“Windows Vista will come in a multitude of flavours: six at the last count. And it’s said that all of these, bar the starter edition, will come with the added 64-bit support needed for modern CPUs – but the 64-bit versions will be completely different installable builds,” Dean Pullen reports for The Inquirer.
“The 64-bit installation will come with a 32-bit emulation layer called WOW (Window on Windows, and nothing to do with orcs and elves) which will, as you can probably guess, allow you to run your old 32-bit apps on your shiny new 64-bit Vista, via emulation. 32-bit hardware drivers will not work,” Pullen reports.
“There will be just one version of workstation-based Leopard (plus an accompanying server edition), and it will come with 64-bit and full non-emulated 32-bit support,” Pullen reports.
Pullen reports, “Starting with Xcode 2.4, the OSX Universal binary format has been extended to support 32-bit and 64-bit for both PPC and Intel processors inside the same file, giving OSX quad universal binaries. Users don’t have to choose between processor architectures nor 32-bit or 64-bit processors, either at the OS or application layers, it’s all abstracted away from them – as it should be.”
“Note that the non-emulated support in OSX is for applications and drivers. 32-bit programs on Vista 64 need to work on WOW emulation to run in Vista, and 32-bit drivers are a no-no. Lack of driver support is the main reason Windows XP x64 hasn’t been widely adopted, and why the Vista fudge will ensure hardware incompatibilities between the two Windows versions remain for sometime to come,” Pullen reports. “This is quite a boon for OSX, and one that should be highlighted frequently and often.”
Full article here.