One of my very first blog entries here at DaniWeb was titled “Mac-Cloner Psystar: Hero or Hoax?” Well it was either no hoax at all or Apple was the latest to get sucked in. It was revealed today that Apple on July 3 filed a law suit in San Jose, Calif., against Psystar Corp. for copyright and software licensing violations.

Psystar has for several months been advertising the availability of the Psystar Open Computer and OpenServ, Intel-based machines with the option of preinstalled Mac OS X software; prices started at around US$600. Apple’s licensing agreement forbids inclusion of its software in any machine not carrying the Apple brand.

The 16-page suit calls not only for the awarding to Apple of “actual damages and/or any profits gained by [Psystar],” but also a permanent injunction against further sales and a recall of all products previously sold! Good luck with that one Apple.

Still, it’s perfectly within reason to force Psystar to cease and desist operations, even though their he seemed a great deal. Perhaps too good to be true. On April 21, I wrote that the whole Psystar nirvana was apparently a scam, one that countless news media and bloggers bought hook, line and sinker.

What piqued by skepticism was the low prices of everything. Psystar was offering an “OSx86 compatible hardware platform that is capable of running ‘vanilla’ OS X Leopard kernels,” for US$399.99, its Web site read. And for purchasers of OS X 10.5 for US$155 more, the company would even “preinstall Leopard for free.” To top it off, the base unit included 2 GB DDR2 RAM, an Intel Core2Duo 2.2 GHz processor, 250 GB SATA hard drive and an Intel GMA 950 video circuit. Apple’s cheapest model, the Mac Mini, costs $599 with far fewer whistles and bells. 

My advice at the time was the same as now: for low-cost hardware, stick with and eBay.

About the Author

I am Technical Editor of the [url=]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=][/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

I never thought it was a hoax. Anybody could build that computer for that when you consider the $400 price is no OS, or Monitror which are usually the most expensive factors in a new system. "pre-installing for free" isn't really a big deal, there's virtually no expense to it when you're dealing with Leopard because they only use the one model of motherboard for all their Mac compliant systems. You could have a single ghost image and have it installed in 20 minutes, which I'm sure is less than 5minutes of actual paid labor.

I could sell it for that price if I had the stones, but there's no way you could sell enough to make it worthwile without getting Apples attention.