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For Mac old timers, the saga of how their favorite computer came to use Intel processors is the stuff of legend -- but until this weekend, only a select few knew the real story of how it came to be.
TUAW is reporting on the real story behind “Marklar,” the code name for Apple’s Mac OS X Intel port which began surfacing via rumors nearly a decade ago. While many know the story about how the Marklar team worked in secret off campus to keep Mac OS X running on Intel processors as a “fallback plan” in case PowerPC couldn’t keep up (spoiler: it didn’t), how it all came to be in the first place has been kept secret -- until now.
The whole tale was recently told on Quora, of all places, in a post entitled “How does Apple keep secrets so well?” Written by Kim Scheinberg, the wife of former Apple engineer John “JK” Kullmann, the post recalls how the onetime director demoted himself in order to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family after the birth of their son a year earlier.
In order to do so, Kullmann requested permission in June, 2000 to get Mac OS X working on Intel processors -- something he would spend the next 18 months doing on a total of six PCs before his boss would finally circle back to see what he had been doing all that time.
Long story short, “the bootable, functional OS X on Intel” not only worked but was quickly adaptable to an off-the-shelf Sony Vaio laptop within two or three hours. The powers that be were so impressed, the skunkworks project officially kicked off in December, 2001, where it percolated off campus until getting its grand reveal in 2005.
Kullmann’s wife was also responsible for the “Marklar” name, noting that most of her husband’s machines had names derived from South Park after leaving Apple. The couple were also sworn to secrecy, with Kullmann forbidden to reveal further details about the project to his wife “until it is publicly announced.”
The whole tale is a fascinating look into an era of Apple history that certainly helped boost the company into its current good fortune, so check it out!
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter