PearPC 0.1: Is It A Miracle?

Well, I can say it truly is a miracle. I never thought I would be able to install Mac OS X 10.3 on my supposedly “inferior” x86-based AMD machine. Well, for most of you mac-zealots, you were wrong. It actually does. And I’ve got the proof right here!

The installation was not really that hard; the PearPC website has done an excellent job in providing you with information. And, just days after the 0.1 release, websites all around the world posted howto’s and installation guides. I’m not going to explain how it is done in this article; that is not the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to simply show you that it can be done, and I will do this through a number of screenshots.

After generating .iso’s from the Mac OS X install disks, it is time to boot PearPC by issuing a simple “ppc config.txt” command. PPC itself does not really have a GUI (only the “change CD” button) so the first GUI stuff you’ll encounter is the Installer:

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My hart actually skipped a beat; I never really thought it would work; not necessarily because I thought PearPC was vaporware, but more because my computer is getting kind of, well, old.

Of course everything was not running very snappy; on their website they warn you: the emulated processor is about 40 times slower than the host processor. Still, I was amazed at what I saw: it worked!

After a painstaking process of creating a bootable “harddisk” (grab a bootable .img file from the website; it saves you a lot of time), the installation started.

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It took, in total, more than 5 hours. And that was just the first cd. Since I had nothing else to do (PearPC took 99% of my processor and all the RAM it could possibly find), I actually started to clean my bed/computer room. Thank you, PearPC.

After the installation of the first disk, PearPC had to be restarted with the harddisk image file as the master, and the second install disk as slave. This was a point of frustration; Mac OS X would not boot. Luckily, I was not the only one having this problem. It turned out that the installer put the Mac OS X partition in third, while it should be in second place. Again, take a look at the PearPC website, the solution is out there.

After the installation of the second disk was ready, I was finally able to boot into Mac OS X 10.3, Panther. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a very strange moment. I now know what all those people must have felt when they were abducted by aliens (not that I believe in those stories, but still).

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Then, the big welcome:

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Spotting the memory/processor usage:

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Creating a user account:

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And, finally: Enjoy your Apple computer!

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Well, just when I was ready to start “Enjoying my Apple Computer”, a weird bug appeared: I was dropped into an infinite Finder crash-loop. Well, not really infinite, 15 minutes or so later, the loop ended. Mac OS X 10.3, Panther, was actually running on my Athlon machine!

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The only glitch left was the Dock. It also encountered a crash loop, but this one was indeed infinite. I am confident that these problems will be resolved in later versions of PearPC.


I am truly impressed. I do not really have anything more to say than: thank you, PearPC, for this, well, enlightened moment. And for my clean room, of course.

Test system:

– AMD Athlon XP 1600+;
– 512 MB SDRAM;
– Ati Radeon 9000 with 128 MB DDR-RAM;
– CMI-8738 based 5.1 soundcard;
– MSI K7T Turbo2 mainboard;
– 40 GB harddisk;
– Standard ps/2 keyboard;
– Microsoft Trackball Optical (USB);
– Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (host);
– PearPC 0.1, emulating Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (client).

About the Author:
Thom Holwerda is a regular visitor on and has contributed more than once. His first computer experience dates back to 1991 (a 286 entered the household). Over the years he has played around with several computers, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he really started to experiment OS-wise with computers. His favorite operating systems are Windows Server 2003, Mandrake Linux, BeOS. He also has an affinity for the QNX Neutrino RTOS. Thom also contributes to the SkyOS project, being responsible for the Dutch translation.


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