Running Mac OS X on a Olympus E-P2 digital camera

Yes, this was an April Fool’s story.. but, like all the good ones, this one is also possible if someone was crazy enough to do it!

I was the first to run the full-blown version of Mac OS X on a smartphone (The Nokia N900), not even Apple did it before me. But I thought, why stop there? I’ve spent the last few weeks digging into the firmware and hardware of my digital camera, the Olympus E-P2 Micro Four Thirds camera body. As you know, digital cameras these days are pretty powerful machines, with plenty of RAM and storage space (in the form of a memory card) – you can get tens of gigabytes of storage with these things. And the display resolutions are nearing the level of yesterday’s desktop computers.

Well, after a few weeks of sleepless nights hacking the insides of this thing, I’ve figured out how to make my own custom firmware that plugs into the stock firmware. Then on top of that, I’ve build at a cross-compiler and using that, ported the essential POSIX C libraries from NetBSD. Next thing I did was implement a rudimentary framebuffer display driver, which finally enabled me to port the good old PearPC, the PowerPC MAC emulator, which I used in my original Mac OS X on the N900 hack, to run on the hacked camera. And as you know, once that runs, the good old OS X 10.3 for PowerPC boots up and runs fine!

The lack of any decent keyboard is a real hindrance though. I was able to hack together a mouse driver that uses the 4-directional control pad for mouse movements and clicks, so you can do some stuff anyway. Maybe I will take the effort to port some graphical On Screen Keyboard to run in this configuration? One thing that comes to mind is the excellent Maliit that’s being used on the Nokia N9 among other things:

I’ll post some videos and source code soon after I’ve done some more cleanups, but here’s a screenshot already! 


  • Figure out how to enable networking through the USB port – as this camera has no WiFi or Bluetooth features.
  • Enable HDMI output, for connecting external displays
  • Enable a bootup choice of the original firmware vs. booting up Mac OS X

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