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OSx86: Creating a Hackintosh
OSx86: Creating a Hackintosh
by Peter Baldwin
Published by holmes4
Default OSx86: Creating a Hackintosh

OSx86: Creating a Hackintosh
Author: Peter Baldwin
ISBN-13: 978-0470521465
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: February 2010
Paperback, 658 pages

There's an inherent disadvantage in writing a DTB (Dead Tree Book) about a technology that is rapidly evolving - by the time your words see print, a lot of them are out of date. This is especially true regarding the world of "hackintoshing" - between the time (sometime in 2009 I gather) the book was written and the time it was published in mid-2010, not only had Apple released a new, significant version of OS X (10.6 "Snow Leopard"), but the tools used for installing OS X on a non-Apple PC, known as "hackintoshing", underwent significant changes of their own.

I "hackintoshed" my Dell Mini 9, one of the early choices in this field, about when "OSx86: Creating a Hackintosh" came out, but none of the tools I used were mentioned in the book - indeed I had not heard of most of them. Now that it's 2011, a lot more of the book seems "quaint", but there is still value in it.

The first 100 pages or so are devoted to installing OS X 10.5 "Leopard" on a PC. I was hoping that it would explain in detail what the tools were doing and help the reader understand the process, but no, it's really just a "recipe" to follow with a couple of variations. Several times the author explains what is needed for his particular PC and then says that if yours is different, search a web forum to see if you can get the answers. I didn't find that terribly helpful. However, he does provide links to some of the more useful online resources for hackintoshing (though he seems to leave out the granddaddy of these, MyDellMini). He also provides short URL aliases for various of the web sites and forums, which is helpful, but these too are likely to go out of date quickly.

If this was all there was to the book, I'd stop here and suggest giving it a pass. And if all you want is help in creating a Hackintosh of your own, I'd recommend skipping the book and searching the web for active sites and forums on the topic. But there is more - the rest of the book is an introduction to OS X from the perspective of a Windows user, with lots of helpful hints and comparisons for someone who is new to OS X. (I'm not exactly "new" to it but I certainly could use a lot of help with the details.)

So, consider this a qualified recommendation for the book. The part about creating a Hackintosh is useful background but is no longer something you can follow directly, indeed if you ever could. Use the hackintoshing community online for help with that. The rest of the book is a good introduction to OS X for someone more familiar with Windows, and if you would find that useful, buy the book. I would give the book three stars out of five overall - I can't see how to specify that when publishing this review.

Lastly, I have to put in my usual warning here - hackintoshing is not a "set it and forget it" thing. Many people are successful, but many have problems and help can sometimes be elusive. Also, you have to be aware that Apple updates can (and usually do) cause your PC to be unbootable, so don't just install OS X and hand the computer off to a friend or relative who doesn't know to NOT accept updates without checking with you first. You will need to keep aware of what is going on in the community and not install any OS X updates without seeing first if additional action is needed. Find a good web forum devoted to the topic, join it and read, read, read.

(I received this book at no charge courtesy of the publisher.)
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