Open Source developers from the X86 Project claim to have managed to compile software to run Windows applications on Intel-based Macs.

A note on the X86 Project forums reveals that the latest version of the WINE compatibility software can be compiled to run on the latest Apple computers.

The Darwin Project has been working to port WINE to OS X. WINE is a compatibility layer that has allowed x86PCs to run Windows apps under Unix/Linux operating systems. It does this by re-engineering the Windows system calls that individual applications use - hopefully meaning they run happily without enduring a performance penalty.

"Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely free alternative implementation of the Windows API consisting of 100 per cent non-Microsoft code," the developers state.

At present it offers both a development toolkit for porting Windows source code to Unix as well as a program loader, allowing many unmodified Windows programs to run on x86-based Unixes.

It's important to note that only a very limited number of Windows applications are compatible at this stage, but the news sets the stage for Mac users to be able to use Windows software on Intel Macs.

However, developers warn that the news isn't "anything to get excited about" at this stage, as plenty of work remains to be done on that part of the project.