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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Apple

Leopard Already Hacked To Run On PC Hardware 568

Posted by Zonk
from the fast-moving-kitties dept.
PoliTech passed us a PC World link, noting that the newest version of OS X, Leopard, has already been adapted to run on a PC. "The OSx86 Scene forum has released details of how Windows users can migrate to Apple's new OS, without investing in new hardware -- even though installing Leopard on an PC may be counter to Apple's terms and conditions. The forum is offering full instructions on how to install the system, including screenshots of the installation process. Not all the features of Leopard function with the patch -- Wi-Fi support, for example, is reportedly inoperable. Historically, Apple's likely next move will be to track down and act against those behind the hack."
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Leopard Already Hacked To Run On PC Hardware

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  • Track Down, Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BoldAC (735721) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @12:12PM (#21172045)
    Are these the same guys from the original hack?

    http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page [osx86project.org]

  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @12:18PM (#21172143)

    Why is a patch needed? Is it due to DRM?
    Yes. Apple wants OS X to only operate on Apple hardware.
  • by cromar (1103585) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @12:18PM (#21172147)
    More or less. OS X checks for specific hardware and will not run if it is not present.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @12:29PM (#21172323)

    and for anyone other than the hobbiests
    Unless you're talking about the superlative quality of being a Hobbit ("Bilbo is the hobbiest Hobbit of them all!"), the word is "hobbyist". It's an -ist ending, not -est, and as such you don't convert the y.

    Your spelling checker should have flagged that for you.
  • by antv (1425) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @12:39PM (#21172505)
    Apple uses EFI [wikipedia.org] in Intel-based Macs instead of regular BIOS.
    This is the same reason why you need BootCamp [wikipedia.org] to emulate BIOS in order to boot Windows on an Intel Mac.
  • Re:Shame... (Score:5, Informative)

    by NekoXP (67564) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @01:03PM (#21172879) Homepage

    which is why they dont bother trying


    But they do - at least a very broad range of PC hardware runs every build of Windows they make, for regression testing.

    It's not as comprehensive, but they DO bother trying.
  • Re:Migrate? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rhpenguin (655576) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @01:10PM (#21172993)
    Ive been running Mac OS X on my generic hardware since somewhere in early 2006. I felt it was a much more cost effective way to replace my aging DA PowerMac. I mean sure, I have to rip apart dot releases with Pacifist to install them but, bricking my machine? Hardly. Worst case scenario, I boot with -s flag and repair whatever files need repairing. Actually, after a while you kinda forget your not running Apple hardware.
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @01:16PM (#21173107)

    One big reason your system is a better value is because your "Hackentosh" is running an operating system you did not buy a license for.
    If you reread what the OP said: The hardware for my Hackintosh costed $250. I actually did buy a copy of OS X Tiger (though just one for my G4, but I don't use the G4 99% of the time), but that was only $100. So for $350 total,

    So while he did not buy the license for this machine specifically, he did include that licensing cost in his price estimate. So in that sense he is comparing [ahem] apples to Apples.
    You are quite correct about the form factor not being the same footprint. But if space or chic is not one of your top considerations for a system then his rig wins on price and functionality. Personally, I have a shuttle XPC case and it's as small as it needs to be, it's already smaller than a shoebox so to scale it down to mac mini size for double the price doesn't interest me. Considering most users have enough space for a medium sized case, and want blazing fast hardware, the advantage of form factor over price is greatly reduced.
  • by Jimithing DMB (29796) <dfe@@@tgwbd...org> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @02:11PM (#21174013) Homepage

    I am a registered ADC developer and so I had access to all the seeds. That was a god send for dealing with the new 64-bit Objective-C runtime but I also figured that since I had the seeds, well, why not see how compatible Leopard is with non-Apple hardware.

    There are legit reasons to do it. For instance, a base Darwin system can be made out of entirely open source software. Until you start decrypting binaries or (given the DMCA) tell people how to do it, you're not breaking the law. Running binaries you compile yourself is also not breaking the law nor the license.

    So I did some research into it and looked at the various hacked kernels that are out there as well as some of the available source patches. After doing some research on it I realized that a good bulk of the typical kernel patch is due to lack of the "/efi" node in the device tree. Well, boot-132 (the non-EFI bootloader) is open source and after a bit of hacking I modified it to look for the ACPI and SMBIOS tables and put them in the appropriate sub-nodes of the efi node.

    Assuming the right processor (e.g. Core or Core 2) that's enough to get any kernel Apple has ever made to boot without modifying the binary or recompiling from source. Unfortunately I used a P4 as a test rig so I had to do a tiny bit of hacking. It's pretty easy since the source is available so you can just fix it and recompile. Or if the source isn't available (e.g. source for Leopard isn't yet) you can still quite easily patch the machine code to ignore the processor family.

    Once you've got that the only thing between you and OS X is a way to get the kernel to decrypt the binaries. Amit Singh has illustrated the magic poem which is actually not the decryption but instead a secondary protection mechanism. In some earlier Leopard seeds, that mechanism didn't appear to be used anymore. The real decryption is two AES keys, also widely available. The interface between the kernel and the decryption kernel extension is public. That is, there's a function pointer variable in the source and basically you just write a function that does the AES decryption and then set the appropriate function pointer to the address of your function from your kernel extension's initialization routine. That's all I'll give away on a public forum though. And I'm not giving anything away here, it's public knowledge, right in the source code to xnu.

    I post here not to tell people how to hack it but to illustrate that it's not some difficult scheme. I have a good laugh reading the various osx86 forums about how cool these hackers must be if they can crack OS X. It's not as if Apple tried to make it hard. I mean, putting the decryption hook in "Don't Steal Mac OS X.kext" is a pretty dead giveaway. The other good meme is the thought that the methods of hacking need to be kept secret so Apple doesn't figure them out. Believe me, if I can reverse engineer the hacks then I'm quite certain Apple has several people who can. If they even want to. I see no indication that anyone at Apple is trying to prevent hacks. They write code that works on their machines. If it happens to work on other x86 machines, it does. They haven't ever done anything to stop it.

  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Informative)

    by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @02:26PM (#21174227)

    2. Being indifferent to third-party hardware
    3. Actively interfering with attempts to run on third-party hardware

    Please excuse my ignorance in these matters, because I genuinely don't know. Is Apple doing #2, or #3? It's plausible that, as people claim, #1 interferes with Apple's desire to guarantee quality. But #2 and #3 should be essentially equivalent in terms of the quality that Apple can deliver for its customers, and hobbyists would be a lot happier with #2.

    The problem is twofold.

    Firstly: Apple is all about a brand, an experience if you like. It's a bit hard to explain to an IT crowd who are used to being able to mix and match what they like and don't mind too much if something breaks, but the whole point of Apple as a company is "sell elegant stuff which JFW". The "don't care if it breaks, I'll just fix it" customer mentality has never been particularly important to Apple.

    If someone's experience of Mac OS is "oh, that's the thing the kid down the road installed on my PC and it never really worked properly", then it's very hard for Apple to get the message across that they sell elegant stuff which JFW.

    Secondly: If Mac OS can be made by hobbyists to work well with non-Apple hardware, suddenly Apple finds that every PC OEM on the planet has just become an Apple-cloning company. Something similar [wikipedia.org] almost destroyed Apple some years ago, they're not about to make the same mistake again.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Informative)

    by davidsyes (765062) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @02:37PM (#21174447) Homepage Journal
    Here is a chart comparing features of Leopard vs Vista...

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/27/leopard-vs-vista-feature-chart-showdown/ [engadget.com]
  • by macshome (818789) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @02:45PM (#21174605) Homepage
    BootCamp has nothing to do with the BIOS emulation. That was added with an EFI update to early Intel Macs and has been included ever since.

    All the BootCamp utility does is provide a GUI to diskutil resizeDisk and burn a CD of drivers from a DMG that is inside the application package. You can just partition your disk with Disk Utility and install Windows. With Leopard now you can just pop the install DVD in for the Windows drivers and re-partition your disk non-destructively as well with Disk Utility.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:3, Informative)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @03:03PM (#21174883)
    The problem with (2) is the stupid user, you have to actively prevent it with (3). Why? Because otherwise some dumb person will try OS X on unsupported hardware, have a bad experience and go on claiming OS X is unstable, OS X sucks and it will eventually spill on the mac market.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:3, Informative)

    by jcgf (688310) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @03:25PM (#21175165)
    I just bought a Macbook, my opinion of OS X was formed from running it on "hackintoshes". I found that #3 is correct, but they don't try very hard. For example I had tiger running on a 2.4 celeron acer something or other from work and a homebuilt 3500 Athlon64. I did have trouble with drivers and had to fuss around finding nics and sound cards that worked and I never did get 3d acceleration, however if you purpose built a machine with known working hardware (see the hackintosh wiki) you wouldn't have these problems. I never tried getting software updates.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Informative)

    by coult (200316) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @04:26PM (#21176103)

    You do know that upgrading your own memory without paying an Apple-certified technician will void your warranty, right?
    This one probably qualifies as an urban legend by now.

    Apple "recommends" you use their memory, but you can use any memory you want and install it yourself without voiding the warranty; see the standard Apple hardware warranty http://images.apple.com/legal/warranty/docs/cpuwarranty.pdf [apple.com]. Same applies to hard drives, video cards, etc.

    The only exclusion is if you damage the machine while installing hardware, or if the stuff you are installing damages the machine somehow.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:3, Informative)

    by coult (200316) on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @04:35PM (#21176201)

    We cannot directly compare Apple hardware with Sony hardware, but we can in fact compare the things they re-sell, such as RAM or disks.

    And Apple markup tends to be a lot higher on these compared with HP or Sony. Whether it's due to the "milk the fanboys" attitude or all the rigoros testing, I will not say.
    Actually, you can directly compare Apple hardware with HP, Sony, or Dell hardware since they use many of the same components. For example, a Mac Pro can be directly compared to a number of different Dell or HP servers; the CPU, motherboard, memory, etc. are nearly identical. The Mac Pro cost compares quite favorably. For example, a Dell Poweredge 1900 dual socket quad core Xeon 5365 machine w/ 1 GB ram and 250 GB disk costs $3747 with no OS. The same CPUs, disk, and RAM from apple is $3997 but includes the OS, iLife, etc.

    The Dell will sound and feel like an industrial-strength hairdryer. The Apple machine is basically silent.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:3, Informative)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 30, 2007 @05:24PM (#21176777) Homepage

    For example, a Dell Poweredge 1900 dual socket quad core Xeon 5365 machine w/ 1 GB ram and 250 GB disk costs $3747 with no OS. The same CPUs, disk, and RAM from apple is $3997 but includes the OS, iLife, etc.
    ... OR you can custom-build one for less than half that price.

    The thing that stumps me with Apple is they would probably do very well even if they sold the parts separately. Honestly, a lot of people would pay $500-600 for a sexy Apple "barebone" system (chassis + mb + power), because they already pay those absurd prices for ghetto barebone kits from Asus and Supermicro. They'd even pay $200-300 for OS-X, because they pay that for Vista and they don't even like it. I'd much sooner buy OS-X for my beefy PC than Vista, but I don't want to give up the freedom of building a machine that's specifically tailored to my hardware desires.

    I just built a freakin' powerhouse of a box last month for $1500, but a similar Mac Pro is $8k, and by similar I mean crappy graphics card, slower CPUs and that slow-ass junk FB-DIMM Ram. I could justify spending maybe $2500 on that hardware for the Mac brand, simply because you get the sexy styling and OS, and it would probably be quieter than my PC... but $8k is ridiculous, might as well build a 5-way cluster of my cheap machines, with enough cash left over for hookers and booze!

    Let's face it: in the desktop computing world, Apple is the only shop that puts any effort into their products. Everyone else is too busy flogging cheap imitations of one-another to ever stop and think "Hey, this start button is a dumb idea" or "Maybe people don't want our stupid misspelled chinese company name (and our 4 partners) printed on the these big noisy neon-lit tin cans".

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