The folks who first brought Mac and Windows together have now added Linux to the recipe, offering a detailed guide on how to use Apple's Boot Camp software to run all three operating systems on an Intel-based Mac.
According to the software engineers at OnMac.net, the Triple Boot procedure "chainloads" the Linux bootloader from Windows XP after Windows is installed on a Mac.
It's as complicated a process as it sounds, and OnMac.net warns that only advanced users should attempt the feat because it involves manually partitioning the hard drive, a task that could destroy all the drive's contents.
To complete the process, Mac users run Apple's Boot Camp utility to install Windows XP. After installing the appropriate software and configuring the installation, the process of loading Linux can take place. Full installation instructions can be found at OnMac.net's Triple Boot via Boot Camp page.
OnMac.net was launched in January in an effort to spur the creation of a method to boot Windows XP natively on the Intel-based Mac. The site awarded prize money to the developers who were the first to complete this task.
Following OnMac.net's solution, Apple rolled out its own utility to handle the process. While embracing Windows was seen by many as a radical move by Apple, with many Mac aficionados expressing their outrage, running the open-source Linux operating system appears to be a more benign development.
Yankee Group analyst Nitin Gupta pointed out that, while the Triple Boot option is new, Linux has been running on Macintosh hardware for years.
Gupta cited Yellow Dog Linux, a distribution designed for Apple's Power PC-based computers, as one example of the offerings available.
Analysts say Boot Camp will increase Apple's share of the hardware market, but the process will be gradual, with no massive influx of buyers scooping up Macs. The real impact is expected to begin with business users rather than consumers.
The Triple Boot procedure was successfully tested on an Intel-powered MacBook laptop, but has not yet been tried on the iMac or Apple Mini, OnMac.com reported.