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Welcome to the OSx86 Project! This FAQ provides answers to common questions. Translations in other languages can be found in the Translations NOTE: We need contributors to help finish up the translations! Incomplete answer translations can be found at this older version of the FAQ. We don't have any translated questions yet. Please do what you can!



What is The OSx86 Project?

The OSx86 Project is a site dedicated to running Mac OS X 10.4 on your beigebox Intel or AMD PC.

What does this all mean?

Apple's recent switch to the intel architechture means that it is easier to get it running on your PC, otherwise countless hours of cracking would have to go into the Rosetta version to get it working, and even harder without the sourcecode. Of course, people decide to crack the OS and yet it running on a x86 Intel or AMD processor. More info: Dictionary of OSx86 Terms.

Don't I need a Mac for OS X?

Well, not if you mean a PowerPC Mac. Apple recently announced their switch from IBM/Freescale PowerPC CPUs to Intel x86 beginning in mid-2006. As the only effective difference between PC and Mac has remained the different CPU, future Macs will essentially be PCs. Recently, Apple revealed, ahead of schedule, their first Intel macs, the newly revamped iMac Core Duo, Mac Mini and the MacBook Pro notebook computers using the Core Duo can already be found for sale. The new MacBook is finally available, too (iBook replacement). Apple Store, as well as the Mac Pro (the power Mac G5 replacement).

Will Apple sell OS X for PCs?

No. Apple has repeatedly stated that OS X for Intel will only run on Apple hardware.
Of course Apple may change its mind at any time. Remember that Steve Jobs stated there would not be a video iPod anytime soon!
There could be many good reasons for Apple to let OSx86 spread on non proprietary computers. It could boost Apple's Hardware sales via a halo effect similar to the iPod one or simply allow them to up their OS market share. We'll see...
Of course, this is a big debate within the Mac community, because the release of Mac OS X for normal PCs could lead to many problems. Apple's primary reason for selling their computers is the huge profit margins on the hardware. If their operating system was available on any regular PC, they wouldn't make nearly as much profit from hardware sales. Lastly, there is also a problem of drivers. Apple would need to incorporate massive amounts of drivers which would lower the priority for developing better and newer features.

So Macs will be just like PCs, but OS X will only run on Macs?

Exactly. Apple makes money by selling hardware, so they must make certain that they continue to sell Macs.

Couldn't Apple sell a stripped-down version of OS X for x86(_64) systems?

Yes, only after Steve Jobs sells all his holding shares of Apple Computer Inc.
But what would the point of it? Isn't Darwin a stripped-down version of Mac OS X that runs on PCs and Macs?

How does this relate to PearPC?

PearPC is an emulator that runs the PowerPC version of Mac OS X on a PC. It is very compatible, but extremely slow. As Apple is now shifting towards x86 CPUs, there will be no need any more to emulate the CPU in order to run it on the PC, resulting in a much faster solution.

Developer Kit

I heard about a DMG/ISO of OS X for Intel on Bittorrent - what is this?

This is a version of OS X Intel, meant to be installed on Apple hardware only. It will only run on Apple specified hardware, unless extensive modifications are made, meaning that this file is illegal. That means that according to Apple's EULA you may not possess it or attempt to use it. Also, variously depending on the jurisdiction in which you live it is illegal to download it, upload it, give it away or install it..

What if I have this Developer Kit Install DVD? Does it run on my PC?

No, the original Developer Kit Install DVD or any identical copies will only run on the machines included with the Apple Dev Kit.

The Developer Intel Mac looks like an ordinary PC - is it?

Basically yes. It has a standard Pentium 4 CPU and an Intel mainboard. Additionally, it includes a TPM module by Infineon. It has a PC BIOS (with BIOS setup and everything) and uses a PC partition table.
This does not mean though that the actual Intel Macs are like this. Apple says that they will not have OpenFirmware or Mac partitioning, but they have not confirmed whether they will have PC BIOS and PC partitioning either.

Does the Developer Kit support x86_64/AMD64/EM64T?

The hardware does but OS X for Intel is compiled for 32 bit operation only on systems with an EFI (not bios), but it has been proven to run natively (free of bugs) on systems with a BIOS. The first Intel Macs are 32 bit Intel Core Duo's (similar to the Pentium D). The Intel Developer Kit version needs at least SSE2 (w/out rosetta) or SSE3 to run flawlessly.

So the Developer Kit version of OS X intel can only run on SSE3 CPUs?

Yes. It requires a Pentium 4 or an Athlon 64 (Venice Core or San Diego) if you want Rosetta to work without being patched. It is possible to run with SSE2 without rosetta, but there is no support for PPC code. The kernel can be patched to allow Rosetta to work on SSE2 CPUs by translating SSE3 instructions on the fly. The release version of OS X for Intel as well requires SSE3 to function, but can be patched to work without it as well.

What kind of hardware would be equivalent to the Dev Kit Hardware?

  • CPU: must support SSE2 (SSE3 required to run PPC apps)
  • Chipset: Intel 915 chipset (others may work if they support ich4 or ich5)
  • GPU
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900
  • Motherboard

How do I check if my CPU supports SSE2 or SSE3?

Use cpu-z, CrystalCPUID, wcpuid, or 'cat /proc/cpuinfo'

Where is otool on the Dev Kit Install DVD?

Use pax to extract it from Archive.bom. (Brickster)
/System/Installation1/Packages/Xcode Tools, in an Archive.pax.gz inside DeveloperTools.pkg (Pip)
Otherwise, it may be accessible from Xcode.

Where are kernel extensions (kexts)?

These are essentially drivers which help OS X interact with different hardware in your system. They handle anything from Video Cards to Hard Drives. They can be found on your OS X system/DVD in /System/Library/Extensions.

How do I convert a .DMG to a .ISO/.IMG?

  • Install UltraISO, goto Tools|Convert... Then select your .dmg, and leave the output as a .ISO
  • Then to turn it into a .IMG, put the .ISO into a emulator like Alcohol 120% or Nero Image Drive
  • Then install Transmac, goto Tools|Disk/CD Edit|Save Image of Disk/CD and select the souce Drive, and the Dest .IMG


Is NForce chipset SATA supported?

Yes, editing AppleVIAATA kext with your nForce device ID's will enable SATA. Search forum for more info.

Are Soundblaster (SB) Live, Audigy supported?

Live USB External "Yes"
Not yet.
See the Creative page for more detailed information regarding the various Soundblaster soundcards.

Does printing to a printer connected via parallel cable work?

No. But there are parallel to USB connectors out there and then you might have luck.

Is XYZ Hardware supported?

Maybe. Maybe not. There is simply too many different pieces of hardware out there to be able to answer for every one on this wiki. Search the HCL from the main page of the wiki or search the forums for a better answer.

Where can I find a list of supported hardware?

You can look through the Hardware Compatibility Lists by clicking the links to it on the main page of this wiki. Be sure to check different OS X versions as compatibility is subject to change with each release.


Why doesn't the Developer Kit Install DVD work on a PC?

The OS X installation DVD works only with the proper TPM authentication.

What part of the OS relies on the TPM module?

Mac OS X for Intel chips with Rosetta, the PowerPC G3 user mode emulation engine by Transitive. It ensures that you can run applications and libraries on an Intel Mac that are compiled for PowerPC. Rosetta communicates with AppleTPMACPI.kext, a kernel extension that talks to the TPM module. If the module is missing, Rosetta will not run.

But do I need Rosetta to run OS X?

OS X itself should run fine without Rosetta, but it seems that Apple deliberately left ATSServer (the daemon responsible for GUI fonts) compiled for PPC, so it relies on Rosetta. And as the GUI will not run without ATSServer, it depends on Rosetta and the TPM module as well.

Isn't OS X or Darwin open source? Can't you easily fix it?

Darwin (the underlying system) and XNU (the kernel) are open source, but neither the underlying code (OpenFirmware) or the overlaying system (Aqua) are. This makes it difficult at best to modify Darwin to your liking, especially if you're still intending to have the resulting code work with OpenFirmware and Aqua. Font rendering is a part of Aqua and it would not be possible to modify Darwin to prevent Aqua from accessing the TPM module without breaking Aqua.

Where can I find hints on making Darwin do things like mount disks?

Search at http://www.macosxhints.com/

What is a good hex editor for this work?

There are many good (and free) hex editors at SourceForge, otherwise WinHex, Hex Workshop and Hex Tool have been recommended.

Does a Live CD exist?

A live CD is a CD which allows you to boot up an operating system off of the CD itself without having to install or access the computer's hard drive in any way. Most live CDs contain basic Internet and word processing tools, and are especially useful at times when your hard drive does not work. At this time, the closest thing to a live CD for Mac OS X is the BootCD program available from CharlesSoft. Judging by how operating systems tend to work, and how large they are, it is not possible to create a live CD for Mac OS X that is completely compatible with a regular OS X installation, and the CD produced by BootCD is more useful for troubleshooting tasks than as an operating system substitute. There is a similar unofficial Live CD builder for Windows XP, titled BartPE. It is mostly used for system recovery purposes and is again not designed to be a 'production' system.

What is the current status?

Check out our Main Page for the latest news.

How can I help?

Join the forum and the IRC channel to help with development and/or contribute documentation.


Is it legal to download the Developer Kit Installation DVD?

Simple answer. No. It is not legal to download it, as the only possible use of the developer kit DVD is to circumvent its copyright protections to enable its use on a non developer machine. Reminder that OSx86Project, it's owners and contributors do not condone illegal activity and will not provide information on how to obtain a download of this or any other copyrighted work.

Is this site illegal under the DMCA?

According to Wikipedia, "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a controversial United States copyright law. The act criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet."
Our site is fully compliant with the DMCA. This site intends only to provide a forum for those interested in running OS X on Intel hardware. Anyone engaged in an active DMCA violation will be banned. For more information, review our Disclaimer here.
If you are either a lawyer or an Apple representative and have any concerns, feel free to contact us regarding any changes you feel necessary.

But aren't you trying to "circumvent measures taken to protect copyright?"

Absolutely not. This site simply hosts information about the TPM. We do not sanction the use of this information for anything other than educational purposes. Our intent is to learn more about the TPM - not "crack" it.


Note: Many of these translations are incomplete. All help on these pages is appreciated.

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