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Links to illegal warez, etc. will be removed, and your access will be blocked. (Details)

Apparently, there are some copies of patchstick images in the wild. Most likely, these will not work. Also, THEY ARE ILLEGAL! Also, some people report that the patchstick erased their AppleTV, resulting in a non-recoverable AppleTV. This is actually quite credible, since all Patchstick does is run some shell scripts as root. If this happened to you: GOOD FOR YOU!! Don't count on Apple to help you.

This page describes how to make a Patch stick using OSX/Intel binaries, and therefor is not legally distributable. Therefor, no support whatsoever is given to anyone.

However, I think this process is important enough to document, so we can see what steps are needed to build an open, free and 100% legal version of Patchstick. - Mactijn 23:56, 8 April 2007 (CEST)

Pre-requisites, All versions

  • USB flashdrive or disk (USB mass storage compatible) (for, a 512Meg stick is sufficient -- has anyone succeeded with a smaller stick?)
  • an Intel machine running Mac OS X 10.4.x (won't work on non-intel machines, kext files not compatible; have a look at Install SSH without an Intel Mac in this case)
  • boot.efi from OS.dmg, mount it from the latest software update

Pre-requisites, Manual way

Full Working Version

zip file mirrored here:

I (HenryLaxen) downloaded this on July 23, 2007, and found that this line in the createPatchstick file was commented out:

	cp /usr/sbin/sshd /Volumes/Patchstick/ssh/

which prevents sshd from working on the AppleTV. After uncommenting this line, I was able to log into my AppleTV with ssh -1 -v frontrow@xx.xx.xx.xx Also, I consistantly get a kernel panic when launchd executes /sbin/reboot, however by this time the ssh files have already been installed. Do not worry that the first time you log in via ssh that it takes a long time, as the AppleTV must generate its host keys. HenryLaxen July 25, 2007

Actually, there are three ssh-related lines commented in the createPatchstick script, and it worked well for me to uncomment all three. But the "sed" in the DYLD_FRAMEWORK_PATH mumble isn't found when booting from the stick, which is why I believe only "ssh -1" works so far. Also, I see no reason why the Perian lines are commented out, and restoring them allowed Perian to be installed, which is quite useful of course. clrelay 2007-08-06

I was able to use it free of any changes noted above. After installation, I used the Enable SSH Server item in the AwkwardTV frappliance to gain shell access. postman August 12, 2007

Manually: Partitioning and formatting the USB disk

based on Turbo's excellent guide here.

Update: Changed to use only one partition!

  • hook up the USB drive to your Mac
  • Re-partition it using DiskUtility: Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled), Options: GUID table, Partition Name: Patchstick-root

If you only have one disk, your USB disk will be /dev/disk1, otherwise

  • check what disk it is:
hostname:~ user$ df -h
/dev/disk0s2               74G    72G   1.9G    97%    /
devfs                     100K   100K     0B   100%    /dev
fdesc                     1.0K   1.0K     0B   100%    /dev
<volfs>                   512K   512K     0B   100%    /.vol
automount -nsl [205]        0B     0B     0B   100%    /Network
automount -fstab [219]      0B     0B     0B   100%    /automount/Servers
automount -static [219]     0B     0B     0B   100%    /automount/static
/dev/diskX                499M    40K   499M     0%    /Volumes/NO NAME

NOTE: if you see something like /dev/disk1s1, /dev/diskX means /dev/disk1, not /dev/disk1s1!

  • Now get the partition information which is required later to change the GUID:
gpt -r show /dev/diskX

results in:

   start    size  index  contents
      0       1         PMBR
      1       1         Pri GPT header
      2      32         Pri GPT table
     34       6         
     40  511920      1  GPT part - 48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC
 511960       7         
 511967      32         Sec GPT table
 511999       1         Sec GPT header

Note the start and size of the partition - use this at the bottom of these instructions as the -b -s parameters (in this case -b 40 -s 511920)

Creating the patchstick boot-environment

this part is, for now, based on copying OSX binaries, and needs to be replaced ASAP

After performing the steps in the previous chapter, the USB drive's primary partition should have mounted itself as /Volumes/Patchstick-root. If you named it differently, please substitute all occurences of /Volumes/Patchstick-root with the correct one.

  • in a shell, as root, change the current directory to the patchstick root FS:
hostname:~ root# cd /Volumes/Patchstick-root
  • create the directory structure:
hostname:/Volumes/Patchstick-root root# mkdir -p sbin usr/lib/system System/Library/Extensions stuff etc dev OSBoot
hostname:/Volumes/Patchstick-root root# ln -s sbin bin
  • copy semthex's kernel (named mach_kernel) to /Volumes/Patchstick-root/
  • create /Volumes/Patchstick-root/ with your favourite text editor (vi/pico/joe/...) and make it look like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
        <key>Background Color</key>
        <key>Boot Fail Logo</key>
        <key>Boot Logo</key>
        <key>Kernel Flags</key>
  • copy over the following files:
hostname:/Volumes/Patchstick-root root# cp -R /System/Library/Extensions/{AppleACPIPlatform,AppleAPIC,AppleEFIRuntime,AppleFileSystemDriver,AppleFlashNVRAM,AppleHDA,AppleHPET,AppleIRController,AppleRTC,AppleSMBIOS,AppleSMC,AudioIPCDriver,BootCache,GeForce,IO80211Family,IOACPIFamily,IOATAFamily,IOAudioFamily,IOGraphicsFamily,IOHIDFamily,IONDRVSupport,IONetworkingFamily,IOPCIFamily,IOPlatformPluginFamily,IOSCSIArchitectureModelFamily,IOStorageFamily,IOUSBFamily,IOUSBMassStorageClass,NVDANV40Hal,NVDAResman,OSvKernDSPLib,System,AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement}.kext /Volumes/Patchstick-root/System/Library/Extensions/
hostname:/Volumes/Patchstick-root root# cp /bin/bash /bin/chmod /usr/sbin/chown /bin/cp /sbin/mount /sbin/mount_hfs /sbin/mount_devfs /bin/sleep /sbin/umount /bin/sync /bin/mkdir /usr/bin/sed /usr/sbin/installer /Volumes/Patchstick-root/sbin/
hostname:/Volumes/Patchstick-root root# cp /usr/lib/dyld /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib /usr/lib/libncurses.5.4.dylib /usr/lib/libgcc_s.1.dylib /Volumes/Patchstick-root/usr/lib/
hostname:/Volumes/Patchstick-root root# cp /usr/lib/system/libmathCommon.A.dylib /Volumes/Patchstick-root/usr/lib/system/
  • Patch the AppleFileSystemDriver and add the following section to the file /Volumes/Patchstick-root/System/Library/Extensions/AppleFileSystemDriver.kext/Contents/Info.plist in the IOPropertyMatch array:
                                                <key>Content Hint</key>
                                                <key>Content Hint</key>
                                                <key>Content Hint</key>

  • now, create /Volumes/Patchstick-root/sbin/launchd with your favourite text editor (vi/pico/joe/...) and make it look like this:

exec 2>/dev/console
exec 1>/dev/console

echo "        --- AppleTV Patchstick ---"
echo '        (please ignore the "invalid destination port\" errors)'

# echo "        * remounting / r/w"
# /sbin/mount -uw /

echo "        * mounting OSBoot partition r/o"
/sbin/mount -t hfs -r /dev/disk0s3 /OSBoot

echo "        * re-mounting OSBoot partition r/w"
/sbin/mount -uw /OSBoot

echo "        * mounting stuff partition r/o"
/sbin/mount -t hfs -r /dev/disk1s2 /stuff

echo "        * keeping the OSBoot partition r/w for plugins"
touch /OSBoot/.readwrite

if [ -d /OSBoot/dev/ ]; then

  for i in /stuff/installer.d/*; do
    echo "        --- ${i} ---"
    /sbin/bash "${i}"