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Mac Envy – OSx86: Creating a Hackintosh

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So you want the Mac experience without buying a Mac.  Is that possible?

In a way the answer is yes, but really the answer is no.

There are two components of the Mac experience.  First, there is the Mac operating system.  The Mac OS, is OS X based on a derivative of UNIX (UNIX with a friendly face).  The second component is the Mac hardware.  That’s the iMac, the MacBook (Laptop), or the Mac-Mini. It’s the hardware platform.

If you haven’t noticed, the Mac (Apple) hardware is very expensive.  Take the cost of a Windows-based machine, double or triple it, and that is the price of the Mac near-equivalent.  For example, for a MacBook Pro with 17in screen and i7 processor you are going to have to shell out about $2,300.  The least costly Mac desktop is a Mac Mini at $664 with 2GB RAM.  Up that to a comfortable 8GB and we are at about $750.  Oh yes, for the Mac Mini, BYOKMM (Bring Your Own Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor)

Can I run the Mac OS on my existing WinTel laptop or desktop?

So, given the price of the Apple hardware, the question will naturally arise: Can I run the Mac OS on my existing laptop or desktop?

Here are some answers.

  1. Probably not legally. This is a complex legal question.  I asked a few people who have a background in law and the jury is out.
  2. Yes, virtually.  Given the above, I will say that, if you know where to look – and I won’t tell you, you can run Mac OS X Leopard in a virtualized environment on VMWARE.  The problem with this approach is that, unless you have a super fast machine, Mac OS X will be too slow to be usable.
  3. Yes, on some hardware.
In regard to the last item I thought I would bring this book to your attention:

A Hackintosh is non-Apple hardware running Mac OS X Leopard.

I skimmed through this book and it seems to be a very good step by step approach on how to do this.  Be aware that Mac OS X only runs on certain motherboards and certain configurations.  The book provides lots of links to resources where you can find lists of motherboards, sound cards, video cards, etc. that will work.

The Take

Can you create the “Mac experience” on a non-Mac machine?  The answer is, No.  By creating a Hackintosh you are taking on the pain that Steve Jobs and Apple want to relive you of.

I was a Mac user back in 1984 when the fist Mac was released.  What was unique about Apple is that it produces the hardware and the software.  Therefore, “it just works”.

For people who wanted to use computers for desktop publishing, digital photography, making movies, creating music, and that kind of thing – this was great.

For people who wanted to mess with computers as an end in themselves – not so great.

To get inside the original Mac you needed a special tool – a “case cracker”.  It was as if there was a sticker on the Mac that said: “There are no user serviceable parts inside”.  And that was mostly true.  And that was the plan.

This idea of “it just works” is still true today.  Apple controls the hardware and the software, plus you know that Steve Jobs is looking out for you, and so the outcome is that it all just works.

How the Apple Mac will bring (corporate) world peace

At Fry’s (computer store) I saw a tee-shirt that said:

We don’t use machine, we build them.

What is the message of this tee-shirt?  It seems that if you “build the machine” (assemble the parts, deal with getting the right sound card, video card, software drivers, configuration, and all that working) it is somehow a higher status than if you just “use” a computer.  The tee-shirt sales at Fry’s in next to the section where they sell computer cases.

This tee-shirt reminds me of the situation I see in almost every corporate environment.

The technical people (desktop support) think the executives are stupid because they (the technical folks) have to help the executives do something (as simple as) downloading a printer driver or getting connected to the secured corporate wireless network.

The executives think these guys are “geeks”.

I think the Apple Mac will bring world peace.  Give an executive a Mac and that executive will be able to get the corporate printer to work and be able to get on the wireless network by him/her self.  The Mac “just works”.


If you must…  have a non-Mac experience here is a web site and a link to the book.  The book is 656 pages which is the “cost” of not buying the Apple hardware.  Have at it…


Written by frrl

June 19, 2011 at 1:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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