posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd Sep 2009 19:20 UTC
IconApple has responded to Psystar's new lawsuit today, stating that it is nothing but a stall tactic on Psystar's end. While I could just paraphrase whatever the filing reads, I decided to take this opportunity to address a number of sentiments and analogies often made in comment threads (not necessarily on OSNews).

Wherever this article reads "Psystar", you can replace it with any of the other clone makers such as Quo or PearC.

"It's like suing Mercedes because their engines don't fit in a Suzuki."

This is a completely and utterly flawed analogy, and wrong on so many levels. A Mercedes engine is designed and built to fit into a Mercedes chassis and bodywork. A Suzuki chassis and bodywork are designed and built to house Suzuki engines. This means that without heavy modifications by very skilled technicians, a Mercedes engine simply will not fit inside a Suzuki. Nor Mercedes, nor Suzuki have any obligation to make it easier for you to perform such an engine swap.

Mac OS X, however, while designed to run on Macs, is very easily installed on non-Mac machines. Snow Leopard is a little too new (but lots of people are already successful at installing it non-Apple labelled machines), but it's completely trivial to install Leopard on a non-Apple labelled machine. Heck, the internals of a Mac consist of the exact same parts as any other random machine. In fact, a lot of other manufacturers even use higher quality parts.

However, even if you are successful at putting a Mercedes engine in your Suzuki, nobody is going to care. Mercedes won't sue you, Suzuki won't sue you. You can even make a business out of doing something like that. In fact, this is exactly what many smaller car manufacturers do. Spyker uses Audi engines. Pagani Zonda uses Mercedes engines. Weissman uses BMW engines.

These smaller car companies buy engines from bigger brands, and build cars around them. They even tweak said engines for better performance if they have to. Psystar is doing the exact same thing: they are buying legal copies of Mac OS X, and build computers around them.

Even if Audi, Mercedes, and BMW stopped selling engines to those smaller brands, those smaller brands could still, technically, simply buy complete cars, rip out their engines, and discard of the remaining carcasses. This would be highly inefficient, but no one will stop them. In fact, coach-builders (which are commercial enterprises!) do something similar: you provide a donor car, they strip it until only the chassis or chassis and engine are left, and then put different components on top. Again: nobody is going to sue them for that.

So, the car analogy holds no water whatever way you spin it.

"It's like complaining the OS of a Nokia doesn't install on a Samsung."

This analogy, which comes in an endless amount of variants (even read one about microwaves), is also quite flawed. First of all, the same problem arises with this one as arose with the previous analogy: it is highly unlikely that code on your Nokia phone will work on your Samsung phone. It will most likely require heavy modifications which you might not be able to do without the source code.

Second of all, this analogy is flawed because Psystar is not trying to install Mac OS X on ready-made machines from for example Dell or HP. In fact, clone makers like Psystar are trying to match the components inside Macintosh machines as closely as possible, to ensure that Mac OS X runs the best and is easily installed. If you could build a device with similar components as used in that Nokia phone, and you found a way to transfer the code onto it and run it, Nokia won't sue you.

Whether or not Nokia will sue you if you were to build a business on top of assembling your own phones and putting Nokia's operating system on it remains to be seen - they might. However, they would be just as wrong in suing you as Apple is in suing clone makers. As long as you remove the copy of the operating system from the donor phone so you don't breach copyright laws, I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to do that. You paid for that phone and the copy of the software on it, so you should be able to do with it as you please as long as you remain within the boundaries of copyright law.

"Psystar is stealing from Apple."

Unless Psystar employees are walking into Apple office buildings or Apple Stores to actually take Apple-owned items without permission, Psystar isn't stealing. The truth is, of course, that Psystar is buying fully legal copies of Mac OS X from Apple retailers or even directly from Apple itself, and reselling those copies. I've lost count how many times I've resold legally purchased copies of software. Heck, I even resold legally purchased retail copies of Mac OS X several times. If that's considered stealing, then I - and a lot of you, too - belong in jail.

Table of contents
  1. Debunking Apple vs. Psystar myths, 1/2
  2. Debunking Apple vs. Psystar myths, 2/2
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