Run Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) on a Dell Mini 9

I’m a huge fan of ultra portables! They are small, light and just powerful enough to do what you need to get done. Sure I run Windows (in VMware), but for me the Mac OS better fits my lifestyle, but if you are looking for an ultra portable you are going to have to look beyond Cupertino.

So, when I got the Dell mini 9 all I wanted to do was put Leopard on it. With a little bit of tinkering and some help from a good blogging buddy Kevin Tofel I was able to painlessly install 10.5.4 on the little guy.

Kevin advised me that the chipset and processor of the Dell mini is so similar to the MSI Wind that a special slipstreamed version of 10.5 customized for the MSI Wind would be perfect (and painless) to get the little guy up and running.

The steps to Leopard-ize the mini are actually quite simple and easy to follow. After you download the slipstreamed ISO and burn the 3.2GB ISO to a DVD you boot up the Dell mini off a external DVD drive (Press 0 (Zero) at the BIOS screen) and installed Leopard as usual.

Once you complete the install all components except the wireless, ethernet, and sound worked. After some searching on the Dell forums I found two files that enabled the disabled Broadcom wireless adaptor and audio chipset, which you can find here.

Unzip the archive from the previous step and open Terminal in Leopard on the Dell mini. Type in sudo and drag the icon to the Terminal window. Press the Enter key, type in your admin password on the keyboard and follow the instructions. (For those who don’t like to read – basically press Enter four times and restart).

When that is done, restart the computer and run the ALC268_Installer1 application (That was included in the archive) to enable sound chipset on the mini.

After you restart again and you have a fully functioning Mac OS enabled Dell mini 9.

UPDATE: I have had success updating to 10.5.5. Just use software update to download the update and reapply the patches. Proceed with caution on the update, milage may vary.