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Apple Blocking Intel Netbook CPUs in Mac OS X?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 46 comments

Intel Atom systems crippled after Snow Leopard 10.6.2 update.

Mac OS X is designed and supported to only run on Apple's machines, but a notable percentage of the netbook community has shoehorned the operating system into their modest portables.

Thanks the Apple's use of Intel hardware, certain models of netbooks – such as Dell's Mini 9 and 10v – are fairly comfortable running Mac OS X. But Apple doesn't seem to be impressed, if signs from an early Snow Leopard beta update are to be believed.

According to this post on InsanelyMac forums, a developer build of Snow Leopard 10.6.2 is incompatible with netbooks running the Intel Atom.

Melkort, a programmer known for his works on the Dell Mini netbooks, wrote in the MyDellMini forum, "It does turn out that the 10.6.2 kernel reboots before it's finished loading (before the bsd subsystem is initialized I believe). Might be a chameleon thing, might be an atom thing (as I haven't tested it on any other machines). I'm looking into it, but the 10.6.0 / 10.6.1 kernel works fine with 10.6.2."

Apple has a history of blocking out unauthorized uses of its software (just see what the company has done to lock out Palm Pre and iTunes syncing), so it's not surprising if Hackintosh netbooks were targeted for termination in the upcoming update.

Those running Hackintoshes with Intel Atom CPUs should beware of the 10.6.2 update.

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  • 15 Hide
    steveoh , November 2, 2009 5:14 PM
    Sad, just sad on Apple's part...

    But it should be noted that Marcus posted a (possibly) negative article about Apple.
  • 11 Hide
    daship , November 2, 2009 5:54 PM
    Long live Psystar.
  • 10 Hide
    squidrott , November 2, 2009 5:04 PM
    Seems like a stupid move. You'd think they'd want more people using their OS.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    squidrott , November 2, 2009 5:04 PM
    Seems like a stupid move. You'd think they'd want more people using their OS.
  • 0 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , November 2, 2009 5:12 PM
    It'd be a real shame if they're actively going to start stopping the hackintosh community. Stopping the low lives like Psystar trying to make a quick buck off Apple's and the open source hackintosh community's hard work is one thing but actively stopping the hackintosh community isn't so great. A lot of people that have hacked OS X onto their PCs in the past have gone on to buy genuine Apple hardware after all.

    I'm hoping that this is just a case of something breaking while they've updated other things. The rumors were that they originally wanted to use the Intel Atom platform but decided they didn't like the performance and so bought out PA Semi to make their own chips. If that's true then the initial support for Intel Atom likely wouldn't get updated and so could break with an update of something else. That's what I hope's the case anyway.
  • 15 Hide
    steveoh , November 2, 2009 5:14 PM
    Sad, just sad on Apple's part...

    But it should be noted that Marcus posted a (possibly) negative article about Apple.
  • 5 Hide
    PodSix , November 2, 2009 5:20 PM
    To me, at least, it simply seems like a horrible waste of their time, effort and resources. I can't see an even negligible amount of netbook users actually making the conscious decision to go though the trouble of changing OSes.

    Seems like they could be using those resources on better things, like how to make *yet* more things out of aluminum that really don't need to be.
  • 2 Hide
    PodSix , November 2, 2009 5:30 PM
    squidrottSeems like a stupid move. You'd think they'd want more people using their OS.


    Ah yes, but then you wouldn't be *elite.* In Apple's eyes it's like putting an Aston Martin DB9 V12 in a Chevy Monte Carlo. The only difference is that Aston would probably just write the Monte Carlo off as 'cute' and move on instead of trying to find ways to make the motor mounts somehow impossible to install in any other car than an Aston. The only problem is, and Apple has yet to learn this yet, that there will always be a way as long as there are people around who care to find a way.
  • 3 Hide
    jebbadiah , November 2, 2009 5:32 PM
    for apple it's money! the hard way, you don't buy, you don't get it! they've been getting a little more competetive in terms of price recently, because people aren't willing to pay their ridiculous amounts of money their things cost, but still a long way to go. i'll never understand why they're doing such things which only ignite sparks of anger. it would benefit the company when more people are interested in os x. but you don't buy, you don't get it CASH CASH CASH! as said before, it's a sad story!
  • 9 Hide
    hixbot , November 2, 2009 5:41 PM
    If they did nothing to prevent OSX from running on non-Apples, there would be absolutely no reason to buy an Apple.
    They make a FORTUNE selling overpriced hardware, the only appeal is OSX.
    If OSX could run on a cheap netbook, now why would anyone pay for the overpriced Apple? Ofcourse they are going to try to stop hackintosh!
  • 3 Hide
    ssalim , November 2, 2009 5:46 PM
    Boo@Apple.
  • 11 Hide
    daship , November 2, 2009 5:54 PM
    Long live Psystar.
  • 3 Hide
    matchboxmatt , November 2, 2009 6:08 PM
    Well, Apple does make a majority of their money on hardware sales, not their operating system. As far as they're concerned, they consider their OS more of a feature of their computers rather than a public platform.
  • 2 Hide
    ravewulf , November 2, 2009 6:09 PM
    Why would anyone want OSX on a netbook in the first place?
  • 2 Hide
    tayb , November 2, 2009 6:20 PM
    This obviously has nothing to do with the fact that the vast majority of Hackintosh netbooks are using pirated copies of OS X Snow Leopard? Right? Right?
  • -2 Hide
    DjEaZy , November 2, 2009 6:27 PM
    ... atom CPU is a junk anyway...
  • 0 Hide
    Dkz , November 2, 2009 6:28 PM
    Wow.. it's that true? how can be that possible, how are they going gain a bigger share of the market if they allow less users to run their stuff??
  • -1 Hide
    wildwell , November 2, 2009 6:39 PM
    I don't think Apple did it just to block hacked netbooks. Rumor has it their tablet was originally going to run an Intel Atom, hence the support for the processor. If they aren't going to use Atom processors in any of their hardware, they have no reason to bloat the OS to support it at the software level.

    Everyone running OSX on a hacked netbook should go back to 10.5 Leopard to be safe. You wouldn't want to accidentally download the 10.6.2 update.
  • 4 Hide
    the_krasno , November 2, 2009 6:56 PM
    Fuck Apple's Big Brother approach at this! If they would just stop being dicks about this kind of stuff, they would sell more copies of their OS!
  • 0 Hide
    kingssman , November 2, 2009 6:59 PM
    actually unlike windows with their 12 layer copy protection DRM passkey system that you must go through for every update, Apple doesn't have any of that for their OS. OSX is very easy to pirate because their license scheme almost has no DRM other than apple hardware. You could almost make an ISO of OS 10.6 and install it on any apple computer since Apple has nearly no OS license security.

    I think Apple is just trying to cut down on their pirated OSX since a majority of the hackintosh users are not using store bought OSX.
  • 1 Hide
    mcreskiller , November 2, 2009 8:39 PM
    @kingssman updating is great on windows the only time you gota put in a cd key is at install and the only time you gota call windows is if you get a new motherboard and then you just tell em to move the cd key (iv done it many times)
  • 1 Hide
    ta152h , November 2, 2009 9:08 PM
    wildwellI don't think Apple did it just to block hacked netbooks. Rumor has it their tablet was originally going to run an Intel Atom, hence the support for the processor. If they aren't going to use Atom processors in any of their hardware, they have no reason to bloat the OS to support it at the software level.Everyone running OSX on a hacked netbook should go back to 10.5 Leopard to be safe. You wouldn't want to accidentally download the 10.6.2 update.


    You're confused. You don't need software support for the processor, it runs x86 code. I can run Windows 2000 on it, and I'm pretty sure Microsoft didn't have software support for the Atom designed into it, since it predated it by more than half a decade.

    It should work out of the box. Maybe it's deliberate (most likely), or maybe Apple just never bothered to test with it (unlikely, but possible). Either way, it's Apple's OS, and they can do what they want with it. I don't understand why people think somehow they have a right to tell Apple what they should do with something they created. They own it, the public doesn't.

    Whether or not it's good for them in the long run though, is another question. Normally, when companies try this type of thing, it backfires and ends up being short-sighted. Not always, but most of the time.
  • 1 Hide
    kingssman , November 2, 2009 9:35 PM
    mcreskiller@kingssman updating is great on windows the only time you gota put in a cd key is at install and the only time you gota call windows is if you get a new motherboard and then you just tell em to move the cd key (iv done it many times)


    I know! but i've taken hard drives out of Powermac G5's running OSX 10.4 and placed them into G4s and vice versa and never ran into a "license" issue at all. I've even "cheated" and put a box copy of 10.5 on both desktop and laptop using the same disk and install key. OSX license security is very relaxed because they use the "mac hardware only" rule as their method of DRM. That's also why OSX is only $69.00 and windows 7 is $194.99
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