Chameleon, Chimera or Clover. What are they? Who’s better than the other? I will explain that to you so you can make the right decision. Let’s begin:
Chameleon is an open-source project created on May 25, 2008 based on Apple’s Boot-132 which aims to create a Darwin/XNU bootloader able to boot OS X on ordinary x86 and x86_64 computers. Chameleon’s source code is organized using the SVN (Subversion control system) and maintained by the Voodoo team. Since it’s an open-source project anyone can edit and view the code to make adjustments, fix bugs and add new features to it.
Chimera, made by MacMan and the folks of tonymacx86.com on April 27, 2011, is a open-source bootloader based on Chameleon. The reason MacMan created Chimera was the fact that there were too many different versions of Chameleon [called “Branches”] each with it’s own purpose and/or patches for different hardware support. So Chimera is a Chameleon version which consolidates the best features from all of the available branches to obtain maximum compatibility across platforms as a result. It can be installed only by using MultiBeast, so if you followed tonymacx86’s guides you’ll will have Chimera by 100%. Chimera’s source code is available here.
Clover is an open-source EFI-based bootloader created on Apr 4, 2011. It has a totally different approach from Chameleon and Chimera, in fact it can emulate the EFI portion present on real macs and boot the OS from there instead of using the regular legacy BIOS approach used by Chameleon and Chimera. For many Clover is considered the next-gen bootloader and soon it will become the only choice since BIOS in being replaced by UEFI in every new motherboard. One big feature of Clover is that iMessage, iCloud, the Mac App Store works along with Find My Mac, Back To My Mac and FileVault since Clover can use the EFI partition. Clover on the other hand has 2 big downsides:
- It needs a UEFI motherboard to work properly and to do it’s magic.
Sure, there’s a BIOS option you can select to make it work on old computers but OS X features like Back To My Mac, Find My Mac, FileVault won’t work if you don’t use an UEFI motherboard.
- It’s a pain to configure since its documentation is just a little wiki and the community behind it it’s not as big as Chameleon and Chimera’s ones.
If you have a problem you can still try asking someone on the official Clover forum but if no one will reply or they won’t fix your problem it’s on your own.
So, those are the bootloaders but the questions still is: which one? Well choosing the right bootloader for your Hackintosh is crucial to make it work perfectly so you should choose it wisely.
The first thing I suggest you is to try Chimera, it’s the easiest of the three and it has a big community behind so if you need help there always be someone to ask, in addition you can use the tonymacx86’s “Buyers Guide” which contains various builds which works perfectly with the latests OS X versions and updates and those are all supported by Chimera.
The second thing I suggest you is to try Chameleon after you already tried Chimera and everything works fine with your system. In fact even if Chimera is easier than Chameleon it is more powerful and it’s updated more ofter than Chimera, also you can use the wonderful Chameleon Wizard to configure it in any aspect [Boot flags, SMBios, DSDT, etc.] so I suggest you to change Chimera for it.
The third and last thing I suggest you is to try Clover to enable those real-mac-only features, but only if you know what your doing because it can be really easy to break your Hackintosh with it.