Why Mac clones defeat the whole point of a Mac

Apple MacBook 2.4GHz
If you want a Mac, buy a Mac...

There's a bit of a legal hoo-ha going on at the moment between Psystar and Apple. Psystar make Mac clones and naturally they want to sell them with OS X installed.

Apple doesn't like this and all the IANALly-retentive bloggers are busy weighing in with their ill-informed opinion as to whether this is legal or not.

The rather large point being missed here is that, legal or not, Mac clones are not a desirable product. There are three major desktop operating systems available at the moment:

  • Linux - an open OS running on open hardware
  • Windows - a closed OS running on open hardware
  • OS X - a closed OS running on closed hardware

Minor feature quibbles aside, all three operating systems do much the same thing. The decision of which one to run is an ideological one that balances your love of freedom against your love of stability. The Mac is the least open platform, with the smallest choice of hardware and software for its users. Largely as a consequence of this, it is also the most robust.

And that's why I've never really liked choice. I'd much rather be forced to use one good thing than be allowed to choose between a hundred things, all of which are rubbish. Or even one good thing and one bad one. It's an irrelevant freedom, because who will choose the bad thing?

These things aren't nearly as subjective as people like to claim. So I like Macs and use them a lot. But if they make you claustrophobic, you can just use Windows or Linux. Opening up the Mac platform so that it has all the choice and incompatibility issues of a PC makes no sense at all. It would be like hacking your PS3 so that it can use XBox 360 controllers.

Oh wait.


Now read Why Apple is great at interfaces when others are not

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