back to article Apple wins right to continue Hackintosh beating

Erstwhile Apple clone-maker Psystar is trying to escape, but Apple won't let them. Psystar, which announced its line of Mac clones just over a year ago, filed for bankruptcy this May in order to elude Apple's legal minions - but Cupertino is having none of it. And neither is the judge. Last Friday, Judge Robert A. Mark of the …


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  1. Robbin Nichol

    Would be

    Bloody funny if Apple lost.

  2. Scott Mckenzie


    Not really, more like it would be unjust if they lost....

  3. Aaron 10
    Jobs Halo


    I'm not sure why that would be funny. Psystar is taking advantage of the open-source community that developed the hacks to make OS X run on commodity PCs. They are NOT the good guys here.

    Hackintoshes should remain exactly what they are: Machines for hackers to play around with, not a difficult-to-update, unstable, less-expensive Macintosh for users who have trouble understanding the difference between hard drive space and RAM.

    That being said, Apple should read the writing on the wall and make a less-powerful, less-expensive mini-tower Mac with expansion slots. The iMac is great, but what if you don't need a monitor? The Mac Pro is great, but is overkill for most users. The Mac Mini is good, but not expandable internally.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    @ Aaron

    Yes, come to think of it a more mainstream mini-Mac Pro does sound like a good idea.

  5. Mark Jonson

    Because Apple is Evil

    I would give anything to see Apple lose. I'm sure the open-source community is behind Psystar too since Apple simply took a quasi-open-source OS, whatever derivative of BSD OS X is based upon and changed it, then ran around calling it their own....basically the same thing Jobs accused Microsoft of doing to Apple in the 80's with Windows. Jobs is a hypocrite. Apple and their can-do-no-wrong reputation needs to be challenged. Thank God somebody's doing it.

  6. Ted

    Give it up Psystar

    Psystar is clearly in the wrong, so why are they even trying? They're a dishonest firm, can't wait until they go out of business.

  7. Stuart Duel
    Jobs Halo

    Bitter Apple

    Wrong Mark Jonson. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Apple took the open source BSD Unix, made enhancements and created their OWN GUI (Aqua) and associated applications to run on top - the whole box and dice being referred to as OS X. Apple have also folded back into the open source community improvements to BSD and numerous other projects, FoC, NSA. There is a lot of cross-fertilisation happening here. Apple have never pretended that BSD is their own.

    Now contrast this with Microsoft, which generally buy, borrow or steal other people's work, slap the MS logo on it and peddle it as their own. That includes Windows which MS reverse engineered from the Mac OS. And MS give absolutely nothing back to the open source community.

    I imagine MS wouldn't take too kindly to someone reverse engineering Office and then flogging it off as their own, so you can imagine why Jobs was so upset with Gates.

    And Apple did pay Xerox for access to their GUI research before you go accusing them of theft.

    Oh yeah, getting back on topic kind of, apart from a near disastrous flirtation under a clueless CEO with licensing the Mac OS in the '90s, it has always been Apple's business model to make 'the whole widget'. That is why the only people who can legally make a Mac is Apple. It's not illegal, it's not anti-competitive and it's not a monopoly. It is simply a legitimate business model that many other companies in other industries successfully follow.

    Psystar were thoroughly delusional in thinking they could get away with making (dodgy) Mac clones.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Jonson

    You are wrong on all accounts. Apple fully complied with the BSD license in the same way for example Microsoft did when they added TCP/IP to Windows. The BSD license allows you to do just that. I might be wrong but if I remember well, Mac OS in the 80s was not licensed as BSD so no, what Microsoft did is not the same thing. Now I don't know what exactly you understand when you mention open source (is it Microsoft style open source or Richard Stallman's free and open source), but again you're wrong because open source proponents can not support somebody in violating copyrights, not even for a revenge. How can they protect and enforce their copyright if they do not respect other people copyright ? Steve Jobs may be a hypocrite, Apple's reputation might need to be challenged but, sorry for you, in this case Psystar is violating Apple's copyright.

    Never used an Apple product in my life, just the common sense.

  9. Ted

    because Apple is honest...

    @Mark Jonson... no, Apple didn't take some "open source OS" and call it their own. OSX is based on the fabled NeXTSTEP OS, the OS that brought about the world wide web. When steve got kicked out of Apple in 1985 he started NeXT... that was long before Linus was around, or the open source community. NeXTSTEP is based on the Mach kernel and BSD. Apple and Steve have worked harder than anyone to created the best Unix out there and if you've used OSX you'll know that to be true. SURE, OSX is based on BSD, but they didn't just grab something and call it their own. They finely crafted it over 24 years so please learn your history.

    And no, Psystar isn't connected to any open-source movement. They were basically buying OSX from Apple, installing a few patches and putting it on junky PC hardware. That's why they will be out of business before the end of the year. Good riddance!

  10. Martin Owens
    Thumb Down

    Yes But

    While we all don't like Pystar and what they have done _is_ illegal, I have questions of the agreements that must be entered into in order to get a license of the software. The software agreement is by far the most consumer rights destroying document of modern times, and while it would have been better to side FOSS and kill Apple stone dead with alternatives, it doesn't mean that there aren't any questions to be mulled over with regards to the way one product as sold can be restricted through legal means to only work with other products of the same vendor.

    Imagen if you were told you could only use your window screen wipers on ford cars and not to install them on your flying house? Even if you were making flying houses.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Tough luck really!

    Not an Apple fanboi, but I have to agree with this is. OSX is not designed to be a commodity O/S like Windows or Linux, it's owned by a company who license it for specific uses on the hardware they make. Them's the facts! Like it or lump it! Apple make it perfectly clear, it's for Apple hardwware only, written in the EULA. I'm sure they turn a blind eye to geek hackers and hackintoshes, but trying to sell it on, come on, you're taking the wotnot! It isn't yours to sell you cheeky sods!

    So if this hacintosh went ahead, who's gonna give the user's support? Psystar? Doubt it, they didn't make the O/S. Apple? Not bloody likely, you bought the O/S, you run it on our hardware or bugger off!

    I run a hackintosh OSX ( paid for genuine copy ) on my ACER, runs great but there's no way I would expect support from anyone, not even the community. If it works, great! If not, tough bloody luck, more fool me!

  12. Scott Mckenzie

    clarify then...

    ....Mark is wrong here?


  13. ThomH

    @Stuart Duel, the topic generally

    I agree that Apple have done nothing nefarious whatsoever in their open-source dealings. For example, two of the main competitors to the iPhone, Android and the Pre, are built around WebKit, which is an Apple fork of an open source project and by now contains a substantial amount of Apple work.

    However, it's inaccurate to say that Microsoft reverse engineered Mac OS or anything like that. They had a licence agreement, it turned out to be broader than Apple had intended.

    Of the firms discussed here, i.e. Apple, Microsoft and Psystar, Psystar are clearly the worst in that they've spotted the open community work on boot loaders and other tools that can be used to sandwich OS X onto vanilla PCs, appropriated it without paying any attention to its licence terms and are now using it while pretending it is their own. Regardless of what the court ultimately decides about the legalities of Psystar's use of Apple software, they are clearly both legally and morally at fault in their behaviour towards the open source community.

    Psystar are also claiming in court they have $3m worth of IP, in a tactic from the SCO school of lying to everyone. They're far from heroes.

  14. Anonymous Hero

    @Stuart Duel

    " That includes Windows which MS reverse engineered from the Mac OS." - um....I think you got that a bit wrong there mate. Anything Windows with a NT kernel in it had its origins in the design of VAX VMS by Dave Cutler (and a smattering of OS/2).

    If you mean Windows 1.0 -> Windows 3.x then you may have a point but it's so totally irrelevant now.

  15. Luke 22
    Jobs Halo

    Psystar leaching off other people's work

    Psystar essentially wants to leach off the 20 years of work that went into building OS X and use it to make money with little or no up-front investment. No, OS X is not just a simple GUI slapped on top of BSD. It's based on NeXTStep which is/was:

    1) Mach/kernel. Contrary to popular believe, the kernel is not BSD. It's a hybrid Mach/BSD kernel. Mach is a microkernel, not a monolythic kernel like BSD and Linux.

    2) GUI development toolkit and tools. These have morphed into Cocoa/XCode, but they were once part of NeXTStep. These development tools and GUI framework didn't come from the open source community. It's proprietary technology that was built from the ground up, with substantial investment.

    3) Filesystem. The filesystem is HFS+, which was developed by Apple.

    The only thing to come out of the BSD codebase is the command-line shell (FreeBSD), and part of the kernel (NetBSD).

    Think about it, if developing OS X were so easy, don't you think there would be tons of PC makers selling machines with pre-installed Linux with a nice GUI built on top of it? No, Apple has a competitive advantage because they have unique technology that took 20 years to develop.

    Also, the "EULA's aren't valid" arguments are wrong for two reasons when referring to the licensing of OS X:

    1) OS X boxed sets are sold as updates to existing OS X installs. The only reason that full installs can be done with them is as a convenience to Mac users who choose to do clean installs. Apple isn't Microsoft.

    2) Any Hackintosh install involves modifying key system binaries and replacing them with hacked versions in order to run on BIOS (non-EFI) hardware. Doing this work private doesn't really violate the spirit of copyright (even though it does the letter) for hobbyists because they're not distributing it. Any company that sells a product based on this derivative work is violating copyright, so this has nothing to do with the EULA.

    Besides, all Apple has to do to kill the Psystar would-be cloners is to simply change the way OS X updates are distributed. I'll bet you Snow Leopard has a few surprises in this regard.

  16. B 9

    What is happening here!!

    I don't think I've ever seen an Apple related article on The Reg with so many comments supportive of Apple. This is obviously a trap of some sort designed to lure Apple supporters into a "meeting" in the park, where they will be bludgeoned by the real Register readers!

    No way you're getting me, I'm already safely in my bunker and I'm about to take my "black capsule" to avoid you inhuman monsters!

  17. Mectron


    Apple is a extremly bad and evil company. Anymore questions?

  18. Richard 102

    @Martin Owens

    "The software agreement is by far the most consumer rights destroying document of modern times"

    Uh, no. The executive order establishing the IRS did far, far more damage.

  19. Lewis Mettler

    Apple has more money than Psystar

    But, I would not conclude that Apple lawyers actually think the law is on their side. They may hope so. And they may be counting on the fact that Psystar is broke and bankrupt to help it out a bit. Litigation like this can be very expensive. And frankly I doubt Psystar has the bucks for it.

    It is very possible that the Psystar lawyers dropped the antitrust defense purely out of a desire to keep the costs of litigation down to a level they (Psystar) can actually fund. The same may be true in regard to the bankruptcy too.

    The legal problem that Apple has is that its so-called copyrights are being used to try and enforce the terms of the EULA. The EULA is the only means available to Apple to prevent taking a legal copy of the Mac OS and installing it on some other hardware. And, copyright does not normally protect the holders from such an act. As far as I can tell Apple is being paid for each and every copy of the Mac OS installed on a Psystar system. So where is the damage?

    There may be damage because Apple did not sell the hardware but that is not copyright damages. Even the DMCA claims may not be upheld simply because Apple did get paid for every copy of the OS installed, right? At least that is the claim.

    The issue of the EULA is a contract question. And as far as I know Apple may not be able to enforce the terms of the EULA upon anyone. It is one thing for Apple to deny updates or even support if their OS is installed on something other than Apple hardware. But, it is entirely different to hold Psystar or even a end user liable for running the OS on non-Apple hardware.

    Simply put, Apple is counting on Psystar running out of money and losing the case because of it. And that is likely to be the case.

    A case like this might be very different if HP or DELL were selling their systems along with a copy of OS X.

    To be honest, Apple is being stupid for not licensing their OS on other platforms. It might be a better solution to use only Apple gear. But, there no question that the Mac OS market would be much larger if Apple opened it up to HP and DELL (as well as others).

    Besides I think Linux is going to beat out Apple in the end simply because it does not try to restrict where it is installed. Apple may think it is better off selling both the OS and the gear. But, hardware margins are narrow compared to software. And there is no doubt that the Mac OS could increase its size triple fold if it just changed its business plan. And in time it will most likely do so. Why sell significantly less software? That makes no sense if they think it is their R&D that makes the difference.

    Now for a cool one.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Lewis Mettler

    I'm with you here. Apple would make shedloads of cash by making OSX run hack-free on PCs and legitimately licensing it.

    I also agree that Linux will probably win out in the end for the reasons you point out, I have an entertaining story about that, but its too long to go into.

    People will always want to buy the Apple *hardware* too, so I don't see Apple loosing out by licensing a straight PC version of OSX. People would love to have it, it would simply be another revenue stream,

  21. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Those that ignore history are liable to repeat it

    A couple of comments on some of the comments above.

    I too would love to be able to run OS X on non-Apple hardware - as someone said, there is a huge gulf between the Mini (not expandable) and the Pro (expandable but pricey) - and I've a particular application where a hi-res flat panel display is not suitable, so no iMac.

    For those that weren't dealing with Apple back when they previously dabbled with licensing, it didn't work out. Rather than producing machines that filled in the gaps in the market (Apple had no rack server boxes back then), the clone makers simply engaged in a race to the bottom with not very exciting machines that did nothing to fill the gaps but devalued the whole thing. Lowered prices are attractive (it certainly would for me !), but not necessarily good if you try to think long term - ie where is the R&D for 5 or 10 years hence to be paid from ?

    Just look at what's happened in the UK ADSL market - "cheap is good" eh ? If it's so good, why do the ISPs not have any money to build a better network ?

    If Apple were to licence OS X now, I think we'd see the same thing happen again. And of course, the first time OS X crashes on cheap hardware with buggy drivers, I don't suppose people will be queuing up to say "look at that, buggy hardware and drivers made the machine crash" - "more like "OS X crashed, it's crap" !

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