If you’re a Mac user who picked up a Microsoft Surface RT tablet out of curiosity when they went on sale last October, and you’re yet to find a use for it, then don’t despair. Earlier this week it was revealed that it’s possible to jailbreak the device and install desktop apps that are designed for ARM processors — something Microsoft doesn’t officially support.
One developer has taken advantage of the exploit to run an early version of Apple’s Mac OS operating system inside a emulator.
Steve Troughton-Smith, an Android and iOS developer from Ireland, used the Surface RT jailbreak to install Bochs, an open-source PC emulator. With that installed, he was able to boot up a virtual hard drive with an early version of Mac OS Server installed on it.
It’s unclear exactly which version of Mac OS Troughton-Smith booted up, but as you can see from the image above, it’s old enough that there’s not a great deal you can do with it. You certainly couldn’t ditch Windows 8 altogether for Mac OS.
Having said that, it is pretty cool, and it demonstrates that this jailbreak could open the Surface RT up to an entire catalog of third-party applications that Microsoft support. One of the machine’s biggest criticisms at the moment is that there aren’t enough apps for it, because Microsoft won’t allow desktop apps to be installed. This could potentially solve that problem.
The jailbreak is still in its early stages, however, and there’s plenty of work to be done. In its current form, it must be applied every time the Surface RT is booted up — kind of like a tethered jailbreak for an iOS device.