Feeds

Hacker blasts Mac clone maker's licence 'violation'

Using my code unlawfully, claims EFI emulator's author

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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 Open Computer

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files
DTS and Sonos sing out but not off the same hymnsheet
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.