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10/29/2007
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Apple's Leopard Hacked To Run On A PC

Hackers also have been busy opening the locks Apple closed with its most recent iPhone patch.

Before Apple's new Leopard operating system for Macintosh computers was officially released on Friday, hackers had figured out how to load Leopard onto a PC.

On Thursday morning, a member of the OSx86 Scene Forum, a tech discussion site, posted step-by-step instructions about how to create a bootable Leopard installation disk that can install Apple's OS X 10.5 on what would otherwise be a Windows PC.

The process described is not for the technically faint of heart. But the culmination of the command line ordeal is a PC -- Asus P5W DH Deluxe in an Antec case with an Intel Core Duo E4300 in this case -- that's Apple inside.

Leopard already is notable for supporting a Windows partition through its Boot Camp application. PC users don't need Boot Camp since PC hard drives can be partitioned to boot from different operating systems.

In a forum private message, BrazilMac explained his motivation for making the information available: "Why run Mac OS? Well, when you are just used to Windows, it is like living inside a house and not experimenting the whole world out there. Once you get out of it, it is just amazing. Mac is just that: You just feel like glued to the computer. Everything is just beautiful, the interface, the stability. Once you experiment it, you don't want to go back to windows. Trust me.

"And one of the things that really got me involved with all this was the ability to have a system that benchmarks [better than] the Mac Pros. You can build your system for a lot less than a real Mac and get the performance of a top-dollar Apple machine. This is fact and a lot of the real Mac users will deny, but it is fact. My machine runs a e4300 Core Duo Processor over-clocked to 3.40 GHZ. Where can you get a 3.4-GHz Mac? It will cost you a fortune. I have 1066-MHz DDR2 memory. Where can you get that on a real Mac???"

Other hackers, meanwhile, have been busy undoing the work Apple did when it released its most recent iPhone patch: They've released AppSnapp Installer for 1.1.1, which opens the locks that Apple recently closed when it issued the recent 1.1.1 firmware update for its iPhone and iPod Touch.

The AppSnapp Installer "jailbreaks" the iPhone and iPod Touch so that third-party applications can be loaded.

According to those responsible for the hack, the software activates non-AT&T iPhones automatically (Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook recently estimated that some 250,000 iPhones were sold to people intending to unlock them) while leaving activated phones alone. It also makes YouTube work on non-AT&T iPhones without altering activated phones. It installs a program called Installer.app to simplify application installation on the iPhone and iPod Touch. And, ironically, it fixes a vulnerability in the TIFF library used by Apple (not to mention iPhone hackers), thereby making Apple's devices more secure.

When Apple released the 1.1.1 upgrade, it warned against installing the software fix on modified iPhones. Many of those who ignored the warning ended up with nonfunctional or "bricked" iPhones. It's quite possible that the next official iPhone/iPod update from Apple will present similar problems to those who have modified their devices.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently said that Apple planned to offer an official software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone in February. He attributed the timing of the release to the difficulties of protecting iPhone users from malware while maintaining an open platform.

Some people just don't want to wait.

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