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OSX86

Apple

As Apple moved to Intel for the base of their computers, this means that any Intel machine can be installed with OSX. Several people worked out installation procedures for this, which resulted in installable DVD image distributions. I should probably tell you that it is illegal to search for torrents like iPC, iDeneb or Kalyway, and that if you're interested to run OSX on your machine, you should buy a 30$ (!) retail OSX DVD.

Do not expect, however, that all your hardware will be supported : Apple still works with a limited hardware set, which means that lots of hardware in the PC world isn't supported by OSX. If your hardware isn't supported by a OSX vanilla kernel, the problem begins : you need to look for drivers for your unsupported hardware parts (kernel extensions or kexts) and they will probably not survive a OSX upgrade. Which means that if you do want to follow security updates for your OSX installation, you will need to reinstall your kexts after every update.

Deciding on the large number of OSX-based laptop presence in geek conventions like FOSDEM, I got curious in what appeals people to use OSX. I had an empty 15GB partition on my Acer Aspire 5610 laptop, originally destined for OpenSolaris, but I decided to give it away for the OSX installation. It's a good idea to backup your MBR, so it won't be overwritten by an alien OS installation. The MBR is located on the first 512 bytes of your boot disk; dd is your friend here. I needed several installation rounds to get to a working driver combination, which takes quite some time, and can get quite frustrating. Luckily, a default install takes about 30-40 minutes, depending on the speed of your hardware. In the end I got everything working, except the wifi card : this is a Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG, which isn't supported. There are preliminary drivers available, but installing this kext caused a coredump of the Mach kernel. Many people experience problems in wifi, and most choose a 50$ workaround with a usb wifi stick.

The installed OSX was version 10.5.6, which I tried to upgrade to 10.5.8, which is the last Leopard security level. I did not back up any kernel extension, which I should have done, cause after a reboot, I only got the blue background of the login screen. Apparently, this was caused by the installation of a new framebuffer driver that didn't supported my hardware. Finding a safe way of upgrading still is daunting.

The desktop experience is quite excellent, of course, even if my native screen resolution wasn't supported. The Finder file manager bears striking similarities with Nautilus in Linux, which explains where the Gnome folks had their inspiration. Which also says alot about the usability of Nautilus, by the way. I did not have the time yet to accustom the new OS - I still want to find a solution first for the upgrades. Unfortunately, the pricing of Apple hardware still keeps me from switching to Apple. The cheapest Macbook goes for ~1000€, which is revoltingly expensive, even for Apple stuff. Besides, after years of working with Linux, the idea of paying for an OS-stack still feels weird.

New iPods block Linux syncing

Apple

The latest iPods have a cryptographic "checksum" in their song databases that prevents third-party applications from synching with the portable music players. This means that iPods can no longer be used with operating systems where iTunes doesn't exist -- like Linux, where gtkpod and Amarok are common free tools used by iPod owners to load their players. If you buy such an iPod, you're only option to upload songs is to use Wine + iTunes or, more drastically, iPodLinux.

Apple iPhone

Apple

"Sweet, glorious specs of the frickin' thin 11.6 millimeter device include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when it's close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quad-band GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X."
Unix on my mobile ? I want one of those.
Update : more coverage here.

A closer look at ZFS on OSX

Apple

MacHackers.com has an article online which takes a closer look at ZFS in the upcoming 10.5 OSX release.

Mac OSX on Intel

Apple

After the Intel announcement of Apple, it wasn't really a surprise that some people had cracked OSX so it could run on any 'ordinary' Intel hardware. Now, the story appeared on UneasySilence.com, but there are still some questions whether or not this is a hoax. The hacked torrent isn't available anyway, and that seems strange. But it could be nice to test this in a VMWare session...

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