In this article it is argued that, in the last few years, hacking practices consisting in the modification and subversion of digital devices are undergoing a process of popularization, and hacking-related cultural references and discourses are growing in terms of visibility among new segments of the population, including not only software experts and computer “geeks”, but also amateurs, laypersons and non-experts. To explain this idea, the article focuses on the emerging practice of the creation of a “Hackintosh”, that consists into the modification of a non-Apple computer in order to be able to be used with an Apple operating system. Then I will consider more closely one specific articulation of the Hackintosh practice: the creation of a so-called “MacBook Nano”, a low-cost netbook transformed to an Apple run software. It is precisely around this particular modification that the hackintosh practice has spread through new cultural representations and new ways of circulation of technical skills required, showing that the heterogeneous realm of hacking is today undergoing a change influenced by discourses and representations typical of different social spheres and especially of the cultural environment where ordinary people appropriate, consume, use and readapts products in their everyday lives. The story of the Hackintosh is theoretically and discussed by adopting a “Practice Theory” perspective, thus looking at the process by which hacking objects, skills and cultures are increasingly influenced by cultural elements and discursive strategies belonging to the realm of consumer practices.
Hacking, consumption, hackintosh, “consumerization”, Practice theory