Hack 17 OS X for This Old Mac


Give your legacy Mac hardware a nudge into OS X with the XPostFacto hack.

Wait, don't throw out that old Power Mac or Umax clone; it may just be up for a little Mac OS X sprucing. Some of those old Macs will actually run Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) ? with a little help from an unassuming-looking control panel.

I recently gave an old 7500 a G3 upgrade card from Sonnet (http://www.sonnettech.com/), a quad-port FireWire card, and a dual-port USB card (only $37, combined). Mac OS 9 ran rather snappily and the machine served quite nicely as a USB print server. Then I stumbled across a little something called XPostFacto (http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/XPostFacto/), which is open source and free.

XPostFacto is a little hack that brings Mac OS X, OS X Server, and Darwin to older, unsupported, and forgotten Mac models ? those draped in the unfashionable beige of times past.

Before you think of giving XPostFacto a whirl, be sure to consult the compatibility chart at:


Also, make sure your machine has been recently backed up. You're dealing with an unsupported hack here.

You can find XPostFacto site's comprehesive documentation at:


The procedure in a nutshell is:

  1. Boot into Mac OS 9.

  2. Insert your standard-issue Mac OS X installation CD.

  3. Run the XPostFacto application (icon shown in Figure 2-4).

  4. Point XPostFacto at the install CD and target volume.

  5. Click the Install button.

  6. Follow the usual installation instructions.

Figure 2-4. The XPostFacto utility

It'll take a while, mind you. Have some coffee, read The New York Times, watch a movie, and have a good meal. When you return, if all's gone according to plan, OS X should be humming away on your old throwaway Mac.

Other World Computing does offer XPostFacto support for a one-time $10 fee. If you're going to be running OS X on a legacy machine in a real production environment ? as opposed to just seeing if it can be done ? making the investment in some help may just be worthwhile.