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A budget Mac: how to install a Hackingtosh

Step-by-step guide to installing a Hackingstosh system

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Introduction

Would you like to try Mac OS but do you think an actual Mac is too expensive? With a few easy tricks you can install Apples operating system on a normal PC. In this article we will show you how to install a so-called Hackintosh.

With the introduction of Mac OS X 10.4 Apple promised support for Intel chips, and with good reason. The performance of Motorola's PowerPC CPU's couldn't keep up with the competition and Apple was forced to switch to Intel CPU's in order to offer better performance. The increased performance was especially needed in the professional photo and video editing business, in which Mac's are particularly prominent.  

With the adaptation of Intel CPU's the inside of a Mac started to look a lot like a normal PC; same CPU's, same chipsets, same GPU's etc. The change made it possible for users to install Windows on Apple computers through the so-called Bootcamp method. Some users however were interested in doing the opposite, and in theory with support for Intel's x86-architecture it should be possible to install Mac OS X on normal PC's. 

Darwin

Those who experimented with Mac OS on a normal PC in the past ran into several issues but at the same time were helped by the fact that Mac OS X is based on Darwin. Darwin is derived from code of the UNIX-versions NeXTSTEP and BSD. Because Apple uses code from BSD they are obliged to also release the code from Darwin to the public. This allowed hackers to look through the code in order to find ways to install the OS on other hardware. In the beginning there were still some major hurdles to overcome, for example when Apple switched to using Intel processors they also made the transition to EFI, while nearly all PC-motherboards still used a BIOS. 

Nowadays it has become much simpler to create a so-called Hackingtosh machine, this is due to the fact PC and MAC hardware has become even more similar in the last few years and all sorts of utilities have been developed. In this article we will explain how you can install and configure a Hackingtosh system. 

Legal?

One important and common question is if it's legal to install Mac OS on a PC. In the terms and agreements Apple clearly states that you are only allowed to run Mac OS on genuine Apple hardware, but it remains unclear whether this claim would hold up in court. The fact remains that since 2006 several websites have established a flourishing and growing community around Hackingtosh. As far a we know Apple has never taken any legal action against either the users Hackingtoshes, the people creating utilities or the people writing and managing the websites. The only time that Apple's lawyers came into action was when the company Psystar planned on selling preconfigured Hackingtosh systems, this seems where Apple draws the line. 

Of course if you use a product you should also pay for it. Up until version 10.6 Snow Leopard you could purchase Mac OS X on a disc in the store. Since then however you can only get the OS in combination with an Apple computer  Updates and new versions can be downloaded from the Mac App store. In this workshop we will use the latest version, 10.9 Mavericks which can be downloaded for free in the App store, this does mean however that you need access to  genuine Mac in order to download the OS. 


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