Installing OSX86 Part 1 – iATKOS v Kalyway

I’ve had Mac OS X 10.5 running my my PC for about a week and getting everything set up has been quite the learning experience. I now know more about kernels, boot schemes, and partitions than I ever thought I would.

Although everything is running smoothly it took me multiple installs (10+, easily) to get to this point. Partly this was due to exploring the different patched releases, and partly because of later either breaking (or thinking I’d broken) the install while installing drivers or Apple updates.

Although I managed to find answers to the questions I had and solve all the problems I encountered, doing so was a tedious process that involved searching both Google and enthusiast message boards. While there are a lot of “how to install” topics, the answers or hints to most of the problems I encountered were buried mid-way through a 32-page followup of of comments and discussion.

In the hope of making this information a little easier to find, and to cement things in my own mind, I’m going to write a series of posts that detail most of the answers and solutions I found. I’ll also include some tips that should save time for people who want to experiment with OSX on their PC.

First up we’ll start by looking at the differences between the two main packages for installing OSX on your PC – iATKOS and Kalyway.

Overview

Without a great deal of effort a regular OSX 10.5 (Leopard) DVD cannot be installed on your PC. The differences between the hardware used in PCs and Macs require various patches to be installed before Leopard can run. Fortunately two camps of people have done a fantastic job of merging these patches with the Leopard installer, resulting in a DVD package that CAN be booted and installed on a regular PC. These packages are referred to as iATKOS and Kalyway and can be found on your favorite torrent site or newsgroup. (Note: there are other patched installs that show promise, but these two are currently the most streamlined and well known).

The Legal Bit

Because both packages come as complete Leopard installs they are some obvious legal issues involved. In addition, the Leopard software agreement limits its use to an “Apple-labeled computer”. If you plan on using Leopard you should absolutely purchase a legal copy, after which downloading a patched version is a legally gray but likely defensible area. The agreement refers to an “Apple-labeled” computer and not “Apple-manufactured’, so putting one of those Apple stickers that came with your iPod or something similar on your computer should also be enough to comply here.

Which Package?

As far as choosing between iATKOS and Kalyway I did several installs with each, and although iATKOS was less problematic I have to say overall I prefer Kalyway. (Some of the problems I experienced with Kalyway could have been due to previously installing iATKOS on the same partition. It was wiped between installs but as we’ll see later this is only part of the story).

In addition both packages install 10.5.1 of Leopard meaning additional work is needed to upgrade to 10.5.2. Using the official Apple 10.5.2 update is the fastest way to break your new install. Only Kaly has released a package to upgrade to 10.5.2 and while in my experience this worked without problem on an iATKOS install, I prefer not to complicate things.

The quality of both packages is impressive and both offer a selection of compatibility options for the hardware in your PC. Kalyway has a few less options as some things are determined automatically, but you can also pre-test whether your machine will be able to run with an un-patched kernel prior to installing. On the otherhand iATKOS is a smaller download, quicker to boot from DVD, and installs faster.

iATKOS seemed easier to get working in a dual boot setup with Vista. Kalyway seemed to be a better experience once installed. Kalyway comes with some preinstalled apps and theme changes that most people seem to dislike, but then these are easy to revert and some of the apps are things you’d install anyway.

From my experience here are the Pros and Cons of each.

iATKOS

Pros

  • Smaller, fast to boot from DVD, quick to install. (It will likely take several installs to get things perfect so this is handy).
  • Does not automatically set your boot partition. Good for setting up a dual-boot system.
  • More options in the setup screen allow you some extra choices and knowledge about what is patched in your system for later updates.

Cons

  • Has several things stripped out for size reasons. It’s difficult to know what these are or what may be affected later.
  • Some customizations (Red Apple, About box) are not easy to remove
  • I believe since the R2 revision of their package the team behind iATKOS has fragmented making future updates or packages less-likely.

Kalyway

Pros

  • DVD allows you to test whether your system will boot with the vanilla Apple kernel without having to do a “test install”
  • Automatically sets your boot partition to the new install. Good for installing OS X as the sole OS on a PC.
  • Basically a vanilla Leopard install with patches.
  • Kaly seems extremely active in the OSX86 community and has released patches allowing OSX86 users to upgrade to 10.5.2

Cons

  • Comes with customizations you are unlikely to want (desktop, colors, dock, some apps).

My vote? Kalyway.

In my next post I’ll cover the things you should be aware of prior to attempting an installation of either package and explain a few of the things I found confusing.

Lifehacker have a great guide to installing Kalyway on your PC, complete with pictures.

9 Comments

  • Gaucho
    March 28, 2008 - 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Hello, waiting anscious for part 2.

  • Gaucho
    March 28, 2008 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    when are you releasing it?

  • Fiji
    March 31, 2008 - 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Just a wandering soul giving thanks for this information. I was really confused as to which distribution to use and this definitely clears things up.

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  • July 7, 2008 - 9:55 pm | Permalink

    i have kalway but unfortunately as soon as i got into the boot screen it suddenly stops reading and i’ve waited for about an hour still nothing happens, did i something misconfigure customizations during installation? please do e-mail me thanks.

  • September 2, 2008 - 12:34 am | Permalink

    I have a question I hope you can help me with.
    I have a dual boot (xp/vista) Centrino Duo notebook 100 GB HD.
    XP was first installed on 20 GB partition and then, using gparted and easy bcd I installed Vista which I have been mainly using. I almost don’t use XP.
    Can I do clean install of iAKTOS on the the partition currently used for XP (by letting it erase and reformat it for Mac OS), and make my machine a Vista/iAKTOS dual boot?

  • David the MOMU
    September 5, 2008 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Great explanation about the difference between both packages.

    Thanks.

  • September 8, 2008 - 7:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the guide, I found it extremely usefull since I myself wanted to be sure about which one to choose from, I’ll go for kalyway so far.

    Great article ;)

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