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Mac Cloner Psystar Ships First Service Pack 468

Posted by kdawson
from the cloe-wars dept.
Preedit writes "Not only is Mac clone maker Psystar continuing to defy Apple's ban on third-party Leopard installations, it's supporting the hardware with updates. Psystar Mac clones shipped as of Monday will include a 'service pack' that features fixes for a range of problems, some of them inherent in Apple's own software, according to InformationWeek. The fixes address a range of troubles, from glitches in Apple's Time Machine backup feature to quirks in the Keyboard Viewer and Character Palette entries in Leopard's system preferences menu. There's also support for the latest version of Java and other updates. According to the story, by offering a full menu of support, Psystar appears to be daring Apple to attempt to enforce provisions in the Leopard license agreement that forbid third-party installations and sales." We've been discussing Psystar clones for a while.
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Mac Cloner Psystar Ships First Service Pack

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  • Once Again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:54PM (#23479090)
    I remember this happening in the days of the Apple ][, what with the Peach and other clones. But then, you had to get the ROMs. Maybe this time will turn out (un)successful (depending on your point of view :)
  • Slow News Day? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Generic Guy (678542) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:57PM (#23479138)

    From TFA:

    ...Psystar appears to be daring Apple to attempt to enforce provisions in the Leopard license agreement that forbid third-party installations and sales.

    To me it seems more like daring suckers to send their credit-card information to a fairly shady operation. As in the last slashdot article on Psystar, has anyone besides a few high-profile writers with 'protoypes' actually seen a Psystar -- in the wild, so to speak? InfoWeek cribbed a breif website notice and apparently created a whole 'article piece' based on it

    Anway... Instead of becoming a noble defender of user's EULA rights, it seems far more likely they'll take the submitted order money and disappear into the night.

  • by ToasterTester (95180) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:20PM (#23479586)
    Buy doing nothing Apple isn't give any free press to this company. Companies like do are only looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. People who want Mac's will buy Mac and get a better deal once you factor in cost of OS X the clone isn't that good a deal. Down the road they will have trouble keeping up with updates and etc. In other words leave them alone and they will go back to being just another white box computer maker.
  • by Fallen Andy (795676) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:22PM (#23479618)
    I've just spent 15 minutes screaming "wait a minute I remember something like this from a while back". So here it is - the Advance 86 [old-computers.com] These popped up in "Dixons" (UK) for a while and then magically vanished. Turns out that they were compatible in the sense that the BIOS (at least AFAIK) *was* an IBM BIOS (grins). A friend of mine claims they took the money and ran before IBM came after them... Unlike "Pear?" etc (the Apple ][ clone) this time around Apple might have more trouble pulling the plug I guess.

    Andy

  • Re:Slow News Day? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:22PM (#23479638)
    I went through exactly this excercise the other day with someone. It turns out that Apple and Dell have very similar prices. The exception is with the MacBook Pro, in which Apple exceeds Dell by about 20% or so, but the closest Dell laptop is also larger by a fair margin.

    Dell doesn't sell a Mini competitor, and Apple doesn't sell a headless low or mid-end desktop tower, so those products were impossible to compare.

    Apple's MacBook line, iMac line, and Pro line are all very comparable - even cheaper right after a refresh - to their Dell counterparts.

    Go try it :)
  • by Leomania (137289) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:26PM (#23479690) Homepage

    Mac clone maker Psystar

    This box is NOT a clone, it is a hackintosh [wikipedia.org]. Please refer to it as such, but not a clone. A true clone would have EFI firmware, not EFI emulation. It would require no hacks to install OS X, it would cleanly install and be recognized by the OS.

    I believe this would actually be a desirable system if it really were a clone... but with that fan noise problem and all, how many people would really want one?

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:33PM (#23479792)

    More likely, Apple will stop selling their OS as a boxed product.

    No, all they have to do is stamp the words "Upgrade: for computers with OS X 10.3 or earlier only" on the box - which is effectively what they're selling anyway. If a court decided to rule that illegal it would set some very interesting precedents for Microsoft et. al.

    Wasn't the ruling in the recent Skype vs. the GPL case (where they tried to use antitrust law) something along the lines that, if a copyright holder wanted to specify that their software should only be distributed in a green envelope, such was their right?

    Plus, this bunch are re-distributing the software in a "new binding" (i.e. on a shiny new Psystar computer rather than an Apple CD) so I doubt they would have the same potential "one sided contract/first sale" defenses against a EULA as a regular punter might.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:40PM (#23479940)
    Netkas, one of the hackers that basically made OSX86 possible, is not happy about how they've taken a community effort that was trying to stay away from the Apple hammer by not being involved with money. ON his blog netkas.org, he's updated the EFI bootloader license to be non-commercial...of course this would imply he'd have to reveal himself...
  • Re:Bet ten to one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HairyCanary (688865) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:10PM (#23480396)
    People keep saying this, and I don't understand the logic behind it. This is not a case of the end user violating the EULA, this is a for-profit company violating the EULA to make money. That's a whole different ballgame.
  • by Enrique1218 (603187) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:17PM (#23480510) Journal

    Apple can sue Psystar and seek to get legal enforcement to EULA that right now has the illusion of authority. If they lose, they null and void all the EULA's in existence. Sometimes the illusion is effective enough.

    Apple can make a deal with Psystar by liscensing the OS or buying out the company. That action will only encourage further cloning

    The more likely action is Apple will wait an see the impact on the hardware business while planning on instituting a technological barrier for 10.6. Right now, these guys are selling systems that are not competing in Apple's price point nor are those can Psystar competing on quality. Also, Apple's hardware sales are higher than they ever been. Moreover, Apple isn't responsible to support the clones or the OS but still gets revenue from the sale of the OS. Eventually these guys will start to cut into Apple's computers business, however, it will probably happen right around 10.6 release.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:58PM (#23481198)
    Talk to me when the iMac uses all desktop components and has a replaceable video card.

    I create pretty complex and effects-heavy videos using Final Cut and Motion on my middle of the road iMac; the card is fine for anyone who isn't making Pixar movies or playing the very latest FPS. (Oddly, the two have pretty much the same system requirements.)

    The idea that you need to upgrade your video every 6 months to a year is one of the worst things to happen to the PC. It's certainly the reason gaming is a shell of what it once was.
  • If I were (Score:2, Interesting)

    by etherealmuse (937019) <tomaso4@COBOLyahoo.com minus language> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:15PM (#23481546)
    I'd bide my time on this. Allowing another company to make a similar, cheaper, but of a lesser quality product can often have a beneficial impact on the original product. In this case users that may have been prohibited by the Mac price tag may be able to pick up a product with a similar/same OS and begin to use it. Down the line these consumers may like the product and decide the next time to spend a little extra to get the "good" one. Worse comes to worst Apple can always enforce its EULA, which would be interesting because you don't often see those types of court cases, and can regain their market share.
  • by djrobxx (1095215) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:17PM (#23481578)
    If Apple recently updated their product, the price is generally competitive. But as it sits on the market, Dell more aggressively changes prices or upgrades the specs with the market. You are also much more likely to get significant discounts with Dell. Overall Dell usually is a bit cheaper.

    That said, you're right though. Many who complain about Apple's pricing fail to make appropriate comparisons. The closest Dell to a Mac Pro is the Precision Workstation. The Mac Pro is not an el-cheapo Dimension/Inspiron.

    Apple just doesn't do bargain basement. Even their "budget" Mini has gigabit ethernet, firewire, bluetooth, IR, DVI, optical audio and wifi.

    -- Rob
  • The problem is (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:22PM (#23481692)
    They don't have a consumer desktop line, which is what a whole lot of people and companies want. Their Mac Pros are good for the money if and only if you actually need all the high end hardware they mandate. The entry level Mac Pro is $2800 with no monitor. Now that's no surprising as it features things like dual quad core Xeons. Ok, fine, but there are very, very, very few apps that can use 8 cores. There are, in fact, very few that can use 4 cores. So for most people it, like much of the other high end hardware you have to get (ECC RAM, for example) is a waste of money. Consider that MPC (our supplier at work) will happily sell me a single quad core desktop for just under $1000.

    Thus it is overpriced if you don't need the hardware they are trying to push. They don't have a mid range tower at all.

    You can go down to their all in ones, but of course those come with their own problems. A big one would be why do I want to get a nice monitor, if I am going to have to get rid of it when the computer attached to it is obsolete? Monitors last longer than computers, particularly nice ones. You get a nice 24" IPS LCD, man, that's a keeper for a long time. However, the computer is going to get outdated at the same rate all computers do, which is to say fairly quickly. So if you buy the all in ones, you have to get a monitor every time you want a computer upgrade.

    That's a waste of money to most of us. Pretty much everyone I know keeps their monitors well past their computers. Either they buy cheap monitors, in which case they generally keep them until they break because they don't want to spend any more money on a display than they have to, or they buy good monitors, and they keep them because the monitor is still a good monitor and works for many years.

    I have a nice 26" IPS panel that I plan on keeping probably until it fails. Hell, first thing to go out on it will be the backlight, and I can and most likely will buy new tubes and a new ballast and replace it. It's a great display and when the day comes that I retire it from my primary system, it'll work very nicely on my guest system. No reason to throw it away in a couple years. However if it were tied to my computer, well that's what would happen. I upgrade my system very regularly. My monitor though, that lasts.

    So that's where the complaints against Apple's price tend to come from. It isn't that they are necessarily bad if you do a straight 1:1 comparison. It is that they don't offer many choices, and one of the choices they exclude is one of the most popular choices: consumer desktop/tower and separate monitor. People like that choice, and businesses REALLY like that choice. If you want a separate monitor, you either have to get a very low end system, with no upgradability (mini) or an amazingly powerful workstation (pro). Nothing in the middle range. Thus for most people, the pro is what they'd look at and it is expensive.

    Show me a mac tower with a single dual core processor and regular DDR2 RAM and then we can talk. Until then the choices are a system that isn't powerful or expandable enough or a system that is overpriced.
  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:30PM (#23481826) Journal
    Well, your reading of the EULA is interesting. Slapping an Apple logo on a non-Apple computer, though, would be a violation of Apple's trademark in their logo.

    As long as you're looking for interesting ways to read the end user license agreement, isn't that a license between Apple and the end user? PsyStar is reselling the OS, not using it.
  • by cptnapalm (120276) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:05PM (#23482426)
    The Dilbert bit was preceeded by a few decades by "Unics is a castrated Multics" It became Unix because of that joke.
  • by Leoedin (954720) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:31PM (#23482886)
    I'd compare a Macbook to an XPS M1330 rather than an inspiron, as the M1330 has the same screen size. The two are very similar laptops in fact. The main difference is the expandability - you can get the M1330 with a graphics card (or with the same Intel graphics as the MacBook), and the M1330 comes with an Expresscard slot. After that, there is very little in it, and even price is similar. Really, it is a tradeoff between OSX and Expresscard/option to get extra graphics. I'm currently in the I-need-a-laptop-for-university situation, and I'm really finding it hard to decide what to go for. I'm hoping the next iteration (rumoured to be Q3) of the macbook will add an expresscard. Then I'll be sold!
  • by KGIII (973947) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:35PM (#23482956) Journal
    Why? It is a matter of taste and no other reason. I simply don't like any of the Mac OSes I've used and, yes, I've used many of them throughout the years. I happily admit that I take the extra time and effort to make as secure as possible a Windows OS by choice. It isn't from lack of experience nor is it for any disdain for the culture or anything like that. I simply don't like it and "trying it again" really is unlikely to make me change my mind.

    I like the Air because of the beauty and the size. As a travel buddy it would be ideal for me. (I'm quite often on the road.) I figure it would be a lot less effort to simply use a Mac but I simply don't prefer it. I don't like KDE or Gnome either really. And, again, it isn't from lack of trying or from me not being open-minded. I simply prefer the Windows layout/method/experience. At home that is my OS of choice. (Specifically Windows XP Professional Edition but Vista's good enough if you turn off all the new features.)

    Right now I tote around an older HP that doesn't weigh a whole lot but is beat to crap through the past year's abuses and beer spills. The Air is really impressive and the size/performance makes me really want one. I would say that Jobs And Crew have done an excellent job (no pun intended) at realizing and capitalizing on the idea that when people find something that they really want they will find the money to pay for it without regard to the markup. They make very high quality hardware and great aesthetic choices.

    Hmm... I wonder if I can put Windows on it (without the Mac OS) and not need bootcamp. I should look into that. Hmm... I wonder if I do then if I can go get a refund like the people buying OEM Microsoft products who then turn around and use a different operating system? *g*
  • Re:How the hell... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZERO1ZERO (948669) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:51PM (#23483198)
    Good point. Anyone have any thoughts? What are the open source portions in OSX?
  • by Darth (29071) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:40PM (#23483964) Homepage
    Read up on the Kodak case. Kodak tried to keep third-party maintenance firms from buying Kodak repair parts. The monopoly was defined as being in spare parts for Kodak copiers, not the entire copier market. That went to the Supreme Court, and Kodak lost.

    It seems to me that even in that kind of case, you'd have to define the market as operating systems that can run on intel machines. Even if you narrowed it to just the configuration that psystar is selling, that would still put windows as the dominant os for the market. I think it would be unlikely that anyone would suggest mac os has a monopoly influence over a hardware platform it wont even run on without an emulation layer for the bios.

    I'm not trying to be belligerent, i'm just curious what definition of the market you feel would make anti-trust law relevant in this case.

    Maybe i'm taking your argument backwards and you are defining the market as hardware platforms that can run mac os?

  • by boyfaceddog (788041) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:17PM (#23485440) Journal

    If Apple did try to go for this market....

    Let's see; no c&d from Apple Legal, Apple gets their cut for the OS, Apple looks like the good guy by letting someone "stick it to the man", This isn't hurting their margins.

    Where's the downside for Steve? Maybe this is Apple's way of testing the waters?

  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @09:42PM (#23486310)
    It's true that there's a lot of markup on apple hardware, especially the low end stuff. However, these guys are claiming that their hardware is *one fourth* the cost for a similar system, which is clearly not true.

    "One version of Psystar's Open Computer features Apple's Leopard OS X 10.5 operating system ported onto generic PC hardware that includes anIntel (NSDQ: INTC) Core2Duo processor at 2.66 GHz, a 250 GB hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card.

    The system is priced at $804.99. A similar, Apple-branded computer could cost more than $2,000. "

    They are here comparing their core2due based system, to the mac pros which *8 core harpertown xeon* system with a 1600 mhz bus and 800 mhz memory. They aren't in the same class, the mac pros are heavy duty workstations, and what they are selling are dinky gaming boxes.

    The mac pro processor, straight from intel, costs *alone* more than these guys entire system. So the comparison isn't even close to valid.

    The truth is that apple's higher end stuff has maybe a 10 or 20% markup over what you could get form dell *with the same hardware*. People often look at the 2000 or 3000 dollar computers and think they are overpriced, but what they aren't taking into account is that apple tends to use very expensive components, like the 1600 mhz bus harpertowns (most expensive cpu on the market), 800 mhz ram, maybe a raid card so you can use SAS harddrives.

    The mid to low end systems and the laptops are actually the systems where you are really paying the apple tax; however, even there it's never a 5 times the cost of the competition like they are claiming.

    The main problem the lineup apple has is that it has a limited range of products. They have good options for the low end, and the very high end, but they don't have the cheap but upgradeable desktops that gamers like, and they don't offer a whole lot in the server market (they have *1* model of server).

    Really, since gaming on the mac sucks anyway, what I'd like to see is some kind of generic osx for servers, or at least a better darwin that's actually usable. That way, you could develop on real mac dev machines, and deploy to a darwin server.
  • by DurendalMac (736637) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:40PM (#23486868)

    Yes, because I can't get the video card I want put in.
    Thanks for completely missing the point. Most people don't care about advanced video card options.

    And plays their games, and works with their PCI video capture card, and has enough USB ports for all their toys, and space for a 2nd hard drive to hold all their stuff.
    Most people don't play demanding games, most people don't use video capture beyond Firewire on a digital camera and wouldn't know how to install a PCI card in the first place (and you can get USB/Firewire video capture devices), USB hubs are cheap and plentiful, and second hard drives can be hooked up via USB/Firewire. Do you even think about these idiotic arguments before you type them? Newsflash: Most people are utter noobs when it comes to computers. Get that through your skull.

    Your right most people don't ugprade all the time. However, a LOT of people can't buy an imac that does what they want it to do. If they want something better than a crappy 8800GS, tough shit. Its not that they want to buy new graphics cards every couple months... they can't even get a decent one the day they buy it. And if they don't want a 24" behemoth, they can't even buy one with a crappy 800GS, they have to get the utterly abysmal ATi 2400/2600.
    YOU ARE STILL ASSUMING MOST PEOPLE CARE ABOUT BIG BAD VIDEO CARDS. They don't! Jesus, most people don't know what it is and don't care what it is. For the VAST majority of consumers, an 8800GS is far more than they'll ever need or use.

    And LOTs of people never upgrade hard drives, but if the PC fills up before they are done with it, adding an $80 internal hard drive is easy, neat, and no fuss... and not possible on an imac. Most PCs these days come with 6 to 8 usb ports. iMacs have 3 and one is tied up by the keyboard/mouse. Want more? Tough. Want a TV-tuner card? Tough. Bluray reader? Tough.
    Every single one of those idiotic arguments is completely ruined by the novel concept of EXTERNAL PERIPHERALS!! Imagine that! You can add USB hubs, external TV tuners, Bluray readers, and hard drives! Holy shit, you mean you don't have to put all that IN the computer? Seriously, pull your head out of your ass.
  • Wildly different features =

    Dell has fingerprint reader, white LED screen, bigger hard drive, with option for SSD, better remote which isn't £15 extra, options for faster processors up to 2.6ghz, integrated mobile broadband option, card reader, more speaker jacks, array microphones, metal finishes and a larger keyboard.

    Macbook has S-video/composite out.

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