Netbook Hacks Die with Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Mac OS X 10.6.2 may fix a laundry list of bugs and headaches for most users, but it doesn't run on Atom processors so "hackintosh" netbook owners are out of luck. Prior to the release of the Mac OS X 10.6.2 update, resourceful netbook owners have been able to hack Snow Leopard to run on their Intel Atom-based computers.

Internet forums and blogs began confirming rumors that the Atom chips in their netbooks wouldn't run Mac OS X 10.6.2 shortly after the update was released. One commenter on the the MyDellMini forum commented "So, I can tell you 10.6.2 DOES NOT WORK with the Mini10v. OSX tries to start, but it hangs before you can see the apple and system ist trying to boot again... you are in a loop."

Stell's Blog noted "The netbook forums are now blowing up with problems of 10.6.2 instant rebooting their Atom based netbooks. My sources tell me that everytime a netbook user installs 10.6.2 an Apple employee gets their wings."

Despite the disappointment hacked netbook owners are experiencing, Snow Leopard was designed to run on Apple-specific hardware. Since netbooks like the Dell Mini10v aren't actually Macs, Apple doesn't code Snow Leopard to include compatibility for those devices.

The ability to run Snow Leopard on Atom-based PCs was likely a little more than a stroke of luck, and losing Atom support may well be a side effect of bug fixes and code changes for the processors Apple officially supports in the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, and MacBook lineup.

Considering how resourceful the hacker community is, however, it's likely that someone will figure out how to run Mac OS X 10.6.2 on their netbook soon.

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Comments

Jeff Gamet

Seeing Snow Leopard running on a netbook is pretty cool. I’m curious how long it will take for the hacker community to the 10.3.2 update working.

Also, despite Apple’s tight control over the hardware Mac OS X runs on, I don’t think the company intentionally killed Atom support. I’m betting it was just a lucky side effect (from their perspective) that Snow Leopard quit working on netbooks.

JonGl

Well, considering that the kernel is supposedly open source, it is entirely likely that someone will figure out a way to get it to work. For myself, I’ve stopped at 10.5.7. I’ll probably wait until I get back to the States, and buy my next computer—which will be Apple hardware—before I upgrade. Right now, all my (Apple) Macs (they are all PowerPC), and my netbook are staying at 10.5.7.

(and I think, Jeff, you meant 10.6.2, not 10.3.2).

I will confess, however, that I have fallen love with my Wind’s tiny size. It’s even better than my Duos were, and the form and size I’ve been waiting for since I upgraded from my 2300 to my Pismo back in 2000.

-Jon

UrbanBard

No, Jeff, this is just the beginning. The real hacker war doesn’t get started for another six to nine months. By that time, the majority of Mac applications will be recompiled to run in 64 bit code. As soon as enough apps have been converted, then Apple will boot into the 64 bit kernel by default. A whole series of security improvements will kick in, some of this can be used against hackers.

The Snow leopard DVD changed its installation procedures this time. The DVD now loads the OS in a virtual space on the disk drive. What this does is allow Apple to start testing your authority and privileges to install the OS on a computer. If the Mac is stolen, the computer will be locked down and you will not be allowed to over write the OS. If the computer is not Apple equipment, you will be directed to an Apple store. If you are loading software on a company owned computer, then you will be asked to prove that you have authorization and permission. System installation is a gaping security hole which Apple will eventually address.

Businesses will love this new security. Enormous amounts of privileged data is put at risk when a laptop to lost or stolen. Most of the time, the computer is just wiped clean and sold on the black market. If Apple can nail this down without disturbing its legitimate users, then this will garner Apple many sales in Small to medium sized Businesses.

Intruder

Folks have had success re-enabling the Atom support by copying the 10.6.1 mach kernel over and replacing the 10.6.2 kernel.

UrbanBard

It’s early days, yet, it will be interesting to see what Apple does next.

Lee Dronick

By that time, the majority of Mac applications will be recompiled to run in 64 bit code. As soon as enough apps have been converted, then Apple will boot into the 64 bit kernel by default. A whole series of security improvements will kick in, some of this can be used against hackers.

Thank you, that was a very informative, and interesting post.

Moonhack

Never mind, there’s a patch now made by Meklort for running 10.6.2 on netbooks again. My Acer Aspire One is running it right now perfectly stable.

UrbanBard

It won’t last, Moonhack. At most, it will be a month or two.

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet. It had no real reason to do so, unless it was declaring war on the hackers. It could have continued to pretend that no hacking was going on.

Steve Jobs called this a “give and take” with regard to jail breaking the iPhone, but it is really a probe and counter attack. We will wait for Apple’s next move. Apple has been planning this strategy for the four plus years, since it knew it was moving to Intel processors. What does Apple have up its sleeve?

JonGl

@UrbanBard—

I presume you have data/quotes, etc. to back up these rather expansive claims?  (declaring war… Apple has been planning this strategy for the four plus years…?) Those are some big claims. People have been successfully hacking the OS onto pretty much everything, and Tiger and Leopard have been the best for it. Where did you learn of this secret strategy of Apple’s?

-Jon

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