Second unauthorized ‘Mac cloner’ offers ‘Mac OS X-ready PCs’

“Open Tech Inc. is following in the same vein as [Psystar] and is launching two purportedly ‘open’ PCs, the Open Tech Home budget computer and the quad-core Open Tech XT, that are effectively just custom-built Intel systems based on commonly available — and somewhat outdated — parts,” Aidan Malley reports for AppleInsider.

“Unlike the similarly-designed Psystar Open Computer (initially OpenMac), Open Tech hopes to promise Mac compatibility while avoiding a conflict with Apple’s Software License Agreement that forbids selling Mac OS X installed on non-Apple hardware,” Malley reports.

“Instead of installing Mac OS X itself or bundling a copy with the sale, this new builder is offering its customers a mystery ‘do-it-yourself kit’ that will guide them through installing a separately-purchased copy of the Apple software. The company itself would absolve itself of responsibility and put the focus on the user,” Malley reports.

“In making claims of compatibility with the software, however, Open Tech is nonetheless still at risk of running afoul of some of the same legal roadblocks that resulted in Apple’s lawsuit against Psystar last week,” Malley reports.

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sir Gill Bates” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Software License Agreement for Mac OS X explicitly states: 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.

[MDN Editor: bold added for emphasis]


  1. Interesting to see that these crude cloning schemes are coming in as the Mac’s market share really begins to take off. Obviously these companies can see which way things are going to go in the next few years and are desperate to set up something that resembles the current PC market.

    They’re so desperate to get a piece of the OSX action that they really think that can succeed in getting a foot in the door where hopeful Dell and the others have all failed so far.

    Expect to see more of this type of thing as Apple computers and OSs begin to enter a golden age.

  2. There is no EULA with engines. Once you purchase an engine, or any other car part, you can do pretty much anything (legal) you want with it. Customizing cars has gone on since the beginning of cars. You own the car. You own the parts.

    Apple’s requirement that you agree not to install their software on anything else than an Apple computer seems to be without much precedent. They could lose this one in court, which is why they are threatening to put a smoldering hole in the ground where Psystar used to be, but will probably settle out of court for terms that wont be disclosed. You just never know what’s going to happen in court.

    Don’t think that Dell or somebody isn’t behind this.

  3. They can offer plenty of disadvantages, but where is the advantage, unless you are a person who likes to build cars from junkyard parts.
    Have done it, it can be done well if you are willing to spend $20,000 to build a $10,000 car.
    Been there, done that.

  4. I think Horseman’s analogy does apply in this situation. And since1985 interpretation is incorrect. Open Tech is not in violation the Apple’s OS X EULA. The EULA is between the purchaser/licensee of OS X and Apple. It’s an end user agreement.

    It seems to me that the legal issues hinge on the mystery “do it yourself” kit and what it does. It’s not inconceivable that it could violate the license terms.

  5. Few points of clarification:

    Only legislatures can make laws. Violating the terms of an EULA may result in civil action, but such violations are not illegal.

    A EULA can only apply to someone that uses the underlying asset being licensed. Apple putting in their OSX EULA that folks cannot enable others to violate the agreement is legally useless. However, it may signal that Apple will attempt to link such actions to theft of intellectual capital…a separate civil matter.

    Apple certainly has the right and, more, obligation to protect i-cap like OSX, but they have to be careful how the do it.

    My guess is that Psystar will lose such a battle because they hosted and provided modified code, which is distributing Apple i-cap w/o permission or compensation.

    That said, I think Apple would lose if they tried to prevent an individual from installing OSX on non-Apple hardware. They wouldn’t want such a loss going public so I doubt would litigate against individuals or companies that simply sell compatible hardware and instructions. Of course, Apple will be under no obligation to support any installation of OSX on non-Apple hardware.

    If this trend continues as others think it might, the easiest thing for Apple to do is include code in OSX to check for the presence of some proprietary pice of apple hardware present within every Mac. Hackers will, of course, find this little snippet of code and create work arounds, but Apple can reset that every time they push an update.

    Who wants their computer to break several times a year. That’s a bit antithetical to the Mac experience. Apple did it with Ringtones for the first six months of the iPhone’s existence, but didn’t have the moral high ground on that issue. They do when it comes to OSX running on non-apple hardware.

    Finally…it would be wise of Apple to examine why there is a market for such computers. Personally, I think there are three reasons:
    1) Some folks just like to hack stuff (tiny population–who cares)
    2) Some folks want cheap Macs (small population–cede it)
    3) Some folks want a non-Uber headless Mac (sizeable population — meet the need and ignore populations 1&2;)

    Thus ends my soapbox diatribe for the day.


  6. 1. Legal or not, what these companies do that is the biggest disservice to their potential customers is that #1 thing that should advertise is a warning that following their suggestion you will lose warranty and support of your product. They do not advertise that, and so one questions the true customer service attitude of these companies. Disingenuous.
    2. If you are not an authorized reseller, are you allowed to resell OS X, even at cost? Especially in this case the incentive to for them to make profit from selling the rest of the system and the “Mac kit”, and in so doing obviously violates Apple trademark by using Apple appeal to sell your product without agreement with Apple. Dumb.
    3. Should Psystar sue them for copying the Psystar systems commercial names (“Open Whatever”)?

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