Is this legal? (10.4 distribution question)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by toroidal boat, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. toroidal boat macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2014
    I bought a Mac Mini in 2005 from the Arizona State University computer store. It was the most recent PPC Mac Mini model, and it had 10.3 legally preinstalled on it. However, they also gave me a DVD-R with "Mac OS 10.4" written on it in marker, telling me that they were legally able to do so, as around that time, 10.4 was just coming out.

    I was skeptical and didn't install 10.4, but now, being too poor to buy a newer computer, and with the software requirements of a lot of software out there, it has forced me to reconsider. Does it sound legit that ASU could indeed give me a copy of 10.4 on a DVD-R legally?

  2. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2004
    It doesn't sound very legit when it's on a DVD-R, however, they're is absolutely nothing stopping you from installing that on your machine. Before the Mac App Store came along, you could install Mac OS X on a thousand different Macs if you really wanted to, because it doesn't ask for a serial number. Yes, I know that's against the EULA, but what I'm saying is technically, there was nothing stopping you.
  3. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    It may be legit; I'm not familiar with Apple's educational policies but I remember being able to get free Microsoft software when I was at university. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple had a similar licensing agreement.
  4. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    The university where I work has a campuswide license with Apple. Back when the operating system wasn't free, they were allowed to distribute it to any Mac on campus, and it was often done via DVD-R.
  5. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    Please. An obsolete operating system on an obsolete computer. Nobody cares. Install with impunity. Make copies for everyone on your block. There is no way there will ever be any detrimental consequences from your action. Of all the things that can be done that are against the law, against social benefit, against the common good, against family unity, against community cohesion, against any system of morality, this is one that appears on none of the those lists.

    Additionally, it sounds totally legit. And for as long as I can remember (OS 9), as long as you had the installer you could always install on as many machines as you wanted as many times as you wanted as there was never a mechanism to limit or control operating system installs. The computer is the license. You have the computer. That is truly Apple's official (if unwritten) position.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    In agreement with the post directly above.

    I you have the 10.4 DVD, and want to run the software, install it and don't look back.

    Be sure to do the online updates, as well.
  7. IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2009
    Blainville, Province of Quebec
    Still have the receipt?

    Your university was probably not allowed to give you the OS before it came out, but the fact that they had the software probably means that they were supposed to install it on the Macs that they had in store. So in my opinion the copy was legitimate. But, since you have a 9 years old uninstalled copy, Apple might see it differently. Just in case, do you still have your receipt from 2009? For all intent and purpose your copy is legitimate IMO.
  8. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    When I upgraded from MacOS X 10.0 to 10.1, I paid £14 for the DVD. For the installation, you had to tick a checkbox how many "rights to copy" you wanted, from 1 to 9. I suppose if you ticked 1, then installing two copies was illegal :D No difference in price, you paid for the one DVD and delivery.

    Right now, Mavericks is free for everyone running MaxOS X 10.6 or later on an Apple computer. And try buying 10.4 from Apple. If you went to an Apple Store, and some employee really tried to get you a copy of 10.4 for you and managed to find one, what you pay for it wouldn't pay for the cost of all the work involved finding a copy.
  9. toroidal boat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2014
    Why and how would they see it differently?

    Thanks for your replies everyone. Even if it's old software, I still prefer to avoid infringement, however, but that's a personal choice of mine.

    BTW, if I were to install it from said DVD, can I still switch back and forth between 10.3 and 10.4? I use a lot of ancient software that runs fine on 10.3.
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    As mentioned above, but maybe not expanded on enough... it sounds like you were given what is sometimes called a 'drop in' upgrade disc. In other words... when the store sells a Mac it is supposed to include the OS that is current as of that day. If the Mac was shipped to the store with 10.3 pre-installed and then 10.4 was subsequently released the store is supposed to sell the Mac with 10.4. Instead of installing the upgraded OS onto each Mac they just 'drop in' a disc with the new OS and let you do it yourself. If this was the case - and it sounds like it from your description - it is perfectly normal and legal.

    I applaud your desire to stay on the legal side of this issue. I am - for various reasons - also very careful to stay on the moral high ground in cases like this. However, I gotta say - in this particular case due to the vintage of the OS and HW I would have had no problems with the installation of 10.4 legally obtained or not. Also mentioned above - Apple considers the HW to be the license... Mavericks is free now, and I would believe that Apple wants you to buy new HW rather than worry about whether an old OS is legal or not.
  11. IlikeMacsSoMuch, Feb 22, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014

    IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2009
    Blainville, Province of Quebec
    Since in the last nine years it has never been registered to your mac.

    And to switch from one OS to the other you would either need two separate bootable partitions or a virtual machine.

    I have used both solutions on my macs but never on PPC ones so I don't know if and how to do it on your hardware.

    Can PPC boot from an external hard disk drive? That would work.

    But still, your copy of OSX legal.
  12. toroidal boat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2014
    Even though they may see it differently, chances are they won't, and as a lot have said here, it doesn't violate any license terms with Apple, correct?

    Also, what would happen if I use a 10.4 install DVD to install it on my PPC Mini with 10.3 on it? Would it replace 10.3, or merely be installed alongside it?


    Thanks. I suppose it's morally motivated and somewhat OCD motivated as well, but I prefer to abide by EULAs I have/want to and the law, even if it's to software from around 1990 that's not commercially supported at all anymore (like SimEarth or DPaint), as a personal choice of mine.
  13. tdiaz macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2006
    All things considered, I'd be happier with 10.3 than 10.4 on a PPC any day.

    Any Mac sold through authorized channels as of the release day of that particular major operating system is eligible to have that operating system installed. it was not uncommon for dealers to re-install machines that were in stock as they were sold, or provide a disc with the sale.

    In that era, there were "Software Coupons" included so Apple could offer upgrades or such as needed. If you had purchased your machine within the specified window, you would send in the coupon and proof of purchase and receive the newly released operating system upgrade package.

    Typically once an OS was released, any purchases 15 days back from then, and all going forward, were eligible for a free upgrade. Sometimes the dealer just burned a disc and said "here". You didn't have to wait for the mail in offer to install.
  14. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Most any software that runs under Panther 10.3 will function perfectly fine under Tiger 10.4. It was Leopard 10.5 that started bringing along issues.

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