Apple intern spent 12 weeks porting Mac OS X to ARM

first_imgApple is no stranger to switching its operating system between processor architectures. Until 2005 Mac OS ran on PowerPC before making the switch to Intel. More recently there have been rumors that Apple was considering another switch, this time to ARM, but nothing seems to have come of that…yet.Evidence that Apple is flirting with ARM for its Mac OS X products has appeared, though. In 2010 Apple employed an intern by the name of Tristan Schapp. His 12 week project in the Platform Technologies Group saw him attempt to port Darwin, the open-source core operating system components of OS X, to run on the ARMv5 architecture. His project and subsequent thesis had the amusing sub-heading of “ARMing the Snow Leopard.”Schapp managed to get OS X booting to a multi-user prompt using a Marvell ARM processor, but that seems to be as far as he got. In order for the port to work properly he would have required new drivers be written, the L2 cache to be tweaked, and a number of applications be ported. That’s more work than he, or even a team at Apple could achieve in 12 weeks.Since 2010 we’ve seen nothing from Apple that would suggest an ARM iMac or MacBooks. However, Tristan Schapp does now work for Apple as a CoreOS Engineer. We also heard last year that a switch to ARM was under consideration, but wouldn’t arrive until very late this year, or more likely 2013. Tristan has been at Apple for nearly 18 months, meaning if he was continuing his project then he’ll have been working on it well over 2 years by the time 2013 arrives.Microsoft’s porting of Windows 8 to work with ARM, coupled with ARM announcing a new ARMv8 architecture including a 64-bit instruction set late last year, surely has Apple interested. If the performance is there, and it comes with a significant power saving, I’m sure Apple would consider a switch to ARM for a future MacBook Air.Read more at iMore, via AppleInsiderlast_img read more

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