Week in review: Apple shapes up with Boot Camp

As the Mac maker gets its XP-on-Mac app up and running, Microsoft makes nice with open source.

It seemed a bit like a belated April Fools' Day hoax: Apple welcomed Windows, while Microsoft cozied up with Linux.

Apple Computer released this week a public beta version of software that enables Microsoft Windows XP to run natively on Intel-based Macs. Boot Camp, which will be included in Mac OS X 10.5, called Leopard, is available for download now.

Apple didn't specifically mention plans to support running Vista, the long-delayed update to the Windows operating system now expected early next year. Microsoft wouldn't comment on whether the Apple software will work with Vista.

Also unclear is what the Mac maker's move will mean for sales of Windows-based PCs. Market researcher IDC has already scaled back PC sales forecasts for the year, due in part to the Vista delay. And some analysts expect Apple sales to rise as a result of the holdup of Vista.

Judging from the response Apple received to the announcement, there is a lot of interest in Boot Camp. But there are hardware requirements and security issues that need to considered before installing the software. CNET News.com has prepared an FAQ to address those concerns.

Apple's announcement was met with mixed reaction from CNET News.com readers.

"After years of having two computers to be creative and business-like, now we will have both (in) one machine," wrote Dennis O'Connor in News.com's TalkBack forum.

Not everyone's outlook is as rosy.

"If Apple considers itself so greatly better than anything else in the universe, what is the need to get their hands (and products) dirty with a full install of Windows?" wrote Nicola Ferralis.

Meanwhile, Microsoft was busy trying to make friends with the open-source community. The software titan plans to launch a Web site to share the activities of its internal Linux laboratories, an effort to sample feedback from customers who combine Microsoft and open-source software. Microsoft revealed its plans at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in Boston.

The software giant--and fierce Linux foe--runs a 300-server Linux installation at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters to do competitive analysis and test how open-source products, including Linux, work with Microsoft software. The goal of Port 25--named for the router port number that corporations use for Internet e-mail--is to foster more communication with Microsoft customers who use open-source software.

Ad games
General Motors wasn't laughing after a do-it-yourself ad campaign for a GM SUV was hijacked by critics of the company and thousands of negative ads flooded the Web. As part of a partnership with the TV show "The Apprentice," GM launched a contest last month to promote the Chevy Tahoe SUV. The contest challenges viewers to create their own digital commercial about the SUV at Chevyapprentice.com. Entrants must choose from a range of video clips and soundtracks and write their own text to create their ad.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people used the Internet to circulate thousands of videos that charged GM with contributing to global warming, protested the war in Iraq or just demeaned the Tahoe's quality. Some videos also contained profanity or sexually explicit messages.

Of course, not all consumer-generated marketing is negative. Perhaps the best Sony "ad" last year was created by an 18-year-old customer. The slick video features a stereo system that shape-shifts its way into different electronics devices courtesy of mind-bending "Matrix"-like special effects.

Featured Video

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint is automotive aristocracy

Charles Morgan is back on Carfection, this time looking at the Alfaholics GTA-R 270, a re-imagined Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. The tweeks that have been made make as fast as a modern day sports car while retaining it's classic beauty.