How To

Mac OS X running on Apple TV

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on April 1, 2007

semthex from Hackint0sh.org, in collaboration with AppleTVHacks.net has done it again! A complete replacement to the Mac OS X kernel has been built which allows the full version of Mac OS X to be run on an Apple TV.

Semthex wrote a processor emulation for the kernel, to sidestep the hardware restrictions that previously disallowed Mac OS X from running on the Apple TV. AppleTVHacks.net was only too happy to help out, and when it turned out we needed more testers we launched a competition to get some. Within hours we had hundreds of eager Apple TV hackers submit entries.

Several hours of testing and refining later and our tester, gimli, managed to follow the steps (included below) to get Mac OS X booting on his Apple TV (click to enlarge):

mac os x on apple tv1 sm Mac OS X running on Apple TV

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Use your USB keyboard and mouse

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 30, 2007

A hacker named Turbo has posted instructions on enabling USB keyboard and mouse to work with the Apple TV. To do so, you need to download the patch he has written, and then apply it to your mach_kernel.prelink file with this command:

bspatch mach_kernel.prelink mach_kernel.patched turbo-disable-usb-whitelist-20070330.bsdiff

You can then use this tip from AwkwardTV to enable your mouse pointer (which you won’t see otherwise), and you are away!

Hidden files in the Apple TV kernel file

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 26, 2007

There has been debate over whether the Apple TV is really running OS X ‘proper’, or a derivative. One point is there are important system files which are absent, or are they?

AppleTVHacks.net has been made aware of some kernel extensions and other files that are hidden within the Apple TV’s ‘kernel’ file.

This process is for hardcore geeks only – but may lead to something that everyone can benefit from

Find the hidden files…

If you open it up an image of the harddrve you will see the filesystem of the AppleTV. It contains all the files we know from it’s big brother OS X, but where is the kernel? The EFI bootloader boot.efi is there, but not the kernel. There is a file called mach_kernel.prelink but it does not disassemble or look really right, even though you can see the __TEXT marks in a hex editor. Well the reason for this is, this little ~6MB file is not the kernel. It is a package of files utilized by the EFI, compressed with an odd compression algorithm. So to extract these files? It is easier than you may think, lets take a look…

If you open the file up you will see the header starts with “complzss”, which you probably won’t recognise. Well this header belongs to none of the common compression techniques used on OS X, so what is it? A quick search on Google turned up “The SWORD Project”, an open source bible software projevt, which uses the same compression. You must download the API files for Linux from this page, we are going to use the compression utility it includes.

Run ./configure in the main directory, and then run make, the change to the ‘tests’ directory and run make again, which will build the ‘complzss’ utility. At first this didn’t work, but after some experimentation we found the solution. You need to make a copy of the ‘mach_kernel.prelink’ file from the OSBoot drive, and name mach_kernel.lzs. You then need to remove the first 180 bytes of the file in a hex editor, so it should now start with “FFCEFA” (you may notice the Intel Mach header…). Finally run this file though the ‘complzss’ utility. Bingo! You have a new decompressed file.

Well but the file still seemed a bit huge for a Intel only kernel, so we opened it in a hex editor and examined it carefully. It seems the file contains multiple file headers! Well now came the hard part, cutting it into peaces. From begining of each header to the next (mach header for Intel starts: CEFAEDFE0700 hex). After cutting the file correctly you will end up with ~100 files, albeit without names.

These files appear to be missing daemons, kexts etc. the system image you made earlier is missing. Among them the kext for the remote etc. are included so this is a big step towards getting OS X ‘proper’ to run on the Apple TV.

Now begins the process of digging through these files and seeing what other bounty lays within.

Thanks go to semthex for discovering this process, you can visit him on the www.hackint0sh.org/forum to discuss Apple TV hacks with him.

Enable Remote Desktop on the Apple TV

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 26, 2007

Thanks to the peeps over at the excellent awkwardTV site for getting this tutorial right.

To get Apple Remote Desktop running on your Apple TV, firstly enable SSH so you can access the Apple TV easier.

SSH into your Apple TV, then run:

echo 71463E00FFDAAA95FF1C39567390ADCA > /Library/Preferences/com.apple.VNCSettings.txt

That code is is a hash of the password ‘frontrow’, which you’ll use to access Apple Remote Desktop. Next you need to get the application going, for which you can use these commands:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -configure -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -configure -access -on -users admin -privs -all -restart -agent -menu

You may be prompted for your password after the first command.

You should be up and running, you can now use Apple Remote Desktop, if you have it, or the free Chicken of the VNC app to access your Apple TV remotely.

Enable SSH & AFP on your Apple TV

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 24, 2007

Credit for the original information used in making this how-to goes to TylerL82 over at the SomethingAwful.com forums. Written up here by Jonathan Bare.

So while you have your Apple TV open and you’re installing a new hard drive or just following along with the people over at SomethingAwful.com forums to get Xvid working, you might as well un-break SSH so you can access the Apple TV remotely.

Opening the Apple TV and connecting the hard drive to your Intel Mac are covered in the hard drive upgrade and elsewhere, so we’ll skip those steps and jump right to the point where you have the OSBoot and Media volumes mounted on your Mac.

This process assumes using an Intel Mac because the sshd binary may or may not be the same in the PowerPC version of Mac OS X; we haven’t checked. If someone would like to try using the PowerPC binary and let us know if it works, that would be great!

There are 2 ways to go about this; using the finder, or via the terminal. The finder method is probably best if you aren’t sure what is going on, whereas the Terminal method is quicker if you are confident.

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Apple TV Harddrive Upgrade Tutorial

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 23, 2007

Update: Thanks to reader Epon, we now have a way to do this without requiring iPartition. So you can now do the upgrade for only the price of your new harddrive.

Here it is, a step by step tutorial on upgrading your Apple TV harddrive. With thanks to Jonathan Bare, the brave soul who worked this out!

It should be noted that this process will almost certainly void your Apple TV’s warranty and you are attempting this upgrade at your own risk.

You can do this via the terminal, or by using some applications (which add $100 to the cost of the process).

What you need:

Hex-bit screwdriver
2.5″ hard drive (we used a Western Digital 120 GB WD1200VE drive)
Wiebetech Forensic DriveDock (optional, but recommended) or any 2.5″ to Firewire bridge
Subrosasoft’s CopyCatX ($49), or be comfy with the terminal
Coriolis’s iPartition ($45), or use the Apple Factory Restore

This process was done on an Intel Mac Pro. Connecting the Apple TV drive to a Power PC Mac might damage the GUID partition, especially for anyone who hasn’t upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4.6 or newer.

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