In my last Apple TV hackery installment I promised not to write another post until somebody had gotten a popular distribution of Linux running on the thing. Still no luck with that, but the law of unintended consequences has worked the other way: people have been installing the Apple TV OS on all sorts of other Intel-based machines, including vanilla Pentium PCs, MacBooks and MacMinis. Sorry, I just can’t resist.
Want your own copy to play with? You can download it via a torrent on The Pirate Bay. If you’re looking to subsidize the $299 cost of the device, all you have to do is get open-source PBX Asterisk running on the device and you’ll win $500 from appletvhacks.net, yet another site devoted to breaking the warranty and extending the functionality.
It couldn’t be that hard — somebody already has open-source web server Apache running on the thing. Tutorial Ninjas even have a step-by-step guide to getting everything from VLC and World of Warcraft to Joost running on an Apple TV.
With all this Apple TV news, Microsoft has been making an effort to remind everyone that Windows Media Center and the Xbox 360 are still kewl. Xbox Live is now offering HD movies, and the new ‘elite’ console as an HDMI output like the Apple TV. Plus it’s in new bitchin’ black! And if you don’t like the interface, you can skin your Xbox Media Center interface to look just like the Apple TV.