A number of recent product releases are good news for Macintosh users who need to stay current on a variety of operating systems. Starting close to home, Apple has made Darwin 1.0 available for download; Darwin is the open source core of Mac OS X. Based on FreeBSD and Mach 3.0 technologies, Darwin enables registered developers to customize and enhance the kernel of Apple’s forthcoming operating system. Darwin 1.0 also includes preliminary support for Intel processors. In addition, Apple released an update to Darwin Streaming Server, used for streaming QuickTime content over the Internet. Darwin 1.0 is available for free for Power Macintosh G3 and G4, PowerBook G3 (bronze keyboard), iBook, and iMac systems with a minimum of 32 MB of RAM and 800 MB hard disk space. A single installer is available as a 221 MB download or as 11 segments.
Mac users who require access to the latest version of Microsoft Windows can now purchase Connectix‘s Virtual PC with Windows 2000. As with other versions of Virtual PC, you can run Windows 2000 from within the Mac OS, exchange files between operating systems and have full USB support under Mac OS 9. Virtual PC with Windows 2000 requires a G3 or G4 processor that’s 350 MHz or faster, Mac OS 8.6 or later, 1.1 GB hard disk space, and 96 MB of RAM.
Tangentially related, Be, Inc. announced the free BeOS 5 Personal Edition for Intel systems, which includes support for FireWire, MP3 decoding, and several interface improvements. A Pro edition should be available from Be’s distributors (who will also set its pricing) and operate on older PowerPC-based systems. Be does not support Apple’s G3 or G4 systems, apparently because Apple will not provide technical information about their architecture. Be, Inc. was the subject of much industry speculation three and a half years ago when Apple was apparently considering the BeOS as a future Macintosh operating system; instead, Apple bought NeXT, whose technology forms the backbone of the forthcoming Mac OS X.