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Boot Camp -- What's in a name?


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April 06, 2006

Boot Camp -- What's in a name?

Peter Burrows

Our Tech Channel editor Tom Giles got me thinking about the name Apple chose for the beta of its new software to let users load Windows on their Intel-based Macs. There's the obvious reference to booting up. That I get. But the name seems more than a little passive aggressive, no? After all, most people's perception of an actual boot camp is of a miserable, mentally and physically taxing form of forced training that is imposed on people before they go into an even more mentally and physically taxing experience: war. It may be good for you, but it's not something you do for kicks. (It makes me think of one of the worst names ever for a tech product: Microsoft's "Hailstorm" web-services technology, from a few years back. Here's Scott McNealy's quip on that one, along with some others.).

I'm not saying Boot Camp is a dud as a name. In fact, it's a clever hedge, of sorts. Who knows if Apple's product managers put nearly this much thought into the choice of the name, but it communicates different messages to Apple's real and prospective customers. If you're one of the Mac faithful, it says: here's a piece of software that the hapless Windows throngs can use to start a trying pilgrimage to the superior computing platform. If they get through it, they'll have attained your higher state of enlightenment. And it says to those sojourners-from-Windows: if you refuse to do what's good for you and just go out and buy a Mac, here's an alternative path. It won't be hassle-free or nearly as elegant, but don't come crying to us if things turn ugly ('cause we're not supporting Windows on the Mac).

02:44 PM

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? Boot Camp is just the beginning from atmaspheric | endeavors

I believe that the name Boot Camp is a significant double entendre which references both the boot sequence of a computer (the dual boot) and also the beginning of something much more considerable — not unlike the boot camp attended by members of ... [Read More]

Tracked on April 6, 2006 09:12 PM

based on what you said I agree... Boot camp is preparing you to run Windows.... that could be close to going to war... I think the name is very funny along with the site...

Posted by: Bill Rodriguez at April 6, 2006 09:45 PM

Or maybe it is Apple's boot camp for their coming war with Microsoft. This could be a period of time where people have to work and sweat to use Windows on Mac, leading up to a far easier solution...afterall, Apple did say this is only a temporary name and solution. Leopard is rumored to include virtualization technology which will allow you to run Windows alongside OS X without having to reboot...maybe this is just a way for people to use Windows on their Mac in the meantime.

Posted by: NHBailey at April 7, 2006 12:13 AM

I find the name "Boot Camp" amusingly ironic. It seems Apple is implying that booting into and subsequently using Windows is akin to boot camp—in other words, not a pleasant experience.

Kudos to Apple for that one.

Posted by: Mike P. at April 7, 2006 12:51 AM

Interesting points on Boot Camp. I'm clutching my Apple shares and watching what happens when people have a chance to really see OS X and XP (which I've always thought was an emoticon) side by side.

I predict that Microsoft will get a near-term boost in sales from new Mac users who buy XP as a supplement or perceived need for a stopgap. In the long run, Redmond needs a back-up plan.

Once people understand the technological superiority of OS X, Windows is toast. Game developers should not be late to the game, this time. Every game I've ever played on both platforms looks and feels better on the Mac.

Posted by: RipRagged at April 7, 2006 01:08 AM

I'm still finding myself a reason to install a 'legacy' operating system on my 'modern' intel mini, after switching entirely to OS X (and had no regrets) for nearly a year. ;)

well, still... no idea.....

Posted by: Raphael Chan at April 7, 2006 02:27 AM

I see the name Boot Camp as having a dual context as well. One, the editor has mentioned, which is the ability to choose which OS you can boot into.

The second, I believe somewhat like the editor, to be a reference to a military camp, but not in the sense that it is a place for "a miserable, mentally and physically taxing form of forced training" or that this is in any way somekind of training, but rather that this is a pre-emptive strike and Apple's call to arms.

A mass unification of existing troops [Mac users], a call for troops who want to join us before the war begins [switchers], and a wake-up call to the entire world's other computer users who aren't in either camp [sideliners] that this war IS coming and that they will be effected by the fallout.

I've literally been telling people since last year that "D-Day will be the day that Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and winBlows vista are both available. That is the day that blood will shed and even deeper lines will be drawn in the computer industry." More importantly, the ill fated, propogandist, Iraqi prime minister like miCrapsoft will be exposed for the untalented, criminal organization following frauds that they are.

This Boot Camp naming, for me, has lent credibility to my belief.

Posted by: MacQuest at April 7, 2006 03:57 AM

How is actual boot camp "forced" or "imposed on people?" It's an all-volunteer army. Nobody goes through boot camp who hasn't signed up for it.

Further, it's pretty easy to wash out if you don't like it.

Why do I get the feeling this writer has never been in the military?

Posted by: gerard at April 7, 2006 08:58 AM

I feel Boot Camp is preparing us for what is to come in Leopard (like Apple said). However, I believe the way this software works is going to be extremely different than how it is working now. The Boot Camp features to create a partition and install drivers may stay the same and the installation process may be similiar. Their will always be the option to dual boot. But I believe Leopard will include a feature to run windows alongside Tiger or seemlessly in the future (i.e.: Double click a windows app and it opens just like any other Mac app)...

There is a lot to come as far as this technology goes....

Posted by: Rhon Fitzwater at April 7, 2006 09:28 AM

I think it goes even farther than that...

On Apple's website, it states that the name is Boot Camp (for now).

Why for now? To me, the idea of Boot Camp (the real kind) implies training before the real thing.

This is a small step before I believe Apple unveils their own virtualization software built into the OS. They are testing the waters to gauge responses of interest as well as technological feasibility.

With virtualization, it wouldn't be about dual booting, but running both OS'es simultaneously. At which point, it wouldn't be proper to call it Boot Camp....hence "for now".

Posted by: Jeff at April 7, 2006 10:33 AM


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