Hackers enable Atom processor compatibility for Mac OS X 10.6.2

Apple Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend Sale“Hackers have circumvented the changes in Mac OS X 10.6.2 to allow the latest upgrade to Apple’s Snow Leopard to run on netbooks with Intel Atom processors,” Sam Oliver reports for AppleInsider.

“When Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2 earlier this month, Intel Atom support was missing from the release,” Oliver reports. “Though no Apple-sanctioned hardware uses the Atom processor, some low-cost netbook users would use the hack to install OS X on their systems.”

Oliver reports, “The hack applies only to a select number of ‘Hackintosh’ users, as not all who install Mac OS X on unauthorized machines use netbooks with Intel Atom processors.”

Full article here.

22 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m a little naive here but, why doesn’t Apple just go back to putting a physical chip in their hardware and make is so the OS won’t install or work without that chip?

  2. @ Beowulf

    The initial difficulty with using Apple’s OS X was that it was built to run on IBM Power PC processors, which don’t use the same x86 architecture that most Intel and AMD processors utilize. By switching to an x86 architecture, Intel has opened its OS up to being ‘hacked’… if you can really call it hacking.

    @Paul Johnson

    Give me a break. The relatively small segment of people running OS X on non-Apple hardware are looking to fill a need that Apple hasn’t addressed. Apple knew that switching to Intel’s architecture would result in small amounts of non-official usage…it’s not going to make a noticeable difference for a company with $25 bn in the bank, especially with the increased switching over to Mac.

    Does Apple have the right to try to defend its product? Sure. But users will continue to circumvent the relatively mild obstacles and use OS X on non Apple hardware. If you purchase OS X, and you’re clever enough to run it on your system, more power to you. That’s the tech trend, and Apple either has to open up, or deal with the “hackers”

  3. @Yakov,

    While OS X initially shipped on PowerPC Macs, NeXTStep/OpenStep ran primarily on Intel hardware, although it had been ported to a couple of other architectures, including SPARC.

    It was a non-trivial exercise to bring up OS X on PowerPC, and its Intel port continued to be developed in parallel for quite a while before the intel version was released.

  4. “Circumvent” implies that Apple was actively disabling the ability of Atom processors to run OS X. I thought it was merely that Atom processors couldn’t handle the latest update, because it used instructions that the Atom processor didn’t support.

    ——RM

  5. As is pointed out in the feedback below the linked MacWorld article, there is a much simpler fix. And it is relatively old news. Hackers very quickly provided fixes at least for the Dell Mini 9 & 10 (whose hardware make them two of the best candidates for running OS X).

    If apple was deliberately trying to exclude the atom (i suspect they were), then they weren’t very serious about it. As I understand it, the fix was just to chanfe the reporting of the processor to the OS to make it think the atom was an intel core solo. There was no real problem with the atom per se.

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