When Apple CEO Steve Jobs told delegates at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) last week that its would be "easy" to port their software to Intel, I didn't expect it to be this easy.
Game developer Ryan Gordon attended last week's WWDC and "pretty much chained [himself] to an Intel-based Mac in the Universal Binary Lab," he wrote on his website.
"Various open source things […] all compiled and ran without any changes. Not a single line. Take that as a ringing endorsement of free software if you like."
But Gordon makes his money as a game developer, so he set out to port several games over to x86 OS X.
Within three days he had Unreal Tournament 2004 up and running. Not to say that he didn't hit any roadblocks. At one place he "stalled out for over 12 hours trying to coerce the compiler not to crash." He finally got help from an Apple engineer at the event who solved the problem for him. "Still, three days qualifies as a success story for this work," the engineer wrote.
The official story Apple is telling is that the new Intel based systems will come out some time before June next year. But don't get your hopes up for an early launch. Apple might have been working on OS X for Intel for the past five years, but "it's pretty clear that this is not ready to ship to the public as a Complete Retail Thing." Luckyly Apple has until June 2006 to iron out the last wrinkles.
Gordon also was impressed with the Rosetta emulation technology that allows current generation OS X applications to run on the new Intel based systems. It "isn't as bad as I anticipated," he wrote. "In fact, it's pretty darned good. For everything but games, you probably wouldn't even know you were running it." That corresponds with what Jobs promised last week, but it always sounds better when it comes from a developer.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about Rosetta at the WWDC. Rosetta is named after the Rosetta stone, which allowed scientists to decipher the hieroglyphs.
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