Startup claims ‘near-universal emulator’ allows any software to run all platforms with almost no per

“A Silicon Valley startup claims to have cracked one of most elusive goals of the software industry: a near-universal emulator that allows software developed for one platform to run on any other, with almost no performance hit,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired News. “Transitive Corp. of Los Gatos, California, claims its QuickTransit software allows applications to run ‘transparently’ on multiple hardware platforms, including Macs, PCs, and numerous servers and mainframes.”

“In demonstrations to press and analysts, the company has shown a graphically demanding game — a Linux version of Quake III — running on an Apple PowerBook… Transitive launched the software on Monday with versions for Itanium, Opteron, x86 and Power/PowerPC chips,” Kahney reports. “The company is initially going after the server and mainframe markets because that’s where the money is, but said it will eventually focus on desktop PCs and consumer electronics. It claims QuickTransit will support almost any pairing of processor and operating system. Transitive said it already has six customers — all PC manufacturers — but declined to name them. The first will go public later this year, Transitive said. Transitive said QuickTransit allows a foreign application to do everything it does on its native platform, with 100 percent functionality.”

“QuickTransit fully supports accelerated 3-D graphics and about 80 percent computational performance on the main processor. It requires no user intervention: It kicks in automatically when a non-native application is launched,” Kahney reports. “‘It’s pretty darn impressive,’ said analyst Jim Turley. ‘It’s remarkable because it’s unremarkable (to see it in action): It just works.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If this really works, Virtual PC won’t be doing great business in the future. This would also remove one of the greatest remaining psychological stumbling blocks for Windows users wishing to switch to Macintosh: their Windows software would run on their new Mac OS X machines at usable speeds. These switchers could then upgrade their applications to Mac OS X versions over time at their own pace. If this is for real, Microsoft won’t like this one bit. More about information about Transitive here.


  1. “If this really works, Virtual PC won’t be doing great business in the future. This would also remove one of the greatest remaining psychological stumbling blocks for Windows users”

    ….not if the ignorant tools don’t know about it.. the same way they don’t know about Virtual PC now, or even MS Office for the Mac, or iLife, or OS X for that matter.. or the fact that you can surf the web on a Mac.. etc. etc. etc.

    Convince this startup can market better than Apple has been telling people for years about the compatibility of the Mac OS and maybe I’ll be more optimistic.

  2. would that count for operating systems as well? or pure applications?

    Otherwise, this would be bad news for Apple’s hardware division. A lot of people would be buying cheap pc’s and load it with mac os x , final cut pro etc.

    Somehow, this news seems a bit odd.

  3. “Analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group said Transitive benefits from the fact that most modern machines are fast enough to emulate each other without much affecting performance.”

    Well, I suppose Rob should know…

  4. an alternate take:
    would this be bad for apple hardware? think like a windowze user for a moment….
    ‘why wouldn’t i buy a cheaper computer and just run Mac OS X?’

    of course, you and I know the answer. (that’s why we’re on MDN’s site…) But doesn’t Apple make most of their profits on hardware? I would think this breakthrough may encourage people to run OS X on X86 hardware…

    this might not be good news for Apple

  5. While this might not be good news for Apple, it’s more likely to be rubbish and not half of what it promises to be.

    It might be fine for everyday taks, just as VPC is, but for anything intensive, then you can simply forget it.

  6. While a Windoze user might buy cheap X86 hardware and run Mac OS X on it for awhile, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that they’d have problems with plug & play after awhile. One of the reasons Macs work so well is that the hardware & software come from the same supplier. Apple can keep a tight reign on the hardware specs. Haven’t you ever seen the hardware incompatibilties that Windoze users go through?

    I could see this as an introduction to the Mac way – first buy the OS and discover how good it is. Then go to the hardware to get the full experience.

    Best news is for those folks that stay on Windoze because they have one app that is vital to their work that won’t run on Mac.

    However, I really do agree with the previous poster that says that this won’t work as seamlessly as advertised. I’d like to see it in person before I believe that.

  7. I see big legal trouble with this unfortunately. I don’t see Apple or Microsoft liking this kind of software. I see software patches that would block this kind of emulation in the future.

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