eWeek adds to Marklar (OS X on x86) rumors; Apple may release server version

“I want to touch on the latest flurry of reports about Apple’s sub rosa Mac OS X-on-x86 efforts, a longstanding project to which we first applied a code name (Marklar) and a project size (somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 software engineers, some of them transferred from Apple’s receding Mac OS 9 development efforts).

Friends, Mac fans, chip champions, lend me your ears: I come not to stir up Marklar rumors, but to frame them. When we first reported on this project, which reportedly hearkens back to the earliest days of Apple’s acquisition of NeXT Software Inc. and its Unix-based OpenStep OS, we couched it as primarily a backup plan that offered Apple insurance in case something went terribly wrong with the PowerPC architecture underlying current Macs and (most immediately) as a tool for negotiating with PowerPC developers IBM and Motorola.

Now, recent reports have made the rounds to the effect that Apple may have something more substantial in mind for Marklar. Most recently, my very clever and well-informed colleague Ian Betteridge of MacUser UK has offered up some confirmation of an anonymous letter (posted to the MacRumors site and elsewhere) that asserts Apple is contemplating offering a shrink-wrapped x86 version of its client OS to capitalize on expected user dissatisfaction with Microsoft’s Palladium security moves.

Meanwhile, I’ve also heard rumblings that Apple has shown off Marklar to a number of server hardware manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard.

What’s going on here? I happen to believe that Apple is indeed dipping a toe here and there into the waters of PC compatibility. I also believe (like most Mac observers) that there would be tremendous hurdles to any such effort, client or server,” reports Matthew Rothenberg, Online Editor for eWeek.com. Read the full story here.

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