Apple and Microsoft may be publicly proclaiming joy that the latter company
bought Connectix’s Virtual PC applications, but columnist Alex Salkever doubts that, in reality, Apple is really thrilled with the deal. But Apple could handle Windows emulation on its own, he writes in his latest
Byte of the Apple
Business Week Online
He thinks that Apple needs to look at
Bochs, an open-source package that functions as a Windows emulator on Unix machines. Since Mac OS X is Unix based, Apple could leverage the power of the open source solution to further win independence from Microsoft, Salkever says.
Bochs is an open source IA-32 (x86) PC emulator written in C++, that runs on most popular platforms. It includes emulation of the Intel x86 CPU, common I/O devices, and a custom BIOS. Currently, Bochs can be compiled to emulate a 386, 486 or Pentium CPUs. Bochs is capable of running most operating systems inside the emulation including Linux, Windows 95, DOS, and Windows NT 4. It can be compiled and used in a variety of modes, some which are still in development.
Already, Apple is not so quietly trying to lessen its independent on the Redmond company via such products as Mail, Address Book, Safari, Keynote, and AppleWorks. The result: Apple is less reliant on Office v. X than it has been in some time.
Besides Mac OS X’s Unix base, Apple has
released its own version of X11. First introduced during the Macworld Conference & Expo in January, X11 enables applications based on the X11 windowing environment to run side-by-side with native Mac OS X applications. With it, making a Mac-ready version of Bochs will be “positively easy,” Salkever opines.
He says that Apple certainly has the money to tackle the project. In fact, the columnist even recommends weaving Bochs into Mac OS X, hopefully even making the process so smooth that loading PC software “would differ only slightly from launching Mac programs.”
Wouldn’t this make Microsoft angry? Salkever doesn’t think so because Mac users would still have to pay for a Windows software license. To offer PC emulation in an “above-ground” fashion, Apple could sell Windows licenses combined with Bochs software as part of a package deal, Salkever says.