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May 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:01pm

CLONEMAKERS ANXIOUSLY AWAIT APPLE CHRP STRATEGY

By CBR Staff Writer

The latest commotion in the Macintosh world has developed around just what Apple Computer Inc will be delivering in the way of CHRP Common Hardware Reference Platform hardware and software deliverables (see separate story). The original idea behind CHRP was that computers built using the PowerPC RISC chip and developed in accordance with CHRP specifications would be able to run any of the operating systems designed to run on CHRP platforms. Much of the original promise of CHRP is now irrelevant, as the industry at large has turned its back on the IBM Corp and Motorola Inc PowerPC RISC processor as a commodity desktop processor, beyond its use by IBM, Apple and Motorola themselves, and a few close friends like Compagnies des Machines Bull SA. But it’s still important for the handful of Apple clonemakers struggling in the marketplace. Apple originally said it would separate the Macintosh hardware from the Mac OS operating system software, eliminating the need for CHRP-based Macs to include proprietary Apple ROM chips from which the Mac OS is loaded. (Most operating systems, including Windows, are loaded into RAM from the system’s hard disk.) However, Apple later changed its mind, and said the first CHRP systems would need ROMs, which it would design and supply, to be used in conjunction with Mac OS 8. Some reports say the ROMs won’t now be available until after Mac OS 8 ships, and the clonemakers won’t be able to build systems to take advantage of Mac OS 8 until they do. If so, the first CHRP-compliant systems won’t ship until October. There is also still a question mark over support for multiprocessing systems in Mac OS 8. Apple says the timing of CHRP-based ROM deliveries – and whether they’ll be needed in future designs – is tied up in the license negotiations with IBM and the clonemakers, but says it doesn’t expect shipments to be more than a month behind Mac OS 8. It still isn’t clear whether Apple will ever be able to create the ROM-less Mac design it has previously promised, but these details are also likely to emerge after a new licencing deal is in place. Meantime, Apple has just fallen off Dataquest’s list of the five biggest personal computer vendors for the first time in many years and badly needs some hit records. For Mac users and supporters everywhere, the latest issue of Wired magazine has just one suggestion: Pray.

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