MSI Wind and OSX Leopard


Ah, the holy grail of running OSX on whatever hardware that you want, this is something that’s appealed to me. It’s not for everyone as there are some compromises and you have to like fixing things as it doesn’t ‘just work’ like on apple hardware. However there are people that want combinations of OSX + hardware that just isn’t available otherwise.

Hypothetically speaking, for me I like having OSX on a thinkpad as i love the thinkpad keyboards and build quality. My thinkpad also came with a 1680×1050 hi-res 15inch display which is not available from apple.

Until earlier this year the biggest issue with doing this was you had to use a distribution that had been massaged to run on alternative hardware. This all changed when folks released a new bootloader which provides the appropriate emulation to allow a retail (mostly unmodified) installation of OSX. What this means is that you can use the original kernel, the net win in this case is you can apply the kernel updates from Software Update with minimum (though not zero) fuss. With the old method you had to wait until a suitable modified patch was released or do an archive/reinstall with a recompiled installation disk. With the new way just run software update, reinstall some extensions and you’re up to date.

One of the best hardware choices for this new method of installation are the latest netbooks which run from $300-$500. Apple offers nothing even close to this in terms of size and cost, so it’s a compelling thing to do. The MSI Wind is a fantastic option, having seen the difficulties of installing the old way, installing the MSI Wind is a breeze. It’s the closest i’ve ever seen to being like the original apple experience. The only exception is that when you install the system update you need to remember to reinstall some of the core drivers, so it’s not quite as foolproof. For example i would not expect my girlfriend to be able to do this, but it’s something i could easily do.

Nearly all of the Wind hardware is supported either natively or with 3rd party drivers which work just as reliably as the native hardware. A big win is that the Wind supports sleep/hibernation, the battery life on sleep is not as good, but the actual user experience of sleep is just what you’d expect. I was so impressed by this that I sent this MSI Wind to Africa for 6 weeks and 4 weeks into the trip it’s doing just fine.

If you’re interested in doing this, do a google search, there are places that will (hypothetically) walk you through it.

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