Since Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] moved its computers to Intel chips, they’ve had to rebuild OS X to run on x86 — aka, PC — hardware. That’s obviously opened some doors for mettling hacker-types, who’ve since ported the OS to run on any Intel or AMD-based machine with a hacked version of OS X called the “Kalyway” version. It’s not a clean process; even if you get OS X installed on your PC, there’s no guarantee that all your drivers (sound, WiFi, graphics) will function correctly, even with the myriad of kext files and workarounds that have been discovered. On top of that, little things can make your system go catastrophically amuck: use software update on a non-Mac running OS X, for example, and it could render your system unusable. So who would want a computer like that?
As it turns out, a lot of people, if the machine is cheap enough. That’s what Florida-based PC maker Psystar discovered when they listed an “Open PC” for sale on their website, and offered to pre-installed an altered version of OS X on the machine. The bargain-bin machines featured the same hardware specs as some of Apple’s Mac Pro’s for a fraction of the cost, and when word got out on the Internet, the company was made into an overnight sensation. “Will Mac clones rise again?” the technorati asked. The answer, of course, is no.
That’s because Psystar has just been slapped with a whopper of a lawsuit from Apple’s notoriously anal and (appropriately) litigious legal team, citing a total of eight claims, most having to do with copyright infringement and other intellectual property crimes. The Cupertino-based company is seeking a permanent injunction and monetary damages, as well as a recall of every Psystar machine sold with OS X. Of course, users who’ve made the hack themselves with their own home computers are safe from prosecution, despite the fact that they’re violating Apple’s end-user license agreement (or EULA) by installing OS X on “non-Apple labeled” hardware; toss an Apple sticker on your hacked machine, and you’re within the letter of the law. Psystar’s customers aren’t so lucky.