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Apple said to have axed Atom support from OS X 10.6.2

Hackintosh netbook builders worried by lone blogger's claim

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Apple has axed support for Intel's Atom processor from the as-yet-unreleased Mac OS X 10.6.2, it has been claimed. If true, the move will hinder anyone keen to create a micro Mac laptop from any of the many netbooks on sale today.

The claim comes from a blogger called Stell who posts on matters pertinent to the hackintosh community and author of an hackinosh OS installer tool called EP45-UD3P.

Says Stell: "In the current developer build of 10.6.2, Apple appears to have changed around a lot of CPU-related information. One of the effects of this is Apple killing off Intel’s Atom chip."

It's not at all clear from that what Apple might have done to "kill off" the Atom chip, which is designed to be as fully x86-compatible as any of the Core 2 Duo processors a lot of genuine Intel-based Macs are based on. Presumably, Apple has used the CPU ID to spot what the OS is being booted on and stop the process if it detects an Atom CPU.

Whether this has been done intentionally to stop netbook hackintosh builders - who can still use 10.6.1 - or cloners like Psystar, or is even an unintentional byproduct of another 10.6.2 feature, isn't known. Nor is it known if other Intel CPUs have also been shoved out in the cold.

Perhaps Apple has decided that an End-User Licence Agreement that forbids the installation of Mac OS X on any computer that doesn't carry an Apple label - you can see our Apple-labelled Sony Vaio one here, courtesy of Apple's own stickers - isn't strong enough to put off the small DIY clone community or those interested in cloning for profit.

It's all a bit sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut, of course, since, especially as far as the hackintosh community goes. We doubt Apple is losing serious sales numbers as a result of these folk. Indeed, it's surely better for Apple to sell a copy of Mac OS X than have one of these guys run Linux or Windows on a machine Apple's going to make no money out of one way or the other. But perhaps it simply sees these hackers as the thin edge of a wedge, especially if it gets as easy as creating a hackintosh is these days.

Or Stell may simply have got his or her wires crossed. So far there has been no third-party corroboration the claim. ®

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