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Apple Businesses Software Linux

Run Mac OS X Under Linux 103

A user writes, "Just saw at penguinppc that Mac-On-Linux can now run Mac OS X. Nothing like having Mac OS X running on a VT to switch to and from." Cool, but ... why?
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Run Mac OS X Under Linux

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  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sweetooth ( 21075 )
    Maybe a better question is, Why not?

    Like so many things it's probably just because they can.
    • yeah, i agree. i think this, as well as the article about the guy who scanned his records and converted them into .WAVs, comes under the category of "hey, look what i can do!"

      pretty cool, guys.

      actually, i'm certain there are plenty of uses here. it would be nice if someone could make a list of ideas. like, softwares which won't work under linux, but will work under OS X in this manner.
  • Very cool.

    Now if someone can just make a VERY SMALL ppc chip-and-io-driver emulator for Intel PCs, I can use that as my boot-sector image and have it run MacOS X. Presto! Jaguar on a Dell!

    (okay, so I need a little better detail in the "miracle occurs" portion of my plan. But it'd be cool, no?)
  • One reason... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by questionlp ( 58365 )
    Maybe one reason is that say a developer is writing a program (be it command-line or X11 based) and wants to see if it will compile and run properly on Mac OS X without having to reboot into Mac OS X or deal with another machine to mess with.

    It's use may be a bit limited for the LinuxPPC users, but it kind of fills a niche that Virtual PC and VMware fills (maybe not perfectly, but it's still usable, no?).

    Another reason might be someone is required to access an Exchange server for calendar, mail, etc... and Outlook Web Access does cut it (OWA in 5.5 sucks, but OWA in 2000 is cleaner but still has dependencies on IE for some key features)... running Outlook 2001 or Entourage under Mac OS X could fill that part (though Entourage wouldn't provide access to public folders and other things).

    Just my thoughts.
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @01:59PM (#4208279) Homepage
    So now I can run MacOS X running Virtual PC running Linux running MOL running MacOS X running a Commodore 64 emulator running M.U.L.E. What a deal!

    Or just go recursive: MacOS X->VPC->Linux->MOL->(repeat forever).
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

      by Merlin42 ( 148225 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @02:15PM (#4208427) Homepage
      Uh... NO

      VPC is a virtual x86 box while MOL requires a PPC. It sounds like it is very similar to VMware/plex86 except for PPC.
      • Re:Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nesthigh ( 447909 )
        Uh... Why not? [maconlinux.net]

        Granted this screenshot isn't OS X, it should work there as well.

        next

        • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

          by foobar104 ( 206452 )
          Uh... Why not?

          Granted this screenshot isn't OS X, it should work there as well.


          Sorry, nesthigh, I think you missed it. The OP was talking about running OS X inside a MOL instance, and in order to run MOL you have to be on PowerPC hardware. VirtualPC emulates Intel hardware, not PowerPC hardware. So you couldn't do it.

          Your screen shot was obviously taken on a Mac running Linux, which was running MOL, which was running VirtualPC, but the chain ends there.

          But I have to chime in with others on this one. Given that Mac OS X is superior in every stinkin' way to Linux (flame on!), why-- other than the mountain climber answer-- would you do this?
          • Re:Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

            by jbolden ( 176878 )
            Given that Mac OS X is superior in every stinkin' way to Linux (flame on!), why-- other than the mountain climber answer-- would you do this?

            Q: Why would you choose Linux over OSX?
            A: Better unix apps support. At this point Linux is the Unix with the most broad support and widest range of Unix apps. If you are running Unix apps Linux makes sense.

            Q: OK but then why would you buy Apple hardware to run Linux?
            A: Quite a few Linux guys really like the iBook as a latop. Small, good screen, reasonable cost, long battery life. In terms of distributions: YDL, Debian, Mandrake (though they may drop their PPC line) and Gentoo among others. So its not an unreasonable choice.

            Q: OK but if you are a Linux only user who wants to buy a powerbook what do you need OSX for?
            A: The same thing that PC Linux users use wine for. Those one or two apps they just can't find for Linux.

            It makes sense though I'm not sure the market is going to be more than a handful of people.

            • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

              by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @03:17PM (#4208946) Journal
              At this point Linux is the Unix with the most broad support and widest range of Unix apps. If you are running Unix apps Linux makes sense.

              What do you want to run under Linux that you can't run under OS X? I mean, we're talking about stuff you'd want to compile from scratch, here, because this is PowerPC rather than IA-32. If it doesn't talk directly to the hardware, you should be able to compile it on OS X with only, at most, minor trouble.

              Hell, it's even the same compiler:

              Reading specs from /usr/libexec/gcc/darwin/ppc/3.1/specs
              Thread model: posix
              Apple Computer, Inc. GCC version 1161, based on gcc version 3.1 20020420 (prerelease)
              • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

                by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @04:01PM (#4209233) Homepage
                The underlying systems are really really different. Porting to OSX can be highly non trivial. Think about all the work that went into getting XDarwin to work. A few examples of the problems:

                1) anything that uses the /proc filesystem; which not a small number of apps.

                2) Any program that uses an assembly subroutine anywhere

                3) Any program that uses elf specific routines

                4) Any program that uses a library which can't be ported
                • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

                  by Dahan ( 130247 ) <khym@azeotrope.org> on Friday September 06, 2002 @06:09PM (#4209963)
                  1) anything that uses the /proc filesystem; which not a small number of apps.

                  I'm not a Linux user, and I have no idea what apps use the /proc filesystem, but it seems to me that anything that does is horribly unportable. If "not a small number of apps" require /proc, I'd say that the majority of those are poorly-written.

                  2) Any program that uses an assembly subroutine anywhere

                  Why can't OSX use assembly? If a program has some x86 assembly, sure, that'd be a problem, but not a OSX-specific one. You can't use x86 assembly on LinuxPPC either. An altivec-optimized assembly routine that decrypts RC5 works just as well on OSX, LinuxPPC, NetBSD, or AIX. See the distributed.net client source code for an example.

                  3) Any program that uses elf specific routines

                  Such as...? Again, if there are a significant number of apps that even care what your object format is, I'd say the majority of them are poorly-written. Emacs' lisp undumping business is the only thing I can think of (and emacs has already been ported to OSX and even comes installed in the base system). Whose bright idea was it to intentionally make emacs dump core and try to reconstruct an executable out of the core dump anyways? Oh, that's right... RMS. (Have you seen how many undump routines there are in the emacs source? Daaaamn... but I digress...)

                  4) Any program that uses a library which can't be ported

                  Sure, but seeing that I don't buy your points 1-3, I'd say that most libraries would be pretty easy to port :)

                  Actually, I'd say the main barrier to porting to OSX was that it doesn't use the X Window System for its GUI. But since X has been ported to it, that barrier's gone.

                  A problem that still exists is accessing hardware peripherals, such as playing sound, communicating with USB devices, or the low-level DVD access needed to play DVDs.

                  Porting to OSX can be highly non-trivial, but most of the time, it is trivial. I think more of the problem lies with developers who learned how to program on x86 Linux not knowing how to write portable code. Even spending some time trying to compile their code on other ports of Linux would help them--I've seen a lot of 64-bit-unclean code when trying to compile stuff on an Alpha (no, you can't cast a pointer to an int... why do you even want to?), and some code that assumes little-endian byte ordering too.

                  • I gotta make an appeal to authority and common sense here. I'm not part of the fink or the gunosx projects so I can only go on what I hear; and these are the issues they run into. A lot of Linux programmers have little or no experience with other Unixes and so do all sorts of things specific to the Linux kernal. /proc is a great example of this it provides a huge number of terrific features that make programming easier if you don't care about portability and often when software first appears it is very platform specific.

                    Why do you think its taking the Fink guys so long to be able to port over all of say a debian distribution?

                    • A lot of Linux programmers have little or no experience with other Unixes and so do all sorts of things specific to the Linux kernal.

                      Right, but that'd cause problems trying to port to any other *nix... the difficulty porting such programs isn't because OSX is "really really different" from Linux. I contend that if one writes a program that works on, say Linux and FreeBSD, it'll be trivial to port to OSX (barring the hardware stuff I mentioned). However, if one writes a program that's uses Linux-specific stuff, it'll be just as hard to port to OSX as it would be to port to FreeBSD, Solaris, or some other *nix.

                      Why do you think its taking the Fink guys so long to be able to port over all of say a debian distribution?

                      Lack of time and/or manpower?

                      FWIW, I've personally compiled ghostscript, screen, GMT, cronolog, readline, gettext, mplayer, SDL, lame, and netpbm on OSX without having to make any source code tweaks at all. A friend might've compiled Tomcat, although maybe he just installed the binary... not sure. Most of that stuff is in fink now, but much of it wasn't at the time I compiled them... since they didn't need any real porting work, I'm assuming they weren't in fink because nobody had gotten around to doing it yet, not because it was difficult to do. cronolog still isn't in fink yet, and as I mentioned, compiles straight out of the box... ./configure && make -j2 and you're set.

                    • Right, but that'd cause problems trying to port to any other *nix... the difficulty porting such programs isn't because OSX is "really really different" from Linux. I contend that if one writes a program that works on, say Linux and FreeBSD, it'll be trivial to port to OSX (barring the hardware stuff I mentioned). However, if one writes a program that's uses Linux-specific stuff, it'll be just as hard to port to OSX as it would be to port to FreeBSD, Solaris, or some other *nix.

                      I don't disagree with you. My point originally was that Linux relative to all the other Unixes had the greatest amount of software available not that OSX was particularly difficult. I'd assume that True64 and HPUX are probably much worse.

                  • Do linux people really still program such non-portable apps? Lesson 1 in the e101 text book (and I'm not lying, I have it right here) has a full section on portability and why we would want apps to be portable and even urges the reader to make all his apps as portable as possible, even if it means extra code.
                    • Yes there are a ton of non portable apps but I don't think Linux is particularly bad. SCO still exists primarily because of non portable apps written for it. Solaris has a ton of non portable apps. Certainly the OSX apps making use of Cocoa or Carbon are going to be essentially totally non portable.

                      IMHO generally when an app is first created its much more limited in scope then it will eventually become and is often of limited use. Its only with time that it becomes clear why portability is vital. Certain groups like KDE or Xfree had portability as a priority from very early on; others certainly didn't. For example many of the SGI Irix apps tend to be highly non portable and porting them has been very expensive.

                    • You just took up the number one reason I don't like OSX. It comes with a non portable GUI.

                      As a Linux programmer all my apps should work on OSX, thats ok. It's not ok when the macers don't give there work back to the Unix community.

                      I mean. Half of OSX is Open source software. Apple can't even get there stinkin mediaplayer running on other unixes, and not there GUI. When they do. I might change oppinion. Until they do I stick with a standard *nix such as Linux.

                      Sure, they have an open source kernel. But we already have a couple of great kernels with much driver support etc, darwin outside of OSX is still mucho rare. There work on GCC is probably good for the community though. But it's not enough at all.

                  • Let me add: If you run into problems compiling your app try Fink http://fink.sourceforge.net/
                • For 1, the program is not potable to many UNIX's because most do not have /proc.

                  2) it cannot be ported to Linux on PPC any way.

                  3) like dlopen? there is a wrapper for it on Darwin.

                  4) well then you cannot use Linux PPC any ways.
                • This is a moot argument.

                  All the points you make are equally true of porting between ANY operating systems, not just OS X.

                  Any program that uses routines particular to it's kind of executable file format, uses assembler or uses file-system specific things like /proc are bad at being ported.

                  Anything that uses a specific library without abstracting it away behind a interface is bad at porting because it's tied to that library.

                  These are just general rules of software development and have nothing to do with OS X.

                  Yes, porting to OS X can be less trivial than porting to BSD, but that's only because BSD and Linux are incredibly similar from the superficial standpoint of user-space.

                  OS X and Linux are incredibly similar in terms of available API (think POSIX), but are very different on other things, like file-system layout, kernel api and driver api. But, that's also true of ANY operating system that isn't Linux or BSD.

                  Try porting to Windows. It's FAR more difficult than porting to OS X.

                  I think Fink makes a very convincing argument of ability to port to OS X. Hell, they've ported KDE for god's sake. That's far from a trivial program.

                  Anyway. Yes, porting can be difficult. If you do certain things that make your program less portable. But that will make it hard to port to ANY other os, not just OS X. But, it's not as hard as you make it out to be, depending on the application.

                  If it's a GUI program, than that's another matter entirely and you have my full sympathies. But, still, assuming you have a well-designed model-view separation, you should be able to write a new GUI in any language, for any toolkit, and get it to work.

                  Justin Dubs
                  • What? Try and follow the thread. The original poster asked what's sorts of things could go wrong with source since they use the same compiler. I pointed out several things.

                    How can this be a "moot argument" it was an answer to a specific question about two specific platforms. I don't disagree that porting is possible I'm just arguing that there is some work involved in porting. Having the entire Debian source directory does not give you the ability to run all of debian's software on OSX.

                    • What? Try and follow the thread. The original poster asked what's sorts of things could go wrong with source since they use the same compiler. I pointed out several things.

                      Speaking as the original poster, I have to chime in here with a "nuh-uh." First of all, my original point was to say that the vast majority of all possible code will compile without modification on both Linux and OS X. Notice I said the vast majority of all possible code, not the majority of programs. Most of the APIs provided by Linux and common libraries are available on OS X. For example, today I needed to do some work on part of our software that uses OpenSSL. So I FTP'd it from my build server (a Linux box) to my Power Mac and messed around with it. I didn't have to change anything, not even the makefile. All of the required libraries were available, including libcrypto, in the default OS X installation. And I got to use Project Builder, which was a little bit of a "woo hoo."

                      And finally, I don't think four really qualifies as "several," especially when the fourth one is basically just "anything that depends on something that's affected by items one, two, or three."
                    • I think you should reread your own post:
                      What do you want to run under Linux that you can't run under OS X? I mean, we're talking about stuff you'd want to compile from scratch, here, because this is PowerPC rather than IA-32. If it doesn't talk directly to the hardware, you should be able to compile it on OS X with only, at most, minor trouble.

                      Hell, it's even the same compiler:


                      I think my interpretation of your comment stands.

            • Never used OS X, eh? Poor boy. You don't know what you're missing. =)
          • "Given that Mac OS X is superior in every stinkin' way to Linux (flame on!)"

            Bwah hah hah...

            Apple is smart. But not that smart.
            • Nobody's taking my bait.

              I'd love to hear somebody-- anybody-- explain to me how Linux has any kind of edge over OS X. But please omit discussions on how Linux runs on just about any kind of hardware. I will simply argue that OS X runs on better hardware, and we'll be right back where we started.

              What's Linux got going for it that OS X doesn't?

              Comments of a political nature and absurd misuses of the word "free" will be pointed at, laughed at, and ignored.
              • What's Linux got going for it that OS X doesn't?


                It runs on dual Athlons.

                • Re:Wow (Score:2, Funny)

                  by troc ( 3606 )
                  And this is particularly good why exactly?

                  You live in a cold, quiet place and prefer a hot place filled with the whine of fans?

                  If you are trying to make a "lots of processing power for not much cash" point, please be more specific ;)

                  If you are just trolling, you could at least have mentioned something exceptionally powerful ;)

                  Troc
              • > explain to me how Linux has any
                > kind of edge over OS X.

                Three things:

                1. There are Linux distributions for many different architectures.
                2. Price.
                3. License (freedom).

                Of course, there are a lot more than three things that OS X has over Linux, beginning with usability.

        • That screenshot is Linux running Mac OS running VPC. The parent said:

          "So now I can run MacOS X running Virtual PC running Linux running MOL" ...meaning that Linux would be inside VPC. Meaning it would have to be an intel distro. Meaning that MOL wouldn't run. Sorry.
  • Kinda defeats one of the reasons for not-buying Linux since you have to get a copy of OS X, but it shows the diversity of *nix systems as a whole.

    Also, I agree its a little redundant.

    Still, it would be fun to play with the nested virtual machine game with this: Running Linux, drop in MOL, then drop in Virtual PC 5, then drop in Virtual PC 5 for Windows, then drop in VMware...
    • Actually, if you try to run VirtualPC for Windows inside of a VirtualPC on OS X it won't work. You just get a dialog box telling you that you can't run VirtualPC inside VirtualPC ... and I quote, "You just had to try, didn't you?". Programmers with a sense of humor. I love it.
      • Now that's funny! I was really wondering what would happen!
        • Try this one on for size for extra fun:

          Mac ---TimbuktuPro control--->PC---TimbuktuPro control--->back to the mac

          The computers flip out trying to figure out who is controling who. Not to mention the remote viewing of the desktop!
      • How about VMWare under VPC? I wouldn't expect that it'd use the same check, but if it did work I guess it'd be slow..

        Why does it sound like we're going the way of running Linux/390 under hercules on Linux/390 on hercules on some other linux supported platform?

  • I used to understand why people would want Mac-on-Linux. These were in the pre-OS X days. For all that was great in OS 9, it still couldn't match the stability, CLI, etc. that Linux offered and some people desired. So for PPC Linux users who still wanted to run some Mac OS programs, MOL was a great alternative. However, now that OS X is out and PPC users have a *nix with the usual Apple refinements like Aqua, I see no real reason for this. Why even bother booting into Linux in the first place? In OS X you can compile from source most of the programs that you would run under Linux. While it's not a perfect analogy, this creates a sort of Linux-On-Mac OS X which seems like a much better idea than Mac OS X-On-Linux to me.
    • While it's not a perfect analogy, this creates a sort of Linux-On-Mac OS X which seems like a much better idea than Mac OS X-On-Linux to me.

      To my taste, running Word, Excel and iTunes from a Linux/WindowMaker desktop is a lot more attractive than using OS X and XDarwin as a Unix.

      I'm not sure what it is, but OS X (10.1 anyway, maybe Jaguar is better) seems, I don't know, constricted. It's slow, unresponsive, gets in my way and wastes screen space. The whole appeal of the Mac is that using it isn't a chore. For me, using Aqua is a chore.

      When I open a terminal, I want it NOW, not in 10 seconds. I want keyboard app switching to work smoothly. I want multiple workspaces -- which, oddly, I never miss under OS 9.

    • I agree with you, but not for the reason you give. The main advantage OSX has over Linux is that Apple ships it preinstalled and makes sure it works on all their hardware. Also, there are some drivers available for OSX that aren't available for Linux. You lose that if you run OSX under Linux on Macintosh hardware.

      Technically, I don't think either OSX or Linux is preferable over the other. While basic command line stuff ports pretty easily to OSX, there is a lot of stuff that's hard to port and where the OSX APIs are just enormously cumbersome compared to what Linux offers. In short, neither OSX nor Linux is clearly better than the other--they are different OSes for different user communities. But if you spend the money for a Mac, it makes sense to run OSX--for Linux, PCs are more cost effective platforms.

  • by Van Halen ( 31671 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @02:26PM (#4208511) Homepage Journal
    And it even says so in the FAQ [maconlinux.net], except that the author hasn't ever used VMware [vmware.com], so he can't be 100% sure. The first couple of screenshots [maconlinux.net] look particularly similar to any PC running multiple instances of VMware...

    As for the questions asking why, I suppose it's the same reason you might want to run VMware on an Intel machine: develop/test for multiple platforms without rebooting; or get capabilities only available in one or the other without a reboot. What would be much more interesting to me is MOL (or equivalent) for OS X. Just like running Linux or FreeBSD under VMware for Windows, it would allow me to run LinuxPPC or maybe even NetBSD under OS X (Classic already takes care of OS 9, and probably better than this program could). And unlike the VMware on Windows case, my host operating system would be enjoyable to use. ;-)

    • well for one its nothing like vmware, you tell MOL where your 10.2 partition is and it boots it into a window. No hardware emululation, NOTHING, its running completely off your hardware.

      In vmware it emulates hardware, making it very slow.

      Since MOL doesnt need to emulate anything its fast! Super fast. Its like running Macos with linux running in the background.

      I have been waiting for this for a long long time.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eswierk ( 34642 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @03:09PM (#4208884) Homepage
    Providing tech support for Mom is a lot easier when you have MacOS and apps running on your own box at home, even if it is slower than on Apple hardware.

  • so you can run apps, like say photoshop.
    oh, wait. nuts. it's not ported to OS X yet.
    *writes angry, impatient letter to adobe* *again*

    well, hey, at least i can run The Gimp on OS X ....
    oh ...
  • by PeteyG ( 203921 )
    Do you think that EVERY Linux app plays ball under OSX, or that EVERY OSX app plays ball under Linux?

    I sure don't.

    And I bet those guys don't either.
  • by vipw ( 228 )
    I use maconlinux for quicktime and divx. Sometimes I use it to run Internet Explorer. Now that I have a Windows workstation I only use maconlinux when I'm too lazy to get out of bed to use my worstation instead of my tibook.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Funny)

    by AnalogBoy ( 51094 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @05:20PM (#4209674) Journal
    Linux runs on my urinary tract - front page news, 5000 comments.

    MacOS runs on Linux - Apple section (? I dunno, i have everything on the FP) and the statement "but why...?"

  • Sorry folks for this karma whoring but...
    Recently I've surfed the M$dev zones just out of curiosity so maybe my ad cookies got tainted but this stinks! It's an article on Linux+osX and I get a stinkin' 24 blinkin' bits M$ ad right up my face... so next time /. posts a new kernel release we'll get M$ ads encouraging users to dl' the latest DRM patch ;-)

    Please /. put a muzzle to your adservers

    If anyone wants I can email a snapshot...
  • The penguin [maconlinux.net] seems a bit too into that apple...
  • before Apple's lawyers start firing out C&Ds and DMCA threats.
    • Care to eleborate on that subject? Or did you never use MOL?
      • It enables OSX to run on non-Apple hardware--and the author talks about creating a PPC emulator, which would enable it to run on non-PPC hardware, even.

        Apple's EULA doesn't allow this, and their litiguous nature in other things leads me to believe they might come down on this project.

        • From MOL FAQ:

          ---snip----
          Q: Does MOL run on the AmigaOne hardware (or in general, on non-Apple hardware)?
          A: It does. MOL runs on any PowerPC hardware (except 601-based systems). However, the EULA of MacOS prohibits its usage on non-Apple hardware (it is of course perfectly legal to use MOL to boot a second Linux thoiugh).
          ----snap-----

          So, I guess they are on the save side.
  • I'm a Linux geek who recently purchased an iMac and am very happy with it. I'd love to have Linux on it as well, but don't want to trash or reinstall my OS X disk. (My wife would kill me too, since she's now addicted to it and her PC sits unused in the other room now).

    Can I plug in an external firewire drive and install Linux onto it, then boot into it without disturbing my internal OS X install? (And for extra credit, while booted into the firewire linux partition, run MOL and boot my internal drive's OS X install?!)

    I guess this may be a stupid question for Mac'ers, but I'm a newbie and this world is still pretty new to me. To give you an idea, you can't imagine how excited I was when a friend showed me how to turn on verbose boot messages! :-)

    • I know for a fact you can image your drive to a firewire disk, and even boot from it. I would reccomend you clone your boot drive to a FireWire disk (do a google search for Carbon Copy Cloner) and use the internal IDE drive to play with Linux. (After all, I doubt you want to recompile the kernel to be able to boot from a firewire device... let's let apple support what it helped create, eh? [FireWire in this case])
  • MOL can run MacOS 8.6 and later WITHOUT A ROM IMAGE

    Great! It doesn't need a ROM image. Unfortunately it needs a Mac.

    I'm dying to run Mac OS X (and I don't mind buying the OS), but there's no way I'm going to actually buy a mac..
  • Cool, but ... why?

    Isn't that a bit of a flamebait?

    Seriously 'tho, how often does someone writing a Linux app ask why? It's generally more like 'Would anyone else want to try this out?'. And the answer is generally Yes.

  • If someone does make a small io chip for the intel platform, think of the possiblities! Wouldnt a normal PC be able to double up as a mac then? and if THAT happend, well..good luck steve!
  • Cool, but ... why?

    Because you can't control-alt-F[1-6] and get a full-screen VT in Mac OS X, that's why.

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