Mac OS 10.5/Leopard on the Samsung NC10

Initially I ordered a Dell Inspiron 910/Mini 9, after reading about how easy it was to get Leopard running on these machines. However, after initially quoting 15 days delivery then then, on the 15th day, extended this to 30 days – at which point I cancelled the order.

Instead, due to its looks and frankly astonishing battery life, I ordered a Samsung NC10.

As it turns out, although all Atom netbooks are created equal, some are more equal than others – especially where OS X compatibility is concerned…

Note that I’m doing an install straight of my Leopard retail DVD – more success may be had with one of the various hacked install DVDs which can be downloaded from the usual places. Arr.

The Good (or, What Works)

  • Keyboard & Volume controls (but not brightness controls, the Euro key, or the pipe key which usually lives to the left of “Z”);
  • Trackpad;
  • All three USB ports (although I’ve not yet tried booting without any devices plugged in);
  • Integrated USB webcam;
  • Integrated Bluetooth;
  • Sleep – which unlike some other netbooks, just works perfectly. You do have to hit the power button to resume, though. Safe Sleep/Hibernate doesn’t seem to work right now, but one of the hacked drivers may have disabled it. The machine was in use for several hours yesterday and asleep overnight, but it still showing over 4 hours battery life πŸ™‚
    This post suggests that this is now a solved problem
    I now notice that sleep only seems to work if the machine is running from batteries… if you tell it to sleep on mains power then it will do so, but then wake again a couple of seconds later. Odd.

The Bad (or, What Doesn’t Work out-of-the-box)

  • Intel HDA Audio (but it does with the AppleAzaliaAudio.kext, link below!);
  • Atheros AR424/5007EG 802.11a/b/g MiniPCIe wireless card;
  • Marvell 88e8040 on-board PCIe network interface;
  • Any resolution other than 800×600 on the GMA950 graphics adapter (but it does with the replacement AppleIntelGMA950 kexts);
  • Any way to alter screen brightness;
  • Leopard itself – after installing, the Welcome/Migration Assistant proceeds to where it tries to setup networking, finds no network interfaces, quits and reloads itself (but only if it cannot find any network interfaces – which is the case on a stock NC10 if no USB ethernet adapter is plugged in).

The Ugly (or, What Can Be Made To Work Possibly Involving The Use Of A Large Stick…)

  • I have a Dell 1490 MiniPCIe card arriving from eBay, as these are supported under OS X, which should hopefully largely solve the ethernet and post-install problems (although the on-board ethernet looks to be a bust);
  • The Intel Graphics can be convinced to work through the use of a hacked driver – although this is apparently also possible by changing a PCI Device ID string in the existing driver, which is a solution I’d be happier with. Once the replacement Wifi card arrives, I’ll reinstall and try this method.
  • Another string edit, or if I hook up a CD drive to run a Linux LiveCD and get a dump of the audio codec data, should make it possible to coax sound into working – although it appears that switching between headphones and speakers will still be (at best) a manual process…

So, not completely infeasible but there’s still quite a bit which needs fixing…

More as I run into it.