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Mac OS X Cracked For PCs Again 319

Posted by Zonk
from the never-ending-cycle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica and The Register are reporting the Apple Kernel 10.4.8 has been cracked using Apple's publicly available source trees. This is the first time Apple was hit by hackers again since Maxxuss silently left the scene.The funny thing about this is the hacker who cracked OSx has released his sources according to APSL. He told Ars Technica in an interview that he did this because he believes in freedom of information, but will this now harm Apple's opensourceness?" From the article: "Unfortunately, free and legal are not necessarily the same thing, and the EULA for OS X requires Mac hardware. However, there is an interesting comment on the blog, one that asserts the requirement of Mac hardware is a "post-sale" restriction. Such a restriction may not be applicable in certain countries, such as those of the European Union. Expect to see what Apple Legal thinks about that shortly."
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Mac OS X Cracked For PCs Again

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  • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:39PM (#16615916) Homepage Journal
    Apple need to collaborate with Microsoft, and make the Apple Genuine Advantage. As a leader in the field of pissing off customers, Microsoft can proudly show Apple how to protect its interests against those nasty hackers.
    • by BlueStrat (756137)
      Apple need to collaborate with Microsoft, and make the Apple Genuine Advantage. As a leader in the field of pissing off customers, Microsoft can proudly show Apple how to protect its interests against those nasty hackers.

      s/hackers/customers

      There, fixed that for you. You're welcome! :P

      Strat
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I'm pretty sure the license his comment was published under didn't allow modifications! You're going to jail!
      • I seem to have fooled about 50% of moderators, and nearly half of the commenters into thinking I was seriously criticizing the "hackers" in this case. I forgot to leave a satire disclaimer in my post somewhere. My mistake. :-)
    • by creimer (824291)
      And have Jack Thompson go after these hackers for ruining Apple's purity in front of consumers.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:42PM (#16615952) Homepage
    However, there is an interesting comment on the blog, one that asserts the requirement of Mac hardware is a "post-sale" restriction.

    If it's a post-sale restriction, and you're not buying it, problem solved.
    • by ari_j (90255)
      I thought that the idea was to lawfully have a copy of Mac OS X and install it on non-Apple hardware, as opposed to pirating the software and installing it on whatever hardware you have around. Maybe I was mistaken.
  • by jarich (733129) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:43PM (#16615968) Homepage Journal
    I bought my Mac ~because~ I had played with the "free as in bittorrent" version last fall. It ran great on my Opteron desktop and my Intel based laptop. After a long weekend, I decided to switch.

    OS X is a great OS. If more people could try it out, there'd be a lot more converts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sky289hawk1 (459600)
      Apple is a hardware company, not a software company. They make the software to sell their hardware.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dubbreak (623656)
        Apple is a hardware company, not a software company.

        That is true but that probably isn't why they aren't doing it. If they aren't doing it, it is because the people good at crunching financial numbers and analyzing potential market share are saying it won't increase their overall profit and value to stockholders.
        • ...and the reason it won't increase overall profit and value to stockholders is because Apple is a hardware company.
          • by dubbreak (623656)
            So it is your opinion they would make more money by selling software, but won't do it because they are a hardware company and they would rather just stick to what they know.

            At this point I highly doubt changing to a software company would make them more profit. It's a lot of software to sell to make up for hardware sales, not to mention other costs (shrinking other departments and trying to get rid of their overhead etc). Maybe you would buy OSX for a pc, but you won't see your average home users moving
            • by countach (534280)
              I suspect Jobs is ambitious enough to want it ALL. He wants to be a huge software AND hardware company, and he is prepared to stay the course rather than make a quick gambit of increasing only software share by opening OSX to PCs.
          • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Friday October 27, 2006 @08:32PM (#16617966) Homepage
            Apple is not a hardware company, they are an experience company. The experience they want there customers to have is a unified desktop on at least semi reliable hardware.
      • by jbrader (697703)
        Nintendo used to make playing cards, now they make video games. It is possible for a company to change their main focus and still be profitable. I know that the clone market nearly killed Apple in the 90's but even that doesn't prove that it couldn't be done. I'm not saying that it should be done or that it's going to be done I'm just tired of people saying exactly what you did every time this subject comes up, if you really think there's a reason it wouldn't work why don't you tell us the rather than just
        • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:52PM (#16616818)
          Playing cards or video games, Nintendo still sells game hardware. The reason that people always explain that Apple is a hardware company is because it's a fundamental strategy difference from a software company like Microsoft. Apple makes its money on its hardware, and the software is used to increase the value of the hardware to the consumer. A company like Microsoft relies solely on software which is cheaper than hardware (Vista notwithstanding...just kidding), so they have to support as much hardware as they possibly can to make up the difference. Microsoft's hardware ventures--the XBox and the XBox 360--have never generated profit, and neither will the Zune on launch.

          So it wouldn't just be a magical change in focus for Apple to become a software company. It would require an entirely new business model with entirely new software products that support entirely new platforms. It would kill the company, and nobody would want it to happen anyway because Macs are fantastic pieces of hardware that run a very stable operating system.
      • by IntergalacticWalrus (720648) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:40PM (#16616620)
        No, Apple is a systems company. What they sell you is a full system, consisting of both hardware and software components that were made to support each other.

        In this PC-centric world we now live in, people seem to have a problem understanding this concept, but go back at least at least a decade and this practice of selling "systems" was the norm, until the PC killed them all in the name of commodity. Amiga, Sun, SGI, Apple, NeXT, etc... Now Apple is the only system vendor that's still in the systems business. All others have either gone bankrupt, stopped selling systems altogether, or still attempt to sell what appears to be their older systems, only they're really just overpriced x86 boxen that run Windows or Linux.
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:27PM (#16616466)
      Just because you think piracy is "free advertising" doesn't mean Apple should magically give up all its intellectual property and copyrights.
      • Actually, it kind of does. If Apple makes more money off of giving away their intellectual property and copyrights than from keeping them locked down, it should give them away. "Magically"...well, I don't really get that.
    • I bought my Mac ~because~ I had played with the "free as in bittorrent" version last fall. It ran great on my Opteron desktop and my Intel based laptop. After a long weekend, I decided to switch. OS X is a great OS. If more people could try it out, there'd be a lot more converts.

      your post reminds me of this weird idea rattling around in my head of what apple will/could do to get a lot of marketshare quickly.

      the long release time between xp and vista has put MS in a pretty precarious position with regard

      • by metamatic (202216) on Friday October 27, 2006 @08:47PM (#16618088) Homepage Journal
        they could release Tiger 10.4 for generic x86 machines for a very low price (say $50).

        If you think Apple's margin on a computer is $50, you really need to think harder.

        In reality, it's comfortably over 25%. So they'd need to price OS X at $300 or more just to make up for the money they were no longer making selling people a $1500 or more computer.

        But it's worse than that. If they sold OS X for generic PCs, they'd have to support OS X on generic PCs, including all the shoddy PC hardware out there. They'd need to spend more on support, more on drivers, more on testing, and so on. There's a reason why Microsoft is so late shipping Vista, it's not just because of bad project management and poor decisions.

        So realistically, they'd have to bump the price of OS X up to $400-500. And at that price, nobody would buy it.

        Yes, if 50% of the PC market ran OS X, they could sell it for $50 and maintain today's profit levels. The problem is that there's no way to get to there from here without going through bankruptcy.

        • i realize their margin on computers is greater than $50. i never said that the profit from sales of one copy of tiger would cover the loss of profit on one purchase of a mac. the point is that even a small percentage of the windows world equals a large percentage of the mac world. so their conversion rate wouldn't have to be too high to actually make up the difference. converting only 5% of the windows market would essentially double apple's markshare. since apple does fine on the profit margins from their
        • by countach (534280)
          You greatly exagerate. For a start, they certainly don't make $300 on a Mac Mini. Secondly, you assume that everyone will stop buying their hardware, when an equally valid assumption is that selling it on PCs would be cream on the top. (The truth is somewhere in the middle). Thirdly, they have ten billion in the bank. No venture is going to bankrupt them.
      • by countach (534280)
        Whatever the merits of that idea, I don't think that's likely. However they could sell a $10 licence for generic PCs that expires after 3 months to let people try out the OS.
  • by pestilence669 (823950) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:43PM (#16615970)
    They'd let people install it on anything they want... just make it "illegal" to do so. It's not like Windows' market share was achieved only with legal licensed copies.
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:52PM (#16616098)
      daily Apple users are not going to commit themselves to a platform that is just one software update away from suddenly not functioning, or ones for which the apple drivers just don't work. On otherhand for people too cheap to buy apples, and who just want occasional use in an unmaintined state, apple should be happy. It's like throwing a market share bone to the their third pary software developers, and courting future hardware customers. I can imagine that there is sliver of market share for people forced to use apples at work who have a PC at home that just dont have the money to buy an apple YET. I can imagine the hordes of thrird worl countries for whom income levels never will achieve mac status. Neither of these is going to hurt mac sales.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by feldsteins (313201)
        I think we really need to be careful not to overestimate the influence and power of nerddom. it may be true that a segment of computer users might play with an unsupported version of OS X on their PCs, they do not constitute a significant number of people. You may make the argument that these nerds are the most important constituency, but I do not think they are influential enough to make up for their infinitesimal numbers.

        (You see this kind of nerd fallacy all the time. A record company dude just said t
      • I'd be more willing to spend $199 (or whatever the retail price is) on OS X for generic x86, than I would be to pay the price (both for a legit copy, and a whole new machine) for Vista.

        I'm just not 1337 enough to use Linux, being a graphic artist and not willing to have to relearn a completely different OS.

        I was using Macs before the PC got to a point of usability for me with Windows, it would be ironic to go full circle.
      • by MrShaggy (683273)
        i was one of those people too. I have always had pc's around.

        The mac buy-in is too steep for most. Now with the mini, many people might be more tempted.

        I recently bought a new mac, and have been so very happy. Once I figured out the minor differences, one being the apple key ves the alt key, not to mention the lack of a context menu (yay shit ctrl).

        I left my gf in the futureshop. She played with the mac for a little here and there. Over the course of a couple of weeks, she was dreaming of it. Now we
      • So many comments say things like this and get modded Insightful. Apple doesn't want unmaintained, illegal copies of OSX out there because it weakens Apple's branding. For every person who gets "converted" after downloading a hacked copy of OSX, there's another guy who tries it out, gets some weird driver conflict because he's running non-Apple hardware, and says, "Hey, this thing is just as buggy and confusing as Windows!" And moreover, human nature dictates that people like to bitch more than they like to
    • by Watts Martin (3616) <layotl&gmail,com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:48PM (#16616740) Homepage
      I don't think Apple is ignorant of the interest in running OS X on non-Apple hardware; in fact, I'd say it's a safe bet that somebody in Apple has projections of what the effects on their market share, on their own hardware sales, etc., etc. would be.

      But as I've commented in earlier discussions on this topic, I also suspect Apple has projections on just what would happen if they turned Microsoft into a full-blown, no-pretense-of-partnership enemy. Because if Apple ever released OS X for non-Apple Intel hardware, Microsoft would perceive it -- correctly -- as the most serious assault on the Windows platform that they've ever faced. No offense is intended to Linux and *BSD variants by that; it's a simple recognition that OS X has much more "end user" friendliness and a much wider range of commercial applications (including some pretty big name ones) than any other Unix relative ever has, and Apple has one of the highest brand recognitions in the world.

      Given how Microsoft has reacted to much less dangerous competition in the past, what do you think their response would be?

      Yes, I know you were suggesting Apple could just release an OS X that had only license restrictions and "just happened" to be able to run on non-Apple hardware, nudge nudge wink wink. But if Apple sold enough copies of OS X to non-Mac owners to actually affect their bottom line, that would be enough to attract the attention of the industry press -- and of Microsoft. And at that point, if Apple didn't take very loud definitive actions to put a stop to it, it'd be effectively throwing down the gauntlet just as much as slapping "Now compatible with your Dell, HP and your crappy white box PC!" stickers on every OS X Leopard box.

      It's nice to dream, but an OS X that just breezily installs on non-Apple hardware won't happen unless Apple decides they're willing to engage in a fight to the death with Microsoft.
  • From TFA:

    The only snag: you can't boot into the familiar GUI. (...) In any case, the code will boot up into single-user mode, which has a certain interest for Unix and command-line geeks, but isn't going to get Mac fans rushing off to buy cheap Dells instead of Apple machines.

    So this doesn't mean it's time to download a newer version of a so-called "OSX86" distrobution, anyway. C'est la vie.
  • Darwin ONLY (Score:3, Informative)

    by diamondsw (685967) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:54PM (#16616134)
    All this does is give you Darwin. Its hardly a "hack" - just compiling Darwin/x86, which you've been able to do with Apple's blessing for years (save a brief interlude when kernel sources weren't ready yet).

    Now if they get around the binary signing on critical GUI components (Finder, WindowServer, etc) then I'll be more impressed.
  • EULA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phroggy (441) * <.moc.yggorhp. .ta. .3todhsals.> on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:57PM (#16616174) Homepage
    So here's what I'm wondering.

    Apple's EULA says Mac OS X can only be used on an "Apple-labeled computer." But what does that really mean, legally? I've heard some people suggest that if you stick your own label that says "Apple" on a PC, then it should count as being "Apple-labeled," but I'm assuming the real meaning is "a computer that has been labeled by Apple."

    So, what if you buy an old Blue & White G3 tower, remove the motherboard, and install a P4 or Core 2 motherboard (along with CPU and RAM)? Can this machine still be considered "Apple-labeled"? Surely you can upgrade the hard drive or RAM without voiding the EULA; which other components are OK to replace before the result can no longer be legally considered "Apple-labeled"?

    Of course I'm talking about using a legally purchased retail copy of Mac OS X.
  • by PhoenixK7 (244984) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:05PM (#16616254)
    This is really not a case of anything being cracked. The source code was available, all this guy did was remove the requirements for particular hardware. Consequently, as we've all known before the gui doesn't work without the checks that were implemented, and you still need something illegal to get it going as an actual OS X install... all you have here is Darwin running out of the same tree as OS X. I'm sure Apple knew this would happen as soon as they released the kernel source.
  • by popo (107611) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:06PM (#16616262) Homepage

    "Post sale restrictions" are IMHO the legal flaw in just about *every* EULA.

    You've gone to the store, you've purchased a product, you've driven home, you've opened the product and are in the process of installing the
    product and WHAMMO -- you're forced to agree to something after you've already expended time, energy and money towards posession of that
    product. If you disagree with the EULA, you'll need to expend further time, energy and money (and bereaucratic frustration) in order to
    undo the financial transaction and receive compensation. (Ever try taking XP back to Staples and saying you didn't agree with the EULA?).

    This is a form of trickery and extortion that goes far beyond bait-and-switch. It is a transaction in which 'good faith' on the part of the
    manufacturer is non-existent. EULA's are legal documents which cannot be given due diligence (because the expense of said diligence would vastly
    exceed the price of the product), and they are agreed to by minors, the elderly and consumers with no legal background every day. The price
    for disagreement is more wasted effort, more lost time and more lost money.

    Post Sale Agreements should be illegal.

    • by Fearless Freep (94727) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:33PM (#16616548)
      So you buy your copy of OS/X and take it home and open the box and suddenly find out that you need to buy a Mac to go with it?
    • In Apple's case however, since the retail versions of OS X are often marketed as upgrades, it should be pretty clear that it's not for generic x86 PCs. In the case of post-sale transactions, you're being told that something (a game or program) will work on (or is designed for) your computer, and you find conditions attached to it. In this case, OS X isn't being marketed as software for a generic PC, it's being marketed as software for a Mac. You're getting what you bought. Its not an incident where you'
      • by metamatic (202216)
        In Apple's case however, since the retail versions of OS X are often marketed as upgrades, it should be pretty clear that it's not for generic x86 PCs.

        If they want me to treat it as an upgrade, they should offer upgrade pricing.

    • by dangitman (862676)
      If you disagree with the EULA, you'll need to expend further time, energy and money (and bereaucratic frustration) in order to undo the financial transaction and receive compensation. (Ever try taking XP back to Staples and saying you didn't agree with the EULA?).

      All the Apple EULAs are available online, so there's no need to be "tricked" oir surprised. How is this any different to you not doing your research on a household product, only to find it doesn't have a particular feature or legal use that you wa

      • by ozbird (127571)
        Why can't you give due diligence? Why is it so expensive to read a EULA online?

        Anyone can read an EULA, but it takes a lawyer to understand it.
        • by dangitman (862676)
          But how does this make it worse than a bait-and switch? This is not unique to software, all products have legalese attached that require lawyerly reading. You are saying that it is worse than bait-and switch. You'd rather get something totally different than what you wanted, than to buy something with a EULA? That's weird.

          Also, there are sites around where experts analyse EULAs to give warning to people, free of charge.

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          Anyone can read an EULA, but it takes a lawyer to understand it.

          If you cannot or do not understand an agreement, you cannot legally enter it. Practically speaking, they can run you into court and litigate every word of the thing to death, but if you can prove that there was truly no "meeting of the minds" between you and the writer of a contract, the contract is not enforceable. They can't just throw legalisms onto a page and hold you to it for breathing while looking at it, you have to understand it i

    • by nsayer (86181) *
      (Ever try taking XP back to Staples and saying you didn't agree with the EULA?)

      Yes [wikipedia.org] (see the part near the end about "Window Refund Day").

      Post Sale Agreements should be illegal.

      Orthagonal to the question of click-through-licensing, which is what we're really talking about. HOWEVER, I do think that if a software vendor does not fully respect the requirements to cancel the sale if the EULA is refused, that then the EULA should be regarded as void. Microsoft defers to the hardware vendors and they defer

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Budenny (888916)
      The problem, at least in the EU, is not the Eula, or whether you have understood it, been given notice of it etc. The problem is trying to restrict the use you make of a product once you have bought it. The EU generally has regarded this as anti competitive practice.

      So, take the example of Wolf garden tools. They make handles and a bunch of stuff that snaps onto them. There is nothing to stop them making them of a different fit. There is nothing to stop them voiding the warranty on their tools and thei
      • by sjf (3790)
        Your reasoning is correct, if you had actually 'bought' Mac OS X. You have not. You have licensed it. Therein lies the rub. That's why they can get away with denial of resale restrictions for instance.
        The real question is when will 'licensing' vs. purchasing software be adequately tested in court.

    • Is it a post sale restriction if it says on the box that a Mac is required to use the OS?
      • by Sloppy (14984)
        Is it a post sale restriction if it says on the box that a Mac is required to use the OS?

        Yes, because words on a box are not a condition of sale. It's not something the buyer agreed to.

        Have you ever put duct tape on something other than a duct? It's ok, don't answer that. I wouldn't want you to admit in public, that you violated the usage contract.

      • Is it a post sale restriction if it says on the box that a Mac is required to use the OS?

        Yup, if it doesn't identify that as a licensing term rather than a practical requirement.

        If I buy a piece of software that says on the package it requires a particular operating system and processor, and run it on a different OS and processor and get it to work, I'm not breaking the license, (OTOH, if it doesn't work, I'll have even less ability to take the vendor or manufacturer to court for a refund then I would norma

  • by AgNO3 (878843) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:18PM (#16616394) Homepage
    I am pretty sure it says right on the outside of the box that it requires a Macintosh computer. I think that makes it a pre-sale condition.
    • by ronanbear (924575)
      That would just mean that it's unsupported on non Apple hardware. They'd need to specifically state that it is not permitted to run on Dell etc.

      Technically, it's not a problem as Tiger doesn't run without modification on non Apple hardware and you can't assume that you'll be allowed modify shrink wrap software.

      • by shmlco (594907)
        Do they need to state that it can't, or isn't permitted, to run on a Sun, XBox, Atari, Apple //, Playstation, iPod, Mac II, Motorola RAZR, or a Lisa as well? How about the computer that runs your Camry?

        Does an XBox game box list all of the consoles that game doesn't run on? No. It says, "For XBox."
  • This isn't illegal, unethical, or surprising. It's interesting and encouraging, that OpenDarwin's frustration and shutdown hasn't stalled the continued support of Darwin on non-Apple hardware, but people have been turning Apple's open source releases into bootable operating systems for years.

    What's the big deal? That if you take things a few steps further you can use this to run the GUI on top of Darwin on Intel instead of just Power PC? Well, yes, that's a big deal, but that's not possible with what this guy's released. It's not XPostFacto.
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:28PM (#16616476)
    Give me a break. Porting the Darwin kernel and then running an OS X userland on top of it is not "cracking". It may be in violation of Apple's EULA, but I really don't see any reason to get pushed out of shape about it.

    Apple will do whatever they will do in response to it. If they're smart, they're just going to leave it alone: in the end, this really doesn't matter, since people by Macs for the whole package; OS X itself really isn't all that special.
    • OS X itself really isn't all that special.

      Oh, geez. It's true that people buy Macs for the whole package, but Mac OS X is the user experience driving the whole package, and I'd argue that it's the most "special" aspect of the Mac experience. Otherwise, people wouldn't be porting its kernel to run it on their flimsy PCs.
  • [W]ill this now harm Apple's opensourceness?

    More to the point, what effect will this have on sales?

    If Apple (or independent hackers) use this information to quickly produce a fix and publish a patch, as typically happens with open source, I'll take it as a good sign, and OSX will be ranked higher in my future purchase decision.

    If Apple tries to harrass Soghoian or anyone else, or closes the source, I'll take that as a sign that they're more interested in PR than fixing problems, and OSX will be ranked lower
    • "If Apple tries to harrass Soghoian or anyone else, or closes the source, I'll take that as a sign that they're more interested in PR than fixing problems, and OSX will be ranked lower in my future purchase decisions."

      I believe Soghoian is the chap with the printing out of NW airlines boarding passes, not with the computer hacking skills.
  • ...but possibly illegal: http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/25/run-os-x-10-4-8 -legally-on-any-pc-kinda-sorta/ [engadget.com]

    Sounds like the guy who posted the hack can get the gui to work (and so can you), but it's not on by default for legal reasons.

  • you don't agree to.

    This is why people use clean room reverse engineering.
  • hardware requirement (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rayde (738949)
    i own a Mac LC back home. Does that fulfill my "apple hardware requirement"? I am technically a Mac owner.

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