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back to article The Sandy Bridge Hackintosh

My challenge from Reg Hardware: build a PC, install Mac OS X on it, and explain how you can do it too. Today's Macs use standard Intel-type components. A key difference from Windows is that Mac OS X loads though a boot mechanism known as EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). Some obscure Apple-proprietary concoction, no doubt? …

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Happy

Thanks!

I played around with a Hackintosh a couple of years ago, but gave up after a day or so (short attention span) deciding it was too tricky, and the end result too flakey to be of much use anyway.

But now you've re-ignited that "can I do it?" flame again: what's the chance of getting this thing running on VMWare ESXi..?? ;-)

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Certain

There are working snow leopard VM's for both vmware and virtual box.

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OK on VMWare Player/Workstation

I've got a working Snow Leopard VM running in VMWare Player (VMWare Workstation also works) but never succeded to get it to run on ESXi. I'll give it another shot when Lion comes out.

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Linux

ppppfffft

> There are working snow leopard VM's for both vmware and virtual box.

I had a somewhat working Snow Leopard image running on Virtual Box. It didn't run very long before crashing but it could at least get itself started. Then I swapped motherboard and went from an Intel CPU to an AMD CPU and it stopped working completely.

This is the sort of stuff that makes a vintage 1994 copy of Linux seem less arcane.

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ESXi

I've installed a Snow Leopard Virtual Machine onto a White Box ESXi 4.1 installation. You'll need to add a few extensions via the command line, to allow Darwin based Virtual Machines, but apart from that it's very easy.

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Excellent

I did the same early April, but based upon an Asus Sabertooth P67 and Intel i7-2600K with OCZ Vertex 3 SSD as my boot/OS drive.

EVERYTHING (including audio just using multibeast) is working just fine including my 30" Screen and 22" secondary screen running of a XFX HD5870.

A very fast and very stable desktop machine indeed and a fun project to create.

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Run some benchmarks

How does it perform? In the early days you mention, it was mostly a dancing bear exercise - the exciting thing was you could make it work, but it run like crap.

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Stop

Snow Leopard DVD

... isn't a full-license, it's an upgrade from OS 10.5 . It's not strictly legal to upgrade even 10.4 with that £26 DVD, never mind a Hackintosh.

http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MC573Z/A?fnode=MTY1NDAzOA&mco=MTc1MTEzNjY

So have fun, but don't pretend it's legal. Why don't Apple sue anyone? Bad PR.

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Coffee/keyboard

Adding my own text to this is pretty redundant

"So have fun, but don't pretend it's legal. Why don't Apple sue anyone? Bad PR."

Are you fantastically new to the world of reading tech news?

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Pint

Misinformed

Well, technically, if you own the 10.5 OS (Or got it with a machine), THAT is the full licensed copy, and the 10.6 comes with a full license for THAT version of the OS as well.

I think you misunderstand that license process between Leopard & SL....unless I'm a complete buffoon....which is also possible.

Pint because it's Friday, and I'm a bit hung over...so I need anuther... XD

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Convinced this is perfectly legal

I'm not legally qualified, but am convinced this is perfectly lawful. You have bought a piece of software. Whatever anyone says, the transaction is a sale just as much as the purchase of a book or chisel or CD is a sale. The seller wants to restrict what you do with it after you have bought it. I don't believe any UK court is going to uphold this.

In the first place its going to fall foul of consumer protection legislation which restricts what conditions you can impose in cases where the balance of power between consumer and supplier is heavily in favour of the company - which in this case it is.

Second, you have not consented to the restrictions, nor had them made clear to you, before purchase of the product.

Third, post-sale restrictions on use which do not originate from public interest concerns are not generally enforceable. If its a matter of forbidding any but the supplier to refill a certain kind of fuel tank, and there is a genuine health and safety issue, it will probably be enforceable. If its just XYZ saying you shall not play this CD on players made by ABC, no way.

Basically, they have sold you a copy. What you do with it is up to you. They have not sold you 'the software' any more than a bookseller has sold you 'the book'. What they have sold you is one copy. If you want to read this copy in the bath, that's up to you.

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Stop

"bought"?

I am afraid your argument about this will fall apart very quickly in a court of law.

Apple does not sell software, it grants you a license to use it, under several conditions.

Those conditions are displayed to you before you install the software (may be when it begins the installation or in an attached piece of paper). And in those conditions, which you can accept or not, are some limitations about the hardware.

At that point, you can also choose to not accept the conditions and return the disks to the seller for a refund.

Also, your comparison with a book is sadly wrong, for about the same reasons. It is true that you can read the book anywhere you want, but you can not do whatever you want with it. For example: you can't copy it, make a new edition with it or, depending on legislation, make some kinds of derivative works.

If all of this is good or bad... well, that is a contentious issue.

But if you want to run OS X in a not-licensed fashion, you are on the wrong side of the law, that's for sure.

Disclaimer: I'm not an Apple fanboi or anything like that. The only apple product I have is an iphone, which I bought just because my cellphone carrier offered a very good price for it (namely $0, because I have spent several wads of cash with them in the last years).

R

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Apple sticker...

I've long taken this to mean acquiescence...

Anyhow, come 10.7... that will be interesting... iOS for desktops? :(

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License?

"I am afraid your argument about this will fall apart very quickly in a court of law.

Apple does not sell software, it grants you a license to use it, under several conditions."

You failed to read the part about the "several conditions" in the previous post. In UK law if you wish to attach conditions then they have to be clearly stated up front at the time of purchase or they are not enforceable. It's been said before, you cannot have it both ways. You either sold a copy or a license to use, and you put up with whatever disadvantages come with that but you can't flip-flop afterwards to suit yourself.

I think it is quite clear that they are selling you a copy. Go to their own online store and tell me where it says "you can only use this subject to these conditions" before you purchase - I'll save you the time, it doesn't -> ergo not enforceable.

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I agree

The legality of EULA in retail sales is sufficiently dubious that no-one would dare bring a case.

I reckon if I've bought summat its mine. I can hold it, I can do what I want with it. same as changing the OS on a games console. Manufacturer subsidises the hardware in the hope of selling games, that's a gamble. If I put it in the loft & never use it, his gamble hasn't paid off. Not my fault. So if I make it run wierdOS his gamble hasn't paid off either. No difference.

If apple wanted to they could put an encrypted key on the m'board. They havn't. So they don't care. So leave me alone.

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Grenade

Cody's comments are right-on

Cody's statements are spot on!

Certainly within the UK (and i dare say the rest of the EU) 100s of years of contract law dictate that for any agreement to be enforceable it must at first be comprehendable by both parties and secondly subject to the law itself.

It follows then that the assumption of making critical legal decisions by any member of the public when making a consumer purchase (like this one) is invalid.

And if the courts take the view that it's not reasonable to expect an ordinary customer to tell the difference between a licence or a copy (which I suspect most judges would agree with) then it also follows that the EULA is redundant.

Besides, enough hackintosh's have been built by both commercial businesses and private individuals that yes Apple could, and perhaps should, have taken the issue up. Ergo, it would follow that picking on any one individual or organisation this late in the day would be futile as courts have a history of telling vindictive plaintiffs to go forth & multiply if the complaint is well after the fact.

Again, Cody's statement holds true vis-a-vis the book principle: while it might be unacceptable to plagiarise the content it is also equally unacceptable for an organisation to restrict it's use after the sale; otherwise news organisations wouldn't be at liberty to quote extracts in either the press or TV etc.

Not just that but hardware has also proved the point: all those hacked consoles, phones etc. modified to do other interesting things have received the same protections.

And yes - I am an Apple fan and have been for some time but they're certainly behaving no different than all the other tech bully boys of the past few decades.

Now before I desert the entire tech way of life in favour of going to dig my carrots, I'll just say this: somebody has to do us all a favour & drive the coach & horses through this EULA rubbish - any volunteers?!

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FAIL

It's NOT legal

Good grief, are people still arguing that this is all legal and above board? They sell you a disk, and you're right, you own the DISK and can do whatever you want with it (give it away, turn it into a frisbee or whatever). What you can't do is COPY the data off that disk unless the copyright owner grants you a license to do so, and that license may come with conditions attached.

If it helps, think of another example, say Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. You can buy a student edition or an upgrade for a fraction of the price of a full version, but that doesn't mean you're legally allowed to use a student version for commercial purposes, or an upgrade without having an existing license, does it? Does it??!

Whether or not the software stops you, and whether you think copyrights and patents are evil and all information wants to be free or not, is irrelevant - the question is what you're allowed to do legally. And installing it other than under the terms of the license is not legal.

As it happens, Apple couldn't care less whether you buy a copy of Mac OS X to install on your Hackintosh PC. If anything, they're probably quite happy, and they're certainly not going to sue you. You get to try out their software and become familiar with it, and if you like it you might even go out and buy a Mac next time you upgrade your machine. Just because they let you install Mac OS X on PC hardware doesn't mean you have a legal RIGHT to do so however (and don't be tempted to produce and sell Hackintosh systems commercially, because if you're stupid enough to try that then they certainly will come after you).

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SELLING IT....

You can do this all you want, so long as you don't SELL it.

...until ole' Jobs changes the wording anyway....

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

I own a Mac. So it should be legal, correct? (never mind that it's a old PowerMac G3 workhorse from 1998 - still works fine albeit not able to proceed beyond Mac OS 9.2.2, as I still need to use a handful of legacy peripherals that only run on said OS).

And oh, as for the audio issue, just install VoodooHDA from Multibeast. Problem solved.

However, for reasons unknown, I'm not able to get my SoundBlaster Extigy working under Snow Leopard without needing to fork out 44 euros for a driver, which is madness.

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Come off it

"They sell you a disk, and you're right, you own the DISK "

Yeah, right.

"Can I help you sir?"

"This Mac OS disc is blank"

"Indeed, sir. And?"

"I want a replacement!"

"Why?"

"I wanted one with an OS on it!"

"Sorry, you have to pay extra for that. You just bought an OS _disc_"

*scuffling breaks out*

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"You agree"

"You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer..."

.

One could "agree" to anything in an EULA - like "agreeing" to only install Apple Software while performing un-anaesthetised self-circumcision, and it thankfully it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to the legal status of the software. If an EULA were to have the legal status of a contract, it would for one thing have to comply with contract law and that means, among other things, that you can't just throw in arbitrary conditions to the detriment of one party.

.

There's a reason why these things never really get tested in court - when they got slapped down as is only right and proper, companies wouldn't be able to continue the pretence that they actually are contracts.

.

I suspect anyway, that non-commercial hackintoshing provides a net benefit to Apple through people upgrading to real machines, so it's win-win situation as-is.

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RE: "You agree"

I was wondering about the legalities of this too.

Are the terms worded in such a way to forbid you changing your mind later? Or must you agree in perpetuity?

If they don't do that you could 'stop agreeing' as soon as you'd clicked the 'agree' button...

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Jobs Halo

Mystified

Iv'e used OSX on real Mac, though I'd not buy either.

I'm still mystified as to why people

1) Buy a real Mac and install Linux as many "serious" Computer people do. Seems like paying a HW premium for a more limited platform that may or may not look prettier.

2) Install OSX on a non-Apple box rather than Ubuntu, Fedora etc which is more open, runs more applications. Seems like paying a SW premium for a more limited platform that may or may not look prettier.

Can someone enlighten me?

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My reason is simple

I use mine primarily for produsing music, Linux isn't well supported is software/plug-ins/hardware drivers for this so I run a Mac.

If I could find something as good as Logic/Ableton/ProTools on Linux I'd make the swap.

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and

Lightroom in my case, I like the workflow and OSX gives me decent colour management. If Adobe ever port Lightroom to Linux I'd drop OSX in a hot second.

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Linux

The confused fanboy...

> I'm still mystified as to why people

Confused. It's pretty simple really. Someone either likes the Apple hardware but not the OS that it happens to be sold with or they like the OS but find the hardware it is sold with to be overpriced or limited.

Minis were a cost effective low profile HTPC for awhile there (not any more though).

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@IanPotter

Lightroom is also my reason. I switched to OSX before Windows 7 came out as I could no longer be arsed with rebuilding my machine every 12-18 months to avoid the well-known slowdown and cluttering. I've not looked back. I use 7 at work but prefer OSX as I also get the *ix command line benefits such as rsync. I'd certainly consider Ubuntu if Lightroom worked natively on it but, at present, OSX is the best of the bunch given this caveat.

Regarding a previous poster's comments on overpriced hardware - it's not all that way. If you look at the 27.5" iMac, a screen of that quality will set you back serious coin. Bung in the cost of the other components and the premium isn't that great especially if you don't want a shitty ugly tower on the floor.

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Anonymous Coward

Never seen this happen

I've never seen anyone install a Unix-like OS on a Mac. What's the point? It already has one. Maybe you are confused and see people using Terminal (ships with OS X) and think that somebody installed Linux to get this.

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Grenade

I would/have...

I was given an iMac at work, hate the blasted thing - stupid shiny screens! The justification for using Macs is that they are "more secure than windows" (don't get me started) but they haven't even installed AV, one good Mac virus and we're screwed.

I would also install Linux on it, and have been experimenting. Mac OS might be UNIX-like but it is simplistic compared to Linux, the available software is limited or paid for and it differs in subtle and irritating ways from the RedHat and Debian based distros I'm used to. I also find KDE/Gnome to be easier to move between Windows7 which I use at home for gaming etc. When I already daily use Windows, several kinds of Linux why do I want to have to adjust to yet another OS, just seems moronic waste of my brain time.

I have used Snow Leopard for a while, I honestly don't think it's as good as a well polished Linux distro such as Fedora or Ubuntu, not for an IT professional anyway - perhaps for your mum it is because everything is big buttons and light on options.

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Jobs Horns

I have a spare Dual core G5 PowerPC here...

...onto which I installed Debian 6 as an experiment to see what it would behave like as a small web and mail server. Other than a couple of apps which don't seem to like the PPC cpu (Xindy that's you I'm talking about) it runs fine. Certainly better than OS/X 10.5 did.

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Best notebook in this pricerange.

I need something more sturdy than the typical 500 Euro box from whoever. HP Elitebook, the higher end Sony Vaios, Dell Latitude etc.pp.

In late 2009 the Macbook Pro was the best value for money with the features I wanted.

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Horses for courses

I use Unix since 1990, Linux since 1993 and OSX since 2004. To me OSX is a Unix with a kick ass GUI, and I've seen them all :)

I've got lots of headless Servers running RHEL or SLES and both in VMware Fusion on my Macbook with GUI. Suits me fine and I get my work done.

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@Never seen this happen

I have. For example, I was at an IT conference last summer and sitting at the back row I could see

a) mostly Apple laptops

b) quite a few of them were running Linux

This is a geeky site. Please don't underestimate people, we can tell OSX + Terminal from Linux. One common reason for installing Linux is the end of Apple support for PowerPC. You can happily run Linux on your old Powerbooks. Others just prefer Linux to OSX.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I would/have...

You're bound to pick up a good down-vote in here from the OSX boys, but I agree with you.

Although the underlying BSD based OS is okay, I find the OSX GUI to be overly simplistic and annoyingly limited. The free GUI's offered on Linux are far more advance and powerful.

Even doing simple things like trying to group together several files to squeeze onto a USB stick seems to be beyond OSX. You right click and try to find the combined size of the files, and instead of bringing up one info box as windows and Gnome do, it brings up one for each bl**dy file! That's real helpful, NOT!

The OSX GUI is like most things apple, a triumph of looks over functionality.

Gnome/KDE on OSX, now that's worth writing about.

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Re: I was given an iMac at work, hate the blasted thing

Yeah, I agree. I cannot think of any sane reason to get an iMac, the only possible consideration might be if space was an issue (in which case one could argue for a lappie, perhaps). And not having the option of matte screens is silly. As I've said before, all the disadvantages of a laptop and desktop rolled into one. But enough with that.

In all fairness, I do not agree that OS X is 'simplistic'. It is not 'Unix-like'. At present it is essentially a *FULL* unix plus Apple fluff. Ok, it definitely feels different from a linux distro but that's because it's not a linux distro. Remember, there is no standard linux distro. Porting stuff to it is arguably no more difficult than say, porting stuff between the various *nixes out there.

The one worry I have about OS X is the likely lock down in future.

I don't know if I would call the latest Fedora or Ubuntu polished either but that's more a question of taste and opinion. I wouldn't touch those distros personally, but that's because I don't like them. Too much bloat.

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Anonymous Coward

Some points to some people.

"I've never seen anyone install a Unix-like OS on a Mac."

Most famously, Linus-yes-that-guy did. As already mentioned, back then the mac mini made sense as a nice small form factor computing box.

As for the price premium, well, "windows tax". IME macos x is better value even if you end up not using it. If you plan to sell the hardware on later, then macintosh is your best bet for retaining value, too.

"The justification for using Macs is that they are "more secure than windows" (don't get me started) but they haven't even installed AV, one good Mac virus and we're screwed."

Well, windows has a couple problems, mostly the complete absence of security fences inside the system, that macosx plain doesn't have. This largely removes the point of making macos viruses and other malware in the first place. Thus, even though there is a considerable installed base that makes sense to target, you don't see rampant mac malware that often. Just like you don't see rampant linux malware very often.

I strongly disagree with the implication that absence of third-party anti-virus is a bad sign: It means you've bought into the notion that buying a system unfit for putting on the public internet before installing at least one third-party security patch up "solution" is perfectly valid. To me, it signifies inferior software.

Why yes, I am perfectly fine with running my system of choice an "unpatched" recent release, default install, without so much of a firewall (packet filter, really) active, right on the public internet. I'd even be fine with running a variety of open source (so everybody can exactly see where the weaknesses are) software on it to serve up various services. Done it for years, in fact.

Of course, that's server installs with all sorts of unneeded things thoroughly disabled, deinstalled, or never installed in the first place. And I only do that after double-checking that my idea of what is running matches reality, that I understand the risks and that it's setup such that the worst effects of possible breaches, should they happen anyway, are sufficiently mitigated. But yes, I have no trouble with that. Software fit for purpose doesn't need third-party add-ons to fulfill its purpose.

"[macos x] differs in subtle and irritating ways from the RedHat and Debian based distros I'm used to."

That would be because the redhat and debian default installs --which you're not required to use and each can be made to behave entirely differently-- are tuned to be more or less "windows like". You could try and tune them to be more "mac like". And you can.

Apple doesn't really let you change your desktop environment to be something completely different than what they intended. gnome and kde are plenty more flexible there but best of all, you don't have to use them and could kick them out and use something else entirely, and still run all the programs that don't have a kde or gnome dependency. windows claims it can do "skins" but I've never seen anyone use it. I only use it to turn off all the fancy cpu burning "features" in order to have to wait a bit less on the rum thing. It's supposed to wait on me, not the other way around, fsck it.

It would be ironic to see your gripe about macos x being less well polished than fedora or ubuntu as apple are the kings of polishing, until one realises that your gripe is more about what you're used to than about the quality of the software.

In looking around at events with lots and lots of geeks and plenty of them professionally so, looking at what they connect to the network, a large chunk up to about half are apple laptops. Of the rest, walking around it's easy to see that a lot of them are thinkpads but they don't stand out by mac address.

This isn't to say that your choices are invalid, just that they're personal choices. And that's fine, as long as you recognise that they are individual preferences and not hard fact. How this meshes with company policy and "enterprise" locked down desktops is a different discussion. Me, I'd have to adjust to windows, macos x, and all default linux distribution installs, simply because I use and am used to something so wildly different*.

* If you must know, wmx/wm2 on X, lots of xterms, some browser windows (firefox, moving to opera), heavy use of screen and (n)vi. No desktop environment to speak of. Not linux, no. Though as I recently found out, for me the quickest way to take the most irritating edge off a default ubuntu is "xset r rate 250 50".

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Happy

@Mage

"I'm still mystified as to why people [snip] Install OSX on a non-Apple box rather than Ubuntu, Fedora etc which is more open, runs more applications"

Simple really - because it's there :-)

In my case though, I've got a copy of Snow Leopard available in a Virtualbox machine in order to help support my clients who have Macs. It's a lot easier to talk them through some steps or diagnose a problem if you've got a copy running in front of you when/if you're on the phone to them and remote desktop won't work.

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Show Inspector

Hold down alt when you "Get Info"

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Jobs Horns

Simple answer

To sync their fondleslab or Jesusphone.

I bought a fondleslab because there are some apps that I seriously need to run on it. It takes hours to sync on Windows with iTunes. Googling shows that it's a problem with iTunes for Windows, so out of spite I built a hackintosh just for that one purpose.

And as for why I don't sync it under Linux, well, to set up a device itself will take a whole day on that OS..

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good article

thanks, i've been looking at doing just this myself a few months ago, it would be very useful to be able to boot osx, linux and windows on the same machine.

maybe this means i can retire my old G4 :)

regarding the legal thing, i've never heard of an EULA successfully used in court to convict a user so AFAIK they havent been tested. neither do i think that apple would be best served by suing paying customers, but they are prone to dick moves so i'll reserve judgement.

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SSD failures

whilst I'm sure that sometimes when an SSD fails it does so in read only mode. My Kingston drive died after 6 months and it isn't even recognised by the system.

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WTF?

This

This threw me a bit too. Is the author saying that when an SSD fails you can reliably still read its contents, without dedicated hardware or limited-availability software of any kind? Some better explanation of this point would be most welcome.

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Re: SSD failures

Yeah, I've known a few people with SSD drives who have had their SSD die in the same way (become unrecognisable / useless all of a sudden). Other flash-based mem such as USB thumdrives tend to do the same. Anecdotally, it doesn't really seem to me that SSDs fail gracefully or with much warning, but the vendors et al all consistently claim they're way better than magnetic HDDs. So I don't know what to think.

Anybody know of any actual studies on failure rates/failure effects for *real* usage of SSDs as opposed to the vendor's "we tested it with 1,000,000 back-to-back writes in our lab"?

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Anonymous Coward

That's theoretical failure.

As in, running out of blocks to reliably wipe and write to again. If you read enough reviews like anand's you end up with the impression that all using up all write cycles down to the last block does is turn your SSD read-only.

Of course, in practice your drive will let the magic smoke out and up and vanish from the system well before that. But not enough of that has happened for the reality to sink in. Yet.

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Coat

but....

... does it come with a pair of sandals and black socks

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i've been

running hackintosh on my old box successfully for almost one year. the problem with running a hackintosh is reliance on 'gurus' from different communities online and how fast are they able to tweak their packages and/or drivers (kexts) to support software updates.

It's nice, it's fast but by no means it's stable, every software update can possibly 'brick' your installation. so there's a tradeoff.

I've given up after a year and got myself macbook pro.

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This article is full of win

What's happened to El Reg?

It's like you guys have just improved like a quantum leap just this past week or so with great stuff (Lester's Sci Fi thing, the < 100 quid ebay thing, this... oh wait, we need more playmobil though)

Keep it up!

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RE: This article is full of win

Seconded.

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Paris Hilton

Thumbs up

Keep it up, indeed,

Oh, hang on...

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Heart

Benefits of OSX

1) Time machine backups

2) Any software purchased on one Mac via App store is freely available on all macs using the same iTunes ID.

3) Back to my Mac

4) Facetime, iChat, iTunes sharing (yes I know iTunes is awful, but it's the standard)

5) Parental controls

6) Virus reduction

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