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OS X Operating Systems Hardware Hacking

First Psystar Mac Clones Ship 466

An anonymous reader writes "According to Gizmodo, Psystar has begun shipping its Macintosh clones, thus proving that the company is not a hoax. Initial impressions seem to be positive, though Software Update does not work."
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First Psystar Mac Clones Ship

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  • by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:33AM (#23224986)
    ...but do they work?
  • by AmonEzhno ( 1276076 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:33AM (#23224990)
    I think that honestly if Software Update doesn't work, the machine can't be considered to be a successful model. If you downloaded windows or Linux and could never update, would you consider it a successful install?
  • Loud! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:38AM (#23225090)
    Yikes! Who brought the vacuum cleaner to the party! Wow, that video is loud!
  • Step One Complete! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by creature124 ( 1148937 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:38AM (#23225094)
    They shipped. Thats only step one though. Next, they have to function just as well as a real Mac, which according to the article isn't quite right.

    Plus, they have another hurdle - Apple C&D letters should be rolling in by now, if they haven't already.

    It should be an interesting court battle. Yet another challenge for intellectual property in relation to software. Lets hope this one goes the way be all want.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:41AM (#23225126)

    Because, if it did, Apple could brick the box. (Sort of, you could probably install Linux on it.)
    The operating not booting because of a bad patch is not "bricking". You could indeed still install Linux, or even just reinstall your hacked copy of OS X and just not do the software update the next time.

    Annoying over-used buzzwords aside, my guess is that the update situation on these will be just like other hackintosh setups, where you can update, but you have to obtain a hacked update installer, or go through a very manual process to do it.

    My original hackintosh setup for example was running 10.4.8 and couldn't use software updates, but I was able to move it over to 10.4.10 eventually (though I'm now running on 10.5.1).
  • by mariushm ( 1022195 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:41AM (#23225132)
    That movie can be extremely easy to create, it's probably a fake.

    He films the normal PC in the back with the cable and so on, everything is fine...
    When the turns to the front of the screen someone takes out the VGA cable, puts it in a display switcher or something, while the monitor is still turned off, and connects a Mac laptop to that display switch.

    Then the dude turns on the PC, starts recording the screen, waits until the windows starts showing and the other guy switches the signal to the laptop. This was his hand with the camera remains in the same position and it's easy to cut out the transition.. especially since the eyes of the people are focused on the flash where the mac screen is shown.

    So the movie for me it says nothing, it can be so easily faked i could do it myself if i had a fake.

    The motherboard is also a Gigabyte based on the "setup-q-flash" message shown on the screen... i don't know if gigabyte would agree to make a Mac clone...

    Just my two cents
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:43AM (#23225156) Homepage Journal
    I prefer not to use it except to check for what I need to download. I download all my updates manually from Apple's download page [], then keep all the updates backed up both on hard drive and burned to CD.

    That way if I need to reinstall, which does happen now and then, I don't need to download again.

    There's no serial number check on manual downloads, but I expect that soon we'll be seeing the Apple version of Windows Genuine Advantage.

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:46AM (#23225198)
    I hear you there. It's sad that a hacked box is an attractive purchase option for a Mac not really because of price (well, in a way), but rather because it's a reasonable config that Apple doesn't make: a consumer level expandable desktop. The Mac Pro is full of undeeded workstation grade parts that the home user doesn't need. The iMac is not expandable AND has an unneeded LCD duct-taped on. The Mac Mini is just plain non-expandable (which MIGHT be acceptable as the base specs aren't bad, expect for the insanely crippled graphics chip). The laptops are, well, laptops (I have a laptop that I like for traveling, but no way I'd ever use one for home use).

    Plop the mini's hardware into a mini-tower case, and tack on 1 PCI-E x16 slot, 1 PCI-E x1 slot, and 1 regular PCI slot, and then we'd have a machine worthy of my purchase. Until that point I'll keep on using my hacked up generic "mac" and my old PowerMac G4.
  • Re:Mac Mini (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:57AM (#23225400) Journal

    Am I the only one who thinks it would be hilarious if every model they shipped out contained a faulty motherboard...
    Well, the hardware would have the same functionality as the 800 Mhz G3 iBook.
  • by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:04PM (#23225508) Journal
    Of course, guilty until proven not to be. Good show!
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:05PM (#23225516) Homepage

    On what grounds? Psystar is installing a retail boxed product of MacOS X on Psystar hardware. There's no copyright violation, so none of the extreme remedies in the Copyright Act apply. Any legal restriction Apple seeks to impose that their software can only be run on their hardware runs afoul of "tying" restrictions in antitrust law. Apple would have to win an antitrust case before they could get a cease and desist order.

    What we'll probably see is heavily restrictive DRM in future Macs to prevent this. Or an end to retail sales of MacOS.

  • LOL. My Hackintosh supports software updates from Apple. Can't they at least install PC EFI? They're a fuckin integrator, they could BUY EFI boards. Morons.
  • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pauljlucas ( 529435 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:08PM (#23225578) Homepage Journal

    ... it's a reasonable config that Apple doesn't make: a consumer level expandable desktop ...
    Do you equate "expandable" with "has slots for cards?" If Apple's marketing research group has done their homework, well, obviously, they don't think most consumers need (and thus not want) such a desktop. Most people just want to plug in a printer and maybe a digital camera for which USB is sufficient. Everything else (GigE, 802.11n, USB2, FireWire, DVD, webcam) is already built-in. Out of curiosity, what exactly would you put in those PCI slots if Apple made such a consumer machine? Gamers and geeks simply aren't their target consumer market.
  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:14PM (#23225678)
    Innocent until proven guilty is (was? seems to be out of fashion these days) a necessary legal concept.

    However, for consumers, it is a very dangerous approach when dealing with questionable businesses. Caveat emptor and all that.
  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misleb ( 129952 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:46PM (#23226218)

    I use a MBP/OSX (both as a laptop and desktop) so I get why you would want your preferred OSX setup, but really, shouldn't the software accommodate what you want to do with the hardware? For the most part, the same software is available for both platforms. Computers are just tools to be used to accomplish your task.

    I hear this sentiment a lot.. but what does it really mean? Are there people who aren't using computers as tools to accomplish a task? Is hacking an OS to work on X piece of hardware NOT an appropriate task? What if you enjoy that sort of thing? I know I do at times. That's what Linux was largely about for a long time. It is only fairly recently has the focus in Linux shifted towards end-user usability. Screw the "computers as a tool" mindset! I say have fun. Pick your favorite platform and hack it to make it do what you want... and then hack it some more!

    This reminds me of a friend who used to be a bit of a BSD hacker and played around with all kinds of odd hardware like VAXen. Now he just uses Windows because it runs a lot of software that he uses and he doesn't do much fun stuff anymore. He seems depressed and uninspired and frequently complains about how retarded WIndows is.... but it runs his apps. He's given in to this idea that "computers are just tools." It is kind of sad, really.

  • Re:Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by marklar1 ( 670468 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:02PM (#23226466)
    Think Again:

    It's not just video cards!

    Geez, who'd ever have thunk we'd get USB 2, or FireWire 2, or (e) SATA ?, or some new Networking protocol...or ???

    luckily, with basic PCI expansion cards that (almost) any tard can plug in the machines are ready for the future...

    and this is why several of my (and one's I look after for family/friends) machines AREN'T IN LANDFILLS!

    Encourage Expandability - Look to the FUTURE, even for mom & pop machines!

    so get off the "who would ever expand their computer" thing...

    Maybe your parents or grandparents or neighbors don't know what a PCI slot is, but when they need to figure out how to add a USB2 card or a network adapter or..??? they google it, or ask you or me, or go to the store and the clerk tells them...

  • by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:02PM (#23226476) Homepage
    As others have pointed out, the obvious way around this clause in the EULA is to label the computer: Apple.
  • Most consumers simply don't need or want what you want.

    First, I distinguished between "need" and "want". The desires you chose to ridicule were not in the "needs". You didn't ask what our "needs" were, you asked what we would do with expandability. If you asked "what do you need expandability for" you'd get a different answer.

    So once you eliminate that straw man, what I need is an adequate GPU, an adequate hard drive, and no integrated display... and a consumer price. Maybe 40% over what Psystar is asking for their box? That would give Apple their usual markup.

    The argument that "most consumers don't need" those features is a bit circular, since they're not available from Apple and haven't been available from Apple at a consumer price since Steve Jobs took over. On the other hand, they *are* available from Wintel box shippers, and most consumers are still buying Wintel boxes.

    Don't assume you know all the reasons why they do that. I know I'm regularly surprised by people's answers to why they still use Windows after they express desire for my desktop.

    And do consider that you'll never find out if you just ask Mac users, because that's a sample that's pre-selected to only include people for whom the current line of Macs is at least minimally acceptable.
  • Re:It is a fraud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:47PM (#23227110)
    BUT, Apple is still being paid for their OS, which is the only item that many people are interested in. Their EULA says that you can only install it on their hardware, but it's a clause that is QUITE likely to be shot down in court.

    As to "profiting off someone else's work", EVERYBODY does that to some extent. ISP's are "profiting" off of Google, Ebay, etc because people buy internet access because of those items. Gas stations are profiting off of car manufaturers because they supply fuel for something that someone else made. Paper companies profit from fax/copier manufacturers because they generate a need for their product.

    The bottom line is that Apple sells an operating system. They have a legally questionable clause in there stating that when you buy it you can't install it except on computers that they deem appropriate (namely, ones they made themselves). If that clause is successfully shot down, things will likely return to a semblance of fairness: people who purchase software from a company can install it wherever and on whatever they want to.

    I mean seriously: if Microsoft came out with EULA stipulations tomorrow that stated that regardless of how well it worked, you couldn't install MS Office (even a legally purchased copy) on a WINE-equipped Linux machine, Slashdot would shit a jagged brick coated in hot sauce. Apple does the same though and it's reasonable behavior.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:47PM (#23227120) Journal
    If you downloaded windows or Linux and could never update, would you consider it a successful install? You know, there was a time before we all updated our operating systems on a daily basis. And I recall being able to do some pretty successful things with my computer back then.

    There are some of us (music and video producers, artists, etc.) who even occasionally work on computers that are not connected to the Internets.
  • by edalytical ( 671270 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:17PM (#23227558)

    If there is ever an Apple version of Windows Genuine Advantage I'll quit using OS X, it will be erased from my drive and I'll never develop software for the Mac again.

    My computer, once I purchase it, should always function as long as there is not a hardware issue. I shouldn't have to prove I'm not stealing from the company, I shouldn't need an internet connection to unlock software, I _should_ be able to replace hardware components of the computer and I _should_ be able to transfer the software to another computer.

    End of story. I use a Mac because I think Apple understands that these are rights and they improve usability.

  • by ( 1125909 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:47PM (#23227990)
    I still find it amusing that so many people think that if you put OSX on a OC you'll get the same experience as you do on Mac hardware... You folks know that if Mac ran on anything it would be just a buggy and fucked up as windows right? The only reason it runs smoothly now is because Apple controls the hardware. The day you can run it on any machine in the world will be the day that Mac zealots finally shut the fuck up about how superior their shit ass OS is. The world will one day learn that Linux is the true way through. Until then clever marketing will sell hunks of shit, and create a cult around them. iFag.
  • Naysayers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:19PM (#23228414) Homepage Journal
    <sarcasm>In other words, it's not a hoax, but it is an ineptly implemented, poorly supported, piece of crap. That will show all the naysayers!</sarcasm>

    This whole episode is a reminder of Hanson's Law: Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity!
  • by lucas teh geek ( 714343 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @06:11PM (#23230506)
    let us know how installing 4-6 desktop SATA drives and a PCI express video card goes, will ya?

    most people interested in this dont want a cheap mac, they want an expandable mac that isnt complete overkill (like he Mac Pro). The number of people who'd install extra hard drives or replace their graphics card easily outnumber the number of people who can actually make use of 8 cores and dual sockets. the Mac Pro may be fan-fucking-tastic value for what it is, but its baseline configuration is ridiculously overspeced for the user who just wants a second internal hdd or an 8800 for bootcamp gaming
  • price not $399 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @06:57PM (#23230912)
    The article notes that it comes with Leopard installed but that YOU CANNOT REINSTALL it yourself from a leopard CD (Which comes with it). (and you presumably cannot install Lion or whatever the next OS is) So if You want to run mac OS then you have to pay them to install Mac OS of $150. it also lacks firewire, blue tooth, and wifi. They will add Firewire for $50.
    Shipping is another $50 (macs ship free).

    so the total price is $609 without wifi or blue tooth. compared to $599 for the mac. The cpu is a bit faster, the disk is bigger and faster.

    You can buy the mac at macmall where they will upgrade your memory and and give you a "free" printer for the same price (provided you can stomach the "rebate" spanking machine).

    so basically a mac is cheaper, smaller and quieter. Not to mention the mac comes with software updates and you can re-install the software.


    the psystar's big brother, actually is cost competitive with the powermac however.
  • by lucas teh geek ( 714343 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:34PM (#23231232)
    no matter how you configure it it still has a quad core xeon processor and buffered ECC memory which is overkill for most, and hideously overpriced compared to the consumer grade equivalents.

    lets just say that the cheapest configured mac pro with edu discount is $2k (it's more, but lets stick with round numbers), and lets say that the psystar clone is $500 (it's less, but again round numbers). I can handle paying an apple premium, sometimes as much as 30-40% extra for the exact same components because it's from apple, but 300% extra is pushing it a little far. what's that I hear? the specs arent comparable? that's exactly my point. dont want or need a mac pro, it's complete overkill when I just want a graphics card and an extra internal drive. I'd be completely happy with an expandable mini

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"