PsyStar Gives Us Apple Updates

If you get an Open Computer from PsyStar running Leopard, you can now update your OS!

One of the biggest news items last month was the discovery and on-again, off-again availability of PsyStar’s Open Computer. They made headline news with their $399 entry-level offering, as the first non-Apple PC to run Leopard. The catch, however, was twofold:

  1. If you wanted OSX on the machine, you had to buy the license from them. You can’t install your own version of Leopard on the box due to driver issues; and
  2. You were stuck with the version they gave you, as Apple Update didn’t run right on the PsyStar box.

Well, guess what? Those limitations have been cut in half. If you buy a PsyStar machine, you now get Apple Updates; but again, there’s a slight catch. PsyStar is now posting updates to OSX 10.5.x on its site for their customers to download and install. The catch..? Oh, yeah. The only way you’re gonna get the updates is through PsyStar.

According to PsyStar, Safe updates, as well as bug fixes and work-arounds, are now available in their Support section. They have released a couple of fixes for things like Time Machine, as well as a fix for DHCP issues that some customers are having.

All of those updates have been rolled into an update added to the factory-installed edition of Mac OS X that users can order when they configure one of the company’s clones. They will also begin releasing safe updates through the operating system’s Automatic Updates and will require all of our existing users to download a small update manually and install it to enable this functionality.

It should be noted that Apple’s End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) doesn’t expressly forbid others from posting the company’s software updates, but it does ban others from copying or modifying that software.

PsyStar’s searches of Apple’s Web site revealed no documents spelling out a policy that would bar others, whether a company like PsyStar or individuals, from posting Apple updates on non-Apple servers. However, the practice has been severely limited by other vendors, like Microsoft, who has actively hunted those types of updates out and squashed them. For example, Microsoft forced Auto Updater, a popular alternative to Windows Update, off the Internet in August 2007, citing copyright infringement.

I’ve been actively trying to get PsyStar to send Gear Diary a review unit to see how well their boxes run OSX, compared to, say my MacBook Pro; but all e-mails and calls have either gone unanswered, or have been directed to their PR "department." If the situation changes, and I am able to get one, expect a review, otherwise…

If you have a PsyStar computer and are running OSX on it, I’d love to hear from you. Why don’t you join us in the discussion area and let us know what you think.

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