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View Full Version : Rant about OS X on Intel CPU's...one year on.



bartron
12th June 2006, 11:34 PM
Firstly, I don't condone piracy nor will you find me pointing people to where you can get pirated software.
Secondly, I was curious about the whole "OS X on generic hardware" thing.
Thirdly, I don't know anyone that hasn't copied some game or performed some level of piracy no mater how small (let those that have not sinned cast the first stone).
Lastly, and most importantly kids, don't try this at home.

When Apple announced just over a year ago that they will be shipping Intel bassed Macs the first thing that came to a lot of peoples minds were "Oh no...pH33r teh haX0rs". I was one of those people and the concern was that rampant piracy would devalue OS X. Over the past few months I have been experimenting with various leaks of OS X to understand what the motivation is to running a hacked copy of the os and if here is any reason why you would want to in the first place (apart from "becasue I can"). Let's get one thing straight though..you won't find pointers or howto's here. If you are that way inclined you will probably already know the how, why and where.

A few short months ago, installing OS X on generic hardware was an arcane ritual. There was no doubt that this was something just for tinkerers. Solaris was easier to install (and for anyone that has installed Solaris you know how much of a pain in the bum that was). Fears seemed to subside. The mums and dads were safe from casual piracy becasue running the dev leak of OS X was not for the faint of heart. Then the Intel iMac was released and there was a non-development copy of OS X in the wild. Initially the same problems presented themselves...but then it was hacked and could be installed as any legit copy on a legit Mac. Today, anyone searching for a pirated copy of OS X will probably hit the latest image. From it you can install 10.4.6 on to pretty much any x86 hardware with a decent amount of success. I'm running it right now (and have done so on and off for the last month).

I still think Apple are safe however...at least from regular people. Anyone doing professional work with a Mac (i.e. creating an income) would be stupid to use anything other than a genuine Mac. Anyone at home looking at upgrading has great options in the iMac and Mac Mini. The problem though will be in the group of people that a) want a mac that is modular and expandable in the way that a PowerMac is, B) have bugger all money and c) have no qualms building a PC for family and filling the hard drive with warez.

Feel free to disagree but I can tell you right now that for $500 - $700 I can build a PC that can run OS X better than any high end powermac today (until the new intel powermacs come out at least). It's like having an intel iMac with multiple DVD and hard drive bays and slots to upgrade the graphics card and add ram galore etc. The problem for Apple will be convincing the people that aren't content with whatever Apple has to offer. These are the people that search the net, get a list of prices and head to their local computer fair to bargain, then take their booty home and build themselves a PC. I have no figures here but how many of those people do you think are running a legit copy of XP?

I don't believe in the 'piracy creates marketshare" argument nor do I think Apple is secretly wishing every man and his dog installs OS X (unless it is on a computer they sold them). It's going to be bloody hard though. As it is the hacked copy is stable and works as if on a genuine Mac. I think no matter what Apple do to prevent it, someone will work out how to install each new release on cheap hardware and as we all know, on the net it only takes one person to crack something and it is accessable to everyone.

Apple isn't just a hardware company that also sells software, as if Dell sold Pc's with DellOS installed. It's the whole package and I'd hate to see that change. Feature for feature Apples are more expensive than PC's though. Unless we see Apple sell a powermac in a tower case for less than $1000 (undercutting the iMac and Mac Mini lines) I think we will end up seeing a lot more hacked copies running in the wild. For everyone that has built their own PC (and we are talking a sizeable chunk of PC savvy people here) but doesn't have the money for a Mac Pro, a DIY Mac is just a case of being a bit more selective with your hardware purchases. That scares me. That little devil on your shoulder whispering "Do it..it is only for home use...no-one will know. You can always install XP on another partition anyway".

Well, end rant. This started as a breif paragraph about how easy (no matter how questionable) it was to run a hacked copy of OS X. No doubt some of you know this and no doubt some of you frown on the mere thought. Welcome to Microsofts world though. What will the state of thing be a year from now, who knows. This time last year (a little more actually), the thought of running OS X on cheap intel hardware was nothing but some rumour...something only Apple did in the depths of their software labs.

Bartron

forgie
13th June 2006, 12:04 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bartron &#064; Jun 12 2006, 11&#58;34 PM) 183060</div>
Feature for feature Apples are more expensive than PC&#39;s though.[/b]
.............crap generalisation. Compare a Macbook to... any other laptop of the same price and tell me where you can get a better laptop feature for feature.


You are talking about a DIY that competes with a Mac Pro, and we don&#39;t even know how expensive Mac Pros are going to be, nor what hardware is going to be in them.

This "axiom" of macs being more expensive is so full of BS it ain&#39;t funny. It is true SOME of the time, but most of the time it&#39;s exactly that, BS.


Anyway, enough of that "bone" I had to pick&#33; :P


On another note, are you able to do software updates properly? What works/doesn&#39;t work? Do you get any kernel panics or anything when you do something the hardware can&#39;t do?

AppleSammy
13th June 2006, 12:18 AM
OK, so what mac apps/software have you used on your x86 OSX machine? how does it perform? burning? etc,

marc
13th June 2006, 01:50 AM
forgie :: Couldn&#39;t agree more.

Compare a mac to a name brand prebuilt PC with the same features and it&#39;s almost always the same price if not more. And, it&#39;ll have a really ugly case and crap keyboard. Compare any mac to a home built PC and you&#39;re not really playing fair. Even still, the mac won&#39;t be far behind.

As for homebrew OS X... that&#39;s not my bag, as I do run macs in a professional environment and have no reason to switch hardware. But, I was honestly shocked to find out that ProTools runs better under OS X than XP on the same generic PC hardware (a friend is running it... he posted test results on another board if you want them). I really wasn&#39;t expecting that as XP is a very optimised (but bloated) OS.

As for marketshare... I don&#39;t think a few hobby users running OS X is a bad thing. If anything it&#39;s making some users feel more comfortable about macs. The "you can run XP on macs" seems to be winning heaps of friends. If you hate using OS X, you can keep the pretty hardware and run your familiar OS.

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AppleSammy &#064; Jun 13 2006, 12&#58;18 AM) 183074</div>

OK, so what mac apps/software have you used on your x86 OSX machine? how does it perform? burning? etc,
[/b]
Almost everything runs. And what runs, runs the same as it does on the Intel macs (ie. you really want universal binaries if you can).

hawker
13th June 2006, 07:29 AM
Apple still rule the day with portables, but they are far behind for desktop macs.

I&#39;ve seen OS X on an Acer Intel laptop, and on an AMD dual core 4400+

In about three - four years when my quad is out of date. I&#39;ll buy an AMD and install a hack OS X ;)

It will easily be done, sure it&#39;ll be a bit like linux in choices, for instance, Nvida is better supported than ATI on many linux releases etc.

bartron
13th June 2006, 08:56 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(forgie &#064; Jun 13 2006, 12&#58;04 AM) 183070</div>

.............crap generalisation. Compare a Macbook to... any other laptop of the same price and tell me where you can get a better laptop feature for feature.
You are talking about a DIY that competes with a Mac Pro, and we don&#39;t even know how expensive Mac Pros are going to be, nor what hardware is going to be in them.

This "axiom" of macs being more expensive is so full of BS it ain&#39;t funny. It is true SOME of the time, but most of the time it&#39;s exactly that, BS.
Anyway, enough of that "bone" I had to pick&#33; :P
On another note, are you able to do software updates properly? What works/doesn&#39;t work? Do you get any kernel panics or anything when you do something the hardware can&#39;t do?
[/b]

ok...I&#39;ll rephrase to what I was thinking at the time I wrote it. Feature for feature desktop macs are expensive compared to what can be built. Laptops are a different story and I agree that Apple are very competative in this market. The rant was about DIY machines though and it&#39;s hard to DIY a laptop.

As for apps, I&#39;ve used Lightroom, Camino, Quake 3, Photoshop and x-bench. In all but Photoshop the DIY mac kills any other Mac I&#39;ve used (all the apps I&#39;ve used are either owned or freely available).

The machine has returned to its normal function now (file and print sharing...can&#39;t deny the wife her printer ;) ).

edit: I&#39;ll try installing a patch and see what happens. There has been mixed reports but I&#39;m not that concerned at killing the installation (I have reall Macs for my OS X fix)

bljpoad
13th June 2006, 08:59 AM
I had a bit of a play with this last year on a P4 that I found being thrown out. Never did get it to boot properly, and after a couple of days of off and on fiddling I decided to can it and go back to my G5 where things just worked :)

lavo
13th June 2006, 09:17 AM
Can you take your homebuilt machine into a service centre, not knowing what the problem is, and get it fixed under warranty? Can you call anyone for your 90 days free phone support? What about software? Don&#39;t foget that Macs come with high quality software, such as the iLife bundle. The *almost* equivalent on a PC is quite a few hundred dollars. And don&#39;t forget to add the labour charge of building your homebuilt PC - might not cost you a cent, but if someone else built it for you, I&#39;m sure there would be at least an extra hundred on top&#33; And what about the R and D charge? What if your combination of hardware is not optimal? Apple must put in a lot of work in getting the right hardware mix. All these things add in to the price.

bartron
13th June 2006, 09:59 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(lavo &#064; Jun 13 2006, 09&#58;17 AM) 183201</div>

Can you take your homebuilt machine into a service centre, not knowing what the problem is, and get it fixed under warranty? Can you call anyone for your 90 days free phone support? What about software? Don&#39;t foget that Macs come with high quality software, such as the iLife bundle. The *almost* equivalent on a PC is quite a few hundred dollars. And don&#39;t forget to add the labour charge of building your homebuilt PC - might not cost you a cent, but if someone else built it for you, I&#39;m sure there would be at least an extra hundred on top&#33; And what about the R and D charge? What if your combination of hardware is not optimal? Apple must put in a lot of work in getting the right hardware mix. All these things add in to the price.
[/b]

All true however:

Can you call anyone for your 90 days free phone support?[/b]
no...nor would anyone doing this care for (or even need) support.

Don&#39;t forget that Macs come with high quality software, such as the iLife bundle.[/b]
Don&#39;t forget that if you are willing to pirate OS X it is only a small streach to pirate iLife as well.

The time to research and build a PC with the optimal hardware is insignificant. The hard work has already been done. There are sites out there with HCL&#39;s so you can get everything from high end graphics to wireless and everything in between. My motherboard has everything on board bar wireless and it is all recognised and useable (including core image) and that&#39;s just a motherboard.

Remember that not everyone is impressed by a shiny box and even then something can be had for the right price. The point is that it is easy to make your own mac. Imagine you are a student/computing enthusiest with &#036;500 and no morals when it comes to software piracy. What do you get? Maybe a 2nd hand G4 mini or a DIY with more power than a &#036;2000 intel iMac?

Bartron

Disko
13th June 2006, 10:03 AM
I wouldn&#39;t bother going down the hack OS X route. Say if you spend your few grand on an AMD machine that&#39;ll compete with the new intel Mac Pro (when it comes out). You hack OS X, load it on, copy all your apps and data across.... nice. you&#39;ve got yourself a "cheap" mac.

Then Apple release a security update and *boom* your AMD will only run windows and linux again.

hawker
13th June 2006, 10:42 AM
in any case, dev of linux should have what I want in a couple more years. They&#39;re currently working on it. So if that was an issue, and I know it won&#39;t be... I&#39;ll just install linux :)

NORMANDY
13th June 2006, 11:04 AM
I have a simple solution.... like BMW SAy.. IF YOU dont like it .. dont buy it ... simple... move on

marc
13th June 2006, 12:27 PM
bartron :: Comparing DIY hardware to anything isn&#39;t really a good idea. Do whatever works for you, but I really like having good looking hardware. I&#39;d pay extra for that every time.

The mac I currently use is way more than I need to get the job done, so having an extra 20% of juice and &#036;400 in my pocket doesn&#39;t make up for things just working, my time, and a great hardware experience. I love touching my macs.

bartron
13th June 2006, 04:32 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(marc &#064; Jun 13 2006, 12&#58;27 PM) 183297</div>

bartron :: Comparing DIY hardware to anything isn&#39;t really a good idea. Do whatever works for you, but I really like having good looking hardware. I&#39;d pay extra for that every time.

The mac I currently use is way more than I need to get the job done, so having an extra 20% of juice and &#036;400 in my pocket doesn&#39;t make up for things just working, my time, and a great hardware experience. I love touching my macs.
[/b]

buying macs from Apple is what works for me.

What the rant is about is the ease at which a working and stable copy of OS X can be installed on cheap hardware. As for software updates they have been cracked pretty easily. It&#39;s a no-brainer to hold off patching until a working solution is found by someone else in the hacking community (such things are seen as a challange).

I happened to have some hardware at home and scored a copy of the cracked 10.4.6 dvd so I gave it a go. I no-way endorse using this as your main desktop however people out there will and most with full understanding of what the limitations are, just as there are people out there running unpatched copies of XP becasue they are running the warezed version (and are fully aware of the fact). In a lot of cases they can get up and running with OS X with no purchase whatsoever just by running on whatever hardware they have lying around. I did and was amazed at just what a useable system it is. There was no feeling of "this is a hacked version" like there was with the development leak.....everything just worked.

You can love touching your macs (hey...whatever floats your boat) but a lot of people couldn&#39;t give two hoots...the "ooh, shiny" effect isn&#39;t worth the extra money. For a lot of people here buying a Mac is a non-issue but for a lot of other people money is an object and warzed OS X is a shitload better than warzed XP when you only have a few hundred to spend on hardware.

Bartron

Starscream
13th June 2006, 06:16 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jpicard &#064; Jun 13 2006, 11&#58;04 AM) 183268</div>

I have a simple solution.... like BMW SAy.. IF YOU dont like it .. dont buy it ... simple... move on
[/b]

what he said.

forgie
13th June 2006, 07:07 PM
All the posts saying "but you don&#39;t get support from Apple" and "if you don&#39;t have the money, don&#39;t get a mac" are so pointless and redundant I don&#39;t know why you bothered posting.

Obviously someone who is going to rely on phone support for their mac is not going to be assembling a DIY mac.

Why wouldn&#39;t the millions of people who use pirated versions of XP want to use pirated versions of OSX if they can do it relatively easily? Intel must love this part of the Apple-Intel partnership, since even pirate copies are likely to only work 100% on Intel CPUs and chipsets.

Personally I use my computers for professional purposes, so it&#39;s not really an option. There is one possible use I could think of running a hacked OSX though, and that is in a DAW (digital audio workstation). If I was using a DAW application that made use of node processing, I could make up some cheapass DIY CPU grunt boxes to add CPU horsepower to my DAW rig. The same thing could be done for software development - Xcode can do distributed compilation, right? Then again, a network of 16 Core Duo mac minis is such a cool idea&#33; :)

We will see just how well Mac Pros are priced in a month or two when they come out. Then the "viability" of running hacked OSX can be properly discussed.


Personally, I have no problem running hacked XP, just to save &#036;150. Why should my attitude towards OSX be any different? It is, but why is that? That&#39;s what we should be discussing. BTW, the only patches that won&#39;t install on cracked versions of windows are service packs. Security patches will install just fine - MS got into a lot of trouble when they tried to ban illegitimate copies of XP from getting security patches.

Wally
13th June 2006, 07:38 PM
Steve Jobs would be happy if you didnt mention megahertz.

McMullet
13th June 2006, 07:53 PM
Perhaps OS X is heading down that rampant piracy path, but what were Apple to do? They were in a bit of a catch 22 situation. Had they stuck with PPC, they would&#39;ve lost out on the lucrative portables market but now they&#39;ve gone the Intel route, they face rampant piracy. In both cases, they not only lose out on software revenue, but hardware as well.

What if, like Windows, piracy becomes a really major problem? Will Apple switch platforms (but not for quite some time I&#39;d say) to one that is not nearly as common as Intel to inhibit this? It&#39;s anybody&#39;s guess.

nicwithsticks
13th June 2006, 08:18 PM
It&#39;s great to see people still smarting about this :)

I&#39;ll admit, I was a naysayer in the begining. The night before the switch was announced I made it clear that I thought the rumours were bullshit. As I found out early the next morning, they weren&#39;t.

After initial shock, I got thinking. Then I got investigating, and by days end I was convinced this was not such a bad decision. I was still a little skeptical yes, but I was willing to go with it.

When the iMac&#39;s and MacBook Pro&#39;s landed in January I was excited. The performance and benchmarks sealed the deal, and were markedly better then the DTK systems.

Bottom line: If it&#39;s from Apple and it&#39;s fast I&#39;m going to buy one.

And you can down right count on me buying at least one Intel based Mac this year. All those still jaded that Apple didn&#39;t go for AMD, well I can&#39;t help you. Hopefully, we may see AMD based Mac&#39;s one day. Until then, I&#39;d rather have a Mac that ran the software fully then one that didn&#39;t.

Each to there own though, I guess.