January 11, 2006
Written By David Morgenstern
Opinion: Will the new Macs run Windows and Linux as well as Mac OS X? Here’s a history lesson on multiboot machines.
The siren call of multiple-boot machines keeps insinuating itself into the left brains of IT managers, especially following Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ Tuesday unveiling of the first Intel-based Macs.
While Apple Computer and Microsoft remain mum on the prospect, one expected benefit of Apple’s switch from PowerPC to X86 processors would be a machine that can boot in three flavors of operating systems: Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.
Certainly, Apple wasn’t going to talk up multibooting. The pitch to the Macworld Expo crowd here in San Francisco was meant to reassure the faithful about the processor transition, especially for PowerBook users. The PowerPC G4 used for years in both the pro and consumer notebooks had grown so long in the tooth that its performance was seen as pathetic.
Jobs said the new Intel-based MacBook Pro was four to five times as fast as the previous generation.
During the many software demonstrations in the keynote address, performance of native applications appeared very fast and even the building of a multilayer, effects-laden Adobe Photoshop document—running under the Rosetta translation layer—occurred at decent speed. Of course, graphics pros will use the PowerMac workstation, instead of a notebook.