Apple kills Atom hackintosh netbooks? Survey says...

Has Apple tweaked the new build of Snow Leopard to prevent you running Mac OS X on a netbook? Reports say that it won't run on Intel Atom hackintoshes any longer. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder if it's a deliberate block or just a side-effect of something else.

By Richi Jennings. November 3, 2009.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention movie timelines...

    Filip Truta brings "sad news":

Although the Mac OS X 10.6.2 update isn’t out yet for Snow Leopard, it does kill support for the Intel Atom processor. Mac OS X running on this architecture can only be what is known as a “Hackintosh” (a non-Apple computer running Mac OS X by means of hacks), as Apple hardware doesn’t include the Atom processor, be it the notebooks, or the desktop Macs. ... Similarly, Mac OS X 10.5.9 (whenever it’s out) may also include the road block.


[But there's] the possibility that Apple is just focusing on optimizing Snow Leopard for customers and current Apple-branded hardware. ... [It] could simply be changing things without even thinking about other processor architectures, since it doesn’t have to.

Jacqueline Emigh adds context:

The current developer build of OS X -- 10.6.2 -- will not run on the Intel Atom processor commonly used in netbooks that ship with Windows or Linux. ... Apple has already drawn fire lately for actions such as blocking Palm Pre users from iTunes and banning Google Voice users from its App Store.


With Apple refusing to release an affordable low-end mobile PC of its own, hacked netbooks from Dell and other manufacturers have been turning into an increasing popular alternative in the Macintosh community.

Jeff Smykil uses the source, Luke:

The source of the information appears to be Stell's Blog.


While this setback could be considered inconvenient by some, the bigger question is whether this is a result of Apple trying to crack down on individuals running Hackintosh machines. While conspiracy theorists might answer "yes", it seems unlikely that Apple would target the subset of Hackintosh owners that are using Netbooks with Atom processors. ... More likely that support was taken out during code optimization, particularly optimization for SSE4, which the Atom does not support.

Harry McCracken wishes it was still Halloween:

Apple may be suing Mac clone merchant Psystar, but its policy towards individuals who install OS X on non-Apple hardware to create “Hackintoshes” seems to have been to ignore them rather than to frustrate them. That may be about to change.


I don’t want to assume that the ... story is the real deal until it’s received independent confirmation, and even if it is true, it’s possible that there’s an explanation that has nothing to do with Apple’s attitude towards Hackintoshes. But if Apple does want to foil Hackintoshes, this would be a good way to go about it.

But Zealot Benmergui, Lord BardHaven assumes away:

Apple is not content just breaking the ability of the Palm Pre to sync with iTunes. They are apparently expanding their vandalism habit to confront another “misuse” of their software which they have long expressed displeasure about…hackintoshing.


Users often claim that they do this because Apple thus far refuses to release a ultra-portable or netbook version of their popular MacBooks. ... Since we seem to be on the cusp of an Apple Tablet, I would have to say they DID break hackintosh possibilities with malice aforethought. After all, Apple will want to make sure that anyone who craves a smaller Mac-based device pays the (no doubt hefty) price for this new product.

And Michael Cook defends Apple:

"Apple stops supporting something it never supported". What a story. Is anyone surprised? In fact, since hackintoshes are almost certainly eating into Apple's hardware sales (maybe not by much, but they must), this is an obvious thing to do. Why maintain support for something you don't use and is probably causing you some financial harm.


How dare Apple stop supporting unsupported hardware for people who aren't paying Apple for the software they may have simply stolen?

So what's your take?

Get involved: leave a comment.

    And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon