Microsoft confirms VirtualPC incompatible with Apple’s G5

“Microsoft confirms that Virtual PC is not compatible with the new G5 Power Macs: “Virtual PC relies on a feature of the G3/G4 processors called ‘pseudo little-endian mode’ for increased performance when emulating a Pentium processor…. Because the new G5 processor does not support this feature, large portions of the VPC for Mac program must be rewritten and carefully tested to work properly on the G5 CPU,” reports MacNN.

MacDailyNews Take: Hmmmm… Wonder how fast a G5 could emulate a Pentium, run Windows and Windows applications? Guess we’ll have to wait for Microsoft to “optimize” it, huh?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Bill Gates to Steve Jobs regarding Virtual PC: Checkmate – February 19, 2003
FWB: There is no RealPC; it’s vaporware and it’s discontinued – August 27, 2003

30 Comments

  1. If I were writing Microsoft code it would seem logical to do the conversion in one place and call the conversion as a subroutine. If its necessary for performance reasons it could be written as inline code. For Microsoft to say that they have to make massive code changes means that their implementation is rather sloppy.

  2. MacBU has done some good work before… could it be Connectix’s sloppiness?

    But I too am skeptical that one little mode can’t be worked around more simply. Maybe doing so would hurt performance so much as to be not worth it?

    There COULD be another MS conspiracy at wrk here, but I don’t think one can be assumed yet.

  3. I take this as good news. Now maybe we can get away from the “use Virtual PC” answer to the lack of software argument. It was false anyway. Eliminating Virtual PC will be good for Mac. OS 10.3’s native developer tools – Xcode – will make developing apps for Mac even easier than it already was.

    Good bye VPC. Good riddance.

  4. VPC is an abomination, err, was an abomination, but SteveJack was right in the “Checkmate” article that Apple should’ve bought Connectix and used VPC as a bundled iApp to entice PC’ers to buy Macs. They could use their Windows software while replacing it at their own speed with Mac versions that would run faster. Once they tried OS X, they would see how bad Windows really is. Apple screwed up here.

  5. Differences in endian mode can make for some serious re-writing. However the PowerPC architecture and the G5 does indeed support little endian mode. See the IBM 64 bit programmers manual for the 970 located at http://www-3.ibm.com/chips/techlib/techlib.nsf/products/PowerPC_970_Microprocessor .

    The issue seems to concern a feature of the G3/G4 which allowed the processor to emulate little endian mode while it was actually in big endian mode. On the G5, it appears that you can either be in little endian or big endian mode but not both at the same time. Switching state continuously would create a huge overhead and probably result in running as slow as molasses. I haven’t been able to verify this just yet, but there appears to be some truth to Microsoft’s claims. And, if it is true, Microsoft will have to go through the entire code they inherited from Connectix to fix it.

  6. <VPC as an iApp> VPC alone is not enough, it would mean that every OS X would need to include a Windows XP license, or one would need to be bought separately. It would also mean that the Mac would be judged by how well it ran Intel code. The negatives out way the positives by a mile.

  7. Sounds like to me, Micro$not, in their “wisdom” (not) wants to dumb down this VPC so far as to not make themselves look bad…..buying ANYTHING from them is like the wolf guarding the sheep for the farmer…..he’ll get lambchops by the end of the day.

    Tell them to take VPC and a hike off of a short cliff!!

  8. What happened to the RealPC project? Was it stopped by Microsoft? I heard that somewhere… Hmmm… Now Microsoft says that it can’t get it’s act together for a while with regard to VPC? Like until much faster chips ship for the Wintel crowd.

    Imagine if VPC issued a updated version for the G5 and released on the same date along side the G5. Then imagine that Microsoft didn’t intentionally cripple it’s emulation performance. Then let’s pretend that Microsoft made an honest effort to optimize the hell out of VPC.

    How fast would that product run XP on a dual 2.0 G5?

    Do you honestly think this would EVER happen. Oh it’s completely doable… especially given the resources MS has… oh yes… but again, do you really think Microsoft would EVER, EVER, EVER this happen?

  9. Big deal, if you need to run windows so bad, go buy a Wintel box. I had VPC 5 on my at home G4 so that I could bring eng. work home. What a hunk of junk software. After I retired it was the first thing I put in the trash can. It’s probable is not a M$ plan, but who cares? It would not be to Bill and the boys benefit to axe VPC. After all it’s still a copy of Windoz sold and money in their greedy little pockets.

  10. It is very interesting to me that the RealPC and Virtual PC announcement would take place on the same day considering FWB’s new management. Something just doesn’t smell right to me.

  11. tthomcarl:
    You don’t get it. MS doesn’t care about a relatively small number of Windows licenses that might be sold through VPC. That’s not in their best interest. However, they do care about protecting current peceptions regarding the Mac -vs- Windows debate. Do you honestly think MS wants to complicate things by proving Windows can run properly and easily on a Mac>?

    BTW, I agree with you on one thing –at present (since VPC needlessly s*cks so badly), if I wanted to run Windows software I’d just buy a Wintel box.

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