TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Pirated Version of Mac OS for PCs Available

Pirated Version of Mac OS for PCs Available

Tom Krazit IDG News Service (
Sat, 13 Aug 2005 01:46:34 -0500

Tom Krazit, IDG News Service

Instructions on how to install Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating
system on any PC with a chip from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices were
posted to the Internet this week, and they could be found on several
Web sites today.

Apple announced in June that Mac OS X will run on Intel's x86
architecture chips starting in 2006. The Cupertino, California,
company has been working on a version of Mac OS X for Intel's chips
since 2000, even though Macs currently use PowerPC chips from IBM and
Freescale Semiconductor. Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs told
developers that a switch was necessary to take advantage of the
low-power chips Intel is expected to release in the future.

At the time, Apple executives insisted that Mac OS X would only run on
x86 chips used in Apple-developed hardware. Intel PCs distributed to
Apple developers with the x86 version of Mac OS X used a security chip
to prevent developers from copying Mac OS to other Intel PCs,
according to several reports this week from Mac enthusiast sites.

Hacker Bypass

However, several enterprising hackers have figured out ways to bypass
the security chip and run the developer's version of MacOS for x86 on
any x86-based PC, according to a posting on the Web page of The OSx86
Project. Posters on that site, as well as other sites within the Mac
community, claim to have used the instructions to run Mac OS X on
their Intel or AMD PCs, with some posting pictures and videos of x86
PCs booting Mac OS X.

The process requires a copy of Mac OS X version 4 (Tiger), VMware's
virtualization software, the PearPC emulator that can run operating
systems written for PowerPC on any architecture, Apple's Darwin 8.0.1
software, an x86 processor that supports SSE2 (Streaming SIMD
Extensions 2), and two files created by an independent developer that
can be downloaded using the BitTorrent file-sharing system.

As of Friday afternoon, detailed instructions were available in a wiki
created by The OSx86 Project. Another site had posted instructions for
installing Mac OS X without using VMware's software.

Not Legal

Users must be willing to download pirated software, as the two files
have been modified to get around the security technology in the
developer PCs, according to The OSx86 Project Web site. The site
insists that The OSx86 Project does not support the use of illegal
software but wishes to offer a forum for users interested in running
Mac OS on x86 chips.

Mac OS X users praise its user-friendly design and the scarcity of
viruses developed for the operating system. Aside from a brief
flirtation with licensing the operating system in the mid-1990s, Apple
has maintained control over its operating system by restricting it to
hardware made and developed by the company.

However, there is a sizable group of PC users that like to build their
own systems using hardware from Intel and AMD, and many users in that
group have itched for a way to run Mac OS on these low-cost machines.

Dell Chairman Michael Dell also expressed interest in selling a Mac OS
X Dell PC after Jobs announced the switch to Intel's chips.

An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking
comment on the issue. However, Apple has said many times since the
June announcement that Mac OS X is designed to work only with Apple
hardware whether that hardware uses PowerPC chips or x86 chips.

Copyright 2005 PC World Communications, Inc.

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