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EFiX dongle promises easy Mac OS installs on PC

updated 04:45 pm EDT, Fri June 13, 2008

EFiX PC-to-Mac USB dongle

A developer is promising an easy, hardware-assisted means of installing Mac OS X onto PCs, accounts say. The creators of the EFiX USB dongle claim that by attaching their device to a PC, users can then simply boot from a Mac OS X disc, and continue with installation as if the system were a native Apple product. Typically, the creation of "Hackintoshes" requires a number of complex steps, as Apple does not allow the Mac OS on third-party hardware.

The dongle is said to have been in development for some time, including at least six months of testing, and already in use in places such as TV stations and recording studios. A public release has been planned for June 23rd, and video of the dongle in use can be found here. No prices have been mentioned.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. Horsepoo!!!

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -10

    That's Kinda Awesome

    More Mac users can't hurt Apple. If people buy Leopard and install it on a PC, Apple is only slightly hurt in the short run and wins in the long run when these PCs run into Software Update troubles and decide "to h*** with this, I'm buying a real Mac".

  1. panjandrum

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    Competition is good

    I know many people probably think "hackintoshes" are a bad idea, but I think Apple needs competition. This is especially in the laptop arena where they still make no laptop I'm willing to purchase (I want a small laptop with reasonable 3D performance). If Apple knew it was trivial to purchase a competitor and have it work properly, maybe they would put a little more effort into developing their own products. But even if you don't have a specific gripe like mine, please think about the fact that fair competition in the marketplace is always a good thing. It pushes companies to make better products.

  1. ScottGG

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Still Going to be a ???

    I'd like to try this because as a lucky Axiotron MODBOOK Owner (I think 1 in 100 they have shipped so far), I have to say I would like a better Mac OSX Tablet then the one they hacked together from a Macbook.

    All Apple needs to do is put a line in the code to ignore the USB Port on loading a System OSX - There, that's the end of that.

    Plus even if this was to work, which is somewhat interesting to some people, you will still have some hardware problems. Video Drivers for what you install this on, the ability to access the USB and FW ports if there are any to get to.

    Does the dongle have to stay connected to get this work? and if not then you could just clone the dongle and install it on as many as you want to.

  1. wingdo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    not quite

    "All Apple needs to do is put a line in the code to ignore the USB Port on loading a System OSX - There, that's the end of that."

    Wouldn't that stop booting from USB drives as well? I kind of like making a clone of my MBP hard drive just for emergency sake.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    More "Mac" users...

    Can and did hurt Apple back when the OS was licensed: many folks had problems with the UMAX clones (in particular) -- did they blame UMAX? Nope. Apple. That the problems were related to the third party CD-ROM drivers or whatever didn't matter: when a Mac doesn't work, Apple is to blame.

    Since OS X can't run on each and every PC out there, it makes complete sense for Apple to do all that it can to keep these efforts marginal and clearly unofficial.

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    details

    the dongle probably just installs the EFI code to the internal hard drive. That code tells the Apple software that it's okay to proceed with the install and then boot. There's also a hack in there... at least one... that removes a well-known copy-protection file. But after the hard drive is activated and the patch made, the install will proceed as normal... the dongle doesn't need to stay attached. Other hardware drivers will probably have to be patched for a full working system, though.

    As for graphics cards, most of them will, indeed work with Leopard with only small modifications and system extensions. Leopard is remarkably adaptive to a variety of hardware. Network cards seem to be more trouble than graphic cards. Sound is usually the other bugger.

    This USB device could easily lead people into waters where they shouldn't swim. If you know enough to use a dongle like this, then you know enough to make your own. If you don't, then this dongle could give you a half-active system. Imagine Leopard without networking, sound and a maximum resolution of 1024x768 and you've got the idea.

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Need a mid sized mac

    I for one will buy this because Apple does not offer a mid-sized mac. I have to choose from either iMac or mac mini or a behemoth MacPro. Nothing in between.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    The question is...

    ... what will happen when, say, 10.5.4 will be released? Will the update install seamlessly? Will the system work afterwards?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    Re: more mac users

    Can and did hurt Apple back when the OS was licensed: many folks had problems with the UMAX clones (in particular) -- did they blame UMAX? Nope. Apple. That the problems were related to the third party CD-ROM drivers or whatever didn't matter: when a Mac doesn't work, Apple is to blame.

    That didn't hurt apple in the sense of "OMG! My umax doesn't work! Bad press all around!" Most people probably never even new UMAX computers had issues.

    What hurt Apple was the fact they were NOT getting more Mac users. They were losing hardware sales to the cloners, because they could actually make a computer faster and cheaper then what apple spit out (and it didn't help apple at all that they were deeply entrenched at the time in their "Beige Computer" days, and if Mac users aren't going to overpay on hardware if they can't drool over it).

    But even with their new stylings and all, there's a lot of potential mac users who just don't want to spend Apple's prices for a computer, esp. since Apple has such a limited selection (again, we get to the "What??? I have to spend $2000 just to get a 15" laptop???" argument). But it would require Apple to spend time on supporting third-party hardware, and pushing vendors to make Mac drivers. And Apple can barely handle all this when it comes with printers. And Steve is just too stubborn to see his baby running on crappy looking hardware.

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    eddd

    from what I've gathered, this has become the favored way of installing Mac OS X on a PC: do a minimum of hacking up front (usually formatting the drive as GUID and installing the EFI code) to allow a normal Leopard install disk to be used (instead of a hacked downloaded version). That leaves you with a system that usually works and can sometimes be updated using Apple updates, but not always. It's a bit of a c*** shoot... you'll have to spend some time with the terminal and command-line operations to install modified .kext files into system folders. You may have to do a little driver modification using a hex editor as well. Lots of experimentation and problem-solving.

    If that sounds like fun or a good hobby, then you might be a candidate for a Hackintosh and this dongle could prove useful (you can make your own pretty simply, but your PC has to support booting from USB). Again, this dongle will allow you to install a standard Leopard system, but it won't do any of the problem-solving for you, and you'll probably be left with a semi-functional system (i.e., no Time Machine, no DVD viewing, etc... the results vary greatly depending on your hardware).

    Of course, they may have something else on the dongle to ease the driver issues. In that case, it may need to be kept in place and could easily be rendered inoperable with system updates.

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