Apple’s Mac OS X on Intel, AMD personal computers works slowly in initial release

“For years, Mac users have been able to run Windows on their machines using products like Microsoft’s Virtual PC. Now Windows and Linux users can do the reverse. Released last week, PearPC is the first software emulator to allow Apple Computer’s OS X to run on an Intel- or AMD-based machine,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired News. “Developed by Sebastian Biallas and Stefan Weyergraf, a pair of 23-year-old computer students from Aachen, Germany, PearPC re-creates in software the PowerPC architecture, the hardware used in Apple’s Macs.”

Kahney reports, “The free, open-source software allows Intel- and AMD-based PCs to run several operating systems compatible with the PowerPC, including Mandrake Linux, BSD, Darwin and, most importantly, Apple’s Mac OS X. Users can download and install a copy of PearPC, and then install a boxed copy of OS X, which can be purchased from Apple for $130. [PearPC] is incomplete, unstable and painfully slow — running about 500 times slower than the host system.”

“Despite the sluggish performance (one user estimated PearPC would need a 150-GHz PC to run OS X in real time) and a painfully convoluted installation procedure, the system is being enthusiastically embraced by curious geeks,” Kahney reports. “A blogger called Tzonbryan marveled at the excitement of all the Mac wannabes playing with the system and reporting their experiences at sites like Emaculation.com, a Mac-emulation site, and Neowin.net. ‘It’s a bit hard to explain the sense of glee and hope these prisoners of Microsoft emote upon seeing the grey Apple boot screen appear on their screens,’ Tzonbryan wrote. ‘Amazing … the sheer numbers rushing out the Gates of Hell to escape the chained bondage that is Windows.'”

Kahney reports, “‘PC folks clearly admire Apple’s ease of use … and its cool applications,’ said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a market-research firm. ‘But in the end, they really want the large amount of applications that come with a standard PC. This particular product could give them the best of both worlds.'”

[MacDailyNews Note: Window susers “really want the large amount of applications that come with the standard PC?” Yeah, so 99-percent of them can do word processing, email, and surf the web. Note: you can do that on any Mac out-of-the-box. The whole “large amount of applications for Windows” canard is tired and doesn’t reflect how people use their personal computers. Most people would benefit more from iLife than by having the choice of 50 bad word processing applications, now wouldn’t they? iLife is avaliable only for Mac OS X. Not Windows.]

“Weyergraf said he and Biallas hoped PearPC could function as a relatively inexpensive introduction to the Mac,” Kahney reports. “‘You can think of people that would like to try Mac OS X because they are dissatisfied with their current OS,’ Weyergraf said. ‘They would then eventually buy a real Mac.'”

Full article here.

21 Comments

  1. “…hoped PearPC could function as a relatively inexpensive introduction to the Mac”

    Let’s hope not. Any Windroid whose first exposure to the Mac OS is through this pile of junk will only turn and run the other way – and likely never go back.

  2. ‘It’s a bit hard to explain the sense of glee and hope these prisoners of Microsoft emote upon seeing the grey Apple boot screen appear on their screens,’ Tzonbryan wrote. ‘Amazing … the sheer numbers rushing out the Gates of Hell to escape the chained bondage that is Windows.’

    Buy a mac for gods sake.

  3. I think this will bring people over to OSX. They play for a bit on the emulator in private, then go to their computer store and play for a bit on the Macs, without that “I don’t want to embarrass myself by knowing nothing” fear. Once they use it on an actual Mac, without the bugs, the slowdowns, etc… I think quite a few of them will bite and cough up the �.

  4. I think this is good, as it can’t really hurt Apple. Estimates I’ve heard from people say that running on a 3ghz+ Intel machine it’s emulated speed is around a 85mhz G3, hardly a threat at the moment.
    Also remember it can’t do Altivec, so a G3 is as good as it gets, coupled with the fact it’s about 1/40 of the hosts speed, a minor miracle would have to happen to get it to say a 300mhz G3 both from the host chip speed and Pears optimization of the program.
    Still it’s fun if you don’t own a Mac and can get hold of a old 10.2 install CD and have a fast PC at least you’ll see how OSX works (albeit VERY Slooowwwllyyy)

  5. Why not buy the MAC, and run Virual PC for “all those” Windows apps? Virtual PC’s performance on even some older world Macs is at least tolerable.

  6. I tend to think the folks who would go to the trouble to install this emulator and play with OS X are not Apple’s target customers. Sure, it helps Apple’s bottom line if geeks go out and buy Macs… but ‘Joe AOL user’ isn’t likely to install this just to play with OS X. In fact, he probably won’t ever hear about it. I’m not sure if Apple legal has any ground on this one, but it wouldn’t shock me if they come knockin’.

  7. If this emulator ever works like a 400 mhz G4 (on a dual core 4-6 ghz Intel chip) i bet youll see alot of people buying OS X. but since its an open source project, I dont think Apple can either squash it or buy it.

  8. You can go to The Apple Store website and get an…
    eMac 1GHz/256MB/80GB/SuperDrive/E/56K – Refurbished
    …for $799. ($999 new) It will have the latest OS X and iLife preinstalled.

    THAT is how you get the Mac OS X experience.

    I can’t see eventually paying about half that price for something that is 500 times slower. If you don’t like it, you can probably sell it easily on eBay for more than what you paid for it.

  9. The complete hardware/software solution will never be there.
    They are designed to be together…anyone remember some of the problems with the clones?

  10. I think this is awesome! Apple can now start selling copies of OS X to people who do not want to go and buy a new machine. They will then fall in love with OS X and eventually when they are forced to buy a new machine will buy Apple. Down the line this could be the instigator for many switchers.

  11. In the UK PC World are selling the base configuration eMac for �549.00 inc. tax. And they’ll throw in a free HP inkjet printer.

    Over here, that’s the best way to get the OS X experience.

  12. But in the end, they really want the large amount of applications that come with a standard PC.

    …..Like what? I think its the other way around. PC users who get nothing with their PCs unless they pay for it, would love to have iMove, iDVD, iPhoto, GarageBand, etc… that Mac users get for FREE!

  13. I am now macless. Except for my SE/30 – and that ain’t going anywhere. I have tried almost every portable Mac Apple makes and have not found the perfect fix. So I am sitting it out til the the G5 PB, or a Dothan Pentium-M, catches my eye.

    If you like having fast hardware, Macs are out of the question. G5s are nice, but I build my own boxes for fractions of what the new PMs cost.

    The best things Apple makes are cases and software. There are 200 millions people that would likely give Apple a try if they would stop trying to shove their G4 and G5 architectures down our throats.

  14. Perry, thanks for giving your computer-ownership history. I’m sure all are interested. Let me guess, you’ve never OWNED a G5? Macs are fast enough, but they are not cheap. Nevertheless, they are no more expensive than a Sony or IBM. The problem is that they are only one company–they really should consider expanding their product line. But I don’t think they will every market to the gamer on a budget who is willing to put in hours of work to save a couple of hundred.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.