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Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Apple TV OS running on MacBook and booting from USB drive

Apple Inc.'s new Apple TV runs a modified version of the Mac OS X operating system that hackers have already managed to extract and boot on an Intel-based MacBook and an external USB drive.

AppleTVHacks.net, a website documenting the various Apple TV hacks, has posted photos and a video of the Apple TV system software running on a 13-inch Apple MacBook.

The hack, which comes compliments of hackint0sh forum member 'semthex,' requires a patched or modified Apple TV Finder.app. It also requires that the Apple TV's iPhotoAccess and BackRow frameworks be copied over to the same location as the patched system software.

"We are evaluating the legalities of releasing a patch file for the Finder, but currently we are too afraid of Apple Legal," the site reported.

Meanwhile, a video of an earlier hack from the folks at AwkwardTV demonstrates an Apple TV booting from an external USB drive that has been attached to it. The hack is possible without busting into the Apple TV or removing the internal hard disk.

The AwkwardTV project is now looking to build a bootable image for USB drives based on the Open Source Darwin kernel that will allow mounting and editing the internal hard disk, paving the way for other hacks, such as enabling SSH, to be made without opening the Apple TV case.


Apple TV OS running on an Intel MacBook.


Various other Apple TV hacks have also been documented on tech sites across the Web. A Hacking the Apple TV tutorial published over at TutorialNinjas promises to help users install Quartz, play xvid/divx encoded files, enable SSH and VNC, and run Mac OS X applications such as FireFox and Centerstage.


Apple TV OS booting from external USB drive.


A tutorial for enabling Remote Desktop and a video of the first custom Apple TV plug-in are also available.

Over this past weekend, AppleInsider also documented some earlier hacks and lesser known features.