Snow Leopard on unsupported PPC machines

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Larsvonhier

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Snow Leopard on PPC!

This new thread on an old topic explores how to get Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.x) up and running on PowerPC Macintosh systems.

We’re not talking about faking system info to show "the impossible". What follows is at least one proven method to get a build of Snow Leopard up and running on a wide range of Apple PPC hardware.

[note: This post is a wiki-post so that everybody is invited to contribute, and I’m fairly sure that together the end result is even more astonishing than what has been achieved so far.]

(Many thanks go to @julianfairfax and @parrotgeek1 who got things rolling (again!) and who inspired me to explore this forgotten side of PPC!)

Bild 1.png


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Sections on this first page will be filled with content on:

1. How is this possible at all?

Back in the late transition days from PPC to Intel Apple had to eventually cut the rope for PPC. When early reports of developer beta builds of Snow Leopard surfaced, Apple neither clarified nor commented on the further PPC support of OS X beyond Leopard. But when the golden master was handed out it was clear — and communicated by then — that support for PPC was finally dropped. Things rested for years at that point (at least to my knowledge; Apple engineers knew better for sure). Then, mid-March 2020 I was hinted to a tweet by tesco@system2048 who posted a screenshot of a working SL-PPC.

What ingredients are needed to start experimenting?

Obviously, a PowerPC machine is pre-requisite. A copy of a developer build of 10.6 (server or client) will be needed, in addition to a handful of original kernel extensions from 10.5.8, a USB drive (or even better, a firewire hard disk), and a helper system in form of a Mac capable of running 10.6 out-of-the box (e.g., MacBook 1,1 to 4,1, etc.).

In addition, if the installer of a server build is used, then at some point a license key will be needed to finalize the installation. The client versions, of course, never needed such keys.

Suitable Mac OS X Snow Leopard build(s)

The search currently goes on for intermediate PPC/Intel builds of Snow Leopard, but at present, the version proven to work are the builds 10A96 (server dev preview) and 10A190. There was probably a working build of 10A96 for clients, but this for now remains elusive (these would be labelled something like "User DVD" or "User Installer").

Between the 10A96 build and the “Golden Master”/GM (10A432) are several releases which we are looking for. If and when these become available for testing, we can check them for their PPC compatibility!

10.6 build, DL linksRELEASE DATERELEASE
ORIGIN
CURRENT AVAILABILITYPPC COMPATIBILITY &
PRELIMINARY NOTES
TESTING OUTCOMERESULTS/
TESTING NOTES
10A96 (server)

10A96 (client)
10 Jun 2008WWDC dev preview (DP)yes (Server)
yes (Client)
perfectly suitable but oldest build
Kernel 10.0.0d1
YES
(PPC functionality works)
BootX support
10B8730 Aug 2008WWDC DPnomay be a phantom release
(note alternate naming convention)
TBDTBD
10A19025 Oct 2008Apple Developer Center (ADC) DPyesperfectly suitable but medium-old build Kernel 10.0.0d2YES
(PPC functionality works)
BootX support.
Apple build notes here.
10A2228 Dec 2008ADC DPyespartially boots, kexts amiss, Kernel 10.0.0d3TBDTBD
10A2614 Feb 2009ADC DPyespost-PPCNO
(PPC does not boot)
kext loading difference between EFI and BootX methods, to be cont.
10A2866 Mar 2009ADC DPyespost-PPCNO
(PPC does not boot)
kext loading difference between EFI and BootX methods, to be cont.
10A314Apr 2009ADC DPnounlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD
10A335Apr 2009ADC DPnounlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD
10A3548 May 2009ADC DPyesunlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD@jimjamyaha found a copy and uploaded it to archive.org
10A3808 Jun 2009final
WWDC DP
yesunlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286PENDING
10A39426 Jun 2009WWDC updatenounlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD
10A402a9 Jul 2009WWDC updatenounlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD
10A41117 Jul 2009WWDC updatenounlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD
10A421a24 Jul 2009WWDC updatenounlikely, given outcome of 10A261 & 10A286TBD
10A43211 Aug 2009Golden Master (GM) for Devsyespost-PPCNO
(PPC does not boot)
kext loading difference between EFI and BootX methods - tbc

MODEL DESCRIPTIONVERSION/IDTESTING BYNOTES
eMac G4 700MHzPowerMac4,4 [A1002]@Larsvonhier
iMac G4 800MHzPowerMac4,2 [M6498]@julianfairfax
iMac G5 17" 1.6GHzPowerMac8,1 [A1058]@Larsvonhier[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for FX5200
PowerMac G4 AGP ?MHzPowerMac3,1 [M5183]@Larsvonhier
PowerMac G4 Digital Audio ?MHzPowerMac3,4 [M5183]@Larsvonhier
@jimjamyaha
Booted fine on a Dual 533Mhz Digital Audio with a 9600 ADC/DVI from a G5 installed.
PowerMac G5
Dual processor
2.0GHz
PowerMac 7,3 [A1047]@Larsvonhier[10A96] no hardware CI/QE support for FX5200 / 6800 GT
[10A190] no hardware CI/QE support for FX5200 / 6800 GT
PowerMac G5 Quad Core 2.5GHzPowerMac11,2 [A1117/A1177]@Larsvonhier, @vddrnnr[10A96] hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for GeForce 6600 and Quadro FX4500
PowerBook G3 Pismo with G4 upgradePowerBook3,1 [M7572]@Larsvonhier[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for Ati Rage
PowerBook G4 Ti 500MHzPowerBook3,2 [M5883]@Larsvonhier[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support, 10A343 kexts for Ati work, enabling patches for improved GUI speed (as devised by @vddrnnr )
PowerBook G4 Ti DVI 1GHzPowerBook3,5 [A1025]@Larsvonhier[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for Ati Rage
PowerBook G4 17 Al/FW800 1GHzPowerBook5,1 [A1013]@weckart[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for GeForce 440 Go.
AirPort Extreme works [BCM43xx (0x14E4, 0x4E)] and connects.
Bluetooth works and is detected correctly by a phone but the latter does not work - possibly due to age of bluetooth on PB.
Software Update seems to work and pulls up a list of updates. Not tested in case they broke the installation.
PowerBook G4 15 Al/FW800 1GHzPowerBook5,2 [A1046]@Larsvonhier[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for Radeon Mobility 9700
[10A190] added ADB kexts -> keyboard/mouse working, no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for Radeon Mobility 9700
PowerBook G4 15 1.5GHzPowerBook5,4 [A1096]@swamprock[10A190 (modified)] runs, won’t sleep
PowerBook G4 12 1.5GHzPowerBook6,8 [A1104]@Larsvonhier
PowerBook G4 15 DLSD 1.67GHzPowerBook5,8 [A1138]@vddrnnr, @B S Magnet[10A96] no hardware CoreImage/QuartzExtreme support for Radeon Mobility 9700; iTunes 10.6.3 will not run; Software Update will not check for updates; Disk Utility will not verify/repair permissions; iTunes 8.2.1 & 9.1.1 will run, as will latest FPR (21) of TenFourFox; iTunes 9.2.1 runs, but shows graphics glitch in the play display/progress bar window

[10A190] TBD
PowerMac G4 Quicksilver 2001 Dual 800MHzPowerMac3,5
[M8493]
@armdn[10A190] No hardware Quartz Extreme / Core Image.
ATI Radeon X800XT (Flashed ATI FireGL X3).
Original Apple AirPort Card (1st-gen) not recognized.
Apple Xserve RAID Card is recognised by adding MegaRAID.kext and megaraid cli tool.
PCI USB 2.0 (NEC) Expansion card is also recognised.
Ethernet card is working, but DHCP service isn't.
PowerBook G4 12" 1.5GHzPowerBook6,8
[A1104]
@armdn[10A190] No hardware Quartz Extreme / Core Image.
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 64MB.AirPort Extreme by default not recognised, need to place driver and frameworks from 10A96.
Ethernet Card is working.
Bluetooth is recognised, but funcionality not working properly.

As of now, only the following GPUs are fully hardware accelerated under builds 10A96 and/or 10A190:

GPU MODELMAC MODELFUNCTIONALITYNOTES
Nvidia 6600GT/LEPower Mac G5yesboth on 10A96 & 10A190
Nvidia 7800GTPower Mac G5yesboth on 10A96 & 10A190
Nvidia Quadro FX4500Power Mac G5yesboth on 10A96 & 10A190
ATI Radeon 9x00 seriesPower Mac G5
PowerBook G4
iBook G4
noCoreImage software only; otherwise no
ATI Rage128PowerBook G4 TinoCoreImage software only; otherwise no
ATI Radeon X800XTPower Mac G4noCore Image software only; otherwise no
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200PowerBook G4noCore Image software only; otherwise no
NVIDIA GeForce 440 GoPowerBook G4noCore Image software only; otherwise no

Other notes:

Generally, G4 and G5 machines capable of booting from external USB or Firewire drives should be able to install 10.6

Machines to be verified (that might or might not be able to boot/run 10.6 with additional tools or methods) are all G3 PowerMacs upgraded with G4 processors and/or required XPostFacto to running 10.4.x and/or 10.5.x in the first place. (exception: Pismo, see above). It may be also possible to add support for G4-upgraded PowerMac 8500s and other pre-G3 PowerMacs.

Macs with G3 (or lower) CPUs will most certainly be ruled out here (i.e. the original PowerBook G3 or iBook G3).


...coming soon...:

Initial patches to set up working installer media


Once you have created an installer (for now, this would be the 10A96 Server edition) on a bootable drive (either FireWire or USB for [PPCs which are able to boot from USB]), get the 10.6PPC archive and either use the script 10.6 PPC.sh (which you will need to adapt to your volume name prior to running it), or copy the kexts to the correct Extensions folder on your installer drive. Check and correct the file permissions to root/wheel xxx x-x x-x via chown/chmod terminal commands, or use the great handy tool, BatChmod.

To my knowledge, the script was set up by @julianfairfax, based on some brief sketches from @parrotgeek1. Thanks for making it available. A newer, work in progress command line tool for running the 10.6 (server) installer and system, can be found here.

Also, the file OSInstall.mpkg must be copied to /System/Installation/Packages (delete/replace original package there). Be sure to verify the file permissions for that, as well.

This is all best done with a more recent OS, but generally it should be feasible to do on a PPC running Leopard. (Have not tried this and done it on Catalina.)

If all is done right, then this installer volume should be bootable on G4/G5 machines!

Update & shortcut: I prepared an image of an installation with 10A190 build ready-to-go,
and thanks to the author on Action Retro, we can present his youtube video here, showing how to use that
as a jump-start to skip the manual (or script based) patching.


2. Installation procedures for the PPC target system
  • A work in progress command line tool for running the 10.6 (server) installer and system, by @julianfairfax, can be found here. To use it, just download the GitHub repo to your PowerPC Mac, run the script, and select your installer or system volume.
  • crucial steps and milestones to keep you on the right track
  • notes on finishing installation

3. Re-patching the target system
  • steps needed in order to boot to a login window and Finder

4. Optimizations for improved usability
  • Graphics acceleration. Resolving ways to get Core Image and Quartz Extreme to be recognized and initialized for video cards found only on PPC hardware (e.g., PowerBooks with Radeon cards, AGP GeForce/Radeon cards without Intel/PCIe support, etc.)
  • maxing out a Snow Leopard PPC build with the latest stable PPC kexts, applications, Finder, etc.
  • assessing for compatibility and optimal versions of system components: which to use for best outcome [see table below]
(K)ext or
(B)undle
NAMEVersion in 10.5.8<—>Version in 10.6
(Kernel10.0.0d1)
Version result:
(PASS / FAIL / TBC)
KAppleHWSensor1.9—>1.7.2PASS
KAppleI2S4.0.0<—4.0.5tbc
BAppleAltivecDVDdriver1.5.48—>n/atbc
KAppleBluetoothMultitouch1.0—>n/atbc
KAppleHIDKeyboard1.1.2—>1.0.9PASS
KAppleHIDMouse1.2.4<—1.2.5tbc
KAppleLM7x1.9—>1.7.2PASS
KAppleLM8x1.9—>1.7.2tbc
KAppleSMUmonitor1.9—>1.7.2PASS
KAppleOnboardDisplay1.6.15—>1.6.3PASS
KAppleRAID3.0<—4.0tbc
KAppleRAIDCard70<—108tbc
KIONDRVSupport1.7.3—>1.6PASS
KIOHDIXController10.5.5<—10.6tbc
KIOHIDFamily1.5.7—>1.5.2PASS
KIOPlatformPluginFamily3.4.0—>3.2.0PASS
KIOSCSIArchitectureModelFamily2.1.1<—2.5.0tbc
KIOUSBMassStorageClass2.0.8<—2.5.0tbc
KSeatbelt107.12<—143tbc
Kmsdosfs1.5.5<—1.6tbc
KiTunesPhoneDriver6.0.2<—7.7tbc
KIONetworkingFamily1.7.0—>1.6.1tbc
KIOATAFamily2.0.1—>2.0.0FAIL
KIOAudioFamily1.6.9—>1.6.4PASS
KIO3DStorageFamily1.5<—1.6tbc
KIODVDStorageFamily1.5<—1.6tbc
KIOCDStorageFamily1.5<—1.6tbc
KIOFirewireFamily3.4.9<—4.0.3tbc
KIOFirewireIP1.7.7—>1.7.3PASS
KIOFirewireSBP21.9.8<—4.0.1tbc
KIOFirewireSerialBusProtocolTransport1.5.2<—2.0.0tbc


5. Software which will not run in a SL-PPC environment (device-agnostic, independent of test hardware in table above)
  • Cocktail. LE (Leopard Edition, UB) won’t run because it correctly recognizes the OS as SL; SLE (Snow Leopard Edition, Intel) won’t run because it is not a UB.

6. Outcome
  • what can be expected from ca. 2008/2009 OS X Snow Leopard builds on PPC over a decade later
  • usability limitations (so far...)
  • listing of known working and non-working applications (see task item #5)

7. Open topics and to-dos
  • ideas/plans to further improve the SL-PPC platform
  • how to merge optimum components across confirmed PPC-usable beta builds to reach an optimized build of Snow Leopard with a minimum of bugs/beta-related issues
  • determine which, if any, components in the public, Intel-only builds (10.6.0–10.6.8) are Universal binaries and can be applied to these PPC builds
  • chronicle, preserve, and archive a “final” PPC build of Snow Leopard containing final/latest components which aid overall PPC stability



For now, stay tuned and watch this emerging thread. It will probably change its form, shape and contents a lot

And also: Viva PPC!
 

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Larsvonhier

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 21, 2016
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I found that while on most of my machines OpenGL graphics accel does not yet work, with the tool OSX86Tools (that´s actually some kind predecessor of Kext Wizard or Kext Utilities that runs on PPC despite its name) QuartzGL can at least be activated and makes even slower machines more usable.

The exception is my Quad G5 that runs with all acceleration (ATI GPU kexts loaded, OpenGL, QuartzXtreme, QuartzGL, CoreImage by HW etc.) like a whirlwind...
I´m currently trying to get the right kexts loaded for other Macs as well with 10.6. PPC
Might also be a matter of the right frameworks as a package for Geforce FX5200..5500 suggests that I found for 10.6. (intel).
 

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Amethyst1

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So 10A96 at least can go where no Snow Leopard has gone before (lame pun, I know). Awesome. Looking forward to updates and instructions!
 
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RogerWilco6502

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Jan 12, 2019
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Oooooo... I need to try this sometime once it's :p

I'm acquiring a whole list of things to try on my Mini and my iBook once I replace the spinners with SSDs ;)
 
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Larsvonhier

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So 10A96 at least can go where no Snow Leopard has gone before (lame pun, I know). Awesome. Looking forward to updates and instructions!
Updates on instructions and some tools and bundles needed will follow soon (weekend coming ;-)
I´m figuring out where I could place the 7GB file for 10A96 for easy access. Tried MacintoshGarden but for some reason the web-uploader stops after some GB. I´ve already tried uploading the 10A261 version there, seems incomplete there now.
 
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vddrnnr

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Jan 23, 2017
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Hi Larsvonhier,

I'm also interested.
I also have a paying dropbox account do you think we can add it there?

Best regards,
voidRunner
 
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Larsvonhier

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Hi Larsvonhier,

I'm also interested.
I also have a paying dropbox account do you think we can add it there?

Best regards,
voidRunner
For you and as a temporary storage place, why not. For permanent access for all I can still take care of other public places. If you like, send me your DB link to drop the build as a PM to my account here on MR. Will start upload tonite then.
 
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vddrnnr

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Jan 23, 2017
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Hi Lars,

Ok. I'll send you a PM as soon as I've it set up.
By the way I have several PBs and PMACs where we can try this :D ( I also have a quad G5
so maybe I can help you with the whirlwind tests )
Regarding you effort maybe you can talk with @JoyBed as he was trying to
do something similar in his case put 10.6 part inside 10.5.8.

And please as wicknix said do post this on the PowerPC subforum as it will
be good news for everyone.

Best regards,
voidRunner
 
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z970mp

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Jun 2, 2017
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I agree that this thread should be moved to PowerPC Macs. Link or no link, it will eventually be forgotten here. The former subforum however, is a vibrant one where threads are commonly revisited.

I also second that perhaps you could collaborate with @JoyBed, as he is currently attempting a similar project. With the efforts of two, the goal might be reached sooner, and maybe even in a nicer package.

Of course, the rest of us are also always willing to help where applicable. :)
 
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Project Alice

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Jul 13, 2008
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I agree that this thread should be moved to PowerPC Macs. Link or no link, it will eventually be forgotten here. The former subforum however, is a vibrant one where threads are commonly revisited.

I also second that perhaps you could collaborate with @JoyBed, as he is currently attempting a similar project. With the efforts of two, the goal might be reached sooner, and maybe even in a nicer package.

Of course, the rest of us are also always willing to help where applicable. :)
Perhaps one of the mods will move it. Though this thread can technically go here as it does pertain to SL.. this subforum looks dead. PPC forum is really active. I've watched this thread though so regardless I'll be listening in.

Also, I have a lot of PPC macs and I would love to help test this out. I've also got quite a few SL capable x86 macs.
 
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repairedCheese

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Jan 13, 2020
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You've certainly got my attention, and when there's something to test, I have a (fairly low end) G5 that I'd love to see the results with.
 
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Larsvonhier

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Here´s a key for the server release of SL.
XSVR-106-000-R-LN2-VLQ-PRW-H6C-44L-XH2-P
As it is different from the one I´m using I feel free to share this one here for your experiments. I guess that Apple does not care any more about multiple installs with one key as this is clearly "abandonware".
- - Post merged: - -

Upload attempt 10A96 at macintoshgarden.org is now started. At my current DSL "performance" this will take a while, expect it to be up in the evening (MEST).
 
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vddrnnr

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2017
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Hi guys,

So Lars has finished uploading the file to my DropBox account.
It's an ISO for the version which he got working with PPC.
If you want to download it send me a PM and I'll send you a public link for it.
I think for now and to test DropBoxe's capacity we should give it a few tries
downloading at the same time.
If everything goes well then I think I can share the link publicly.

@Lars Is this ok with you??

Best regards,
voidRunner
 
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Larsvonhier

macrumors 6502a
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Aug 21, 2016
741
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Germany, Black Forest
Hi guys,

So Lars has finished uploading the file to my DropBox account.
It's an ISO for the version which he got working with PPC.
If you want to download it send me a PM and I'll send you a public link for it.
I think for now and to test DropBoxe's capacity we should give it a few tries
downloading at the same time.
If everything goes well then I think I can share the link publicly.

@Lars Is this ok with you??

Best regards,
voidRunner
Sure, but it really hogs my space on dropbox, despite the fact that you shared the folder with me.
So I´ll leave it up there for a couple of days. At the same time, I´m still trying to upload it to macintoshgarden, but if it fails another time, I´ll have to find another solution. I also try to place it on my free mega account and will post the link when it´s done.
 
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vddrnnr

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Jan 23, 2017
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467
Hi Lars,

I changed it to another non shared folder so I think it shouldn't
show in you account anymore.
I'll send you the public link for you to use/test downloading.
I'm already downloading it to my quad so I can burn a DVD
with it or to copy to another machine to install directly to an
external disk and put your files on it and take it for a spin ;-)

Best regards,
voidRunner
 
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vddrnnr

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2017
378
467
Hi all,

So I've started tinkering with the installer.
Some good news is it's PowerPC/Intel binary so I think we can change it like
@dosdude1 does to enable it to "install" on unsupported machines like
our Powebooks and Powermacs.
I'm looking for the "instructions/description" dosdude1 made regarding the file
that needs to be changed to allow the install to run.
I think it will be as simple as what needed to be done in the DPs of Lion to allow it
to install in 32 bit x86 so it will be simpler to install without the need for an Intel system.
I'll keep you posted.

Best regards,
voidRunner
 
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vddrnnr

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2017
378
467
Hi Lars,

Can I put bootx directly on a currently running Leopard System?

Best regards,
voidRunner
 
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