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#1
Swad

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The Debate

Today's Great Debate focuses on a question at the very heart of this forum. Although this site was originally set up as a home for general discussion about Apple's switch to Intel, a large part of our interest has always been in the "darker" side of the transition - the ability to run OS X on everyday PCs. It's what many of you come here and we've become the place for information on it.

But is OSx86 right? Is it smart for Apple? Should the laws allow for it? These are questions that have been discussed several times on this forum, but we wanted to launch this Great Debate as the last and final (and probably eternal) discussion on the topic.

There are several levels to the OSx86 question. I'll explore the positions here in order to facilitate discussion.

Legal

There's no doubt that running OS X on your PC is illegal. If you used a torrent to download the installation disc, you're sharing copyrighted material. In the off-chance that you hacked it yourself, you're violating the EULA and the DMCA. Any way you look at it, it's obviously against the law.

The question here, though, is whether or not that's acceptable. The sharing of copyrighted material is something that many folks generally accept as wrong but do anyway (Feel free to argue that it's not wrong). But what about the acronyms of doom? Does Apple have the right (and there are a few legal battles in the past that apply here... I'll leave that to someone else to introduce into the debate) to restrict their operating system to their own hardware? Furthermore, is it wrong for them to prosecute anyone who tries to break that restriction, via the DMCA? Is the DMCA law just?

Moral

I think we can all agree that theft is morally wrong... or at least I hope we can. On that level, if you're using OSx86 without paying for it, it's wrong. But since Apple doesn't sell OS X for PCs, are you really hurting the company? There's certainly no loss of profit from someone who isn't going to buy a Mac. If you bought a copy of the 10.4 installation disc, have you paid for the ability to use OSx86? Or are you still morally suspect?

The other facet to the moral argument is that OSx86 is actually helping Apple. After running this site for a year and seeing it grow to over 40,000 members, I've determined that there are generally 3 kinds of people interested in OSx86.

1. Current (or former) Mac owners who have a PC they'd like to say "Bonjour" to.
2. PC owners who mostly loathe (or may kinda like) Apple but will never own a Mac.
3. PC owners who have used OSx86, fell it love with it, and have bought (or plan to buy) a Mac.

Each of these three groups might be treated individually or they may all three be wrong - I'll let you decide. I can tell you, however, that there is a very large number of OSx86 users (myself included) who wouldn't have considered buying a Mac a year ago but, thanks to OSx86, are looking forward to purchasing one.

Economic

The final facet to OSx86 is its strategic importance for Apple. From a marketing standpoint, nothing could be better than OSx86. It allows technology enthusiasts (generally the earliest adopters) to get excited about OS X for free... but for it to fully work, without any glitches, it has to be purchased. It's a lot like the ultimate shareware application. Oh, and did I mention that it being illegal makes it a lot more fun? It also creates more Mac users which means more software sales (assuming the hackers buy them) and a larger market share.

The flip side to the economic coin is the question I mentioned above - is Apple losing money on OSx86? Is it keeping potential Mac owners from buying one? Is the loss of just one Mac owner justification enough to get prosecute those who support it?

These questions are meant to stimulate a thoughtful discussion and (hopefully) present a few points you hadn't thought of. As always, these debates are open to the entire Mac community, so we'll look forward to hearing from some folks who normally don't post 'round these parts.

What say you?

#2
AppleLegal

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But is OSx86 right?

It's fun. Is everything that's fun right? probably not.

Is it smart for Apple?

Free advertising. Not like anyone's selling hacked boxes - other then those people from some Thailand a year ago.

a
But is OSx86 right?

Can you explain how it would be wrong?

Is it smart for Apple?

Is free advertising bad?

Should the laws allow for it?

Shouldnt be up to the law to decide - should be up to Apple.

Legal

There's no doubt that running OS X on your PC is illegal. If you used a torrent to download the installation disc, you're sharing copyrighted material. In the off-chance that you hacked it yourself, you're violating the EULA and the DMCA. Any way you look at it, it's obviously against the law.

The question here, though, is whether or not that's acceptable. The sharing of copyrighted material is something that many folks generally accept as wrong but do anyway (Feel free to argue that it's not wrong). But what about the acronyms of doom? Does Apple have the right (and there are a few legal battles in the past that apply here... I'll leave that to someone else to introduce into the debate) to restrict their operating system to their own hardware? Furthermore, is it wrong for them to prosecute anyone who tries to break that restriction, via the DMCA? Is the DMCA law just?

How about if you download the disc from usenet, http, or ftp where uploading isnt involved - ergo no sharing.

It would be interesting to see someone sue Apple for "Monopolizing proprietary hardware and eliminating competition" or something.

Not e veryone follows the DMCA, so only mentioning the DMCA is not correct. How about the copyright laws in Britain, Sweden, Argentina, or any other nation? Where do they stand on this issue?

Apple has a right to do whatever they want if it concerns their OS. If they want to put up a picture of meatspin on their boot, then they can. All they have to do is say "Rated M for nudity." Would anyone here think they could tell Apple what to do?

Oh, and hai!

Moral
I think we can all agree that theft is morally wrong... or at least I hope we can. On that level, if you're using OSx86 without paying for it, it's wrong. But since Apple doesn't sell OS X for PCs, are you really hurting the company? There's certainly no loss of profit from someone who isn't going to buy a Mac. If you bought a copy of the 10.4 installation disc, have you paid for the ability to use OSx86? Or are you still morally suspect?

The other facet to the moral argument is that OSx86 is actually helping Apple. After running this site for a year and seeing it grow to over 40,000 members, I've determined that there are generally 3 kinds of people interested in OSx86.

1. Current (or former) Mac owners who have a PC they'd like to say "Bonjour" to.
2. PC owners who mostly loathe (or may kinda like) Apple but will never own a Mac.
3. PC owners who have used OSx86, fell it love with it, and have bought (or plan to buy) a Mac.

Each of these three groups might be treated individually or they may all three be wrong - I'll let you decide. I can tell you, however, that there is a very large number of OSx86 users (myself included) who wouldn't have considered buying a Mac a year ago but, thanks to OSx86, are looking forward to purchasing one.

Apple DOES sell OSX for PC's - the x86 arch is the heart of almost every PC out there. It just doesnt sell OS X for every PC out there - only a select few. But those select few are still PC's.

What about those that wont buy an OS, and never will - is Apple losing a sale from those people? If you buy OSX for PPC, then you havent bought it for x86 - thats like saying "Oh, i bought Doom 3 for my PC, im going to steal it for Xbox as well."

I disagree with your "kinds of people" You really cant label groups of people, there is ALWAYS going to be an exception to make you look like an idiot if you do so.

Economic

The final facet to OSx86 is its strategic importance for Apple. From a marketing standpoint, nothing could be better than OSx86. It allows technology enthusiasts (generally the earliest adopters) to get excited about OS X for free... but for it to fully work, without any glitches, it has to be purchased. It's a lot like the ultimate shareware application. Oh, and did I mention that it being illegal makes it a lot more fun? It also creates more Mac users which means more software sales (assuming the hackers buy them) and a larger market share.

The flip side to the economic coin is the question I mentioned above - is Apple losing money on OSx86? Is it keeping potential Mac owners from buying one? Is the loss of just one Mac owner justification enough to get prosecute those who support it?

"to work fully functioning without any glitches .. it has to be purchased" <-- lie. What feature of OSX is locked off, what feature of OSX cant i use because i havent bought it? I can use the OS fully to it's max. My hardware might not be fully supported, but that doesnt mean the OS wont boot up, or that i cant install any programs.

Not everyone on the board's a "Hacker." Installing something doesnt make you a hacker - in the classical sense of the MIT Train club, or the modern day media term. It just means that you can click next a few times after downloading something. When you can explain why it doesnt work, the general idea of how the cracking works, and have enough knowlege to help get something else working, then you start to become the classical hacker. But i dont think that 40k people here have reached that stage. Hell, i dont think that 39,900 people on this board have.


**********IMPORTANT STUFF HERE - READ******************* <-- really - listen to that. It's not just there to be annoying.
One of the biggest flaw's in the osx86 community is that it's a rarity for people to think for themselves, to learn how to do something on their own, to unlock a new feature of the OS, or make it work better. If you look through the threads, the big one's that affect everyone, you will notice that what im saying is true.

Is apple losing a sale from someone that wouldnt have bought OSX in the first place? no.

What say you?

Im bored.

#3
Swad

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Can you explain how it would be wrong?


Well, I kinda touch on that above. It could be considered stealing and it could be considered breaking the law... both of which make one morally culpable for doing something "wrong." But then this debate is about whether or not that's the case. :)

One of the biggest flaw's in the osx86 community is that it's a rarity for people to think for themselves, to learn how to do something on their own, to unlock a new feature of the OS, or make it work better.


I'd agree, but I think this is a flaw with every organization. I haven't been a part of many that aren't like this with a few people pulling most of the weight (I know this from personal experience... it's tough to get much help for web projects). I think this forum is closer and more helpful than most, however. :)

#4
sbeehre

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I already own Apple hardware (Dual G5) so i feel a bit better about it :thanks_speechbubble: we all know its wrong but so is downloading mp3s! that doesnt stop anyone though.... In the end i think its good for Apple, it allows people to get a taste for OSX without having to fork out any money and it alot of cases people have bought Apple harware as a result.

#5
quixos

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i don't know about the rest of you, but i do the family computer support. that's a lot of computers that'll be mac by next year.

running osX on my "hobby mac" is my commission on the sales. :thumbsdown_anim:

#6
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I already own two Macs, so having a hackintosh was sort of a buy 2 get 1 free thing. :thumbsdown_anim:

#7
Sabr

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I feel that if you buy the OS disc, then use OSx86 on your PC, it's not as bad :thumbsdown_anim:

#8
Joe The Dragon

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When 10.5 come out you whould be able to buy it and in some areas apple can't tell you want hardware you must use it on aka if you buy it you can use it on your pc.

#9
AppleLegal

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Well, I kinda touch on that above. It could be considered stealing and it could be considered breaking the law... both of which make one morally culpable for doing something "wrong." But then this debate is about whether or not that's the case. ;)

But is breaking a law you dont agree with morally wrong? And this is exactly what the debate's about - Is it wrong? I'd like to hear your position on this - what's the point in starting debates that you dont participate in? :dev:

I'd agree, but I think this is a flaw with every organization. I haven't been a part of many that aren't like this with a few people pulling most of the weight (I know this from personal experience... it's tough to get much help for web projects). I think this forum is closer and more helpful than most, however. :dev:

I never said people were not helpful - they're all more then happy to regurgitate everything that others have discovered. They just dont want to figure the knowlege out for themselves to start. Big difference.

#10
Swad

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I'd like to hear your position on this - what's the point in starting debates that you dont participate in?


;) Good point. I'd like to stay neutral for a little while longer for the debate to pick up. Then I'll weigh in.

Big difference.


Indeed. I'd argue that both still exist, but point well taken. :dev:

#11
sandmanfvrga

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I can go on and on about OSX86 but there is one thing we all can agree on:

If Apple/Steve Jobs would wake up and realize his Intel Macs are NOT special like the PowerPC versions were then we would see OSX for x86 on the shelves. Frankly I think it should be illegal for him to put OSX on Intel Macs only. Till then, OSX86 will go on. I would gladly by a legit copy, have all the support etc, but I guess Steve Jobs doesn't want my money. *shrugs*

#12
rick taylor

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I can't really see Apple selling OS X for non macs, it would mean a really big shift in their business model.

And if they did, would the result be a beter OS? The more hardware apple have to support the less time and money they have to improve OS X.

Morally: I own several macs, to my mind this justify messing around with OSX X86 and it's not like I use it for anything.

I see nothing wrong with using x86 for education purposes, but if you use it for work, you should go out a buy a mac.

#13
quixos

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there are laws, and there are morals. a law can be moral, but there is no guarantee or need for it to be. a law can be created moral, but with changing times and circumstances become immoral.

downloading mp3's and software is morally right, cause we have to (re-)start the debate on artificial scarcity, property, and human rights somewhere. basing a whole world economy on artificial scarcity in an age of abundance is monkey-like. people starving because no effort is being made to update our model of distribution is monstrous.

the DMCA and RIAA effect nearly everyone, producers, and consumers, they are points which stimulate bright people to develop counterpoints.

when a method of rewarding creators of Intellectual Property and Cultural Property is developed that includes the reality of unfettered file-sharing, we'll as an incidental biproduct, have the seed of an idea of how to share other types of resources in the same way.

a person might say, there is a big difference between creating and distributing bytes and beans. but people starve, while to maintain the profitablilty of farming, land lays fallow. isn't logistics a science?

this whole bronze age scarcity and hoarding based economy is going to bite us in the {censored} big time within the next couple of decades.

p.s. just reread this, it's mushy, but the best i could do with nephew torturing me, be kind. :(

#14
AppleLegal

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If Apple/Steve Jobs would wake up and realize his Intel Macs are NOT special like the PowerPC versions were then we would see OSX for x86 on the shelves. Frankly I think it should be illegal for him to put OSX on Intel Macs only. Till then, OSX86 will go on. I would gladly by a legit copy, have all the support etc, but I guess Steve Jobs doesn't want my money. *shrugs*

I disagree. I think Jobs already knows what your saying, but just doesnt care. Why should he support every piece of hardware out there? Why should he have programmers waste time on hardware that's not what he/his engineers designed. Right now, if he were to be asked why non-standard hardware's not supported, all he has to do is say "Because it wasnt designed for running on that hardware. Why should we support it? It's not what we designed."

It's his company's proprietary OS, there is no reason whatsoever that he should be told what he can and cant do with it. It's not like Apple has a monopoly of any sorts in the OS market.

#15
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There is always a good, and a bad side to everything. Good side to if Apple ever releases a fully working Mac OS for X86, or X64 archetexture, is this means more customizing.Not restricted to the hardware lets say Imacs come with. This, in turn would give you a chance to upgrade to a new graphics card, but not pay a {censored} load of money for it like you would an X800 Mac edition. Which, would also eventually encourage more developers to port products to the Mac OS. Which includes networking, apps, and games.This would give Mac a better name in gaming. But, the big downsides for it. The biggest one for it, is if Mac is ported to X86 boxes(And not Apple made X86 boxes)legally, this means the more it spreads, the more virus' will target the Mac. Apple will also probably lose profits in their computer sales, because you won't have to pay over a grand to play newer games. And, biggest thing people have with Windows, is driver support for more hardware isn't the greatest. Mainly, that developers who make hardware for PCs, need to include drivers for Mac X86, which drivers and hardware can cause stability issues.

My 2 cents on it.

#16
poofyhairguy

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Is OSX86 on a regular PC bad in some way? Probably.

But it is also something else- fun. Fun in the same way that playing super nintendo games on my PC is fun (even though that is bad in some ways). Fun because I am a nerd and these things are nerdy to do.

I don't know about you all, but I get a kick out of playing with my MacDell. I have a Macbook for "real work" (as much as playing emulated games can be considered work). But for everything else (aka try out some new beta universal binary) I'm glad the MacDell is there- its saved me at least two reinstalls on my Macbook.

Where I run into problems is the internal part of me that sometimes wants to spread OSX86. Hand out an install DVD. Get my mom/friends up and running.

But I don't. Instead I set them up with a nice XGL Linux install with all the codec bells and whistles installed by me (which is also against the law- as you see I do not care).

The Hackintosh movement is just for nerds now. As long as it stays that way everything is ok.

Let the normal people buy their macs.

#17
Neonkoala

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AppleLegal - I agree about some of the things you say about the community regurgitating. However I find the fun in running OSx86 is having to work out how to get that wireless card running by tweaking various things on your own. It was however a welcome release not to have to go through it again when I "upgraded" to 10.4.6 as I had already figured it out I felt the Wireless package on the install disc was just a "shortcut" (it didn't feature on my 10.4.3 or 10.4.1). I agree many people don't wish to find things out themselves. But I found after enjoying tweaking everything to get it right I was at a loss as to what to do with my OSx86 box! It also why I am now searching for a way to software fix the VGA dongle problem myself. My way of looking at is: not everyone could do the complete hack of the TPM, the encrypted packages etc so you should do what your level of expertise is capable of.

#18
AppleLegal

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so you should do what your level of expertise is capable of.

Yes, but you should also do everything possible to raise your expertise. You seem to do that - one of the rare people that i've met that do. You've got my respect for that.

However, not everyone does this - most people i've encountered seem to be content to sit by and let others do the work.

Just want to say as well.. Im not trying to sound harsh here at all - it's human nature to a degree to act the way people are, and you cant blame people for being human .. no matter how much you want to :/

#19
sandmanfvrga

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I see some of your points AppleLegal, but then again I don't. The Intel Macs have standard hard drives, standard cd/dvd/burners, intel/standard network cards, standard ram, and standard usb/firewire controllers. The only thing they custom support is the graphics cards and CPU's(that might be in the motherboards for the cpu's). That is it. Just get an "OSX compliant" motherboard, cpu, and graphics card then the computer is a Mac. No hacking, no {censored}, and you have the same damn thing Jobs sells. Maybe we can't make him put OSX on regular PC's but there are laws against price gouging (sp?) and that was shown when the last jump in gas prices came around. Now that Macs run Vista/XP Apple just shows they have slightly tweaked PCs, nothing more and charging outrageous prices is illegal, if somebody wanted to press it. Will it happen? No, but if Jobs was intelligent he would act like he was, lower prices to compete with Dell etc, and not be a prick.

#20
Neonkoala

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Yes, but you should also do everything possible to raise your expertise. You seem to do that - one of the rare people that i've met that do. You've got my respect for that.

However, not everyone does this - most people i've encountered seem to be content to sit by and let others do the work.

Just want to say as well.. Im not trying to sound harsh here at all - it's human nature to a degree to act the way people are, and you cant blame people for being human .. no matter how much you want to :/

I get you, and thanks for the respect! I would never have ended up reading intel whitepapers if it wasn't for my project is a good example I feel of raising expertise.





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