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Dell E7440 and E7240 Hackintosh (github.com)
79 points by j0hann 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

The one issue I've always had with Hackintosh, is that while the main OS is from Apple it invariably requires using some 3rd party bootloaders, kexts and other files. And, this to me always raises the issue of security and whether they contain, or can contain, any backdoors/malwares.

Part of it could be my paranioa, but I never got a good answer to satisfy me.

Most of the alternative Android distros/builds (other than for devices supported by LineageOS at the moment) have similar provenance problems, in my experience with many devices: XDA-developers usually told me to just download and run/install these binaries from some strange file-sharing site. Not only is that highly questionable practice, but it seems to relieve much of the demand for more reasonable solutions. Which is one of the reasons I'm hoping PostmarketOS takes off -- a lot of the sketchiness potential has been removed.

This tends to also apply to OpenWRT vs almost all other third-party router firmware distributions. But at least for router distros, some of the maintainers of custom builds earn a fairly solid reputation and eventually build a project that approaches the degree of organization that's typical for desktop Linux distros. I think phone OS distros have to change targets too often the really get there.

Good point. The Linux ecosystem is much more amenable to that than chasing whatever Android does. Also, the popular home router hardware is more amenable than most handhelds (which often locked bootloaders, signed images, and lots of unsustainable closed drivers).

For my DD-WRT build I struggled in a similar way, since a compromised router can do a lot of damage. In the end it seemed "kong" had a good reputation and decided to get his/her build, but it wasn't an easy decision.

How is that all that different from any other software you download? With 100s of dependencies any one of them could be malicious and just wait for the next privilege escalation attack and achieve the same persistence level as a malicious kernel module.

The major Linux distros have processes in place to both filter what goes in and handle security issues when they happen. If you have specific concerns then name them, but downloading a Fedora or Debian install is in no way comparable to installing binaries from random filesharing websites.

>but downloading a Fedora or Debian install is in no way comparable to installing binaries from random filesharing websites.

What if you download binaries from non-random, trusted websites? Seem to me that is the same as trusting a repo maintainer.

You omitted where I said distros "have processes in place". We can discuss whether the processes are adequate, but the situation itself is completely different from downloading binaries from websites, trusted or otherwise.

I don't think its "completely different". Its only a minor difference in my view. We'll just have to agree to disagree. IMO repository maintainers are not going to code review every patch in every package, and logistically they can't anyway. The only 'process' here AFAICT, is to take down the patch once news spreads of a bad patch.

Do you only run software available in distro packages?

Given that I'm a Fedora packager, yes, or else software which I wrote myself.

I put in some malware in kext directly targeting anyone named yumraj. /evilgrin

When I was developing my first iOS app and was required by Apple to use a Mac to publish it to the Apple App Store, I resorted to installing macOS on a VM[1] rather than using a physical Mac. There is minimal configuration and it ran smoothly on my Windows PC laptop that had 16GB ram where 8GB was allocated to the macOS VM.

[1] https://techsviewer.com/how-to-create-a-macos-catalina-virtu...



The problem with all of these builds is you're damning yourself to working on top shifting sands and either committing yourself to rooting around in Mac OS plumbing (which I'm sure isn't documented well or even wholly exposed) or hoping the community patches things.

This used to be the case, and still is for laptop builds. For desktops, things are far more standardized now and Apple's hardware isn't much different than what is commercially available. A Z370/390 chipset with 7th-9th generation i5 or i7 processor coupled with AMD graphics and Broadcom wireless is pretty vanilla. The 7700k iMacs will be supported for a long time, so I have pretty high confidence that something with nearly identical hardware will similarly not break.

I'm actually somewhat surprised macOS does not check for the existence of a T2 chip as a precondition.

How would that work for all the hardware Apple has released and still supports that predate the T2?

For reference, the upcoming macOS Catalina still supports the following hardware:

    MacBook Pro (mid 2012 and newer)
    MacBook Air (mid 2012 and newer)
    MacBook (early 2015 and later)
    iMac (late 2012 or newer)
    iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
    Mac Pro (late 2013 or newer)
    Mac Mini (late 2012 or newer)
Apple T1 was introduced in 2016, T2 started showing up with the iMac Pro in 2017, the rest of the lineup got it in the 2018 refresh.

You're right, but at some point support will be dropped for the older Macs and an Apple proprietary security chip will be made mandatory.

DRM will kill the Hackintosh dream. How sad.

I expect that will happen once all the supported devices have a T2. That is probably some way off though as they are still selling new hardware without it, for example the recently updated iMacs.

I had the same issue with my hacintosh. (Snow leopard vintage). It worked great, was fast. But I lived in fear that some update would break it. I switched it over to linux and gave it a friend after after a couple years service.

I did like the bang for the buck.

Been running high sierra on a hackintosh for a couple years now. Of course, even my actual macbook is also on nvidia graphics (mid-2014), so next desktop will just jump over to Linux since Apple won't let Nvidia get drivers out.

I'll take that over the absurd amount of money I'd have to otherwise pay for a mac system. All so that they will graciously allow me to to develop software for their other, totally unrelated mobile OS.

OSX/MacOS and iOS are the same operating system.

They look different because they have different gui layers, but are otherwise the same.

wifi seems to the major issue this hackintosh has

On laptops: yes. On desktops there are plenty of cheap PCI-E cards available... or USB dongles.


Nice packaged solution, if your problem is that you need to run macOS on a five year old midrange Dell notebook. If you are just looking for a cheap macOS solution, 2012 Minis seems to go for around $250 on eBay ...

The next macOS release will probably be incompatible with 2012 minis.

All MacOS releases are incompatible with all Dell laptops.

Dumb question, but can you force the install of newer than supported macOS versions on unsupported apple hardware? Otherwise, these laptops seem more compatible, just not officially blessed to be so.

Yup you can, just need to make an installer drive. There's a tool for macOS that does this for you.

7440 is not midrange. It's one of the best notebooks until now. Excellent FHD screen, docking port, trackpoint, 3 buttons under the touchpad and great Linux support.

The only problem is the rubber band around the screen detaching after a few years.

From the README, the instructions are targeting an Intel i5 4300U. That's a four year-old part, and i5 is definitely a midrange processor.

Honestly, after 2 years on Ubuntu following a decade on OSX...all I want is to be able to run OmniGraffle on Ubuntu.

Literally the only thing I miss.

Interesting, but as a daily user of one of these Dell laptops, I would never do this. Its some of the worst hardware I've ever had the misfortune to use.

Wait what? The 7440 is a lovely laptop. What don't you like about it?

You've obviously never tried an apple laptop. Over the years nearly all of the components of my 2012 mbp retina have been replaced several times. The only things that are still original are the ssd and the bottom plate. Motherboard issues within a year, weak hinges, battery failing within 2 years, power cables failing every 9 months.

In all my years of using laptops (15 years before I got the apple) I've never had a failing power cable, until I tried Apple cables.

For sake of comparison I also have a retina 2012 MPB, and it’s been rock solid. Aside from one OS reinstall for AFS I’ve never had any issues.

Glad to hear that there are people not plagued with the issues I've had. Perhaps I've been very unlucky but even though I've loved using the laptop, the amount of hardware issues I've had made me want to go back to my thinkpads before.

Not saying thinkpads are perfect, but at least they mostly favor quality over design.

The finicky bits of a Hackintosh were always the trackpad support, wifi card, and longevity of the battery. I tried a hackintosh for a year but it felt like I was always tinkering with the config like you do/did with Linux installs.

I have Windows running on a MVP with Bootcamp - the track pad is horrible to the point of being unusable! When you tap/click, nothing happens until you move the cursor!

I swear Apple have done this on purpose...

If anyone has any tips on how to stop carrying a USB mouse and USB-C adapter around by actually making the track pad bearable, please do share.

btw there’s quite good subreddit https://www.reddit.com/r/hackintosh

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