Psystar: Cocaine, car crashes and a chance to beat Apple

Psystar: Cocaine, car crashes and a chance to beat Apple

Summary: First they release PC hardware with Mac OS X pre-installed, then they release a "build your own hackintosh" kit that allows the installation of OS X on any PC hardware. Psystar isn't on Apple's Christmas card list, and they're proud of it.

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http://cache.gizmodo.com/assets/images/4/2008/08/psystar2.pngTim Elfrink wrote a lengthy piece for the Miami New Times that chronicles the ups and downs of Florida-based Mac cloner Psystar.

Psystar assembles PCs with off-the-shelf components and ships them with Mac OS X pre-installed under the Open Computer brand. In July 2008 Apple sued and in August 2009 Psystar countersued.

While a normal company might hunker down and try to avoid the ire of its litigator, Psystar decided to poke the Leopard in the eye and released a build your own Hackintosh kit as the case drags through the courts.

"We're all in, baby," Rudy Pedraza says, grinning wildly. "Go big or get the hell out."

The New Times piece goes into great length about the background of Psystar founders and brothers Robert (pictured) and Rudy Pedraza and reveals their father, Rodolfo, was convicted of selling a pound of cocaine and sentenced to ten years in federal prison in 1993.

A bad car crash in 2007 gave Rudy the impetus for getting Psystar up and running, quickly.

"I almost died! And that was not even from a risk I had taken; it just happened," he says. "I realized you can't wait for tomorrow. You just have to go."

Rudy explains how it wasn't Psystar's mission to specifically target Apple Inc.

"It's a common misconception that we set out to challenge Apple," Rudy says. "I kind of wish we had, because we probably could have approached this from a much more logical starting point. But that's not how it happened."

Psystar may have inadvertently started a revolution. A cottage industry of Hackintosh cloners has developed and several companies, including Quo Computer, PearC and RussianMac, are now offering Mac clones at substantially cheaper prices than Apple's least expensive Mac. And all of them are pulling for Psystar in its ongoing battle with Cupertino.

Where do you stand on the hackintosh debate? Should Apple be able to enforce its EULA or is Apple monopolizing the market for premium computers?

It's a great read.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Operating Systems, Software

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16 comments
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  • Monopoly Much?

    How has apple been able to get away with this? Microsoft gets sued for sending their browser with their operating system while not blocking anyone else's browsers on their systems. Apple does not allow anyone else to use their operating system on other hardware, not sure how this has gone on for so long.
    drewitz@...
    • 90% marketshare

      That's how a monopoly is defined and how it gets itself into trouble. That
      Apple only sells its OS for its hardware is merely a strategy method, not a
      market control.

      Windows and OS X (and Linux) all achieve the same tasks using the same
      types of products. However, for Microsoft, it controls the OS that runs
      90% of that market and thus is clearly a monopoly by definition. With
      Microsoft's control, companies are much more affected by "barriers to
      market" when Windows contains blocks.

      /
      pairof9s
    • Crapstar's desires...

      Are just that, desires. They have no right to unilaterally determine
      themselves to be an authorized dealer of Macintosh Computers.
      Crapstar has made this claim, as well as an authorized Mac maker.
      They,Crapstar, are violating the Copyright laws by modifying the Code
      in OS X to search the Crapstar servers to obtain system updates. Then
      there is always [b]Brand Dilution[/b]. Much the same as I cannot make
      a bicycle and call it a Lamborghini. They cannot make a comuter and
      say it is a Mac, which they do. If someone want to throw the
      monopoly tag on Apple; they must also go after Sony, Nintendo, and
      Microsoft. These companies have monopolies on the PS 3, the Wii, and
      the xbox. As far as tying goes, if I want to use SolidWorks. I cannot
      use it without using the tying product, which is windows. If I want to
      play Left for Dead I am force to buy the tying product, an xbox. I
      know that sounds absurd, but so isn't Crapstar's claim.

      The reality of the situation is a Mac (Macintosh) computer is the sum
      of the [b]hardware and OS software[/b]. It is the integration of the two
      halves that make a whole. This is not Microsoft leveraging their
      monopoly to crush a competitor, Think Netscape, Word perfect, etc.
      This is not Apple saying it's okay to make clones, then suing the
      company. As many here have said; windows is Microsoft's property,
      and they have a right to set terms of use. The same metric applies to
      Apple. Crapstar realizes it is going to lose, thus they are offering to
      sell a Kit to promote violations of the Copyright law.
      Rick_K
  • That was a good read

    I enjoy some of this legal debate. Before I read this, I
    thought Apple was more in the right. Now I'm not sure.

    Plus, if anything, Apple's heavy-handed reaction has
    provided free publicity that Psystar is now banking on
    and funding the the lawsuits against themselves.
    Spats30
  • Wow, that was scummy writing

    What does his father getting arrested have to do with him or Psystar? You Apple guys are disgusting. Shame, shame on all of you.

    Edit: I just realized that Apple probably paid you to write this. If you can't win in the courts, you can at least drag your opponent's name through the mud and try to win in the court of public opinion. Still disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself.
    NonZealot
    • what the heck are you on about?

      It's part of the NYT article. Maybe you should
      actually read that and determine the context for
      yourself instead of whatever you call the faux-
      outrage state you've gone into?
      lostarchitect
    • Actually NZ

      the article was originally written by the NYT... So unless Steve jobs has somehow bought the Times your accusation is groundless much like most of your posts here.
      athynz
  • People are missing the point

    Apple has a reputation and an image to upkeep. Sure, they
    loose hardware profits if you make your own hackintosh,
    even though you legitimately bought the media with the
    OS on it. If your argument is that you should be able to do
    what you want with the products you buy is valid, but what
    will happen if psystar wins the battle and the floodgates of
    mac clones opens up to the general public is that a
    significant portion of those who bought a hackintosh will
    turn to Apple for OS support, even when they don't
    provide support for their OS on non-Apple hardware.
    These people get upset, maybe even mad, at Apple
    because "their product" (which isn't their product at all)
    doesn't work and they refuse to provide any support
    whatsoever.

    As a stockholder, I see the revenue potential being severely
    crippled by a tarnished image of the brand and especially
    their prized customer support. Customers are drawn to
    the well designed interface of the mac OS and are
    comforted by their customer satisfaction ratings. Publicly
    allowing mac clones would trash the worth of the company
    and would be almost sure suicide in the business world.

    Regardless if you're a mac or a PC in the whole "f*ck
    Apple/f*ck Microsoft" debates, or if you're a completely
    open source freak and hate not being openly allowed to
    put any OS on any hardware you would like, you should
    understand that Apple could care less if you personally
    make your own hackintosh. They care if companies sell
    them because the damage to their reputation is far worse
    than the loss in initial revenues from hackintosh buyers.
    The percentage of people on the fence between a
    hackintosh and a real mac is such a tiny fraction of
    potential Apple customers. Most are just going to buy a
    mac, or just going to buy a hackintosh and neither have
    seriously considered the other option.

    If you don't like Apple, don't buy into their products or OS.
    If you like the OS, but can't stand the hardware costs, just
    admit that you're playing with a completely unsupported
    project that isn't supported by anyone. Don't run updates
    because it will probably break. If you're smart enough to
    hack an OS, you should be smart enough not to run
    updates. If not, then you probably blindly followed
    directions and in which case, should probably just blindly
    buy a product with support if you get frustrated when the
    product stops working.
    kdrummer
    • While I understand what you are trying to say...

      I do have to point out a little discrepancy. Computer Operating systems
      are licensed. You buy a loaf of bread, a television, or even a stove. But
      you only purchase a license to use software. You do own the physical
      media, but the intellectual property contained on that media is owned by
      the company issuing the license. Br it Apple, Adobe, Microsoft,
      SolidWorks, etc. Check the End User License Agreement, these
      companies are selling you a license to use, and there are terms to this
      license.
      Rick_K
  • Lessons learned on their father's knee?

    Apple users have had a pretty good ride when it comes to
    the costs of new OS versions. Snow Leopard broke new
    ground in terms of pricing.

    But companies like Psystar believe that they have the rights
    to OS X when they invested no funds or talent into it's
    development. A simple way to get Apple to take a new
    look at their pricing of OS X, as well as intensive
    "authentication processes" for installing.

    If Psystar can't be a successful business while honoring
    others property, even copyright property, then it's time
    they shut down.
    Ken_z
    • Psystar paid for an OS X license

      [i]But companies like Psystar believe that they have the rights to OS X when they invested no funds or talent into it's
      development.[/i]

      If Apple isn't charging enough per license for the development of the OS then they should charge more. Maybe $499 for OS X Ultimate?

      Wait, unless you want to admit that the $129 that Apple charges for OS X is [b]highly[/b] subsidized by the sale of Mac hardware and [b]all[/b] comparisons between the price of OS X and Windows are completely and absolutely indefensible? You want to admit that?
      NonZealot
      • Off base completely

        You use a computer in which the strategy is that hardware and
        software are two separate components to the PC; a strategy in which
        Microsoft is often dragged down in its development and time to
        market in trying to support all PCs. Still, the owner has the choice to
        put a different OS on their PC or use a different PC for their Windows.

        Apple has simply chosen a different strategy in which the hardware is
        integrated with the software. Sure, you could ask how, but that's
        inconsequential to the fact that it's the strategic decision Apple has
        chosen (since its inception).

        So to state that Apple "highly" subsidizes its OS development through
        sale of hardware is absolutely correct...as it should be since neither is
        independent of the other (unless you count Boot Camp's ability to run
        Windows, but that would really destroy your entire "Apple is bad"
        theme!).

        One could easily argue that Microsoft controls a market (90%) for
        which it subsidizes no hardware development yet dictates how such
        hardware, that's manufactured by other companies, will operate. Oh, I
        guess that's why they're considered a monopoly!

        /
        pairof9s
      • You are wrong.

        You are always wrong! Your [i]opinion[/i] isn't law or fact, it is your
        (often ill-informed) opinion. This is moot now as the Northern District
        Court of California has delivered it's summary ruling:
        http://tinyurl.com/ycu7uaz.

        To quote Groklaw:

        [i]"The court's message is clear: EULAs mean what they say; if you
        don't want to abide by its license, leave Apple's stuff alone."[/i]

        [i]"In short, Psystar is toast. Psystar's only hope now is Florida, and
        frankly I wouldn't bet the house on that one. Judges notice if you were
        just found guilty of a similar cause of action in another state."[/i]
        UsernameRequired
  • RE: Psystar: Cocaine, car crashes and a chance to beat Apple

    (reads original article)

    Interesting, so this guy thinks he invented the hackintosh eh?

    Methinks he's deluded on more than a few fronts
    Win3.1
  • Apple should be happy.

    You have a computer company willing to put your OS on hardware that you won't support. You get to sell more licenses of your OS, but without any risk to your bottom line.
    This sounds like a win for Apple.
    The only loss would be one of potential stability (not their hardware), at which point they should point out that they have a better solution, called a Macintosh.
    This could lead only to more sales as people want more stability, but they also want the OS that Apple develops.
    Again, a win for Apple.

    Where's the downside? I think if they stopped all this nonsense, then the lawyers advising them would make a lot less money. Follow the money. Sometimes it pays (somebody else) not to make sense.

    -RB
    Red_Beard
  • RE: Psystar: Cocaine, car crashes and a chance to beat Apple

    If you buy that crap and lose data t.s. I
    think that Apple ought to nail them to
    the wall. Apple has made the finest
    hardware/ operating system in the
    world for a decade now ( note: I start
    with OSX on this description). Their
    support is mind boggling and if you
    want to know more about my
    experiences do a google search and
    you will find what a real company
    does for its customers. That support
    and top end hardware costs real
    money so the prices of Apple product
    must reflect that. You get what you
    pay for generally but in the case of
    Pystar, one is getting a subsidised OS
    installed in a cheap pc box and thus
    the very expensive to develop OS
    never mind the licensing which is
    normally subsidised by the more
    expensive Apple computer is being
    eliminated. This means that Apple is
    losing money for its development of
    the OS whenever someone buys this
    Pystar stuff.. I suggest if the courts
    say that it is legal to do so that Apple
    makes the price of the OS to them
    cover the real costs of the OS, let's say
    a thousand dollars per Pystar license.
    Nail them to the fiscal wall in other
    words. This is no different than
    stealing music, film and art from
    creative people as far as I am
    concerned. I am counting on Apple to
    win in court for otherwise, the rest of
    us who use the real thing will be
    paying more to make up the losses to
    Apple from such clone makers who
    are not licensed to sell OSX.
    nfiertel