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Clone Wars

Hello happy reader,

OK, I may be the last to hear about this but, I thought I’d add yet one more voice to the bellowing. Today’s topic is Psystar Corp. and their Open Computer. What they’ve done is an old concept, brought back from the grave for the current crop of x86 CPUs that ship in modern Macs.

By way of background, consider Power Computing Corp, a little company with big cahones, who sold the first line of Macintosh clones back in the Dark Days of Mike & Gil. They made decent hardware, we used one of their towers at dHouse, and had outstanding marketing. To this day, I cherish my “…you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands” Power Computing T–shirt.

Power Computing was the first of several vendors chosen by Apple to manufacture and sell Mac clones. Well, when Steve came back, Apple purchased Power Computing and discontinued all clone products…Fast forward to April of this year and Psystar’s announcement of a $399 white box PC that’s Leopard–compatible.

Their OpenMac is a standard tower product of theirs pre–loaded with Mac OS. The same hardware, as well as a fancier version, can be purchased pre–loaded with Windows or Linux (UbuntuRed Hat, or CentOS flavors) as well. They seem to have cloned Apple’s firmware in such a way that both Mac OS and EFI are willing to believe the hardware is genuine and, Psystar has been very careful about the hardware to make sure it conforms to Apple’s expectations. They’ve also jiggered the OS’ automatic Software Update mechanism to insure that only those updates that have been vetted in advance by Psystar are allowed to be installed on their machines.

Apple watchers are in for a treat as the Clone Wars return, with a whimper for now but expect a cat fight to ensue before long. I’m gonna try and get hold of one of these for evaluation. If I do, I’ll let you know what I find. Until then, TTFN.

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One Response to “Clone Wars”

  1. Well, the shite and the fan are in very close proximity…Both the Wall Street Journal, ZDnet and gray market blog The Gray Blog report that, on the 3rd of July, Apple filed suit against Psystar for “counts for violation of its shrink wrap license, trademark and copyright infringement.”

    Oh, well, we were all waiting for the brawl to happen…