Posts Tagged ‘software’

10.8 upgrade/install on my hackintosh

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

With 10.8 coming out, I took the opportunity to migrate my OS installation from a traditional hard drive to an SSD.  (Specifically, I installed a 256GB Samsung 830-series drive).  I followed the general approach over at tonymac (I bought 10.8 online, then used his Unibeast wrapper to build an install-from-USB stick), modified for my setup.  The installation of 10.8 to my SSD went swimmingly, but I noticed something odd – I needed to upgrade my version of Chimera (the Chameleon bootloader fork), as the previous version I’d been using without problem on 10.7 just barfed.  (It rebooted immediately after starting to boot anything 10.8).  But that was easy to fix by updating my version of Chimera (which I do manually, since my loader is on its own partition on a separate drive & the tonymac auto-install tools tend to screw that up).  Of course, I also had to install fakesmc & wanted to get rid of the orange icons for my hard drives, so I also installed the ahci port-injector kext.  But, that was it.  I much prefer not to use “Multibeast” for post-installation, because it tends to crap out kexts all over that I don’t want — and which could lead to problems across software updates.  (I also just like to know exactly what’s installed).

During installation, I did a fresh, full install.  I did not do any kind of upgrade.  (In fact, my 10.7 installation is still intact on my hard drive).  However, I did want to keep my old user accounts with as little fuss as possible.  So, I took note of the user ID, group ID, and UUID settings for each of my accounts as established in 10.7.  Then in 10.8, I first created accounts corresponding to each of the existing user accounts.  But before ever logging in to those accounts, I went in and changed the user/group/uuid settings (and obviously the home directory setting, to point it to the location on the old hard drive where the user data sits).  This made for a seamless transition – accounts log in & have all of their old settings as they previously did, but I get awesome speed from having my OS and applications on the SSD.

Using xbench, I see speeds of between 350 & 425 MB/s, which is about what I expected.  It doesn’t approach the peak speeds that the interface and the disk support, but that’s because of the controller I have it sitting on.  My Gigabyte X58-based board only has a Marvell SATA3 controller, which is somewhat notorious for its inefficiency, bad drivers, and limited architecture.  Further, the Gigabyte implementation is apparently flawed & only has the controller connected to a single PCIe lane on a PCIe 1.0 link.  This limits the theoretical throughput to 250 MB/s.  So, I bought an add-in card (an Asmedia ASM1061) for about $10 on Amazon.  It’s a single-lane card as well, but installing it in to a PCIe 2.0 slot will up the theoretical throughput peak to 500 MB/s.  (This controller works out-of-the-box without any additional drivers/kexts required).  The only real problem with my resultant setup is that I’d also like this on Windows, but I have about 300 GB of applications (games – thanks, Steam sales!) on top of the Windows requirement, and I don’t really want to mess around with uninstalling/reinstalling games as I use them.  So for Windows, I’ll wait for prices to drop some more & pick up a 512 GB SSD at some time in the future.  Given that it’s been more than 2 years since I did any kind of major hardware tweak to this machine, it probably won’t be any time soon anyway.

10.7.1 update issue-free

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

I continue to be impressed with the chameleon/chimera boot-loader efforts – it’s made all of my updates since first installing my hackintosh trouble-free, including this last 10.7.1 update.  Awesome.

10.6.5 upgrade on my hackintosh – no problems

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

For those who sometimes follow the hackintosh scene, I thought I’d post an update that the upgrade to 10.6.5 via “Software Updates” went fine for me, without issue.  (My hackintosh build is described in this post).  There were some horror stories yesterday over at insanelymac.  These sort of underscore the increased risk associated with all these non-vanilla build methods that have been around for a while.  If you’re using a bunch of nonstandard kexts or (especially video) hardware that requires special tricks to get it to work, reliability seems really, really spotty.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the reliability of my build so far – let’s hope it keeps up.

Free-software hippies frothing at Oracle

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Oracle recently sued Google over alleged infringement of Java-related software patents as implemented in the Java-ish userland operating environment of Google’s Android OS.  I haven’t read a good breakdown of the actual alleged violations, so I can’t speak to their merit.  However, it’s not as though Oracle is some patent troll — they legitimately own the intellectual property associated with Java patents by virtue of their acquisition of Sun Microsystems, and they continue to develop Java technology.  Shortly after this announcement, Oracle also announced that they will no longer develop Solaris (the commercial software) through Open Solaris (the open-source development project that has, heretofore, “run ahead” of Solaris).  Instead, Solaris will be developed in-house by Oracle and its source will be released after, not before, a commercial release.

Since then, there’s been a steady stream of free-software enthusiast outrage.  Over at zdnet, there has been (and I’m not joking) nearly one article or blog post per day, all decrying the evil that is Oracle.  The crux of their complaining stems from their underlying assumption that software patents should not exist, and that a company cannot be “a friend of open source” and also defend its intellectual property via software patents.  This is utterly ridiculous.  Oracle’s lawsuit may be meritless (I don’t have the expertise on the exact allegations to say one way or the other), but they’re not evil for killing off a money-losing endeavor (Open Solaris — which was already almost exclusively developed by Sun/Oracle engineers or those working for them through partnership agreements) or claiming a stake in the multibillion dollar mobile OS market that is Android, and which may in fact be based on Oracle-patented technology.  Being “open source” doesn’t necessarily mean “here, take everything for free, I disavow any claim to this.”  That’s what the GPL hippies want “open source” to mean, but that’s not what it meant long before the GPL ever came around.  And, I’ve got no problem with people wanting to develop “Free” (as the GPL hippies define it) software – cool beans for them.  But, they’re crazy to demand that businesses license their software and their intellectual property according to their nutjob demands.  (The GPL hippies aren’t exactly completely altruistic, either.  Though they are bemoaning what they perceive as Oracle “changing the deal” with Java by coming back now and asserting intellectual property rights on something they believed was “Free”, they do the exact same thing if a company improperly appropriates GPL code in to a closed-source product:  they “come back later” and demand that the terms of their intellectual property agreement — the GPL — be enforced).  This latest bout of batshit insane demands from the corners of Free Software enthusiasts only reinforces my underlying belief that Free Software is mostly about one thing for its proponents:  gimme gimme gimme.

Google Voice Transcript Fail – Yay, tenacity!

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I’m a big fan of Google Voice.  Combined with Verizon Friends & Family, I get tons of free calling on my HTC Incredible.  Also, the free SMS service (via my google voice number) using the google voice app is awesome.

That said, the voicemail-transcription service could use a little work… I found this one highly comical.  My buddy Darren called me up to share what he’d heard on local sports-talk radio in Austin regarding UT moving to the Pac 10 (this was under consideration a few months ago – it wound up not happening).  Apparently google voice seems to think people with a slightly Texan accent are talking about Japanese names.  Similarly, google voice butchers the transcripts when my dad calls me, who also has a bit of a Texas accent.  For whatever reason, though, my plumber with a Southie accent gets transcribed perfectly…

Anyone thinking Google is harvesting your voice calls for anything useful is insane.  That, or Google is about to rat out Darren for having important information about Yukiko infecting Yuki.

Anyway, this is Darren’s voicemail:

This is what the transcript thought he said:

This is what Darren actually said:

Just heard on the radio, it’s mostly official.  UT’s going to the Pac-10.  UT, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech.  A&M has 72 hours to decide, but apparently the SEC is also courting A&M, and why they would want to go to either one of those, I have no idea.  So, what the fuck.  Anyway, I’ll talk to you later.  I’m on my way to soccer.  I won’t be done until 8:30 local.  Talk to you later, bye

Mac OS 10.6.4 upgrade: No Issues

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I find blog updates about most minor Mac OS updates to be mundane and unnecessary, but for those following the Mac-OS-on-generic-hardware scene, it’s useful to know how others with similar hardware fare with Mac OS updates.  I used the software-updates method (rather than the “combo update” mechanism some seem to prefer — that’s useful in configs different than mine).  There were no issues whatsoever.

DSDT and kext information for my Hackintosh

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

As previously mentioned, I’ve built a hackintosh using a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 motherboard (with the F4 bios), an i7 950 processor, and an nvidia GTX 260 graphics card.  The information one might need to get Empire EFI/Chameleon RC4 booting this machine is present in that other post.  However, a few people have asked for my DSDT information, so here are the diffs to the the disassembled dsdt.  As previously mentioned, I simply followed the guidelines here and adapted them to my DSDT.  Note that there is processor-specific information here regarding power states (in this case, for my i7 950).  To use this, you just need your disassembled dsdt file (called dsdt.dsl), which you can get by first getting the compiled version (I used an Ubuntu Live CD) and disassembling it (using iasl — again, I used Ubuntu).  With your disassembled DSDT and this diff, simply do:

patch -p0 < dsdt.dsl.diff

And then recompile doing:

iasl -sa dsdt.dsl

which will create a “dsdt.aml” file suitable for various PC EFI projects (including Chameleon RC4).

Using this, I don’t need a null power kext or any modified power management kext.  Stock Apple power-management kexts just work.  What doesn’t work:  sleep.  Apparently other people have used some sleep enabler kext to get this to work, but I haven’t tried that, since I don’t need it.  What also doesn’t work without a driver:  sound.  Also, as a reminder, I’m using the 32-bit kernel.  And to summarize, (native) SATA (without IDE emulation), USB, firewire, and graphics all just work (using GraphicsEnabler=Y, PciRoot=1) w/ Chameleon RC4.  Without a kext fix, however, the hard disk icons are the orange external ones.  There are several methods to fixing this.  The machine will shut down, but not reboot.  So, I also use a snow-leopard compatible OpenHaltRestart.

So, the drivers (kexts) I use are:

VoodooHDA (for sound)

Fake SMC 2.5 (platform workarounds to make the sucker boot – I had to install this on my System partition rather than in Chameleon’s Extra folder.  It wouldn’t work otherwise, for me)

IOACHIBlockStorageInjector (Just to make the hard-drive icons gray rather than the orange external ones)

OpenHaltRestart for 10.6 — I can’t find the source for this right now, and I’m not hosting kexts on my blog.  The version for 10.5 will not work – I see several different options over at, so have a look over there if you need this.  As I recall, shutdown would work, but reboot would not.

Before you ask, no, I will not provide the compiled version of my DSDT.  The diffs are more useful for you because you can use them to generate a new DSDT against newer BIOS revisions or against slightly different motherboards.  (People inexplicably mix & match DSDTs that aren’t for their motherboard — if/when this works, it’s purely accidental).  If you’re mucking around with a Hackintosh, you ought to be able to boot an Ubuntu Live CD, follow some simple commands, and apply a patch.

Windows 7 hype annoys me

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Windows 7’s launch is impending, and the review sites are frothing with praise (specifically, ZDNet).  You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone in technology talking about how awesome Windows 7 is, how it totally rights Microsoft’s ship after Vista.  I’ve run the RC version of Windows 7, and I gotta say, I don’t see the big deal — at all.  The interface is nothing short of irritating.  It looks like what the gnome folks would come up with if you asked them to copy KDE.  It’s seriously that bad.  The knock-off version of the dock/taskbar?  Lame.  Could they waste more space around taskbar icons, by the way?  It probably wouldn’t be as annoying if it wasn’t so goddamn huge, but it is.  But, that’s cosmetic.  What about the nuts and bolts?

Here’s the deal:  Windows 7 is Windows Vista plus 3 years and a shittier interface.  That’s it.  The driver model:  the same.  The security model:  the same.  64-bit compatibility requirements for software vendors?  (You can’t ship a program with a Windows 7 compatibility logo claim unless it works under both versions):  Check, same as Vista.  Graphical whiz-bang enhancements?  Same.  UAC?  Same.  Windows 7 is better about not having so many different versions (Vista Home Basic/Home Premium/Business/Ultimate/Enterprise?  Really?), but that’s not something I care about that much.  (Windows 7 Professional will do the trick for me — I can log on to my work domain if I need, and it has Windows Media Center).  The notable differences seem to be that they added “XP compatibility mode” (running your Windows XP-compatible programs in an XP Virtual Machine — only available on some versions of Windows 7), Digital Cable Tuners (cablecard-capable tuners) will no longer require OEM certification (ie, they will work on homebrew computers), and allegedly managing networks is more intuitive than Vista’s god-awful Network and Sharing Center.  Oh, and they fuglified the desktop interface.

Ok, so these are nontrivial differences.   But, they aren’t the focus of the hype, previews, and reviews of Windows 7.  Instead, the coverage mostly talks about how much more “streamlined” Windows 7 is, and how it won’t have the pitfalls of Vista.  Why?  Because drivers and applications have caught up to the new API requirements of Windows Vista, and these are the same requirements for Windows 7.  Applications can no longer write willy-nilly into the registry, and drivers have to comply with a newer version of Microsoft’s driver API (ie, the revision introduced for Vista).  In other words, the benefits that reviewers believe are the primary benefits of Windows 7 are available today in Windows Vista, for no other reason than applications & drivers are now compatible.

I actually like Windows Vista.  I’ve seen the compatibility problems that people complain about, but I knew that those were the hallmarks of poorly written applications.  Also, most applications seemed to be updated within 6 months of Vista’s launch.  I use Vista Enterprise at work every day, and things generally work fine.  (At home, wifi mysteriously craps out.  There are other general Windows annoyances.  As far as I can tell, none of that is dealt with in Windows 7).

Microsoft got destroyed in the press and in (followup) online reviews because people were used to their poorly written applications from Windows Version X working in Windows Version X + 1.  Vista changed all of that, and for the better.  The security measures implemented in Vista were badly needed, and they did break quite a few drivers and applications.  Users seem to have all decided this was Microsoft’s fault.  In a way, it was, but not because “Vista sucks”.  It was Microsoft’s fault because they rolled out bad solutions beforehand and reaped the rewards when they had to fix it.  Yeah yeah, Vista performance was slightly worse than XP — it ran like crap on old hardware.  That’s all true.  But that’s always been true for Windows upgrades.  (Good luck installing Windows XP on Windows 98-class hardware).  Windows 7 will likely be successful because it isn’t a major deviation from the prior version of Windows that every major vendor has been writing to.  This is exactly why all the “best version of Windows ever!” hype regarding Windows 7 is so frustrating, but I suppose I should expect it to continue.

New-computer choices

Monday, September 28th, 2009

My 2006 Core 2 Duo iMac is showing its age a bit (well, compared to Nehalem-class hardware), and I’m wanting to get a new computer, but the choices here are not easy.  My requirements for my primary operating system are:

  1. Must support an Exchange 2007 client
  2. Must support my work VPN
  3. Must be reliable

For now, #1 whittles things down to either Windows or MacOS.  (I’ve used wine to run outlook.  It crashes randomly).  If an open-source Exchange 2007 client comes about soon (it may be possible considering ongoing interoperability legal action in Europe, and I’ve read rumors of a Google-developed library), this might no longer be true.  Both Windows and MacOS support my VPN, so that’s a nonissue.  Reliability is the remaining issue.  At work, my desktop is Windows, and for the most part, it works.  That said, every now & then I have to waste about 2 hours out of my day with some bullshit issue (updates stop working, networking goes batty, stuff like that), and my time is valuable.  2 hours of time at home is 2 hours not spent with my family, or not regrouping after a day at work, or possibly 2 hours not working when I need to be.  Hence, I’m strongly leaning toward a new Mac, but the only hardware I’m remotely interested in right now is a Mac Pro, which costs more than $1000 more than a Dell of equivalent class.  (Yeah yeah, they use Xeons versus regular Core i7s.  I’ve seen the benchmarks.  BFD).  Even so, it might be worth it, but this is a tough choice to make — if only Apple had the mythical midrange tower (the laptop-component-featuring iMac does not count).  I may be going back to running Windows primarily at home, and I’m not too thrilled about that.

Apple’s iTunes 9 kills syncing with Palm Pre, again

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

As noted over at precentral, Apple’s latest update to iTunes once again kills the ability to sync an iTunes library with a Palm Pre.  I mentioned this last time when Apple did the functional equivalent with iTunes 8.2.1.  Unless Apple intends to force a data-negotiation phase with iPods (which would require mandatory firmware updates to every existing USB iPod), Palm will be able to continue working around such annoyances.  In this case, Palm will likely spoof the manufacturer ID (in addition to vendor-ID spoofing, which they’re already doing).  But at some point, this is going to have to stop.  Apple will have to decide if they really are going to force a firmware update on all existing iPods, and Palm will have to decide if they want to keep chasing Apple’s annoying counter-moves.  (It may be a moot point anyway — Apple may run out of options completely and may have to eventually give in, or use lawyers instead of technological means.  It’s not clear if the hardware on old iPods can be made to facilitate an authentication handshake — if the USB microcontroller isn’t software-programmable and is just a dumb data transport, then Apple is out of luck there).

In the end, customers lose.  Palm’s customers lose for obvious reasons, but Apple’s losing customers as well.  I’ll never understand the mentality behind turning your back on people who want to use your portal and presumably can & will buy music.  (Apple made the point pretty clear yesterday that people who use iTunes overwhelmingly buy stuff).  The other problem here is that Apple is already under investigation by the FTC regarding potential anti-trust issues (stemming from the App-store rejection of the Google Voice app).  Do they really want to take on another anti-competitive, anti-consumer cause?  I get that Apple wants to “control it all”, and in many ways, that’s worked for them over the years.  But if they continue being so rigid with it, they’re going to ultimately wind up losing control (under Federal regulations), in addition to losing the customers they’re literally booting out of their store (iTunes).