It’s MacOS. On An Unmodified Wii!

We’re used to the so-called “Hackintoshes”, non-Apple hardware running MacOS. One we featured recently was even built into the case of a Nintendo Wii. But [Dandu] has gone one better than that, by running MacOS on an unmodified Wii, original Nintendo hardware (French, Google Translate link).

How has this seemingly impossible task been achieved? Seasoned Mac enthusiasts will remember the days when Apple machines used PowerPC processors, and the Wii uses a PowerPC chip that’s a close cousin of those used in the Mac G3 series of computers. Since the Wii can run a Linux-based OS, it can therefore run Mac-on-Linux, providing in theory an environment in which it can host one of the PowerPC versions of MacOS.

The installation sequence has more than its share of difficulties, but eventually he was able to get the Wii running MacOS 9, the last classic MacOS. It runs DOOM, Internet Explorer 5, and iTunes even on these limited resources, though the last package had display and sound issues. He then tries a MacOS X build, but without success.

It’s fair to say that this is not exactly a way to get your hands on a cheap Mac, and remains more of an exercise in pushing a console beyond its original function. But it’s still an interesting diversion, and maybe someone will in time make a MacOS X version work on the Wii too. If you’re curious about the Mac-in-a-Wii that inspired this work, you can see it here.

16 thoughts on “It’s MacOS. On An Unmodified Wii!

    1. The software isn’t really modified for softmodding a Wii. In a nutshell the RSA keys could be brute forced so you could run unsigned / fake signed code on the Wii. This was discovered because of how the console operates in GameCube mode. When in GameCube mode only the first 16 megs of RAM is useable but the remaining RAM wasn’t cleared. Team Twizers figured out you could change the address line with some tweezers and move the 16 megs around. Throw in some memory dumping tools and the contents of RAM and the OS itself was pieced together and then pulled apart looking for ways to run unauthorized code.
      The OS is basically untouched but every exploit has just been about tricking the console into running spoof signed code and defeating any effort Nintendo has put into detecting these RSA key exploits.

  1. Minor nitpicking, bit it’s “Mac OS”, not “MacOS” – there is/was no such thing as “MacOS”. The current branding is “macOS”, which was introduced with macOS Sierra in 2016, and prior to that it was “OS X” between 2012 (Mountain Lion) – 2015 (El Capitan), “Mac OS X” from 2001 (Cheetah) – 2011 (Lion).

    The version in this article, 9.2 was branded “Mac OS”, which was the official branding introduced in 1991 with Mac OS 7.6 (aka Harmony) until 2001 (Limelight/LU1), although colloquially speaking, “Mac OS” could also mean to include versions prior to 7.6, ie “System Software”, aka “Classic Mac OS”.

      1. And? Stallman’s complaints are valid, but he’s going about it the wrong way. You can’t change a language through sheer force of will, you need to make it so people don’t have a choice.

        Stop telling people to say GNU/Linux, but make it so that they have to specify. Port the BSD tools to linux and hurd, port the GNU tools to bsd. GNU/Linux, BSD/Hurd, BSD/Linux, GNU/BSD, uutools/Linux, ecetera.

  2. Now i wonder if you do the HDMI mod for a clearer picture how much productivity you could still get out of this little now-made-full-blown-computer console.

    I am from the tribe of the IA16/32 and never owned a Mac Classic in its heyday and all i know from it is from experimenting in an emulator. So, what could one do now?

    I presume Classzilla or what its called now for somewhat modern browsing would be a start, it’s a relative powerful PPC and should be able run this port. Then i would scour the gardens for productivity software. Coming from PCs my first go would be MSOffice but no clue if that would be a wise choice.

    And then?
    Question for the folks that grew up with classic Mac, what else would land on your Hack-Nin-Tosh?

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