Is It Real?

A Brief Review of What's Known About the Emulator and Its Creator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction...

On October 12, 2004, a company by the name of MXS litterally shocked several computing circles with the announcement of a new Macintosh PowerPC emulation environment for Microsoft Windows. Called Cherry OS, it claimed to be able to do for Windows what Virtual PC does for Macintosh users. A quick roundup of Cherry OS' features are as follows:

  • Complete hardware support of the host PC, including access to Firewire, USB, PCI bus, ethernet, and modem
  • Drag and drop file copy between host PC and emulated environments
  • Complete emulation of the guest processor (in this case, PowePC G4 emulation (with G5 emulation around the corner)
  • List price of $49.95

MXS also claims something that has not yet been done in advanced emulation environments:

  • The emulation runs at 80% of the speed of the host processor

This is quite a claim to make. This means that on a 3GHz Pentium processor, the emulated Macintosh should run at 2.4GHz! That's really amazing, as the general rule when emulating a high-end processor, a large amount of overhead exists for the host computer's CPU. This overhead results in a very big speed bump in the emulated environment. For example, when running Virtual PC for Macintosh on a 1.2GHz G4 processor, the emulated Windows environment generally runs at about 1/3 (33%) of the speed of the G4. This puts the emulated PC at about 400Mhz; not bad, but not the best, either.

Even more impressive is the fact that Cherry OS is using a CISC processor to emulate a RISC processor. Virtal PC is doing the opposite, using a RISC processor to emulate CISC. What does this mean? In layman's terms, a RISC processor is generally more efficient and faster at performing certain tasks versus a CISC processor because of its reduced complexity (RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computing). It is therefore easier for a RISC processor, such as a PowerPC G4, to emulate a CISC processor, such as a Pentium III, than for a CISC processor to emulate a RISC processor. Add in the fact that Cherry OS also claims to be able to emulate the 128-bit Vector processing functions of the G4 (called AltiVec or Velocity Engine), adding even more overhead, and still maintain that 80% statistic all for under 50 bucks, and well, you have one heck of a deal on your hands.

The Evidence...

So all of this sounds pretty good; so good in fact, that many who keep track of what goes on in the emulation field believe Cherry OS to be a hoax. I can't speak for everyone who has watched the Cherry OS saga unfold since October 12, but I can speak for myself. The following details my experience with Cherry OS and its developer, Arben Kryeziu. You may read my accounts and draw your own conclusions.

The Announcements:

The press releases and news stories released on October 12, 2004, led many to believe that Cherry OS was for real, and that it was ready for download the day it was released.

From Yahoo Finance (PDF of original article here):

"MXS Releases Cherry OS PC to Mac Conversion Software
Tuesday October 12, 9:05 am ET

MAUI, Hawaii, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- MXS today announces the immediate availability of Cherry OS software. Cherry OS is a software translator that allows you to install Apple's Operating System on x86 computer architecture. To put it simply you can now run Apple's award winning Panther OS on your PC! This breakthrough in OS development now gives home users, software developers and web designer's ultimate flexibility in both the operating system and hardware platform you use for your personal computer or testing environment.

ADVERTISEMENT
Cherry OS runs Panther as a virtual machine on your Windows PC. This virtual machine has full network capabilities including the ability to share folders and access the web. The virtual machine also has complete access to the computer's hardware resources including, Hard Drive, CPU, RAM, Firewire, USB, PCI, PCMIA BUS and RJ45/Ethernet and Modem.

Arben Kryeziu, Cherry OS inventor and a software developer, got tired of carrying both a Mac and a PC around with him, so he invented Cherry OS. "Think about it," says Arben. "Now about 600 million PC users can have the MAC advantage. One computer to use all software and if PC users would use MAC software to get email, perhaps they would avoid viruses, Trojans and spy-ware." He went on to say that, "You can build and test applications for a Mac on your development PC, test web site design for Mac web browsers without having to buy the hardware, run OS X, the world's best Operating System, on a less expensive hardware platform and use your favorite Mac apps on a PC."

Pricing and availability

Cherry OS is now available only on line at www.cherryos.com as a download, for $49.95. (Mac software not included)

About MXS

MXS is a software development company specializing in video streaming software. Playerless-streaming.org ranked our vx30 encoder as the best in the world.

The products of Maui X-Stream can be viewed on www.vx30.com

Source: MXS"

From MacCentral: (PDF of original article here):

"Cherry OS lets PCs emulate Macs

By Peter Cohen pcohen@maccentral.com

Microsoft Corp.'s Virtual PC software has been lauded by critics as a convenient way for Mac users to run Windows applications on their Macs, but what if you need to do the opposite? Maui, Hawaii-based MXS announced Tuesday the release of Cherry OS, an emulator that does the exact opposite -- its developer says Cherry OS lets PCs run Mac OS X instead.

The virtual machine emulated by Cherry OS sports full network capabilities and has complete access to the host computer's hardware resources -- hard drive, CPU, RAM, FireWire, USB, PCI, PCMCIA bus, Ethernet networking and modem. It purportedly runs at about 80 percent of the performance of the host CPU, according to the developer.

"Now about 600 million PC users can have the MAC advantage," said the software's developer, Arben Kryeziu. "One computer to use all software and if PC users would use MAC software to get email, perhaps they would avoid viruses, Trojans and spy-ware."

Cherry OS is being distributed as an online download, and costs US$49.95. Mac operating system software and application software is not included."

Clearly, we receive the impression that Cherry OS is available immediately, and ready for primetime.

The Correspondance:

Unfortunately, things weren't as rosey as we had been led to believe. The moment Cherry OS was released, the Cherry OS website was literally deludged with requests for this new emulator. As I was unable to reach the website, I did a quick whois querry on the cherryos.com domain name and came up with the developer's email information: Arben Kryeziu (arben@bumpnetworks.com). I quickly emailed Mr. Kryeziu requesting a review unit of his revolutionary product:

From: emulator@frontiernet.net
Subject: Evaluation Unit Request
Date: October 12, 2004 2:28:44 PM CDT
To: arben@bumpnetworks.com

Dear Mr. Kryeziu:

I am the Editor/Webmaster of the OS Emulation HomePage
(http://os-emulation.net). I would like to request an evaluation unit
for review on my site. Is this possible?

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Marc Hoffman

The reply I received was encouraging:

From: arben@bumpnetworks.com
Subject: RE: Evaluation Unit Request
Date: October 12, 2004 2:28:58 PM CDT
To: emulator@frontiernet.net

Hi Marc,

We have some dos hacks, and now moving cherryos.com to a
Unix platform. I will try to send you a download as soon
Our akamai service kicks in.

Thank you for your request,

Arben Kryeziu

It appeared that extreme demand for Cherry OS (and some possible hackers), were preventing any access to the Cherry OS website. But, I was promised a review unit. I patiently waited. A day passed, and then two days. During this time, I sent three emails to Arben via standard email and the Cherry OS web feedback form:

From: emulator@frontiernet.net
Subject: Re: Evaluation Unit Request
Date: October 13, 2004 11:44:26 AM CDT
To: arben@bumpnetworks.com

Hi Arben..

I hadn't heard from you since yesterday, and was just wondering if you had gotten the link up for the review unit.

Thanks in advance.

Marc Hoffman


From: Marc Hoffman [mailto:emulator@frontiernet.net]
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2004 7:00 AM
To: CherryOS
Subject: Review unit of Cherry OS (via Web form)

Dear Support: Two days ago when Cherry OS was first announced, I was promised a review unit for download. I have yet to receive that unit for review. I was also under the impression that Cherry OS was a finished, working product. It now appears that Cherry OS is only in beta format, a far cry from the download that I was promised two days ago. Do you have any comments?

Marc Hoffman

The OS Emulation HomePage http://os-emulation.net


From: emulator@frontiernet.net
Subject: Re: Evaluation Unit Request
Date: October 14, 2004 5:48:27 PM CDT
To: arben@bumpnetworks.com

Hi Arben...

I still haven't heard from you regarding the download of Cherry OS evaluation. Are you going to answer me on this?

Marc

I finally heard from Mr. Kryeziu - twice:

From: arben@bumpnetworks.com
Subject: RE: Evaluation Unit Request
Date: October 14, 2004 11:21:19 PM CDT
To: emulator@frontiernet.net

Hi Marc,

I am sorry for not my late response, I am coordinating the trial
project, And at the same time the media is hitting us like crazy. The switch to the Unix server is almost done and the member area for CherryOS too.

A lot of people out there disbelieve in CherryOS, that is the reason why
we considered of delivering a trial. In that way they have a choice:

Free: PearPc
49,95$ : CherryOS, better performance, and more features (networking,
sound, usb .. ), easy use and setup.

We where not prepared for this traffic, and I think that shows.

Wrong timing on the release and underestimating the response, setting
the site on a windows server, a not completed shopping cart that totally
collapsed after 153 orders ... a lot of things - we are aware of it now
and seeing the consequences.

But there is a big crowd out there that believes in us, and we are
thanking everyone of them for their support.

We are real, our office is real, our business is real and CherryOS is
real!

I promise to keep you posted !

I know your main question is the download, but you know as much as I
know that without the proper protection on the release this download
would be everywhere within 3 min, so please understand the delay.

Respectfully,

Arben Kryeziu


From: mail@cherryos.com
Subject: RE: Review unit of Cherry OS (via Web form)
Date: October 15, 2004 4:18:15 AM CDT
To: emulator@frontiernet.net

Mark,

Don’t play the devils advocate – please.

We did a bad planning on the release, and due to 10 thousand of request for a trial, due to server issues (as you can see it is still a windows machine) and some beta problems we are in need of time. I love your interest and passion but please put your self into our situation right now. If I release a beta that has Ethernet bugs which freeze your computer as soon you try to connect to the internet – would you release it ? Also, if we give anyone a beta right now, all they are going to do is make this hype grow bigger and stronger, more requests and more trash talk because something is not working or a feature is missing.

I hope you can understand, I apologize for the delay.

Best regards,

Arben Kryeziu / VP

The first reply was to my direct email, and the second was from the online web feedback form. At first, Mr. Kryeziu continues to blame the web server issues. In the second reply, we begin to get a glimps that Cherry OS is not as polished as we were led to believe.

The Conclusion...

Since the official announcement of Cherry OS on October 12, there has been a firestorm of debate on whether or not this product is real. According to Wired News, there has been at least one computing expert that supposedly received a trial copy of the product, only to say that Cherry OS is nothing more than a pretty version of PearPC (see our coverage of PearPC here). In that same article, the head developer of PearPC believes the same thing.

So is Cherry OS real? After sending four more emails to Mr. Kryeziu (with the last one informing him of my article on Cherry OS, and once more requesting a review unit, even a beta version), he finally replied:

From: arben@bumpnetworks.com
Subject: RE: Evaluation Unit Request
Date: October 22, 2004 2:39:26 PM CDT
To: emulator@frontiernet.net

HI Marc,

It's great to hear that you are doing a story on CherryOS, but we are
not able to give any beta version for evaluation. Please understand that
we can't trust anyone currently - specially after seeing the level of
controversy that CherryOS started. Our official release is on the 25th
of November, until then we are able to work on our bugs and our website.

The website will include more details about the architecture and a
strong FAQ section (which is based on the questions we received).

Best regards,

Arben Kryeziu

So we play the waiting game. The date to watch is November 25, 2004. The Cherry OS website has been updated to reflect much of what Mr. Kryeziu wrote me in this last letter to me.

Is it real? My honest opinion is "I don't know." Only time will tell now. Mr. Kryeziu is under extreme scrutiny by not only the casual user, but the press. He has set a self-imposed deadline. Come November 25, we'll all know if Cherry OS is real.

Questions? Email me at pearpc@frontiernet.net.

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