Mac OS update breaks hackintoshes

November 3, 2009 // 10:16 a.m.

Tags: #apple-netbook #atom #hackintosh #intel-atom #mac-os-x #snow-leopard

Apple is making moves to block the use of third party hardware, with its latest update to Mac OS X Leopard - 10.6.2 - removing support for Intel's Atom processor.

The Atom chip is, of course, a staple of inexpensive netbook devices from a range of manufacturers - some of which enterprising hackers discovered were close enough to a Mac in hardware terms that they could run Mac OS X and be turned into so-called 'hackintosh' machines. While an official Apple netbook is unlikely to ever see the light of day, many Mac OS fans found the combination of portability with their favourite operating system a big enough draw to skirt the legalities of running Mac OS on non-Apple hardware.

Sadly, Apple is looking to stop all that: according to Wired.com the latest update includes a modification to the kernel which restricts the processor types on which Mac OS X is capable of running. The biggest change is the removal of support for Intel's low-power Atom processor, which has never been used in any official Apple device. Any hackintosh netbook upgrading to Mac OS X Leopard 10.6.2 will find their system no longer boots.

While the update isn't yet live for download - the news regarding its removal from the kernel build is taken from the latest developer build - it makes sense from Apple's perspective: the company has long held to the claim that installing its operating system on any hardware which it has not personally approved is against the terms and conditions of the licence, to the extent of suing companies that offer systems with legally purchased retail copies of Mac OS X pre-installed.

Do you believe that this move from Apple is a dirty trick, or does the company have the right to remove support for non-authorised hardware without warning? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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