Mac clones: Part 2? (seriously)



  • Reply 21 of 27
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member

    Originally posted by Nebagakid

    yes, a good "haxOr" could get a window server running for a GUI, but then there are parts of the Darwin source that Apple does not release.

    You only need to write the proper drivers. Once you've got Darwin running, OS X should also be able to run.
  • Reply 22 of 27
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member

    Originally posted by Scifience

    Somebody ... I forget where - it was a long time ago - actually managed to combine parts of the Mac OS X install CD and parts of Darwin for x86 so that the Mac OS X installer would boot on an Intel PC. Of course, it wouldn't install or anything, but it just goes to show how easy it would be for Apple to go x86 if they wanted to.

    That little trick didn't mean anything. Remember, while the bottom half of Mac OS X is ported to x86, the bottom half (assuming Apple isn't stashing it away in secret - which they probably are) is not. Such a huge chunk of the OS would take years to port and perfect to a stable version.

    Like I said, that little trick doesn't mean anything.

    And Chuckers right, there isn't much of a technical barrier to running Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware (as long as it's PPC). Just a legal one (and not a tested legal one at that).

  • Reply 23 of 27

    Originally posted by Barto

    Remember, while the bottom half of Mac OS X is ported to x86, the bottom half ... is not.

    That's one confused bottom half

    Oh, I like the idea of resurectting the Power Computing brand. Maybe its because I'm from Austin, but I really dug the whole 'Fight Back for the Mac' thang...
  • Reply 24 of 27
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Sure, clones will come, but Apple will have no part in endorsing it unless they make a marketing breakthrough and get back up to a marketshare that really matters. Bringing back Power Computing when Apple's marketshare is worse than it was in '97? No thanks. Why don't we bring back those Performas too while we're at it?
  • Reply 25 of 27
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Vertical diffusion strategies won't work for Apple. Horizontal diffusion is what they are going for.
  • Reply 26 of 27
    Any Apple cloning would likely be tightly controlled by Apple and axed if it threatened Apple at all. Cloning licenses from Apple would likely have price controls and component control. Apple's own products featuring new chips would debut first and give Apple a head start. Licensing fees per computer would be hefty.

    The only one who might do it and who may have an interest is IBM, who would only offer direct sales and would be in the same price range as Apple. The IBM's would likely cost about as much but not have the innovative designs for laptop and desktop. IBM has this option, but may only use it with businesses they provide machines to. They'd rather deal with Apple and OSX on their huge business contracts than MS and Windows. I know for a fact that Apple and IBM have discussed cloning as it relates to businesses and moving them to OSX (with IBM including Apple manufactured machines in any deal and Apple getting a chunk of the profit). It all fits into the attempt to set up the PowerPC architecture as the successor to x86 over Intel's own (flopping) Itaniums.

    IBM wants a mjority of machines to switch over to PowerPC. Apple would prefer to stay a niche, albeit a larger niche than they currently are. I don't think Apple wants any more than 20% of the PC market (which would be a large improvement over where they are now). It would allow them to keep their end relatively closed (IBM would likely still provide OSX-based machines to corporations). And it would allow other OSes to emerge on the PowerPC - likely all Unix based. This would make communication and porting between platforms much easier (especially considering they'd all be PPC) and, ideally, would offer consumers 3-4 different options as far as OSes go. This is several years down the road and will take some work - and needs the x86 to hit a brick wall (or come close to it).
  • Reply 27 of 27
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Generic hardware "worked" for Microsoft because Microsoft was able to use a monopoly (IBM) and a de facto standard business OS (CP/M) as springboards, and also because IBM was too gunshy after a 13 year antitrust suit to play hardball with Microsoft and too much in love with big iron to see the PC's potential. The PC didn't generate demand so much as fill existing demand. It had a great deal of momentum right out of the starting gate, and that only picked up when Phoenix Technologies reverse-engineered the BIOS (and got away with it because, again, IBM was too wary of the DoJ to try burying them under a patent-infringement lawsuit) and Compaq released the first clone using that BIOS, undercutting IBM's stifling premium. But the point here is that PC cloning worked because there was a huge latent demand for IBM or IBM-compatible machines running CP/M or CP/M-like operating systems that IBM didn't address.

    Apple's situation looks nothing like this.

    Of course, while cloning worked from a marketshare point of view, it's been a disaster in terms of quality and reliability and usability for both hardware and software. Integration is borderline impossible; QA is a nightmare. The immense price pressure of a commodity market makes engineering shortcuts attractive if not necessary, leading to sketchy implementations of protocols and standards and software that turn up as baffling incompatibilities.

    Apple's platform works as well as it does because it's not a commodity platform. Sure, there are commodity parts, but they can chose a limited number of those parts, test them, and make sure that their systems work with them. That's integration, and the payoffs in terms of the quality and usability and expandability of the system are significant. Any real cloning effort would dilute this advantage. Much of the flakiness of the PC platform is due to the logistical impossibility of making sure that everything works with everything else. That's why Microsoft has been trying for years to get PC manufacturers on increasingly stringent platform specifications. They've got the right idea. Now is not the time for Apple to get the wrong idea.
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