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Is there any Mac Operating System available to download ?

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GNOME2 Linux Distro + Mac theme = Almost Free Mac OS X :D – dysoco Oct 23 '11 at 18:58

10 Answers 10

up vote 19 down vote accepted

The short answer is, as others already said, there is no free OS X.

The long answer is this: An operating system consists of many parts and large parts of OS X are indeed free. If you are interested in this have a look at the Darwin project.

What is missing from Darwin is mainly the graphical user interface of OS X (Aqua). You can run GNOME or KDE instead if you like. One of the consequences is that you can't run applications that depend on Aqua, like Safari or iTunes.

And just not to give false hopes: Darwin is very cool if you are interested in operating systems but in my opinion it's not very useful for most practical purposes.

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Darwin is under an open source license, you can download and use it for free. I have done so. – Ludwig Weinzierl Jul 24 '09 at 19:22

You can't get Mac OS X for free, at least not legally.

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if I buy a Mac, do I have to pay for OS X? – splattne Jul 24 '09 at 19:13
No, you do not. All Macs come with OS X preinstalled. – waiwai933 Jul 24 '09 at 19:14
Does the engine come free with purchase of a car? You're paying for Mac OS X as part of buying the Mac. – matthews Jul 24 '09 at 19:17
No, because theoretically the cost of the OS is included with the cost of the computer. Plus, you still buy new versions of OS X. – jtbandes Jul 24 '09 at 19:18
@splattne: In any case you already paid for the OS when buying the Mac. Is like, they don't charge you by the display separately nor de HD. That doesn't make it free. – OscarRyz Jul 24 '09 at 20:28

Assuming that you mean a) legally and b) newer than, say, System 7, then your answer is no, there isn't.

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I think versions as 'new' as System 7.5.5 are freely downloadable. I seem to recall that possession of a Macintosh computer capable of running it is technically required for the license, but don't quote me on that. – dmckee Jul 24 '09 at 19:31
@dmckee - wow! you mean I can get System 7.5.5 free?! why did I pay for Leopard... Joking aside it's certainly a condition of the license for OS X that it be run on Apple hardware. – Jon Hopkins Jul 28 '09 at 15:49

You can get Linux distributions that run on Macs (ppc and x86)

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Get up to 7.5.5 from here.

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Technically, 7.1 is not free. – Troggy Aug 4 '09 at 7:07

Nope, sorry. However, you can (questionably legally) buy a copy of Mac OS X and install it on a PC ("hackintosh"). Also, keep in mind that new Macs come with Mac OS X.

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There are no problems with purchasing a copy of OS X: you are not required to own Apple hardware to purchase it, however, there are legal issues related to installing it on non-Apple hardware. – Matthew Schinckel Jul 28 '09 at 14:14
That's what I meant, yeah. Thanks for clarifying. – jtbandes Jul 28 '09 at 15:30

No. Mac OS X costs $129 USD and is available through Apple. While you may be able to find some locations that sell it for slightly less, you will not be able to obtain it for free unless, say, a friend gives it to you.

Also, please keep in mind that according to the License Agreement (or whatever), you can only install Mac OS X on Apple computers. (But it's possible to do so on other computers, just not legal).

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I think that's debatable. I'm pretty sure it's not entirely illegal to install it on other computers, as long as you bought it — just in violation of the EULA and so you won't get any support from Apple. – jtbandes Jul 24 '09 at 19:26
Well, it would be violating a contract, which is legally enforceable, so it is technically illegal, albeit being done quite often. – waiwai933 Jul 24 '09 at 19:31
It's one of those violations where they'd likely go after a distributer selling/installing it on non-Apple hardware (hi Psystar) but ignore individual violations unless it got out of hand. – Jon Hopkins Jul 28 '09 at 15:51
EULAs as contracts are legally a bit iffy. Consult a lawyer if you're wondering about it. Psystar not only violated the EULA, but modified Apple software to make it work on their systems, and that's copyright violation (which is a lot less iffy). – David Thornley Aug 19 '09 at 16:15

You can't get Mac OS for free, but you can run most versions of GNU/Linux on a Mac. Even the older macs (PowerPCs, LCIIs) will run GNU/Linux, although they will be somewhat slow and probably not good for even general flash-filled browsing nowadays.

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Mac OS X is free, in the sense that it's bundled with every new Apple Mac computer. But it's not freely available.

Search for "hackintosh". There are people installing unsupported versions of the operating system.

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hackintosh or OSX86 ;-) though the free part is debatable – Ivo Flipse Jul 24 '09 at 19:15
IMHO the terms "free" and "not free" don't apply to something you can't buy. – splattne Jul 24 '09 at 19:16
@splattne You've posted the same comment, or a variant of it, to three different answers. Where on earth did you get the idea that you cannot buy Mac OS X? It's on store shelves all over the place, and also available at virtually every online retailer. It's $129. – mmc Jul 24 '09 at 19:21
mmc: sorry. My fault. Apologies. I meant you can't buy a copy as operating system for a non-mac PC. – splattne Jul 24 '09 at 19:26
You can, but you aren't supposed to. – jtbandes Jul 24 '09 at 19:33

Interesting that nobody has mentioned, that GNUStep is largely compatible with Cocoa.
But it is more of interest to programmers, I guess.

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