Does the Macintosh Have a Split Personality?

In the first days of personal computers, the Macintosh with its revolutionary point-and-click, desktop metaphor and Graphical User Interface (GUI) was marketed since the easy-to-use alternative to the blinking cursor of the PC’s Command Line Interface (CLI). Because of deficiencies in programs (and programmers), the Mac was considered underpowered, overpriced and, frankly, much less macho compared to beige boxes that, in short order, fell under the sway of two main chipmakers, Intel and AMD.

For the first 20 roughly years in operation, Apple used Motorola chipsets (the 68000 family) that had some advantages to make up for its less-than-awesome raw power. Motorola chips were optimized for color, sound and graphics, making the Mac the computer of choice for musicians, artists, designers and publishers. Desktop publishing can trace its beginnings to the pairing of the Macintosh with the first LaserWriter in 1985, and the core group of Mac creative apps (Word, PageMaker, FreeHand, Digital Darkroom and, in 1990, Photoshop) would solidify the Mac’s hold on the art and marketing departments, while accountants and administrators stuck with their soon-to-be-Windows-powered PCs.

Apple joins the Intel team

In those heady, exciting and improbably confusing early days of the home computer boom, Mac owners (who had yet to crack 10% roughly of total computer users) were definitely the absolute most brand-loyal, competitive and cultish of all. Led by journalist-turned-marketeer Guy Kawasaki, they certainly were not only pro-Mac, and by extension pro-Motorola and supportive of Mac peripherals vendors, they certainly were also often virulently anti-PC . To Mac owners, this meant being anti-Intel, anti-Microsoft and anti-generic-anything, sold-out as they certainly were to a reasonably capable computing platform that has been, despite its lack of raw power, the most effective built, most dependable, most stylish and best designed.

In January 2006, hell froze over, pigs flew and Apple announced a new version of the iMac having an Intel Core Duo CPU. Well, the last one actually did happen, and it changed the landscape of the PC world forever. While Apple promised it would finish its Boot Camp application soon, allowing users as well into Mac or Windows, hackers and hot-rodders didn’t waste any time and began experimenting right away. Boot Camp Beta, the only real version designed for OS X 10.4, debuted in April 2006 and expired the last day of 2007, since the feature was then folded into the newest Leopard (10.5) version of OS X. The HaxMac OS went to 10.6, Snow Leopard, in August 2009.

Every model a possible Windows machine

Although Motorola’s PowerPC chips had gotten around the still-potent G5, it had been the G4 chip that continued to be found in some models after the Intel Core Duo (then Core 2 Duo, then Xeon Quad-Core chips, now the i5s and others) made their way in to the progressively empowered product line. The Mac mini was the last model to use the G4, and has been outfitted with Intel CPUs just like the remaining portion of the Macintoshes. Actually, the last Mac OS does not really run using PowerPC Macs. They are now goners, at the very least in terms of going into the near future with them.

Having the Intel CPU means that each Mac model has the capacity of running Windows, and it doesn’t mean you’ve to select one or another as well, since it did in a Boot Camp-only universe. Yes, you can boot into Windows now, along with into the different flavors of Linux, from Red Hat to Ubuntu, but you can also use what are called “virtualization engines” to produce environments in which you may run Windows and/or Linux after booting normally into OS X.

And Linux makes three

Parallels Desktop, Parallels Server, VMware Fusion and CodeWeaver CrossOver 8 are typical applications that enable you to bring Windows and/or Windows applications into your Mac working environment. As opposed to running one OS or another, you can run one, 2 or 3 at any given time, customizing your approach for your particular needs. Linux packages, including the aforementioned Red Hat and Ubuntu, are right at home since the Mac OS is created on the top of Berkeley Mach Unix OS, and Windows is welcomed into familiar territory by the Intel CPUs.

Even though the smiley-face Mac OS was given the heave-ho in the first major revision of OS X, Jaguar 10.2, that attitude of hardworking happiness lives on. It’s what might get all three of these os’s, all-important and useful in their very own unique ways, to play nice on a single piece of hardware and cooperate among each other to get you throughout your work (and play). You can now choose whatever tool gets the task done, regardless of OS by which it runs, as the Mac, thankfully, really does have a split personality. That’s why is it so great!.

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