Apple cracks down on ‘OSx86’ websites, sends ‘cease and desist’ orders

Apple seems to be cracking down (or making a show of cracking down?) on websites that have posted videos of Mac OS X for x86 running on non-Apple PCs. The company has sent “cease and desist” orders to Apple/Mac news websites and others, demanding that the sites remove links to the videos showing “hacked” versions of Mac OS X running on non-Apple certified systems. MacBidouille reports receiving “an amazingly aggressive email asking for the immediate removal of all links to the videos showing OSX x86 booting from non-Apple certified SDK PC. We have removed the requested links, but we deeply think that it will not change anything regarding the problem affecting Cupertino. Indeed, Apple is using its legal department only when things go really wrong.”

MacBidouille reports, “The video that we have published was only posted online to prove our comments and news, and to avoid to be considered as a Mac-dedicated rumor site. We did not provide any link to website describing the procedure and so on. Because it is also clear for us that installing OSX x86 on a non-certified Apple SDK PC is illegal, both regarding the Copyright and the NDA signed by developers. We have never supported illegal action and we will not change our point of view on this topic.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s either genuinely surprised that this happened and very upset about all of this or this is phase three of the “Harrell Dvorak Prophesy”* (ominous organ music) which states:

“Apple will give thousands, possibly millions, of people a taste of Mac OS X running full speed on their own PCs. Apple’s giving their potential future customers a free taste, that’s what they’re doing. It’s a try-before-you-buy deal.”Harrell
“Allow for Apple to pretend to fight the OS getting out into the wild, so it can then say, ‘There was nothing we could do. This is the OS that people apparently want and need.'”Dvorak

Could the otherwise frighteningly smart people at Apple really have thought that ‘OSx86’ wouldn’t leak to ‘generic’ PC hardware?

*The “Harrell Dvorak Prophesy” is sort of like Shoemaker Levy. Not as icy, but highly prone to violent collision with software’s current vaporous gas giant, Microsoft. Harrell gets top billing because he called his sighting in first.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
How-to run Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger on Sony Vaio laptop posted online with video – August 12, 2005
Report: Mac OS X for Intel hacked to run on non-apple x86 PCs – August 11, 2005
Dvorak: Steve Jobs eventually intends for Apple’s Mac OS X to run on any x86 PC – August 09, 2005
Apple Intel-based Macs for developers runs Mac OS X and Windows XP – June 23, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Michael Dell say’s he’d be happy to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if Steve Jobs decides to license – June 16, 2005
The OS Wars heat up: Apple paves way to release Mac OS X for off-the-shelf x86 hardware – June 14, 2005
Dvorak predicts Mac OS X for generic x86, Apple ‘Office’ suite, dawn of Mac viruses and spyware – June 13, 2005
Video of Mac OS X 10.4.1 for Intel running on Dell laptop posted online – June 13, 2005
Report: Apple Mac OS X 10.4.1 for Intel hits piracy sites – June 11, 2005 (Harrell article)
iPod success opens door to Mac OS X on Intel – March 04, 2004


  1. why do you think Apple has waited more than a week before pulling videos….they wanted ppl and MOST of all the PRESS to noticed it has been running …now the world knows….and will want OSX…once press begins talking and asking questions about it…they react and pull the videos…provoking more press release about it….making more ( FREE) publicity…the release of OSX for Mactel will not even run on Pentium hardware… ( remember that Intel will annonuce new chips soon )

  2. Apple’s “crackdown” is purely for legal reasons. If Apple does not show consistent opposition to unsupported copying, taking legal action at a later date may be much more difficult.

    Besides, those people that put OS X in their Dell are the same ones that would try to cram a Porsche engine into a Ford Focus thinking that it will result in a car of the same performance and handling of the Porsche. In reality, it will result in a mutant that is much worse than the Ford.

    But, I am sure the Apple folks are quietly grinning at the free media attention this is receiving.

  3. The people that are cracking/hacking the osx are not interested in the mac os – they are interested in the process of seeing if they can do it – whatever it is they want to accomplish.

    Just like the guy that climbs Mount Everest is only interested in climbing it because its there; he´s not interested in the geology or flora and fauna on the mountain…

    Once its done the hackers will move on or evolve to the next step….to find how they can put viruses in it….
    I am sure there is a race to have the first virus for the first intel Mac…can it be done? That is their challenge.

  4. The problem with the Dvorak Prophesy is that anyone with the skill to hack OS X (x86) to run on on generic PC hardware has probably already tried the PPC version on Apple’s own hardware.

    The hack isn’t a good way to get the everyday PC-using masses to think about trying OS X. Maybe it will be easier in the future, but right now it’s a little over the heads of an average user.

    However, I don’t think Apple is surprised it happened, yet they’re not worried that it would hurt their own hardware sales. Sending the cease and desist notices is simply standard legal procedure.

  5. This is a fantastic Apple publicity opportunity. Notice how all the message boards are filled with the story. While Apples lawyers are $600/hour that’s nothing compared to print and TV media and advertising cost. It’s a very clever scheme to get OS-10 in front of a lot of PC-owners’ eyes. When Apple wants to close the door on unlicensed PCs they can and will. Meanwhile, lets get all those hackers, novices and basement PC hotrodders mess’n with the next big thing. And honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  6. I really don’t understand the “try before you buy” reasoning. The only people that can do this with the developer’s release are the ones technically proficient enough to figure it out. The average Joe isn’t ever going to try this fo fear of screwing up his PC. Windows people seem to live on the edge of having their PCs getting knocked out of commission through viruses or bad software or the OS getting messed up. I just don’t see how or why they would take a chance on this Mac OS X Intel developer release. And when Apple finally releases the retail OSX Intel version it undoubtedly will not be the same as the developer release, it will be even more difficult to install.

    Remember, Apple has always said it’s a hardware company. It will have no problem allowing other operating systems to run on their hardware, this adds value to their computers and can justify a higher price, but I don’t see them devaluing their themselves by allowing their computers greatest asset – it’s operating system – to be run on another company’s computer. That would put competitors on an equal footing with Apple and I just don’t see Steve Jobs doing that he would have to completely change his business model and make Apple a software company ala Microsoft. And that would literally have to be the slyest move in the history of business and I don’t know if he could pull it off.

  7. Funny, my cousin called me the other night (he’s a Windows user that’s on the fence), specifically to discuss putting OSX on a Windows PC. His current kit is getting old, so he’s planning to replace it in the next 6-8 months; he wanted my opinion on which PC he should look at so he can install OSX on top of Windows.

    I told him he’s going the wrong way, and if he’s going to wait until after the new year to buy a computer, he should just get an Intel Mac and add an XP partition to that. When he asked why I thought that way, I told him that I believe Apple will likely do something with the OS that makes it difficult (if not impossible) to run on non-Apple hardware, but so far there’s no indication that M$ will do the same with XP or Vista in regards to Intel Macs. And as Phil said at the WWDC, Apple won’t try to stop anyone from doing so…

    I hope my advice to him turns out to be correct, and that he buys an Apple the next time around. Once he gets his Intel Mac home and starts using it, he’ll forget all that folderol of having a dual boot machine. While I realize that some folks would benefit from having such a rig, he’s not one of them!

  8. Some of you seem to think it is difficult to install OSX86 10.4.1, or that it somehow doesn’t run well.
    Fact: with the latest “pre-patched” DVD images, it’s trivially easy. Anyone with a P4 and a spare hard drive (optional!) could do it, if they can read and type one command. And virtually everything runs, including Rosetta, iTunes, Logic Express, GarageBand and Photoshop. And it’s fast.

  9. Dvorak is a False Prophet, although I believe a well meaning one.

    Apple isn’t going to be any more lenient on these websites showing hacked OSX than they were on the Mac sites that leaked ‘insider info’ about upcoming products. They will pursue them with all the legal means at their disposal, and will largely succeed in shutting them up, which in turn will mean that OSX ‘In the Wild’ will be more myth than threat.

    However, it will be a potent myth for one reason – it will justify Apple using every hardware DRM trick Intel provides to lock down every PC they sell with an Intel CPU in it (eventually, all of them). They will do so in the name of keeping their OS tied to their own Apple-made machines, but clearly there is another, much more lucrative benefit. Intel DRM = access to video media, from the likes of Paramount, Fox, Time Warner, etc … Access to video media = new Apple-made, hardware/software video paradigm, along the same lines of what was achieved with iTMS & iPod. New video paradigm (if all goes according to plan) = big money for Apple AND – possibly – the only viable way for them to sideskirt the market inertial that keeps Windows the primary OS of the world.

    This may seem like a stretch, but think about it – an excuse to impose an otherwise unpopular technological DRM solution is the only thing of consequence that a hacked x86 OSX provides Apple. Those pointing out the unlikelihood that this activity gives only the most hardcore gearheads among The Public a ‘taste’ of OSX are absolutely right, and thus the rational that it somehow will impact the broader consumer market falls flat on it’s face. Apple certainly would not be betting big – if at all – on such an unlikely eventuality coming to pass.

    Just as, when one disspationately looks at all available roadmaps as well as actual products on the ground, better CPUs aren’t a logical reason for Apple going to x86 (and especially Intel’s x86), neither is ‘exposing’ the public to OSX through some shady back channels and then having the company halfheartedly clamp down on them, when one considers the Apple Stores do the exposing much more efficiently, and more profitably (thankyouverymuch).

    Hardware DRM, of the kind Intel provides and the media companies favor – this is Jobs’ endgame. Better get used to it.

  10. most Mac users aren’t technically proficient (note: I didn’t say all) …that’s why many here don’t get it.

    There are a lot more highly proficient and medium proficient windows users (they have to be… they’re forced to learn or be overrun by virii)

    THe install isn’t THAT difficult. Anyone can follow instructions… and many have old hard drives they can wipe.

    There’s a reason free samples are given in stores.

    Scottm4321… What apple says and “DOES” are two different things. Times are changing and home hardware (especially computer hardware) is becoming (has become) a commodity. IBM got out of the business, Apple made XServes. Apple, like it or not, caters to the HOME user, most of all.

  11. 1. Yes, it’s easy to read and type in one command, but I don’t see the average windows user doing it. Can you picture a housewife or some guy who just bought a $599 computer at Walmart taking a chance on screwing up his brand new system? And these are the people Apple needs to “convert” to really gain market share, the everyday common home user – and these are the people that would appreciate Macs the most if they could be convinced to switch.

    2. As for Microsoft, I think they’d love to have XP natively running on Mac. They’re a software company, the more copies they sell, the more money they make and the more control they have of the market. Interesting Note: Remember when M$ bought Virtual PC? Apple didn’t really seem to care did they? I never heard word one out of them about it. No complaints, no “Oh my God! Microsoft owns VPC, we’re all doomed!”. That’s because M$ wants their products on the platform

    Apple new exactly where they were going with their platform and that VPC would be obsolete in a year or else they would have bought it. Now you watch M$ will kill it within 2 years and it won’t matter one bit.

  12. <most Mac users aren’t technically proficient (note: I didn’t say all) …that’s why many here don’t get it.

    There are a lot more highly proficient and medium proficient windows users (they have to be… they’re forced to learn or be overrun by virii)>
    –> I Agree

    <THe install isn’t THAT difficult. Anyone can follow instructions… and many have old hard drives they can wipe.>
    –>See My Previous Post

    There’s a reason free samples are given in stores.

    <Scottm4321… What apple says and “DOES” are two different things. Times are changing and home hardware (especially computer hardware) is becoming (has become) a commodity. IBM got out of the business, Apple made XServes. Apple, like it or not, caters to the HOME user, most of all>
    –>I couldn’t agree more, it makes good business sense to keep everyone guessing. Home users are a huge market, Apple has finally realized this with their move to Intel (which I agree with, it levels the playing field in a lot of ways the average Joe will understand). It’s a market that is most open to them especially with iPod so popular (Halo effect works hopefully).

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