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Is it possible to install Mac OS X on customized hardware?

Pretty straight forward I think. Is there ANY legal and free way to run a Mac OS(virtual or not) on a machine I did not purchase from Apple? What about purchasing the parts separately and assembling them myself? Does that make it any more legal?

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marked as duplicate by Gilles, Sathya, Diago Nov 8 '10 at 7:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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+1. Interesting question. I don't have an immediate answer other than my gut feeling, but I'm going to investigate further. –  Leif Nov 8 '10 at 1:34
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Can someone with editing powers change the title? Running Mac "on Windows or Linux" makes little sense (except perhaps with virtualization). Running it on hardware designed for Windows or Linux maybe? or just running it on non-Apple hardware? –  frabjous Nov 8 '10 at 1:47
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Software License Terms are regularly shot down in German courts, for example. Great idea to ask regarding the legality of something and not specifying where your are. As always in such cases, I guess USA? –  Daniel Beck Nov 8 '10 at 9:39
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Forbidding use of non-Apple hardware seems like an anti-competitive practice to me. (is that even legal?) –  Hugh Allen Nov 14 '12 at 3:20
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7 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

As proven in court cases between apple and hackintosh builders, the court system sees it as illegal.

The Apple software license does not allow Mac OS X to be used on hardware that is not "Apple-branded".[2] The legality of this form of tying is disputed by companies such as Psystar and PearC, who have attempted to release products using Mac OS on non Apple-machines. However, Apple claims the methods it uses to prevent Mac OS X from being installed on non-Apple hardware are protected by the DMCA, and in November 2009 won a summary judgement against Psystar on these grounds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSx86

However, while these companies were taken to court for selling hackintoshes, there's not much stopping you from tinkering away in your own basement.

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Taken directly from Apple's legal documents:

Mac OS X (Snow Leopard):

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.

A. Single Use License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, unless you have purchased a Family Pack or Upgrade license for the Apple Software, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-branded computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time, and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time.

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Not that it isn't true, but I'd not use the license as legal advice. Many times, especially with companies who do business in many jurisdictions, licenses will have the superset of all the things they'd like to enforce, or can enforce in at least one court, though that doesn't always make it a legal requirement for everybody. That's why they include lines like "If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision, or portion thereof, to be unenforceable, the remainder of this License shall continue in full force and effect". –  Ken Nov 8 '10 at 2:06
    
So according to this clause you couldn't use VNC or some other means to remote connect into your Mac from another computer without violating the agreement. –  mason81 May 6 '13 at 20:19
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No.

There is no way to run it legally on a non-Apple machine.

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I was afraid of that. :( –  John Nov 8 '10 at 1:20
    
If there was, Apple wouldn't have as much money as they do :) –  John T Nov 8 '10 at 1:31
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Can you provide some details to go with your answer? Do you know where a copy of the license agreement can be found? –  Jim Tough Nov 8 '10 at 1:41
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From the Mac OS X Terms of Use (PDF Download on the page): "Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, unless you have purchased a Family Pack or Upgrade license for the Apple Software, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-branded computer at a time." Note the text Apple-Branded, this completely rules out installing on non-Apple hardware. –  Wuffers Nov 8 '10 at 1:49
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It's probably not authorized, but illegal would probably be pushing it a bit far. Some companies are already doing this. As long as you legally purchased the software, you can probably get away with installing it wherever you want. This is an interesting question though; I'm going to look into this further.


Related excerpt from the Mac OS X EULA:

"... you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-branded computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so ..."

So, I guess the answer to your question is, indeed, no - it's not legal. However, I doubt that if you do this in your own basement, anyone is going to care about it. You are, after all, paying for the software.

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Yeah, and one company that did has been taken down. Pystar. –  Wuffers Nov 8 '10 at 1:40
    
Hehehe! Yeah, just noticed that. How "inconvenient." I like Apple for a lot of things, but flexibility isn't one of them. –  Leif Nov 8 '10 at 1:45
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The closest you could come would be to use Darwin which is open source, upon which OS X is based. However, it would be a Unix-type system and far from being OS X.

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The Mac OS X EULA forbids installations of Mac OS X on "non-Apple-branded computer".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSx86#Legal_issues_and_Apple_objections.

Not sure where to download the EULA to prove it though.

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The best way would be to find a country where the EULA has no legal value. But this would not be free if you take the plane ticket into account.

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