Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The stated goal of the alliance was to challenge the dominant Wintel computing platform with a new computer design and a next-generation operating system. It was thought that the CISC processors from Intel were an evolutionary dead-end in microprocessor design, and that since RISC was the future, the next few years were a period of great opportunity.
The computer architecture base was called PReP (for PowerPC Reference Platform), and later named CHRP (for Common Hardware Reference Platform). PReP was in fact a barely-modified version of IBM's existing RS/6000 platform, changed only to support the new bus style of the PowerPC.
Apple and IBM created two new companies called Taligent and Kaleida as part of the alliance. Taligent was formed from a core team of Apple software engineers to create a next-generation operating system, code-named "Pink", to run on the platform. Kaleida was to create an object-oriented, cross-platform multimedia scripting language which would enable developers to create entirely new kinds of applications that would harness the power of the platform.
Efforts on the part of Motorola and IBM to popularize PReP/CHRP failed when Apple, IBM, and Taligent all failed to provide an operating system that could run on it. Although the platform was eventually supported by several Unix flavours as well as Windows NT, these operating systems generally ran just as well on Intel-based hardware so there was little reason to use the PReP systems. The BeBox, designed to run BeOS, used some PReP hardware but as a whole was not compatible with the standard.
Kaleida folded in 1995. Taligent folded in 1998. Some CHRP machines shipped in 1997 and 1998 to no fanfare. The PowerPC program was the one success that came out of the AIM alliance; Apple started using PowerPC chips in their Macintosh line starting in 1994, and the chips continue to find success in the embedded market as well. In 2003, after disappointing performance increases from Motorola, Apple turned to IBM to provide PowerPC chips for its new G5 desktop computers.
In November 2003, a cluster of 1100 Apple Power Mac G5 computers, using 2 IBM PPC970 processors each, won the third rank in the Top 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers.
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