Breaking: Apple C&D's Wired Gadget Lab over OS X-on-netbook tutorial

Wired's Gadget Lab blog is being sued by Apple for posting a tutorial on how to hack OS X Leopard to allow it to be installed on a MSI Wind netbook. According to the author of that guide, Brian X. Chen, on Twitter:
Just found out Apple is suing Wired for my video tutorial on hacking netbooks to run Mac OS X. One hell of a way to start off the day.
Ars Technica's Clint Ecker then asks if Chen (and other Conde Nast writers) are allowed to discuss it publicly, or cover it as news. Chen's Twitter response (since deleted):
Probably. We're supposed to favor radical transparency here, right?
It certainly doesn't look like it. The video to the guide in question has already been pulled and replaced with a random stream of CES 2009 videos. The YouTube mirror has been pulled as well. More details as they become available, but smooth move, Apple. At the very least, you just guaranteed a fuckload more people are going to start reading Gadget Lab. Wired, don't wuss out. Update: Just spoke with Leander Kahney, managing editor of, who gave us an official "No comment." Looks like hatches are being battened. - Joel Update: According to other sources at Wired, it appears that Chen mistweeted: Wired has simply been hit with a cease-and-desist... which it appears, from the outside, to be complying with in panicked haste. - John Update: has confirmed to BBG that is not a lawsuit, but a complaint from lawyers representing Apple with regard to the articles and videos in question. plans to mull the complaint before deciding on a response. - Joel Update: Although Wired has still pulled the video, Gizmodo snagged it before it was taken down and is now hosting it. - John
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18 Responses to Breaking: Apple C&D's Wired Gadget Lab over OS X-on-netbook tutorial

  1. Zandr says:

    How very RIAA of Apple. They don’t give their customers what they want, and then unleash the lawyers when their customers get creative.

    You’d think that the huge spike in popularity of Hackintoshes caused by the availability of netbook hardware would be some sort of clue for their product marketeers.

    Apparently Apple hasn’t learned a thing from the massive success of iTunes.

  2. styrofoam says:

    I’m actually a windows user myself- which is why every time I spend 20 minutes in MacOS I find myself wondering why accomplishing task X is so ridiculously difficult.

    It’s not that difficult, of course- you just have to know the magic rituals to get stuff done. Once you’ve been inculcated to a certain way of doing things, anything else feels wrong.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Might something like get around any complaints from Apple? You use your own media that you paid for on a device that you paid for. No having to download the hacked disk images.

  4. urshrew says:

    So how do I go about doing this? I now really want to because it seems to piss off a group of powerful people.

  5. Alys says:

    Well now I want an MSI Wind. No idea where I can get one here though.

    And the geek in me wants to have the fun of making my hackintosh. I’m going to have to snag a copy of this video for keeps.

  6. Agies says:

    @1 “Apparently Apple hasn’t learned a thing from the massive success of iTunes.”

    Sure they have, they just haven’t learned what you want them to. Up until very recently iTunes has been a great example of the Apple philosophy of owning every link in the chain: They make the software (in this case MP3s), they make the hardware that runs the software (iPods capable of supporting FairPlay) and they run the store itself (the iTunes store). Apple has always, and probably always will, wanted to be in control.

  7. LeSinge says:

    Part of me wonders if Apple would have sent a C&D if Chen hadn’t told people to go to Pirate Bay to DL an illegal version of OSX.

    What are the pros and cons of an OSX install on a netbook? My understanding is that their functionality is somewhat limited given their processor size, so who really cares what OS you have so long as you can email/surf/watch movies…

  8. styrofoam says:

    I think the biggest pro for putting OSX on a netbook is that it gives you an OS you’re familiar and comfortable with. I’ve poked an MSI Wind running OSX and it seems to be running just fine. DIdn’t seem laggy or bogged down- it just looked like a Mac.

    If you want to email/surf/watch movies in the way you’re used to, it makes the device feel that much more natural. Yes, XP or Linux are probably going to be good for the tasks at hand- but when you want to do that one little thing you’re used to doing one way and have to spend 30 minutes figuring out how to do it in the new OS, it gets tiresome, unless you’ve specifically signed on for a learning experience.

  9. LeSinge says:

    Thanks for the info Syrofoam. I actually started with DOS and then moved into Windows 3.1 and it’s been Windows ever since. I find Windows to be more intuitive given my background. I do want to get a Mac at some point though and become more proficient in that environment. I’d like to do it with a full-fledged processor though so I can take advantage of the iLife suite.

    +1 to BoingBoing for having one of the best commenting communities around.

  10. Enochrewt says:

    I would expect the iStormtrooper act from Apple, but I didn’t think Wired would quake in their boots as much as they’re doing.

  11. styrofoam says:

    (Also, any tutorial that includes “download a copy of a commercial OS from the internets” is probably going to get somebody steamed up. If the tutorial was “Download the Hackintosh driver pack and then slipstream it into the OSX image you just generated from your Leopard DVD”, then I’d probably be a lot less inclined to come down on Apple’s side.

  12. frankiez says:

    from Giz:


    “Apple is basically like Kim jong-il from Team America…”

  13. pork musket says:

    The Reality Distortion Field is no match for the Streisand Effect.

  14. gr00veNU says:

    Chen wrote:
    “I start out by telling you where to download the hacked operating system software,”

    ummm, yeah you’re asking for a C&D with that statement, especially with Apple in the midst of legal wranglings with Psystar. maybe he should have just stuck with what he said in the video:

    “It would be very polite to have your own purchased retail version of Mac OS X Leopard,”


    wired was smart to remove it with those issues still unsettled.

  15. Chris Tucker says:

    Update: Although Wired has still pulled the video, Gizmodo snagged it before it was taken down and is now hosting it.

    OK, maybe I’m just dense right now, but where on Gizmodo IS this video? I can’t seem to find it.

    Thanks for any pointers to it!

  16. RyanH says:

    Also, doing a how-to on how to load OSX on random hardware might not have been the wisest thing to do while Apple is still in the middle of a large legal dispute with a company for doing exactly this.

    Not saying that Wired was wrong to do it, just that they had to know that Apple’s lawyers would be all over them.

  17. n8man says:

    Is there anywhere i can download this video?

  18. danilo says:

    Gawker’s lawyer is very saucy in her responses to nastygrams and Gawker itself loves to post them. This will be a lot of fun if Apple’s legal laser is trained on Gizmodo.

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