The story of King Canute trying to stop the tide is one that most people have heard, but I wonder if Apple has. Even before their new x86 based machines are reaching people’s hands the OS has been cracked and links to patches have been circulated. As usual for Apple they have responded with an “army of grey” – the legal department has been parachuting in lawyers to any site daring to link to the material.
It’s a strategy that they have used before to good effect, but I wonder how succesful it will be this time. The limiting factor was previously hardware. Those few individuals who dared to try and offer “beige” Mac compatible boxes were quickly shut down by the “army of grey”. With a lack of suitable hardware there was no incentive or reward to hacking the OS itself. Hacking the hardware to allow it to run Linux or other open source OS’s was where people put their efforts. With the switch to x86 things have changed.
The desire to run OS X on any x86 box is real for many people who have no desire to line the pockets of Apple for their hardware when they already possess a suitable machine. Apple has repeatedly stated that it’s not going to sell OSX as an x86 OS for anything but it’s own hardware – so hacking the software and producing patches will be the only solution. The speed with which the patches were produced only goes to show that not only is it possible, but it may not be that hard.
The flood gates are open and sitting like King Canute trying to order back the waters may not be an effective strategy. Time will tell.
UPDATE: I’ve heard (unconfirmed) that OS X runs well on AMD64 processors.