Apple Blocking Intel Netbook CPUs in Mac OS X?

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • squidrott
    Seems like a stupid move. You'd think they'd want more people using their OS.
  • Spanky Deluxe
    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.
  • steveoh
    Sad, just sad on Apple's part...

    But it should be noted that Marcus posted a (possibly) negative article about Apple.
  • PodSix
    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.
  • PodSix
    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.
  • jebbadiah
    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!
  • hixbot
    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!
  • ssalim
  • daship
    Long live Psystar.
  • matchboxmatt
    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.