Hacker Magic Allows iOS Core To Run On Nokia N900

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 7.36.20 AM

When you look at iOS, you’re looking at a user interface more than an operating system. Beneath the animations, transparencies and rounded-corner icons is the core of the operating system… basically, a bunch of ASCII text, similar to a Terminal window, that is what iOS looks like before it puts its face on.

In a rather interesting twitch, Winocm — one of the hackers behind the iH8Snow iOS 6.1.3/6.1.4 jailbreak — has managed to get iOS’s core running on a Nokia n900 smartphone.

Winocm explains:

Reecently, I achieved one of the core milestones of my personal project, porting the Darwin kernel to the ARM architecture. This specified milestone was booting to a multiuser system.

Darwin is the core operating system that lies under both Mac OS X and iPhone OS. It is the true core foundation that bridges the kernel to the actual UI above. (SpringBoard/loginwindow/etc).

It doesn’t run specifically on the Nokia N900, either. It also runs on the following ARM and OMAP mobile chips:

• ARM RealView Emulation Baseboard (ARMPBA8_ALT)
• ARM RealView Platform Baseboard for Cortex-A8 (ARMPBA8)
• Texas Instruments OMAP3530 (BeagleBoard/BeagleBoard xM) (OMAP3530)
• Texas Instruments OMAP3430 (Nokia N900) (OMAP3430_RX51)
• Texas Instruments AM335x (BeagleBone/BeagleBone Black) (OMAP335X)

It would be nice if this work ever saw a widescale release, but don’t get your hopes up. Just because a hacker can inject code into a device with great pain and deliberation doesn’t mean that a port that runs iOS on any mobile device will ever be a double-click-to-install affair. And considering that similar hacks like this have never been released, I wouldn’t hold your breath.


About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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