Apple shook up the technology roadmap a bit today at the Worldwide Developers Conference by announcing a shift to Intel architecture in 2006. This has ramifications for users and developers alike.
Some longtime Apple analysts reacted negatively, but largely the rumor mill had been churning and most assumed something was brewing. Conventional wisdom would suggest this is an excellent move for Apple, opening up faster, more power-sensitive performance especially for Macintosh notebooks.
More interesting perhaps is the new universe this opens up for Linux developers who can now leverage the now mature OS X (and BSD Unix underpinnings) on a familiar hardware platform.
Engineers in Cupertino have put some thought behind this – having had several years to explore the Darwin core of OS X on Intel, and now planning a release of XCode, Apple’s programming environment for OS X, which will assist PowerPC developers in porting to Intel.
Having already been an Xserve user from a web hosting perspective, I am excited to have the capabilities and user interface framework of OS X server available at the blistering speeds of the Intel platform.
For the uninitiated, Apple has taken care to build configuration and management tools right into OS X server that utilize familiar open source tools such as LAMP, Postfix, Samba, LDAP and more for rapid deployment and reduced administration.
In some cases, an argument I have lost for several years (due to the differing hardware architecture) that Apple’s OS X could be the Linux desktop and server we have been searching for may now be a possible reality.