After the recent seed of OS X for Intel version 10.4.2 (build 8B1072) to Apple ADC members, we've received confirmed today reports that Apple has seeded a new update, available through the "Software Update" system. Known as 10.4.2 build 8B1072A, this new version fixes graphics and performance issues and is purported to prevent current workarounds for running the system. Weighing in at 26.6MB, this update is quite small, but provides radical changes.
After much speculation has been tossed around as to how Apple would lockdown their new Intel operating system, perhaps we have found the answer. Many popular blogs and websites have begun to think that Apple may, in fact, be using the community of enthusiasts to find the bugs in their new OS and crush them, leaving a truly user tested final product which is almost uncrackable. When looking at Apple's track record, it would almost seem ludicrous, why would the company for the people use the people as a tool? Well, it's a few elements working together. Most importantly, Apple isn't for the people. Apple is for the cash. As it's been said before, Apple IS a hardware company, and until they change their focus (not something to be ruled out), they will still make their cash selling you iBooks and PowerMacs. It's a simple fact of life. Any company which doesn't watch out for profits will die.
Most interesting, however, is the method this update was delivered. Ponder this: Apple adds support for new features and fixes security flaws, seeding these updates through Software Update. However, these updates also lock out any cracks and holes that have recently been discovered. Sounds like a good deal right? Just don't update. Except for one problem. Imagine that Apple then strongly "advises" publishers to only allow their software to work with these updated versions. Suddenly users without updates are locked out.
While this may seem like a smart measure to prevent piracy, let’s look at the whole picture. Many Apple users love their legacy hardware and Apple famously supports them past their death date. Look at the number of computers still running 10.3, 10.2, or even 10.1 and 10.0, simply because they can't handle the latest updates. Although these are major revisions, which, of course, have some incompatibilities, imagine this process compressed to the point where a single update stops you from running that latest programs. Perhaps this update breaks something in your hardware as Apple phases out support, perhaps it just has a new bug, either way, it could spell trouble.
At this point I think many Apple fanboys put too much trust in Apple. Yes, they could do it right and only break compatibility between major revisions, yes, they could debug the updates incredibly well and keep out all but the smallest bugs. But Apple is really out there to make money. Can we really trust that? Maybe Apple isn't God's gift to the geek, but then again, do we really need one? Perhaps we should love the product and not the company, because the two just don't go hand in hand.
In an intriguing move, Intel has announced that they will be discontinuing their 915G chipset - the almost-identical-but-not-quite chipset on which Apple's Developer Transition Kits are based. Apparently, the chipsets and their GMA900 integrated graphics processors would not be powerful enough to run the resource-hogging demanding GUI effects of Windows Vista's Aeroglass.
Apple clearly felt that GMA900 was good enough to run Quartz Extreme. Will the effects of Glass be so much greater that they will require that much more graphics processing power?
And what about all of those who bought Intel 915 chipsets in order to run OSx86 natively? Could the mandatory return of the DevKits be linked in any way to the discontinuance of this chipset?
While it may be years (possibly never, although I think it'll happen) before you can purchase a legitimate copy of OS X for your regular x86 PC, pirates in Bangkok have sped up the process, selling what they call a "retail" version of OSx86. According to Hardmac:
"Pirates of course took advantage of the osx86project.com community discoveries, in order to sell versions they dare to call "Retail Edition", for 6 Euro."
Six Euro? Around 12 Dollars? We find it appalling that someone would try to make a quick buck from someone else's (Apple's) work. And, for the record, we neither support nor endorse any of their activities, nor any illegal use of OS X for that matter. These pirates have used hackers' "cracks" from elsewhere, not "discoveries" from this site.
They do everyone a disservice. Here, no one wins.
UPDATE: Sorry, I miscalculated - 6 Euros would actually be 7.23 in USD. I'm headed to England soon, so I was stuck in Pounds mode.
Please remember that as this site is under US jurisdiction that any potential circumvention of OSx86 10.4.2's new TPM mechanism can be not discussed here due to the DMCA. However, it may be discussed at the Win2OSX site instead:
In preparation for the Apple Expo, Steve Jobs sat down with the press for a good discussion about Apple's hardware and, specifically, the Macintels. He stated that they will still be ready by the June of next year and that he was unsure what the effects would be of releasing the operating system for beige-box PC's. From the Macworld UK Article:
"Schiller observed: “Why do people buy a Mac?”, answering: “It’s not because of the processor. Its because of the operating system, OS X. Intel Macs will feel the same. The transition can be one that is very easy for customers. It wont be a dynamic shift for our customers.”
Multiple reports confirm that hardcore advanced PC users have been downloading illegally-distributed copies of Apple’s developer version of OS X for Intel processors. They have been hacking the system to make it install on all manner of PC processors, including those from Intel and AMD.
Jobs said: “We don’t know how having OS X available for PCs would affect Macs”, and promised, “we will have technology in OS X for Intel so that it cannot be installed in other PCs”. He also promised that the final version should not be judged on the basis of the developer versions.
But Apple’s leader isn’t pulling punches when it comes to his battle with the pirates. “Theft is bad”, he said, warning: “You don’t want to burn in Hell.”"
We recieved unconfirmed reports Sunday that Apple is introducing a new version of OS X Intel to developers. This build, 8B1027, is based on Tiger 10.4.2, which brings it up to date with the latest commercial PowerPC versions.
There are several interesting things about this new build - first, some applications that were built on the initial version that shipped with the Developers Kits will not work in the new verison. However, all applications that are built using the new version (8B1027) will be unable to run on the earlier (WWDC) iteration. This incompatibility could be in place to deter pirated use of OSx86... or it could simply be that the operating system is still evolving.
Reports state that previous attempts to break the TPM support no longer work with this new seed. It would appear that Apple is learning from the hackers efforts and using that information to stop those efforts.
Several other fixes are noted with this build, such as completed programming frameworks, improved OpenGL support, and proper localization, as well as a few minor stability improvements.
All of this points to the fact that OSx86 is still a work in progress - nothing is complete. This opens a host of questions - why the sudden incompatibility between the two versions? Will the final version that is shipped with the Intel Macs be compatible with this new build? Is the motivation for this new build one of helping developers or detering hackers - or both?
Apple has seeded build 8B1027 to Apple Developer Platform owners. This build brings Transition Kit systems up to version 10.4.2, and in-sync with the current released version of Mac OS X.
This build includes new tatics to prevent piracy of Mac OS X. First and foremost, software built with 8B1027 will not run on previous Intel builds. Meaning, software built with 10.4.2 on Intel will not run on the current pirated copies. It is likely Apple will continue this procedure until the final candidate stage of Mac OS X for Intel.
In addition, future updates for Xcode for PowerPC Macs will likely prevent running software on older pre-release Intel builds.
Apple is expected to deploy much stronger TPM checks to final candidate builds, if not already implemented, in order to ensure the release versions of Universal Binary software will not run on non-authentic systems.