Mac OS X on a Sony U- part 1


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.

OSX Disk Utility OS X Finder OS X Safari



i also own a U71P and i have installed PearPC to run Panther on it. it runs, but it is SLOW. emulated speed is reported to be around the 500MHz mark. i’ve used it to test sites in Mac IE and to toy with OS X preferences, but i wouldn’t use it for anything else, and in fact it’s very painful using just IE or Firefox.

initially i did an install with the disk image(s) mounted on a network drive over wireless. this was a BAD IDEA. it took many many hours (i’ve lost count). subsequent installs from the local disk were much quicker, around 1-1.5 hours.

i have had a lot of trouble with the openvpn driver, trying bridge and ICS methods with my wireless connection. i’ve heard that wireless connections periodically refresh their connection which causes the bridge to drop, so i may have better luck with the dock’s wired connection, but i don’t want to use another wire.

overall, the VAIO Type U ROCKS. running OS X on the U has definate novelty value, it looks cool. but it’s not usable (yet). PearPC is making great progress in performance. hopefully we’ll see an official 0.4 release soon which might be a bit better on slower CPUs. altivec support is in the stable branch now, which rocks.

i love my Type U. it is the ultimate portable.


As an emulator PearPC is slow but useable nonetheless on the U750. I don’t have any comparison and I haven’t tweaked it at all yet so I hope to improve the few areas that are giving me trouble. Mostly the network reliability.


JK, very nifty. :) Given the number of Mac fans we’ve seen purchasing the U, I think this will become an increasingly common sight.

What kind of speed are you getting out of PearPC? Is the emulation doing a pretty good job of presenting MacOSX in the G3 speed range, or is it like running Halo on a Pentium II?


hi there jk. do u know whether there is already a cf bluetooth card that doesn’t stick out and is compatible to use with the think outside keyboard and mouse? nice site by the way.


Steve, the answer is I sort of got them fixed. I’ll probably give a little more detail when I have time to do the next part but basically the Open VPN virtual network adapter is flaky as hell. I am looking for another program to use as this one is not very stable in my opinion. It will connect fine but after just a few minutes of internet cruising it eventually just craps out requiring me to exit PearPC which shuts down the virtual adapter. When it’s working it’s really nice, though. I can’t keep it up long enough to get file sharing with the Windows side yet.


interesting interesting – speed of the emulation? :)

more screenshots please.

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