Hackintosh: Why?

There’s no typo in the title, actually. Hackintosh stands for hack + Macintosh. What is that? Ok, you probably have heard about hackers and do know what a word hack means. But where come Apple Macs in all this? Mac X OS is the answer. Hackintosh is a non-Apple computer built to run Mac X OS. A non-Apple laptop to run this operating system is called Hackbook.

Hackintosh: Why?

For years Mac X OS has been a crash-proof, virus free OS with a lot of amazing apps and on-line services in a bundle. While lots of Windows users, myself included, can swear that the Microsoft OS makes you kind of paranoid. “Back up thy data, oh User! And may the recovery points be with you!”, the first commandment says. The second is about buying antivirus’ license every year. But if you think Kaspersky is a surname of a Romanian vampire and Avast is a new console game, then you’re a happy Mac X OS user. Alas, Macs, iMacs and Macbooks are way too expensive and overpriced.

But if the crucial point is the operating system why not to buy and install it on any IBM or even custom-built desktop? The problem is, that legally you can run it on Apple computers only. After his comeback in 1997 Steve Jobs thwarted the negotiations about licensing this OS for other computers in the future. By that time a number of companies in USA and around the world had been officially cloning Apple PCs, Motorola and a number of smaller computing ventures among them. Obviously, they in Apple wouldn’t want to follow the IBM path and lose the control over the platform.

Until June 2005 the migration to non-Apple computers had been technically impossible. In a nutshell, the OS wouldn’t “recognize” the machine as an Apple one and “refuse” to be installed. And there was absolutely no way to get around this problem. But then Apple announced switching from Power PC to Intel processors and this opened the door to patching. Then OSx86 hacking project was born. Its ultimate goal is to run the OS X operating system on non-Apple PCs with x86 architecture on x86-64 processors.

The patches releases started with the release of Mac OS X v10.4 “Tiger” on January 10, 2006. It took the first patch a bit more than a month to be released. Apple answered with the 10.4.5 update which was patched less than in two weeks. Since then it’s a never ending patches vs. updates war. The Hackintosh community has grown and accumulated millions of fans. Some of them view it as a challenging problem in reverse engineering and coding, some – despise the Apple copyright policy.

The first step in getting yourself a Hackintosh is to build a desktop from the components identical or almost identical to the native ones. As Apple used the components manufactured by third parties, it’s not a very hard task to do. Short googling will bring you an arm-long list of components to build a customized iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro and every tiny bit of it is available in your local RadioShack store or on-line. Of course, you’ll have to forget about sleek, all-aluminum-and-glass casings but Customacs aren’t about looks they are about performance.

After you’ve purchased the whole kit and assembled it, you are to install the operating system. There’re different ways of doing it. You have to be an advanced PC user to accomplish it. The easiest way is the emulation, since 2007 it is also possible to use a live DVD or flash drive. Another way is a virtual machine. Check our Precise Guide in Hackintosh for further details.

But, you must know that even installing the legally obtained Mac X OS on a non-Apple computer is a violation of the End-User License Agreement (EULA). And patching the OS means hacking it, which in its turn is a violation of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Whatever your decision is, you’re to accept all the consequences. The hardware conflicts included.

The yet unsolved problem of Hachintosh are the hardware conflicts. The Mac X OS may not recognize Wi-Fi or Bluetooth modules or a sound card. Crashes after long sleep, freezes, video or sound cards malfunctions are critical Hackintosh issues. Hackintosh may be cheaper but eats up a lot of your time and energy, while testing your patience as well. Topics like “It can’t see my Wi-Fi, please, help” on Hacintosh message boards can have as much as several dozens of pages with no satisfactory solution so far. And this, we believe, is the most important disadvantage of the project. It lacks what most users so highly appreciate about Apple products – comfort. You can’t entirely trust your system.

So, it’s your call entirely whether to save up for a genial Macintosh, or try a Hackintosh. If you feel you’re a good expert in computers, then welcome! Otherwise, stay with the light side of the Force!


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A Woodworker Builds a Hackintosh. Video published by I’ve Been Thinking Workshop on December 18, 2016. The author has been seeing different people on YouTube building Hackintosh (home-built Macintosh) computers, so he decided to build one himself. While he was at it, he decided to build a wooden case to house it all. This video shows how he built both the computer and the case.


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