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quad-core Open Tech XT, that are effectively just custom-built Intel systems based on commonly available — and somewhat outdated — parts,” Aidan Malley reports for AppleInsider.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]

49 Comments

  1. Hey, slow up, folks, the word ILLEGAL is a bit too harsh.

    A EULA is a simple agreement between you and a software manufacturer, and the legality of EULA’s has not been definitively ruled on by the courts.

    Violating a EULA is NOT breaking the law, there is no law against violating agreements.

    The courts get involved in enforcing agreements between individuals and/or companies as a matter of civil tort, which is NOT like the criminal system at all. A violation of an agreement means that the court will rule as to the legal facts of the case, i.e., who did or did not violate the agreement. It will then issue an order granting the violated party relief according to the terms of the agreement, what ever they may be, based upon that finding of fact. There are NO criminal consequences, and the civil relief granted can range from cash payments to outright cancellation of the agreement, depending on the terms of that agreement.

    The only place an illegality may come into play is in copyright law, and if these guys are not distributing altered copies of Mac OS X, I don’t see how Apple could do anything. The most is that Apple could force them to stop using Apple’s name or the name of Mac OS X in their advertising. Those names ARE copyrighted, and may not be used without permission.

  2. @ Rahrens:

    Great point about legalities and applicability in civil litigation. However, does illegality come into question when allowing other individuals to break copyrights, such as end users? Is Open Tech breaking copyright law by exposing work-arounds for end users to utilize?

    My short answer would be no. Recent example remains those individuals who jailbroke (not unlocked) their iPhones: such practices were a direct violation of the EULA by end-users, but not so by the developer of the software (in Open Tech’s case, the “kit”). Apple merely refused to service or repair such iPhones, but never had a legal leg to actively pursue the developers of the jailbreak software.

    @ rwr:

    An EULA is applicable to any person or company who purchases the software with the exemption of authorized resellers. Being that Psystar was actively installing OSX without the distinction of authorized reseller makes them an “end user.”

    Apple does provide recourse for individuals who purchased hardware with OSX preinstalled that violates the terms of the EULA (said hardware must be returned to manufacturer). Unfortunately, it looks as though Open Tech may have found a loophole, unless an argument can be made regarding copyright infringement.

  3. Mac OS X is licensed not owned, thew only thing you own when purchasing OS X is the physical CD\DVD you can at your discretion us it as a Frisbee if you like. Apple may not be able to go after them for enticing users to break there EULA but they do own the Triad Mark for Mac OS X and so the fact that this company is using Apple Triad Mark to sell there products is something Apple’s legal team can hunt them down for.

  4. I did, however, just think of something. Open Tech must have a computer they have tested their “kit” on, which would place them in violation of the EULA by not only modifying the code of their own computer, but allowing others to do so as well.

    At such a point, they are liable for any damages (i.e. Macs not sold as a result of Open Tech sales) as well as punitive damages. Booya!

  5. @E-Dub:

    Heh…put down the crack pipe. By your logic, Apple would have recourse against anyone who jailbreaks their phone and loads Apps, because it decreases demand for Apps provided solely through the iTunes store. Apple would also have had recourse against iToner and iPhoneRingtoneMaker for lost ringtone revenues.

    Trust me on this…such litigation will never see the light of day. The courts, time and again, have proved unpredictable to lenient when dealing with how consumers use things they’ve purchased in ways undesired by the MFR.

    My guess is that Open Tech is very much in the legal clear so long as they do not distribute OSX with their products. My bet is they provide public torrents to the Hacked OSX bits and a CD with non Apple proprietary, e.g., EFI hacks.

    Seriously, pursuing such companies is not worth Apple’s time because the tiniest fraction of people want a computer that exists without support.

    That said, the Libertarian in me says more power to such maverick individuals. They buy the hardware, they buy Windows, and OSX. They Download Linux. They get all three working and keep them working.

    I don’t think companies should have the ability to dictate how you use their products so long as its for individual use and not resale.

    People should not be protected from making stupid decisions that only affect themselves…and you can quote me on that ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    I built my own Windows Vista machine right when it came out. What a stupid decision…now I use a Mac. Good Decision…see…self correcting.

  6. A few points-

    The EULA states:

    “…or to enable others to do so.”

    If this new company doesn’t buy Mac OS X, they are not subject to the EULA. They can’t be subject to a license agreement for a product they did not license!

    As far as copyright violations, it isn’t. The worst they would be guilty of is helping others violate a license agreement. Kind of like how Toast “helps you violate a license agreement” by allowing you to make copies of original software media. Supplying information or tools that can be used to violate a civil agreement is not a violation of copyright. Especially if these tools (computers) can run other OS’s, which I assume that they can. They’re selling a bare box, and it’s up to the purchaser to install an OS on it, and therefore the purchaser would be the person violating any EULA’s.

    As far as warranties, if this company warranties their product, how would a customer be at risk of violating a warranty? Granted, Apple would not (and at this point, anyway, SHOULD not) support installations of it’s OS that are in violation of it’s EULA, but the last time I checked, Apple’s warranty pretty much secifically claimed that the software is not warranted for any particular usage, and Apple are not responsible for any problems caused by it’s software. Which is pretty much the same as any other software publisher says about they’re software. Anyone who thinks Apple would warranty this company’s hardware is a moron, and deserves what they get.

    I still just don’t understand all the vehement hatred in this forum about anyone who wants to do anything with a product that they paid for that is in any way not intended by the manufacturer.

    I’m starting to agree with some of the posters that many folks who post here are just Apple Fanboi’s, and if the same situation came up for, say, Dell, or Microsoft, these folks would be the first in line voicing their support for the people who hack their products or do anything that goes against the “norm”.

    There’s a small market that Apple doesn’t server- if that market can cobble together a way to get a great OS running on the hardware that best fits their need, more power to them! It doesn’t hurt Apple, as Apple made the choice to not sell to that market. There aren’t any lost sales- so why all the hulabaloo?

  7. The is a side of me that wants these cloners to win – the same side that tells me it is OK to Handbrake a movie that I legitimately purchased.

    My other side worries that if they succeed, then Apple will raise the price of MacOS X or introduce serial number installations or more encrypted code.

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