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Image courtesy Engadget
Modified kernel forces Mac Mini to give up the "Smallest OSX Computer" title.

When the specifications for the Apple TV were released, the speculation about how long it would take for a full-fledged OS to be run on the system began almost immediately. However, anyone estimating a time frame of "less than two weeks" might have been labeled as anything from "overly optimistic" to "insane."

A devoted Apple hacker named "semthex" has apparently created a modified OSX kernel and released it to the public. The truly amazing news is that the modified kernel is being distributed under the terms of Apple's own Apple Public Source License, with source code to follow.

A video has already been made and uploaded to Google Video showcasing the (more) functional Apple TV running the Intel build of OSX 10.4.8, and forum users are reporting various degrees of success.

The Apple TV sports rather mediocre specifications when compared to even the Mac Mini, but as shown by other open-source projects such as Xbox Media Center, dedicated coders have a way of squeezing every last ounce of performance out of a given platform. With the diminutive size of the Apple TV and quiet operation, it could make a very welcome addition to several home entertainment centers.

No word yet on whether or not the Apple TV will run Boot Camp; but as shown by this hack, it's probably just a matter of time.

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Linux, anyone?
By herrdoktor330 on 4/2/2007 9:29:22 PM , Rating: 1
So this must not be an april fools day joke. Needless to say I'm impressed with the ability to load an alternative OS onto this box.

Which leads me to my subject: Anyone working on loading Linux onto this machine? I think that this would be awesome for streaming media from a samba server and you could have the option of running any codecs that you prefer. A 1ghz processor and 256 of ram should be ample to run any stripped down distribution. How much would it take to retrofit the remote control driver to work under Linux? Or, since the thing has a USB adapter, why not hook up a Bluetooth adapter and use a Nintendo Wiimote to navigate through your OS and media? Why not run a MythTV front end on it? (Assuming you have a beefy MythTV backend to provide media for it) My main point of ignorance here is I don't understand how the boot loader decides what OS to start or if it can be hacked. I read the linked forums, but I need to digest the linked documentation.

Am I just a crazy dreamer? Or does this kind of application have legs?

RE: Linux, anyone?
By crystal clear on 4/3/2007 5:36:52 AM , Rating: 2
Meanwhile, a video of an earlier hack from the folks at AwkwardTV demonstrates an Apple TV booting from an external USB drive that has been attached to it. The hack is possible without busting into the Apple TV or removing the internal hard disk.

The AwkwardTV project is now looking to build a bootable image for USB drives based on the Open Source Darwin kernel that will allow mounting and editing the internal hard disk, paving the way for other hacks, such as enabling SSH, to be made without opening the Apple TV case

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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