Why’s everyone so surprised about Boot Camp?
Once upon a time, back in the early days of Mac OS X, people were working on incredible hacks to get X11 running on the Mac. From what I recall, there were two options for getting X11 on your Mac: DarwinX and OroborOSX. I installed and ran those, and crossed my fingers every time I’d launch them because they weren’t the most stable beasts in town, but they worked. And it wasn’t long before Apple saw all these people running around with hacky X11 implementations running on top of Mac OS X. Their solution was to release an X11 package as a public beta.
Apple knows its users are crafty little buggers, and when they see someone working a hack to implement something on the system, they’re usually pretty quick to respond. In this case, we got to see people compete for a $14,000 purse to see who could be the first to do a hack install of Windows XP on an Intel Mac. And it happened, and someone walked away with some loot, but there were caveats out the ass to getting the hack to work on your system. Worst of all, one of the possible pitfalls of incorrectly implementing the hack was that you could turn your lovely new MacBook Pro into a doorstop, and who’d want that?
If tons of people started doing this — turning their Macs into doorstops — it could potentially be a PR nightmare for Apple. And while that hack/install wasn’t sanctioned by Apple, people would still bitch and complain and make it look like it was Apple’s fault for not letting them install Windows XP on a Mac. Those poor buggers…they were forced to install XP on their Mac, so surely it’s Apple’s fault. Not.
And that leads us back to Boot Camp.
Apple clearly saw that people wanted to run XP on their Intel Macs, for whatever reason that might be. And they saw the potential harm that could be done by unskilled (or slightly skilled) users. Rather than put them in harm’s way, Apple took something they admittedly were working on for Leopard, and released it as a public beta. Good for them!
And like the X11 package Apple released as a public beta for Jaguar, I’m hoping that Boot Camp does get rolled into the Leopard release as an optional install, just like X11 is now. Of course, what would be better is if you didn’t have to reboot to use XP (or Vista), but if you could run both operating systems side-by-side as you can with XP and Linux using VMware. Now that would be really sweet!
So don’t act so surprised by Apple’s Boot Camp beta. We’ve seen it before, and I’m sure we’ll see them do something similar again (and again, and again).