Should Apple integrate Bochs ? 

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There's been a lot of talk about Bochs as a possible alternative since Microsoft acquired Virtual PC last month, but one idea published in BusinessWeek got my attention: integration of x86 emulation into OS X. Waow. Mac OS X would become the most versatile OS out there.

&quote; Perhaps even as early as the upcoming Panther release (you know, the one after Jaguar OS X 10.2), Apple users could pop a Windows CD or DVD into the drive, and OS X would seamlessly launch Bochs and run the Windows code. In fact, I bet Apple could get this process to run smoothly enough that loading PC software would differ only slightly from launching Mac programs. &quote;

If you want to give Bochs a try, download it from SourceForge project page, or check out OpenOSX WinTel 1.0. Interestingly, multiple G4 CPUs can be utilized and are emulated as a single powerful Pentium processor or as dual Pentium Processors. Virtual PC files are compatible, and can copied over from the Finder.

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Comments and responses

  • 04 Mar 2003

    Picked up on Macintouch (
    Tim Seufert offered his notes on the open-source Bochs PC emulator, which has received new attention following Microsoft’s takeover of Virtual PC from Connectix Corp.:
    I strongly recommend that MacInTouch readers try out Bochs for free before spending $30 on the version. Visit [Bochs] to download it. The Mac OS X download includes a disk image of DLX Linux and an AppleScript to start it up.
    For most users, Bochs is simply not a practical substitute for VirtualPC. The reason is simple: Bochs is not very fast, since the Bochs developers generally prioritize technical correctness and portability ahead of performance. Bochs can be very useful for old legacy PC software (such as DOS apps from the 286 days), but it’s painfully slow when running anything recent. I’ve read accounts of the OS X version of Bochs taking over 24 hours to install Windows 98, for example.
    On another note, makes the following claim about Bochs running on OS X:
    “Thanks to Mac OS X’s advanced architecture, multiple G4 CPUs can be utilized and are emulated as a single powerful Pentium® processor or as dual Pentium Processors.” Bochs does not utilize multiple CPUs, no matter what OS it runs on. Having examined the Bochs source code and searched the Bochs mailing list archives, I can confidently state that Bochs uses only a single thread of execution (even when emulating multiple Pentiums). Threads are the basis of multiprocessor utilization; to use more than one CPU at a time, a program must have more than one thread. This is as true of MacOS X as it is of any operating system. As Bochs has one thread, by definition it uses exactly one G4 at a time. has previously been notified that this claim is at best misleading; nevertheless, they continue to make it.

  • 19 May 2004


    I wish I would have done more research before getting openOSX’s WinTel. It is PAINFULLY SLOW!! And it took at least 10 hours to do an install of Windows 2000. Sheesh. Contact to OpenOSX goes unanswered, there goes 25 bucks. An inexpensive lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. I’ll just wait until the beta of Epicad’s Sync Again so I can sync my Blackberry. Once that’s complete and functional, Windows be damned.

  • 19 Sep 2004


    OpenOSX are swindling people- they do not follow GNU ethics, and have been in a conflict with Fink maintainters. Check out the email correspondence between the Fink maintainter and OpenOSX boss at the Fink homepages. It is not nice. Apparently, some people just want to make money by repackaging others work, and disrespect and exploit others work and their priciples of non-materialism.

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