Apple OS X on Intel, again

Well, when Apple first announced they were moving to Intel chips, I talked about the possibility of a version of Apple OS X being released for ‘normal’ PC’s, allowing you pop a CD in and install OS X onto your computer alongside, or in place of, Windows XP. The developer version of Apple OS X for Intel has been around a while now to help developers move applications and services over to the new platform.

Obviously, Apple are putting out their own development machines based around the new Intel chips, allowing developers to simply pop the CD into the machine and intall it along with all the development tools. A few websites have popped up supporting the installation of this developer version onto a normal PC which I’ve read through quite a bit. But is it worth the hassle?

Not really. It’s a fairly time consuming process running it through PearPC to install it, though in fairness it does work quite well. Pretty clunky though running it through this service after installed, but it shows it will work. It picked up an Intel Celeron processor (along with Intel PIV’s and AMD64’s), graphics adaptor, network connection (though not wireless) and DVD drive (though not burning capabilities). Getting Darwin installed through VMWare and merging it in with the Tiger hard drive image created during the install via PearPC is a chew on, but works. You drop to the beautiful OS X desktop. I’ve already mentioned how I could spend all day running back + forth across the dock. But, I don’t go along with people running pirate copies if Windows, move to Linux if you don’t want to pay for it or don’t want to pay because you think it’s crap and object to Microsoft in general, so I’m not really prepared to sit running OS X on my machine. I’ll leave that to others to do.

So, it is possible. But the ethical side comes into it. For me, it’s a challenge and quite intriguing. Can it be done; is it feasible? Yes, but it’s a chew on, and I wouldn’t run it as a permanent OS. I’d rather wait until Apple release a full version (if it happens) or buy a Mac. I’m not keen on Apple coming knocking on the door either, so if I did run it, I wouldn’t be willing to risk pulling down tracks through iTunes, loading my photos into iPhotos and building up albumns, or checking my e-mail and surfing the net. That knocks out 95% of my computer usage, and it’s not worth it in my line of work.

I do, however, think Apple should play this situation carefully. They can go down two paths:

1) Crack down on people distributing the developer versions, move for websites to be closed, etc. to take out the mainstream of folks trying it. Won’t stop the hardcore, but will stop it spreading too much. Given Apple’s past actions, this is their most likely course of action

2) Embrace it. All these people figuring out how to get it going, writing patches and altering graphics drivers, etc. could be useful for Apple. Let them carry on, possibly working alongside them to some extent, to further develop the idea of releasing an OS X install CD for normal PC’s

The only downside is from reading through the number of posts on support forums, many people are getting problems from so many different possible hardware combinations. It looks like it’s more of a challenge than people first thought, but still, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. Also, it won’t run on processors without at least SSE2 instructions, and ideally SSE3, though graphics work-arounds are available and do work (Celerons don’t have SSE3, but work with adjustments to graphics drivers during installation of Darwin). I’ve also read about SSE2 instruction virtualistions for AMD XP processors, but it still limits the number of people that could run it if requirements stay as they are.

And no, I’m not including any links through to articles, forums, or downloads. If you want to do it, find them yourself – I’m not gonna encourage it 😉


Senior Content Development for Microsoft writing about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Model train nerd. Occasionally I play video games.

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