Hackintosh: Apple Steamrolls Psystar

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Apple and Psystar’s long running legal woes have finally come to a fairly unsurprising close, with Apple winning its case against the company that has struggled to legally produce Mac clones.

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Apple and Psystar have danced back and forth around the issue of Psystar’s allegedly illegal activities for the last two or three years now, but things escalated recently when Apple managed to have Psystar stop selling custom-built desktops running Mac OS only to see Psystar then start selling its own custom bootloader, allowing PC users to install Mac OS on their own non-Apple hardware.

Now though, Groklaw is reporting that Psystar is now looking at a ruling that essentially says it’s guilty of making three illicit modifications to Apple’s OS, namely replacing the Mac OS bootloader (which is fairly obvious, as it’s been selling its own bootloader), disabling and removing kernel extension files (also known simply as .kext files) and adding its own kernel extensions.

Of course, it’s long been Psystar’s contention that the changes it makes to Apple’s operating system constitute a new product, rather than a derivative work. According to the judge ruling on the case though, Psystar’s own work is a “substantial variation from the original underlying copyrighted work … The inclusion of the copyrighted Mac OS X with the above-described additions and modifications makes Psystar’s product an infringing, derivative work.”

What we’ll be really interested to see now is just what Psystar does next; this isn’t the first legal setback the company has suffered, and from what we’ve seen so far the bootloader itself doesn’t appear to have been addressed directly outside of Psystar’s using it to load Mac OS X onto its own machines.

We’re sure Apple won’t sit long before getting something done about Psystar’s bootloader if this ruling doesn’t preclude it’s selling it, but Psystar seems to be willing to fight for its right to sell Apple software to non-Apple customers…

Anyone interested should check out the Groklaw piece on the case, it’s interesting reading, if a little legal-speak heavy

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