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Thread: Mac Hacks Allow OS X on PCs

  1. #1
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    [news=http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/3105/osx5db.gif]02:00 AM Aug. 12, 2005 PT

    Imagine if your next Mac cost you only $300, and ran faster than any G4 or G5 you've ever used.

    That future may already be unfolding: Hackers have found a way to bypass a chip designed to prevent the Mac OS from running on non-Apple PCs, which are often cheaper than Macs.

    This screenshot from a computer owned by a hacker nicknamed 'cmoski' appears to show the Mac OS running on an Intel Pentium PC.Apple Safari and the Mac OS run on a PC in this screenshot from cmoski's computer.This screenshot -- from a machine identified as the Apple Development Platform -- was provided by a hacker called 'deathchill22,' who says he's running the Mac OS on a PC.


    Some of the hackers are running the tweaked version of the operating system on their PCs natively. Others are using the system with VMware, which allows the Mac OS to support more PC hardware.

    Hackers and curious computer users this week have been downloading the tweaked Mac OS X for PCs, nicknamed "OSx86," from several websites connected to the BitTorrent file-distribution system.

    OSx86 is designed to run on Apple Computer's next generation of hardware, which some call "MacIntels" and others "MacTels" because the machines will run on Intel microprocessors rather than the PowerPC processor used in current Macs. The hacked version of OSx86 is based on pirated software, which came from copies of the operating system sent to participants in the Apple Developer Connection. The ADC participants also received MacIntel computers for testing and development.

    Now the hacked version of OSx86 is running on Dell laptops and other PCs with Intel and AMD microprocessors.

    "Mileage varies depending on what kind of hardware you're using, but it (OSx86) is working on several PCs," said "Mashugly," a college student majoring in communications who manages the OSx86 Project, a community of developers interested in the new operating system.

    No one knows exactly why OSx86 appears to be running faster on the PCs than the Mac OS does on today's Macs.

    "To be honest, we're not sure," said a hacker nicknamed "cmoski," who said he works for a large software company. "Some in the Pentium camp want to say, 'Because a Pentium is faster, of course,' some want to say (Intel chip architectures are better than Apple's) and some in the PowerPC camp just want to say that it isn't full OS X (running on the beta systems)."

    The hacked OSx86 bypasses a chip, the Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, that is intended to prevent the system from running on ordinary PCs.

    "We have even gone so far as to remove the TPM kernel extension called AppleTPMACPI.kext entirely," said cmoski.

    The impact of the OSx86 hack on Apple's hardware brand could be severe.

    The hack shows that Steve Jobs' company will be turning out machines indistinguishable from any other PC, or "white box," said German hacker Michael "mist" Steil.

    "Apple wants to avoid the word getting out that (MacIntels) are just PCs, and that (OSx86) works on PCs," said Steil.

    Steil made a name for himself hacking Microsoft's Xbox game console. He has seen the hacked OSx86 running on a PC, and has been watching the conversations at the OSx86 Project website. But he said he is not hacking the operating system himself.

    "The problem with this hack is that it is based on illegal software," said Steil. "You have to start by downloading pirated software."

    The hackers are also writing software extensions so they can run their Wi-Fi cards and other non-Apple gadgets with the Mac OS.



    This screenshot from a computer owned by a hacker nicknamed 'cmoski' appears to show the Mac OS running on an Intel Pentium PC.Apple Safari and the Mac OS run on a PC in this screenshot from cmoski's computer.This screenshot -- from a machine identified as the Apple Development Platform -- was provided by a hacker called 'deathchill22,' who says he's running the Mac OS on a PC.



    "We have been working on many areas of the operating system," said cmoski. "Some are working on developing kernel extensions (the OS X equivalent of drivers) for our favorite hardware. For example, one driver that I am involved with is for the Broadcom wireless chipset."

    Companies such as Microsoft and Intel originally laid the groundwork for the TPM. The companies insist the chip is meant to verify trusted computers on a network and prevent malicious code from running on PCs.

    Apple would not comment on this story or on its intended uses for the TPM.

    But critics have called the TPM an anti-competitive device that stifles innovation. They suspect the company may use the chip to keep unwanted third-party software off its machines. Others doubt Apple would take such a hard line with developers.

    "Apple is a better company than Microsoft in general," said Bruce Schneier, a security expert, author and CTO of Counterpane Internet Security. "So, it's hard to attribute these nasty motives to them. But those are the risks."

    Microsoft, through its participation in the Trusted Computing Group, laid the groundwork for the TPM "as a way to shore up its monopoly," said Schneier.

    Apple could use the TPM, which stores digital encryption keys and certificates, to block third-party iTunes plug-ins from running on MacTels. (Apple currently plays a cat-and-mouse game with plug-in developers by having its software look for known unauthorized code.)

    Such a move would help Apple and its partners secure short-term gains in market share for its iPod, which meshes tightly with iTunes and the iTunes Music Store.

    Apple employees appear to have been trying to listen in on IRC discussions among OSx86 hackers, according to hackers citing the IP records from their IRC channels.

    The hackers suspect Apple wanted to demonstrate the weaknesses of TPM security, and may have plans to license its operating system to PC makers eventually.

    "Perhaps Steve Jobs wants to be able to tell Apple shareholders, 'Hey, I tried,' before he licenses the operating system (to other manufacturers)," said Mashugly.

    It seems like getting around the TPM wasn't that hard, according to a hacker nicknamed "parch," who said, "Apple could have made the lock heavier."

    Peace bd

    Source: http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125...w=wn_tophead_4
    Homepage: http://www.wired.com/[/news]
    Last edited by tesco; 08-14-2005 at 08:47 PM.

  2. News (Archive)   -   #2
    Santa's Avatar dvhyt5er
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    thats going to hurt mac badly

  3. News (Archive)   -   #3
    peat moss's Avatar Software Farmer BT Rep: +15BT Rep +15BT Rep +15
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    That and the ipod brouhaha ,shame really competition is good keeps everyone honest .

  4. News (Archive)   -   #4
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    There are enough "Mac Fanatics" to keep em afloat.

    Peace bd

  5. News (Archive)   -   #5
    maebach's Avatar Team FST Captain
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    All schools in our district use Macs. They might be ok. I hope nobody has stocks.

  6. News (Archive)   -   #6
    AHHH!! if i had enough spare cash lying around to buy an SSE3-capable Pentium 4 (that OSX hack will run on older PC chips, but certain programs need SSE3) i'd wanna do this pronto. my old G3 is just gathering dust cos it's too slowwwwwwww for OSXXXXXXXXXX.

    anyway, yeah, sucks for Apple because they are primarily a computer company (unlike Microsoft which is mainly a software publisher), and OSX is the incentive to buy a Mac. but good for people who want to use OSX without buying an overpriced pastel-colored computer.

  7. News (Archive)   -   #7
    i guess, that people who bought macs will still do so, because they're in love with the shiny design of their powerbook.

  8. News (Archive)   -   #8
    wuzzy
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    Or they would buy a real mac beacuse it is probably a lot more stable.

  9. News (Archive)   -   #9
    abu_has_the_power's Avatar I have cool stars
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    u can download the mac os X for PC from filelist. it gives instructions on how to install on pc. lol

  10. News (Archive)   -   #10
    Quote Originally Posted by wuzzy
    Or they would buy a real mac beacuse it is probably a lot more stable.
    more stable than what?

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