not be the VFS mechanism in current BSDs).

    But I'm not sure how this is at all relevant to Crusoe. Most OSes Crusoe is likely to run have such a "virtual file system" mechanism, but most if not all OSes Crusoe is likely to run will think they're just running on an x86 processor, and the VFS mechanism will work Just Fine on any x86 (or SPARC, or Alpha, or PowerPC, or...) processor - it doesn't require special CPU magic.

  • I don't think you understood what I was saying. I'm sorry; I'll try to be more clear.

    I wasn't saying that sites that have error messages and won't "'load up'" hurt the reputation of the owners of the website, and annoys potential viewers of the site. I didn't feel the need to say this, because it's perfectly obvious.

    The point I was trying to make was that just because a site has errors, does not necessarily mean the writers don't know what they're talking about (unless, of course they're supposed to be talking about making a web site without errors). It may mean the writers (or the webmaster) don't know to set up a link to have people tell them their site's not working. In other words, if you can't read content on a site to judge that site when that site can't deliver the content you're supposed to judge, then don't judge the validity of its articles.

    in plain english (or whatever native language you understand)
    I didn't realize "cluefullness" was a word in the English Language.
  • 1) Anyone who actually gives two shits about Life On Slashdot should notify Malda of the above "moderator abuse." I don't. [Fart noise.]

    2) I've used a few OSes, and had a few more inflicted on me at jobs, and re "stability" I'd rank them in this order: MacOS, Irix, DOS, Be, Solaris, NetBSD, Amiga, Linux, Windows. I doubt anyone else would agree with me, because, see, there's this weird thing people do: they use their computers for different things. You can go play Quake now.

  • Anybody notice that the real life Darwin was also famous for his work on the Galapagos Islands (in the Pacific), and that Robinson Crusoe was stranded on a desert island (since I didn't read the book, I don't know where it was, but there's a chance it was in the Pacific).

    Only makes since that their silicon counterparts are somewhat related as well.
  • Yep... and there are some versions of OF that can even telnet. There have been a few boot menu's coded in forth for the OF on powerpc machines i have seen too. Most weren't very professional but I would like to see some one write one of those in BIOS. Or for that matter even net boot a machine with BIOS.

    -----
  • Or at least the Powerbooks. I would look for it being in either the iBook (the high end Transmeta chip) and the new Apple-branded Palm, or just the new Palm handheld.

    If they do use it in a Palm, this contradicts the story because the existing Apple portables used the ARM processors which I think was a company that was separate from Motorola. I guarntee they didn't have a G4 in them :). (G4 Newton...hehehe)

    A Palm with the Transmeta chip would seriously get some drool factor and be serious lotion for stock motion on announcement though...
  • Yeah... It's just kinda sad. They used to be really great. I remember when they ran the story about the PowerComputing license buyback weeks before anyone else had a clue. Now they just pull stuff out of their arse, it seems.
  • As nice a story as this is, I believe that another possibility is more likely. Apple's relationship with Motorola has often been strained. By issuing this rumor, they hoping to pressure Motorola a bit more.

    Long time Apple watchers will remember periodic stories about MacOS being ported to Intel - the most recent followed the purchase of NeXT. But, nothing has come out of it. As nice as the Crusoe chip sounds, I suspect that if Apple was to do a port, AMD or Intel would be the more likely target.

  • Take a new Apple laptop ( not a high Mhz monster )
    through in a Curosoe that has been given the software to "be" a G4 (just like it can "be" an x86) and you have a partial solution to the G4 shortage and a pretty cool laptop tooo (that could run linux).

    If the prices at Transmeta are correct it would also be cheaper for apple then getting G4's,

    Sounds like a perfect match to me.
  • So why should Apple use Motorola chips?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    do not believe *anything* on macosrumors! Ryan, the guy who writes it, has literally no fucking idea what the hell he is talking about.
    the only reason anyone (who isn't an idiot) reads mosr is to see just how bad it is.
    check out mosr.net [mosr.net], it was set up by people who were thoroughly pissed off the shite mosr.com writes. it looks like it isn't being updated anymore, but check out some of the archived stuff - its very funny (in a juvenile way). especially the stuff about ryan's girlfriend...
  • From what I've heard, those image manipulations are all done in hardware-accelerated OpenGL, so the processor speed shouldn't be quite as important as it seems at first glance. Remember, OS X is supposed to run on all G3s, even all the way back to the 233MHz models.
  • That's right. CISC chips depend on a small number of big instructions running relitivly slowly. RISC chips depend on lots of little instructions running super fast. The Crusoe can't translate RISC instructions efficiently because there are so many of them all at once. So RISC gets pretty bad performence compared to CISC.

    This doesn't just apply to the Crusoe. Any emulator has the same problem.

    I think you're forgetting that the Crusoe is 75% software. The "RISC instructions" would be translated and optimized by said software into native code, and cached. The cache size is set at boot time, but can be changed afterwards by the operating system.

    Be careful trying to characterize "all emulators."

  • on-board scsi was last seen on the "gray" G3's (the first G3s). Ever since then, it has been an add-on pci card. blue/white g3s, g4s, and imacs have no onboard scsi. not sure about the master slave....I have two ide drives in my blue g3 at work, but the are on different controllers.

  • SCSI has not been standard on new Macs for the past few years, except for high-end configurations. You can add a SCSI card as an option at the Apple Store [apple.com], but they come with on-board IDE. Kind of a shame, really; SCSI is so much neater. You're correct, though, about not allowing slave IDE drives - really stupid, if you ask me. How hard could it be to support?

    There's a Mac SE with 4MB RAM sitting next to me on the floor, although it's running a slightly older version of System 6 I think. Just for fun one time I plugged in a v.90 modem and got it to connect to the Internet and run an FTP client. Amazing what you can do with a couputer built fifteen years ago, isn't it?

    <!--#include file=".signature" -->

  • MIPS is not longer owned by SGI. SGI still uses MIPS processors, and
    has one in design, but they are not in the business of supplying
    processors to other companies. MIPS Inc and other suppliers do sell
    MIPS processors, but they tend to concentrate on the embedded market.
    So it seems quite unlikely that SGI is working on porting any MAC OS
    to MIPS.

    The suggestion that AMD would create a version of the Athlon to run
    MAC OS also seems very unlikely. The story make it sound like a
    simple matter to remove X86 "emulation" from the Athlon. This is
    nonsense. It would be a huge redesign. The Athlon is an x86
    processor, not an emulator.
  • Same as Intel whores out it's MB's Motorola does the same, just not as succesfuly. A few minutes searching should find you some. Last I heard they were fabu but for the price and so much code being X86-specific out in the world.
  • Umm, a corporate customer buying from CompUSA doesn't normally redistribute to their employees. They buy a bunch of computers and assign them to their employees, and the employees may be able to use them as they see fit (and in the case of laptops in particular, take them wherever they want), but they're still the property of the company, not the employee.

    Of course, there are exceptions to this, but that's how it usually works.

    <!--#include file=".signature" -->

  • it would be kinda fun to boot a MacOS on my vanilla old k6 :P
  • Good God!
    you mean these Mac OS Rumors are _Rumors_ in the sense of Rumors, not Rumors in the sense of verified fact?

    Ohh... I hate that.
  • I seem to remember hearing that John Carmack had expressed an interest in writing WinModem drivers for Linux, but I'm not sure if I remember correctly.....

    <!--#include file=".signature" -->

  • Indeed. Mac OS Rumors is rather unusual among the websites I've visited in that it has acquired a nemesis -- www.mosr.net [mosr.net] and a dedicated suck-style parody: Mac OS Rumorz [mosr.net]. Basically, they occasionally get a thing or two right, but they're more often wrong than right -- much, much more often.

    Sometimes the stuff they post is just plain unbelievable -- like a G4 with the FSB overclocked to 133 running a 666MHz G3. Sound plausible? Might, if not for the fact that the "sawtooth" motherboard doesn't have any FSB-adjusting jumpers or any other way to adjust it, and that no one makes G3s with the proper configuration to fit into the wierd socket on that motherboard.

    They also one said that their information came from a "secure video feed" from inside Apple headquarters. Excuse me? What the fuck is a "secure video feed"?

    Of course, they might well be completely right about this Crusoe business, just because it seems completely sensible as something Apple might do. They might be great for a Sub-iBook with their low power drain, and according to the Arstechnica review of Crusoe, Transmeta is also working on a version that's designed for performance rather than low power use.

  • It runs 680X0 apps like the high-end Macs that run on those processors. A Pentium 166 runs MacOS 6 apps like a Mac IIfx under DOS. Think of what it'd be like on a PIII equivalent.
  • If Darwin runs on x86 (which I think it does), there's nothing to port. It should already run on Crusoe.
  • if they plan to use crusoe, among others, as a new processor for their computers, will apple port the code to x86 or will they merely emulate a motorola processor using the crusoe? certainly a valid question.

  • Don't forget, Apple also does things to make their retailers happy, like limiting features to allow retailers to make money on add-ons. For example, most new Macs still ship with only 32MB RAM, yet the current Mac OS is barely usable with that much RAM unless virtual memory is turned on, which slows everything down. The current iBook has a single mono speaker, and no microphone or even a microphone jack. Why is this? So Apple can keep their advertised prices lower, but mostly so retailers can bundle RAM upgrades, headphones or speakers, and USB microphones. Yeah, I want to carry my iBook by the convenient carrying handle in one hand and a USB microphone in the other hand, just so I can use the voice password authentication thingie in Mac OS 9 that they make such a big deal about. Brilliant.

    <!--#include file=".signature" -->

  • Nice.
    And it works too...
    --
  • IBM is producing G4s, but yields are too low. They're working on a revised G4 that should give higher yields. For more info on this, see MOSR [macosrumors.com] and AppleInsider [appleinsider.com].

    For anyone who thinks Apple is dead, this is a good thing to point out: Apple is selling so many computers that IBM and Motorola combined can't make enough processors to meet Apple's demands. ;-)

    <!--#include file=".signature" -->

  • I'm glad that Apple is finally looking at other processors and architectures for its software. Don't get me wrong, Apple hardware is great. However, there's nothing quite like building your own computer, an option long denied to Mac users. This appears to open up that possibility to some extent, and I am quite happy.
    --
  • by Frater 219 ( 1455 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @07:51AM (#1308270) Journal
    Instead of "porting" Darwin to x86 and running it on a bog-standard Crusoe, why not talk the Crusoe into being a G4 instead of an x86? I was under the impression that the Crusoe's code-morphing software could be reworked to emulate other instruction sets besides x86 ...
  • I don't think the latest generation of Apple machines (slot-loading iMac, iBook and PowerMac G4) have any ROM on the mobo at all. Might even be more machines than that. Mac OS X definitely doesn't use this system, though.
  • I have to say, anyone that recommends Shreve Systems to buy Mac gear has never used them, or their last name is Shreve. The place is horrible, has high prices, has been in trouble with the BBB and used Mac buyers all around the country. I would be far more trustworthy of the many deals on eBay with the positive feedback ratings in the hundreds selling great Mac gear at unbelievable prices... probably 25-30% of that you would pay at Shreve. My recommendations for a good, used PPC Mac - buy the cheapest PowerMac 7500 you can. As a base unit, it only has a 100 MHz 601 Chip (1st generation) but it is the only 601-based PPC Mac that has the processor daughtercard (with G3 daughtercards starting at $200, true plug and play) and the only 601-based PPC with PCI. Plug in your VooDoo 2/3, NICs.. whatever. Plus BeOS needs the PCI to run, and it will run all the good Linix versions for Mac. a base 7500 should set you back $300.. maybe less.. complete with ram, hard drive, keyboard, mouse.
  • Remember, this is the same MOSR that said the iBook would have a hand crank for charging the battery, the same one that constantly prints things like "This has no confirmation from anyone at Apple, but it sounds good." and so forth. Take anything and everything from them with a large grain of salt.
  • by ryanmeader ( 148064 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:22AM (#1308274) Homepage
    Don't you understand that i make this shit up?!?! Everything i have on my site is complete bullshit that i make up! I wake up at 12:30, take a hit off a bong, and head over to the 6500/250 that someone donated to me, and i invent "stories" from info i read from real websites.

    That being said - i was with apple sticking with the PPC for a long time.. but now, with almost a _year_ of failure... i'm beginning to believe that there needs to be another way to power our Macs. We have almost 12 months of proof that Motorola can't cut it. Hell, they care 20 times more about embedded processors - and are simply not _that_ interested in high end PPCs.

    Now, if you want some _honest_ reporting of what's going on, besides the bong resin i spewed out on my page, go read about the G4 mess over at AppleInsider [appleinsider.com]. It tells about the problems that Apple is having with Mot and how they went begging to IBM to make AltiVec enabled PPCs.

    I do think that Apple is in real trouble with the PPC series.. and its not the technology, its the companies involved.
    ______

  • G'Damn!!!! I'm creaming my jeans at just the thought of this one. I was all hot'n'bothered years ago when Apple finally licensed 3rd Parties to make Macintosh-compatible hardware. (My home machine is a PowerComputing PowerCenter 132 upped to 233mHz) Back then, the fastest machines were all 3rd party. Power Computing had the speed-demon boxes with Adaptec SCSI controlers and gorgeous ATI video cards. I was trumpeting the coming rise of the Mac, pointing out that with Apple freed from having to constantly push the envelope with new hardware, they could get back to developing their UI and server products.

    And oh, how I cried when Apple let things tank, and pulled the PowerComputing licenses. It may have been an early part of the master-plan for the surge in Apple sales and ownership, but it still put a stake in my gut.

    But I really hope that Apple is considering this, and it's not just a wet-dream/media-jerk from the guys at MOSR. If Apple does commit itself to developing for the Crusoe processor, I'm going to be the first on my block to get my little mits on it one and boot up my favorite OS on something besides a piece of Motorola silicon.
    Oh, happy days...

  • Actually, forgetting for a moment this is a totally made up rumor, it could be interesting. Everyone so far seems to assume Apple porting over OS X or whatever to x86. Why? Crusoe is not an x86 chip. If apple went to another architecture they loose all their old apps, and piss off lots of customers. But there's nothing stopping them from helping transmeta do a PPC layer. Which gives you compatibility with all your existing apps, still pretty fast CPUs (in theory) and no motorola. And, assuming Phoenix didn't have to do too much to get their BIOS happy, "porting" OpenFirmware over shouldn't be too much trouble either (just add in the crusoe specific stuffs..) Sounds good too me.

    Too bad it's from MOSR.
  • If indeed this rumor has any merit, the R&D department is probaby just taking a look at what might be done with the processor. Maybe they are looking at it for use in a handheld or an iBook-like portable?

    Who knows what might be behind this.. Apple has managed to keep a pretty tight lid on their R&D group lately, they managed to keep the Aqua interface completely hidden from public view until Steve Jobs's keynote at MacWorld.

    I was not able to get to the MOSR site to read the full rumor, so this is all my speculation of speculation and based on what everyone else has posted. I've been reading MacOS Rumors for a couple of years now, sometiumes they have a story with a bit of truth, but often the rumors never turn out to be true.

  • Ok I'm going to play devil's advocate and try and look at it from Apple's viewpoint. I don't think they can afford to port MacOS X to x86 due to previously mentioned hardware sales, BUT they always "secured" that by keeping the MacOS ROM veiled in mystery and secret. I imagine that the big "no go" here is that Apple just finished UMA chipset for use in the new iMacs, Powerbooks, and Sawtooths. I'm not an engineer, just a biology student, but I would think putting a x86 chip on a MB designed for RISC, I know the "categories" are useless/blurring, would require some design changes. That would be on a design I imagine that has already cost them some money and quite a bit of time to get where they wanted...it was primarly for cost reasons as far as I know. That's why the iMac's are slowly coming down in price along with a predicted drop in the iBook's price. Yep and I have to agree that Apple doesn't have the touch of death on technology either. SCSI is far from dead, the number of digital video devices using Firewire is growing (Sony even gave it its own product name), and wireless networks are becoming within range of multi-computer homes in terms of price. Anyway that's just my .02 or .03.
  • it's the old apple use crays and cray use apple thing all over again.

    You will find that motorola ad's where prolly done on macs but it's horses for courses, you use the best tool for the job.

    Somehow I think this will just be another crock'o'shite from the rumour mill.

    Something for us to mill over for a few hours, apple to read and have a smile to themselves.

    Sparkes

    *** www.linuxuk.co.uk relaunches 1 Mar 2000 ***
  • Think about it... Darwin comes with QuickTime Streaming Server (QTSS). Apple can make QTSS the standard for streaming media serving porting Darwin to non-PPC hardware. It would be a serious threat to M$ Media Player and RealNetworks. Don't even think about Apple porting Mac OS X, it will never happen.
  • That's a sad thing to think.

    Jobs worked at Atari for a while, and during that time the Woz was at HP. Jobs had just talked his way into the job and while he had some technical skills, he's never been a hacker by any standard (unless you count social engineering).

    So when the assignment came in for Breakout, Jobs told Bushnell no problem. Then he secretly got the Woz to do all the real work at night (after putting in a full day at HP - the man didn't sleep for days). Worse, Bushnell had promised Jobs a bonus if he minimized the number of chips on the board. Jobs offered to split it with the Woz 50-50, but when the $5000 bonus came in (a masterpiece of IC conservation) Jobs only gave the Woz $250.

    The lessons of this story are:
    *Steve Jobs is an incredible jerk
    *The Woz is an incredible engineer
    *Atari had trouble figuring out how Breakout _worked, it was so tightly built
    *Apple might have used Intel chips if Woz had had more cash on hand when building the Apple I (who knows?)
  • Please try and pay attention to how you phrase things. /. has lots of gay readers that don't want their sexual orientation to automatically mean stupid\silly\strange.

    Thanks.
  • Yes, maybe the great Carmack will save Linux users from the dozens of undocumented winmodem chipsets. I'd rather have him work on more worthy products, like video drivers, myself.

    Or maybe people will just go out and buy real modems.
    --

  • almost right: it's pong [machack.com] that you can play in OF. You can play breakout [machack.com] in macsbug, if you like.

    btw, if that sort of computerised residual brainstem activity appeals, then you'll probably also want the interface hack [machack.com] that renders the MacOS interface into ascii art.

  • Um, small point here -- and totally meaningless in the "real world", but AltiVec does not mean G4.

    The G4 has a lot of enhancements besides AV, and AV could theoretically been retrofitted into a G3.

    More importantly, the G3 was pretty close to a PPC 603e chip -- great integer performance but so-so floating point scores. Of course, the FP scores of a 603e still trounced Pentiums at the time, so it was deliciously ironic to hear PC lovers talking about "crippled" FP in the G3. Other enhancements to the G3 carried the FP scores forward even though no major effort was made to make FP gains.

    I could be wrong, but I think the G4 is closer to the PowerPC 604e. Among the similarities is SMP - multiprocessor support. Apple gave up on SMP in MacOS long ago, but the BSD kernel in Mac OS X is more than up to it.

    Lastly, the MacOS is probably MORE portable thank Linux. MacOS has been under a major rewrite for the last 2 years. Much of the MacOS is tied to just a few libraries, most prominent of the group is QuickTime (update that library for AV support and lotsa linked apps get a kick in the ass). Apple has been preparing for a move to MacOS X, and afterwards a move to 64-bit, for quite some time. Apple does not want to maintain two OS trees indefinately, like some other OS companies we know of...

    Lastly, people have already forgotton that MacOS X did beta in an Intel version. Remember Rhapsody? I saw it and actually fought to try installing it on three PC's (lovely... hardware conflicts with a Mac :-D).

    For all that Apple still doesn't do (no bundled development tools... grrr), they have made the best of their situation.... better than any of their "wut no floppie drive" detractors. Nice clean systems with no ribbon cables strewn across 3 or four internal case/CPU fans.

    Anyways, I got off the track, but last thing is Apple has an amazing record of making quite varied hardware APPEAR to be what they've used before. Just ask the LinuxPPC coders how varied the Apple hardware is. For all the MacOS glitches over the year, they have the flexibility to do anything they like with their systems... things that Microsoft and Intel can only immitate. If Apple wants to move onto Transmeta or even Intel, you can bet those new systems will never have the same problems as Windows/WinCE on same platforms.

    Scott

    PS _ Does anyone know if BSD on PowerPC can run Linux/PPC binaries, like say BSD/x86 can run Linux binaries?? This would be real interesting if someone starts shipping PowerPC Linux boxes (plain vanilla), and you can target BSD and still execute the binary under MacOS Consumer...
  • How exactly is Firewire dead? Is anybody editing digital video without Firewire? Or is it that you figure the demand for editing digital video may diminish in the future somehow?

    Between Apple, Sony and Compaq, Firewire is on about 20% of personal computers shipping today. It's on 100% of the digital camcorders ever made, it's on TiVo's set-top boxes, and there are numerous manufacturers of hard drives, DAT's, CD-RW's, etc. and even printers.

    I can't find a single competing technology - let alone another open one. What counts for "dead"? Not having 90% of the x86 market? Not being implemented on Linux? (It's coming in the 2.4 kernel.)

    Why am I responding to an idiot's flamebait?
  • Does anyone here actually thing thak Apple Inc. (notice the "Computer" is gone) is actually going to waste time and money on porting Darwin to other architectures? OF COURSE NOT!

    The whole POINT of Darwin is that it is under the APSL... Apple has ALREADY been encouraging developers to port Darwin to any platform they feel like. There is already a Darwin source compileable on Linux/x86. The only reason there aren't others is because all Darwin developement is pretty much on hold until DP3 is released and the Darwin codebase is synched with MacOS X.

    When that happens we will have Mach 3.0, IOKit (Driver builder) and all the new tools/features that MacOS X has (and grow with) so we can effectively start porting Darwin to x86 (again, the source is already there), Sparc, MIPS, IA-64... whatever! Apple doesn't care. They don't have to do the work, they just manage the results and fold the changes back into MacOS X (and vice versa).

    There is no doubt in my mind that by this time next year Darwin will be running on x86 and at least one or two other "Alternative" platforms (most likely SPARC and Alpha). Unless MacOS X dies, I don't see why Darwin wouldn't be on all relevant platforms within 2-3 years.

    The trick to all this of course is whether Apple will:

    • a) "OpenSource" Cocoa, perhaps we could use GNUStep instead?
    • b) make a MacOS X product that could install on any "supported" installion of Darwin.

    Effectively making MacOS X a fully portable operting system not dependant on hardware, only on Darwin.

  • MOSR never said the iBook would haver a crank. It did say that someone might try it, but it never said Apple was planning to release the iBook with a crank. People tend to forget that MOSR often "reports" things that are possible, not things that are actually being done. They also report on prototypes, and anyone familiar with R&D knows that for every 1 procuct shipped there's a closetful of monstrosities that never made the cut. So, maybe Apple has MacOS X running on an TRS-80, and maybe MOSR will report that, but that doesn't mean it's going to ship.
  • <p>RISC = Rationalized Instruction Set Computer, meaning the instructions have been each been simplified so that they all are they same size and all take the same amount of time to run. RISC computers typically have more instructions that a comparable CISC computer. The reason for this can be seen in an example:</p>
    <p>In the example of adding two numbers together a CISc computer may have one instruction to add two numbers together, whether thay are integers, floats, etc.. where as a RISC computer must have a single instruction for each eventuallity. The idea is to take complexity out of the chip and put it into the compiler (which already had to know what type of numbers were involved in the add anyways...).</p>
    <p>Transmedia has decided to take this idea one step further, and ime will tell if they are sucsessfull in it. In any event, you can bet that this general idea will become a staple of processor/computer design in the next ten years</p>
  • by jovlinger ( 55075 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @11:00AM (#1308297) Homepage
    Hrm. Don't agree with you there. Well, I can't argue the facts of RISC and CISC, but...

    The main thing about risc is: each instruction takes one cycle to complete. This has secondary implications on the instruction being simple, but the whole point is the uniform length. This is used in:

    Superscalar processors have multiple issue for risc; the hardware necessary to translate the sequential instruction stream coming in to an equivalent 4 way (optimally) parallel instruction streams is VERY hairy. Note that this is really only possible if we know that each instruction is the same size (completes in the same number of cycles).

    Note also that ALL modern x86 processors translate x86 to some internal risc code, and then use exactly this technique to keep those functional units busy.

    However, Crusoe has VLIW instructions, which basically are X way parallel instructions. The mophing software does the superscalar issue statically (at translation time) rather than at issue time, but still; crusoe is a multiscalar RISC cpu (+ other cruft). When Crusoe morphs x86, it first riscifies it, and then schedules it.
    So it is easier for crusoe to translate RISC instructions, as they are already RISCified.

    Now, it is hard to do as good a job of issuing instructions statically as you can do dynamically, but it does simplify the chip a lot, which I guess you can use to make it less power hungry.

    Johan
  • IF they could just modify the pinouts of the Crusoe to conform with their sockets... They'd have a pretty cool setup.

    Umm, have you looked inside a G4, or any recent mac, for that matter? the CPU not socketed, exactly, it's on a daughtercard.

    The obvious route for a non-Moto Apple machine would be to build a daughtercard with the alternate CPU. Crusoe is an obvious choice, but there are others.

    No speculation on how difficult a task this would be, since it would just be speculation. I will point out, however, that you can put a G4 into the "Processor Direct Slot" on Macs as far back as the 6100, and in the slot for the L2 cache on later machines. So if it's instuction-compatible, as Crusoe could become, it's possible to do great things for existing hardware.

    In fact, if Apple doesn't do this themselves, someone else ought to.

    A more interesting question, though, is whether this would help anything. Isn't IBM building the Crusoe? Doesn't IBM make G4's? Or was the supply problem because IBM isn't online with the G4 yet, leaving Moto as the sole source?
  • by josepha48 ( 13953 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:25AM (#1308303) Journal
    It would be interesting to see a Mac OS running on an intel chip like the upcoming IA64. Especially if it ran all the MS products that Mac currently does. Can you imagine what would happen to windows? I'd be intereseted in a Mac port to other processors, I think that would make thie indulstry rather interesting again. I'd also like to see Darwin and how it would perform on Intel against other OSes like Windows, Solaris, and Linux on the intel platform.

    It woudl be even more interesting to see Mac on a Sparc chip or an 1000Mhz Alpha. Now that would be speed in style. Think of the graphic capabilities that would have.

    send flames > /dev/null

  • Don't get too excited. Apple generates much of its revenue from selling boxes, and just a few weeks ago, at the January Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs touted the fact that Apple can do things with its OS that no other manufacturer can, since it controls both the OS and the box.

    If this "leak" came from Apple, then I'm guessing it was misinformation meant more as a kick in the pants for Motorola than a real leak of a new strategic direction.

  • I'm a little skeptical that after all this time Apple's looking to go x86, even on a Crusoe. A Crusoe variant "emulating" a PPC is another story. MacOS X itself, as in the BSD/Darwin layers, is a reasonable enough proposal for it, but the sticking point would remain the legacy OS 9 emulation layer. Software-based emulation would certainly work, but it wouldn't be fast enough.

    Of course, in the original switch from 680x0 processors to the PPC, Apple managed to pull off the transition with exactly that: software emulation and a period of hybrid ("fat") binaries until PPC-native apps became the norm. So who knows.

    On the other hand, assuming IBM can pump out Crusoes quickly enough, a multi-Crusoe machine might be cheaper to build than a G4. And a Crusoe tweaked to do its microcode translation magic on the G3/G4 instruction set could make things mighty interesting.
  • Apple change processors now and waste money "porting" Darwin to other chips? Mr.AlternaOS programmer can download the source and port it to his favourite ISA. I can't see Apple developing on more than one ISA at a time, just like the other software+hardware vendors like Sun, IBM, and SGI (does SGI count anymore?). If you're having wet dreams about OS X on x86 just look back before the Mac was released, the Apple camp was divided between the Mac developers and the guys working on the older Apple stuff and caused alot of problems within the company, shortly thereafter Jobs got handed a pink slip. I don't put very much faith into the Mac rumours sites, most of their rumours are started by people that WISH something would happen and it picks up from there. Ford doesn't make Chevys, why would Apple make PCs?
  • ...but if you're going to judge a site's content, READ THE CONTENT...

    That's my whole point. How can I read content on a site to judge that site when that site can't deliver the content I'm supposed to judge? And as for how well it "loads up", yes, I'm sorry if my standards are so high that I expect it to load a page on request, not barf all over the page with raw error messages. Most sites that even attempt some degree of cluefullness will present a page saying, in plain english (or whatever native language you understand) that an error has occurred. More enlightened sites will provide a link back to the front page, and even a helpful link to send a message about the error to the web admin. But then I guess that's too much to expect from high-church geeks.

    I can hear it now:

    "Error recovery? ERROR RECOVERY??? We don't need no stinkin' error recovery!"
  • In MOSR's defense, I've been reading the site pretty much daily for a very long time (let's just say I remember when the URL ended in /~rumors/), and I've been quite impressed with it. They've never claimed to be more than a rumor site; in fact on numerous occasions they've reminded their readers that that's all it is.

    Sure, they get misinformation sometimes, but they don't misrepresent it as fact, and the correct information far outweighs the errors.

    It's conceivable that Apple could work with Transmeta to make a PowerPC clone. But that's what it would have to be - same architecture, same instruction set, different chip.

    I remember thinking awhile back that AMD would make an interesting addition to the Apple-IBM-Motorola partnership - after all, AMD already licences technology from Motorola, and vice-versa I think.

    <!--#include file=".signature" -->

  • Oh my. My feelings are hurt. Lets see, go to Netcraft and look at what www.macosrumors.com is running, and I see:

    www.macosrumors.com is running Apache/1.3.11 (Unix) PHP/3.0.14 on FreeBSD

    Gosh. And I thought FreeBSDers were so much better, so much more knowledgable, so much cooler, than us lowlife Linux fucks. I guess what amazes me is why a site devoted to the MacOS isn't hosted on MacOS with a MacOS server...

  • Does anyone seriously argue that MacOS is more stable than Windows9x much less NT?

    Mac OS is pretty stable these days. Apps bail from time to time, true; however, I have never once had to reinstall MacOS (not counting upgrades, obviously) and my Macs have not been treated with kid gloves. In a long-term sense, it's definitely more stable than Windows -- and it was even in the Dark Times of System 7.5 and the PowerPC shift.

  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @12:05PM (#1308330) Journal
    But that wouldn't be a Mac. It'd be a bastardized Mac-like implentation. No matter how much you try to justify it, it they just no longer would be the Mac's that we've known. A lot of the Mac OS' ease of use comes from it's closeness to the hardware. Things like Plug and Play (which apple never bothered to name as such) work much better on every iteration of mac compared to PC's. They also do USB much better than PC's. That's not just beacuse of a couple extensions to the Mac OS. It's beacause Apple knows EXACTLY what chips to expect in each Mac system, as well as tolerances of things like motherboards and cables. Microsoft can have pretty much no assurances that vendor A's USB implentation is anything like vendor B's (especially so the smaller the vendor is)... they may even use the same chipset, but place them at different distances from the PCI brideg chips, messing up the timing...
  • by chadmulligan ( 87873 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @09:08AM (#1308346)
    The Crusoe might well be a good emulator for the generic PowerPC architecture, but I doubt that it will be able to get any comparable performance emulating an AltiVec unit... and much of the G3/G4's non-AltiVec performance is due to the excellent backside cache implementation. I don't have Crusoe's specs handy at this moment, but their cache architecture will necessarily be less potent because of power constraints.

    Now, a Crusoe implementation of PowerPC for a hand-held - a Color Palm running some subset of Mac OS X - that might be both feasible and interesting. Regarding other achitectures, porting has always been done at Apple for internal projects - starting with the defunct "StarTrek" port of System 7 to the x86 - but there's been talk for years about this or that port, with no product emerging. Now they're talking about a a modified AMD chip; but remember, there's a very heavy investment in PowerPC binaries, and PowerPC-optimizing compilers. Even if it's just a simple recompile (which it never is), you're talking about major manpower involvement...

    MacOSRumors always makes for interesting reading, but it's just rumors, don't forget.

  • A lot of folks here have been complaining that ./ is running a story from Ryan Meaders website.

    But if you think about it - if we ran a story on /. each day that referenced mosr.com, that means he'd be /.'d every single day...

    so, i promise to do may part, and each day, sumbit a story to slashdot telling everyone about something new that Ryan Meader is talking about. Won't you join me in my fight against stupidity on the web via non-violent means?
  • If Transmeta were to get a cash infusion from Apple, I'm sure they'd be happy to put some ressources into emulating G3 and G4's (and 680x0's too ...) in "software" for the Crusoe.

    After all, Apple would be better off getting the 'experts' to do the porting (emulation) part, and then just test the results. If nothing else, this would allow for easier creation of Apple clones, as long as Apple licensed the OS.
  • But "riscified" doesn't mean a thing since the instructions are in a completely different instruction set. So they still have to be converted which takes up lots of time for those hundreds of little RISC instructions.


  • Not true. Apple's party line doesn't mean Darwin isn't going to x86. Remember, open source?

    BTW, Darwin compiles on x86 today. Runs is a different matter.
  • by mstone ( 8523 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @12:30PM (#1308364)
    > My point is that Apple is missing a fairly large market share...
    >the roll your own crowd.

    that market isn't as attractive as you might think. it's composed largely of people who want to buy components on the cheap. the margins there are thin, and strongly susceptible to economies of scale. if you're not one of the really big fish in that market, or one of the hyerspecialized little fish, you're fish food. that's why we're unlikely ever to see a vertically integrated hardware/OS/software vendor in the x86 clone market.

    Apple's marketing is strongly based on transparent hardware support and ease of use.. "it works, right out of the box", "this is the manual you get with a Mac", "there is no step three", etc. that requires tight synchronization between hardware and software, and the roll your own crowd could traditionally care less about that. they want to build what's cheap, not bow down before someone's list of officially approved hardware. the last thing Apple needs is to have its brand shot down by a proliferation of nightmare boxes built by people who don't give a damn about Apple specs.

    besides, it costs like hell to support umpty-seven different permutations of hardware at all, let alone reliably. Microsoft has trouble doing it, and they're just a tad bigger than Apple is. you even hear occasional stories about Linux users not being able to get a certain hardware configuration to work, and we have a fairly decent amount of support, too.

    so when you take the various factors into account.. loss of margins on the hardware side, negative branding from noncompliant hardware in the marketplace, and a geometric increase in the cost of support on the software side.. you'd have to buy a whole lot of Apple-produced software to offset what you'd cost them.

    just between you, me, and the fencepost error, i don't think you were planning to spend more than a couple $K on software, were you?

  • Porting to Crusoe would indeed at this time mean porting to x86. But that other, really interesting bit of info in that rumour article would indeed need porting to a new platform:

    ... -- and tenuous evidence suggests that AMD may also have shown interest in supporting Darwin with a modified version of its Athlon processor that has been stripped of its x86 emulation hardware.

    Now maybe this is old news for some, but I didn't know that AMD seriously considered stripping the Athlon of its x86 legacy stuff. Such a processor could /really/ be something!
  • by chainsaw1 ( 89967 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:35AM (#1308370)
    While this Would Be A Good Thing, it's not quite this simple. The motherboard would have to include the Apple ROM, which is one of the primary keys to getting MacOS to run on other hardware archs. There is also the matter of the device support. MacOS MoBoards have so much on them: 16bit sound, Firewire, etc. old Macs has SCSI-1, video, etc. on the board also. Finally, the BIOS for MacOS is their own product called OpenFirmware, which they would have to either write around or release compatability info on.

    Now don't get me wrong, the MacOS hardware software dependency is going towards something where this may be possible. For instance:

    The ROM is slowly being moved into a system file which gets loaded into RAM. MacOSX doesn't (read: "shouldn't") access the ROM at all, I believe (Yay!)

    Video and SCSI are now off the board. Video is going to be standard AGP (as in Sawtooth G4's) rather than on-board or in a special 66MHz yet 32 bit PCI slot.

    MacOSX early versions/Rhapsody Dr's were released under certain x86 platforms already. MOSR had a report of someone seeing a Rhapsody DR at Cupertino(sp?) running on a Sun SPARc 4.

    So there are hurdles to overcome, but Apple has been overcoming them slowly anyway. The most likely thing that I would see happening is Apple making motherboards based on their hardware for different CPU (AMD-Motorola alliance crossed with Apple-Moto-IBM's 'AIM' alliance may yield something interesting...K7's maybe?) would probably be the most likely outcome.

    In this case, you will still have a premade system from Apple then build on it.
  • That's the thing- Darwin isn't NeXTSTEP. It was derived from the underlying BSD of NeXTSTEP and OpenStep/Mach, but that doesn't make it NeXTSTEP. Signifigant changes have taken place, including a new version of the Mach kernel between OpenStep 4.2 and what is now called Mac OS X. I personally haven't looked at the Darwin source yet. Apple might've maintianed the i386 port, but there's an equal chance that they let it die in upgrading the BSD system. While it probably wouldn't be that hard to have a Darwin/Intel, it's not a trivial matter.
  • OpenFirmware is NOT an Apple product. It's an IEEE standard. OpenFirmware.org [openfirmware.org]
    --
    "I was a fool to think I could dream as a normal man."
  • by retep ( 108840 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:44AM (#1308375)

    That's right. CISC chips depend on a small number of big instructions running relitivly slowly. RISC chips depend on lots of little instructions running super fast. The Crusoe can't translate RISC instructions efficiently because there are so many of them all at once. So RISC gets pretty bad performence compared to CISC.

    This doesn't just apply to the Crusoe. Any emulator has the same problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 03, 2000 @09:20AM (#1308378)
    Open Firmware isn't unique to Apple. It's actually an IEEE standard for boot firmware. (The "Open" in its name really does mean something.) From what I remember, it's a standard created by Apple and Sun, evolved from Sun's earlier firmware (called OpenBoot). It's actually pretty cool. It has a Forth interpreter built in.

    On Macintoshes, you can access it by holding down Command-Option-O-F while booting. On Suns, it's Stop-A. I believe someone actually wrote a Forth version of Breakout that could run on Apple's OF implementation. Pretty neat trick for a boot monitor, imho.

    Some PCI devices even have Forth driver code in their ROMs.

  • Darwin has not been ported to x86. There was talk about porting it but as far as I know it was never carried out. Apple was talking about it before but they have sence gotten rid of any mention of it being ported, not to mention running on any intel platform.

    -----

  • You're right on G3 power consumption.

    PPC 750 300Mhz (Al, .25 process) -- 7.3 W
    PPC 750 400Mhz (Cu, .22 process) -- 4.1 W

    The G4 (PPC 7400, Cu .22) is about 5 W.
    A PIII @ 550Mhz is about 28 W.

    Naysayers in the crowd check out this table [worldonline.dk].
    (look at those power-hungry Alphas! anyone for fried eggs?)
  • Open Firmware is IEEE 1275. The home page is

    http://playground.sun.com/1275/ [sun.com]

    The idea behind Open Firmware came from Sun [sun.com] during their transition from MC68000 CPUs to SPARC. Problem: two different CPU architectures, and you want to write add-in board device drivers just once, rather than N times for N different processors.

    Solution: put an interpreter on the motherboard, written native for the processor on the motherboard, and write the drivers for the peripheral boards (which go into PROMs on the peripheral boards) in the interpreted language. This way, the system can boot from devices that were never envisioned when the motherboard was designed.

    This is a standard that WinTel world would do well to adopt.

  • How hard would it be to port Darwin to Crusoe, anyway? Not much, I suppose... not to mention that they'll be able to take advantage of the experience with Mobile Linux. OTOH, given that it's been months since Darwin was released and it still hasn't been ported even to Intel, maybe there's a catch involved.

    Anyway, I'm not really sure about what this means for Apple. Will they be opening their architecture - and furthermore, will they do it the right way this time around? Speculation, speculation. All I know is that I want my quad-G4 box!!!! :)
  • Thanks for coming to my rescue! I knew I'd seend these number referenced before - not at this site, but somewhere...

    I couldn't for the life of me find anything on either Intels or AMD's sites aside from press releases, so i didn't even bother with IBM or Motorolla.

    However, according to the press releases:
    Mobile Celeron-266 [intel.com] uses 5.8w
    Mobile Celeron-333 [intel.com] uses 6w
    Mobile AMD-K6-III-P [amd.com] uses 12w

    Those are pretty far cries from the Pentium III's usages. I don't recall Transmeta mentioning these lower numbers in their conference. It's almost like they were comparing their absolute best case against Intels absolute worst case... My hopes are definetly NOT that up about getting a Crusoe system, at this point.
  • I don't think it works very well to try to emulate a processor which is faster than the chip you're emulating on. CISC chips shouldn't emu RISC chips, P-III shouldn't emulate G4, etc because you'll never get up to speed. Examples? Computers emulate calculators, game consoles, and arcade machines because of the low cpu speeds of the consoles. Rarely do you see a good emulation ofr a recent chip, with the exception of Connectix's VirtualPC for Macintosh--however even with the latest G4 you will not get P200 power.
  • While it's great to see more competition in Apple's processor market, one has to question their true motivations. That is, are there real concerns with the future outcome of project V'Ger, or do they feel they have to jump onto the incredibly hyped bandwagon that is Transmeta? These days, I feel that Apple is less of a computer company, and more of a clothing brand.
  • Now I should preface this by saying that MacOS Rumors is not a very reliable source, but this rumor just make sense.

    Back in 1997, Apple introduced G3 machines. The initial machines ran at 233 and 266 MHz. Now back then, Pentium IIs were also up to 266MHz, and Mac fanatics had a valid claim in saying that the G3 beat the PII.

    However, a lot has changed since then. Or rather, it hasn't. That's the problem. G3s are now up to 500MHz(but only in the form of an upgrade, not from Apple), and G4s are maxing out at 450MHz.

    But Intel an AMD have been pushing the x86 farther than anyone imagined. And Apple?

    Well it's probably not really Apple's fault, but Motorola and IBM have really dropped the ball with the G4. In fact, an article that recently appeared in AppleInsider reports conditions to be far worse than anyone imagined. If things truly are that bad, Apple is smart to move.

    In addition, doing the port should be far easier than it would have been with the old MacOS(Apple tried this once, it was called Star Trek IIRC). In fact, in it's earlier developer releases, there was an Intel version of Rhapsody(now called MacOS X Server, and really the predecessor to OS X). But that version was Steved(pissing off some developers and users).

    So, if Apple is in fact doing this, it is a very smart move. MacOS X looks great, but no one but the most fervent Mac addicts would buy a 500MHz G4 8 months from now.

    But there could be problems, the main one being that Apple would be forced to compete with other PC manufacturers, who, regardless of what Apple says, have far better price/performance ratios than Apple. I'm a Mac user, and I know if I could run the MacOS on it, my next machine would not be a G4.

    Unlike Microsoft, Apple makes most of it's money off of hardware sales, and though they are trying to diversify(Quicktime, Final Cut Pro, the upcoming AppleWorks 6, etc.), their revenue from hardware is about 95% of the total IIRC.

    Of course, opening up the kick-ass MacOS interface to all PC users could mean enormous hardware sales, but that is speculation.

    I guess in conclusion, Mac users would love this, Apple stock holders probably wouldn't.
  • What? If Apple was trully considering switching to Crusoe, they'ed rank among Transmeta's largest customers and could certainly be able to suggest changes to processors, as they've always done with Motorolla and IBM.

    Besides, it's not like they'ed need to modify the die or anything like that. Just make a riser card like those ones that converted socketed celerons into slot one CPU's and connected the missing pins to enable SMP.

    Transmeta seems to want to bend over backwards in order to stay compatible with the current market, so if it would enable them to ship an additional million chips per quarter, why would they want to say no?

    And what have I been told it will do soon? I've read nary a word about transmeta porting more instruction sets to their processors. They've actually gone and said that they will not release the native instruction sets. The talk of an ultra-high performance chip that can run multiple instruction sets is basically a rumor that's been propogated by slashdot and every other news site that was speculating on what transmeta was up to.

    Is there anything else that I "consciously blocked out?" Oh, the lowitude of the power needed? Well, that's all fine and dandy for Intel users, but you know, Mac users are already used to the merit's of lower power use, being that G3's only use 3-6 watts (I THINK... regardless, it's much lower than x86 chips)...

  • well, be careful here because 'bad' is not a very subjective term. the performance can still be acceptable, if not as mind-blurringly fast as on a native chip.

    for me, it would be worth the sacrifice if, as i've said in a million other posts, i could use the same machine as if it were other platforms. or even given the low power of the Crusoe, it would be worth it to have the machine in portable form.

    so, performance will be worse but not necessarily bad.
    ...dave
  • by richnut ( 15117 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @09:35AM (#1308426)
    The thing is, nothing needs to be "ported"

    Darwin exists for x86 (in some form or another) and always has. All of that code was x86 back when it was Openstep, (and 68k when it was NEXTSTEP). Rhapsody Developer was on x86, and the early versions of Darwin (cant speak of recent ones as I have waning interest) also included x86 source trees. I never had much luck building the first release of Darwin on Openstep 4.2, but I dont doubt it was possible for the truly motivated. Apple could already have code running on Crusoe if they wanted since it's likely they still have some of that expertise around.

    -Rich
  • Went to the web site pointed out in the opening article, and this is what I got:

    Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Can't connect to MySQL server on 'localhost' (61) in PHP/adfunc.php3 on line 3

    Warning: 0 is not a MySQL link index in PHP/adfunc.php3 on line 4

    Warning: 0 is not a MySQL link index in PHP/adfunc.php3 on line 38

    Warning: 0 is not a MySQL result index in PHP/adfunc.php3 on line 39

    Fatal error: Call to unsupported or undefined function error() in PHP/adfunc.php3 on line 40


    Seems to me we've got a bunch of clueless rookies running the site, which makes any information they have to spill extremely suspect.
  • I have serious doubts that Apple will ever port it's OS to anything other than Apple hardware. It seems to me that this is a thinly disguised threat aimed at Motorola. Motorola is taking way too long (in Apple's opinion) to get the G4s up to full speed, so Apple is threatening to move it's systems to another platform. In a few months, Motorola will have the bugs worked out of the G4s, and Apple will forget all about porting Darwin to Crusoe, x86, sparc, or whatever else they're supposedly "considering".
  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:04AM (#1308439) Journal
    I would think that's what they're talking about, being that otherwise it could just be said that Apple's considering porting their software to run on x86 processors. That says nothing about all the support chips. Apple will never have their OS run on BX motherboards, as it would significantly detract from the users experience of "trouble-free hardware".

    IF they could just modify the pinouts of the Crusoe to conform with their sockets... They'ed have a pretty cool setup.

    They'ed also probably want to emulate a G3 rather than G4...Somehow I doubt that Crusoe could emulate AltiVec very well... Or maybe there is real magic to Crusoe.

    Anyways, it'd be exciting to see Crusoe emulate ANYTHING but x86... Right now it just seems like it's a low power x86 processor. Not very exciting.
  • Apple is exploring porting Darwin to other processors (including Transmeta's Crusoe processor) due to frustration with availability of high speed Motorola G4 processors.

    This blurb doesn't sound quite right -- the Crusoe in it's current incarnation isn't (and isn't meant to be) a high-Mhz monster. If Apple is exploring porting Darwin to Crusoe, it's most likely due to interest in portable and appliance-type devices which can take advantage of Crusoe's low power consumption, and not due to a speed advantage over the G4.

    I'm sure that Apple isn't happy with Motorola's progress with the G4. The G4 is a pretty powerful processor, but it's losing the Mhz-marketing battle. Which brings up the question, what chips have high clockspeeds which could be replacements for the G4? Alphas? Athlons? Intel's upcoming Willamette and Foster chips?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Darwin is NEXTSTEP. It already runs on 68x00, HPPA, SPARC, i386 and PPC. Having Darwin/x86 is easy. Having OO frameworks on top of this is easy too. Having Cocoa apps on it is also easy.

    But:

    1/ Apple commited to Rhapsody/Intel, and never delivered it (beside the Developer Previews)

    2/ Running on i386 would cut in their hardware sales.

    3/ Apple have no choice but to deliver a 'compatibility box'. Darwin/x86 don't run legacy (68x00/ppc) mac apps.

    Hence the rumor is crap.

    Cheers,

    --fred
  • This is great for Apple and for open sourcers everywhere, but let's keep track of the fact that Darwin is not OSX. Darwin is the foundation for OSX, but it lacks things like the Quartz imaging layer, Carbon and the Blue Box to run good old-fashioned Mac apps, and, of coourse, the notorious Aqua interface. Darwin has always been cross-platform (PPC and x86), it's only higher-level services that are platform-specific.

    It's great that Apple is porting the code to other platforms. It will provide some basic level of interoperability and perhaps make it easier to port software (say, Adobe Photoshop) to other Darwin-based OSes. Note that I said easier, not easy. It'd probably still be a lot more fun to port SuSE apps to LinuxPPC.

    What porting Darwin really does is make a good, basic POSIX-compliant BSD-like OS available for many major platforms. At the very least, it may provide some interesting ideas. But it sure don't mean that I can go out and buy some Crusoe-based laptop and run Mac OS X on it.
  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @10:13AM (#1308468) Homepage Journal
    Apple Computer Corp. has such a history of screwups, bad decisions, bad marketing, etc. et. al. that I have written them off.

    Translation: "I got scared during the dark days when Apple was 'beleagered,' so I ran and hid my head in the sand."

    I just read this morning how they chose not to give or even sell (at street price) iMacs to freeiMac. The company FreeiMac would give away free iMac computers with the usual 3 years of Earthlink subscription plus accepting advertising.

    Translation: "I read somewhere that Apple didn't want to supply tech support to thousands of users too dumb to know that there's no such thing as a free computer, and anyway, Apple already has an Earthlink deal going."

    Talk about clueless! They have turned down another opportunity to increase the awareness and use of their computers. They already have an ever decreasing share of the market and decisions like this will only help seal their doom.

    Translation: "What is this iMac thing everyone is talking about? Why have I never heard of it? I'm sure glad I sold all my Apple stock when they reached that high of 18."

    Jobs is an insane, megalomanial leader of a corporation led by more fools. Not that Apple doesn't do good things -- the Macintosh is an incredible computer and I loved mine. But I bowed to economics and bought a less expensive PC (I prefer Linux or BeOS, thank you).

    Translation: I've heard that Steve Jobs runs a tight ship, and forces his employees to work towards a common goal, and to be productive. It must suck to work where you have to earn your paycheck. Since I don't have a paycheck to worry about, I couldn't afford anything but this leftover PII doorstop, and whatever free OS I could find to run on it."

    This possible move to the Crusoe processor may be the sign of intelligence: Emulating the G4 in a cheaper and less power-hungry processor == Less expensive G4 == Cheaper Macs == More consumers buying your expensive hardware.

    Translation: "I don't know much about the G4, but I assume it uses electricity just as inefficiently as a Pentium. I wonder if I can get a free Crusoe. Too bad I flunked economics."


    --

  • by MoNickels ( 1700 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:08AM (#1308471) Homepage
    I don't know if the porting story is true, but Mac OS Rumors has a spotty record. Many of its leads often seem to be lifted from elsewhere, the rumor reliability is poor, and usually so late as to be useless, besides which its articles are so filled with bogus predictions using words such as "likely", "possibly", "predicted", and longs chains of if-then scenarios as to completely obliterate any authoritative source that might have passed a true lead on in the first place.

    You will be issued one grain of salt apiece.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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