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Mac-boots-Windows contest won

WinXP successfully run on MacBook Pro

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The $13,000 prize for whoever gets Windows XP to dual-boot on an Intel-based Mac has been won, according to the website created to promote the competition. At this stage it's not clear who's going to walk off with the cash, or whether their code will make it to a wider audience.

The contest was started last month by Colin Nederkoorn to prove to his boss that replacing an IBM desktop PC with a MacBook Pro made sense because the machine would run Windows XP natively as well as Mac OS X.

Apple has said in the past it will do nothing to prevent Mac owners from running Windows on x86-based Macs - it appears more keen on preventing Mac OS X being run on generic x86 hardware. However, the new Macs' boot process uses Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) system rather than a standard PC BIOS, and that has hampered attempts to boot XP on the machines.

Last week, photos began appearing on the web of an iMac apparently running XP. Was it real, or was it a hoax? The coder, going by the handle narf2006, this week posted a video purportedly showing the boot process in action. Real or not, Nederkoorn has said the contest has been won, so whoever's solution arrived first, he's presumably tested it on his brand new MacBook Pro and found it works.

imac boots windows xp - allegedly

Nederkoorn's rules require the winning solution to provide the user with a choice of operating systems at start-up. Whichever one the user selects, it shouldn't interfere with the other, dormant OS.

Forum postings have alleged the bootloader code will be made available, though there seems nothing out there yet.

If it does, what then? Microsoft will certainly sell some more upgrade boxes, so it'll be happy. And Apple may quietly satisfied in the knowledge businesses can buy its machines and still run all their old applications - it's no doubt hoping this will encourage Mac sales by stealth.

The losers are likely to be the companies who work to port software from one platform to the other. Why wait for someone like Aspyr to port the latest PC-based shoot-'em-up over to Mac OS X when you can run the Windows version straight away? Linux folk have been using dual-boot systems for this reason for years, and it's one of the reasons why Linux-friendly games-porting companies have generally failed - look what happened to Loki, for instance. ®

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