It’s legal to run Mac OS X on non-Apple branded PCs with EFI-X dongle?

“Muzzle, a Dutch Hackintosh community site, has posted an interview with Davide Rutigliano, the co-creator of the EFI-X hack dongle and CEO of Art Studios Entertainment Media. Davide weighs in on the legality of the product and on what its future may be,” Filip Truta reports for Softpedia.

“‘…We implement real EFI in our device. There is nothing that links our product to the hack world… Yes, it is [legal]. We made sure to create a product that goes in the same direction of all other computer companies and not against them in any way,’ Rutigliano said,” Truta reports.

“It is well known that Apple’s EULA strictly forbids PC owners to run OS X, and that only Apple computers should be able to boot it. However, Davide reveals that, unlike Psystar, they’re selling something else,” Truta reports. “‘It is possible that we will go to court with Apple, but most likely supporting them, in case we ever find out that someone is selling PCs with our module installed. Selling a computer that can boot OS X is a unique right that only Apple has. And we enforce it.’ Davide explains.”

More info in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: 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.

[Bold text added above for emphasis. – MDN]

43 Comments

  1. @GIL

    The license agreement probably says no, but I doubt Apple will hunt you down for it like the RIAA. I’d be surprised if there’s a large number of people who want to run OS X on two separate partitions of the same computer.

  2. “Selling a computer that can BOOT [edit mine] OS X is a unique right that only Apple has. And we enforce it.’ Davide explains.”

    So… they way they are attempting to skirt the EULA is by saying, “a computer which ‘boots’ OS X” … damn semantics.

    btw, what MDN said…

  3. at HMCIV

    It was a hypothetical. But another ? is it ok to install OS X on an external drive? I noticed that the Genius’ at the Genius Bar have external drives with multiple OS’es installed when they are trying to diagnose a problem with Macs.

  4. “or to enable others to do so.”

    That would only matter if you were in privity with Apple. (that is to say a party to the contract). The EULA is between Apple and the person who purchased the Mac OS X DVD, not Apple and any supplier of 3rd party hardware.

    Therefore it’s impossible for the EFI-X guys to be violating it. And because their solution uses a customer purchased original DVD unmodified, they’re pretty much immune from any suit from Apple.

    After all, since when did selling an EFI bios become a crime?

    Therefore Apple needs to sue each and every person who actually brought the DVD from them then installed it on a non Apple labelled computer (presumably a machine which you have not stuck an Apple label on, given the plain meaning of the words), with the only claim being that the customer installed the product on non apple labelled hardware.

    I doubt any court will have the stomach to allow Apple to brutalize it’s customers in that way.

  5. Apple cannot prevent Art Studios Entertainment Media from selling the dongle, as they aren’t supplying a copy of Mac OS X. Since they aren’t supplying the OS, they are not bound by its EULA. Any buyer of the device, on the other hand, cannot legally use it to install and run OS X, since they are bound by the EULA.

  6. > So If I have 2 partitions on my iMac’s hard disk, I am only allowed to install one copy?

    You CAN do that because you cannot “use and run” both installations at the same time. The license statement says, “install, use AND run,” not “install, use OR run.”

  7. @ Gil:

    The EULA says you can install OS X on 1 Apple-branded computer. Your multiple partitions are still on one computer.

    The external hard drive is worthless without a computer to use it. In this case, it would need to be an Apple-branded computer to comply with the EULA.

    The EFI-X hack dongle is perfectly legal to sell. It’s not legal for you to use the dongle to install OS X on a Dell PC, because the Dell PC is not an Apple-branded computer.

    An analogy: it’s perfectly legal in my state to buy those license plate covers which block photo radar from taking a picture of your license plate. However, it’s illegal to use them on your car. Why is the law like this? Because it’s extremely difficult to stop the sale of a device which is legal in many states/countries, but it’s easy to prosecute the people who are caught using them.

  8. So, when China gets their ONE copy of Apple’s OS X software and their ONE copy of EFI-X hack dongle that will kill Vista and Windows in Asia.

    Should Steve Ballmer get his resume up to date? No way. They can sell Zunes and xBoxs and Steve can keep his job.

  9. That dongle still only recognizes / allows 256 MB of video ram regardless of the ram actually present on the card AND supports a limited number of mother boards…. it’s not like you can go out and get this dongle and turn your Dull PC into a Mac.

    It can be purchased in the U.S. (http://www.efixusa.net/ out of L.A.) …and it retails for $179.00.
    WHY you’d want to do that is another question, but here in the good ole U.S. of A. we typically have choices.

  10. “I thought the EULA said “Apple-branded” machine, not “Apple-labeled””

    No, it uses the awkward construction “Apple Labelled”

    For the most part courts will construe such contracts according to the plain meaning of the term and the benefit of the doubt going against the drafter of the agreement.

    So Apple would argue that “Apple Labelled” means a machine manufactured for Apple and sold under one of Apple’s brands.

    An EFI-X user would argue he understood the term to mean that by placing an Apple Label on the machine (widely available, shipped with most Apple products, from memory even with the software) that he was complying with the terms as he understood them to be.

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