Boot Camp Users Have Nothing to Fear from Leopard's Delay
by Alan Zisman (c) 2007 First
published in Low
April 17 2007 Mac2Windows column
week Apple announced that it was postponing the release of Mac OS X
10.5 "Leopard". Previously expected "sometime in the spring", Mac users
will have to wait until October.
A sidebar to that story is what effect the delay will have on Boot Camp users.
bit of background: When Apple first released their Intel-powered Macs,
early in 2006, there was a lot of speculation about the ability to boot
Windows on them. A contest was announced with a prize of some $14,000
that had been raised online; it was won by a pair of users who had
devised a somewhat cumbersome hack that allowed users to install and
boot Windows on their Intel Macs - but it destroyed the original Mac OS
partition in the process. (See Windows XP on Macintel a Reality
A few weeks later, Apple released Boot Camp
which accomplished the same thing in a much nicer fashion -
non-destructively resizing the Mac's hard drive partition, making it
possible to install Windows XP SP2 (only) and choose to boot to either
Windows or Mac OS X.
Boot Camp also allowed user to create a
Windows driver disc to help the Windows installation work with the
hardware on the various Macintel models. By January 2007, there had
been over 1.5 million downloads of Boot Camp.
Apple was clear at
the time that Boot Camp was beta software: "preview software licensed
for use on a trial basis for a limited time." It was expected that Boot
Camp would be officially released along with Leopard.
time, Apple has released several updates to Boot Camp; these did a
better job of letting Windows work with the Mac keyboard, iSight
camera, and other features. The current version, 1.2, also added
support for Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system.
That "limited time" mentioned above is set to end on September 30, 2007, according to the Boot Camp License
which states that the license "will terminate automatically without
notice from Apple upon the next commercial release of the Apple
Software, or September 30, 2007, whichever occurs first." This would
have been at least three months after the expected spring release of
Now that's no longer the case.
So what's a worst-case scenario for Boot Camp users?
have a Windows installation in a partition created using Boot Camp. I
have no fears that it will stop working on October 1st. Apple
spokesperson Lynn Fox told CNN News: "The Windows installation on a
user's Mac will continue to work after the Boot Camp license expires."
fully expect to be able to choose to boot to either OS X or Windows on
my iMac, just as I can today, either using the Startup Disk system
preference or by holding down the Option key when the startup chime
Fox also noted that the Boot Camp Assistant will no longer work when
the trial period ends. Boot Camp Assistant is the utility that Apple
provides to burn a Windows driver disc and create a partition for the
Windows install. If that times-out at the end of the trial period,
users will no longer be able to use it to create new Boot Camp Windows
Boot Camp users have little need for the Assistant's features--they've
already used it. Except for the last Assistant option: 'Restore the
startup disc to a single volume'--in other words, to remove their
Just as the Boot Camp Assistant can be
used to non-destructively create a partition for a Windows installation
while leaving the Mac's operating system and files intact, it can be
used to get rid of the Windows partition and restore the Mac partition
to its full size. That's a handy ability for users wanting to
experiment with booting to Windows but who don't really need to commit
to keeping it on their Mac forever.
the Boot Camp beta's trial period ends, having a Boot Camp Windows
partition on your Mac will mean a permanent relationship. You may never
choose to boot to Windows, but you're now committed to dedicating that
amount of hard drive space to it. Moreover, Fox noted that Apple would
not be updating Windows drivers for Boot Camp beta users after the end
of the trial period.
At least until Leopard's release.
has discussed Boot Camp as a feature for Leopard, but there's been a
lot of speculation about what Apple actually has in mind. Among the
theories: The Boot Camp release version could be bundled with Leopard
but also made available as a stand-alone (and no longer free) utility
for OS X 10.4 users. A July 2006 report
predicted a US$30 cost for 10.4 users.
speculation claims that Apple is working to add virtualization features
to Boot Camp, perhaps letting users opt to either boot directly into
Windows (as with the current Boot Camp betas) or run their Boot Camp
installation in a virtual session while running the Mac OS (as can be
done with both the current Parallels Desktop
and VMware Fusion Beta
Prior to Apple's announcement that it was postponing Leopard's release, rumour site DigiTimes
predicted the postponement. They claimed that the delay was Boot
Camp-related - that it was needed "to allow Apple to make Leopard
support Windows Vista through an integrated version of its Boot Camp
software." While Boot Camp already supports Vista, the key word here is
"integrated" - presumably something like the Parallels/VMware
As with most rumours, Apple is not commenting.
course, there's also nothing stopping Apple from releasing an updated
Boot Camp beta/trial version sometime between now and September 30th
and extending the trial period beyond the current deadline.
The bottom line is that current Boot Camp users have nothing to fear from the Leopard delay.
as the end of the trial period approaches, users might want to think
twice before downloading the Boot Camp beta - if they're not sure they
want to commit to having Windows on their Mac, when the deadline
arrives they may find themselves with no free and easy way to say