back to article Hacker blasts Mac clone maker's licence 'violation'

Psystar, the company claiming to offer a $400 computer capable of running off-the-shelf copies of Mac OS X, is not only annoying Apple - it's also managed to piss off the guy who wrote the emulation technology. Psystar's website is back online today following a temporary absence and is once more pitching what it now calls the …


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  1. Kenny Millar
    Jobs Halo

    Brick in waiting.

    Like that's not gonna get bricked at the very next software update!

  2. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo

    About time

    Now let the OS abuse begin, i'll give it a year or so before either Apple stop the installation on this hardware, they up their OS price or they write in that support is only available for mac hardware.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting combination for a business

    That appears quite a double whammy: license violation (the emulator) as well as incitement to violate license terms (Apple's license).

    It would surprise me if they last half a year.

    Having said that, thanks for the heads up on the emulator. I'm thinking about switching more business work to Mac, but I need to do some testing - an emulator will do nicely before we commit spend to hardware (hear this Apple? - this guy is helping you sell).

  4. Richard Cartledge
    Jobs Halo


    I hope this doesn't ultimately lead to Mac OS license keys and serial numbers and validation tools etc... Life is swell without these.

  5. Jango
    Jobs Horns

    About time ...

    About time somebody gave Apple the bird. Maybe they are afraid people will realize how they have been dishing out more bucks just for the half eaten fruit logo when something cheaper is better or more likely they'll start seeing how crappy OSX is once it needs to run (or more likely crash) on other non-Apple hardware. But who can reason with them mactards - "In the land of the blind, Stevie is the king".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    "Psystar has reportedly said it believes Apple's licensing terms to be unlawful because they're anti-competitive"

    Oh, then I would like Microsoft to write Windows for the PSP, because surely Sony are being anti-competitive by not allowing it on the PSP, and Microsoft are being anti-competitive by not writing it for the PSP, or the Wii, or the DS, or the Gameboy, or my Sony DVD player, or... etc.?

    It's so anti-competitive of a company to protect its investment in hardware and software. The clone wars nearly killed Apple; Jobs cancelled that before OS 8.0 and look how their fortunes have turned around.

  7. Dan O'Donovan
    Jobs Halo

    after care? support?

    These guys can't even fix their site to render correctly with Apple's Safari, what hope have they of getting an entirely non-supported OS to function?

  8. Grant Mitchell


    ...or more likely they'll start seeing how crappy OSX is once it needs to run (or more likely crash) on other non-Apple hardware.

    Actually, that is a good reason for shelling out the bucks for the half eaten fruit logo right there. The fact that the hardware is approved, and not "whatever I could buy cheap online" _hopefully_ means more stability. It means that Apple _should_ be able to maintain a more stable OS. On this point however, your mileage may vary. :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Jango

    Your comment really made me laugh.

    "they'll start seeing how crappy OSX is once it needs to run (or more likely crash) on other non-Apple hardware"


    You know, the other day I took an engine that Audi had carefully engineered to work beautifully in one of their fancy cars, stuck it in a Mini Metro, and would you believe it, it didn't work very well. Stupid Audi, what were they thinking?!

  10. Michael Jolly

    Where is

    Webstar Phreaky?

    I am sure he is just dying to comment,

  11. Abe

    @ Jango

    Well f****n said my friend, well f****n said!

  12. Steve Todd


    You can't have it both ways. Either Apple are overcharging and you can run OS X on any old piece of Intel kit, or OS X won't be reliable on any old piece of kit. Like Apple or not they don't try to use the cheapest possible parts and they put a fair amount of effort into their hardware designs.

  13. Les Matthew


    "Just save up that bit more, get a mac, run bootcamp, dual boot, be legal (option), everyones happy!

    Interesting though, how so much more people are now looking at ways to get Leopard on their system.... Y'all love to hate it, but ya still want it he he he."

    Is it just me or is there a large dose of irony here?

  14. Rob


    Jango, have you ever used a mac or do you just spout your misinformed nonsense as some kind of justification for not understanding what they're all about

  15. Steve

    @ Where is

    He went into kernel panic when he couldn't decide between cheering Psystar on for sticking two fingers up to Apple or berating them for running OSX.

  16. Matthew Leathes
    Thumb Down


    I'll stick with my MacMini thanks - it may be more expensive (doubly so since I live in rip-off Britain) and less powerful but there's no other desktop pc quite like it and I wuv it vewy vewy much.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Idiot! You clearly haven't understood what was said. It is anti-competitive to prevent you installing your software on what you like. It is not anti-competitive to not produce software for a given set of hardware. It would however be anti-competitive to prevent someone developing software that runs on a given piece of hardware. Do you understand that?

  18. caffeine addict

    I don't get Apple...

    I really don't...

    Both Apple and MS push hard to get you on the latest OS by limiting what other software works on old versions, both bundle their own browsers on it, both try and force you to only use their own software bundles. Except MS get blasted for it and Apple get ignored.

    And Apple forces you to use their own hardware while MS works (for a given value of "works") on all IBM-compatible machines.

    Apple is just the same evil empire mentality, but it's convinced the world it's the good guy buy dressing all it's soldiers in white designer uniforms...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @ Steve Todd

    "Like Apple or not they don't try to use the cheapest possible parts..."


    Maybe you missed this (or Stevies RDF has erased it from your memory):

  20. David Cornes

    Potential market?

    I can see the logic in only running your software on your own hardware to reduce support woes (though judging from the Mac forums there still seems to be a fair bit of flakiness across the Mac hardware estate?!).

    But... I used Mac OS 9.x occasionally for a while at a place I worked a few years back. Whilst it was about as reliable as Win98, I kind of took ashine to it. I've been longing to give OS-X a whirl, see how I get on with it, maybe even perhaps eventually make the move from Windows full time? But until I can either run a copy of X in VMWare, or buy a secondhand Mac for a reasonable price, then I'm not going to shell out the silly money asked for new Apple kit!

    A shame.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What I find interesting...

    Is the way the Mac fan-bois are unwilling to compare like with like. Windows (at least pre-vista - and vista is a crock before you accuse me of being a Windows fan-boy) was designed to run on pretty much every hardware configuration going - OSX wasn't. If you actually spend the same on hardware than you do when buying a Mac, and try and build something reliable, you get something unbelievably reliable. At work I run WinXP. I don't reboot it all the time, and I can't remember my last BSOD. In fact, looking around my office everyone else is in the same situation. With stable top drawer hardware, WinXP is very stable, as well as running more useful software than Mac OSX. At the same time Windows will also run on much cheaper hardware as well, albeit less reliably. That makes Windows > Mac OSX in my book. It will do everything Mac will from a stability perspective, but provides you with choice.

    Of course interfaces are a different thing. It seems to be in vogue now to get Fisher-Price to develop your GUI. That certainly seems to be the case with OSX, Vista and Office 2007. Why can't GUIs be functional rather than just pretty? And why do buttons have to be big enough to hit with small plastic mallets now, my mouse pointer is pretty small and I'm pretty accurate with it...

  22. Matt Kemp

    If I remember correctly..

    Apple's EULA says that it can only be used on an Apple-labeled PC - grab one of them labels you got with your ipod and slap it on the side. Job done.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac clones

    I bought a Motorola Starmax PowerPC Mac clone about a decade ago.

    It was built like a tank, had plenty of expansion capability, and ran OS 9 solidly for at least 5 years.

    Trouble was, it looked like total ass. I had to hide it under the desk.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    what about the liscence

    This is already a mac vs non-mac slanging match.

    I am happy with my own choice of OS and thats that (nope not telling what it is).

    As for the story, why is no-one commenting on the liscence issue.

    Did the emulator have a clear a legal license or was it just some terms put in a readme file. Maybe the writer should have used an existing liscense such as GPL, BSD or even the Apache style liscence.

    Surely if his claim is valid and can be easily proved, then he should stop blogging and start sueing. Or if he was too slack to care about how tight his lisence is then clam up and get over it.

  25. Eric Dennis
    Jobs Horns

    Apple Branded Hardware?

    Here's a novel Idea,

    Use Apple/Intel based motherboards and processors in a case designed to run them and you don't need emulation code. You're not violating the Apple license because you are using "Apple Hardware" and you're not violating the EFI emulator license because you won't need emulation code. Problem solved. The invoice is in the mail. LOL!!!

  26. Steve Todd

    @David Corbett

    ""Like Apple or not they don't try to use the cheapest possible parts..."


    Maybe you missed this (or Stevies RDF has erased it from your memory):"

    Likewise bollocks.

    The case you quote was complaining about Apple using a 6 bit/primary LCD panel on their entry level iMac. The panel in question is definitely not the cheapest possible, neither is it the most expensive. What do you expect in a model that is $200 cheaper than the previous one? Who, other than pro photographers, is likely to notice the difference?

  27. mike brockington

    Which one

    Which one do you think SillyStar are more afraid of? Apple, with it's multi-million dollar legal budget, or a lone OpenSource dev, with all of his close friends?

  28. James Robertson


    Apples iLife programs can be removed as they are an addition to the OS not part of the OS that why hey don't get slated

  29. jai


    i think Jango must be Mr Freaky reincarnated

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an Asus case

    I have that case (branded by Asus) in black. It takes micro-atx boards. Similar to this one:

  31. Joel Braby
    Paris Hilton

    Let's be honest...

    All software sucks. The question is, what software is best for me to get my job done? I drive Mac OS X, Windows XP and Linux every day. Linux for my servers, WinXP for a bunch of client management tools (my users all drive Windows), and Mac OS X for everything else. There are things I hate in all of them. However, as a total package, Mac OS X seems to be the least broken.

    Feel free to make fun of any Mac OS before OS X. It's both easy and enjoyable. But while you're at it, make fun of OS/2, Win 3.1, RedHat 6, AmigaOS and <insert other archaic OS here>. Mac OS 7 was my first job related exposure to Apple and drove me back to Windows.

    The meat of this article, is that Psystar is playing fast and loose with licensing terms. And as a result is probably going to face a couple lawsuits and fade away. Get one while you can as a museum piece if you're so inclined.

    Apple's restriction on installing Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware should stand in court. It's contract law, and by using Mac OS X you're agreeing to the terms laid out. Nothing about that clause looks unenforceable or onerous. Fundamentally, this is no different from EFI V8's commercial use restriction. And both Apple and can pursue legal action against Psystar for breach of contract.

    Paris, because even she can see a pointless OS holy war for what it is and move on to the actual issues. For the rest of you, may I suggest a map and a flashlight?

  32. Nexox Enigma


    Everyone says that they doubt these people will be around for 6 months. Do you think they haven't realized that? Honestly their strategy could be to just make a lot of profit for those 6 months. Whatever works.

    And to those that say Apple chooses nice hardware and designs things well... Apple chooses what makes them the most profit. And they can typically get away with using the exact same components every other manufacturer uses, put into a case which is halfway engineered. They typically get their designs to look the way they do by cutting corners and using a lower safety factor than other companies are willing to.

    Apple has good PR, not good engineering or parts selection. I've seen Dell cases that are better designed (on the inside) than a Macpro, and how many laptops have they released that didn't need a firmware update to keep them from overheating? If you believe that Apple's hardware is better than anything else with Intel Inside, you've been drinking too much of their coolaid.

    I'd honestly rather run OS X on parts that I picked out than anything that Apple put together. But then again I'd also rather run Linux on a 4 year old Pentium 4.

  33. Sooty


    the only thing stopping mac-os running on any old hardware, is a chip that was probably created specifically for that purpose.

    hmm slightly anti-competitive?

  34. Joel Braby

    @: Sooty

    Not really. EFI is Intel's replacement and enhancement for the BIOS we all know and use. Eventually I would expect all Intel computers to use it; my SGI server uses EFI.

  35. Christopher E. Stith

    There's nothing proprietary about EFI

    Intel created it as an open standard to make it easier for companies to develop motherboards for Itanium.

    If emulating vanilla EFI makes a computer boot OS X just fine, then there's nothing wrong between these people and Apple but the EULA. There's lots of debate over whether that part of the EULA will stand. That makes the whole OpenComputer/OpenPro a gamble, but what product isn't? This is just a bigger gamble for a potentially bigger payoff. It's good to see they thought it better to change the name from "OpenMac" that they had been using, though.

    They do need to get an EFI emulator that they're allowed to use, though. That's pretty likely to be an issue.

  36. Jorge Lopez

    All Hail Netkas!!!!

    Netkas is the one who worked hard for two years to create a custom bootloader based on PC EFI. It was never his intent to profit or commercialize this technology. It was strictly meant for the hobbyist DIY in all of use mac techies.

    I am proud of him slapping this guy at PyStar who is trying to profit from the hackintosh community.

    NOTE I said "Guy". This business is an uber small Pop business run out of someone's garage.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pot kettle

    Maybe I don't understand what's going on fully, but looks like pot-kettle to me.

    on PC EFI netkas said "Yes, it’s legal to have this files, because it’s built from sources apple provided, before apsl2 was changed a year ago."

    and he also said "pc_efi v8 now had been reloaded, and includes very basic license"

    So it did not have a license to begin with.... but it's ok for him to steal Apple's stuff due to inept original license. Also, I believe stealing kext's are what enable pirating of OSX (a.k.a. downloading it and installing it on a mac or PC w/o paying for it) and he has links to them in his blog? Vigilantes don't get to complain about Viglantes.

  38. Captain DaFt
    Black Helicopters

    Dumb, really dumb move!

    If Psystar had any business sense, they would have gotten a proper licence from the author, or just done EFI natively, and released this as a low cost Linux machine,

    THEN let it out, unofficially to the mod community, that it could run OSX natively. The Linux fanboys would be pleased that another Linux machine was in the wild, modders would scramble to get one and install OSX on it, and Steve Jobs would be asking Steve Ballmer for chair throwing tips.

    Why, yes, I can think like a scum-sucking CEO, but I try to use my powers for good. ;-)

  39. Asam Bashir

    Whole thing was a hoax ......

    Shows the quality of El Reg articles really, no one teach you in journalist school about checking facts first etc.....

  40. Solomon Grundy

    @Tony Chandler Audi and Mini

    If you can't get an Audi engine to run after a transplant you need to stop playing with cars. Audi (VW) make some of the easiest to transplant power plants in the world, and the best part is they even publish all the traditionally tricky stuff info like motor mount measurements, electrical requirements all the way to the sensor level, and tons of other good stuff in their maintenance manuals. Sounds like you may have tried to hack the time buy the book.

  41. Solomon Grundy

    @Pots, Kettles, and Asam

    Does no one else think it's sort of odd that a guy who created software to use another software in an unintended and unlicensed manner is peeved because someone is using his software in an unintended and unlicensed manner.

    Assman you must realize that gizmodo was a day late and a lot of details short in "exposing" this story. In fact it looks almost like it was plagiarized from the article AssTechnica did...Also you must realize the difference between a hoax and a front. A hoax is something that is done, generally as a joke or to make prove a point. A front is a company which exists on paper but does not exist in "real-life".

    On a side note related to the gizmodo article - if you are interested in a local business you do not call the chamber of commerce, they are a club and you must pay to join. They are in no way an government or official body that represents businesses in the given area of operation. Same goes for the BBB, they have no "power" over a business unless the business is a member in which case their only real power is to kick the member out. They are not a legal body, a government entity, or anything else. They are another club basically designed to suck money away from small startup companies and really successful companies that have nothing else to spend their money on.

  42. Alan Boyd

    OSX86 - Audi - Mini comparisons are flawed

    My 2c - I am a confirmed PC tinkerer and recently thought I'd give one of the OSX86 distro's a whirl. No fanboy for Apple or Mr Gates - just wanted to see how straightforward it was or wasn't to get it going.

    Straight off the install DVD I got a working version of OSX Leopard running on a 3 yr old Dell (3Ghz P4, 512 RAM, GMA 900 graphics) with working sound and networking. A little more effort and I got full access to graphics settings (one of the most consistent sources of problems).

    The system is v stable, runs smoothly, feels at least as fast as XP and it hasn't crashed with any native OSX apps I've tried. Very impressive in my book given the system is so far behind the current Mac hardware spec's.

    Will it tempt me away from XP? Probably not since I have proper Windows licences for all my kit. Would I consider a Mac as my next PC. Probably not - couldn't justify the premium price for the average hardware. Would I consider buying an OSX licence to stick on a fast PC of my own specification. - Very possibly - If Apple would ever give me the option.

    If you haven't tried OSX86 - Don't knock it - It's not a cut down Mac experience - its the real thing (just not in such a pretty box) and I am happy to bow to the programming skills of Netkas and all the others who have made this possible.

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