Mac OS X on a Sun Ultra 20? (Updated)

Warning: this is an old post I am consolidating as you can see from the OS X version. No comments on this Post, Thanks

Its true you can load OS X on an Ultra 20, this was an experiment and seems to work.   You need to get a hold of iPC OSx86 which is available via a Torrent you will have to search for yourself.  This site is a good place to start: iPC OSx86 Public Beta of course this is not condoned and you need a legal copy of OS X.  Here is my configuration and steps I took to get it running:

Sun Ultra 20 Configuration
  • AMD Opteron 1214 2.2GHz CPU (dual core)
  • 6 GB memory, normally but 4GB back at to get replaced
  • 4-Port SAS PCI-E Host Bus Adapter (SG-XPCIE4SAS3-Z)
  • 2x160GB disks
  • 2x500GB disks eSata external
  • 1xDVD
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 560 Graphics Accelerator Card
  • 2x1000mb Enet (onboard)
Pre Installation Steps
  1. The first step was to update the firmware (bios) on the Utlra 20.  You can get this via this Sun Ultra20 site.
  2. Next you need to get a hold of iPC OSx96 public beta you can look for this via your torrent app, do not ask me where to download you need to search for it.  I recommend you get a legal copy of OS X from Apple.
  3. Got to this site for helpful information but I will guide you as to what I did to get it running: iPC OSx86 Public Beta
Burning a bootable DVD
  1. Once you get a hold of the media you need to unpack it since it comes in a “rar” format.  If you do not have a rar utility you can find one by searching google.  Once you have it unpacked it will create a folder and within it there will be an ISO. I made a duplicate of this ISO because you need to patch it and I wanted a backup since it took several days to download.
  2. Before you burn the DVD lets patch it.  You need to download the patches and tools via: iPC PPF Patches
  3. Once you get the patches and tools downloaded patch the original copy of the ISO image via the PPFMaster application. Make sure you patch the ISO in sequence: PPF1, PPF2, etc.  
  4. Okay now thats its patched you can burn your DVD.  I used the disk utility from OSX but you can also use Toast.

Now the fun part installation

  1. Now you can boot the DVD, after the LSI diags complete and the disks are shown hit the “F8” key and you should get the boot selection menu.  Select the obvious choice the Lite DVD and it will start booting.  The first message you will see is booting Darwin hit space to boot or something to that affect.  It will take awhile but you should see the language selection screen then the welcome screen. 
  2. Proceed through normally until you get to the disk selection you need to open the “Disk Utility”  to partition the HDD as GUID into the number and size of volumes required, and format the intended OS X install volume as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) giving it a unique name without spaces.  this is very important! After you select the disk to install on you will get to the screen below, click on customization and select the proper options shown in the next section.
  3. Here is what the customization screen looks like:
  4. Listed below is the proper selections for the Sun Ultra20 configuration stated in this article:


  • 9.5.0 Voodoo Kernel
  • Video Drivers: NVIDIA – NVDarwin 256MB
  • Chipset Drivers: NVIDIA MCP67 
  • Audio Drivers: ALC883
  • Ethernet Drivers: nForceLan Ethernet Driver (The nForce driver with iPC PPF2 paniced the system when a conntection was made the one located here
  • USB Drivers: Patched USB Drivers
  • Fixes and Patches: Firewire Mount, IOUSBMassStorage, SATA Driver Icon, Seatbelt.kext 10.5.5, Shutdown/Restart, Verbose Mode
  • BIOS: AppleSMBIOS-27 Rev3 Mac Pro
  • Applications: All of them 

When installing additional drivers like nForceLAN I used the “Kext Helper b7” utility that was installed as part of the “Applications” selection.  Since the old driver would not recognize full dulpex @ 1000bt Ihad to replace it.  Once the system booted up I moved the old “nForceEthernet” out of “/System/Library/Extensions” and used the Kext tool to add the new driver, then reboot.

Once it is rebooted open up the “System Profiler” and look in “Extensions” to verfy it loaded and the old one is not present.

 Additional Tid-Bits:

  • If you have to reinstall due to a crash or whatever make sure you launch disk utility on the dvd and erase the partition first.
  • Read the notes and forums on iPC.
  • The network interfaces came up as no type and half-duplex I changed it to 1000bt and full duplex and rebooted.
  • I also had to use the SAS controller I bought instead of the internal SATA, for whatever reason it would not boot without having a DVD using the internal SATA onboard controller.   I just moved the cables of the onboard and plugged them into the SAS controller avoiding having to jerry rig power.
  • Reboot after it is configured, then when it is just starting up interrupt the boot process and enter “-f” as the boot option.  This will force all the kext’s to be loaded, this only needs to be done once per iPC website.
  • To get accelerated graphics install: Natit tool for NVidia graphics then reboot.  You will need to also enable Quartz/GL using the OSX86Tools in the applications folder. 

Here we go a running system!!!


5 thoughts on “Mac OS X on a Sun Ultra 20? (Updated)

  1. Andy,Great Blog. In fact I was inspired to install osx on the exact same config as yours with the only difference that the cpus is opteron 1.8 on my sun workstation and 6gb ram.I do have a copy of osx server and plan to install that too. I did notice that the server image depicts 10.5.5 whereas you installed osx client 10.5.6 first. So my question is once i install 10.5.5 server, who do i upgrade to 105.5.6 and then 10.5.7Regards


  2. You probably figured it out by now, I never saw a notification for your question. The image I believe was one I took when I did a 10.5.5 so it is not updated. I do not recall if I was able to update the kernel when it is hacked but if I remember correctly with the iPC method you can. I know for sure you can use boot-132 to accomplish this it has been around for a couple of years. I since turned my Ultra 20 in a vSphere server.


  3. Hi, tanks for the instructions i use PPF5 Final. The installation is very slow and i just don't know what i might be doing wrong. It almost seems like the dvd-drive is too slow. Are there any special settings you made?I have the sun ultra 20 M2


  4. Long time since your howto guide, I know, but I am going to attempt to do the same thing soon with my new-to-me Ultra 20.I have a question: Can I install with an external USB DVD burner? It'll be a USB burner. I've never installed a Hackintosh before so I have no idea if the kernel can see external drives or install from them or what have you.Thanks. Hope you see and answer this.


  5. I am struggling to install Niresh's OSX Lion – I am getting 'Waiting for root device' and tried everything but no luck.I never managed to get the latest BIOS prior to Oracle buying Sun and amd consequently stuck with the original one. If anyone can share a later version that would be most appreciated.


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