So, ever since I got the eeePC I’ve loved how easy it is to tinker with. Since I’m not a Linux guy, I dumped the Xandros preload and opted for Windows XP so I could you my EVDO USB datacard and blogging software easier, but I wondered could I install OSX on it? And, after trial and error - you can!
The only problem is that the eeePC only supports SSE2 instead of the SSE3 that Leopard is coded for. Kinda a bummer, and will require some extra tinkering to coax the OS on the eeePC. Thankfully Adam’s awesome tutorial over at Lifehacker provided an excellent foundation on how to do these hacks.
First, download the Brazil Mac Hack from OSX86 Scene. This patch helps you create a X86 version of Leopard you can install on generic PC’s.
Once that is done, you will need an DMG of Leopard, if you have a Mac you can create and Image in Disk Utility - just make sure your self created image is called osx-leopard105.dmg and it should be saved on your desktop. Or you can skip all the steps below and download Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard [ToH]-RC2 SSE3/SSE2 Intel Only from your favorite BitTorent site - scroll down to the point where you see Leopard is now installed.
Should you choose to create your own image and patch it. Quoting from Adam’s tutorial:
After you’ve downloaded the zipped patch files, unzip the archive and drag all of the contents of the archive to your desktop (it should contain two files and three folders in total).
Now open the 9a581-patch.sh shell script in your favorite text editor. At the top of the file, replace XXX with your username on your Mac (so that it reflects the path to your current desktop).
While we’re at it, let’s edit the 9a581PostPatch.sh file as well. This time, edit the fourth and fifth lines at the top of the file to look like this:
PATCH="/Volumes/LeopardPatch/leopatch/" # path to the patched extensions
LEO="/Volumes/Leopard" # path to Leopard installation
Save and close both files.
Finally, it’s time to patch the DVD. Open up Terminal, type sudo -s, then enter your administrative password (your login password). Then type cd Desktop and hit Enter. Now you’re ready to apply the patch. Keep in mind that you’ll need plenty of space on your hard drive to perform the patch. I had around 20GB of free space when I did it, though I’m sure you could get away with less. To execute the patch, type:
and hit Enter. The patch will now execute
You will also need to download a patched SSE2 kernel from here. When thats downloaded, unzip it on your desktop.
Open up terminal and type:
sudo hdiutil attach -readwrite $path_to_patch_dvd -owners on
Where $path_to_patch_dvd is the location of the actual ISO on your desktop. The terminal will prompt you for a password, enter your user password.
Then the ISO will mount in read/write mode. Drag the SSE2 mach_kernel you downloaded before to the ISO and replace the existing file. Eject the mounted volume and burn to DVD.
This will then create a SSE2 compliant Leopard DVD.
Once the DVD is created, plug in a DVD drive into the USB port of your eeePC and set the boot order in the eeePC’s BIOS to read from the USB drive first. When the eeePC starts you will get a DOS like screen asking if you want to start the installation or hit F8 for options. Hit F8.
You’ll now see the boot: prompt. Enter -v -x and press Enter
After about 15 or 20 minutes the MacOS X graphical installer will launch.
Quoting again from Adam’s write up:
Format the install drive: I know that you’re raring to install now that you’re finally here, but there’s one thing we need to do first: Format our hard drive so that it’s prepared to receive the Leopard installation. So go to Utilities in the menu bar and select Disk Utility (if you don’t have a working mouse yet, you can still access the menu bar from the keyboard). Once Disk Utility fires up, it’s time to format the drive. Here’s how:
Select your hard drive in the left sidebar.
Click on the tab labeled Partition.
Select a 1 partition Volume Scheme, name the volume Leopard, and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format.
Last, click the Options button and choose Master Boot Record as the partition scheme.
Now that your drive is ready, so are you.
Install Leopard: This really is the easiest part—just follow the on-screen instructions and choose your newly created Leopard partition as the install destination. Then, before you make that final click on the Install button, click Customize and de-select Additional Fonts, Language Translations, and X11. These components were removed so we could fit everything on the patched DVD, so we won’t be installing them now.
If you did everything right, Leopard is now installed. I didn’t seem to need to run any of the post install steps in Adam’s tutorial so I’m not going to write those steps up. It is highly recommended that if you are not geeky (or very unsure of any of the steps above), I suggest you download Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard [ToH]-RC2 SSE3/SSE2 Intel Only from your favorite BitTorent site.
I’ve noticed that Leopard is a bit pokey on the eeePC because of its slow processor and 512MB of RAM. I ultimately opted for a file called Mac OS X 10.4.8 [JaS AMD-Intel-SSE2-SSE3 with PPF1 & PPF2].iso that I found on a popular BitTorrent site that seems rock solid on my eeePC.
Also for those worried that they will destroy their eeePC - You shouldn’t. Aseus encourages you to install Windows, which requires you to destroy the default Linux setup. They created an awesome bootable restore DVD which you can use restore the machine to factory settings at anytime. Just like brand new.
The eeePC is really a great hobbiest computer.
Questions or comments? Drop them in the post. I’m still tinkering with the OS, and will report back on what works and what doesn’t. Thanks again to Lifehackers excellent tutorial. Without it, I would have never been able to get past step one.