EULA be damned! ZDNet tests Apple Mac OS X on x86 on 1.2GHz Pentium M Toshiba notebook

“Steve Jobs might not approve, but Apple’s latest operating system can be installed on any x86 hardware. How well does it function? Read our preliminary labs test to find out,” Kai Schmerer reports for ZDNet UK. “Back in June, when Apple boss Steve Jobs announced the platform change to the x86 architecture, some Apple-watchers could not believe their ears. Had Jobs not preached for years that Intel’s architecture was much too slow? But Apple’s slogan is not ‘Think Different’ for nothing. Its decision to support the x86 architecture lies in the unsatisfactory performance of the incumbent PowerPC processors — particularly in the lucrative and growing notebook market, where the IBM/Motorola-designed PowerPC chips clearly lag behind Intel’s CPUs.”

MacDailyNews Note: Steve obviously doesn’t approve, Mr. Schmerer. Didn’t your read Apple’s Mac OS X End User Licesnse Agreement (EULA)? This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time.

Schmerer reports, “When Steve Jobs announced the platform change, he publicly demonstrated Apple computers with Intel processors running an x86 version of Mac OS X. The OS is bound directly to the hardware by a special security chip. However, some developers have succeeded in circumventing this coupling, allowing the operating system to be installed on any x86 system, as this test report shows.”

Schmerer describes the easy installation process for Mac OS X, although he said the process “takes about two hours,” which is far longer than on any Mac upon which we’ve installed Mac OS X. Schmerer also writes, “Mac OS X looks in amazingly good early form on the x86 platform. As far as power consumption and OS performance are concerned, it can already keep up with Windows XP. Application performance clearly lags behind, though, and still needs to improve.”

MacDailyNews Note: Rosetta emulation environment may have figured into the results as Scmerer himself notes in the performance section of his article.

Schmerer writes, “Mac OS X offers many advantages over Windows. The installation routine uses a graphical interface from the start, and any user interventions that are required are more intuitive than with Windows. You will look in vain within Windows for programs as effective as Disk Utility, which is available during the setup phase, while the efficient network tools make it straightforward to connect to a Windows network. Apple has continued to improve its intuitive control concept with Mac OS X, using 3D effects and other visual devices (see above). There are therefore plenty of reasons to consider Mac OS X as a serious alternative to Windows.

Schmerer concludes, “So far, mainly because of performance and price issues, the Apple platform has failed to tempt many Windows users. This could change soon: from the middle of next year, a Mac OS X x86 platform will be available, which will offer more performance to the Windows world. However, the operating system is currently only planned to be available on Apple hardware. The modification that makes the OS accessible for all other x86 computers, as happened with the developer version evaluated here, will no longer be possible.”

Full article here.

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This would be a slam-dunk case for Apple’s legal team if they wanted to bother. Schemer breaks the Mac OS X EULA and then writes about and signs his name to it, all so that he can provide a goofy set of “tests” that will be meaningless as, even Schmerer admits, running Mac OS X on a Toshiba notebook won’t be possible in the future (unless Toshiba licenses Mac OS X from Apple – don’t hold your breath).

Related articles:
a href=””>Apple patent application designed to prevent Mac OS X from running on non-Apple hardware – November 09, 2005
Apple patent application describes Intel-based Macs that run Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows – November 05, 2005
How Apple can win the OS war – October 19, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Intel’s built-in virtualization tech could be one way to run Windows on Intel-based Apple Macs
Intel-based Macs running both Mac OS X and Windows will be good for Apple – June 10, 2005
Why buy a Dell when Apple ‘Macintel’ computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005
Windows users who try Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger might not want to go back – June 07, 2005
Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004<


  1. Unfsking believable!

    Some journalist. And the nerve to do a “review” of pirated software running on hardware the software wasn’t designed to run on by Apple.

    Knew peecee, lapdog bastards were scum!

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool mad” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Well, the obvious question in the speed tests is are they using an Intel version of iTunes? If I remember correctly, this information is available under “Get Info.” So, why not say one way or the other whether it’s running under Rosetta?

    As an aside, one thing to remember about Rosetta is that, unlike the old 68K Emulator, you cannot mix and match. All code within a given process must be PPC or Intel–it will not switch back and forth. So if you’re using a PPC application which uses QuickTime on an Intel CPU, you get the PowerPC QuickTime. If you’re using an Intel application which uses QuickTime, you get the Intel QuickTime.

    …or it could just be that the Pentium M is dog slow… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cheese” style=”border:0;” />

  3. While ZDNet on a technical level has broken the terms of the EULA, this can’t be anything but a PR windfall for Apple. It’s stuff like this that is making hardcore anti-Mac bigots sit up and notice, and in the long term will only benefit Apple when the Intel Macs finally hit the scene. I mean, look at all the commotion (and not a small amount of salivating) that is occurring over what is essentially an alpha version of the final OS!

  4. Completely agree with NewType. Apple just needs to fins a better way of making sure the the OS will only run on Apple. I’m just wondering HOW they broke the coupling, the article doesnt say, anyone know?

  5. Hey!
    Surely @ Apple they have read this article. But You know what, they are NOt going to do nothing about it. “Why?” you ask?.
    This is free positive publicity… for a product that won’t be launched for at least 5 months from now!

    I mean… For a computer company, it just doesn;t get better than this.

    And look, It’s from ZDNet!
    Please name one Mac user that hangs out at This is clearly Win-PC users domain.

    MW: “shot” as in “Bull’s ey..” uh.. nevermind

  6. Mac OS X on x86 site shutdown!!

    This site has been tempting the Apple lawyers for some time and I guess it’s finally been shut down.

    It was a grouping of people who are running OSX86 and teaching people how, etc. etc.

    MDN Word: “set”

    And Steve Jobs said to his team of lawyers “Ready, Set, GO!!!!”

  7. OK, so the OS took two hours to install, and application performance “clearly lags behind”.

    And this is good publicity how?

    Cause this is pre-release software that is at best an advanced alpha. Furthermore, it wasn’t designed explicitly to run on the Toshiba, yet it does because of the true portable nature of OS X. This is what hardware independence is really about.

    The application performance lagging is because iTunes is running on Rosetta. Think about that. iTunes for PowerPC running on OS X running on an Pentium M, and the only negative is that it’s slow. This is a true feat of software engineering for Apple and it shows. And don’t think for a second that when the Intel Macs ship, all the apps on it will be Universal Binaries that run at full speed.

  8. That should be, “And don’t think for a second that when the Intel Macs ship, all the apps on it won’t be Universal Binaries that run at full speed. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

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