While some Apple engineers have reportedly gotten Darwin to run on Intel (without the Quartz/Aqua layers), that's a long, long way from a full-featured OS. It implies that it is possible, but it seems unlikely that Apple will put much effort into this for the next couple of years. Right now, they're better off if OSX is accepted by the marketplace, which will drive sales of Mac boxes to new heights. That's where all the profits are right now.
I hope there will be never such a thing as OS X for Intel. Although darwin runs fine on Intel and the Yellowbox was available for NT one time, and Mac OS X Server was available as an illegal intel compile, bringing OS X to the PeeCee world would prove a big mistake for Apple, even if they could turn it into a profitable business, it would ruin the experience of the Macintosh, which is software AND hardware. Running the gorgious aqua interface on a dull and beige box isnt exactly stylish. Allso the Mac platform is very different from its PC counterpart. Apple would have to plunge into Micro$oft's pain: wasting its time on compatibility issues instead of innovation. The chances are small that Apple would steer into that kind of storm.
Waaaaay back when the thing was called Rhapsody, developers were given copies of Rhap for Intel, and Yellow Box for Windows.
Rhap for Intel was a full OS. I ran it on my PC at home for a while with a nice, but minimal, OS8-ish gui.
Yellow for Windows would have allowed Rhap for Intel apps to run in Windows. We briefly looked at this as a crossplatform strategy. Very glad we went with Java instead, after Apple killed the Intel OS and left some developers stranded.
As has been said by so many people: MacOS X is very unlikely to be ported to Intel. The reason for this being that Apple is a hardware manufacturer and the hardware is the only thing that actually differentiates Apple from Microsoft. IBM tried with OS/2, but when you are playing in MS's arena it is very difficult to be successful. By having the MacOS only run on the PPC, Apple has their own arena whereby they can set the rules.
Mind you, I wouldn't be surprise that there is some unofficial port within Apple, but this will only see the light of day if managment decides it will. In the meantime the only thing that you will see available for Intel is Darwin.
In the past the macintosh experience has been bad bad really bad. the original mac OS was designed to be friendly to end user at all costs, and as such lost a good bit of its potential power. With X, Apple has built a hard core, industrial, powerful operating system with an intuitive use user interface; however, the techies that Apple needs to win over that want to dabble with the OS can't because apple hardware is expensive.
If X was ported to intel, a legion of developers and techies (like myself) would get to play around (and use!) apple's OS.
Also, a couple of refutations to some of the bunk that has been passed along here:
"X would croak because of the vareity of hardware you have to deal with on the intel platform." - BS. Ever try installing Linux? I have not seen a computer yet that I could not get to work, whether it be a 486 or the newest Dell RAMBUS(t) machine. Now, I admit that getting vanilla linux to work and getting BSD to work are not exactly the same thing, but most of the programs that do hardware detection and driver installation are already written and would just need a recompile.
"selling X for Intel would kill the market for apple hardware and, as a result, would kill apple." - BS. Okay, take Jon Doe, a clueless computer illiterate that is buying a computer from an OEM. Mr. Doe WILL NOT be able to buy OSX with his machine. Microsoft has the OEMs tied around their little finger. Therefore, I can only see two types of ppl that would ever buy OSX on intel: 1) hard core techies (like myself) that built their own computer and are confident enough to install an operating system, and 2) former clueless users that have a tech friend and want to try it out. As long as there are legions of clueless users that buy Imacs because they go with their living rooms Apple will never go out of business.
Right now, Apple's business is focused on selling hardware to the consumer market. If this continues there is zero chance that Mac OS X would be ported to an Intel platform.
Everyone talks about the possibility of Apple becoming a software focused company like Microsoft, Red Hat, Be, or NeXT, and selling the OS on Intel. I think this is unlikely.
What is more likely is if Apple decides to widen its target market beyond consumers. Mac OS X's scalability practically begs to be put on a multiprocessor server farm than stay on someone's kitchen table running Quicken.
The perception is that Intel hardware is the standard for this market and that Microsoft is the only strongly supported provider of "business" operating systems for Intel hardware. I'm not saying that perception = reality, but sales come easier if you fit in with perceptions rather than challenging them.
If Apple released a Server OS aimed at system administrators and large businesses on the Intel 64-bit architecture you'd quite likely see a great many customers getting in line for it. It wouldn't have a Carbon layer and might have a more "business-like" interface than Aqua, but they'd have a solid Java, Cocoa, and BSD foundation wuth at least the market momentum of a good consumer presence.
Putting their software on a high end Intel setup would allow them to sell hardware as well. After all if their market is the high end server market, then companies would be willing to spend in the $10K neighborhood for a good setup. It doesn't canabilize their consumer offerings and they don't have to compete in the cut throat world of cheapo clones that dominate Intel's 32-bit business.
Many pundits have been knocking the Wintel duopoly for their years of supporting the x86 instruction set that should have long been replaced with something better. Becoming the marketer of Intels offerings that don't rely on the x86 architecture means that you get the good press of those people and none of the compatability problems of the legacy silicon.
Yes, this could certainly be done with any other chipset. Alpha, UltraSparc II, and Transmeta's Crusoe are all good architectures, but making something for Intel fits rather than challenges people's perception.
Again, all of this is contingent on Apple changing it's market focus from its core consumer market. It has shown no signs whatsoever of being interested in this so this is 100% "what if" speculation. It's fun to think about, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
i cast my hat in with wmoss. If companies start to install Apple operating systems on high-end equipment, imagine the ludicrious amount of money Apple would be able to sell support contracts for.
However, where I have to disagree is that Apple wouldn't have a chance in hell of nudging into the high-end hardware market. I mean, hell, look at the players you already have there: Sun, IBM, legions more. The key is to run YOUR OS on THEIR hardware.
It would even shine in the midrange server market, which is owned by NT and Linux on Intel. Install MOSX and BOOM!, you have Linux stability, tweakability, and security with NT ease of use.
The point is is that Apple would sell more copies of the OS and more support contracts if they position their OS to take the market head-on instead of trying to carve their own niche. Let the users use what they already have -- intel hardware.
Being based on NexT and BSD, I there is no technical reason for the OS, without Carbon, to be ported to other platforms.
NexT began life as a Moto 68000 processor OS, moved to Intel and was also ported to Sparc.
I would almost guarantee that hidden away in the Apple dungeons is a working copy of MacosX for Intel, waiting for Dell or Gateway to offer to sell. It was part of Apples official plans early in the piece. They gave developers the operating software, they showed us the timelines and the graphs with coloured boxes and arrows.
Apple does make most of it's cash from hardware, so I can understand why they want to protect that market. But a user-friendly UNIX..... that must be a big seller.