Hackintosher aims 'blazin' guns' at Apple
Psystar calls in 'the cavalry'
Psystar, the pesky Hackintosher that has been giving Apple fits for well over a year, has switched legal representation and is preparing to go to trial with, as the company puts it, "guns blazin'".
In a posting on the Florida company's newly launched Psystar Community blog entitled, "In comes the cavalry", the Hackintosher sets the mood in its first line: "Psystar has always been more a Cowboy than a Hippie."
The post then announces that Psystar has dumped its original legal council and hired Camara & Sibley LLP of Houston, Texas in order to work with lawyers who "better reflect who we are."
Camera & Silbey's website refers to the firm as being specialists in "save-the-company litigation." In Psystar's case, that may very well be a needed area of expertise.
Psystar's new lawyers also state that "Our partners see the practice of law as essentially public." This lines up well with the Hackintosher's "cavalry" post, which states, "Everyone here values openness. And that’s how we’re going to fight Apple: in public. We have nothing to hide."
In the Psystar Community's introductory posting, the company also states that "Psystar has taken a reserved stance towards interactions with the public and media under the advice of our previous legal counsel. We would like to apologize to everyone, as this has never reflected the opinion of Psystar, nor its founders or employees."
Well, that appears to have changed, doesn't it?
The fight itself has certainly been less than "reserved" up to this point. You can read a summary of The Reg's ongoing coverage of the Psystar-versus-Apple-versus-Psystar tit-for-tat here.
At dispute is Apple's EULA, which states in part: "This License allows you to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so."
Psystar has claimed that the EULA should be declared null and void. In fact, Tuesday's Community posting opines that "Apple’s copyright on OS X doesn’t give Apple the right to tell people what they can do with it after they buy a copy."
Apparently, the Hackintoshing Floridians see no difference between licensing and buying. Apple does. Every EULA we've ever taken the time to read does too. And during the trial, which begins January 11, 2010 in San Francisco, we'll find out what the federal judge believes.
To keep up to date on the latest twists and turn of this saga, the Psystar Community blog recommends that you "Check back regualalrly [sic]." ®
In further proof of its adherence to the old maxim of "Steal from the best, ignore the rest," Psystar has launched a contest in which you're invited to contribute your own "I'm a Psystar" commercial to its YouTube Group. Either the Hackintoshers are simply trying to get under Apple's skin by parodying Cupertino's well-known "I'm a Mac ... and I'm a PC" ads, or another old maxim is in play: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Seem to recall something in the past about MS' EULA trying to stipulate that the computer on which their OS was installed on became MS property as a result. Surely the dismissal of one part of a EULA doesn't make them all in jeopardy.
Frankly I think the EU would have been better off weighing in on this matter than sodding about making MS remove media player and/or internet explorer.
RE: Buying vs. Licensing
@ Doc Spock
>> I buy a bus. It is mine. Yet I *cannot* drive it because __my driver's licence__ doesn't allow me to.
The issue here is that the typical EULA restrictions are the equivalent of you buying a bus, but the bus manufacturer telling you what you amy and may not use it for. Whether there is a legal restriction (such as needing a driving licence and insurance) is a different matter.
But that aside, I believe Apple are attacking on two fronts :
1) Copyright infringement. Because Phystar aren't complying with the licensing terms, then they don't have a licence to use the software. That's copyright infringement.
2) They are also applying the DMCA which is one of those really stupid anti-consumer laws passed at the behest of the music and film industries. Because they have to use a hacked component, that is automatically a breach of the DMCA because they have "circumvented a technical protection measure".
I think their best bet is to get the EULA clause declared unreasonable and unenforcable - thus restoring the "first sale" limitations to all of us. IF they can do that, and it's a big IF, then they would be able to defend th DMCA action on the grounds that the "technical protection measure" is preventing lawful use - and so they have the right to circumvent it, but only so far as is required to make lawful use of the (in this case) software.
Unless they can get the terms of the EULA declared unlawful, then they have no defence against the DMCA charge and are screwed.
At one point the Apple Mac was definitively a different beast from the PC. Different processor, different architecture, different interfaces. They were like the last company from the 70s and 80s where you bought a computer from company Foo and only software and hardware designed to run on or work with company Foo's machine would work. It was Commodore vs Sinclair vs Atari vs Acorn vs how many other companies.
The PC has gotten where it was because it was designed to run on "commodity" hardware - standard stuff that you could buy off the shelf from anywhere, possibly even from third parties outside of IBM. After the BIOS got reverse engineered, it meant anyone and their mother could make an "IBM/PC compatible" computer. The inevitable result is that "PC" is now a standard computing platform used everywhere, and the only alternative machines that survive are ones that find their own niche. Apple's niche was graphic designers, because back in the day, the PC's graphical capabilities were less than stellar.
These days though, the PC isn't the same lumbering old beast that it used to be. You've got people plugging the equivalent of three playstation 3s into their computer at once and calling it an "SLI rig", with the equivalent of a high end synthesizer posing as a sound card. The old way of "make your own special product and tie an entire market to it" only works for one company these days, and Apple aren't Microsoft. If it wasn't for the iPod and other similarly capitalized products, I don't think Apple would exist today except as a subsidiary of someone else, possibly a Redmond based company.
What Apple did with the latest generation of macs is to get the guts of a PC, put their own variation on a BIOS in there (sorry, EFI, whatever) and call it a Mac. A sound business move because it's got to cost a whole lot less, much like grabbing the guts of BSD and putting a nice Appley interface with Apple apps in it and calling it OS X. You get to please the appletards while also grabbing a chunk of unixtards who aren't so bothered about being a freetard but like their bash shells and hey doesn't it come in a nice swanky slightly-off-white case?
As for the ruling, I want PsyStar to win. I've never liked the idea of a software patent or EULAs that think they are more powerful than copyright law to begin with. It was - if I remember right - Compaq's devious ingenuity that first used the cold-room reverse engineering method to make "A machine that does the same thing as an IBM/PC but isn't an IBM/PC", and that resulted in creating not just a product but a whole industry. You can't say IBM did badly out of it either.
Now if someone were to make a similar standard operating environment that was free to use, modify and redistribute, and you didn't need to pay a tax to some company or other for every machine you have, and came with in-built protection devices in its license against monopolising behaviour, I'd definitely be for that.
Oh hang on, wait..