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Could Mac OSX run Windows apps natively?

Once Intel chips landed inside Macs and Boot Camp made its debut, it got a lot harder to blame rumor mongers for making a certain leap: Mac OS X could one day run Windows apps sans-Windows. Indeed, projects like the open source Wine have facilitated some of this functionality, albeit in a limited fashion, for some time now. But a new discussion on a Wine mailing list could refresh hope for those looking to get their Frankenstein on with Mac OS X and Windows computing.

The discussion begins with a mailing list message called Interesting Behavior of OS X, in which Steven Edwards describes the discovery that Leopard apparently contains an undocumented loader for Portable Executables, a type of file used in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. More poking around revealed that Leopard's own loader tries to find Windows DLL files when attempting to load a Windows binary.

Yes, that last bit is the juicy one. According to the fledgling investigation in this as-yet short message thread, folks are suspecting that Leopard contains at least the building blocks for Apple to one day add a compatibility layer to Mac OS X for running Windows apps right alongside Mac OS X apps. "Just add Windows" and Boot Camp itself could fall off the list of ingredients for bridging these two computing worlds.

Of course, this could also be nothing; perhaps leftover from some behind-the-scenes project, spare code from adopting EFI (though this reply notes that PE files are flat-out rejected in Tiger on Intel Macs), or who knows what else. Still, if your conspiracy theory wells have run dry during Macworld's pre-season, this should be more than enough to keep you busy for at least a week or so.

News source: ars technica
Link: Interesting Behaviour of OSX

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