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Hardware Hacking Build

OQO Hacker Claims World's Smallest OS X Machine 202

TechRadar writes "A hacker has turned his OQO ultraportable into the world's smallest Mac running Leopard. 'I will warn you this project is not for the plug and play crowd but definitely do-able,' the hacker, 'TRF' says. Interesting, given the OQO was designed by ex-Apple employees." It might run Mac OS X, but one thing this OQO is not is a Mac.
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OQO Hacker Claims World's Smallest OS X Machine

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:23AM (#23237060)
    My iPod Touch is running a cut-down version of OS X, and it's even smaller.
  • Given that the OS is what most people interact with all day, is it really so wrong to call it a Mac? Most the purported Mac advantages are to do with usability after all. You're certainly getting more of the Mac experience than a PC one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Farmer Tim ( 530755 )
      You're certainly getting more of the Mac experience than a PC one.

      Having installed OS X on an EeePC, I'd say all you're getting is an Aqua interface for a PC experience. When it's completely painless and everything "just works" I might agree with you.
      • Yes, I suppose that saying it's "just like a Mac" after all that painful setting up and reconfiguring to get Windows to work is missing half the picture.
      • When it's completely painless and everything "just works" I might agree with you.

        I'd be careful about defining a system's Mac/not-Mac status in terms of things "just working". OSX on Apple's approved hardware configs will work without problems for most day to day tasks - but I've seen plenty of tasks where naive assumptions can and will stop things from working.

        Unless a Mac intended to run Supercollider and Quarks [] or MySQL [] (for instance) ceases to be a Mac in your definition, I think you'd be on safer

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:24AM (#23237074)
    Clones like this and the Psystar [] machine must have Jobs and the other control freaks at Apple screaming bloody murder right now. For years, their bread-and-butter has been tying their OS to their (IMHO overpriced) hardware. Now it seems that a lot of people are getting sick of it (if the preorders at Psystar are any indication, a *LOT* of people). Not only that, but the more heavy-handed Apple gets, the more they risk that cool-chique image as they appear more and more like just another greedy corporation (i.e., more like MS).

    It might well be time for them to consider doing what they could have done years ago, realeasing a general version of Leopard that will run on non-Apple PC's. They might even consider doing an "Apple Certified" program for Dell and other companies wanting to offer OS X as an option for their customers. If their hardware is truly superior, then it won't cost them much hardware business and will cut deeply into Windows' market dominance. In the end, everyone would win--most noteably the consumer (and those who like building their own machines).

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:30AM (#23237150)
      This isn't a clone, it's hack like installing netBSD on a toaster, with a remote bread loader.

      Second neither this or Pystar systems can receive updates via Apple system updater.

      Thirdly Pystar has pissed off the guy who makes the OS X boot on generic hardware software. I am waiting for him to sue Pystar, Apple won't even have to get their hands dirty.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )
      Uhm, so how many have preordered psystars systems? Compared to the amount of machines Apple sell? Compared to total PC sales?

      I already have a hack-compatible mac system, and a real macbook pro, and I would never buy psystars system, and can't understand why anyone else does either.
    • by aliquis ( 678370 )
      And btw Apple would probably not "win-win", atleast they don't seem to think so. And it's Apples property so they don't give a shit about what you belive.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        Well, I'm assuming they one day want to gain at least a modicum of market share. They're certainly not going to do it by forever staying in the niche.

        Now, maybe they like it in the niche market. But I doubt it. And it certainly doesn't help consumers.

        • by ObiWanKenblowme ( 718510 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:56AM (#23237424)
          Maybe they'll start to worry more about market share once they're done counting the piles and piles of money they're currently making. Seriously, how hard is it to grasp that market share != financial success, and financial success != market share?
        • I think Apple is playing a different game than you imagine them to be playing. Market share isn't as important as influence. They aren't playing Monopoly or Risk, but instead it's a sort of race game where the goal is to lead the pack in "coolness points".

          I think that's been the source of the friction between Microsoft and Apple since the Seventies: Apple was more interested in making neat stuff, whereas Microsoft has always been about the profits and dominating the market.
          • by aliquis ( 678370 )
            No, the goal is to make a huge profit. Coolness doesn't have shit to do with it, unless it makes you more money.

            Of course both wanted profits, it's just that Apple failed more so to speak. And yes, back in the days Steve Jobs may have cared about what the consumers wanted/should be getting. Nowadays it seems less so.
            • That's the meta-game. The game which rewards how well you play the chosen game.

              Microsoft: "We can ensure long-term value by dominating the playing field!" (the Monopoly/Risk way)

              Apple: "We can ensure long-term value by being better and doing new, cool stuff!" (the race/exploration game way)

              Both methods are risky. Microsoft's risk is that they trap themselves into only defining themselves through comparison. Apple risks ignoring the competition too much. But in the end, I think Apple's approach is better in
              • by aliquis ( 678370 )
                But personally I think Apple do way to little in their mac and OS X business and to much with gadgets. Which may be good for their business/money flow/brand knowledge/whatever but it suck for ME ;D

                Only part of Apple I care about are the OS and applications ;D (And computers if I'm forced to use them.)
          • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
            I seriously doubt Apple shareholders would buy the "Sure we could be making you more money, but what we really want to do is make cool stuff" argument.
            • Like I said in a different response, there is a subtle difference. It's not making cool stuff instead of making a profit, but ensuring a profit by making cool stuff. And that is an argument that seems to convince enough shareholders that Apple's stock is still doing well.
        • by aliquis ( 678370 )
          If they can choose from say 80$ in profit of average OS sale, $150 for OS + low-end designed PC or $600 for high-end PC with some options I wouldn't be so sure about that.

          Two years ago everyone was complaining how dead Nintendo was because their sales was so low, but atleast they made a profit of their products. Sure Microsoft sold more Xboxes, but at a loss ... And sure Sony sold more consoles, but they (eventually, I don't remember the numbers, so don't trust me on this one:) didn't earned as much money.

    • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

      Not only that, but the more heavy-handed Apple gets, the more they risk that cool-chique image as they appear more and more like just another greedy corporation (i.e., more like MS).

      Most people interested in hardware Apple doesn't already sell are techies/enthusiasts and businesses. None of them should hold any illusions about Apple being anything other than another greedy corporation (just like Microsoft).

      If their hardware is truly superior, then it won't cost them much hardware business [...]

      Of cour

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dogzilla ( 83896 )
      What makes you say that "a lot of" people are "sick of it"? It seems pretty clear that a majority of people buy Macs because they don't want to deal with the hassle attached to using Windows and Linux computers. Hacking OSX to run on non-Apple hardware isn't easy, so the folks doing aren't really Apple's target market anyway. In any case, I find it hard to believe that the folks jumping through these hoops represent "a lot of people".

      Let me repeat that because so few people seem to get it: hackers are not
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Clones like this and the Psystar machine must have Jobs and the other control freaks at Apple screaming bloody murder right now.

      I doubt it. The psystar is a *noisy* pc, the first thing most people notice about the iMac is it's QUIET!

      People will pay a couple of hundred bucks for quiet, hardware and software support, updates, and the ability to just walk into a brick-and-mortar and pick one up off the shelf, etc.

      • The psystar is a *noisy* pc,

        Back that up. Just because it's a PC, doesn't mean automatically it's noisy. So far, there aren't any reviews or measurements made that I've seen so far.

        I've owned quiet Xeon workstations, as well as quiet desktop systems too. Heck, my G5s have been noisier than my PC Xeon workstation. Among other things, I think the ATI 1900 that Apple used in their Mac Pros have been excessively turned down in speed, they seem to go flaky after a year. Apple has had similar problems with G
        • I meant the fan speed on the ATI 1900. I had to have mine replaced by Apple a few weeks ago. Hopefully it doesn't happen again, but I just can't help but think the fan runs too slow for its cooling needs.
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          The psystar is a *noisy* pc,

          Back that up. Just because it's a PC, doesn't mean automatically it's noisy. So far, there aren't any reviews or measurements made that I've seen so far.

          How about the video on Gizmodo [] showing one in operation?

          Sure it's not a scientific measurement of noise, but the fan whirr is definitely noticable. The Dell workstation on my desk at work is quieter, as is my Mac Pro (think - the real noise comes from the hard drives, not fans, and that's the standard seeking noises when they're

        • Just look at the videos of the psystar - it's NOISY as SHIT after a bunch of bad tacos!!

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )
        What most people ask in my environment about the iMac's (from the G5 onwards but especially the new batch): where is the computer? since they expect a big bulky or at least some type of tower where you put the CPU in. I have a dead iMac G5 next to a same size dead LCD screen in my office and sometimes one of the passer-by's ask: if you're throwing away those monitors, can I have them.

        I like the new iMac's for desktop environments. They take up less space, are quite powerful and they're also easy to repair
      • Well, at the very least, you can assume that the Psystar will stay cool and won't suffer from the same heat problems that the iMacs suffer from. It seems that Apple really didn't take into consideration the heat generated by the hardware they use when they cram it into an ultrathin case.
    • Can't fight the Hackers without getting even more fascist than Apple already is right now.

      Might as well license an OEM copy of OSX to a few PC Makers, in exchange for 10% of the sale and a small fee per machine OSX is installed on.

      Apple makes most of its money via iPods, iPhones, iTunes, etc now. It isn't the old 1990's Apple that bled money via Newton, Printer, Scanner, Pippin, etc support and sales that cost more to support than they brought in. That is what really killed the Mac Clones in the first place
      • You haven't looked at Apple's latest earnings report, have you?

        They still make half of their revenue by selling Macs. []
      • Apple makes HUGE margins on their laptops and desktops. Some reports say the highest margins in the whole industry.

        iPods, though profitable, are sold at a lower profit margin to move them faster and they make a profit through volume.

        Again with the clones. It would RUIN Apple if they tried it again right now. They are selling stuff like crazy now based off the impression that their stuff "just works". Start installing OS X on any old PC with who knows what inside and that experience goes away. It becomes a m
    • They won't do it because of two and a half fundamental reasons:

      1. MSOffice
      2. Profit Margins
      3. History as Computer Maker

      If Apple put MacOS onto other machines, MS would pull support for MSOffice on MacOS in a New York Nanosecond. That would seriously batter Apple computer sales, because many of us (myself included) are forced by our employers to use MSOffice. Yes, OpenOffice is a lovely thing, but our IT dept and management doesn't give a flying fuck about OpenOffice, and never will. It's an MS shop an

    • Naw. Apple isn't going to sweat this at all. With a record number of Macs sold last quarter, something like this won't even really register on their radar.

      They probably love it actually. It's free publicity for them really. More and more people becoming dissatisfied with Windows and doing crazy things like this. It helps Apple by damaging Microsoft.

      Apple is really all about the experience, the relatively painless experience of being able to use a computer without really having to think much about the comput
    • apple should come out with a mid-range head less desktop and A $1500 laptop with a real video card.
    • Clones like this and the Psystar machine must have Jobs and the other control freaks at Apple screaming bloody murder right now.

      Indeed; the latest Mac & PC commercial shows Mac and PC in a therapy session together.

      The doctor says "PC, It's not your fault Vista isn't working quite right, your hardware and software come from different places."
      Mac: "Unlike my hardware and software which were made for each other. It's not your fault."
      PC: "It's not my fault"
      Dr: "Go with that"
      Pc: "It's not my fault, it's not my fault... It's Mac's fault"

      Seems Apple will be playing the Hardware/Software synergy more and more now.

  • iPhone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:25AM (#23237082)
    I'm pretty sure the iPhone is the smallest machine running OS X.

    Yes, it's kind of kiosk-style, but it is OS X.
  • The artical doesn't give dimensions or shoe something in the picture for size comparisons, so it may be the smallest but is it the size of a football pitch or the size of an apple?
  • Why oh why does everyone insist on using Wikipeda links instead of direct company links?
    • My guess is that Wiki links are more "trustworthy". That means they look less like pure PR (or like a misleading goatse-like link). Wikipedia isn't unimpeachable, but more flagrant troll-edits would get quashed soon.

      There's another thing that may play a role here as well: slashdotting the site. The Wiki can handle the tonnes of Slashdotters out to RTFA (including all 23 of you who actually read it) better than a small company or a private page can.

      Hmmm, now that I think of it, that /.-effect deflection make
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by stoofa ( 524247 )
      So, for instance, You'd prefer this [] to this? []
  • hm (Score:4, Funny)

    by virgil_disgr4ce ( 909068 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:31AM (#23237164) Homepage
    Is the new /. meme going to be "does it run OS X?"

  • by pzs ( 857406 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:33AM (#23237192)

    Is cramming MacOS onto a wholly unsuitable machine the new version of doing the same thing with Linux?

    I want a dock on my watch and my microwave to make that *DNNGGG!* noise when I open the door.

    • Re:The new black? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:59AM (#23237458) Homepage

      Is cramming MacOS onto a wholly unsuitable machine the new version of doing the same thing with Linux?

      I'm reminded of this [] - Mac OS X running on a Centris 650. 68MB RAM, 25MHz 68040.

      No, not even a PowerPC processor. Fully software emulation.

      Running? Well, booting. Sort of. Excruciatingly, glacially slowly!
  • The article links to a fuzzy YouTube video [] of the device going through what looks like a boot loader, then booting Leopard, then flipping through a variety of Mac applications.One can also hear what I think are the OQO's fans working overtime to keep up.

    The video looks credible, but it would be nice if it were recorded with something that could focus in closer.
  • Hackintoshes apparently are Slashdot-worthy now. Ridiculous.

    As with relation to this post, 90% of the work is done with the hacked ISO of Leopard you get off where you want (Google is your friend) by people like Zephyroth. He might have done a little hacking, but I do not care really. This is not ground-breaking. The Psystar article was more ground-breaking because if Psystar exists it is a company trying to market 'clone Macs' without sanction from Apple. I bravely say, anyone (who knows about osx86 and on
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Lol, I love the way you say Slashdot-worthy, like slashdot is some great and highbrow institution. Hello, Lego cases are slashdot worthy. Saying 'Slashdot-worthy' is like saying Karaoke-worthy, or gutter-worthy, or rubbish bin-worthy.
      • by Tatsh ( 893946 )
        I guess I find it funny too, but I thought Slashdot was meant to push out stories other places would not, with some moderation. And if I were final decision moderator, this story would not be posted.
    • by Lars T. ( 470328 )

      Hackintoshes apparently are Slashdot-worthy now. Ridiculous.
      Hey, it seems to be hard to get Linux working on these things - maybe that's why it got trough.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:54AM (#23237406)
    "but one thing this OQO is not is a Mac."

    Forget the weird grammatical structure, what exactly is this supposed to mean? That it runs OS X poorly? That it is not Apple hardware? That it's not authorized? Thanks for the enlightening comment Timothy!

    "I just put my dick in your moms mouth, but one thing your mom is not is a condom."
  • I don't understand people tagging stuff like this "hard hack". Sure, it's not as trivial as installing XP or even Linux or some flavor of BSD, but let's see. Is there any original development done? Nope... just leveraging existing OSx86 work and other odds and ends around Darwin/x86. You're doing the work of an OEM. All you need to do is find a hardare platform reasonably close to one of the Macs (not hard, it's all Intel based), or pluck and pick some third-party drivers. Yay. Is it a hack? Yes. Hard hac
  • These machines are neat, but holy shit they're expensive! Why is there such a leap in price when you go from a PDA that costs a few hundred bucks to one of these things that costs between $1000 and $2100 (when not on sale)? This is actually one of the most expensive portable Macs. I think I'd rather bolt a keyboard onto an iPod Touch.
  • by mi ( 197448 )

    I was considering buying one of those nifty computers, but it would have to be capable of running FreeBSD — with all/most hardware supported...

    Has anyone tried?

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.