OS X 10.6 Possibly Due for Q1 2009

Apple’s Director of Engineering of Unix Technologies Jordan Hubbard spoke at LISA ’08
last week. LISA (or Large Installation System Administration
Conference) is a technical conference targeted at engineers and system
administrators. This year’s conference invited
Apple’s Jordan Hubbard to speak about the evolution of Mac OS X from
large servers to embedded platforms. While technical readers may find
the content of Hubbard’s presentation slides (PDF)
quite interesting, the most surprising revelation is a more specific
target date for Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard): 1st Quarter 2009.

When Apple first previewed
Snow Leopard at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2008, they simply
stated that Snow Leopard would ship “in about a year” from the
announcement. A Q1 release would deliver it earlier than most had
expected and makes it conceivable that we could see a demo or
announcement at Macworld San Francisco 2009.

Apple has said that they would be focusing on both quality and
performance in Snow Leopard. In particular, Apple has made it clear
that there will be efforts to improve support for multi-core processors
and GPU processing. These improvements will help developers more
efficiently use these capabilities that already ship in Macs.


The Latest Mac Books

This is interesting news to Hackentosh and osx86 users, as the nForce kext included with the new Mac Books may yield better custom abilities.

from Insanely Mac

The new MacBooks, MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros are here! The build number for the MacBook installs is 9F2114 which is using a (shock) NFORCE chipset, MCP79 AHCI Chipset using AppleAHCIPort.kext version 1.5.2, whereas our 9F33 10.5.5 version is using 1.5.1. It also has an IOAHCIFamily.kext and no IOATAFamily.kext

They’ve both received internal and external revamps which some hate and some love. They have a body made from one solid piece of aluminum which is promised to be thinner, lighter, and greener, with an LED backlit display. The more expensive MacBook option comes with a backlit keyboard, as do both of the new MacBook Pro offerings. The trackpads are made of glass on all the new notebooks.

They’ve all got brand new nVidia GeForce graphics cards, the MacBook and MacBook Air both have a nVidia GeForce 9400M with 256MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM, while the MacBook Pro has both a nVidia GeForce 9400M and a 9600M GT with options for either 256MB or 512MB of GDDR3 VRAM.

The “old” MacBook is still available (at a lower cost) with the integrated Intel GMA X3100 with 144MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM. The “old” MacBook Pro with the nVidia GeForce 8600M GT still has 512MB of GDDR3 VRAM.

The MacBook has options for 2.0GHz and 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. The “old” MacBook has a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. The MacBook Air has 1.6GHz and 1.86GHz options. The MacBook Pro can come with either 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz, with the “old” MacBook Pro remaining at 2.5GHz.

2GB is the standard RAM on the new MacBooks, with the “old” MacBook remaining at 1GB standard. MacBook Air comes 2GB standard. 2GB is standard on the least expensive of the MacBook Pros, but 4GB is
standard on the higher-end MBP, as well as the “old” MBP.

All of the MacBook/MacBook Air offerings are 13.3-inch glossy. The new MacBook Pro is offered only at 15.5-inch glossy as well, no 17-inch or matte option there, the only matte (“anti-glare” or non-glossy) option, or 17-inch option for that matter, comes with the “old” MacBook Pro.

Hard drive:

The new MacBooks come with options for 160GB, 250GB, 320GB (all 5400 rpm SATA) or a 128GB Solid State Drive (à la previous gen. MacBook Air). The “old” MacBooks come with options for 120GB, 160GB, or 250GB (all 5400 rpm SATA). The MacBook Air offers only two choices, a 120GB 4200 rpm SATA, or a 128GB Solid State Drive (which ups the price by $500 USD).

MacBook Pros have many more options, 250GB at either 5400 or 7200 rpm, 320GB at either 5400 or 7200 rpm, or 128GB Solid State Drive. The “old” MacBook Pro comes with 320GB at 5400 or 7200 rpm, or a 128GB Solid State Drive.

Battery life:
The “old” MacBook and the MacBook Air both come with a promised 4.5 hours of wireless productivity, while every other option (new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and the “old” MacBook Pro) all offer 5 hours of wireless productivity. This can most likely vary greatly, especially with the option for reducing the power consumption of the graphics card with a new power saving feature which must be restarted to work, offered by a new kernel extension “AppleGraphicsControl.kext” .

Gigabit ethernet (except on Air), airport extreme N, and iSight are all standard, for usb/firewire options the MacBooks only offer two usb 2.0 ports, the “old” MacBook has two usb 2.0 and one firewire 400. The Air
comes with one usb 2.0 port, the MacBook Pro comes with two usb 2.0 ports, one firewire 800, and one expresscard/34 slot, while the “old” MacBook Pro comes with three usb 2.0 ports, one firewire 400, one
firewire 800 and one expresscard/34 slot.

Codeweaver Crises

Do you remember when K-Mart tried to boost revenue by offering free internet service? Well, in return it drove the corporation to bankruptcy. While free service seemed like a great idea, many people ran to the occasion causing much more costs than intended for K-Mart. The same has seemed to happen with software maker Codeweavers….

From Download Squad: It sure seemed like a good idea. CodeWeavers, the makers of CrossOver software that lets you run Windows applications like MS Outlook or games like Half Life on Mac andLinux machines, held a tongue-in-cheek promotion where the company promised to give away free copies of its software if one of a number of economic goals were met in the US. While it’s likely that the US government had little to do with the recent dip in gas prices, this week CodeWeavers decided that $2.79 gas meant it was time to give away a copy of CrossOver to anyone who wanted it within a 24 hour period.

And then all heck broke loose. The story made the front page of Digg and was reported on countless tech blogs. The CodeWeavers website crashed, although the company quickly got the download links back online. When the smoke cleared, the company gave away about 750,000 copies of its software. Let’s
let that sink in for a second here. A company that many people may not have even known existed, had its software downloaded three quarters of a million times in one day. CodeWeavers sent an email this week stating that the move expands the company’s customer base by 400%. The value of the free software given away tops $45 million.

In other words, the whole thing might have backfired and ruined the company’s bottom line. On the other hand, it could be awesome news in the long run for CodeWeavers. A whole lot of people who weren’t aware
of the software are now potential customers. Many of the people who downloaded free copies may not really wind up using it, but those who do may decide to upgrade when a new version is available or pay for
another year of support when the 1 year of free support expires in a year.

Still, CodeWeavers has decided to cancel the promotion going forward. There had been plans to do another giveaway if housing prices fell, US job numbers went up, or Osama Bin Laden was captured. But that just
doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore.

OS X: StageXNU Kernel

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Recently a new kernel for Intel and AMD platforms was set loose into the wild. The StageXNU kernel is currently in an early beta, but it is already garnering positive reaction from within the OSx86 community – particularly those with AMD systems.

The kernel (9.4.0) offers SSE2 & SSE3 support with working sleep and shutdown functions on AMD machines, as well as preliminary speed-step support (CPU throttling) and will report the correct amount of cores within Apple System Profiler. Generally the new kernel has been said to make systems feel ‘snappier’. Please remember that this kernel is in beta and your mileage may vary. Development is rapidly continuing with future optimizations and features being steadily introduced over a period of time.

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Hackentosh Releases

There have been several developments in the Hackentosh (aka OSX86) community lately.

JaS_10.5.4_options JaS has once again returned to the scene this week releasing Mac OS X Leopard version 10.5.4 Server. While OS X Server does limit the compatibility of many applications, alternatively the Client version can also be installed from the DVD. JaS is well known for quality releases featuring components for both legacy and modern machines. The new JaS Leopard contains Chameleon Loader, StageXNU (SSe2 / SSe3 kernel), NVKush (Nvidia extension), SMBIOS, SMBIOSResolver, all Radeon HD Series drivers, along with the standard drivers usually found in other Leopard installations. This release does not include any applications or modifications. See all options displayed in the picture to the right.

iDeneb debuts to OSX86 scene releasing Mac OS X Leopard version 10.5.4

iDeneb is a Mac OSX Leopard release modified to run on both Intel and AMD based machines. Highlights of this release include all updates up until Security Update 2008-005, the Chameleon boot loader, AMD patching, as well as the usual installation options (kernels, drivers). The Chameleon boot loader install on JMicron IDE DVD drives, or on SSE2 based processors.

As always: releases can be found at your favorite torrent directories.

OS X: Carbon Copy Cloner

I am running a very smoothly detailed copy of Mac OS X already tailored to my needs. But now I am running out of hard drive space due to installing to a 30 GB hard drive to ensure stability.

What do I do ? Rather than reinstalling a fresh copy and updating and tweaking, I would much rather be able to clone the bootable partition to my large drive. Unfortunately, Norton Ghost and other Windows based clone tools do not recognize the OS X file system. My partitions are setup as:

  • A. ExtendedJournaled 80 GB (ideal to install OS X)
  • B. ExtendedJournaled 30 GB (ideal for Time Machine)
  • C. NTFS (ideal to install Windows Vista x32 with SP1)

To the rescue comes Carbon Copy Cloner (aka CCC), available for FREE at http://www.bombich.com

CCC is able to clone your working Mac partition and copy it to a new drive and still be bootable.

Guide: Kalyway OS X and nForce 3

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As a guide to Hackentosh newcomers wishing to utilize OS X on an nforce3, I have decided to write about my trials of getting my nofrce3 to play nicely with OS X. My system consists of the following:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ @ 2.4 GHz
  • Gigabyte K8NS with nForce3 250 chipset
  • nVidia GeForce 7900 GS OC AGP by eVga
  • 2048 mb of DDR 3200
  • 2 x 200 GB IDE HDD / 1 x 30 GB IDE HDD / 1 x 74 GB SATA HDD
  • Windows Vista x32 Ultimate Edition with SP1
  • Kalaway Leopard v10.5.2

After many attempts to get a bootable operating system… here I am!! I am blogging from ScribeFire for Firefox on Mac OS X Leopard 😛

The biggest problem I had faced during installation attempts was due to me having an nforce 3 chipset…. This was solved by useing the VIA SATA kext, along with totally leaving out the nforce package. My setup options were composed of:

  • BIOS: disable SATA during install
  • AMD Patch 1 + Legacy flag
  • sleepkernel
  • lastsmbios
  • All chipsets EXCEPT nforceata
  • forcedeth / network
  • ac97 / audio
  • nvinject 256 / vga
  • USB fix

After the initial setup has completed, I re-enabled SATA via the BIOS.

Boom! Worked without needing flags. The only fixes I had to apply were the PS2 controller permissions, as I am useing a PS2 keyboard combined with a usb mouse.

Upon getting used to my new configuration and testing the features for issues, I report the following

  • I applied the v10.5.4 Combo Update via Zephyroth’s ASU (AMD Software Update) with full success.
  • iCal and Chess are operable via Rosetta emulation (other wise they both crash)
  • “Software Update” updates iLife, iTunes, and Quiktime with success and full functionality
  • Photoshop CS2 and Lightroom 2 are fully functional
  • “About This Mac” works and reports the correct CPU speed
  • “System Profiler” fully functions
  • My NTFS drives are fully readable / writable via Paragon NTFS