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Mac OS X on x86 Videos Get Apple's Attention 758

RetrogradeMotion writes "The OSx86 Project is reporting that Apple has served a legal notice to MacBidouille, a French news site that posted videos and instructions on running Mac OS X on x86 hardware . You can find an English translation of the MacBidouille notice on the OSx86Project's forums. This is the first known legal action by Apple regarding the hacked version of OS X and calls into doubt the future of other news sites, similar to the OSx86 Project." Slashdot previously covered the story of hacking Mac OS X onto non-Apple hardware and followed up again a few days later.
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Mac OS X on x86 Videos Get Apple's Attention

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  • So it starts... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NickCatal ( 865805 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:04PM (#13343505)
    Apple is going to have YEARS of this ahead of them... I'm just waiting for Apple Jobs to have about 300 postings for "Piracy Specialist" to open up. M$ has to have an entire building just for their piracy group.
  • by ndansmith ( 582590 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:09PM (#13343544)
    Is it illegal to post this sort of information? If not, can Apple convince a judge that posting this information is harming them, and thus win a civil suit? I doubt it.
  • by Logic Bomb ( 122875 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:10PM (#13343553)
    This is the first known legal action by Apple regarding the hacked version of OS X and calls into doubt the future of other news sites, similar to the OSx86 Project.

    Given how fast Apple's legal department is capable of acting, it's a little odd that it took this long. I was speculating with a friend that Apple probably wants to make sure that the hype has time to take hold before it cracks down. It's interesting how they have to do a balancing act between being too heavy-handed and making sure that people keep talking about their products.

    It would have been relatively simple for Apple to personalize each copy of OS X Intel that it sent out to developers. I find it pretty strange that we haven't heard about legal action against whomever distributed their copy. Perhaps Apple purposely didn't watermark the installers so the balance could tilt towards hype without them having to sue a developer.

  • Re:Sad Mac (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hattig ( 47930 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:15PM (#13343577) Journal
    They had to expect it to happen, if they weren't then they're extremely naïve.

    I'd love Mac OS X on Intel PCs. I don't care about getting a manky cheap-black-plastic laptop booting it, but a decent cheap desktop PC, yeah. As you get older you realise certain things - (1) I ain't got the time to get Gentoo to compile, (2) No way am I gonna lose my Unix shell, (3) Nor have I got the time to work out how certain things in Linux/FreeBSD now work since the last release I tried. Mac OS X is the OS for the productive geek, and the amount of desire there is for a generic x86 version shows that many many other people out there think the same thing.

    And yes, I have a nice new 1.33GHz iBook here. 'Tis weird, but I'm more productive using it than any computer previous to this one until my old Amiga. It is my first ever Mac too. Used to hate the little buggers, nasty OS, crappy keyboards, boring interface.
  • by levram2 ( 701042 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:19PM (#13343602)
    OSx86 Project's CEpeep researched building a x86 machine that will run Mac OS X for Intel for under $200. The machine has the same Intel chipset on the motherboard and a processor with SSE3. Total includes CPU, MB, RAM, Case, HD, and DVD drive. ontent&task=view&id=27&Itemid=2 []

  • Re:So it starts... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:22PM (#13343624) Homepage Journal
    ``M$ has to have an entire building just for their piracy group.''

    No, because most people pay for the OS when they buy a machine, and companies often take group licenses for software (MS Office, SQL Server, ...). I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft had sold more copies of Windows than there were people using computers.

    Also, every computer that runs Windws, pirated or not, strengthens Microsoft's position. The people using that computer will be used to Microsoft software, and likely prefer to use that over alternatives. Thus, pirated copies of your software keep the users away from the competition, and may lead to sales further down the road. You don't want to alienate those users by trying to make them pay.

    Of course, if some group is massively pirating your software, it may be better to do something about that group. But even for that you don't need a whole building of drones; you can get the FBI to help you.
  • by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:24PM (#13343635)
    Is it illegal to post this sort of information? If not, can Apple convince a judge that posting this information is harming them, and thus win a civil suit? I doubt it.

    I suppose it would have something to do with the laws of a particular country. In some countries, it's probably actionable, and not in others. Which is why this is probably an exercise in futility. I'm sure somebody will eventually set up a site in a country where it's legal.

    I'm not really sure why Apple is even bothering. Having looked over the process, I decided it was more of a pain in the ass than it was worth, and if it isn't even worth the aggrevation to me, I can't imagine Joe User will be making a habit out of hacking OS X, either. The only people who will bother will be the ones that can't afford to buy Apple's computers, anyway.
  • Re:So it starts... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:27PM (#13343653) Journal
    Apple is going to have YEARS of this ahead of them...

    Maybe, but I doubt it. Running a shipping version of OS X on a generic PC isn't going to be as easy as using the old "Magic Sack", which let you plug Mac ROMS into an Atari ST.

    They can tie it to encryption keys on their mother boards, they can use custom microcode in the GPU, they could even get Intel to make them slightly modified CPUs that are only available to Apple.

  • Re:Yes but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sterno ( 16320 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:31PM (#13343675) Homepage
    Not sure. Which one costs more? :)

    In the end, most people go shopping based on the sticker price. That's why when you open up a dell it's not nearly as elegant.

    I used to sell computers at an OfficeMax. We offered, amongst others, Compaq, and Packard Bell. The compaq system were always more expensive than the Packard Bells. When you opened up a Compaq, it was very cleanly layed out and labeled, and the Packard Bells were just frightening. In general the Packard Bells were the source of endless hardware problems.

    But which one do you think we sold more of?

    Now granted, Packard Bell was so poorly made that it's not an apples and oranges comparison here. But if Dell's are cheaper can run the same software, it could seriously hurt Apple's bottom line.

    Remember that the clones almost killed Apple.
  • Re:Sad Mac (Score:1, Interesting)

    by bani ( 467531 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:37PM (#13343717)
    as a software developer I find myself having to jump hurdles and roadblocks in OSX far more often than I do in win32 or linux.

    with osx you do things steve jobs' way or you don't do it at all.

    for daily use my mac mainly sits idle while all the productive stuff is in linux and doze. i use the mac for osx development, but man is it painful.

    its also very frustrating all the hardware out there which simply wont work on macs, but will work fine with linux or doze.
  • by GPS Pilot ( 3683 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:37PM (#13343721)
    To satisfy the curiosity of the millions of PC owners who might like to try OS X, Apple should sell an unsupported version of OS X for $19.95. It would be a stripped-down, unoptimized version of OS X able to run on almost any x86 hardware, similar to Windows booted in "safe mode."

    Many advantages to this approach:

    - Simplifies things for PC users who want to try OS X (they don't have to hack the OS)
    - Greatly expands the audience of PC users who can try OS X (most users can't or don't have time to hack OS X)
    - Apple actually makes a little money off these people's curiosity
    - Apple doesn't have to worry about supporting thousands of different PC configurations
    - Gives Apple an opportunity to provide a "switch incentive": the PC user will get their $19.95 refunded when they buy a Mac

    Accompanying the unsupported version of OS X should be a really slick glossy brochure explaining the many ways in which the full, supported version is superior. (For example, the unsupported version probably won't come with Quartz Extreme. It should probably ship with crippled versions of the iLife apps.)
  • Re:What the? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FLAGGR ( 800770 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:38PM (#13343725)
    Then they go Intel and complain when someone figures out how to use it on Intel hardware.

    You don't understand. Apple is only switching to Intel because they were getting jacked in the ass by IBM, and Intel had a good roadmap. It's not like they're advertising it as becoming compatibile with PC hardware. The idea is to have it all the same as before, closed hardware and everything, just now Intel happens to be making the cpu's. What these people are doing is getting it to run on PC's instead of 'Macs'

    OSX would never survive as an OS if it went open to the x86 platform at large. Windows has too much market share, and o one cares enough to relearn things. Apple makes boatloads off of their hardware, and if they switched to being just a software company with an initial 0% marketshare, they would be fucked. Also, hardware support is a major issue. Everything would cease 'just working', which is a very nice benifit of osx.

    If you have a problem with Apple wanting THEIR os which is designed to run only on THEIR hardware, and to take advantage of the less open architecture for greater interoperability with hardware, and putting it all into a complete package, then shutup and just don't buy it, and I'll enjoy OSX for myself thank you very much.
  • by happyemoticon ( 543015 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @07:53PM (#13343789) Homepage

    Of course, you're referring to their hardware engineering, not their software engineering. Poopoo on their silicon all you want, I'll even help in a few areas. However, the mere fact that so many geeks are working desparately to run their OS on commodity hardware testifies to the fact that their applications and operating system departments are anything but minor-league.

  • I agree. The correct way is a Live DVD that can't run from the HD but lets you access the network, play in iCal and maybe iLife apps, and more. THAT would get converts. Especially if it was free or $5 or something like that.
  • by TsukasaZero ( 850187 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:00PM (#13343824)

    Indeed, for every OSX version hacked and installed on a PC it will be for Apple one lost OSX license, and potentially a Mac computer not sold.

    Yeah, a $2000 computer.

    I would pay $300 for OSX on x86 over $2000 hardware (PowerMac G5) anyday. I personally think iLife is the best thing since sliced bread, and the only reason I have converted is the price of hardware which I require.
  • Re:Yes but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wasted time ( 891410 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:00PM (#13343826)
    If you could buy the OSX for X86, would you still buy Apple hardware?

    I would eventually buy the Mac hardware, if all the hype is to be believed. It would be nice however if I could get OSX to run on the new hardware I already own. Me using OSX side by side with Windows would only benefit Apple, again if I am to believe all the noise. Sell me the OS now for $150 and profit while the OS wins me over. Otherwise, Apple gets nothing from me until I choose to upgrade my 1 year old pc. This would make the decision to switch easier for people like me. I care much more about how the OS works and whether or not it will run my existing applications than I do about shiny designer boxes.
  • Re:So it starts... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:03PM (#13343850) Homepage Journal
    This is all hilarious. Apple has at most 3% market share and everybody here wants to hammer them for trying to protect what they have. Until recently it seems Apple had a fairly decent rep on Slashdot. It is, after all, a really nice alternative to using Windows, which everybody also seems to hate.

    You can knock Apple wanting to control things as much as you want, but I can tell you that as an Apple consumer the reason I stay with Apple is because they control their hardware. Things work. I'm not interested in defending anything that leads to Apple quality going downhill because I want to continue using Apple products in the future.

    Talk about control, I see control freaks on the other side of this as well. If you want total control how about using Linux, which you can mod/change/hack to your heart's content. Or is it just more fun to try to do the "forbidden" thing?

  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:06PM (#13343870) Homepage
    I'm sure it is. The only copy of OS X for x86 available right now is the one provided to developers with the x86 dev boxes. I'm almost certain that it's against the rules of the NDA to talk about it publicly like this.

    An NDA only applies to the person who signs it. If Bob Smith signs an NDA and then runs to me and tells me what he saw, I am not civilly liable, Bob is. It's unlikely that anyone at this French web site signed an NDA, as they're a news site, not developers.

  • Re:Yes but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@ g m> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:12PM (#13343904) Homepage Journal
    Apple doesn't want to sell you a $100 operating system, they want to sell you a $1000 computer.

    Well, they could sell 1 x $1000 computer = $1000...
    or 50 x $100 OS = $5000.

    Something does not compute in here...
  • Re:What the? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:28PM (#13344021) Homepage
    Apple is only switching to Intel because they were getting jacked in the ass by IBM

    In fairness, signs point to the reason having more to do with Apple throwing it's weight around like it was still 1997. Note that IBM announced improved PPC chips just weeks after Jobs revealed the Intel Macs.

    The idea is to have it all the same as before, closed hardware and everything, just now Intel happens to be making the cpu's.

    Every sign points to this not being the case. There's essentially zero closed hardware in a Mac as is anyway - you can, if you're determined enough, build a generic PPC machine and install OS X on it.

    OSX would never survive as an OS if it went open to the x86 platform at large.

    I'm not so sure about this, assuming that they kept making Macs and didn't just drop them.

    A large part of Apples profits are from the iPod and iTunes. That won't go away. A signifigant portion of Apples current customers will stick with them, still buying Apple hardware, regardless of what they do. A portion will be upset of the switch to x86 and will ditch Apple for it - they'll be gone regardless of whether or not they support generic x86.

    So the only loss is from customers who would have bought Apple hardware, but now will buy generic and run OS X on it. The question is if this amount of people is large enough that the additional revenue from the greater amount of switchers (low cost of entry, just like the Mini - but without the performance penalty) won't offset it.

    I don't think Apple will do it, but I don't think it's an obvious cut & dried case of a loss, either. I think they *may* do it in a few years, if they see a market for it. They certainly wouldn't be starting over from 0 - the core of the Mac market won't be going away.

  • by Aphoric ( 808093 ) <> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:00PM (#13344182)
    I worked for a group of a company before that sold software. We charged $20k for a runtime license and $120k for a developer license. We also sold services because the software was not easy for developers to work with. Now I work for a company that gives it's software away, but charges for services. We have a much larger customer base and it's growing every day. My old company is not doing so well, almost half the people are charging to overhead. If they started giving their software away, they would have a large number of customers clamoring for support and improvements. What is my point? Maybe Apple should evaluate where they are today and where they could be tomorrow. If they offered OS XI for x86, I would buy it (not steal it.) Windows is at a precarious point right now, and there are a lot of people who love their iPods... Maybe they charge double for open x86 licenses, or maybe they offer it to other hardware vendors at a reduced rate. I am not a business guy, but I think if you hold your products too tightly then you risk losing your share.
  • Re:embrace it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TonyMillion ( 545370 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:01PM (#13344188) Homepage
    You know I'm really sick of people saying Apple is a hardware company.

    What are Logic, Final Cut, Motion, Shake, etc?


    And not cheap software at that.. logic 7 alone is in the region of £700, Final Cut is around £800, not to mention the miscellaneous charges here and there: iWork, OS Upgrades, Quicktime, ARD and more.

    The main benefit of Apple 'switching' to the intel platform will be one to Apple. No longer do they have to do complicated main board design, nor even develop their own support chipsets.

    The only thing they'll have to do now, is wrap someone elses logic board design up in a pretty box and ship it to their lovely brushed aluminium and glass retail stores.

    Yes, I am a Mac owner/developer, but even I can see their hardware is more a support platform for their software, which is probably why they've been on a company buying craze. (see eMagic etc).
  • by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:04PM (#13344199)
    :::I realize driver issues would cause Apple some grief, but I think it'd be worth it to create the ultimate wedge to get people to switch.:::

    They could mitigate that problem by including excellent generic drivers for NICs and being able to load drivers on the fly from their website by having the OS transmit the PnP ID of the unknown devices. Of course, I wouldn't care to speculate on the bandwidth requirements of such a scheme. I must admit that it would take some uber skills to pull off.

    Actually, if they could make something like this work seamlessly, that would be sufficient grounds to consider switching right off the bat. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:16PM (#13344270)
    Nice rant, I give it a 7.2, but this story does not have to do with people pirating OSx86. It has to do with Apple suing a news agency for posting information on how to pirate OS X and videos showing it being pirated. Does documentation make these sites complicit with the crime?

    Plus, the point of OSx86 is not to get OS X for free, it is to prove that OS X can be used on normal PCs. I believe that most users who have implemented the OSx86 install are more than willing to pay normal prices for a version of the OS which they can install on their own hardware.

  • Re:Followed up? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlexTheBeast ( 809587 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:19PM (#13344285)

      Here are the instructions I used to get it running on my USB drive in my Intel system. []

    I would never have tried OSX except for this challenge. Obviously, it's not the most stable thing in the world... but it's mainly the challenge of hacking this little project together.

    Is it practical? Only that people will explore OSX... and yes, some people will like it and switch. For me, however, it was just the challenge of showing my apple fan-boy buddies that I too can run OSx.
  • by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:21PM (#13344299)
    An NDA only applies to the person who signs it. If Bob Smith signs an NDA and then runs to me and tells me what he saw, I am not civilly liable, Bob is. It's unlikely that anyone at this French web site signed an NDA, as they're a news site, not developers.

    Maybe you're wrong. []
  • Re:embrace it! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eWarz ( 610883 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:42PM (#13344410)
    Which makes more money? Microsoft our apple? i'll give you a hint, it's not the fruit.

    Oh and by the way, if Apple sold OSX for the PC, i know of 5 people right now that'd jump ship. Me included. I've tried this leaked version, and I'm already spending more time in OSX than in Windows...something i could never do with linux.
  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:49PM (#13344452)
    So Apple doesn't want people running their OS. What a surprise. Attitudes like that probably explain their current market share.


    Here Apple has people wanting to run their OS so badly on Intel hardware that they're hacking apart betas to do it, and running systems with no native applications yet.

    So let me get this straight:

    1. Buy an Intel Dell PC ($999.00 from Dell)
    2. Wipe Microsoft Windows from the machine (Microsoft gets paid, Microsoft tax)
    3. Download this hacked-up OSX/Intel pirated image (costs nothing to download, $0.00)
    4. Image your blank Dell machine with this image (costs nothing, $0.00)
    5. Now you're running OSX on your Dell.

    Dell: $999.00
    Microsoft: $15.00 (or whatever)
    Apple: $0.00

    So you think Apple should let you pay Dell and Microsoft to run their OS, all while giving Apple not a single cent? You think this is what they should allow?

    Don't you understand? All of this "running-OSX-on-Intel-today" means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the end-result of running OSX-for-Intel on the customized hardware Apple is designing with Intel.

    All this does is provide Apple with an exact blueprint of where to lock down the OS even tighter, to prevent 'hacking' when they release it. Besides, with Intel's LaGrande chipset, the whole OS runs in a silicon-locked sandbox, separate from anything else, and strongly keyed to the silicon itself. You literally CANNOT get inside without the proper key.

    All of this hacking around with OSX today on Intel today, is going to rapidly become very irrelevant when they release their own boxes.

  • Re:So it starts... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Thursday August 18, 2005 @01:01AM (#13345319) Journal
    A simple co-processor that implements some essential function could be a way to do this without restarting their CPU supply issues.

    I'm not suggesting an entirely different CPU, just one that can be recognized.


  • Re:So it starts... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Logger ( 9214 ) on Thursday August 18, 2005 @01:29AM (#13345451) Homepage
    pick your own analogies, it's all the same.

    It's not. The problem with these hypothetical mental excercises is they are not based in reality, but in some hypothetical world where the laws of land, economics, and social interaction are simplified. Simplified so as to fit ones' predisposed view of how one wants the world to be.

    Once that is done, some wrong (in this case Apple not permitting their software on non-Apple hardware) is lambasted, and some "logical" reason is given why 1) they morally shouldn't and 2) economically don't need to do said wrong. And any laws permitting such behavior are immoral.

    That works until you get out of the sandbox. Then the real rules apply. So in the real world the morality ends up being decided democratically (or dictated in unfortunate countries) and enshrined in law. And the economics may or may not actually work in favor of your argument.

    You'll have people firmly planted on both sides that are not going to change their opinion. But they'll construct redicuously simple worlds in which they can knock down straw men to make their point. Sometimes futilly trying to sway firmly committed people on the other side, but mostly fighting for the hearts and minds of those in the middle.

    --My take--
    Apple has no moral obligation to allow you to run it on just any hardware. Microsoft doesn't either, we've just grown used to it being that way.

    In my world view, life dependancy is the driving factor behind moral obligation. Apple's insignificant market share in the government and other public institutions means if they closed their doors today and took their software and computers with them, no great harm would come to the world. Yes, some would suffer, but I'm talking the great massess.

    If Microsoft did the same, we'd have a socio-economic disaster on our hands. So they have a greater moral obligation than Apple. Which would be to at least let the current batch of software run as is on current hardware. Which they do. They could however decide to restrict new software to work only on M$ hardware. That would again cause pain for some, but not a disaster. It would be more like the effect high gas prices are having. A drag on the economy, but not the end of the world.

    That would introduce a new moral obligation to M$, to make hardware available at a price range which doesn't bankrupt the government. Who knows what the price would be, but it would be an obligation. And if they pushed too far, I assume the legislature would take action to make sure they fufill their moral obligation. Either by forcing them to open up their software to non-M$ hardware or by regulating the price.

    Economically speaking, who knows? Opening it up could kill their revenue and put them out of business. Since they don't have a moral obligation to open it up, I don't see why we should force them to take that risk if they don't want to. If forcing them to open it up means they'll just quit selling Macs and only do iPods, I'd rather prefer it the way it is. At least they provide an option. Don't like their option? There's always M$, Solaris, Linux, BSD, and others. It's not like you're trapped. At least your not trapped in the real world.

"Money is the root of all money." -- the moving finger