OS x86 Protection

Leo and crew mentioned the cracking of “OS x86” on This Week in Tech, and how people have managed to install the developer-only version of Mac OS X for x86 on compatible Intel machines. With the right SSE3 hardware, even Rosetta works and will run current Mac programs. Clever hackers have managed to remove the TPM code, allowing the OS to run without hardware copy protection, limiting the software to only Apple machines. So, nearly a year before x86 Macs are released, we have 10.4.1 running on non-Apple Intel hardware. This poses some interesting questions…

Does Apple intend to leave the TPM hardware protection as-is, and simply let Mac OS X go anywhere, including taking a chunk of Windows’ market share? It’s a double-edged sword, really — it means more widespread adoption of Mac OS X at the expense of lost hardware sales. There will always be people who either don’t know enough to install OS X on Intel hardware or simply prefer Apple’s design, so their sales won’t drop to zero. I think the bottom line is that regardless of any protection Apple can implement, such a huge invitation (OS X on any Intel) is bound to be cracked, and they had better be prepared for it. We won’t know how the final version will be protected, but TPM is our only clue at the moment. What we do know is that there are plenty of smart people out there who already have the skills to make Mac OS X run on any Intel hardware (see my “Uncrackable” post). …And that Apple is sending cease and desist letters to websites hosting videos of hacked installations, as if that will stop anything.

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OS x86 Protection

5 thoughts on “OS x86 Protection

  1. Add to the group of people that wil continue to purchase Apple hardware professionals who require their machines to work day in day out using Apple’s pro applications.

    I’ll admit purchasing a cheap Intel box, installing Tiger and FCP on it is tempting, but you would be doing so at your own risk considering Apple won’t support or guarantee it’s operation.

    To risky for my blood…a home computer maybe, but not a machine that I gain my livelihood from.

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  2. Fred Monroe says:

    I would think that it could be used to be in Apple’s best interest. They could let this slip for like say a year or two and let people get hooked on it. And, after they are hooked, turn around and slam down some unbreakable Apple security so that all those people that are hooked on the best OS around have to buy hardware or go back to what they have grown to hate. I have seen time and time again that the more someone uses a Mac, the more they hate windows.

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  3. There is no way that when Apple starts phasing out the PPC it’s going to be the same OSX as we are seeing now. It just can’t happen, because if it does, Apple will fall as we know it. Although its true they want to take some market share from Windows, i dont think what Leo and the gang said about Jobs having to say “Ut-oh, we have to shrinkwrap it now,” is true, it cant be.

    They are letting people have fun with it for now, but in the future, no way José.

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  4. There is no way that when Apple starts phasing out the PPC it’s going to be the same OSX as we are seeing now.

    Why does the OS have to change? They already have it running on x86. Or are you talking about it from a purely “lock down” standpoint?

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