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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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  • Explain how? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srw ( 38421 ) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:10AM (#14915733) Homepage
    Doesn't he have to explain how he did it to collect the prize? Am I missing something?
  • by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:12AM (#14915747) Homepage Journal
    If I sorted out the bits of magic to get WinXP up and running on a Mac, I don't think I would post how to the outside world until *after* I collected my bounty. No shock at the lack of details here.
  • Verification? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JUSTONEMORELATTE ( 584508 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:12AM (#14915752) Homepage
    For US$12,000, I'd take a day off and fly out to the contest judge's place to show them in person.

    Why is this so difficult?
  • Vice Versa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by szembek ( 948327 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:21AM (#14915848) Homepage
    I'm probably stating the obvious here, but in my opinion the opposite of this would be much more useful. Being able to put Mac OSX on non-proprietary PC hardware would be much more useful than installing windows on a pricey Mac. I would like the ability to poke around in OSX, but I'm certainly not going to throw down the cash for a Mac.
  • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:24AM (#14915866) Homepage
    What's the point here, anyhow? Besides games, and maybe some MS development stuff, why run Windows on a PC??

    You do realise you answered your own question don't you?

    Anyway, whilst I don't like or run windows at home, I keep a spare 1GB partition with my old legal copy of win2k on it.

    Why? Because I think two operating systems are better then one - and its not exactly like its hard work (or much overhead) to set up a dual boot these days.
  • by tool462 ( 677306 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:24AM (#14915869)
    Besides games, and maybe some MS development stuff

    For many people, those two things are reason enough to dual boot. It allows you to keep using your existing software, which makes the switch to Mac that much easier for people who have large libraries of Windows-only software.
  • Re:Vice Versa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) * <> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:33AM (#14915943) Homepage
    You can install OSX on your PC already. I've got it on my laptop. No wireless (yet) but it's fun to play with. It's also why I'm getting a Macbook Pro (when the Rev B comes out). I love OSX from my limited use of it. And if I could put Windows on there too? That would be great.
  • Re:Vice Versa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shadexiii ( 723888 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:37AM (#14915973)
    Windows works on lots of hardware. OS X *could* but isn't really suited for it (by design.) So if you need both, isn't Windows the more logical choice for transplanting?
  • by earthbound kid ( 859282 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:44AM (#14916032) Homepage
    It's not as though it's a hard hoax to do.

    1. Go to a Windows box. Take a screen shot.

    2. Open the screenshot on your iMac. Display it full screen.

    3. Take a picture.

    I mean, he hasn't posted a video of him using the computer and his mousing syncing up with the screen, right? Just a blurry photo. So, that proves basically nothing. I'm not saying he absolutely didn't do it, just that a photo doesn't count for much.
  • by plaidhacker ( 950067 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:50AM (#14916096)
    Turn of events: 1) someone posts some (blurry) pictures (4) of a WinXP install screen on an iMac to flickr 2) forums world-wide respond with "d00d! its a total fake! look at those pixels!" and "why can't a guy who knows how to do this use a camera? fake!" and "OMFG hwd u do that? cant be done - fake!" which results in this fine slashdot news story, based entirely on blurry photos and forum jockeys. seriously guys, we'll know someone's done it when the pot is claimed - until then, it just isn't news... daveschroeder posted a better written, more informative piece than the article he was replying to. Luke got the same uninformed forum jockey BS when he bootstrapped linux on the Treo 650.
  • by joshsnow ( 551754 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:53AM (#14916134) Journal
    there's a lot of noise, over on the ars forums, about why Apple may want to prevent XP and foghorn (vista) from running on Mac hardware. I think it's the opposite. Apple won't try to hard to prevent windows operating systems from running on Mac hardware, because Apple are, primarily, a hardware company - they want to sell macs. In fact, if people are buying macs intending to install windows, Apple may hope to use that as a bate and switch tactic. I think they're more likely to attempt to prevent people from running OS X on bog standard beige PCs (or Dells or whatever) because that could hurt Mac sales.
  • by Masq666 ( 861213 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:57AM (#14916186) Homepage
    This article [] talks about a project called BAMBIOS, BAMBIOS emulates a bios on the intel-based Mac's. This enables non-EFI OS's to run.
  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:02PM (#14916228)
    ...VMWare to come out with their VMWare Workstation (or even the player) for the Mac. Even VirtualPC, if/when it ever comes to the Intel Mac, should run Windows "well enough" for everything I would do with a PC (short of gaming, which wouldn't be very useful on a portable or a mini anyway).

    I'm becoming more and more a fan of virtualization; why deal with dual booting and configuring the disk when you can just run the client OS as a task in the main operating system. Also, if you trash your copy of Windows, just restore it from a snapshot or recreate it from a "good" image.

    But, OTOH, kudos to him if he has in fact gotten it to work.
  • by guet ( 525509 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:18PM (#14916384)
    You missed out one very big reason on your list. Anyone who designs web pages or programs web applications will need to check their work under IE - currently this means switching over to a PC to check the page.

    Running Windows in a VM would be perfect for checking out websites during development.
  • Monitor (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:20PM (#14916402)
    The simplest way to fake this would be to use a mac monitor with a pc. no photoshopping necessary

    Think about it
  • by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:21PM (#14916428) Homepage Journal
    Who would put up 12,000 bucks for something that's not really needed? I mean, sure, hacking the hardware to get it to run is kinda cool and all...but 12 grand?!?! Is it THAT important to buy Mac hardware to put Windows on?

    It's not about buying mac hardware specifically to run windows, it's about the ability to dual boot mac osx and windows on the same laptop. Honestly, I'm at the point in my life where I need fewer computers, not more of them. Having a whole closet full of junky old PC's isn't worth the time and energy anymore, so I just have 2 laptops now, a powerbook and an old gateway. I'd gladly sell them both if I could buy one laptop that could run both OS's.

    For what I do (audio programming and music production), emulation is not an acceptable solution due to obvious performance and hardware issues. Plus, there is so much good software available for both platforms, why limit yourself to just one?
  • by larkost ( 79011 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:24PM (#14916452)
    No, because which is faster is a very complicated answer. It is like asking which is faster: a tank or a Porche. On a racetrack the Porche is going to be faster. On a field with mud a foot deep the tank is going to be (a lot) faster. This is a rather stark example, but the principal holds just as well for the Windows-MacOS comparisons.

    The best way of comparing has always been to benchmark the particular job you have in mind, an then to remember that generalizations are not really valid.

    Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you a bridge.
  • by XMilkProject ( 935232 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:29PM (#14916525) Homepage
    Just wanted to say that you had a rock solid submission there, if only submissions of that quality and depth could actually be accepted on slashdot then we'd all be alot more informed of current IT events.
  • Name one reason why Apple would not want WinXP booting on a Mac?

    Because WinXP boots just as nicely on a Walmart laptop. If people who own Mac hardware find themselves booting to Windows as often or more often than OSX, their next purchase may rationalize that the premium is just not worth it to run OSX.

    The debate goes two ways - way one, I get to run both OSes, how wonderful is that? Way two, I run XP more and more, why buy Mac hardware?

    It's only time that will tell us which is which...

  • by JaXx-StoRm ( 936638 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:38PM (#14916636)
    ...but I wish they'd concentrate more on getting Mac OS working on a PC. That to me is much more interesting that getting Windows working on a mac
  • by wanorris ( 473323 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:45PM (#14916699) Homepage
    Yes -- web development is the killer app for loading Windows, OS X, and Linux simultaneously with virtualization.

    For that matter, other kinds of cross-platform testing, for example, for Java applications, would benefit similarly.
  • Re:obivous! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bynary ( 827120 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:46PM (#14916715) Homepage
    Welcome to the real world where Apple no longer uses proprietary hardware (or very little). ATI makes the video card for the iMac. Intel makes the processor. Micron makes the RAM (and possibly ROM) chips. Some obscure, Korean, third-party, hardware manufacturer makes everything else (just like in your PC). So, unless ATI hasn't released the drivers for their Radeon X1600 then it should be fairly easy to get WinXP to work with "Apple's" hardware. The only big difference is the TPM chip. Shoot, with all the people booting Mac OS X natively on random PC hardware, it shouldn't be a big logical leap to grasping the concept that booting WinXP (or any Windows for that matter) on a Macintel is only a matter of time.

    OSX boots on PC. Win boots on PC. OSX boots on Mac. Should not Win boot on Mac?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:18PM (#14917060)
    WTF? Someone potentially shows a really sick hack and all people can do is bitch about how it's "obviously" photoshopped and man, who'd be stupid enough to try this?! Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, where has the hacker ethos gone? How about withholding judgment until we get solid confirmation one way or another. Since the forums got pwned, we'll have to wait and see if step-by-step instructions are forthcoming so it can be reproduced. If they don't show up in a week, or they constantly "delayed" then we can collectively denounce him as a fraud.

    And as for why do this to begin with? How about because we can! Sheesh. Getting things that aren't supposed to work to work is part and parcel of being a true hacker. It's breaking the pigopolists' rules and doing things with hardware/software you bought that they never intended. Lighten up, guys. It's cool. If this is real, it's definitely a sick hack and we should salute him.
  • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:25PM (#14917126) Homepage
    Please reread the comment you were replying to. In particular, the line:
    that will extremely useful to a significant amount of people even if you can't see the point of it.
  • by m50d ( 797211 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @02:07PM (#14917582) Homepage Journal
    Apple makes good hardware. Horrendously overpriced, but top quality. If you wanted to run windows, particularly, on a laptop, and wanted the best money-no-object hardware, I can see this being somewhat useful.
  • by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {snarcesorw}> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @02:10PM (#14917618) Homepage
    Unfortunately, this would kill a lot of their developer base.

    If almost all PC's have Windows, and almost all Macs run Windows apps, then you can just write a program for Windows, and there is no need to make a Mac specific port.

    If there is no native Mac OS software, why get a Mac?

    Sure, lots of developers would develop for the Mac out of love for the platform or whatever, but a lot of other devs would declare that just supporting Windows is sufficient for a very large percentage of their user base.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @02:41PM (#14917890)
    > No, because which is faster is a very complicated answer.

    No fanboi it isn't. Comparing a Windows PC to a Sun Niagra based server would be complicated, comparing a PC from Apple running typical desktop loadsets under OS X to basically the same loadsets under Windows XP on the same hardware isn't complicated at all. Encode some video, run Microsoft Office through some timed task lists, script some compute intensive Photoshop transformations, etc. If one OS is faster at all of the tasks it is the clearcut winner, if as is more likely, each excel at some tasks and falter at others this will inform customers which is more appropriate for their intended loads. Of course if the intended load doesn't imply long waits under either OS the choice of which to boot can be made purely on personal preference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:28PM (#14918782)
    Have to say I learned a lot more from the rejected submission (with links to the tech aspects of the problem), than the accepted one which is more concerned with "OMG is it a fake".

    Hey /. editors, you are "doing heck of a job" (sic).
  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:37PM (#14918839) Homepage Journal
    Because WinXP boots just as nicely on a Walmart laptop. If people who own Mac hardware find themselves booting to Windows as often or more often than OSX, their next purchase may rationalize that the premium is just not worth it to run OSX.

    This seems doubtful to happen in any significant numbers. It isn't as if Intel Mac owners don't know about this option known as the "Windows PC", or the "cheap Walmart Laptop" that you mention. The systems have been available for just a bit more than two months now -- if Intel Mac owners wanted a Windows XP machine running on cheap Intel hardware, they would have bought a Windows XP machine running on cheap Intel hardware.

    There may be a percentage of "switchers" who decide to "switch back" -- but I imagine this has always been the case, so I don't see how anything would really be changing here. The only thing that is new is that the "switch back-ers" don't have to buy a new PC -- they can do it on their existing Mac hardware (assuming the challenge has indeed been met).


  • Support. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Foerstner ( 931398 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:01PM (#14919049)
    The keyword here is "support." Apple does not "support" running Windows, or any OS besides Mac OS X, on its hardware. Why they chose this route is very easy to understand.

    When Apple designed the MacIntel architecture, it started with a clean sheet of paper, including only the hardware and firmware that would be useful to a Mac OS customer. The result was a simple, legacy-free design that avoids much of the baggage that the x86 world has carried for over 20 years.

    To support Windows, Apple would have to include a legacy BIOS layer, VGA BIOS, and who knows what else. This would complicate the hardware from the get-go. Second, Apple would have to either A) License Windows from Microsoft, and include it with every Macintel (a very expensive proposition) or B) answer dozens of AppleCare calls from users as they try to install WinXP, configure appropriate drivers, and get a registration key (also a very expensive proposition, especially for a company that does not already have Windows-trained call center techs.

    I know of no mainstream vendors who support home users with a dual-boot configuration. And very few will support even corporate customers who dual-boot.
  • by Thrudheim ( 910314 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:12PM (#14919140)
    If you are so sure they said it would be impossible, then tell us where did they said it.

    The parent message is referring to well-reported statements by Apple's Jobs and Schiller, who both said Apple would do nothing to prevent people from running Windows on Intel-based Macs. See this link: []

    As the article states, Schiller's words were, "That doesn't preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will. We won't do anything to preclude that."

  • Re: Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dch24 ( 904899 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:19PM (#14919734) Journal
    Finally! I would mod everyone who's whining down right now. Take a breath people, and let the guy clean up his instructions for submission. We know that once he posts them on the forums, they're going to be plastered all over the web. So I understand if he's taking his time. Besides, it's only $12K. That's not very much money for months of work.

    And if he's faking, he won't be able to hide. Anybody know more details on narf2006?

  • by Matts ( 1628 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:23PM (#14920293) Homepage
    I don't get it. It's (presumably) the same code running on the same hardware. All you'll really prove if Photoshop is faster on the PC vs Mac is that the PC version used a better compiler. What are you trying to show exactly?

    (Note I use Photoshop as the example because it's what everyone will try to prove is faster on one platform vs the other, but I imagine the code for the filters will be the same tuned assembler across both platforms - even if it's not, all you've proved is that they need to GET the tuned assembler from the other platform).
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:59PM (#14920560)
    > All you'll really prove if Photoshop is faster on the PC vs Mac is that
    > the PC version used a better compiler. What are you trying to show exactly?

    Exactly. The only differences should depend on the OS and it's supporting infrastructure. Compiler, libraries, memory management, disk throughput, etc. And those differences are likely to be highly variable. OS X might have UNIXy goodness (not sure how Darwin stands compared to a modern Linux or Solaris though) in it's favor while Microsoft probably has the advantage on compilier tech vs GCC. Some good benchmarks should be interesting to read through.
  • by TomatoMan ( 93630 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:07PM (#14920612) Homepage Journal
    I couldn't care less about booting Windows - I just want to be able to RUN it (or the brain-dead apps I'm sometimes forced to work with). Dual-booting is a pain in the ass - who the hell wants to run only in windows with no OSX available?

    Give me basically a natively fast virtual machine. I don't ever want to boot my mac into Windows. Just let me run it like VPC on steroids when I have to, and you've got a sale.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982