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A “Hackintosh” is simply a personal-use computer that utilizes hardware typically bought for constructing a PC and “hacking” it to run Apple’s Macintosh operating systems, particularly OSX, as this movement a more recent project. The term has also been extended to "hackbook" for computer notebooks/laptops running OSX



Operating Systems

Since computers have expanded from solely the commercial arena into the vast market of personal use, under the domain of capitalism, it was inevitable that the competition would create the rise of multiple operating systems. All feature their own advantages mostly based on the audience that they are trying to reach. Microsoft has always craved the mass market, while Apple's is more interested in speed, uniformity, and style, though it is now moving in the direction of seeking a larger portion of the market.
Because of the three attributes mentioned above about Apple's operating system, many people who are not Mac users have become intrigued with its operation and have cared to learn more about it. However, no one wants to buy a Mac just to try it for as long as they want nor does anyone want to drive to an Apple store every day to experience the OSX operating system, so they fixed it by making it available on the Microsoft of Linux based computers they already had.


Without a reference, there is no way to give an accurate statement of how difficult this project is. Descriptors like easy, medium or extremely difficult, as what people consider a “high” or “medium” level of expertise is so relative to those around them, and their experience in the computing world. It definitely requires at least basic knowledge of home computer construction and probably some understanding of the OSX operating system. However, it might be possible to follow a step-by-step guide and complete it without knowing too much. Then again, if the project is completed, one might as well have known about OSX in the first place as they will now have a computer with it installed on it, unless for some unintelligent reason


An obvious benefits from constructing a hackintosh is the economical advantage. By constructing a hackintosh one essentially saves himself 66 percent of the cost of buying a straight up Macintosh. For example, a $1,000 hackintosh has roughly the equivalent of a $3,000 Mac Pro.

How to

The information below is only a brief summary of what must be done to make a hackintosh, for more info see the resources below, specifcally this tutorial.

Pre-Hack: Hardware

Compatibility of hardware is definitely one of the most limiting factors, as it is most tedious and sometimes impractical taking an existing outdated intel PC or a collection of parts(Frankintosh) and make a hackintosh. Macintosh operating systems are constructed for very specific hardware, an advantage in the sense that the software runs very smoothly and compatibly with the hardware, yet a disadvantage in that upgrading is not much of an option. For example, to build a vanilla install of hackintosh on an Intel CPU must be chosen as no Apple computers are built with AMD. Though there are illegal "distro disks" to enable OSX to run on AMD. Another difficulty in setting up hardware is that many pieces of the hardware must be compatible with various other items of hardware, such as some video cards not working with particular motherboards. Other than the Intel CPU this the motherboard is probably the next most important piece of hardware, as it will determine and limit what RAM, graphics cards, and network cards can be chosen. Here is a list concerning compatible hardware that gives an idea of the scope of variability.


The first part of the hack, after making sure that the hardware "posts" is to set up the BIOS to handle OSX. Next, comes the installation of the OSX which can be done in a variety of ways, some of which are more black than gray in terms of legality. Probably the most illegal way is to use an altered copy of the DVD of the OS, whose alteration to the retail install Disk (Distro DVD's) allow the installation to progress with pre patched drivers and often times support for AMD processors. These Distro Disk install methods are generally less stable. Another more popular method and probably grayer in legality, involves the use of the original Retail Disk from Apple. This method uses TonyMac's iBoot bootloader to install the Operating system form the original Apple OSX DVD without altering any thing on the DVD itself. After the operating system is installed the OS has to be able to work with the BIOS to allocate power to specific hardware. This is done by installing a pre-patched DSDT.aml file where you can find pre-made DSDT's here. After DSDT install, |kexts (mac drivers) must be installed, tweaked, and manipulated for almost every hardware. These kexts/ drivers and the [1] are installed through Multibeast tool which facilitates an otherwise sticky process. This is probably the most tedious and problematic stage of the hack as some kext are less stable than others. Installing drivers can be at times a process of trial-and-error with fitting the right kexts than anything. It can be quite annoying to many.

Different Method

As a disclaimer, this method is nothing like the previous example and will prove to be a much different yet possibly easier way to experience the OSX operating system on your current computer without having to change any major settings with the hardware of the computer. In other words, this is an easier way of accomplishing the same thing and has been tested on the Windows operating system. However, this method should work on any operating system should the proper software be available.

Initially, you need to search Youtube for "iDeneb". This is the software with the Hackintosh software on it. There are instructions there on how to simply clear and partition part of your hard drive for the OSX operating system with all necessary "hacked" files installed. However, this method is not proven to work. Another similar way of attaining the same look and feel without having to do any clearing or partitioning of any hard drives is to use a virtual machine. VMWare Player is proven to work for this particular version of Hackintosh. As long as you follow all of the instructions the videos on Youtube give about "iDeneb", and use VMWare as opposed to clearing and/or partitioning your hard drive, you should have a perfectly working Hackintosh in no less than an hour. 


Connection to Hacking

The term “hackintosh” declares the status of installing a Macintosh operating system on unprivileged hardware as a hack, but what classifies an act as a hack? Perhaps this definition fits: modifying something in order for it to function in a manner that it was not originally intended; ideally, this function would be an improvement of functionality, though this is not a necessity. The term “hacker” first arose, when MIT students self labled themselves such and their story is told by Steven Levy in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. The importance of such early hackers comes in their establishment of many trends and themes related to the hacker ideology.

First, the above definition itself was established by the the college students, when they ran various tests and experimentations on the IBM predecessors to computers. For example they wrote “code”(in a little bit different format than we would now think of software) to make one of these IBM mechanism into a calculator…a million dollar calculator, which relates to the above statement that hacking does not necessarily constitute and improvement on the original device. Over and over, Steven Levy points out that the hackers were not interested in using the IBM machines in the traditional manner, but rather he states they were more focused on the inner workings of the machine and understanding how it works and how programming works. This whole idea of using an object outside its intended use directly applies to our project, as Macintosh OSX was not intended to be installed on PC hardware (which is essentially non-Mac declared hardware, though the hardware differences are minimal). We are modifying the settings of our hardware (analogous to the “inner workings” of the IBM) and using Kexts and drivers (analogous to the “programming” of the hackers) to allow the OS to function properly.

Another idea principle to the ideology of hackers is the tendency towards rebellion, which may be intermixed with the above theme, in that hackers reject the given function of a device and institute their own. However, I am referring to the rebellion against the norm or the standard way of doing things, and more specifically in the case of the hackers and our own project, rebellion against the corporation or business. The hackers were insistent on disregarding the rules that IBM established regarding the protocols of use of their IBM computers. Often to their own dismay, the hackers proceeded to do whatever they so desired, apparently without ever considering the consequences of their hacking. One of the main reasons that I am interested in the idea of the hackintosh is that I despise the controlling, closed manipulations of Apple. This also ties into another principle of hackers that is not specifically addressed by Steven levy, which is the belief in the free flow of information, which Apple fights endlessly. Apple tends to keep their software and products very protected and inaccessible to users, and wisely so, it allows them to make millions on things like the app store and just their products (macbooks, ipods, iphones, ipads, etc.), but in a way it also limits their capabilities, namely hardware limitations on their personal computers, which we specifically tried to overcome in our project. Just like the hackers at MIT we went against the corporate limitations and succeeded in creating a powerful computer.

Lastly, it is important to note that hackers tend to deprioritize the law. Typically citizens abide by most of the laws of this country, local, state and federal, with a few exceptions such as speeding. This is not to say that hackers disregard the law, because they still consider the consequences of their actions, but more often than not, they do not let law limit the progress of technology or even just progress itself. Evidently many principles connect to one another and this is no exception. Hackers believe in the free flow of information and while sharing(downloading,uploading) music or other media is illegal, hackers do not let this limit their widely successful endeavors to do so, though the motives here, might not be so remarkable, still the principle holds.


The legality of constructing a hackintosh is by no means a black and white issue.


Law Suits

There have only been a handful of law suits concerning hackintoshes. The most famous one concerns a company who attempted to sell hackintoshes under no pretenses, as a legitimate company. The court declared that the company was “dodging copy-protection technologies Apple uses to protect Mac OS X.”


Basic Argument

One of the most widely argued points, though not necessarily legally supportable, is that Apple sells DVD copies of its operating system. It is argued that since one is purchasing Apple's software, the company should have no right in declaring what can be done with it. This was the argument that the company in the law suit above tried to use.

Intellectual Property

Legally, the above argument does not hold so well, as an Operating System's lines of code which are easily replicator is categorized as intellectual property. Because of the operating systems's classification as intellectual property, this means that when a "purchase" is made of the DVD copy of OSX, it is not actually a purchase at all, but rather, a licensing. Therefore, the licensee (a.k.a. the consumer) must obey all clauses under the End User License Agreement (EULA) associated with the intellectual property. A problematic clause under OSX's EULA essentially states that the property can only be installed on Macintosh approved hardware. Consequently, by this logic, installing it on other hardware would invalidate an the license agreement, making it illegal.

Inaction argument

Contrarily, the forums of some Hackintosh communities strongly believe that because they have admitted in written documentation to creating hackintoshes for several years now that Apple is beyond its statute of limitations for drawing up a law suit to anyone who has constructed one. Essentially, the logic is that because Apple did not bring up a suit in past years despite being explicitly told that hackintosh makers were in existence, they forfeited there right to bring up a law suit now. Lastly, there is a counterargument to this belief which has not yet been tested in court, that because Apple releases new operating systems every year or two, they are effectively resetting the timer on the statute of limitations. In laymen's terms, Apple does not want hackintoshs to be commercially sold to consumers. The reason for this is because if hackintoshs were made on better hardware to run faster at a cheaper price to more people, then Apple has the potential to lose millions of dollars to simple hackers with advertisement abilities. Nevertheless, none of the the ideas in this section have been put to the test in court, which is why hackintoshes remain in the gray area. 


Hackintosh Tutorial

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