Psystar OpenMac monstrosities run OS X

openmac.jpg

There’s a certain demographic of PC user — the sort of guy who likes digging in the intertwined morass of computer drivers and hardware like a neuro-surgeon, his hands pushed up to the elbows in the pulsating effluvia of a patient’s brainpan — who chalks up Apple’s success entirely to aesthetic superficiality. To him, the average Mac fan is a foppish milquetoast too engorged from the huffing of Steve Jobs’ perfumed rectum to see a computer as something more powerful and important than a mere fashion accessory.

These guys have a point. Style is definitely part of it. As a Mac-user, the fusion between OS X’s lithe grace and the svelte flash of the computer itself a big part of the appeal. And I’m willing to pay premium for that. Call me shallow, but a pretty computer is simply more pleasant to use than an ugly one. That’s why I don’t personally brook the numerous Hackintosh projects, aimed at installing Leopard on PCs: no, I’m sorry, but a genius supermodel — her head opened, her brain meats slopped into the prepared vacuous skull of a gaseous manatee — is not quite as fuckable.

Interestingly, a company called Psystar is now trying to traffic that manatee with their OpenMac Apple clone computers. For $400, you get a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo E4500 processor, 2GB of memory, integrated GMA 950 graphics, a 250GB hard drive and 20x DVD burner. For another $150, they’ll install Leopard on the computer for you with the assistance of an EFI V8 Emulator. In short, they are selling Hackintoshes. Fat, ugly, decidedly awful looking Hackintoshes, but Hackintoshes all the same.

It’s hard to imagine who these computers are aimed at. People who make their decisions purely by spec don’t buy Macs. And you don’t need to be a dedicated huffer to know that Apple’s not going to like this: the Leopard EULA clearly forbids installing the OS on non-Apple computers, and Jobs himself axed official Mac clones when he returned to the company. Better hump the sea cow before the C&D, boys and girls.

Psystar OpenMac OSx86: Re-Inventing the Wheel [Psystar, via MacRumors]

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19 Responses to Psystar OpenMac monstrosities run OS X

  1. claud9999 says:

    What is the noise level of this thing? Something tells me it’s a desk-side wind tunnel. Let out the magic smoke…

    I buy Apple h/w for the engineering that goes into them…Enough juice to satisfy me and silent as a whisper. Oh, and DVI out on their laptops/minis. (Does Shuttle make any with DVI yet?) Disclosure: I have two MacBooks, one Intel Mini, one PPC Mini…

  2. Rustyrobot says:

    If you think that machine is unattractive, you obviously have not spent very much time shopping for computer cases.

    I am a mac user from age 6(Macintosh SE) so no one has to tell me why apples are great. I drooled over the original iPod before hardly anyone knew they existed.

    Unfortunately, I do not live a life of largesse. I make do with what i can scrounge whenever I can, and as a result my computer at home is a office machine salvage running pirated software, and it cost me about $100.

    The OpenMac they have up there is a fair deal based on the components alone, whether their (literally) whitebox is mac compatabile or not. I put together the same specs from off the shelf stuff on newegg and I couldn’t match their price without using some hideous and know incompatible hardware. Also, I like the way it looks better than any other case in that pricepoint.

    I think apple has a hole in it’s product line, between the mac mini and the MacPro that they fill with their laptops. It isn’t accidental, AppleCo has a long history of telling it’s customers what they need, and it is one of their strenghts, but some of us want a expandable machine that uses off the shelf parts, and isn’t server-grade hardware. The massive server crash that psystar is going through right now is evidence that there is a market for one.

  3. danilo says:

    Oh, hell yeah. Consumerist alumni dream team Johnson and Brownlee. Best news all week.

    The manatee imagery is brilliant, John. Thank you for capturing nebulous disdain I felt for this concept in such a concrete if absurd metaphor.

  4. gobo says:

    Not the greatest option for a Mac — not updatable? Ack — but might make a great Mac running XP under Boot Camp for the occasional Windows need and game.

  5. Enochrewt says:

    #5 Jordan: Just because there’s very little legal ground to stand on doesn’t mean that the Apple iStormtroopers won’t try and shut them down…

    Even though it’s stupid, because more copies of Leopard sold = more money and market share for Apple. But who needs capitalism I guess?

  6. EncarnacionFlor says:

    “…and Jobs himself axed official Mac clones when he returned to the company.”

    Don’t I know it! My father was one of the ones sent to Cupertino to negotiate with The Powers That Be at Apple. After the axing, Apple products weren’t so appealing anymore in our household. To this day, they still aren’t. We truly aren’t bitter about it or nor will you see us storming anyone/anything in Cupertino, but I won’t use anything from Apple unless I spent no money on it whatsoever.

  7. arkizzle says:

    #11

    In fact, for Apple, more copies of leopard sold is not the objective.
    They are a hardware company, with a sideline in software – stuff to run on their machines.

    They build a great OS as an incentive for you to buy into their hardware loop. That’s one of the reasons Apple is so lax on piracy prevention, because if you are using their software (legally or not) you are, by definition, using their hardware (hackintosh withstanding) and have already bought into the loop.

  8. SleighBoy says:

    You summed up the basic Apple user perfectly in that first paragraph, bravo.

  9. danegeld says:

    It raises an interesting question though – is there a paying audience for such a thing?

    Hopefully Apple treat it as an opportunity to have this company conduct free market research for me, and they scrutinize their success under the magnifying glass for a few months (before the legal team pulls the lens back and burns them to a crisp.)

  10. murray says:

    On a side note, that former genius supermodel – now brainless – turns out to be just as fuckable as before, once her skull is stapled back together.

  11. Joel Johnson says:

    On the other hand, for the same price as a Mac Mini you can get a machine you can actually upgrade. I doubt the experience is as seamless as on proper Mac hardware, but still, it’s a decent, low-end option. Or will be for the 24 hours this company exists.

  12. Reed Savory says:

    “24 hours this company exists”…

    I doubt it will take that long for the Bringers of Death who are the Apple Legal Department to shut them down..

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit I feel a bit offended for the tone of the article, but I will dismiss as english not being my native language.

    Some of us don’t care a bit about design, and want a macintosh powered computer that is expandable, and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Currently Apple doesn’t offer that. Instead, they offer a shoebox computer that would be lost in my crap-filled room, a computer with a monitor attached that I don’t need, and an overpriced workstation that here in Spain cost more or less the same as a new car.

    So I want that manatee and I hope Apple will finally get the message.

    PD: I simpatize with rustyrobot feelings as they’re similar to mine.
    PPD: Actually PC’s can be sexy but in a different way than a mac. And silent. And still be cheaper than a Mac.

  14. jahknow says:

    Either Apple already C&D’d them (yes, that quick), or we’ve boing-boinged their site. (they’re offline ATM.)

    Guess i’ll stick with my winxp at least a little longer…

  15. Camillo Miller says:

    Oh my God.

    “Apple’s not going to like this”

    This is a shame John! As an Apple addict i feel really bad: Apple not going like this?!

    Anyhow, I wrote about these crazy Floridians earlier today and I must admit that many metaphors crowded my mind, which is enhanced by the fact that i speak (and write in) a Latin-derived and full-of-nuances-language. This one metaphor, though, starring a Dugong inflated with next america’s top model‘s entrails, is pure literature.

    Thanks John, a brilliant start!
    P.s. Manatees will rule the world, one day. Keep that in mind when you write about them.

  16. Jordan says:

    IANAL, but there’s really only two things Apple’s lawyers could “get” this company for: 1) Violating Apple’s “Mac” trademark with “OpenMac,” and 2) Violating the Leopard EULA by preinstalling it on these machines. I’m pretty certain everything else they’re doing is 100% legally defensible. It’s legal to sell hardware, and it’s legal to advertise that hardware as Mac OS-compatible (so long as it is), and it’s legal to sell Leopard as boxed software. Frankly I’m not even convinced that the EULA would hold up in court, but I doubt this little company Psystar would be willing to go up against Apple on that charge. What I predict happening is that Apple will definitely go after them for the OpenMac name, and Psystar will instantly comply, and Apple will probably go after them for violating the Leopard EULA, and they’ll probably just stop preinstalling it but keep selling it along with their machines.

    I don’t really see what the machines’ aesthetics have to do with anything. For some it will be a deal-breaker, but for many it won’t. I don’t think they’re that ugly–I mean, they obviously weren’t designed by Jonathan Ive, but they’re better-looking than your average Dell box–but regardless, if I were, say, starting a business and wanted it to run on Macs instead of Windows, how much would I save by buying a dozen “Hackintoshes” and generic monitors instead of a dozen iMacs? Probably enough to make me consider it. Frankly, as pretty as they are, the appeal of Macs for me is all in the software anyway.

  17. Camillo Miller says:

    @jordan
    You save and you can’t upgrade your machines, nor have a dedicated customer support. Add up many other little things…

  18. Jordan says:

    Looks like my prediction was right–they’ve already changed its name to “Open Computer.” I’m pretty interested to see how they–and Apple–handle the EULA issue, though.

  19. Doomstalk says:

    “Better hump the sea cow before the C&D, boys and girls.”

    Ew.

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