I installed pbrt on Mac OS X, running on MacBook Pro (Intel). The process was pretty easy. In addition to OpenExr, I had to install libtiff (using Fink). After that everything compiled and installed smoothly.
Speeding up Rendering
I used lower resolution (300x300) and Sampler values (1) for quick turn-around during testing.
It was actually fairly time-consuming to tweak the images using the edit-render-view cycle. I think some sort of real-time interactive interface would help greatly in choosing the correct light settings. Also, the coordinate system seemed to be right-handed instead of left-handed as in the pbrt text.