Psystar's Thermopylae: The Nightmare Hypervisor Arrives
Miami, Florida-based Psystar, which is currently under litigation from Apple for producing Mac-compatible clones and is counter litigating the company for monopolistic practices, has announced that they are OEM licensing their virtualization technology and ICAP so that any PC vendor may easily produce Mac clones.In July of 2008, in my piece entitled "Psystar's Thermopylae won't end Apple's Clone Nightmare" I wrote the following during the heat of the inital phases of the Psystar vs.
Miami, Florida-based Psystar, which is currently under litigation from Apple for producing Mac-compatible clones and is counter litigating the company for monopolistic practices, has announced that they are OEM licensing their virtualization technology and ICAP so that any PC vendor may easily produce Mac clones.
"...If I were Psystar, I’d poison pill the entire situation for Apple by making all of the ICAP they created to build the systems — sans the Apple OS X software itself — available on a public website. Then Apple will have a huge mess on their hands.
Such a thing doesn’t exist now, but give it a year, and Nightmare Hypervisor will rise from the depths to bite a chunk out of Apple’s juicy flesh
Let’s face it — virtualization is eventually going to make the hardware dependent eccentricities of OS X and Mac’s feeble attempts at DRM meaningless.."
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That was 14 months ago.
Flash forward to October 5, 2009. Psytar, which is currently in the depths of litigation that will almost certainly bury the company in legal bills, announced the following:
"Psystar will begin certifying manufacturer's hardware to allow the licensing of Psystar's new virtualization technology, effectively making their systems Mac OS X compatible. Psystar's virtualization technology, specifically engineered for Snow Leopard, allows for seamless operation of the Mac OS on generic Intel Hardware and would be offered on all Psystar Certified machines.
In an effort to spread the Snow Leopard experience to an ever-expanding number of people, the licensing initiative will allow manufacturers to have their hardware Psystar Certified and have their computers pre loaded with our unique technology including the Darwin Universal Boot Loader (DUBL)"
Translation: Hello Persians, meet the Spartans. Or rather, the Chinese, the Russians, the Koreans, and any other vendor that resides in a country where Apple has little legal recourse. The Nightmare Hypervisor, as predicted, has arrived.
Will Psystar be able to successfully make a business model out of licensing the "Cloning Kit" to OEMs? Probably not. Apple almost certainly will sue the company to oblivion before that happens. But that's not important.
What's important is that an easily reproducible method for making Mac OS X run on any PC hardware in existence is going to find its way into the wild, one way or another. Psystar's DUBL and virtualization techniques are going to become part of the discovery process of any ongoing or new litigation, and they will be open for public examination. And almost certainly, before the company dies, this DUBL and virtualization technology, which is based upon Open Source software, will end up being sold or distributed on public websites by vendors outside of the US where Apple has little or no reach. It will live on long after Psystar dies.
So if Simple Mac Cloning for Dummies becomes a reality -- which at this point is inevitable -- it merits further analysis of whether Apple itself should put the entire situation at rest by assembling a fully sanctioned OEM licensing program in partnership with the key PC vendors, such as Dell, HP, Acer and Lenovo. No matter how hard they try to stop it, Apple is going to lose control of what Mac OS X can run on, so they might as well prepare for "Kosher" implementations of Mac clones rather than foreign sites which will sell "cloning kits" based on on Psystar's methods.
Psystar will die. No doubt about it. But their legacy is going to live on long after it is gone and provide the fuel for further revolt. It's up to Apple and Steve Jobs to learn the lessons of the Persians and fully embrace the idea of fully legal Mac Clones before its monopolistic hardware reign ends, as Darius' great empire fell to the determined armies of united Greeks, who remembered the brave Spartans in their historic battle.