News

Apple TV running on a Macbook

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 27, 2007

Apple TV OS can now run on a Macbook! AppleTVHacks.net was able to patch to the Apple TV Finder.app, and now has an operating Apple TV:

mb apple tv 1 Apple TV running on a Macbook

You can use your remote as normal, it shows up in iTunes on other computers:

mb apple tv 2 Apple TV running on a Macbook
mb apple tv 3 Apple TV running on a Macbook

The method

Install a fresh copy of regular OS X (not the Apple TV version, the Mac version), or clone one. Just make sure you have everything backed up. Download a copy of the patched Finder file (we can’t help you here). Now, copy the Finder.app from your Apple TV drive, and transplant the patch file (which is just the binary part of the app) into it, and set the permissions:

cd /Volumes/OSBoot/System/Library/CoreServices/
sudo cp -pr ./Finder.app /Volume/FreshOSX/System/Library/CoreServices/.
cd /Volume/FreshOSX/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/
sudo cp /path/to/patched/Finder .
sudo chown root:wheel Finder
sudo chmod 755 Finder

Next you must copy over 2 additional Frameworks from the Apple TV to the OS X install:

cd /Volumes/OSBoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/
sudo cp -pr ./iPhotoAccess.framework /Volume/FreshOSX/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/.
sudo cp -pr ./BackRow.framework /Volume/FreshOSX/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/.

Now, reboot and hold down Option to choose your boot drive, select the new OS X install and boot from it. You should be away:

Thanks again to semthex for this hack, you can find him over at the hackint0sh.org forums. Thanks go to skr3dii for the video, you can visit him over at his blog.

Booting the Apple TV from a USB drive

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 26, 2007

Ozy from AwkwardTV has managed to get his Apple TV to boot from an external USB drive into the recovery mode.

It appears if you attach the USB drive with a duplicate of Apple TV OS, boot the Apple TV normally, attach the USB drive, and then do a recovery reboot (holding ‘menu’ and ‘-’ keys on the remote) that the machine will begin to boot from the USB drive.

You can see his video here.

This opens the possibility up for booting off a USB drive to make modifications to the Apple TV without having to open the case. Good work guys!

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.

Harddrive upgrade with no 3rd party software

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 26, 2007

Until now, 3rd party partitioning software has been necessary to perform a harddrive upgrade on the Apple TV, meaning it can be performed solely for the cost of the new harddrive.

Thanks to AppleTVHacks.net reader, Epon, we now have a method where the built in “factory restore” does the work for us. The updated process can be seen over on the harddrive upgrade tutorial page.

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.

Apache running on Apple TV

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on March 25, 2007

Thanks again to Jonathan for writing up the process. Here it is…

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

From there, you can scp the directory /usr/libexec/httpd/ from your Mac to the Apple TV:

scp -r /usr/libexec/httpd frontrow@your.apple.tv.ip.address:/usr/libexec/.

Then ssh into the Apple TV and run:

sudo /usr/sbin/apachectl start

Pow. Apache is running. You can now access the Apple TV from a web browser, in either fashion:

http://your.apple.tv.ip

http://yourappletvname.local

The default httpd.conf file uses the /Library/WebServer/Documents/ directory for its DocumentRoot and also enables the user-level Sites folder, so this also works:

http://your.apple.tv.ip/~frontrow

http://yourappletvname.local/~frontrow

apache on apple tv Apache running on Apple TV
personal web sharing on apple tv Apache running on Apple TV

Now, we are interested in whether that opens up the door to make a browser based administration system for the Apple TV. Combined with SFTP/AFP for files access, we believe an alternative system to iTunes could be built for managing the content on your Apple TV.

Whatever you do with this; let us know how you get on!

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