Psystar Corporation company based in Florida which sells “Open Computers.” These PCs, first announced in April 2008, have the option to come pre-installed with Mac OS X Leopard, making them the first commercially-distributed ‘hacked’ Macintosh computers. However, at the time of Psystar’s hackintosh launch, Apple’s Software License Agreement for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard explicitly stated: 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. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard’s Software License Agreement contains similar language as have all previous versions of Mac OS X.
I’ve begun to wonder if Psystar’s raison d’être isn’t really to sell “Mac clones,” but simply to publicize that it’s possible and, even better, how to do it.
Right now, legally, only Apple Macs can run all of the world’s major OSes and software; all other PCs cannot legally run Mac OS X and Mac-only apps such as iLife, Final Cut, etc. For PC box assemblers — some of whom have been desirous of licensing Mac OS X (see related articles below) because their products are seen by tech literates as inferior to Apple’s Mac due not only to being OS-limited (legally unable to run Mac OS X), but also in overall build-quality (unibody construction, for example) — having such information made widely known could be quite beneficial. Even if it is illegal to install Mac OS X on a generic PC it wouldn’t matter; just look at the rampant software and media piracy going on today.
Imagine if Steve Jobs was approached by some PC box assembler(s) to license Mac OS X and he promptly laughed in their face(s) before flatly telling them to go pound sand. Not too farfetched to imagine, right? What recourse would these jilted PC makers then have? They know that Mac OS X can be made to run on their wares and that such capacity would likely help sales, along with the added benefit of cutting into Apple’s Mac hardware sales. Hmm, if only the general public knew it could be done and how to do it. They know they can’t legally advertise such capacity, but there’s nothing stopping them from using the courts (along with your tax dollars, by the way) and the media to do their bidding…
After all, Apple has already told the courts that it believes there are other corporations and/or individuals behind Psystar. Maybe these backers don’t believe they’ll prevail in forcing Apple to license or somehow making Apple’s property available to any PC maker that wishes to install it, but are instead only after the publicity generated and knowledge imparted, considering it well worth the legal costs (as long as they’re never found out – and maybe even if they are)?
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.