Aug 18, 1998

Mac OS X to Emulate Alpha?

Boy, this story sure has one foot in the Wacko File!

During the last few weeks, things have been heating up in the Alpha oven, concerning System-level Alpha 21264 emulation in Mac OS X. What really steams things up now is that this RISC Emulation Core, as Apple and Compaq reportedly call it, may be implemented in Mac OS X!

Sources close to the project, code-named Encumbering Load, say that the reasons behind this purported emulation are many, and surprising ones at that!

Remember the good ol' days of System 7, with almost no native code in the OS for Power Macs and constant crashing? The REC, when implemented in Mac OS X (or in Mac OS 8.1 thru Mac OS 9, via shared libraries and a runtime environment) will bring back many attributes from the OS of Apple's heyday! Overall System instability, inexplicable hangs and mysterious Type 11 errors will all be brought back via the REC! “We're sure the customers will appreciate the nostalgia,” commented Migraine Hashish, co-director of marketing campaigns for product returns of Apple Arabia, the 27th largest Apple Computer, Inc. branch in the world.

Other reasons for the Alpha emulation remain shrouded in mystery. One haunting suggestion came from a source we have just now started correspondence with. Now that Compaq owns DEC, maker of the Alpha line of chips, and Intel has a large stake in DEC as well, this project very well could be the source of earlier, unsubstantiated rumors of Rhapsody for Merced. Why? Here's unedited email from our source:

Of course, it all makes a ton of sense when you put it all together. Apple, Intel, Compaq, DEC, AMD and Motorola are all pitching in together to do the one thing no one thought possible: Actively port an operating system to the vaporous Merced (P7) chip!

You see, the extreme power of the Alpha is the only thing that could possibly do what it takes to do that OS porting: run the Merced Emulation Environment (MEE) in an OS before the Merced even exists! Of course, this puts Hewlett Packard out in the cold, and stuck with their shitty HP-RISC architecture.

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