The open source community has moved fast to plug the gap left behind by the disappearance of RealPC and Microsoft's problems getting Virtual PC to run on G5 processors.

OpenOSX today announced WinTel 1.0.1 for Mac OS X Jaguar – which is accelerated for the G5 processor. WinTel is an Aqua-based graphical user interface that controls the open-source Bochs emulation software on Mac OS X. Written in C++ Bochs delivers full x86/Pentium emulation on Macs.

It allows Mac users to install Windows 95, 98, NT and XP Professional, though use with Windows 2000 or XP is not recommended because of slow performance. OpenOSX claim any Pentium-based software is compatible with the emulator.

Discussing emulation on the Mac, WinTel developers say: "Thanks to Mac OS X's advanced architecture, multiple G4 CPUs can be utilized and are emulated as a single powerful Pentium processor or as dual Pentium Processors. Mac OS X is a true chameleon of operating systems, users may now run a long list of operating systems within it: Mac OS 9, Windows 95/98/2K/NT, DOS, Linux, Unix, BSD, etc. software, seamlessly".

WinTel ships with disk images of ten open source x86 operating systems, including RedHat Linux, FreeBSD and FreeDos. Users must acquire their own copies of Microsoft's operating systems to install these using Bochs.

Files can be copied between the emulated PC and the Mac OS X operating system using the Finder, as can files from Microsoft's Virtual PC emulator, which does not presently function on G5s.

CD-ROM support is provided by an OpenOSX port of the CD-ROM driver for Bochs. Disk images created with Disk Copy and Toast may be used as a CD-ROM in the emulator.

WinTel 1.0.1 is available on CD for $30. The software is also available electronically from OpenOSX for $25. Upgrades cost $15 (on CD) or $10 (online).