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OSx86 Cracked Again 707

Posted by Zonk
from the oneupmanship dept.
The Cardboard God writes "The OSx86 Project is reporting that the intrepid hacker 'Maxxuss' has once again eluded Apple's security methods and cracked the latest release of Mac OS X for Intel, or 'OSx86', to run on standard x86 PCs. It seems Apple just can't win this eternal struggle with the hackers, as 10.4.4 included beefed up security designed to prevent similar hacking methods used on beta releases of the operating system. Is this a blessing for Apple, or simply a nuisance?"
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OSx86 Cracked Again

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  • Nuisance. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwnage (856708) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:23PM (#14717518)
    It's more of a nuisance. Even Steve Jobs once famously declared that "anything with a key can be cracked," (or words to that effect). A cracked OS X will play mostly to the geek types, while yielding publicity dividends with the rest of the Wintel crowd. Average consumers will continue to buy whatever OS they choose retail.
    • by sterno (16320) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:35PM (#14717651) Homepage
      The fact of the matter is that Apple doesn't really care about people running OSX on a non-apple system. It's money in their pocket either way. What they want to avoid is having a bunch of white box manufacturers and Dell selling $400 PC's pre-installed with the OS. By making an honest effort to prevent install on non-apple platforms, they can prevent any sort of commercial competition on the hardware side.

      So yeah, a few geeks will get OSX running on their PC's. They'll struggle with getting drivers to work correctly on non-blessed hardware, but generally feel cool. The rest of the world will buy Apples when they want to run OSX.

      But one interesting twist on this: if I was looking to buy Apple hardware in hopes of having a dual boot OSX system this might change my mind. To my knowledge nobody has managed to get XP to run on Apple's hardware, but OSX is apparently running on non-apple hardware. That might all change with Vista coming out soon, but in the mean time running OSX on non-apple systems might be the better option.
      • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:17PM (#14718161)
        The fact of the matter is that Apple doesn't really care about people running OSX on a non-apple system.

        They don't? Why would OS X have security measures then? Steve Jobs himself has spoken out against such "theft."

        It's money in their pocket either way.

        How is it money in their pocket when someone pirates a cracked DVD of OS X? Apple isn't getting a cent. It's just more freeloaders who don't want to pay for stuff and think that's a valid reason to pirate everything under the sun.
        • by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:25PM (#14719933) Homepage
          How is it money in their pocket when someone pirates a cracked DVD of OS X? Apple isn't getting a cent. It's just more freeloaders who don't want to pay for stuff and think that's a valid reason to pirate everything under the sun.

          I think the theory is that a larger install base provides incentive for third parties to produce software, starting a feedback cycle. With more (better?) software, it would increase the popularity of the platform, which would lead to more software, etc. The impetus has to come from somewhere. In the short term, it doesn't really hurt Apple for people to install OS-X, and in the long term, it could work to their advantage. That's one of the theories behind the popularity of Windows anyway.
      • by db32 (862117) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @04:12PM (#14718751) Journal
        Last I had read on the subject, their concern with OSX on the intel platform has little to do with competition. The major concern is that they want to control the hardware configuration so they can control the image they present. If you can just run out and buy OSX and slap it on any intel box with random hardware, there could be incompatabilities that makes their OS look unstable. They want to make sure that OSX ships only on hardware that is known to not have issues. This control also reduces support costs since they don't have to guess as to what chips are involved.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:23PM (#14717521)
    ...and are willing to wait some period of time after any official Apple release, you'll always be able to make Mac OS X (Intel) work on non-Apple hardware.

    The patch replaces the following files:

    - AppleSMBIOS
    - ATSServer
    - diskimages-helper
    - Dock
    - Finder
    - loginwindow
    - mach_kernel
    - mds
    - SystemUIServer
    - translate
    - translated

    So, as long as you have no shame and don't mind running Mac OS X in a state that is completely unsupported, with a different kernel (!), modified in unknown ways, and in a state that won't be able to be updated with any OS or security updates from Apple (until they themselves are cracked), perpetually repeating this scenario ad nauseum, and also have no problems either:

    - pirating Mac OS X, which is the current only way of obtaining Mac OS X (Intel), and

    - seem to think that a commercial manufacturer's wishes for its products amount to nothing (e.g., via the EULA, perhaps claiming EULAs aren't enforceable in your jurisdiction)

    ...then I'm sure you'll be able to run Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware indefinitely.

    Is this actually surprising?

    Someday, Apple - you know, the entity that has invested billions of dollars, all told, and countless thousands upon thousands of manhours in the development of Mac OS X and its associated products - may choose to partner with specific x86 vendors and specific hardware products to allow Mac OS X to run on non-Apple hardware at some point in the future. But for now, I love the editorial slant of x86project.org:

    What this means is that Apple's best attempts to secure their OS have, ultimately, failed. For its best efforts, the company is unable to lock OS X to their hardware. Without doubt, this will have profound impacts on the company's future as running OSx86 on a PC becomes less a hacker's trick and more mainstream. When all it requires is the downloading of a DVD, that's certainly the future we're looking at.

    This also opens a host of new questions for Apple, OS X, and the PC users who love it. Will this mark the beginning of Apple's legal endeavors to keep OS X locked down? Will it persuade Steve Jobs that releasing his OS is an insanely great idea?

    Time will tell. Things keep getting more exciting. Stay Tuned.


    "When all it requires is the downloading of a DVD"? I'm sorry, but even if you claim they're just "telling it like it is", that attitude has absolutely no respect for the hard work of others. Forget copyright. Forget the DMCA. What about just pure ethics? I suppose if one is a relativist, they might ask, "Ethics? By whose standards?"

    And again: if you change enough of Mac OS X, of course you'll be able to get it to work on non-Apple hardware. It will take some reverse engineering and time, but it will always happen. This doesn't mean TPM is any less "secure" for its purposes. Ironically, it actually validates TPM: trusted computing is designed to make a platform just that: trusted, and operating in a predictable state. This hack job on Mac OS X (Intel) is anything but.

    I'm glad people are so smug in their beliefs that it's okay to have an utter lack of regard for the work product of others to produce an excellent product, one whose creation is predicated on the business model that company has chosen: namely, to sell HARDWARE along with their operating system. Apple has every right to choose that as the mechanism for selling its product. Even if Mac OS X (Intel) is sold standalone (as it may be in the form of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard).

    • Don't worry about it so much. You said it yourself:

      So, as long as you...don't mind running Mac OS X in a state that is completely unsupported, with a different kernel (!), modified in unknown ways, and in a state that won't be able to be updated with any OS or security updates from Apple (until they themselves are cracked), perpetually repeating this scenario ad nauseum... No one but geeks are going to even attempt to do that and even then who would want to use such a beast as their main desktop? Apple

    • I'm glad people are so smug in their beliefs that it's okay to have an utter lack of regard for the work product of others to produce an excellent product, one whose creation is predicated on the business model that company has chosen: namely, to sell HARDWARE along with their operating system. Apple has every right to choose that as the mechanism for selling its product.

      I'm glad people are so smug in their beliefs that it's okay to have an utter lack of regard for the work product of others to produce an e
    • I'm glad people are so smug in their beliefs that it's okay to have an utter lack of regard for the work product of others to produce an excellent product, one whose creation is predicated on the business model that company has chosen: namely, to sell HARDWARE along with their operating system.

      Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm on board that just "downloading a DVD" is unethical, but if I BUY an official copy of OS/X, then who the hell is Steve Jobs to tell me what I can or can't do with it?

      This is one of the main reasons I dislike Apple as a company: the arrogance. Steve wants to tell me what I can and can't play on an iPod (e.g., suing Real). Steve wants to tell me what I can and can't do with software I buy. Frankly, screw Steve!

      Apple could be so much more successful if they would stop being such a-hole control freaks and just sell their products and embrace people wanting to use THE SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE THAT THEY FREAKING OWN the way the want to.

      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:51PM (#14717797)
        I think the problem here is twofold.

        1. Apple may never release a standalone copy of Mac OS X (Intel) that you can actually buy without purchasing a machine. With Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), this may occur, but it is not yet guaranteed. In this scenario, I don't think there is any excusable way in any jurisdiction to run Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, since you *must* pirate Mac OS X to do so.

        1a. To extend on the above, some people might justify their action by buying a copy of Mac OS X (PowerPC), and reasoning that they've "paid" for Mac OS X, and that therefore it's then okay to pirate Mac OS X (Intel) and use it as they wish. However, that's not an acceptable argument since it's not the same product.

        2. Even if a standalone version of Mac OS X (Intel) (or a universal release of Mac OS X) is released at some point, I don't think you can get completely in the clear with your argument. Sure, it's just bits on a plastic disc. You should be able to install it on your Mac, run over it with your car, do nothing with it, juggle it, wipe your ass with it, or even hack it and install it on your PC. Right? Sure, I'm with you. I understand the argument you're making. But, like it or not, this hurts Apple. *You* might not think it hurts Apple, but the only people in the position to *decide* that it hurts Apple - i.e., Apple - have decided that it *does* hurt Apple. Whether it's because of business model or arbitrary decision, that's their decision to make. And if there is law in certain countries/jurisdictions that allows companies to make that kind of determination, I do not see how operating within the bounds of law to protect oneself from injury - whether you are a person or a corporation - is inappropriate.

        To ratchet this argument down to being a little more practical, I'd submit that Mac OS X's pricepoint is predicated on the assumption that it's associated with Apple hardware, and that there will be continuing purchases of Apple hardware by satisfied customers running Mac OS X on Apple hardware, ostensibly becausse the quality, attention to detail, and software/hardware integration is so pleasant, and myriad other reasons. Apple loses this control when Mac OS X is not run on Apple hardware. Now, you might say, "tough shit." And in some locales in the world, the government might also agree with you. Great. Congratulations. But that still doesn't change the fundamental truth to what I've just said.

        I see it as just a semblance of respect for the work of others.
        • by fupeg (653970) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:06PM (#14718027)
          Apple may never release a standalone copy of Mac OS X (Intel) that you can actually buy without purchasing a machine.
          Umm, you're talking about Apple here. They release a new version of their OS every ~18 months. They always make a big production about it, praising its new features, better performance, etc. so that all the Mac users will go out and shell out $120+ for the new OS. They've been doing this for years. If they stopped selling retail versions of their new OS, it would be a huge loss of revenue.
          • If they stopped selling retail versions of their new OS, it would be a huge loss of revenue.

            The retail boxes are technically upgrades. The requirements include a computer that shipped from the factory with Mac OS. The GP is correct, if you are not running on a Mac it technically is piracy, you are using an upgrade as a full product.
            • The retail boxes are technically upgrades. The requirements include a computer that shipped from the factory with Mac OS. The GP is correct, if you are not running on a Mac it technically is piracy, you are using an upgrade as a full product.

              100% false. The retail boxes are full installers that run on any supported Mac, whether or not that Mac has any OS installed.

              The only "upgrade" CD's are those that are bundled with computers which have an earlier OS pre-installed because the new OS was recently re

        • by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot@nOSPAM.rangat.org> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:10PM (#14718062) Homepage Journal
          excusable way in any jurisdiction to run Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, since you *must* pirate Mac OS X to do so.

          Not exactly. You could buy an intel mac, and run linux on it, while running OSX on your white-box.
          • I fail to understand why people are using such sophistry to justify this.

            Do you really think that people will be doing that? Not to mention that the license also doesn't allow that. I'm only assuming you are giving some credence to the license here since you seem to be subscribing to the one-to-one idea in terms of operating systems on hardware.

            But if you own it and think you can do whatever you want with it, why should you even follow the one-to-one principle? You should be able to do whatever you want to
            • If not, why not? Why buy multiple copies for multiple machines? It's only the "license" that is preventing you from doing otherwise...

              And the licence is justified because.....?

              Software doesn't just want to be free, one must go to extraordinary lengths to make it un-free. If Apple want to put some ridiculous EULA in their shrink-wrapped software, fine. Expect me to laugh at it while I do whatever the hell I please with my purchase in the privacy of my own home.
              • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:30PM (#14718318)
                And the licence is justified because.....?

                Broadly, because we live in a society based on the rule of law and respect for the property and work of others - including intangibles like "intellectual" property and work.

                Software doesn't just want to be free, one must go to extraordinary lengths to make it un-free. If Apple want to put some ridiculous EULA in their shrink-wrapped software, fine. Expect me to laugh at it while I do whatever the hell I please with my purchase in the privacy of my own home.

                Ok, humor me, here: so, you should be able to install it on as many machines as you wish, too? Say, 10? 100? If not, why not?

                You don't "own" Mac OS X. Apple is granting you a license to use it under a legal framework in various jurisdictions, including one that is at least marginally clearly defined in the US. What you "own" is a ~5" circle-shaped piece of plastic and a cardboard box. If you have no respect for the license, fine; but then, why buy it at all? Why not just pirate it in the first place?
                • Incorrect - you own A COPY of Mac OS/X - you have all property rights involved in owning ONE COPY of anything of which there are many copies - you can make non-infringing personal copies (IE backup copies, storage on different medium), you can sell it to someone else (as long as you destroy, or transfer with it, all of your backup copies), etc.

                  In reply to the grandparent post - sophistry or not it points out that your unversal statement "you MUST pirate" is invalid.
                • You don't "own" Mac OS X. Apple is granting you a license to use it under a legal framework in various jurisdictions, including one that is at least marginally clearly defined in the US. What you "own" is a ~5" circle-shaped piece of plastic and a cardboard box. If you have no respect for the license, fine; but then, why buy it at all? Why not just pirate it in the first place?

                  I don't own it? Really? I suppose I don't "own" a book either. Hint: I do. Just because Apple chooses to place certain things in a

        • "*You* might not think it hurts Apple, but the only people in the position to *decide* that it hurts Apple - i.e., Apple - have decided that it *does* hurt Apple."

          I've arbitrarily decided that your post hurts me. Do I get to have a gaggle of fanboys bitch at you now?
        • I'm sorry, but one of your "fundamental truths" is nothing of the kind.

          Sure, it's just bits on a plastic disc. You should be able to install it on your Mac, run over it with your car, do nothing with it, juggle it, wipe your ass with it, or even hack it and install it on your PC. Right? Sure, I'm with you. I understand the argument you're making. But, like it or not, this hurts Apple. *You* might not think it hurts Apple, but the only people in the position to *decide* that it hurts Apple - i.e., Apple -

          • by Raffaello (230287) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @04:31PM (#14718912)
            Likewise, once you've lawfully obtained a copy of MacOS-X, Apple loses all rights to dictate how that copy may be used.

            You never lawfully obtain a copy of Mac OS X to do with whatever you wish.

            You only lawfully enter into a license agreement with Apple, the terms of which require you to run Mac OS X on Apple hardware.

            Just in case any readers are unaware of this fact, it is perfectly legal for you to agree to a license that removes rights you would otherwise have. You may have the right to do anything you like with certain products in the absence of a license agreement governing your purchase. But it is perfectly legal for a vendor to sell a product by means of a license agreement which removes rights you would otherwise have had. When you agree to the license, you are bound by it, including those portions that restrict or remove rights you would otherwise have had in the absence of the license agreement. If you don't like the license agreement you are free not to purchase the product, or to return it for a refund. You are not legally entitled to unilaterally rewrite the terms of the license agreement to suit your desires.

            You may dislike the fact that you never lawfully obtained a copy of Mac OS X to do with whatever you wish, but there is no ambiguity about your situation as far as the law is concerned. A recent federal court ruling [eff.org] has upheld click-through EULAs. As far as US law is concerned, they are fully valid license agreements, including terms that restrict or remove rights which purchasers normally have in the absence of such agreements. Click through EULAs were specifically ruled to waive fair use rights. (see page 23 of the linked decision)

            • To be fair, it's a little more complicated than that.

              For a start, the world does not end at San Diego and Rhode Island. There are those of us who live overseas, and where the law on EULAs is by no means clear.

              Firstly, a EULA is - supposed to be - a contract. The licensor agrees to let you use their software so long as you abide by certain rules, i.e. the terms of the EULA. Yet a EULA is a pretty odd contract. Traditionally a contract requires "offer, acceptance, and consideration". Yet there is no considera
      • by TheSpoom (715771) * <[ten.00mrebu] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:52PM (#14717813) Homepage Journal
        Devil's Advocate: You've almost certainly never owned any software, unless you coded it yourself. It was licensed to you, and legally Steve Jobs has the power to dictate everything about how, when, where, and on what you run his sortware.

        In other news: This has never stopped me from running any software the way I want to use it.
      • by rainman_bc (735332) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:02PM (#14717965)
        Apple could be so much more successful

        Let's take a trip in the way back machine for moment. [wikipedia.org]

        Once upon a time, Apple tried to open up its system to being cloned, and only achieved 7% market share.

        Then Jobs came back, stopped allowing the Mac to be cloned, and introduced the iMac to the world. Jobs saved Apple and brought them to profitability.

        So who's correct? You or Jobs?
      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:09PM (#14718053)

        Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm on board that just "downloading a DVD" is unethical, but if I BUY an official copy of OS/X, then who the hell is Steve Jobs to tell me what I can or can't do with it?

        I agree with you in principal, but OS X for x86 is only available with the purchase of an imac right now (as far as I know) and while it is possible that you might want to take that one license and install it on a different machine while wiping the imac, don't think it is likely. I'm all in favor of hacking the OS and researching, but I'm more than a little leery that this will lead to just another way to get crappy warez versions of OS X hacked up to work on generic boxes without paying for a license. Right now it is just that, a concern. I don't see anything that has been inappropriate yet.

        This is one of the main reasons I dislike Apple as a company: the arrogance. Steve wants to tell me what I can and can't play on an iPod (e.g., suing Real). Steve wants to tell me what I can and can't do with software I buy. Frankly, screw Steve!

        And here is where you lost me. When did Apple sue Real? As far as I know there has only been one lawsuit and it was Real suing Apple. What Apple did do was change the DRM authentication on the iPods to stop Real's hack from working, but seeing as Real was using Apple's servers to do the authentication I don't think anyone can really fault them for that. It was a very legitimate security and support concern. Hell, I wouldn't let my competitor's use my servers to authenticate their DRM either.

        Apple could be so much more successful if they would stop being such a-hole control freaks and just sell their products and embrace people wanting to use THE SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE THAT THEY FREAKING OWN the way the want to.

        Apple is very successful now and not because they operate using a simplistic view of the market. They are in a market dominated by a monopoly and they can only compete by maintaining a complete vertical chain on their own. Apple sells computers because they can't survive selling software and because they make more money that way. They use software as a differentiator, but they are not an OS company, they are a hardware company. Selling OS X for intel would be huge financial loss. The OS market, like it or not, is basically the pre-installed OS market. MS has that market locked down. Apple can only sell pre-installs on their own hardware. The secondary market of installs after the fact is a small one for the tech savvy. A lot of Apple's customers would be included, but not a significant share of the market. Operating in such a commodity business Apple would have to grab nearly 40% of the market just to break even with the hardware sales losses they would endure. It is just not very likely. I'd like OS X for generic hardware as much as the next guy, but not at the cost of Apple going out of business and it no longer being available in the future. Sorry but a lot of people have looked at this business case including Apple and it just doesn't make sense for them.

      • by Myriad (89793) * <myriad.thebsod@com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:12PM (#14718088) Homepage
        This is one of the main reasons I dislike Apple as a company: the arrogance. Steve wants to tell me what I can and can't play on an iPod (e.g., suing Real). Steve wants to tell me what I can and can't do with software I buy. Frankly, screw Steve!

        Apple could be so much more successful if they would stop being such a-hole control freaks and just sell their products and embrace people wanting to use THE SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE THAT THEY FREAKING OWN the way the want to.

        Do you own a PS2? Nintendo DS? Or any console for that matter?

        If so welcome to the world of not necessarily being able to use your software/hardware in a way you'd like.

        OSX is tied to Mac hardware. Consoles are locked down from running arbitrary software. Why? Because in both cases one doesn't make enough money without the thing it's tied to.

        A console doesn't have the margins to be viable independently. In a Windows world OSX probably couldn't compete as an OS alone and generate enough money.

        You can say that the they should sell them at a price point where they are viable... but I'd suggest such a price point likely doesn't exist!

        An Xbox 360 sells for around $400 - at a loss! If MS charged say $600 instead, how many less machines would actually sell? Would there be enough penetration it make it worth while for the software developers time to develop for it?

        How much would OSX cost to be profitable on its own? How reliable would it be running on unknown combinations of commodity hardware?

        Now I agree that it should be legal for you to modify your hardware/software locks to run as you see fit. That will dissuade enough people that the market remains viable. I don't think, however, that you should bitch that the locks are there to begin with!

        Blockwars [blockwars.com]: free, multiplayer game.

    • - pirating Mac OS X, which is the current only way of obtaining Mac OS X (Intel), and

      I don't know if they ship an "universal" upgrade, but if you have a legal license for OS X (for example from an old Mac) and a legal OS X upgrade to 10.4.4 that can upgrade it to a "dual-platform" OS X version, then you have a valid license. Bundling the hardware and OS is illegal in many places (I know at least in Germany the courts stuck Microsofts OEM license down) and whatever the EULA says is null and void. Theoretical
    • with a different kernel (!),


      Come on... Slashdot folks worried about a non-official kernel compile? I've recompiled the Darwin kernel on my MacOS X install before and run it off the custom compile. Yay open source, and stuff.
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:20PM (#14718182)
      Ethics doesn't come into play in a piracy discussion. People will ALWAYS invent new justifications to wiggle out of the undeniable truth that piracy is unethical, and that you're preventing the people who made the work from getting paid that day.

      In the music piracy world, it's "the RIAA made us do it!" In the PC game world, it's "the greedy publishers made us do it!" Always something to blame for your getting free shit except yourself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:24PM (#14717531)
    It will not be good for Apple. Apple makes it's money from it's hardware. They make good software to sell that hardware. The OS alone will drastically reduce revenue.
  • Cache (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:24PM (#14717532)
    Coral Cache of link [nyud.net]
    Posted anonymously to avoid karma whoring, so feel free to mod this up.
  • by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:26PM (#14717546)
    Even if something results in a gain for someone, if they feel it's a nuisance, it's a nuisance.

    At this point it probably doesn't make much of a difference, as you have to jump through hoops to get it running. In a few years, now...we'll have to wait and see.

    Stopping someone from cracking this sort of thing by strengthening the protection won't work simply because of the number of skillful people hammering at it. I expect more of a shift towards nailing the people who crack it and tell others how to the wall.
    • Right, now instead of people hammering at the security part, imagine that people are hammering at getting their favorite devices to work on the platform. I can't believe Apple doesn't want OSX (or whatever) to be the dominant operating system.

      Hell. If given a choice between XP and OSX for my existing x86 laptop, I'd rather have OSX. Why not just let me buy it in the store?
      • Wouldn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:41PM (#14718450) Homepage Journal
        I think Apple realizes that letting people put OS X on commodity hardware isn't going to make it into the "dominant OS." There are still too many things tying people to Windows, and too many nasty weapons Microsoft could drag out if anyone ever started to threaten their core markets. Apple can't afford to challenge Microsoft directly.

        What Apple suspects -- and what I believe -- is that OS X on commodity boxes would probably just cannibalize existing Apple sales, convert them to [whitebox NewEgg PC + pirated bittorrent copy of MacOS] "sales," and drive the company quickly out of business. And once Apple is gone, that would be the end of the line for MacOS. Microsoft would really have won.

        I think it's also important to look back to 10 years or so ago, and remember that it was the same sort of 'commodity hardware' thinking that led to the CHRP and Mac Clone era. In retrospect, that came close to killing Apple -- and not surprisingly, when it became clear that other manufacturers' hardware running MacOS wasn't converting legions of Wintel users to Mac, but instead just drawing existing Apple customers to someplace else, Apple killed the clones. That's the historical lesson that I assume is forefront in the minds of everyone in Apple's management, and I doubt that they're going to repeat the mistake.

        Apple's "magic smoke," it's jene se qua, that keeps customers coming back and paying that "Mac Tax," is based on a lot more than just the MacOS (which at the end of the day is really a pretty interface and HAL on top of BSD). It's utterly dependent on maintaining a tight control over the hardware and the software. It's not sustainable without that control, and that's why I think it'll be a cold day in hell before you see Apple willingly sell a retail version of MacOS for boxes that aren't theirs.
  • Slashdoted . . . (Score:5, Informative)

    by anandpur (303114) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:26PM (#14717552)
    Happy Valentines Day... from Maxxuss.

    The hacking guru has announced preliminary patches for Apple's latest release of OS X for Intel, version 10.4.4. According to his website, http://maxxuss.hotbox.ru/ [hotbox.ru]
    This is a preliminary release of my Patch Solution for the official Mac OS X on the Intel platform. Ultimately, it would allow you to run this Mac OS X release on a generic x86 computer (SSE2 required).

    There's still a lot of work and documentation to do, like support for SSE2-only CPUs, a proper installation procedure and a PPF patch. However, if you like to play around, this will get you started.
    The significance of this event is huge. While many users were able to run OSx86 on their PCs last summer, the general feeling was that Apple hadn't implemented their final security solution. That much was true.

    Onlookers have told us that 10.4.4 is a serious step forward in security, utilizing many of the same technologies as the 10.4.1 and 10.4.3, as well as the obfuscated code that Apple filed a patent for a few months ago.Few expected this final version - or at least the version that shipped with the first Macintels - to be easy to hack.

    What this means is that Apple's best attempts to secure their OS have, ultimately, failed. For its best efforts, the company is unable to lock OS X to their hardware. Without doubt, this will have profound impacts on the company's future as running OSx86 on a PC becomes less a hacker's trick and more mainstream. When all it requires is the downloading of a DVD, that's certainly the future we're looking at.

    This also opens a host of new questions for Apple, OS X, and the PC users who love it. Will this mark the beginning of Apple's legal endeavors to keep OS X locked down? Will it persuade Steve Jobs that releasing his OS is an insanely great idea?

    Time will tell. Things keep getting more exciting. Stay Tuned.
  • Apple Appliances? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin@wick.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:26PM (#14717555)
    I wonder sometimes, with things like the iPod and the iMac's new FrontRow [apple.com] if Apple isn't slowly heading towards "information appliances" as its primary method of support, rather than simply a PC competitor with a nice interface.

    Maybe in a few years it won't matter if OS X runs on commodity boxes, as Apple won't really be competing with them as their main business. Apple/TiVo anyone?
  • Curse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kannibal_klown (531544) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:27PM (#14717562)
    Don't get me wrong. I'd LOVE to get OSX running on my PC. It would be an early birthday present.

    But if the process is easy, Joe Sixpack will look at Apple like they do Microsoft: "it keeps crashing"

    I doubt Apple has any drivers written for even the more common hardware out there. Chipsets, NICs, video cards, sound cards, etc. Sure, you might be able to get it running in a beige box, but too many will be outside of OSX's driver realm.

    Of course, this will lead to normal users saying "Gollleee, now I can run OH ESS EKKS on my Walmart laptop by downloading it from the torrent thingeee." The next thing you know, they're cursing Apple's name as being a bunch of programmer hacks.

    • Re:Curse (Score:3, Insightful)

      But if the process is easy, Joe Sixpack will look at Apple like they do Microsoft: "it keeps crashing"

      No matter how easy - short of retail packaging, Joe Sixpack, by definition, ain't going to be installing it in the first place.
      The secret is safe!
    • "Of course, this will lead to normal users saying "Gollleee, now I can run OH ESS EKKS on my Walmart laptop by downloading it from the torrent thingeee." The next thing you know, they're cursing Apple's name as being a bunch of programmer hacks."

      I'm not sure what a "normal" user is, but I've never met a "normal" user who would use anything other than the OS that came with the PC, and I've never heard of a "normal" user who downloads a DVD with an operating system on it.

      Its the equivalent of saying "Well, if
    • Your argument is built on a faulty premise, because I doubt Apple will let the process become easy. I already wrote a comment [slashdot.org] about how this will probably be a net benefit to Apple.

      "Normal" buyers of Wal*Mart PCs won't have the technical acumen to install cracked versions of OS X and they probably won't have the inclination to do so anyway. Even if they did try, they would probably be less inclined to blame Apple because they won't have any expectation that OS X will run on generic PCs anyway.

    • Re:Curse (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpeg4codec (581587)
      The drivers are in the Darwin kernel, which they've been supporting on the x86 platform for quite some time. You can even download an install disc from Apple's open source site [apple.com].

      While I haven't played with it in a long while, I recall it supporting most of my core hardware, out of the box. Common things like NICs and chipsets should probably be relatively well-supported, though I'd doubt they'd have the latest and greatest graphics cards working in non-Vesa. Other less common devices probably meet the same f
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:27PM (#14717563)
    ......That Apple is letting people outside it's organization be coders and beta testers to get OS X security issues out of their distro. Then they'll annouce that they've "magically" hardened the OS to make it less crackable so they can continue to rake in the profits from selling hardware.

    But that's likely my tinfoil conspiracy hat talking.
  • Who's less worse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Douglas Simmons (628988) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:28PM (#14717567) Homepage
    This article is a little hard on Apple. I've never been hired to clean out an Apple clogged with malware or viruses, meanwhile MS is my moneymaker. Pound for pound, wouldn't you agree that Apple has one way or another done a much better job in security in general? Even taking into account that MS is somehow a bigger target?
  • Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HateBreeder (656491) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:29PM (#14717578)
    Why should apple bother with "security measures" that actively prevent users from running OSX on regular (non-apple) PCs in the first place?

    Apple should just declare that they will not provide any support and anyone installing it is doing it on his/her own risk...

    An officially unsupported OS will always be crippled compared to the supported one,
    It'll crash, it won't have proper driver support and it won't be updated nearly as fast.

    Users would eventually figure that using OSX on regular, unsupported PCs is too much trouble and would thus cease from doing so.
    • Why should apple bother with "security measures... It'll crash, it won't have proper driver support and it won't be updated nearly as fast... Users would eventually figure that using OSX on regular, unsupported PCs is too much trouble and would thus cease from doing so.

      It will crash and have driver problems and generally be hard to use, but users won't figure out that this is due to running on unsupported hardware; instead it will develop a reputation as an unstable OS. Apple would prefer not to poison t

  • Not a big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:29PM (#14717585)
    It's not going to affect Apple's bottom line. Until someone with only moderate computer skills as opposed to advanced computer skills can pull this off, it'll have exactly no appeal. And Apple's going to break whatever they do with every update. Sure, it's nice for the few hundred people who do it, but otherwise, it's not a serious threat to Apple.
  • by sucker_muts (776572) <sucker_pvn AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:30PM (#14717590) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    "Will it persuade Steve Jobs that releasing his OS is an insanely great idea?"

    I don't think so, Apple wants to produce a quality product, and can control the hardware and the OS, so it's fairly easy to make it a very stable product.

    If they would want to release a version that runs on all (intel) x86 PC's they won't be able to have as much stability and quality control at all, and might give end users a bad feeling about this producs just as lots of people are annoyed with those driver issues that plague the Windows world (in terms of stability)...
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:32PM (#14717621)

    They're new to x86. Hackers have been here for *decades*.

    Welcome to the mainstream, Apple.

  • Exposure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johndeerejedi (317878) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:34PM (#14717638)
    Well, unless the procedure is easy to do, it's very unlikely to dent Apple's sales because many of the people who buy Macs don't want a hack job and will continue to buy a refined product. People who enjoy tweaking their systems and people who like to do this sort of thing who normally wouldn't get exposure to OS X will play with it and maybe they will like what they see. This in turn may lead them to buy a genuine Mac, or at least maybe buy, develop, or support OS X software.

    I see this kind of like the DRM in iTunes. It's almost trivial to bypass, but good enough to keep an honest person honest. Building a bulletproof DRM is rather futile because people determined to do it will hammer it down eventually. I think Apple may have a similar philosophy here--good enough to keep honest people honest, or at least those who just want to use it, not build it (listen to music or use the computer).
  • and that means apple can't decide to take the approach of deliberately breaking compatibility with older versions anywhere near as easilly as they could with a beta!

  • OS-X under Xen? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:37PM (#14717666) Homepage
    The ability to run OS-X in a Xen partition would be a big win. It's probably easier than making it run on native hardware - you only need enough drivers to to talk to Xen.

    Apple is at risk for an "illegal tying" lawsuit if they insist that their operating system run only on their hardware. IBM lost that issue decades ago, which is why there are IBM-compatible mainframes.

    • As I wrote earlier [thoughtspot.net] Apple would be well to do to relieve some of this pent-up desire for OS X and capitalize on it by releasing a VMWare image that is sufficiently locked down for their own peace of mind.

      The audience for OS X grows to anyone who can run VMWare player, they get Windows users into an Apple product upgrade cycle (upgrade to real hardware!), they still get to control the user experience the way they want to (no b0rked hacked video drivers), and best of all they get to grow their developer base.

      S
  • by dwhittington (577769) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:38PM (#14717680) Homepage Journal
    What a great Valentines day! First I find out my new MacBook will have a 2GHz processor. Then, I find out that OSX can once again be loaded on every x86 box in my house. Now if VMware would just make an announcement today.
  • Is this a blessing for Apple, or simply a nuisance?

    Publicly a nuisance, privately a blessing. Apple would never admit it, but if a fair number of hobbyists get this on their PC hardware it'll probably be good underground promotion leading to more hardware sales. A few of those hobbyists will certainly consider Apple's own hardware when it's time to upgrade since they'll already be happy with the software. Plus word of mouth never hurts. When a kid playing around with OS X on his PC shows it to dad Apple
  • Back when I worked at Apple and they were splitting the OS X project into multiple releases spread out over many years... The Apple AIX team was busy hacking Linux to run on the Mac hardware. So, it's not like they haven't don't similar actions in the past. But it makes you wonder if Maxxus is an ex-Apple/Intel-crossover programmer that was so pervasive back in '96. I know that most of the core code hasn't changed in the ten years it's been around.
  • OSX will attract more hackers this way (hackers in the traditional, benevolent sense), which will lead to more interesting software, and honestly harder security. It will also attract virus writers, but I doubt it will be anything like what we see via Windows.

    It's basically a challenge to crackers when Apple releases software this way, but at the same time it keeps the mainstream public buying Apple hardware because of the exposure. Just like in the world of fashion, all trends start in the back alleys.

  • Would be finding a way to allow Apple systems with Intel processor to dual-boot Linux or Windows.
  • I'm sure it's annoying to Apple since they seem to be going to great lengths to stop this kind of work, but you'd think they may be a bit happy that there's so much interest in their OS. Still, I think in the long run *if* you're able to run the OS on non-Apple hardware, they'll just make their key apps (Safari, Quicktime, iTunes) not function on non-Apple hardware regardless of it running OSX. So I think in the long run they'll win, but not with stopping ppl from installing OSx86 on stock PCs.
  • Is this a blessing for Apple, or simply a nuisance?

    I would guess that this is a blessing. Casual users won't bother with hacked versions of OS X and the sales loss from it will probably be minimal as long as these versions remain inconvenient. Serious hacker types -- the kinds most likely to write useful software for a system, I would guess -- will, and some of those who run OS X will probably write and/or port useful software to it, thus benefitting all the other users. Apple won't have to support the myr

  • by thedarb (181754) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:47PM (#14717765) Homepage
    So you super hackers out there, you are only helping Apple secure the OS, helping them lock it tighter and tighter to their hardware. By releasing these cracks now, you give Apple an education, a lesson plan to learn from, so that they can do it better next time. If you wait until after OS X for Intel is out and *then* release the crack for it, then Apple will have a hell of a time stopping it. Don't release your cracks now, for goodness sakes. Wait until it's for sale, on the shelves. Please stop teaching Apple how to lock it down better. :)
  • by javaxman (705658) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:47PM (#14717768) Journal
    If Apple's hardware were really a lot more expensive than competing hardware, it would be a really serious nuisance, as there'd be a larger number of people willing to run a seriously hacked-up system in order to avoid paying extra.

    However, when you look at Dell's Core Duo laptop and Apple's Core Duo laptop... the differences aren't much. That's the big win for Apple in switching to Intel hardware- the systems are really comparable and fairly easily similarly priced.

    People hacking OS X to run on non-Apple Intel hardware *is* a blessing in a sense, because those who do go through the extra hassle to install OS X on non-Apple hardware are certainly asserting, beyond their hacking ( or simple file-sharing ) skills, that OS X is a really, really worthy bit of software to have... and they'll find, I suspect, that some things, in particular Software Update, won't play nicely at all with their very non-standard system. They're a seriously small number of people, probably, and are folks who either wouldn't for whatever reason buy *either* a Dell or an Apple system ( because it's all about building it yourself ), or, quite possibly, they're buying Apple hardware or software already ( don't you think the folks who worked out how to do this bought Apple hardware in order to do so ? ) in which case... well, let's just say Apple doesn't exactly go to great lengths to keep you from installing the same copy of OS X on multiple Apple machines... it's just not something they're worried about preventing. The notion that hacked x86 systems amount to try-before-you buy is probably not unfounded.

    In short, while it's interesting to us geeks, it's not exactly a threat to Apple's business model... in a very real way, the fact that someone would want to do this pays quite a compliment to Apple's software, and is not terribly significant otherwise... just normal and likely small-scale software piracy, really.

    As a third-party OS X software developer, it's just another ( small, likely ) set of machines I might be able to sell software or online services to, so it's all good for everyone except maybe Apple, and it's just not a big deal to them either, since hacked versions of OS X aren't going to be installed on over 1% of existing Windows PCs any time soon.

  • by slackaddict (950042) <rmorganNO@SPAMopenaddict.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @02:49PM (#14717789) Homepage Journal
    Is SuSE Linux unstable because there isn't a "gold standard" or "official" machine that will run it? Is Slackware any less stable or usable because I didn't get a PC from Pat Volkerding with Slackware pre-installed? Is FreeBSD more stable on a Dell or a HP?

    I reject the argument that being able to run MacOS on any generic x86 box will hurt Apple in terms of stability or image. Sure, you might be running a slick looking OS on a beige box, but that doesn't mean that it won't be any less stable than official Apple hardware. (That is, unless Apple intentionally cripples their OS...)

    • I reject the argument that being able to run MacOS on any generic x86 box will hurt Apple in terms of stability or image.

      Then you're living in a dream world. The majority of Windows crashes these days come from spyware infestations, rootkits and viruses. But before these became big problems, the majority of the crashes came from "bad third party drivers" according to most reports.

      Apple is not big enough to maintain drivers for all hardware available on the PC market. Microsoft, for all their market success,
  • This is just a simple fact of life. There is no 100% secure method of securing software, unless you develop it and never release it. Some intrepid/brilliant coder/programmer/hacker will always find ways around protection schemes, and that will never change, no matter how complex things get. Eventually, we may have machines that hack themselves to test security. That'll be one scary day.
  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:01PM (#14717944)
    If microsoft started selling PC hardware, then locked all other PC's out with OS modifications, that would probably be illegal and anti-competitive, and they would be forced to unbundle the two.

    But somehow Apple can get away with this, why is this? Because they less of a monopoly?
    • by frankie (91710) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:55PM (#14718575) Journal
      If Apple had 90%, 80%, or even just approaching 50% of PC marketshare, we could start talking about antitrust concerns. Until then, go away.
    • by a.koepke (688359) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:52PM (#14720653)
      There is a difference here.

      Apple has been making hardware for a long time and that is their primary business, making computer hardware. The fact that they have developed a brilliant OS to run on their hardware is another issue. Naturally this OS is only available on their hardware.

      Now, Microsoft has been making software for a long time and this is their primary business. They do make some hardware but not full computers. If they move into that area they wouldn't be able to do anti-competitive things like making their software only run on their hardware.

      MS software has previously ran on all PC hardware, to change this would be anti-competitive. MacOS has never before ran on PC hardware.
  • by makoffee (145275) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:17PM (#14718155) Homepage Journal
    I can't afford a decent mac (yes I have a mini at work and it blows), but I can certanly afford a retail copy MacOS X and would gladly install it on my home PC if I could.

    I don't understand why Apple is missing the boat here. I'm waving my $150 at you Steve Jobs come and get it. If you would just sell it to people you'd have the number one os in the world. (and #1 in my heart)

    Just think of being able to ACTUALY choose your OS. Linux/Mac/Windows on the same hardware - Why not?

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:25PM (#14718251)

      I don't understand why Apple is missing the boat here. I'm waving my $150 at you Steve Jobs come and get it.

      I'll explain it. You and the several thousand others like you would cost more money for the free support and other missed opportunity cost than you would give. Basically, Apple offering OS X fort other hardware will cost them hardware sales since many people will buy other hardware now that they can run OS X on it. It will increase support costs in trying to deal with all that hardware. And Apple makes very little money selling OS X. They make their money selling hardware and in order to make the same amount of money they would have to capture 30-40% of the OS market. Since they are locked out of the pre-install market by MS's OEM pricing and since the non-preinstall market is about 5% of the market right now the chances of them even making the same amount of money as they do now are basically zero. I'd buy it too, but it just doesn't make sense for them to sell it.

  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:34PM (#14718370) Homepage
    The hackers and a handful of tech savy users that want OS X on generic hardware are irrelevant. All Apple needs to do is prevent someone with the skills of an average user from being able to get Mac OS X working reliably on generic hardware. The generic PCs running Mac OS X will be novelties, more conversation pieces than serious work environments. There will not be a robust set of drivers, merely what ships on genuine Apple hardware. Apple can break the hack used to get it to work every system software update. It will be a somewhat unreliable machine, unavailable for days at a time while hackers reverse engineer and workaround the latest software update. Will they do so, sure, but it will be irrelevant to mainstream users.
  • by KutuluWare (791333) <kutulu@nOsPAm.kutulu.org> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:45PM (#14718491) Homepage
    We tried to install this version of 3 different PCs, plus a VMWare and a VPC virtual machine. Both virtual machines blew up due to invalid or unimplemented operations, and the 3 real PCs all contained some piece of hardware (video card and CD-ROM drivers, specifically) that the installer claims were non-existant. If this is what they consider "just download a DVD and run it" then I'm changing careers before the tech support calls start coming in.

    --K
  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @05:52PM (#14719619)
    If people don't care about Apple's EULA (which states explicitly that OS X should only be run on Apple-branded machines) then why should they care about the GPL?

    Both are usage contracts. Both defines specific terms of use, and if you disagree with either, you can opt out by not using the software.

    So - is there anyone who is for OS X on generic PC hardware *and* for the GPL?

    Is that a contradiction?

    While I'm at it - Apple are actively participating in several open source programs, and recently (and unexpectedly) gave a fair bit of hardware away for free to some top contributors. Should Apple be punished through active disregard for their OS X terms of use?
  • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:51PM (#14720642)
    10.4.5 is out [apple.com].

    From the linked install notes:

    You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modifications installed, or if you've modified the operating system through other means. (This does not apply to normal application software installation.)

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