iLife on PC
November 25, 2010 6:18 PM   Subscribe

I want to use iPhoto and some of the other iLife software, but I don't want to buy a Mac. Can I run this software effectively using software such as VMWare on my Windows 7 PC?

I suppose the other option is a Hackintosh, but the process looks hopelessly convoluted and I would have to buy what amounts to a new computer. However, I can replace a single component (CPU) of my existing PC and meet the requirements for VMWare. Does iLife run okay on VMWare, or will this pursuit be fruitless?
posted by lemur to Technology (13 answers total)
iLife runs on the Apple OS. It doesn't work on Windows. You'd need to install the Apple OS on a computer or buy a new Mac.
posted by dfriedman at 6:28 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this is a non-starter as I haven't heard of anyone virtualizing Mac software on other operating systems. While I suppose it could be done in theory you're looking at a spearheading a large project involving a fair number of people. The Hackintosh route would be much easier.
posted by 6550 at 6:34 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not according to the MacOS license. You're not meant to run MacOS, even virtually, on non-Apple hardware.
posted by pompomtom at 6:56 PM on November 25, 2010

Virtualbox can do OSX, but it's sorta finicky. I think VMWare can do it too, but won't take advantage of hardware virtualization, and will be dead slow.

One thing to note is even if you go out and legitimately buy a copy of OSX, it's against the EULA to run it on non-apple hardware. Virtualizing it, or installing it on a PC is illegal under contract law. IIRC OSX Server is legal to virtualize, but it's like a thousand dollars.

That said, if you search certain websites for "osx86" or "hackintosh" or "osx 86" or combinations thereof, along with the words "vdi" or "vdmk" or "virtualbox" or "vmware", you can find premade images that work in these virtualization programs.

There are also ways to install it directly to your hard drive and run it natively, though that's a huge can of worms. It can range from fairly straightforward, to a massive clusterfuck. It might be as easy as sticking in the CD, clicking a couple buttons, waiting an hour, and enjoying a full MacOS install on your PC, or it could be a compatability nightmare where you spend several hours a day for weeks on end to try and get networking/sound/power management to work.

If you do manage to install it natively, you may need to locate and install hacked drivers (kext files) to enable hardware video acceleration (Quartz Extreme or whatever). You'll need to know things like the PCI Vendor and Device ID's for your card, and a bunch of other esoteric things. If you don't get your video card drivers working properly, there is very little chance you can get the iLife suite to run acceptably.

I tried this about a year ago on my laptop. I spent a good 2 weeks playing with it. Eventually I was able to get sound to work, networking to work, I bought a new wifi card that would be compatible, I got accelerated video working, but the only thing I couldn't get working was power management, so that meant my laptop couldn't go to sleep, couldn't spin down its fans, couldn't turn off or restart, couldn't respond to the lid being closed, etc. It was pretty much a dealbreaker. The only reason I was so successful is because I have a fair amount of experience with BSD and Linux, and I know what I'm doing at a command prompt. If you don't know how to set permissions on a file, how to edit things with vi, etc, you pretty much don't stand a chance if anything goes wrong.

It IS possible, but usually not simple or straightforward. If you'd like to learn some more, search google for "OSX86 Wiki" or "Hackintosh", or "Chameleon Bootloader".
posted by inedible at 7:00 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't expect to use Garageband. It has to deal with midi drivers and microphone inputs etc., stuff that can get pretty flakey outside a very particular hardware set up.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:18 PM on November 25, 2010

Basically, no. If you're willing to put up with a lot of hacking, then maybe. Consider the value of your time, then consider the cost of a used mac.
posted by chairface at 7:31 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Theoretically, yes. Practically, no. You can buy a mac mini pretty cheaply, though.
posted by empath at 9:23 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Can't be done easily, no. Perhaps look on eBay or elsewhere for a used Intel Mac mini.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:16 PM on November 25, 2010

You can do the opposite easily, run Windows virtually on a Mac. So, you may think about selling your PC and replacing with a Mac and running Windows in VMware, VirtualBox, or Parallels. As mentioned above, you can get a Mac Mini relatively cheaply and use your existing keyboard and monitor with it (assuming you have a PC desktop).
posted by qwip at 2:11 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe look into PC alternatives. For instance, Picasa is a decent and free alternative to iPhoto.
posted by Magnakai at 5:54 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

It sounds like the above users are just guessing, and you even have one person who couldn't get OS X running on Intel giving you advice. Another is calling it Apple OS. This doesn't help anybody.

Yes, you can build a Hackintosh and run iLife.
If you use anything close to standard hardware you won't have driver issues. You can get it up and running in under 2 hours and if you partition the drive or use a 2nd drive you can even dual boot.
posted by PSB at 6:32 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

PSB: That's very optimistic and naive advice.

I've spent 3 years reading about hackintoshes. I've helped at least a half dozen people install it, with varying degrees of success. Even after spending 2 to 3 hours per day, every day, for more than half a month of constant research, even after donating dozens of dollars to independent developers working on drivers, I was still unable to get the little details working.
I've tried iAKTOS, Brasilmac, Kalyway, Deadmoo, dozens of premade installations, I've tried Chameleon, RebelEFI, and other bootloaders, I've tried building my own install from a legit retail DVD.

I have over a decade of linux/unix experience. I'm no idiot, but installing OSX86 took every ounce of my knowledge and skill. I spent days manipulating kext files, tearing down the standard apple versions, injecting code from hacked drivers, setting permissions, rebuilding databases, all from a cryptic and uninviting BSD shell using nothing but vi and your wits.

I'm not saying you're stupid, but you're ignorant and lucky. 90% of the time, it's nowhere near as easy as you describe. You lucked out with your hardware, others will not be so fortunate.
posted by inedible at 10:10 AM on November 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

PBS, you're guessing that everyone else is guessing. I built one. I hacked out the wifi card to install a compatible one. It still stucked because the OS isn't "virgin". It's a hacked up kernel. Random crap doesn't work or works poorly. You're completely on your own for the odd hardware you've got. Running it under a VM might be better, but probably not because then you can't even change the virtual hardware to ones the Mac supports.

I guess I'm just peeved that you assume we're all naive idiots who never tried it or couldn't make it work. I've done it. It sucks.
posted by chairface at 7:51 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

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