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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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  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:11AM (#14915738)
    ...Amit Singh from IBM and (slashdotted 16 times for excellent technical articles on various bits of internals of Apple hardware and Mac OS X) has his own legacy boot solution as well. From a rejected submission:

    It appears that Amit Singh of IBM Almaden Research Center [], of [] and author of Mac OS X Internals [], has devised a method to allow legacy, or BIOS-based, booting on Intel-based Macs [], which they're calling "BAMBIOS". This means operating systems that currently only support legacy booting, such as many Linux distributions that don't yet support EFI, or things like Windows XP and the forthcoming Windows Vista (the 32-bit version of which will lack EFI support []), will now be able to run on Intel-based Macs without modification (and completely legally). There is also another solution from "narf2006", described here [] and shown in this flickr set of photos []. narf2006's solution is awaiting verification by Colin for the $12,000 pot []. Time to get that MacBook Pro [] you've been waiting on for the best of both worlds, everyone...

    So even if narf2006's solution isn't real, Amit's solution most certainly is, since he has a great deal of credibility. One way or another, we'll all be able to boot Windows directly on our Intel-based Macs.

    This will be great news for people interested in Windows gaming on an Intel-based Mac (who really need the direct video access) and/or people who just want to do it NOW; however, a virtualization solution running under Mac OS X, such as VMware [] or Parallels [], will be the real holy grail for most users. Most people don't want/need/care about the highest graphics and I/O performance; just the ability to run Windows side-by-side with Mac OS X at a speed that is more than usable, and to also have some capability to seamlessly share things like clipboards and files between the environments (as a nice VM environment would most certainly do). Not to mention not having to reboot.

    In any case, even dual booting will be a welcome capability. It remains to be seen how convoluted the process is...

    Also, I just spoke with Colin Nederkoorn (the guy running the contest) moments ago, and narf2006's solution has NOT been submitted to him yet. He said that narf2006 said he's "cleaning it up" and will be submitting it "later this week". So, no one, including Colin, has actually seen this solution working yet. Also, he apparently hasn't been in communication with Amit on the BAMBIOS solution as yet...
  • by Noer ( 85363 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:15AM (#14915782)
    but I'd much rather see darWINE working well, or VMWare/VirtualPC running Windows at nearly native speed, or even some significant speedups that make QEMU nearly native speed. A Virtual Windows without the slowdown of emulation would be really nice; on the other hand, I have no desire whatsoever to actually boot Windows on a Mac. That's like putting 87 octane gas in a formula 1 car! ;-)
  • Re:Let's ruin a mac (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZiakII ( 829432 ) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:19AM (#14915823)
    Let's put an insecure OS on a beautiful machine and see if we can break it. Of course, this is only a lead in to making software that will be put on a CD to destroy a system if left in the CD drive and the user is told it will do something positive to their machine. OK, it will require social engineering and a upset worker in a software company to put this on a CD. OK, there are no IT people that get upset at company they work for. What was I thinking...

    You Sir, are why I don't hate Macs just Mac Users....
  • Re:I'd vote fake... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mobiux ( 118006 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:21AM (#14915853)
    I am interested in what the device manager says, if he shows a shot of that, it would go a long way.
  • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:26AM (#14915887) 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?

    As people have said many many times before, why buy a Porsche and put a Yugo engine in it? Yeah use XP at work and blah blah blah and when you get home you might want to run blah blah blah so it would be nice if you could reboot into XP blah blah blah.

    But fricken $12,000?
  • by catwh0re ( 540371 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:31AM (#14915928)
    Here is the thing: you don't need to photoshop anything to get images of windows on an "Intel" iMac

    The iMac G5 with built-in iSight camera is visually identical to the new Intel based iMacs.

    Virtual PC 7 runs on the iMac G5 without a hitch (and allows full screen mode.)

    You then need only take photos of your iMac G5 running windows-xp under virtual PC in full screen mode.

    Better proof is images of this method on a MacBook Pro, because intel-based macs are unable to run virtual PC.

    Additionally, faking images of a MacBook Pro running XP is also trivial, as you can simply get screen shots (from virtual pc on a G4 or G5 system.. or even off the web.) and display them full screen on your new Intel Mac.

    In fact I can fake pictures of my powerbook running vista via a similar method, I can fake images of my powerbook running nintendo DS games with the same method.

    The truth of this will come out once the method is tested to work or not work. Only then will the prize money be rewarded.

  • by BShive ( 573771 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:32AM (#14915939) Homepage 1/ [] There's no way for that one to be real. The screen is overlapping the edge of the machine itself. He definitely needs some hard proof (or better pictures).
  • by Sesticulus ( 544932 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:34AM (#14915953)
    Apparently quite a lot of people, this is what the latest of perhaps a dozen articles since the mac->intel announcement?

    As a small developer that with about a 50/50 split in customers that run OSX and customers running Windows, having a single machine for support is a very attractive thing.
  • by EraserMouseMan ( 847479 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:38AM (#14915990)
    Yes, but if we could get WinXP loaded on the Mac hardware we could do some sweet benchmarked comparisons. It would really settle the debate about which OS is faster. Wouldn't it?
  • by BillGod ( 639198 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:57AM (#14916184)
    Ok let me get this right. 99% of all /. talk trash about M$ all day. Windows is hell and Bill Gates is the devil..... Now there is a big geek contest to see who can get winXP to run on a mac? Am I missing something? Is this just for bragging rights to see who can do it first or is everyone actually wanting to install and run XP on mac?
  • by trianglecat ( 318478 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:11PM (#14916315)
    Im all for this happening but... has anyone looked at the photos? The screen is on top of the bottom right cornner of the machine. []
  • by CottonEyedJoe ( 177704 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:13PM (#14916339) Journal
    I know this is a bit off topic, but has anyone tried Solaris x86? It would probably be more interesting to me to be able to dual boot Solaris/OSX than Windows XP.
  • by Weedlekin ( 836313 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:15PM (#14916363)
    "Why would you want to run WindowsXP on an Intel based Mac?"

    I'm an example of somebody who would want precisely that capability. I have a Mac and various Wintel PCs, and use the Mac for everything except my work (which currently revolves around Windows programming) and some occasional gaming. Being a programming contractor means that I need to travel a fair bit, and my old Windows laptop is showing signs of age, so I'll be in the market for a new one during the next few months. Practicality would appear to dictate another Windows-based machine, but I'd prefer an Apple with OS X otherwise, and could actually justify buying one if I could do my Windows development work on it.
  • by moderators_are_w*nke ( 571920 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:17PM (#14916375) Journal
    I can't believe nobody ever got the old PPC builds of Windows NT to boot on a PPC Mac?
  • Photoshopped!.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <[moc.anhtipe] [ta] [olpah]> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:21PM (#14916423) Homepage
    ...and badly at that...take a look at the "Real VGA!" photo...thats pretty clearly a BAD! Bad! photoshoping...
  • 3D Screenshot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nuclear Elephant ( 700938 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:03PM (#14916895) Homepage
    Since VirtualPC doesn't support 3D, why not just have him post a screenshot of a 3D program running?
  • by twofidyKidd ( 615722 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:08PM (#14916953)
    I never said "NICE" hardware. I said "EXPENSIVE" hardware. There's a difference in context, although the reality may be that the hardware is pretty nice. Indeed, there is nicer hardware out there (that is also more expensive), but the point of my argument is: I've paid a lot of money to have a particular OS run as smoothly as possible on the hardware it was designed for. Why would I want to put a different OS on that same hardware?

    In my opinion, there are far better hardware configurations on which to run Windows, however you're still going to have issues with security, hardware interoperability (unless you REALLY know you stuff; enter "computer enthusiasts"), and lack of features. This is why I liken windows on an Intel-based Mac to putting an 8-track player in a B-mer. It's not an elitist attitude, it's just plain sense. You hate Mac users for other reasons. Besides, I'm not even a "Mac User" by your definition. I own two Macs and like 4 other computers that run anything from Windows to FreeBSD. They're just tools.
  • Can't wait! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:30PM (#14917186)
    When the iBooks are released (or are they Macbooks now? -- whatever...), I will be able to work on my XP Machine (no remote desktop on OSX, or is there? NOT VNC!), and then reboot and 'play' on my OSX Machine :)

    Yup, can't wait!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:56PM (#14917454)
    Solaris/x86 has a more fundamental problem to be conquered first - that is to boot successfully on _STANDARD_ PC hardware first. More often than not it fails to boot on non-fancy bare bones x86 hardware. So let's leave Solaris/x86 alone for some more time.
  • "not needed" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @01:58PM (#14917482) Homepage Journal
    There are people who use more than email, web browsers and music players on their computer. The entire engineering industry relies on Windows-only (few of which run on x86 Linux) applications, and a large portion of the gaming world plays Windows-only games.

    • Gridgen
    • Unigraphics
    • Star-CD
    • Rhino
    • CATIA
    • Pro/Engineer
    • Fluent
    • 3ds max
    • AutoCAD
    • SolidWork

    These aren't niche needs. EVERY MODERN MACHINE was designed using one of applications above.

    • Call of Duty 2
    • Battlefield 2
    • Half-Life 2
    • Far Cry
    • Fear

    Some of these are old, but they're all still very popular.

    Whether we like it or not, there is a great need to run Windows applications that can't be satisfied by WINE or VirtualPC (usually because of 3d graphics performance). Getting Windows running on an Intel Mac isn't just a hacking challenge; it's a fantastic opportunity at creating a machine that satisfies all needs.
  • by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <[moc.anhtipe] [ta] [olpah]> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @02:06PM (#14917566) Homepage
    Take a look at the over all picture.

    Follow the line at the botton of the monitor and the line along the right hand side.

    Now notice how the bottom left corner looks pulled away from the monitor also notice how the line at the bottom of the screen actually disappears under the blue windows screen (along with it attendant shadow) The same happens to the right hand side. the edge of the monitor and the shadow being cast over it also dissappears under the blue windows loading screen.

    If you look at the blue windows screen itself it has a ever so slight shadow on it (a darkening of the blue color) on the right hand side. However the shadow's shape is not continuous with the showdow being cast over the monitor's edge.

    As for my skills never claimed to have any documented ones, I just have a good eye. My eye tells me there is a wrongness to the image and further exploration as documented above explains the wrongness.
  • Re:"not needed" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rufty_tufty ( 888596 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:07PM (#14918127) Homepage

    Not sure how PCs are designed, but I've done both electronic and mechanical design for embedded telco equipment, and the only tool that we used that only ran on windows was Outlook.

    all the electronic design was Cadence's toolchain, Flowtherm for the thermal modling, I forget what the mechanical package was called, but I had a sun on my desk to run it on...
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:09PM (#14918137)
    IMHO the ideal situation is using Intel's VT, booting one or both operating systems natively on the same CPU, especially if the hypervisor can be made so that the partitions can be adjusted as needed -- a "whole system" partition for solo-booting an OS, a fat/skinny combo, a 50/50 combo, etc.

    I'd personally be able to live with a VMWare-type setup under a host OS, but for me the host OS would have to be Windows just for work reasons.
  • by eobet ( 959982 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:21PM (#14918249) Homepage
    Narf has claimed to be using a partial CMS implementation, which to me sounds a lot cleaner and faster than BIOS emulation lifted from Bochs (last time I checked, that emulator was slow as hell, and people claim that the BIOS in Bochs have trouble with Linux and BeOS).

    The reason I want XP on my Apple hardware is because the application I use professionally isn't availible on OS X (yet) and then, of course... games.

    I do think Windows works for the most part, but when you have been using it every day for years, it's the little things that get to you (like windows moving themselves on top of other windows, focus stealing applications, inability/slow killing of zombie processes, slow-downs due to leftover files from uninstallations, etc. etc. etc). I'm hoping that OS X is as clean as BeOS (which I used until Be died) and won't even need a reinstall, merely a wipe of a /home/ dir.
  • Re:obivous! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:34PM (#14918822)

    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.

    You seem a little confused. The "TPM chip" as you put it has nothing to do with stopping other OS's from booting on macs, it is just a way to harder to make OS X boot on a machine without the right one. The reason it is hard to get WinXP booting on an Intel mac is because Windows utilizes BIOS to boot on all 32 bit systems. Apple did not include BIOS, opting for the more advanced EFI. Windows does support EFI, but only on 64 bit chips. Apple is using 32 bit chips. Hence, the Apple machines are hardware Windows does not support.

    You are likely right that Windows will eventually boot on Macs, just because eventually Apple will move to 64 bit Intel chips, which Windows does support, or MS may implement the ability to boot from 32 bit EFI systems. Yes Apple uses mostly commodity hardware, but it is usually newer hardware and they often don't bother implementing 20 year old legacy features like PS/2 ports, floppy drives, BIOS, etc. As a result, it is entirely possible that Apple machines may stay ahead of the curve of Windows support and thus Windows users will have a hard time using Apple hardware. This is mostly because Apple has such a limited hardware set it needs to support, it can adapt much more quickly to new hardware.

    As a final point, with the new virtualization features in the newest Intel chips, I don't see many people dual booting macs anyway. When you can run multiple OS's hosted on top of OS X, at nearly the same speed as a fresh boot (RAM notwithstanding) I suspect most users will prefer that route. I know I will.

  • Re:Verification? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by plj ( 673710 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:15PM (#14919162)
    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.

    Indeed the dual-booting requirement sounds rather hard to achieve due to the GUID Partition Table (GPT) format required by EFI; Windows XP does not recognise this format, and I fear that even if narf2006 or someone else succeeds, the solution will be along the lines “hack X tells Windows that boot partition begins from disk address Y... AND DO NOT MESS WITH DISK ADMINISTRATOR!!!”
  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:41PM (#14921111)
    Now notice how the bottom left corner looks pulled away from the monitor also notice how the line at the bottom of the screen actually disappears under the blue windows screen (along with it attendant shadow) The same happens to the right hand side. the edge of the monitor and the shadow being cast over it also dissappears under the blue windows loading screen.

    If you look at the blue windows screen itself it has a ever so slight shadow on it (a darkening of the blue color) on the right hand side. However the shadow's shape is not continuous with the showdow being cast over the monitor's edge.

    welcome to the world of chromatic abberation.

    you can demonstrate this effect with glasses. open up a terminal window and display some red, white, and blue text on a black background. now angle your glasses vs the display (eg, look through the narrow part of your lens, then pan through to the thicker parts) and see how the blue and red text move up and down while the white text stays.

    you may also notice, looking through glasses, "shadowing" of blue boxes against other backgrounds, especially white and red.

    this is what you get from cheap cameras (eg cellphones). good cameras with good lenses won't do that.
  • by kabz ( 770151 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @01:47AM (#14922156) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, it took 30 hours to install XP on my powerbook, but Q / QEMU on the mini runs it ok. Slow as hell though, and Ubuntu is even slower.

    I'll be sticking with OS X until VMWare does the decent thing.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard