Post Production

Should I Hackintosh? Legal, moral/ethical & technical factors

Apple may soon find itself in the same position as Cuba with the Guantánamo rent checks from the US: Having to decide whether to deposit (or not) the anonymous money orders they receive for OS X from people who decide to Hackintosh.

This article would be unnecessary if Apple would simply do the right thing and license its OS X operating system to HP, as I covered in Will the new HP ZBook Studio be the next legal Hackintosh? in November 2015 (link ahead). This article covers motivations to Hackintosh, along with legal and moral/ethical issues and some interesting ways some people may psychologically justify the “transgression”.

Link to original article

Here is a link to the original article Will the new HP ZBook Studio be the next legal Hackintosh?

Motivations to Hackintosh

Some Mac users are religiously opposed to using Windows. For them, that is sufficient motivation to be tempted to convert a stock ZBook Studio G3 (reviewed here) or other non-Apple computer into a Hackintosh. I personally prefer the Mac operating system, but that preference itself wouldn’t be sufficient motivation for me, because I know that Windows 10 (once installed properly) has proven to be quite stable and acceptable.

For me and others, the real motivation are the Mac apps we would really like to continue to use. For me, the short list of Mac-only apps I love include Apple’s Final Cut Pro X (even though I could certainly survive with Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic), ScreenFlow from Telestream, and Ulysses from The Soulmen GbR (although I could survive by going back to Scrivener). Fortunately, the beloved Hindenburg Journalist Pro (reviewed here, here, and here) is already available on Mac and Windows 🙂

Legal and moral/ethical issues

According to the terms of Apple’s OS X EULA (End User License Agreement), which you accept by clicking during its installation, you agree to install it only on Apple-labeled computers. Until Apple wakes up and licenses the operating system to HP (or to us), I believe we are completely screwed from a legal perspective. Consult your attorney for confirmation about that.

From a moral/ethical perspective, there are all sorts of creative justifications you may come up with, including:

  • It won’t cost Apple any additional money if I install its system on a non-Apple computer.
  • I have an Apple sticker on my HP computer, so it is Apple-labeled. That means that I legally followed the EULA when I Hackintoshed it, right? (Check with your attorney for the answer.)
  • I sent an anonymous money order to Apple Inc. for the dollar amount I believe Apple is deserved for the “OEM” copy, without any tech support from Apple, only from the community. I enclosed an anonymous note stating: “Dear Apple: Here is what I consider to be full payment for the copy of OS X El Capitán that you forced me to install on an HP ZBook Studio G3, because you refused to sell me a modern MacBook Pro with a matte screen, 16:9 aspect ratio and Thunderbolt 3. P.S. You guys still need to fix the spelling of El Capitán, by adding the accent mark. It’s a Castilian word and needs the accent mark to be written properly, even when written in English. Otherwise, it could be written The Captain.”

If you do that last one, Apple will find itself in the same position that the Cuban government has been for decades. For decades, every year, the United States government sends a check to the Cuban government for rental of the Guantánamo territory where the US has a military base. For decades, the Cuban government has refused to deposit those checks, in protest. Will Apple follow the Cuban example, or will Apple deposit the anonymous money orders? More importantly, will seeing them cause Apple to reason and license the Mac OS X to third-parties, as Apple did in the past?

I have not personally created any Hackintosh to date, but I have seen them in dozens of videos on YouTube. The best source of technical information I’ve seen is TonyMacx86.com.

HP ZBook Studio G3 Mobile Workstation

See the related article Review: HP ZBook Studio G3 is the portable workstation to consider for video pros.

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FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…