Apple, Leopard, and the hacker community …

There is an interesting dynamic that appears to be growing in the computer industry … and in society in general.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about it, and don’t want to be judgmental about it.  It’s not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad, but does seem to bring into question respect for intellectual property and the law.

Today I read this article, Hack Attack : Install Leopard on your PC in 3 easy steps! which describes how to install the new Apple operating system – Leopard – on a PC.  This would be all fine and dandy if Apple was selling Leopard for this purpose … but they are not.  Instead, it appears that once again some people have taken it upon themselves to reverse engineer the software, and create some patches, to allow it to be installed on non-Apple hardware.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m all for the challenge and proving ones skills, but there is something that just doesn’t sit ok with me about this.  Also, anyone that knows me understands that I am not a huge Apple fan, and have long questioned their proprietary lock-in hardware and world … but I fully respect their legal rights to what they have created.  Even the author of the article states “If you noticed I haven’t posted the links to the Torrent that contains the DVD image and the zip. Well I haven’t posted them because I am sure the lawyers over at Apple are going to sue the hell out of me.“  A full acknowledgment about the questionable nature of what is being done.

Over the last decade I have really had to do some soul searching about the issues of stealing music over the Internet … stealing videos … stealing software … and now stealing operating systems.  In the end, I just can not justify it.  I don’t do it, and do not believe it represents honesty and integrity when you steal.  Period.

What is sad to me is that somewhere within our society there seems to be a growing acceptance of stealing and theft of property and services.  People who want to argue and justify their stealing of MP3s over the Internet … stealing of movies … stealing of applications … and now others that want to distribute stolen copies of operating systems.  In some ways I just wish those who do choose to steal all of this content simply admitted that they are thieves … that they choose to steal from others and that they can create reasons and justifications that make it ok for them.
I’m not close to perfect … I also break the law.  I often exceed the speed limit when I am driving.  I don’t make excuses and try to justify my actions … I choose to speed at times.  Oh … and if I get caught?  The police officer is not an @$$hole for pulling me over … he’s doing his job, and I am being given the consequences of my actions.  I am the one that caused and created the ticket.
For all of the people out there that choose to steal … why not come clean and at least own that you are a thief, and accept the punishment if it ever comes your way.  Oh, and also … make sure to teach your children about this also.  I worry about the nation of thieves that we are creating … all with nice clean excuses and justifications.  At some point I believe that the example we are setting is going to come back and bite us.  It seems we are raising our children and younger generations with a distorted perspective of respect for intellectual property rights, when they are quickly moving into a world where we – as a country – are leaning harder and harder on revenues from intellectual property.

Less than 24 hours after the release of a new product representing the work of hundreds – if not thousands – of Apple employees … it’s already being given away across the Internet.  It will be interesting to watch this trend … and see where it goes.

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