November 7th 2006
By Mike Flaminio
A computer researcher has reportedly 'unlocked' the protected binaries deep inside the core of Mac OS X that prevent the OS from running on non-Apple PCs, Fox News reports.
The 'encrypted binaries' are the key to keeping OS X exclusive to Mac hardware. They prevent OS X both from being pirated and can it near-impossible to run OS X on any Intel hardware.
One researcher said that to circumvent OS X's protection was not trivial, but it was possible to do so and run the OS on non-Mac hardware.
The binaries exist at root level and calls to the binaries result in a kernel check which then executes an 'unprotect' code. Decrypting is done at kernel level. On non-Apple hardware, this won't work - at least not without some hacking.
What's new about this is that researchers are beginning to let this knowledge loose in the wild. In theory, a hack could be written that allows OS X installation on any PC.
Even if Apple resorted to hardware-based ROM in its Macs, this could conceivably be circumvented as well with ROM copying. Years ago, hackers developed ROM-copying programs that could duplicate the hardware ROM of early 68000 Macs so that faster 68040 Macs could emulate a classic Mac and run old applications and games.