Psystar switches from Mac OS X to Linux

As you'll know, Psystar is a company that tried to sell Apple's OS X operating system on non-Mac machines, and got taken down because of it. This, apparently, isn't enough to stop them; the resilient company is now selling machines boasting the free Linux operating system.

According to OS News, Psystar made an announcement about switching to Linux on its website. The company stated, "Earlier this month, Psystar discontinued the sale of all its computer systems. In the coming days, we will again be offering complete systems but at discounted prices as they will be bundled with your choice of Linux operating system. In addition to using only first quality components, our hardware specifically chosen such that it is known to be compatible with OS X (via Apples own drivers or open source offerings online). This makes it easier to get up and running with your favorite XNU based operating system, including Pure Darwin." Of course, Psystar has disagreed with the decision of the court to disallow the sale of OS X by them, noting, "If you purchase an off-the-shelf copy of OS X Snow Leopard, it's your right to use that software. A publisher cannot forbid you from reading a book in the bathroom or listening to a music disc while riding your bicycle. There should be no difference in the software realm, no matter how much money Apple or anyone else throws at it."

Whether or not this will help Psystar in the future has yet to be seen. The whole appeal of their products was the presence of OS X, which is generally only available on a higher-priced Mac, whereas any regular Joe can put together a Linux based computer provided they have the know-how.

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FWIW, Many, many companies do very well copying product ideas from the company that 1st brought them to market, from 3M's sticky notes to Diamond's mp3 players & beyond. The danger to Apple isn't Psytar, but the market it could potentially create -- if other companies become convinced there's enough customer demand, Psystar itself could face a bit of competition. It wouldn't be hard to take a cheap generic case, add on the usual plastic trim [in this case designed to look like a Mac], & put together some sort of Mac semi-clone, either complete or in some sort of kit form. Supply resources & otherwise make sure an open source boot loader became popular [so they could stay on top of future Apple efforts to block it], & you just might make a profit. Might even spawn a market for fake Macs, the same way knock-offs are sold for everything from watches to handbags.

Right now there are thousands if not millions of mp3 players sold that were designed to look like Apple products. Most people don't care about any licensing fine print -- how many thousands copies of OEM Windows are sold to end users by major on-line retailers [hundreds of thousands? millions?], or how many truck loads of Microsoft hardware multi-packs are split up for individual sale?

Apple's best protection may wind up being their smaller market [as compared to Windows + Linux PCs], or they might find themselves in IBM's position when they lost the PC market near entirely, which is ironic because it's their image of a smaller, more exclusive market share that makes them a target in the 1st place.

"If you purchase an off-the-shelf copy of OS X Snow Leopard, it's your right to use that software. A publisher cannot forbid you from reading a book in the bathroom or listening to a music disc while riding your bicycle. There should be no difference in the software realm, no matter how much money Apple or anyone else throws at it."

QFT

agreenbhm said,
QFT

It's true though. Or maybe you would prefer being judged and managed by a corporate control machine like being forced into a lifestyle of real life sims game ?

Digix said,
It's true though. Or maybe you would prefer being judged and managed by a corporate control machine like being forced into a lifestyle of real life sims game ?

QFT = Quoted For Truth, or Quite F'ing True.

I'm not sure about "legality" (I think that word is thrown around, and I know I'm guilty of throwing that word around). But off-the-shelf copies of Mac OS X are considered upgrades. That is why Apple sells them for $30.

Same rules apply as they do with Windows upgrades:

Windows 7 Upgrade + Previously version of Windows = License to run Windows 7

Windows 7 Upgrade + Nothing = License to run nothing

Mac OS X off-the-shelf + Nothing = License to run nothing


Can you still use Windows 7 Upgrade from nothing, YES. Can you still use Mac OS X off-the-shelf and install it on a normal PC, YES. Does it violate the terms of the license agreement, YES.

You are mostly correct Shadrack, except that Apple even considered Tiger and Leopard to be "upgrades" in that sense, but they charged $129 for them. Only with Snow Leopard did they drop the price to $30. Their stated reason was that it was only a minor upgrade compared to other versions.

Shadrack said,
I'm not sure about "legality" (I think that word is thrown around, and I know I'm guilty of throwing that word around). But off-the-shelf copies of Mac OS X are considered upgrades. That is why Apple sells them for $30.

Same rules apply as they do with Windows upgrades:

Windows 7 Upgrade + Previously version of Windows = License to run Windows 7

Windows 7 Upgrade + Nothing = License to run nothing

Mac OS X off-the-shelf + Nothing = License to run nothing


Can you still use Windows 7 Upgrade from nothing, YES. Can you still use Mac OS X off-the-shelf and install it on a normal PC, YES. Does it violate the terms of the license agreement, YES.

Yeah and the whole ethics or point of a post sale "license agreement, EULA" or whatever is stupid.

Apple could request that the court order another injuction on them because they are selling Linux PC's designed to assist in a user running a separately purchased copy of OS X.

invaderzim_2004 said,
Apple could request that the court order another injuction on them because they are selling Linux PC's designed to assist in a user running a separately purchased copy of OS X.

Yep,
Those darn technicalities!!

By that reasoning, they could sue any company that happens to build systems that have the same or similar hardware to Macs. They'd be suing Dell, Acer, HP, and practically every other company that sells computers these days.

invaderzim_2004 said,
Apple could request that the court order another injuction on them because they are selling Linux PC's designed to assist in a user running a separately purchased copy of OS X.

Psystar &/or anyone else can sell parts or a complete rig that's basically Mac compatible without infringing on any of Apple's patents or IT -- that's the other side of the coin when Apple started using more off the shelf parts. They don't even have to bundle any OS, which in this case just makes it easier to claim innocence in court. It's whatever allows a system to boot OS X that *might* infringe, & all Psystar has to do is make sure it's easily available from other sources. If you look at the numbers in a recent neowin article re: most downloaded, pirated movies, obviously downloading even illegal files doesn't bother many (most?) folks.

If Psystar does supply the means to boot OS X, it could be A) they want to get it out there in the public domain, & B) if they go to court again it helps to have something to give up that you can live without.

They can still make profit off of this from the people who would rather buy a Mac compatible PC for the lower price of an Apple one. Also, nice to see Linux on there

Symod said,
They can still make profit off of this from the people who would rather buy a Mac compatible PC for the lower price of an Apple one. Also, nice to see Linux on there :)

Yeah, it'll be refreshing to see Linux actually work out of the box on a custom built PC.

Other then a few computer geeks (like most of us on Neowin) very few people will ever think about building a Hackintosh. I for one will not have to since already sitting on both OS, and Linux on my Windows Box. So unless Psystar can sell several hundred boxes a year they will be gone by the end of 2010.

That is true. People who are interested in running Hackintosh are generally the same people who are willing to install it and deal with the problems on what hardware they already have for Windows.

apple just wants more money... you would never see the Psystar issue with windows based machines... MS would simply say "Hey, we got money somewhere along the line". Apple says "**** they didnt buy factory-direct... kill them"

Apple doesn't have a strategy to support third-party hardware and manufacturing, so having a lot of crashy Macs from Psystar after they release an OS X update or whatever would tarnish their reputation. Apple doesn't want that to happen, because filling their official forums and Apple Stores with messed up Psystars is not part of their plans.

Of course you don't see this issue with Windows machines because Windows is designed to run on any PC compatible hardware. Microsoft has established an entire ecosystem of hardware driver developers, but this is out of reach for Apple.

Jugalator said,
Apple doesn't have a strategy to support third-party hardware and manufacturing, so having a lot of crashy Macs from Psystar after they release an OS X update or whatever would tarnish their reputation. Apple doesn't want that to happen, because filling their official forums and Apple Stores with messed up Psystars is not part of their plans.

Though this is definitely something for Apple to consider, I think the chief reason they are and have always been against this sort of thing is because it cuts them out of a computer sale. That is a good deal of Apple's profit.

If I could buy a linux box that "in theory" could run OSX86 for a linux box price..then I don't see where they could really go wrong with it.

All they have to do is supply the same hardware but install a linux distro and brand it as their own.

It actually sounds like a quite good compromise. They are still selling exactly the same hardware and you supply your own copy of OS/X.

Will end up much cheaper than buying a MAC and likely a lot of people may not actually pay apple for their copy of OS/X :)

They are including linux as they aren't allowed to use their own OSx, and Windows would just add to the price, and that isn't their market anyway.

dvb2000, Psystar was selling legally purchased copies of OS X with their systems. Apple was getting their money for the OS. Apple simply objected to their installing the OS on non-Apple computers.

Oh, and it's Mac, not MAC (it's not an acronym).

I agree with the Nightwind Hawk, this is the end of them. There are more than enough companies out there selling computers and anyone who wants to (and knows how) could install OS X on them. At the point what makes Psystar at all interesting?? Why not just buy your hardware from a more trusted source?

Legally purchased, but not legal to use in a system that didn't previously have Mac OS X installed. What Apple sells in stores in considered an "upgrade." Thats why they only sell it for $30.

Shadrack said,
Legally purchased, but not legal to use in a system that didn't previously have Mac OS X installed. What Apple sells in stores in considered an "upgrade." Thats why they only sell it for $30.

Yes, I'm aware of that. However, lots of people seem to be under the impression that Psystar was selling pirated copies of OS X, which they weren't.

I think Apple screwed the pooch here. They were getting paid thanks to the legally purchased copies of OSX but now there might be people loading up their Psystar Hackintosh with a pirated copy of OSX leaving Apple out of a sale. The pirating of OSX just got a lot easier now that you can buy a box with hardware that'll run OSX. Not that it couldn't have been done before but it required research - now it's simply buying a box from Psystar.

Tim Dawg said,
I think Apple screwed the pooch here. They were getting paid thanks to the legally purchased copies of OSX but now there might be people loading up their Psystar Hackintosh with a pirated copy of OSX leaving Apple out of a sale. The pirating of OSX just got a lot easier now that you can buy a box with hardware that'll run OSX. Not that it couldn't have been done before but it required research - now it's simply buying a box from Psystar.

exactly what i was thinking, now they won't be profiting at all, lol

sphbecker said,
I agree with the Nightwind Hawk, this is the end of them. There are more than enough companies out there selling computers and anyone who wants to (and knows how) could install OS X on them. At the point what makes Psystar at all interesting?? Why not just buy your hardware from a more trusted source?

You can't just install OS X on any hardware...