Vanderpool, Intel Dual Core VT and Intel Macs

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I (and a few others) been blabbering about this for a while but it seems that very few people are really aware of what is about to happen here.

These new Intel dual core cpu’s are going to change our computing world, and Apple is sitting in the catbird seat.

Intel put virtualization support into its latest cpu’s. Originally, they called this “Vanderpool”, but have unfortunately dropped that nomenclature and are now just referring to it as “Intel Virtualisation Technology” or “VT”. That’s unfortunate, because it makes it much more diffficult to Google. Maybe that’s why this stuff sometimes seems like a well kept secret?

The simple fact is that whether it’s Vanderpool or Intel VT, these new processors will make it much easier to build virtual machines. Companies like Xen will be taking advantage of that, as will VMWare and no doubt a host of others.

So your new Dell with a Dual Core CPU will be able to run multiple OSes easily. That’s great, but it’s much more important that the new Intel Macs have this also. Forget dual booting. Forget Virtual PC. Those are totally unimportant now. Intel Macs will only need VM software to run Windows, Linux, BSD, or just about any hobby OS. And if Apple plays it smart, their machines will be the only machines that can do it all: Windows, OS X, Linux et al.

Oh, yeah, I know: Google will show you plenty of matches for pirating OS X onto plain old PC’s. That’s true, but remember that use will always be at least unsanctioned and probably in violation of OS X licensing. It may also be somewhat buggy. Only a real Apple Intel Mac will be sure to run OS X.

But will Windows run well under a virtual machine on OS X? Really, it has to: Microsoft can’t do anything to jeopardize vm’s success, and why would they care anyway? Microsoft doesn’t sell hardware, and is just as happy to sell Windows for installation into a virtual machine as into a Dell PC. Maybe even happier, because that market might not have to be discounted as much.

So that immediately sets up Intel Macs as the obvious platform of choice for developers and support people. Many businesses now have Macs in the Art Department and PC’s everywhere else; the Intel Macs make it possible and desirable to standardize on one platform. The wave builds, doesn’t it?

The “pirate” OS X installs will do nothing but help this along. If people are able to run an unauthorized copy of OS X in a virtual machine on their Dell PC and they like what they see, why wouldn’t they buy a real Intel Mac when upgrade time comes around? They will.

The possible flaw here is Apple’s need to support vm’s also. At the moment, that need may not be as strong as it is for Microsoft, but it does exist, so that may leave Apple entirely dependent on licensing to keep OS X off non-Apple hardware. If popularity builds as I think it will, Apple could find itself in a tough position where it has even more pressure to stop building hardware and switch to a os provider only.

Who knows, maybe somebody like Google comes along with an OS that is nothing but a browser, email and media center machine as sold, but that has strong support for virtual machines. Maybe Google buys Apple just for that reason. Maybe our whole computing world is about to change radically.

*Originally published at APLawrence.com

A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services http://www.pcunix.com

Vanderpool, Intel Dual Core VT and Intel Macs
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