Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clone Wars Redux?

So the folks over at Psystar have come up with a piece of off-the-shelf Intel hardware that they claim will run Mac OS X.

For $499!

That's about $100 less than a Mac Mini. With twice the RAM, three times as big hard drive (compare). Hmmmm... so how did they do it? Magic - and software. The company claims that with some "minimal patching" users could install Mac OS X 10.5 on the system. "With the EFI V8 emulator it is possible to install Leopard's kernel straight from the DVD that you purchased at the Apple store barring the addition of a few drivers to ensure that everything boots and runs smoothly," according to the Psystar site.

Apparently, all the attention caught them off-guard as well - since the announcement on Tuesday, their server was down for most of the day. As of today - the site is up - but you're out of luck if you want to order because - according to their online store's homepage:

"Thank you for visiting Psystar. We're sorry but the store is temporarily down due to the fact that we are currently unable to process any credit card transactions.Please send an e-mail to with the subject line "UPDATE" so that we can update you when the store comes back online. For customers who have already placed orders: if you received a confirmation e-mail then your item is in queue to be built and shipped."

Ummmm.... what? Store down because they can't process credit card transactions? Nice. Yeah, sign me up for one of those Mac clones...

If you're old (like me) - you'll remember the great Apple-sanctioned clones of 1995. Basically, Power Computing got the license for the Apple ROM, and so they were able to make it all work.

However, once Steve Jobs came back into power in July of 1997 - he bought Power Computing for $100 million in stock and quickly put the kibosh on all the clone maker's ROM licenses - effectively putting them all out of business. Nice.

There is even some question as to whether people can legally install Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. The end user license agreement (EULA) says: "You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so."

Hmmmm... If I were a betting man (and I am) - and I was an executive at Psystar (I'm not) - I would have my legal team on speed dial. You KNOW it's only a matter of days before Apple Thugs serve a cease and desist and then start applying the Full Monte legal cluster.

Should be fun to watch, though!

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