MacOS X on any PC

Yesterday, Rain wrote on using FlyakiteOSX to “aquafy” any Windows XP machine to look like Mac OS X. I did try this nifty add-on a couple of months back and it was way cool. You get that look and feel of Mac OS X without the hefty price usually associated with those beautiful Apple machines. My only gripe was that it did not work so well with my not-so-new machine–it slowed down the system.

I ended up uninstalling Flyakite save for Objectdock (which is one of the optional dock applications included in Flyakite). And I went back to that boring, old Windows Classic theme on my XP machine.

But then out of necessity (the mother of invention), I found the need for a MacOS-based machine at work. And being the penny-pincher I am, I tried to avoid having to buy another Mac (we have an eMac which we share on a need basis). Getting a Mac Mini was an option, since units retailed for only about PhP 40,000 (cheap compared to all other brand new Macs). But PhP 40k is PhP 40k, and a cheaper alternative would definitely be welcome.

So Googling around, I discovered I could use VNC to remotely access the Mac. But by default, the Mac Remote desktop feature built in with OS X only lets remote clients share the screen with one desktop. I hence searched further and came up with OSXVNC, which allows multiple clients/users to access their own desktops in a single machine (as long as the app is running under the particular account you want to share). So now I can work on the Mac using my own user account from either my XP-based laptop or 98SE desktop. I can even login to a remote desktop connection via the internet.

Nifty, huh?

Advantages: You can access the MacOS desktop remotely from any type of machine (Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc.) that supports the VNC protocol.

Drawbacks:

  • you actually need to have a Macintosh machine within the network
  • the screen refresh may not be that good since it’s, after all, a remote desktop connection (the network connection had better be fast to minimize the lag)
  • Of course, it’s only the desktop display that’s transferred to the client machine, and not other media such as the audio

But hey, it works well. And it’s just like having an actual Mac OS on my Windows-based machine.

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  • I am just curious. What was the work that specifically needed OSX? I guess, with all OSX’s eye candy, the “server” has to be G5s.

  • Richard, nothing fancy. Quality Assurance, a.k.a. “User experience engineering,” which won’t necessarily need very powerful machines.