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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Random: Mac Attack 
17th-Feb-2006 01:35 am
"*That's* an idea!"

Apple Hackers Encounter a Poetic Warning

Feb 17, 1:04 AM (ET)


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) has resorted to a poetic broadside in the inevitable cat-and-mouse game between hackers and high-tech companies.

The maker of Macintosh computers had anticipated that hackers would try to crack its new OS X operating system built to work on Intel Corp. (INTC)'s chips and run pirated versions on non-Apple computers. So, Apple developers embedded a warning deep in the software - in the form of a poem.

Indeed, a hacker encountered the poem recently, and a copy of it has been circulating on Mac-user Web sites this week.

Apple confirmed Thursday it has included such a warning in its Intel-based computers since it started selling them in January.

The embedded poem reads:
Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind
he'd do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.

Please don't steal Mac OS!
Really, that's way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc.
Apple also put in a separate hidden message, "Don't Steal Mac OS X.kext," in another spot for would-be hackers.

"We can confirm that this text is built into our products," Apple issued in a statement. "Hopefully it, and many other legal warnings, will remind people that they should not steal Mac OS X."

The hacking endeavors are, for now, relegated to a small, technically savvy set, but it underscores a risk Apple faces if a pirated, functional version eventually becomes as accessible and straightforward as installing other software on a computer.

It's a risk that became apparent after Apple decided to make a historic transition to Intel-based chips, the same type that its rivals use in predominant Windows-based PCs. Apple previously relied on Power PC chips from IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. (FSL), but this year began switching its computers to the Intel platform.

Various analysts have since hypothesized a worst-case situation in which Apple would lose control of its proprietary Macintosh environment: how its reputedly easy-to-use and elegant operating system would no longer be locked to its computers, a critical revenue pipeline for Apple.

Such scenarios have raised a debate among Apple observers about whether the company should just license its operating system to run on other machines, similar to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

But Apple has repeatedly said it will not do that.

Meanwhile, security experts on Thursday identified a new computer worm that specifically targets Mac computers running OS X - a rarity since most worms target the broader base of PCs with Microsoft's Windows. Experts, however, consider the threat low.
17th-Feb-2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
I tried installing one of the cracked versions of the x86 OS X on our desktop at home, but it never gets past the grey boot screen (with the apple and spinny thing). Honestly, the only reason I did it was to say that we had all the major operating systems represented on our computer -- Linux, Windows, and FreeBSD are already present and operational.

Of course, we only ever use one of those (Linux) on a regular basis, but the rest are largely there for self-educational purposes (BSD) and the occasional game (Windows).
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