Hackers have already managed to crack Mac OS X 10.4.3 for Intel to work on non-Apple computers.

While as yet unconfirmed, a report on a hacker's website reports that: "Maxxuss, the hacking God of the OS X x86 world has cracked the security in 10.4.3".

TPM cracked?

This version of the OS X for Intel OS featured tougher security to prevent hackers running it on non-Apple systems. The report claims that this has now been broken, and that it's even possible to run the software on older Intel-based systems.

Apple-supplied Intel-based Power Macs feature a microcontroller (made by Infineon Technology) called the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This carries a digital signature that's required for the OS to install on the system. It does not prevent users installing alternative OS's on the system, according to some reports.

"While the TPM technology is itself virtually uncrackable, hackers have been able to fool the OS into thinking it doesn't need the TPM authentication," the hacker's site claims.

Recent developer builds of Mac OS X for Intel have added a new protective layer: universal binary applications built using Xcode 2.2 under the newly-released OS for Intel won't execute under earler versions of the OS.

King Canute as waves grow higher

Apple faces a tough battle maintaining control of its OS when it ships. Hackers managed to tweak the system to run on non-Apple machines in August 2005.

At that time, columnist John Dvorak speculated Apple would fight a stiff struggle against hackers to maintain relations with Microsoft - but would later bow to the inevitability of it all and ship a shrink-wrapped version of its OS capable of running on other systems.

Also today, Linux industry commentator Tom Adelstein argues that Apple's new Intel OS could: "change the PC landscape like no other operating system has or could."

'The world will say goodbye Windows for good'

"Apple should open-source its OS, port Openoffice.org to Aqua and bundle it for Intel PC's. Offer it for $199 for a home edition and $299 for a professional edition and the world will say goodbye to Windows for good," he argues.

He looks at the loyalty people have for Macs, and the goodwill that Apple has built-up over the years. Not so for Microsoft: "People use Windows begrudgingly. They use Microsoft products because they have to use them. Give them an alternative and they switch."

The opinion piece also urges Apple to sell its OS for other systems, and to build versions of its Aqua UI and iTunes for Linux.