TMO Reports - Cherry OS Mac Emulator Released for PCs; Company Pleased With Speed

by , 4:40 PM EST, March 9th, 2005

Cherry OS 1.0, a new Mac emulator that runs Mac OS X on a Windows-based PC, has been released by its developer in final form. Initial reports from users show problems, but many are reporting surprising performance.

Maui-X Stream, the Hawaii-based software developers of the Cherry OS, is currently offering a free copy of the emulator for evaluation, which has be downloaded 100,000 times since it was released on Tuesday, according to Jim Kartes, company president.

"We're excited about the products release and excited that it's getting such an early interest," Mr. Kartes told The Mac Observer. "There has been a lot of misinformation about this product since word first came out back in October of last year. Everything from skepticism it even existed to doubt it would ever be released. I think we have proven those skeptics wrong."

Cherry OS features support for CD/DVD, USB, FireWire and Ethernet. It automatically detects hardware and network connections and allows for the use of virtually any OS X-ready application. Those wishing to buy the entire product will pay US$49.95.

The product comes with an installer which requires both Cherry OS and OS X to be installed. The system requires a Pentium 4 1.6 gigahertz (GHz) CPU or equivalent, Windows XP operating system, 512 megabytes of memory, and 3 gigabytes of hard drive space. The product does not come with either Windows XP and OS X.

Mr. Kartes said what he's most proud about the products initial release is its performance at 80% of the speed of the host PC and the ability to work a large number of Windows-based machines.

"We've been able to increase the speed so that it emulates a Power PC G4 and that's light years ahead of our competition," he commented.

Mr. Kartes denies accusations that Cherry OS is using code from a similar open-source, PowerPC architecture emulator known as PearPC, despite various developer forum postings allegedly showing evidence to the contrary.

"That is simply not true," he said. "They know not what they speak. This is an entirely different architecture and code from PearPC. That's why we're able to achieve such higher speeds than they have. These are simply a bunch of lies."

Mr. Kartes said his developers "never ever" copied code from PearPC and just because they introduced their code months before Maui-X Stream did "doesn't give them a claim on certain technical aspects of our product."

Initial reports from developers and testers of open forums show Cherry OS has it problems. Report of quirks range from constant crashing, to instability of reliable OS X applications.

Mr. Kartes cautions these type of issues are expected this early in the products development. "We clearly state that this product is not going to work on every PC out there. It's got bugs. That's why we're offering a free trial download. If it doesn't work, they shouldn't buy it. We expect these issues and we will use the testing of consumers to improve its stability and performance."

Mr. Kartes said lead developer Arben Kryeziu will next work on giving Cherry OS sound support and network bridging, as well as improving speed.

"We think we'll have the first two issues solved fairly soon," he said. "It's the type of product that will be continually updated as we go along. We think we can make it faster than it is right now, but this will take time."

Some forum users are reporting stable use of the Cherry OS on Windows-based systems far below the recommended Pentium 4, 1.6GHz processor speed. Mr. Kartes said he's not surprised by these reports.

"With so many Windows-based PC out there, it's tough to be all things to all people, but we think we're reaching somewhere between 60% and 70% of all PC owners who can use this product," he said. "We're hoping to get that number up to 80% or 90%. I don't know if that's possible, but we're trying."

Mr. Kartes said he expects to do some advertising later this year to market the product, but gave no specifics of his future plans to sell the product.

"We think this product has a huge market and as we keep improving it. It's going to sell well," he commented.