Hacker blasts Mac clone maker's licence 'violation'
Using my code unlawfully, claims EFI emulator's author
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 Open Computer.
Heralded by its manufacturer as "an alternative to pricey Apple hardware", the Open Computer's entry level spec combines a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of DDR 2 memory, a 250GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive, multi-format DVD writer and integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, all in a bland white or black casing.
Psystar's Open Computer
Psystar said it will pre-install Leopard for free, but you'll still need to buy the OS, adding $150 to the price of the machine.
That's a little less than Apple's cheapest desktop Mac, the $599 Mac Mini, which has a lesser spec.
"The highly extensible Open Computer is a configuration of PC hardware capable of running unmodified OS X Leopard kernels," the company claimed. It's able to achieve this, it said, by emulating the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) technology Apple uses to boot up Mac OS X on Apple-branded machines. The emulation code sits between Leopard and the Open Computer's regular PC-style Bios.
"With the EFI V8 emulator it is possible to install Leopard's kernel straight from the DVD that you purchased at the Apple store barring the addition of a few drivers," says Psystar.
Enter the author of EFI V8. On his blog, Netkas.org, he writes: "[Psystar] said they sell computers with EFI V8 emulator... They forgot to mention author of emulator, so it’s looks like they made EFI V8. So, this is violation of my authorship rights on PC EFI V8."
Worse, Psystar's use of the code appears to infringe the terms of the V8 licence: "Redistribution and use in binary form for direct or indirect commercial purposes, with or without modification, is stricktly [sic] forbidden."
That's in addition to the violation of Apple's Mac OS X end-user licence, which states the operating system is only licensed for use on Apple-branded hardware. Psystar has reportedly said it believes Apple's licensing terms to be unlawful because they're anti-competitive, but it can't say the same about the terms of the EFI V8 licence, which expressly forbids the use of the emulator for commercial purposes.
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.
@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.
@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 job...next time buy the book.
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.....
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. ;-)