Mac OS X on PC site accused of copyright violation

The OSx86 Project is a Web site focused on getting Apple’s Mac OS X to run on non-Apple hardware. The group recently saw a setback when it was served with a notice that it had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Although the site remains online, its forums have been taken offline.

“We’re sorry to report that despite our best efforts, the OSx86 Project has been served with a DMCA violation notice. The forum will be unavailable while we evaluate its contents to remove any violations present. We thank you for your patience in this matter,” reads a statement that replaces the site’s forums.

In January Apple shipped its first computers that use an Intel chip instead of a PowerPC. The transition has been months in coming, however — shortly after Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the keynote stage of Apple’s 2005 Worldwide Developer Conference, the company began shipping “developer transition kit” systems that used Intel hardware inside.

Shortly thereafter, reports began circulating around the Internet that the version of Mac OS X included on those kits could be modified to be installed on standard PCs. To do so is a violation of Apple’s license, but that hasn’t stopped enterprising programmers from giving it a go.

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that, among other things, criminalizes the release of technology developed to circumvent copyright protection. The OSx86 Project’s coordinators have claimed their site “is fully compliant with the DMCA,” and “intends only to provide a forum for those interested in running OS X on Intel hardware.”

Recently the OSx86 Project noted that Mac OS X contains a secret message intended for programmers who are plumbing the depths of the system to get it to run on non-Mac systems. The message is decrypted through the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) — hardware technology designed to secure data, that’s present on Apple’s new Intel-based Macs.

The message has been written in verse:

Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind,
he’d do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.
Please don’t steal Mac OS!
Really, that’s way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc.

The OSx86 Project was amused enough by the poem to write a response:

Rime of the Ancient Hacker
There once was a hacker named Maxxuss
who Steve did not think was a genius.
But Steve pondered awhile,
grabbed the phone with a smile,
and said “Bill, there’s a thing to discuss…”

Representatives from Apple and The OSx86 Project had not responded to requests for comments as Macworld posted this article.

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