After reading up on the PearPC emulator that allows you to run Mac OS X on a Windows based PC (Linux, too) I knew I had to try to get Panther running on the Sony U. The goal is to create a touch-screen capable Mac in a Box that can run Mac apps. Since PearPC is an emulator I was hoping the speed would still be sufficient to have fun with OS X on the U and not be too frustrated.
Installing PearPC on the U was very simple and I found a lot of really good information on a few web sites that I will mention later in the series. To install OS X you must have a CD install set from Apple and then burn disk 1 to an ISO file since PearPC does not have CD capabilities. This was not a problem for me since I don’t have a CD drive on the Sony anyway. I used a couple of freeware utilities to burn the image, ISOBUSTER and BIN2ISOCONVERTER. This created a single ISO image that I copied onto the Sony for the OS X install. I also installed a virtual network adapter for use by OS X within the emulated environment and used the free OPENVPN program.
PearPC needs a hard disk image file to install OS X onto and I used a utility that comes with the PearPC distribution and created a 3 GB disk image. After that I edited the config file that PearPC uses to start the Mac environment and started the Apple install. The first thing the install needed to do was “format” the hard disk image and I have to admit I got really nervous clicking the go ahead button with the format. The install took a long time. I mean, about 3 hours went by with the Sony banging away merrily. I am not surprised by this since it was reading the “CD” image from the same disk it was installing OS X onto, which itself was just a file on the hard drive that was fooling OS X into thinking it was a disk drive. Amazing it all works so well, actually.
Once OS X was completely installed I fired it up and I have to admit it is just so cool to have a Mac running in the little Sony U. There are still several issues I am trying to work out and will elaborate on those in a future article but for now enjoy the following screen shots. All images were taken directly from the Mac environment on the Sony running at a 800×600 screen resolution. Click the image to expand.