Hacked ‘OSx86’ Apple Mac OS X for non-Apple PCs spreads via BitTorrent

“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,” Mark Baard writes for Wired News. “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.”

Baard writes, “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.”

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

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple had to know this would happen. If you believe that statement, it marks the beginning of a major move by Apple to dramatically reshape the personal computer landscape while putting a nice ding in Microsoft Windows’ universe.

As MacDailyNews’ own SteveJack wrote way back on March 04, 2004:
“iPod success paves the way for Mac OS X on X86. People have argued for years for and against the release of Mac OS X on Intel (and AMD) commodity hardware, but Apple derives such a large portion of its revenue from hardware that doing so could potentially damage the company beyond repair. But, what if Apple replaces that lost Mac hardware revenue with iPod revenue? Steve Jobs would then be free to drop what amounts to a hydrogen bomb on Microsoft. Mac OS X that runs on ”regular’ off-the-shelf x86 hardware. Or partner with a Sony, for example – to insure quality…. Sell enough iPods and the OS war is on again in a big way – and for real this time. Steve Jobs knows this and that’s why, right now, iPod is much more important than Mac hardware to Apple Computer, Inc.”

Related MacDailyNews articles:
How-to run Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger on Sony Vaio laptop posted online with video – August 12, 2005
Report: Mac OS X for Intel hacked to run on non-apple x86 PCs – August 11, 2005
Dvorak: Steve Jobs eventually intends for Apple’s Mac OS X to run on any x86 PC – August 09, 2005
DRM chip in Intel-based developer Macs prevents Mac OS X from running on non-Apple PCs – August 05, 2005
Report: Apple’s Mac OS X Intel kernel employs DRM to prevent OS from working unless authorized – August 01, 2005
Apple Intel-based Macs for developers runs Mac OS X and Windows XP – June 23, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Apple’s ‘Mac OS X for Intel’ developer build reportedly running on Tablet PC – June 16, 2005
The OS Wars heat up: Apple paves way to release Mac OS X for off-the-shelf x86 hardware – June 14, 2005
Video of Mac OS X 10.4.1 for Intel running on Dell laptop posted online – June 13, 2005
Report: Apple Mac OS X 10.4.1 for Intel hits piracy sites – June 11, 2005
iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel – March 04, 2004


  1. Not only did they know it would happen, I bet they were counting on it. I think Apple just needs more drivers:

    “The hackers are also writing software extensions so they can run their Wi-Fi cards …”

    That ding you hear is either the bell after another round in the heavyweight battle of AAPL vs MSFT or the dinner bell announcing that you need to stick a fork in MSFT to see if they’re done.

  2. I posted last week that Apple was letting the hackers find the security holes in the methods they will use to control use of the OS on non-Apple Hardware. Why do it yourself when other will do it for free?

  3. So what? These type hackers would download any software on anything just to see if they can do it. They aren´t necessarily interested in MacOSX – the challenge to themis just to see if they can do it.
    Once they can, they move on to something new.
    I am sure there are some dwits out there trying to put OSX on X-box so they can be first to write: OSXX-box.

    Tip to Steve – get your iNTelMacs out in the stores asap.

  4. I guess it was bound to happen. But it will not hurt Apple at all. For the average Joe it will be too much hassle to tweak a x86 system to run MacOS. For the professional user, running a computer without software licence is out of the question. That leaves just a few people who would not buy a pre-assembled computer in the first place. No biggie.
    But the PR generated by this can’t be bought for money. It’s a free test ride on MacOS X. The guys and girls who will get hooked on MacOS at home on their hacked system will want to use it at work, too. And that means buying a Mac for the office.

  5. Apple is a HARDWARE company – thats where they make most money…

    If they license the OS out (never going to happen – no control of hardware – will destroy their own market) to other vendors then say goodbye to Apple as we know it.

    The hackers might have half arsed versions ‘sort of’ running on their peecees but its by no means a full working version like Mac users have right now. By the time MacTels are out the system will be totally locked down.

  6. Reading posts on MDN I get the impression a lot of people seem to think and act like OSX86 is some rough-cut of an operating system ported to PC processors, and it’ll stumble at every hurdle.

    Remember, as a PC OS, it’s about FIVE YEARS OLD, and will have been refined more than equilivant (and future) Microsoft offerings.

    During that five years Apple’s coders will have iron’d out most of the bugs, looked at possible security holes and seen what will be required for it to run in the world-at-large (drivers, etc).

    Whatever Bill and Bullmer might say, they should be very, very worried.

    MDN magic word: ‘covered’. As in “Apple will have all of the bases…”

  7. Apples and Pears said: Apple is a HARDWARE company – thats where they make most money…

    Microsoft are probably the richest company on the planet, and they make SOFTWARE.
    But it’s crap.
    So why shouldn’t Apple start selling good software to the other 98% of the world and make more money that way…

  8. Yes, Apple is perhaps doing this on purpose.

    It will burst into action once it judges the extent of hacking possible. I am sure Apple/Intel will come out with something new to restrict Mac OSX on Apple hardware only, which will be woven out of the experience gained out of this calculated silence now.

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