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

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. 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.


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