Latest twist in Apple vs. Psystar

Latest twist in Apple vs. Psystar

Summary: Mac clone maker Psystar has modified its counterclaim against Apple. Gone are the Clayton Act and Sherman Act antitrust claims, and in are sections that refute claims of violating the DMCA.


Mac clone maker Psystar has modified its counterclaim against Apple. Gone are the Clayton Act and Sherman Act antitrust claims, and in are sections that refute claims of violating the DMCA.

Psystar's latest counterclaim rests on two pillars:

  1. That Apple's Mac OS EULA abuses copyright law (misuse doctrine) and is being used to block competition, and
  2. That Apple is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a form of paracopyright, going beyond the protection offered by copyright

Documents: Motion (PDF, 57KB) | Amended counterclaim (PDF, 85KB)

What's interesting in the amended counterclaim is Psystar's allegations that rather than Mac OS X being incompatible with regular PC, Apple deliberately cripple the OS so it will only run on Apple-branded hardware:

36.  On information and belief, PSYSTAR alleges that APPLE intentionally embeds code in the Mac OS that causes the Mac OS to malfunction on any computer hardware system that is not an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System.  Upon recognizing that a computer hardware system is not an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System, the Mac OS will not operate properly, if at all, and will go into what is colloquially known as ‘kernel panic.’   37.  In kernel panic, the operating system believes that it has detected an internal and fatal error from which the operating system cannot safely recover.  As a result, the operating system discontinues operation.  As noted above, without a functioning operating system, functionality of the corresponding computer is reduced to near zero.

I'm not sure if I buy this argument, because the same could be said of any piece of software that needs a key or dongle to work - that limitation is itself deliberate and there to control how that software is used. However, Psystar claims that relying on kernel panics isn't really copy-protection in the eyes of the DMCA. Again, this seems like a weak argument because I'm pretty sure that you could make a compelling DMCA case based on circumventing something as simple as ROT13.


Topics: Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Psystar does it work?

    I?d like to hear from someone who has experience with a Psystar. Does it really work? Is OSX really that much better?
    • Hackintosh

      Without giving too much away it is possible to run OSX on standard hardware. There are forums dedicated to highlighting what hardware will and won't work and what patches may be needed.

      OSX has its strong points, but it also has some weaknesses. What I may not like might be right up your street. The best thing is to ask an Apple owner to lend a spare mac for the weekend. My friend swears by her Mac, but I personally don't see what all the fuss is. (yes, I have used it, for over 14 months now...)
    • I don't know about Psystar machines..

      But OS X really is awesome
  • Pretty funny

    "..APPLE intentionally embeds code in the Mac OS that causes the Mac OS to malfunction on any computer hardware system that is not an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System.."

    Talk about arrogance. Apple, selling Apple hardware, should concern itself with its software running on other platforms why exactly?

    Write your own UI and slap it onto BSD and put it on whatever computer you want. Oh wait, that would mean Psytar would have to be an innovator isntead of a leach.
    • ??

      Are you claiming that Apple should make its own hardware (CPU, GPU, HDD) rather than buying it from 3rd parties...

      Oh wait, that would mean Apple would have to be an innovator instead of a leach.

      • Production (making) is not innovative... designing

        now that can be innovative.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • Designing

          Well, NVIDIA designs their GPU's, Seagate designs their drives, Intel Designs their cpu's. Each of these hardware manufacturers truly innovates their technology. And, Production can be innovative as well, creating new processes in order to bring higher quality at a lower cost takes a level of creativity and non-linear thinking beyond the ordinary. There is an art and a science to these activities, just as there is an art and a science to bringing all of these components together, to make something like the Air. (which wasn't the first super-thin laptop, by the way, as it had already been done once before by a PC laptop vendor.)

          Don't discount or undervalue the hardware manufacturer's design capabilities and skills.
        • Innovation comes in many forms actually

          "Production (making) is not innovative... "

          Henry Ford innovated mass production with it's super efecient assembly lines in the 20's, and there have been many innovations in manufacturing since.

          Building a product that stands the test of time and doesn't kill you with lead based paint seems like an innocation to me. But instead more and more of our own companies send all our jobs and products over seas to be built by slave labor so penny penching Americans can save a buck.

          Between greedy corporations, greedy workers demanding $75 and hour and comsumers refusing to pay, our products have suffered and so has our economy.

          Yes, production can deffinately be grounds for innovation.
      • No...

        No. Innovator does not mean inventor, even though Apple
        has provided, standardized, or made popular a lot of
        products that PC vendors follow. Apple leads the industry,
        that's why the computing world and news outlets clamor
        over Macworld. If it weren't for Apple, it's likely would
        wouldn't 've had (or gotten much later): a mouse, fixed
        pixel GUI, 3.5" floppy, CD-ROM, USB, Firewire, etc. Apple
        didn't invent many of these products, but they were often
        the first to the consumer market with them and/or made
        them popular.

        Apple is in a joint venture with Intel. Apple's hardware
        engineers work with Intel's hardware engineers. It's mostly
        Intel, but it's also Apple. Apple is involved in some very
        important design decisions regarding several of Intel's
        products that they use.

        Apple is widely regarded as being in the forefront of
        innovation, they're famous for it.
    • Apple concerning itself

      "Talk about arrogance. Apple, selling Apple hardware, should concern itself with its software running on other platforms why exactly?"

      I don't disagree with you on this point, but intentionally embedding code that causes the OS to malfunction on non-approved hardware seems like they do concern themselves with that, though not in the way one typically thinks.

      I believe something like that happened with Windows 95 (in fact, I think Caldera sued them over it).
      Third of Five
      • Nope, you are wrong...

        Caldera sued them for having Windows 95 break if it was
        running on DR-DOS instead of MS-DOS under the hood
        (yes, Win 95 still ran on top of DOS and DOS had clones
        and was itself a clone)....
        The issue here is does Apple have the right to restrict their
        ENTIRE OS layer to run on their own hardware - there are
        not 3rd parties involved here. And they are in the right.
        Win 95 arbitrarily refused to run on top of DR-DOS - there
        was no technical limitation as to why it should not, and
        Windows 95 did not claim in its license that you could not
        use it this way.
        • DR-DOS or EFI v8 vs MS-DOS or EFI

          Honestly, it's exactly the same thing. Intel wrote the EFI standard, which is the code being rewritten to bypass the instruction set to cause the kernel panic. Originally this code was put on Apple's OpenSource site and licenced as such, so you're replacing proprietary code with modified opensource code.
      • History's repeating itself: Caldera Vs Microsoft

        You're right JohnRoche. Back in the time of Win95, Microsoft was trying to stop DR-DOS compatible with Win95 by inserting the infamous "AARD" code. In this case it would be equvolent of "Dont Steal Mac OS X.kext" in /System/Library/Extensions/)

        Subsequently, Microsoft settle with Caldera with unknow sum of settlement.

        Is this just me or Apple is becoming the bad mean evil microsoft?
        • Er.. Did you actually READ the link you posted?

          Windows 95 had NOTHING to do with DR-DOS. The issue was code popped into Windows 3.1x that coughed up error messages. Yes, Win 95 (and 98) ran Windows on top of DOS, but by the time 95 came out, the dust on DR-DOS settled and it was long over and done with.
      • Win 95 was really...

        Win 3.11 + HP NewWave, IP that HP gave (sold?) to Microsoft after the Apple lawsuit over the look and feel. Remember the stink over the recycling bin?
  • The biggest flaw of Windows is ....

    ... having to support so many variations of hardware.

    Adding compatibility for so many non-standardized hardware would make any system unnecessarily complex and sometimes unstable.

    I don't like the "Apple hardware tax" neither (specially when the hw is the same used in PCs). But if there is one good thing Apple is doing is making sure the hardware is 100% compatible with the OS.

    By not trying to support untested hardware brands and combination, their OS can be more stable and optimized. Something MS won't be able to achieve with a hardware generic Windows, no matter how much money and quality developer time you invest on it.
    • Hmm.

      Linux seems to be handling the multitudes of hardware configurations without detriment to stability or sacrificing optimisation.

      Thus, your argument is false.
      • Jack of all trades.... master of none

        I've heard never ending complaints about linux and drivers
        for this and that. So based on the struggles of others over
        the past few years I'd have to say that linux does have it's
        issues with trying to be all things for all people/products.
        Perhaps the issues are not the same as MS has but the source
        of the issues are. Jack of all trades.. Master of NONE.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • One linux advantage

          not found in other systems is the ability to recompile the kernel with only the code needed for your particular hardware. Most of the newer distributions seem to work with most things but there is something to be said for making it exact and custom to your particular needs. Obviously not something that appeals to the masses but some like getting that deep in the heart of things.
      • Not true

        I can go to any Linux site and find a long list of issues, errors, and problems people are encountering with Linux.

        Thus, your argument is false.