So Much For MacCHRP (9/19/99)

So much for rumors about the resurgence of Mac cloning. Recently, IBM unveiled a new, free PowerPC motherboard design, based on CHRP-- the open reference design that originally promised to yield PPC systems that could run the Mac OS, Windows NT, Solaris, and a handful of other operating systems. CHRP, as you probably recall, essentially died a horrible screaming death as OS after OS dropped plans to support it, and eventually CHRP just turned into a way to open up the Mac cloning world; Mac OS on CHRP, by definition, wouldn't require the presence of a Mac hardware ROM, and so anybody who wanted to would have been able to build CHRP boxes and sell them as Mac-compatibles. In theory.

Of course, given how badly Apple was getting kicked around by the cloners they kept a leash on via the ROMs, the release of Mac OS for CHRP would most likely have been Apple's fastest option for committing suicide. Instead, CHRP was never supported by Apple, Steve killed the whole cloning operation, and today's Mac OS still requires the presence of a hardware ROM to boot. But with IBM's new CHRP board and the next-generation Mac OS X just around the corner, lots of people wondered if perhaps the ROM issue might be going away, giving CHRP a chance to rise from its own ashes.

Not so, claims Apple head marketing honcho Phil Schiller. Phil, Sancho Panza to Steve Jobs' Don Quixote, stated clearly at last week's Apple Expo that Mac OS X will in fact only run on "Apple hardware equipped with a G3 or G4 processor," according to a MacWEEK article; IBM's CHRP board is intended instead to appeal to box-makers interested in building a kick-butt Linux machine. So when Mac OS X comes out "early in 2000," nothing less than an honest-to-goodness iMac, iBook, Powerbook G3, or Power Mac G3 or G4 will do. Which means that folks like us who are still cranking along on Power Computing 604e iron had better start skipping lunch and saving pennies...

SceneLink (1789)
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The above scene was taken from the 9/19/99 episode:

September 19, 1999: It's official; Hiawatha Bray's recent Apple-friendly article was no fluke. Meanwhile, Phil Schiller shoots down rumors that Mac OS X might run on IBM's new CHRP-based PowerPC motherboard, and Microsoft gets busted footing the bill for ads from "independent observers" in support of the company...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1788: The Stepford Reporter (9/19/99)   Just one more example that assumptions can be dangerous: the reputation of the Boston Globe's own resident Mac-basher Hiawatha Bray extends far beyond the Beantown city limits, much to our surprise. As it turns out, we apparently didn't have to tell you folks who Mr. Bray is; his past columns seem to be well-known throughout the AtAT viewership, thanks to the Internet's role in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things...

  • 1790: Déjà Vu All Over Again (9/19/99)   You know how a funny joke just gets boring when you hear it over and over again? Well, for some reason, we just never get tired of hearing the one about the lawyer, the priest, and the weasel from Redmond walking into a bar...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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