Steve Jobs and Apple invented the Hackintosh. Why is it illegal?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Shift Option K, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. Shift Option K macrumors regular

    Shift Option K

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    #1
    Back in 2001, Steve Jobs and some other team at Apple modified a Sony Vaio to run OS X (however for demonstrating OS X on Intel and an idea to make Sony Vaios OS X-compatible although was quickly scrapped as Apple will lose sales due to the cheaper Sonys), effectively creating the first Hackintosh. Nowadays, the act of modifying non-Apple hardware to run Apple OS is illegal. Why is that when Apple invented it?$
     
  2. filmbuff macrumors 6502a

    filmbuff

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    #2
    Because Apple determines what goes in the license agreement for their software and they don't want you to do it?
     
  3. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #3
    More specifically, Apple owns OSX and gets to decide how it gets used. The benefits of owning the software (legally and literally speaking), is that you get to experiment with it. There is nothing illegal about modifying software you write to do different things.

    You (g) are not Apple. Apple can hackintosh the system (and no they didn’t invent the concept of running an OS on a different platform) since they own the software. The difference is that they don’t want you to do that and they have the right to enforce it since nobody but Apple owns OSX.

    You license the software. Licensing vs ownership are two very different things.
     
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #4
    I'd like to see Apple stop me. Illegal my rear. I bought my copy of OS X, I own it, I get to choose how I use it.
     
  5. Michael Goff macrumors G4

    Michael Goff

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    #5
    I was under the impression that the T&C had something about using it on a Mac.
     
  6. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #6
    You bought a license to use OSX in accordance with the T&Cs attached to it. You don't "own" OS X.

    The T&Cs state :

     
  7. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502

    dan1eln1el5en

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    #7
    Price : 0 USD ? ;)
     
  8. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #8
    Haha well maybe not Mavericks, but my copy of Snow Leopard cost me £25 and I've used it on many a hackintosh. Apple can just suck it. My disc, my rules. I have my own T&Cs.

    What they gonna do? Send the Apple police after me? :rolleyes:
     
  9. Borntorun macrumors member

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    #9
    In order to answer your question, you need to consider the concept of "the letter of the contract", and the "intent of the contract".

    If evaluated against the letter of the contract, you are in breach of it and Apple could take action if it so wish.

    However, the intent of the contract is to protect Apple against people gaining financially out of elicit use of their software (as previous posters correctly commented, you dont own the software, you are granted a licence to use it). For example, if you were to start a business selling Hackintoshes, you are guaranteed that you will have Apple on your case.

    The hackintosh community has been in existence for many years, and very openly so as well. You will even find links to netkas.org, tonymacx86 etc. on some of Apple's own discussion forums.

    Apple tolerates the hackintosh community for various reasons. And as conspiracy theories go, Apple probably use some of the developments of these talented individuals themselves!

    If Apple wanted to shut these hackintosh communities down, they could, and would have done so a long time ago.

    And as a p.s., Apple also needs to protect themselves against possible litigation should somebody suffers losses out of using MacOSX on a non-supported platform. Last thing Apple wants is getting sued because an OSX update bricked a hackintosh file server running some business's critical data.
     
  10. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #10
    Same concept though. You don’t own the OS. Snow Leopard is still licensed software. The only owner is Apple. It’s still copyright infringement. The same EULA exists with Snow Leopard. I can even link them to you.

    No you don’t legally speaking. It’s not yours. You T&C’s have no legal weight.

    They could very easily sue you just like they did with other commercial mackintosh companies (Psystar). The odds may be low, but it is possible.
     
  11. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Part of apple's intent is hardware sales. Even at 100£, the cost of OSX is being subsidized by the sale of the hardware it's expected to run on. With 10.7, you could install it on multiple macs for the same price, it's price essentially covered distribution expenses. 10.9's price is essentially acknowledging the low cost of distribution via the App Store.

    In the case if hackintoshes, those buying apple hardware are covering the cost of the software on behalf of those who are not. Like people in theaters and DVD buyers covering production costs for those who don't pay to view the same movie. In both cases, it's the companies who record the loss, but it's the other customers who cover it.
     
  12. deluxeshredder macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Actually, you don't "own" your copy of OS X (and it's free now), it is licensed to you so you can use it in compliance with the EULA which specifically prohibits installing OS X on non-Apple hardware.
     
  13. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

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    #13
    From what I've always heard from folks who worked at Apple around that time frame the deal ultimately failed because of head butting over licensing numbers. Sony was seeing great success with Windows sales and Apple, who was just starting to climb out of the dark ages, didn't have much leverage to demand the numbers they wanted.

    Apple actually had a licensed clone (or "mackintosh" as has become popular) program for a few years in the mid 90's, where Apple would license out their software to other manufacturers to sell with their hardware. The trouble was that it seemed to quickly cannibalize sales of Apple's high end hardware so Steve killed it when he returned in 1997. I think it was around that same time that Apple modified the EULA to prohibit their software from being installed/ran on non-Apple branded hardware.

    Obviously Apple isn't going to hunt down and bring legal action against the typical end user who goes through the hoops to install OS X on non-Apple hardware. Their focus would be, and historically has been, on companies that try to make and sell Mac clones, either shipping them with the Mac OS installed or advertising them as capable of running the Mac OS.

    The most recent example that comes to mind was the "doomed from the start" Psystar - Psystar Wikipedia entry

    So really... Unless you're structuring a business model similar to Psystars then you really shouldn't view Apple as trying to target the little people, at least not in this issue.
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #14
    Borntorun explains it best, imo. While you are technically in violation of the T&Cs, I don't have a problem with individual hackintoshes - and nor does Apple it seems.

    However, perhaps this analogy will help. If I take a photograph of you, I don't 'own' your image - there are limits to what I can do with your image and you can grant me more usage rights - essentially you can expand the T&C. Or not. It's your face and you get to license it as you see fit. What you are arguing is that since I photographed you (maybe I even paid you to sit as a model) that I 'own' your image and can do what I want with it. Anything. My T&C. This includes selling your image to a large company to advertise their product without compensating you. Even if you don't have a problem with this, consider that this logic extends to members of your family and your circle of friends as well.

    Extending the analogy - if I just make a copy of your photo and stick it on my office wall then I'm essentially making a 'hackintosh' and you'll likely not even know about it, or even if you did you'd probably be OK with it even if it's a technical violation of the terms. It's the mass reproduction of your image that you'd probably be concerned with.

    Hope this helps....
     
  15. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #15
    Apple were considering porting the OS to common Intel hardware previously in around 1992 as part of a project with Novell. There was a skunk works project called Star Trek (tagline "To boldly go where no Mac has been before") that had System 7 running on top of DRDOS on 486 hardware. I don't recall the specifics as I read something about it 10+ years ago, but it got shut down shortly after Scullley left Apple.
     
  16. Borntorun macrumors member

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    #16
    Good analogy. Contributes well to my points made. Thanks.
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #17
    Because you are confusing things. There is hardware and software. You are free to do with the hardware whatever you want. You are _not_ free to do with the software whatever you want.

    On a Mac, you can run MacOS X because Apple allows it. You can run Windows, because Microsoft allows it. You can run RedHat Linux, because RedHat allows it. If Microsoft said "you can't run Windows on a Mac", you wouldn't be allowed to. Apple has no say in this.

    MacOS X on Sony Vaio was fine, because Sony had no say in it, and Apple probably gave itself permission to do this.

    If _you_ install MacOS X on the same Sony Vaio, you don't have to ask Sony for permission to use their hardware, but you need Apple's permission to use their software.

    ----------

    Not legally. And while Apple doesn't mind very much if you install MacOS X on non-Apple hardware (that is, they probably won't take any action), they mind a lot more if you make claims that it is legal, and they mind very much if you make a business of selling the hardware.

    Psystar, which made the mistake of making so much noise that Apple couldn't ignore them, where ordered to pay $2,500 per installed copy for DMCA violation. Not that Apple ever saw a penny of that, since Psystar couldn't even pay their lawyers...
     
  18. Dustman macrumors 65816

    Dustman

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    #18
    There's nothing 'Illegal' about a hackintosh, unless Piracy is involved.

    You're breaking the EULA. Not the law. It's between you and Apple. If you drew enough attention to yourself, they could sue for you breaking the EULA, but that doesn't make it illegal.

    Thats why Psystar got sued away, not shut down by the FBI.
     
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #19
    I think the problem is more subtle. You enter a contract. In most cases, you hand over money in a shop and get something for it, and that's the contract. In this case, part of the contract is that the contract only becomes legal when you agree to the EULA. Which means you quite probably _own_ the software if you agree to the EULA and install it on a Mac, but you _don't_ own the software if you disagree with the EULA. You have the right to return the software and get your money back if you disagree, because the contract hadn't become valid.

    ----------

    Apple can't sue you for breaking the EULA, because you never agreed to it. They _can_ sue you for copyright infringement, because without agreeing to the EULA you never had the right to install MacOS X on a Hackintosh (and if you agree to the EULA, you still don't have that right), and they _can_ sue you for DMCA infringement (because MacOS X is copy protected, even though every Hackintosh user got around that copy protection, possibly without even knowing about it).

    Both happened to Psystar. Although there is a point where copyright infringement can turn criminal; it's a matter of degree.
     
  20. Borntorun macrumors member

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    #20
    Exactly. Breaking the EULA without any material damage to Apple - they won't blink an eyebrow.

    Break the EULA, and cause Apple some commercial damage (such as selling Hackintoshes), and they will sue you for damages.
     
  21. Dustman macrumors 65816

    Dustman

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    #21
    They can sue you for breaking the EULA. By using the software, you _are_ agreeing with it. To disagree would be to not use the software.

    As for copyright, I'm not even sure that it's causing any copyright infringement. Really the process is to emulate an EFI rather than BIOS, and adding in some kexts to get it to boot on a generic PC. You're not unscrambling any code, or circumventing anything really, just adding in the required files.

    I believe way back Apple was using a TPM chip or something like that, but to my knowledge, they aren't doing that anymore as it was a waste of effort.*


    * Source: http://www.osxbook.com/book/bonus/chapter10/tpm/
     
  22. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #22
    No, you can only agree to a EULA by agreeing to it. The EULA gives you permission to make certain copies. Without agreeing to the license, you don't have these rights. Agreeing the to the EULA, and then acting against it, is not something you can be sued for, but it takes away your rights to make copies. You can never be sued for breach of the EULA, but for doing things that you have no right to do without the EULA, like copyright infringement.
     
  23. Dustman macrumors 65816

    Dustman

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    #23
    When you use something like iBoot though to Hackitosh, you're not copying anything. You put in the iBoot disk, it ejects, and then you put in the unmodified Retail OS X Install disk. After that, you boot and install proper kexts. To me, this is the same thing as installing Windows, and then installing drivers; other than the fact that the EULA obviously forbids it.

    If you're getting it to run simply by adding in software, as opposed to modifying OS X, I don't believe there is any copyright infringement taking place.
     
  24. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #24
    You can't install software on a computer without making a copy of it in one way or other. Instruction set transferred from install disk directly to RAM and CPU? It's still copying. But even if it wasn't? Copyright law isn't just about making physical copies - it's about usingintellectual property without the permission of its owner - performing a song in a nightclub, broadcasting a program over the airwaves, using software to perform a task.

    As to whether copyright infringement is illegal? Absolutely. Copyright law is voted upon by legislative bodies and signed into law by heads of state. It's rarely criminal law, where the government would make arrests, prosecute, and send those convicted to prison. It's civil law, where the injured party takes violators to court. Now, under more recent copyright law, like the DMCA, government actually can get involved in enforcement - typically only when it crosses international borders, and even then, it's mostly movie studios that benefit.

    Any license, whether today's software EULA, or a more traditional reproduction rights deal (the right to publish/distribute a book in a particular language and/or country, the right to use a piece of music in a motion picture, the right to show a TV program on a network) is also covered by the laws governing contracts. In other words, it can be a double-whammy - the contract may add penalties over and above those provided by copyright law.

    In the case of a Hackintosh, that means violating copyright law by putting a copy on the computer, and violating the licensing agreement by using it for a purpose outside the terms of the contract to which you agreed when you clicked Download Now, or opened the shrink wrap on the box.
     
  25. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #25
    It's against the terms of the license agreement because those are the terms Apple decided to go with. Apple doesn't want to license OS X for use on computers not sold by Apple, end of story.

    That doesn't stop you from doing whatever you want. The chances of them finding out are pretty low, and the chances of them actually taking legal action are even lower. Of course, this being a Mac forum people will try to persuade you otherwise, lol.

    However, I wouldn't go waving it around. Frankly, this is something you should use "I can't confirm nor deny" for. There are plenty of alternatives to OS X that work just fine, but if that's what you really want to run, just do it and stop bragging/arguing about it.
     

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