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WinXP on a Mac, Hoax? 390

Brill writes "Ars Technica is reporting that a member of the 'WinXP on Mac' forums called narf2006 may have succeeded at the impossible. He's submitted his solution to get XP on an Intel Mac, for the $12,000 prize, but for now the only proof available is a blurry Flickr collection of photos that could be faked with virtual PC. His reputation on the forums however is strong, and he's already calling for testers." We've had people write in to say this has been announced a hoax on the contest page. The contest page is, of course, down due to bandwidth reasons. Engadget's conversation about this announcement has several theories on how this may have been faked. What's the verdict? Real or Fake?
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WinXP on a Mac, Hoax?

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  • Re:Explain how? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SonicBV ( 644848 ) * <sonicdude@@@mac...com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:14AM (#14915772) Homepage
    It works like any scientific discovery (which it essentially is). It has to be confirmed by a group of his peers, then he gets the money.

    Or such is my understanding, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:22AM (#14915854)
    but I'd much rather see darWINE working well, or VMWare/VirtualPC running Windows at nearly native speed

    That's great, but neither of those things are going to happen soon. darWINE needs a lot of work. VMWare/VirtualPC have made no announcement of OS X products. Unless someone has been secretly working on an OS X virtual machine product and is ready to release (it IS possible), we won't see that soon.
  • by GekkePrutser ( 548776 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:23AM (#14915862)
    Wel... Games, for one, like you already said :) This is something that REALLY requires dual-booting. I mean, you're not going to run a game in VMWare or Virtual PC even if it did support OpenGL or DirectX. Just too slow.

    I know a Mac is not for hardcore gamers but someone like me who wants to play the occasional game and not be tied into the pathetically small line-up for Mac games, dual-booting into Windows is a perfect solution.

    But there's lots of other uses (most of which would work fine within a virtual machine), like company-supported apps that are not available for Windows.
  • Re:Verification? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:30AM (#14915918)
    Even if this is real, he hasn't won the contest yet. The rules require not only that XP boot, but it must also dual-boot with Mac OS X. The user must be presented with the option of which OS to run at boot-time, and narf2006 hasn't done that yet.
  • by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason@nash.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:32AM (#14915932)
    No single person or organization put up $12K. A lot of people chipped in a few bucks at a time to get to that level.
  • 640x480 (Score:3, Informative)

    by ikejam ( 821818 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:45AM (#14916042)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/32436196@N00/11097774 4/in/photostream/ [flickr.com]

    Interesting thought there - VGA drivers arent installed now if it was a fresh install right?

    PowerMacChris says:


    Windows XP has a 640x480 resoulition on GUI install :P
    Posted 3 days ago.

    Paul Stamatiou Pro User says:

    ^ No. I've installed XP with 1280x1024.
    Posted 2 days ago.

    digitalpiracy says:

    No he's right - you can set an option in the unattend.sif file so the resolution jumps to whatever you like once its installed the VGA drivers, but this section always runs at 640x480
    Posted 2 days ago. "
  • by birder ( 61402 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:46AM (#14916066) Homepage
    "Look closer Lenny" There is another monitor covering part of the iMac.
  • by powerg3 ( 22943 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:52AM (#14916115) Homepage

    Actually, part of the contest rules was that you had to be the first to post the instructions to the onmac.net forums. For the sake of transparency, it's a good idea.

  • by tdemark ( 512406 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:04PM (#14916252) Homepage
    They have stated over and over again that it would be impossible for someone to boot XP on a Intel Mac. Now we have claims by someone that it can be done.

    I think you have that backwards.

    Apple has said they don't care if you want to by their hardware and boot XP on it, feel free. They're not doing anything to stop it, but they are also not doing anything to enable it.

    What they are against is Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware.

    - Tony
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:04PM (#14916254)
    The real benefit to most people will come from running Windows alongside Mac OS X in a "virtual machine" environment, in a window or even full screen, with, for example, a hotkey to switch back and forth between Mac OS X and Windows. To many users who prefer Mac OS X, particularly in enterprise, academic, and research environments, but who also have the occasional applications (usually administrative) that require Windows, this configuration would be a holy grail of sorts. And in this configuration, Windows wouldn't be running in emulation, but it would be running at essentially the native speed of the underlying hardware (with the exception of graphics and disk I/O performance). It will be *much* faster than any emulation ever has been, and there will no doubt be several open source (qemu, xen, wine) and commercial (vmware, Virtual PC) that will allow running Windows (or Windows software) in various capacities. Intel's Virtualization Technology (VT), allowing multiple operating systems to run in separate hardware "partitions" on one processor, make these prospects even more efficient and exciting from a technical standpoint. That scenario *will* happen; it's only a matter of time of the software coming to the platform now that the Intel Macs are shipping.

    As to the question, however, of why someone would want to install Windows directly, or "dual boot", here are some answers:

    - Gaming. This is probably the primary reason. Since even virtual machine solutions typically still emulate some aspects of video, to get the full performance Windows still has to be running natively directly on the hardware.

    - Best possible performance. For those who want Windows and their Windows applications to run as best as they possibly can, again, running Windows directly is required.

    - A desire to run Windows (for whatever reason, whether it be preference, desire, necessity, etc.) on quality Apple hardware, while also having the option to run Mac OS X.

    - Other applications for which direct hardware access is required.

    - Becuase you can. No reason at all other than to "do it".

    There are many other arguments for Apple's x86 transition being a potential trojan horse into environments that otherwise avoided Apple hardware because of requirements for Windows. Being able to run Windows in supported vm environments, such as VMware, could be a huge boon to Mac OS X/Apple adoption in certain sectors. The ability to directly boot Windows, even if officially unsupported by Apple, is also very attractive to some.

    Hopefully this answers your questions.
  • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:13PM (#14916333) Journal
    the 1,000 applications that can't (or haven't) been replicated on a mac.
  • You guys are lame (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:20PM (#14916410)
    Why would people call these photos a hoax? What does it matter if he hasn't posted the solution yet? Obviously, wait until he posts a solution, and then judge.

    All of you leachers calling this a hoax are super lame. Instead of wasting Internet bandwidth with stupid comments on Slashdot, try downloading Intel's EFI starter kit, and implement yourself. You don't even need a Mac, except to polish off the EFI boot environment; you can develop the entire BIOS emulation without a Mac.

    I've been implementing a BIOS compatibility layer, and those photos are definitely legitimate; they show BIOS call traces.

    I hope that he sells his solution. People making comments like this don't deserve the gracious effort of others.

  • by imikem ( 767509 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:00PM (#14918553) Homepage
    In the beginning there was PReP - PowerPC Reference Platform

    A year or two later this was revised to CHRP - Common Hardware Reference Platform

    As pointed out elsewhere, these were not runaway successes. I don't believe Macs ever were fully compliant with either spec, on purpose I suppose.
  • by plj ( 673710 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:50PM (#14919470)
    In the beginning there was PReP - PowerPC Reference Platform

    A year or two later this was revised to CHRP - Common Hardware Reference Platform

    Parent is correct. CHRP [wikipedia.org] was a successor of PReP [wikipedia.org]. PReP was quite flawed from Apple's perspective, and while CHRP was better, probably only few boxes actually complied with it. Some of those that did were Motorola's StarMax Pro 6000s, running 233 [everymac.com] or 266 [everymac.com] MHz G3s.

    Those systems were announced [com.com] at mid-1997, but they never shipped, as Apple decided to kill the clones. Some [macslash.org] are still using those few that were made, though.
  • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:03PM (#14920586) Journal
    I have yet to find a program on Windows that isn't directly ported to the Mac or that I couldn't find a comparable "replica" on the Mac.

    PRODAS [prodas.com] (Projectile Rocket and Ordinance Design and Analysis Software)

    Don't know if you are trolling or serious, I am an aerospace engineer wrapping up my masters and I use this piece of software regularly to do 6DOF ballistics and trajectory modeling. There **are** no substitutes for a mac. Similar programs exist for radar modeling, etc. that have no Mac equivalent.

    Besides the key apps that target a small but deep-pocketed audience (PRODAS license: $6000) (hence no motivation to port - small audiences, target 1 popular platform) you have gamers: a very large audience with smaller pocketbooks, but you have volume. Gamers want to customize their systems - they can't do that currently with a mac. Now with the move to Intel hardware, Apple has the chance to change that trend. We will see...
  • by xfletch ( 623022 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @11:17AM (#14924075) Homepage
    You can see a mysterious video here [nyud.net] which seems to be proof that the job has been done (obviously the person is being secretive about how he did it until he claims his reward). Brilliant - now we can have the viruses, spyware and blue screens of death that I thought I had left behind. Of course the positive side is that there is now no reason not to buy an Apple, with the beautiful Mac OSX for all your day to day tasks, and Windows for those other programmes/games you think you can't live without.

    Screenshot here [imageshack.us]

    Video available here [nyud.net]

  • by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <jamecNO@SPAMumich.edu> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:50PM (#14926180) Homepage Journal
    Colin has received a solution from narf2006 [onmac.net] and is currently testing it. Meanwhile, narf2006 has revealed some details on his method; he patched the Windows XP kernel [flickr.com] to get VGA working, and wrote a custom Compatibility Support Module (CSM) [flickr.com] to allow booting XP from EFI.

    According to Intel documentation [intel.com], using a CSM that plugs into the EFI framework should allow for booting BIOS-based operating systems:
    A contemporary implementation of the Framework on a PC includes a CSM for supplying services to operating systems that do not boot using EFI and for supporting legacy option ROMs on add-in cards. For legacy boot the Framework initializes the platform's silicon and executes EFI drivers.
    So far (to me at least), it looks like narf2006 (and his accomplice, blanka) might have truly done it.

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