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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Software Upgrades Apple Hardware

Run Mac OS X On Non-Apple Hardware, With a Dongle 536

Posted by timothy
from the not-actually-an-imperative-statement dept.
An anonymous reader points out Gizmodo's review of a USB dongle, made by a company called Efix, which allows for an effort-free transformation of a non-Apple computer into one that runs Mac OS X. According to the reviewer, the transformation is perfect (aside from a few quirks he describes as "trivial"); the included screenshots sure make it seem that way, too. The dongle costs $155, and works only on a subset of PC hardware. Non-Apple machines running OS X will no doubt make Apple unhappy, though, so, the reviewer concludes, "it's understandable if you wanna approach this with caution."
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Run Mac OS X On Non-Apple Hardware, With a Dongle

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  • by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@pacbe l l .net> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:33PM (#25155871) Homepage

    $155 makes the Apple Premium seem reasonable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:35PM (#25155899)

    Especially when you factor in the cost of OS X. You're already up to $300, without a computer.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:39PM (#25155951) Journal

    I was under the impression that you could already run OS X on a PC as long as the hardware was supported. What exactly does this thing do that you can't do already?

  • 28 days later... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:44PM (#25156043) Journal
    ... after everyone who would steal money from The Great Apple has bought one of these, The Great Apple pushes a manditory OSX upgrade. The upgrade just happens to break functionality with the dongle.

    Tell me that won't happen.

  • Re:Weird turnabout (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:44PM (#25156045) Homepage

    News flash.. multiple people have multiple opinions on various topics!

    In other words, it's not generally the same individuals making both of those claims.

  • by vecctor (935163) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:47PM (#25156097)

    1. You could be talking about two groups of people and so the people that say "Apple sucks" are not the same people saying they would try this.

    2. The reasons they are saying "Apple sucks" could be related to any number of things Apple does, most of which have nothing to do with the quality of their OS. There are lots of those.

    For an example of #2, if one were to lambaste Apple because their computers are overpriced, or they don't sell one within a particular price range, that person would not be a hypocrite for using this dongle (in fact, exactly the opposite - since they could put OSX on a cheap, high-spec PC).

  • Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by speedingant (1121329) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:51PM (#25156147)
    I've been an avid Apple fanboy all my life, but if this works, then I might be building my own machine. AKA, the model Apple never offered us.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:52PM (#25156161)

    Actually, Hackintoshes become most attractive when you start talking about NONcomparable hardware. There are some pretty down to Earth configurations that Apple just doesn't consider "cool enough" to make (cue in the Apple zealots who will proclaim that configuration styles used by 95% of PC users are "unnecessary niches").

    I for example want a tower machine. I want something with a consumer-grade desktop CPU - dual or even single core, and just 1 of them - with no monitor strapped onto it, and with a case that has ample drive bays and expansion slots so that I can add storage space and add in a video card as needed.

    In otherwords, I just want a plain-fscking computer. Not a tiny one. Not an all-in-one. Not a multi-thousand $$$$ workstation, and certainly not a laptop. Just a plain old tower. I'd even pay the famed "Apple tax" on the damned thing if it was made to buy. And don't give me the "there's no market for that" line - PC makers are selling the damned things like hotcakes.

    So, given that Apple won't make what I want, I built a Hackintosh. Yes, I installed a hacked copy of OS X, so no dongle needed. I think my total investment in this machine is around $650 (and that includes a retail copy of OS X). For that I've got a dual-core 1.8Ghz processor, 2GB of RAM, 160GB of hard drive space, and a Geforce 8600GTS video card. And if I need a little more than what any particular component can provide, I'll just swap the part out because the system is upgradeable.

  • Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Uniquitous (1037394) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @02:54PM (#25156201)
    Seriously, as a guy with Linux, Windows, and Mac boxes in his house, I question the worth of putting OS X on anything besides an apple box. I use OS X on my Mini because that's what is there, and because I've got enough in the iTunes share to make it a pain to migrate. I've found OS X to be pretty, but clunky as all hell, and inexplicable in its wi-fi behavior. Many's the time I've eyed the mini with an Ubuntu DVD in my hand.
  • by Otter (3800) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:00PM (#25156283) Journal
    And if you're not a hardware obsessive like the author, you probably don't just happen to have one of the few approved motherboards laying around already.
  • by cculianu (183926) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:02PM (#25156317) Homepage

    Umm.. you can already run OSX on PC hardware *without* no stinkin' dongle!

    Well, that is, if you don't mind pirating software. There are several hacked copies of the OSX Tiger and Leopard install DVDs floating about that allow you to install OSX on any reasonably modern PC. Google around for 'leo4all' or 'ideneb'. YMMV.

    Also: http://www.osx86project.org/ [osx86project.org] has tons of resources on how to run a 'hackintosh'.

    There are also some VMWare 'appliances' -- that is -- virtual machines with OSX already pre-installed on the vmdk files. You just dl them and use vmplayer or vmware workstation and you got yourself OSX inside a VM.

    People have been runing OSX on PC hardware for a while now. So, given that -- how is this exciting at all? It isn't even any more legal than just dling pirated/hacked OSX install DVDs. The way I see it -- there is no advantage to paying $150 to break the law with a stinkin' dongle, when you can download a 4GB DVD torrent and get OSX for free. Both are equally illegal and violate Apple's EULA or whatever.

    So how is this new/newsworthy/even mildly exciting?

  • Re:Weird turnabout (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PDHoss (141657) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:13PM (#25156493)

    Because for all their high-and-mighty pontificating about "freedom" and "rights" and "DRM" and whatever, most people just like to get stuff for free/cheap.

    Would Apple or the RIAA or Sony or whoever all of a sudden one day say "It's illegal to copy and share our stuff, but we promise never to come after you," you can bet your ass that the threads ranting about "my rights!" would dry up lickety-split. Because for the overwhelming majority of folks, it's not about the principle of the thing -- it's about you getting in the way of me getting stuff for free.

    Sad, but true for all except a limited number of genuinely-involved purists.

  • Re:Why bother? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:21PM (#25156659)
    Clunky as hell is a very subjective judgment. I find my productivity drops considerably in Windows compared to OS X. As for why one would want to use OS X on regular PC hardware, it's mainly due to the fact that Apple has for some time refused to cater to the normal desktop consumer/prosumer with a midrange Mac tower. The entry level price of Apple's towers was reasonable back in the G4 era. It rose with the introduction of the G5. And with the Mac Pro, it rose even more. The Mac Pro is positioned only as a workstation and priced accordingly. The iMac is supposed to serve the midrange, but many sophisticated buyers don't care for the iMac's AIO form factor. If Apple were to come out with a midrange tower again, there would be much less of a desire and demand for OS X on normal PCs.
  • by uglyduckling (103926) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:27PM (#25156805) Homepage

    Yes, I've said this on a few forums - this is the fairly large 'niche' that Apple really do need to appeal to. People who want a reasonably spec'ed machine that has decent upgrade potential. The main reason cited by die-hard Mac zealots* is that it would compete with the Mac Pro, but I think if they only released models with dual-core CPUs and one or two free PCIe slots then the high-end graphics/video/audio professionals wouldn't be interested because the video and graphics people want quad- or 8-cores for rendering speed and the audio people want PCI slots for their Pro Tools cards and DSP.

    I've got a Mac Mini and bought it with the highest processor/HD/memory combination available at the time, and still needed to buy an external drive to have a decent amount of storage space. I can't justify a Mac Pro because I'm really only doing don't-quit-your-dayjob home studio stuff. What will happen is in 6-12 months' time I'll buy a first generation Mac Pro second hand when all the real pros are upgrading to 8-core monsters, so Apple will miss out on a sale. If they made a mini-tower I would buy it tomorrow.

    *I'm a Mac fan but not a zealot. I think.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:30PM (#25156849)

    Using prebuilt systems to compete with that segment is practically impossible because you have to charge for the labor the customer is willing to do themselves, so Apple isn't ever going to try.

    If Apple sold the a bare "Apple blessed" desktop motherboard with a copy of OSX for $260 the enthusiast DIY crowd would be all over it like white on rice.

  • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:38PM (#25157011) Homepage

    well, i can't say what most hackintosh users do, but from what i've read here it seems like there are definitely some people who don't pirate OS X for building their own hackintoshes.

    i'd also note that it seems like the fact hackintosh users have to obtain a hacked OS X setup disc to have a decent chance of getting their hackintosh to work that promotes piracy in this case. if they could get help from more experienced OS X users on how to do it legally, then that might reduce piracy, wouldn't you say? and seeing as this dongle lets you use any old OS X disc, the original incentive of simply downloading a hacked disc image is no longer relevant.

    regarding the hackintosh vs mac mini argument, i have to point out that a smaller price tag isn't the only issue. it does no good for the consumer to buy a cheap mini if he really needs a more powerful machine. so, yes, he could buy a cheap mac mini or get the dongle and OS, but with the dongle + OS he can use that on a system that actually fits his needs. then if he likes the OS, he could invest in a $3000 Apple workstation--or whatever model happens to be appropriate.

    it's sorta like saying, "well you can can a BMW motorcycle for under $10k" when they might be looking for a sedan. some people don't have the need for a mini-type system, regardless of what OS it runs or manufacturer it's by.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:50PM (#25157215)

    There is no Apple Premium.

    yes there is. you can do all sorts of comparions (when I've done them the Apple device, Mac or iPod, always comes out more expensive) but there is a different kind of proof -- theres been plenty of financial reports (including Apples own) stating that they have a significantly higher profit margin on their hardware than competitors. where do you think that is coming from?

  • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:08PM (#25157493)

    And again, if these PC users are willing to shell out a few hundred bucks on dongles and a copy of the OS to try it out, they can buy a slighly used mac mini, or an older ibook.

    So instead of trying out the OS on hardware I already own, I can spend the money on extra hardware I don't want that will potentially require me to swap around cables and/or get a KVM. Top that off with the fact that you're saying they could instead get a used mac mini or ibook that potentially has hardware problems... gee, where do I sign up. The cheapest "official" refurbished mac from apple that a person could be reasonably assured of the hardware's condition is over $1000 [apple.com]

    Hardware choice is a convenience. Convenience is a benefit people are often willing to pay for.

    I've had the chance to use OSX at work. But if I hadn't had that opportunity and someone told me I could run it on my current hardware for $300 (including a copy of OSX), I can understand how that would appeal to people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:39PM (#25157959)

    Where are the stats to support your conclusion that the majority of OSX86 users are software pirates. It very well good be true, but a source to some study would be nice. To be honest, one can easily come to a conclusion on why an individual would pirate the OS. Would you pay $129 to own a copy of the OS if every other update broke it. This is about as bad as the comment above about either buying a used Mac or purchasing a new one, given that they are "ultra inexpensive at under $3000). The last time I checked the majority of PCs were priced at well under one grand. How many Macintosh computers can you get that are less than $999 (for that matter, how about $499).

    The simple truth is that using Windows/Linux is a cost benefit analysis performed by the end user. You get the most product for your money using a traditional PC (not an Intel box blessed by Apple with EFI).

  • by amRadioHed (463061) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:09PM (#25158347)

    Some of your complaints are valid, but this:

    Lets not talk about the stupid Red, yellow and green application window controls. When I press the Red X, I want the fucking application to close, not minimize to a DIFFERENT place than the yellow button minimizes it to. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?

    You lost me there. First of all clicking on the red X doesn't minimize the application anywhere, it closes the window. Secondly, why should closing a window equate with quitting an application? What if the application has two windows open? Should closing one of them still quit the app? It sounds like you don't really understand what you are complaining about.

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:12PM (#25158389)

    When someone makes a controversial claim, then simply backs it up with something like, "It's a fact." or "That's the truth." you know they probably full of it and have no actual evidence. I'd expect this on the political blogs, not a technical forum. You sound like, "9/11 was an inside job. That's a fact!"

  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:36PM (#25158637)

    Which is complete crap....

    Referring to someone who at least paid for some percentage of the actual cost of OS X (the upgrade retail boxes) as a pirate is stretching the definition of the word.

  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:45PM (#25158727)

    Man, i hope after using this mac mini for ~9 months i don't turn into a jackass too!

  • Uh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:00PM (#25158943) Homepage Journal

    I am not sure whose side you were taking there.

    It had four times the ram and was $1200 less?

    So, can you clarify?

    I am very sure any enthusiast can build a far better machine at a substantially lower price, provided something as easy as plugging in a dongle was all it took to fool OS X

  • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:13PM (#25159091) Homepage

    But... But... Amiga never dies!!

    Amiga rules, now and forever!* =P

    (Yes, moderate me insightful, you know you want to!)
    (* It's just the owners of the brand name which suck!)

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:14PM (#25159107)

    Which is a premium.

    "Ferrari doesn't have a premium, they just sell more expensive cars. If you compare them to similarly spec'ed cars you'll find they're about the same price +/- $5000"

    I build $800 blazing fast workstations: QuadCore, 8GB of Ram and just under top of the line video card along with a 500GB Raid 0 for storage.

    You say "no premium" I say I can get a superb workstation for less money.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:30PM (#25159343)

    If this kind of effort were to go into fixing all the problems with Linux, making Linux capable of running every application from every platform ever concieved, we could install a Mac Skin and tell Apple and MS to eat OSX and Windows.

    Seriously. Why waste your time with the futile. At least with Linux you have a chance of survival.

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