4/16/08
11:54 am

Whose Software Is It, Anyway?

The whole Psystar $399 Computer to run OSX, brings to light an interesting issue about software ownership. The Psystar spokesman is reported to have said “What if Honda said that, after you buy their car, you could only drive it on the roads they said you could?”. This is a straw man argument. When you purchase software, you are purchasing a license to use the software, and to use the car analogy, it’s more like leasing a car. If you lease a Honda, it’s a violation of the lease agreement to modify and race the car. End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs) are exactly like lease agreements, You purchase the right to use the software as a licensee after agreeing to the terms of the EULA. Good, bad or indifferent, that’s the way it is.
The other Argument by Psystar is that this is a anti-trust case citing that “What if Microsoft said you could only install Windows on Dell computers?”. If that were the case, then perhaps that would be a violation of the Sherman Anti-trust act for collusion, but if Microsoft bought Dell and then only sold Windows to owners of Microsoft computers that is not a violation. Back to the car analogy, Honda makes Honda engines to run Honda cars (and Acuras), if you want to put a Honda engine into your Miata ,you could probably do that with some hacking. Now, if a company started selling Miatas with leased Honda S2000 engines pre-installed for $5000 dollars less a than a Honda S-20000 and called it the “Open Honda” it would be the exact same thing as the Psystar case. This would violate the engine lease agreement and it’s a trademark infringement. Not that I wouldn’t want a 240 HP Miata , the same way I want a Mac Mini with a 512 Meg graphics card in it. Hello? Mazda and Apple are you listening?
So unfortunately, I don’t think Psystar has a leg to stand on. The old advice to RTFM might have to be changed to include RTFEULA as well. On a side note, Psystar’s website is back up and they are no longer offering the “Open Mac” It’s been renamed the “Open Computer.” Like Mae West said “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Comments: 2 Responses to “Whose Software Is It, Anyway?”

    Cheryl
    4/20/08 @ 7:54 am

    Um, no, “Fasten Your Seatbelts” was a quote Bette Davis’ character, Margo Channing is from All About Eve. Otherwise I totally agree with you. There is a lot of cheering and wishful thinking going on in the Psystar controversy, but Apple will shut them down and that will be the end of that.

      Top Gear Streaming
      3/13/10 @ 6:01 pm

      Hi there I have troubles adding this blog page to my RSS reader. My browser is Konqueror, could that be causing the trouble?

Comments Closed.