BitTorrenting Tiger

While playing poker last night, I was telling a friend from Microsoft how excited everyone is about the coming release of OS X 10.4 (Tiger). He asked me when it was coming out. I told him April 29th, but apparently it was already beginning to make its rounds on P2P networks.

To which his response was “Why didn’t Apple just release it on P2P networks?”

To which my response was “How would they collect money from the sales then?”

To which his response was “Require activation.”

To which my response was “Umm, yeah. I’d already have it by now then, wouldn’t I?”

What a great idea. Distributing something like a song or a movie on P2P where you want people to voluntarily pay you a few bucks is a tough proposition because of the extra effort involved for the sake of a few bucks, but Tiger is $100-$130 and people are already planning on making the same payment to Apple or Amazon or whoever for a mailable copy of the OS, so what’s the extra effort here? There isn’t any. Combine that with the fact that by using BitTorrent, it wouldn’t even cost Apple any bandwidth to distribute, and you have a winning proposition in my opinion. I’d gladly “activate” my copy of Tiger were it made available to me in this way. How many of you would?

70 comments on “BitTorrenting Tiger”. Leave your own?
  1. Christina says:

    That’s a great idea. I would be willing to do that. I’m going to pay for it anyway, this would just be easier than driving 2 hours to an Apple Store or waiting for it to come in the mail.

  2. Jemal says:

    I dunno if it’s such a good idea. I started seeing links to activation crackers for MX 2004 before it even came out. I believe it was a drop-in dll file that just replaced one of the core files so that it never asked to be activated.

  3. Mike D. says:

    Jemal: Yeah, but as it stands right now it’s *completely* unprotected so how is this any worse? Also, I have greater faith in Apple’s ability to keep a secret than Macromedia’s. If cracks became available, surely it would take a little while at least.

  4. Jeff Smith says:

    One of the things I like about OSX is the fact that it doesn’t require any sort of product activation. Also, I’m not sure I’d want to be without a hard media copy (CD, DVD, etc.) of a product that I’m paying over $100 for.

    Although, I can definitely see how this would appeal to a lot of consumers, and would probably solidify quite a few more early sales of Tiger for Apple.

  5. I don’t think that could be a *real* solution. That could be another way to distribute the product, but I don’t think that this could replace the solid, real, box with the dvd.

    In fact, I suppose that if there were the choice between a 130$ solid copy (a little less for me, as a student) and a cheap one through P2P, I’ll choose the solid one.

    It’s something different, something more related to how people ‘feel’ something. In fact, if I had to pay for something, having a solid experience of what I’ve bought make it a ‘better’ product than a completely virtual one. I think that, atm, only “low cost” products or “big corporation” buyers can use this solution as a complete replacement.

    I think that placing a siny new cd, peeking into the manual during the setup, it’s a part of the game for which many people pay for. Having a box on the shelf in your own room, make you prouder of it.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’re ready yet for this replacement. Instead, that could be a great addition to normal distribution channels.

    Sorry for my bad english ^^’

  6. Scrivs says:

    Have you not read about the headaches involved with Microsoft’s activation? Every reinstall of the OS would require activation all over again. That doesn’t sound like fun.

  7. Kevin Tamura says:

    Wow, now that is a great idea. All teh early adopters would have it with in minutes. HEck they could even get some of these people to show up at teh apple store release party as a “Yes I installed Tiger and I love it.” symposium or something. (Maybe I haven’t had enought coffee yet).

    For me I usually buy it and then have it sitting on my desk for a month before installing, but I’d be more inclined to install it if it was downloaded to my desktop.

  8. alex says:

    P2P would work great if you have a DVD burner. unfortunately i don’t.

  9. Mike D. says:

    Folletto: Yeah, that’s what I’m suggesting. Not a replacement, but just another option. Those who want to buy the shrinkwrapped copy still can… it would just take at least 10 days longer.

  10. Mike D. says:

    Scrivs: Yeah, there is the potential for a few headaches but I am a lot more confident in Apple’s ability to do activation right than Microsoft’s. The idea would be that you could install and use the OS for a week or two or whatever but then you’d just have to log back into Apple’s servers probably via some very simple dialog box, fill in your info and then hit “Activate”. Doesn’t seem too hard if done right. Software activation is where the rest of the world is going anyway… hard to stop it.

  11. kevin c says:

    the activation/authentication process would have to be perfect for them to attempt it without some serious backlash. even valve couldn’t get it right when they launched half-life 2 (through steam), and they had people complaining everywhere.

  12. Jason G says:

    One of the greatest things about buying Mac OS X (and please tell me this hasn’t changed in Tiger) is that you do not need to so much as enter a key, let alone activate your product. It is not exactly the best way to prevent piracy, but it does exactly the opposite of what companies like Microsoft do, which is punish their honest customers by forcing them to jump through hoops, while the pirates get easy work arounds. (Try getting a copy of Windows XP Professional corporate edition – No activation required… so you tell me which one made it onto the pirates computers).

    So, I would rather go to the store or order it online and NOT have to go through the hassle of activating it. Personally. I think I can wait 2 weeks for Dashboard and Spotlight anyway.

  13. DC says:

    How would you keep track of sales?

  14. Josh Bryant says:

    I can’t believe you just suggested Apple use activation! I think you are living too close to Redmond or something.

    DC > They would track the sales the same way, by how many people have paid.

  15. Jason Beaird says:

    I would definitely be down with getting my copy of Tiger via bittorent and activating it through Apple. As far as the non-activation argument goes: I think it’s silly to say that mac users are all loyal customers who have never copied mac software, passed on an OS disc, or used serialbox to crack an application. It happens, and is much more prevalent than most people think. Activation, if done right, would be fast and painless…and would prevent a lot of the piracy that IS already going on in the mac underground.

  16. Jeremy Flint says:

    So does that mean we can expect to see Longhorn distributed over P2P?

    Anyway, no matter what kind of protection you try to put on an application, some one will crack it.

  17. Also, I have greater faith in Apple’s ability to keep a secret than Macromedia’s.

    The “secret” you speak of is in the code, not in Apple’s safe. Macromedia stuff gets cracked by crackers, not loose lips, and the same situation could arise for Apple.

    Of course, if they go to a scrictly online-based authentication system, requiring you fill out more than just a key, then the system should stand up to a lot more.

  18. Dale Cruse says:

    I think P2P could work for distributing the OS to beta testers during the testing stage. But a finished product? Nope. Don’t see Apple doing that any time soon. Part of the experience of getting the new OS is going to the Apple store to buy it and possibly win some righteous swag. You’re with other Mac heads and it becomes and event. And odds are you’ll be willing to drop some money on other Apple products as long as you’re at the store. But if they distributed only via P2P, that would all be gone. No “experience” at all. And that’s not the Apple way.

  19. Mike D. says:

    Dale: Interesting point and I definitely agree. Walking into a store to buy Tiger does lend itself to peripheral sales. But then again, there are a lot of people who mail-order it and that opportunity isn’t there on mail order.

    Regarding P2P and cracking and activation, I have three things that I’m fairly certain are true:

    1.) Most software companies will move to an activation model. Microsoft, Adobe, and Macromedia among others are already there. People can bitch about it all they want, but it’s happening, so we’re better off figuring out ways to do it right than trying to fight it.

    2.) Bits will *always* be distributed on P2P networks and there is not too much you can do to stem that tide, so again, you might as well harness to your advantage. That’s what the movie studios and recording companies are fighting to do right now (and not quite getting it yet).

    3.) Copy protection and DRM will always be crackable. You’ll never stop a certain sub-percentage of the population from stealing software. That’s not the point though. The point is to more easily enable the honest percentage of the population to receive bits quickly and then pay for them.

  20. dave says:

    it’s a pandora’s box… you have no idea what could happen. apple’s not in the business of going off half-cocked. they actually read the future before they make any moves. i’m sure apple is well aware of the option to release on p2p and has some good reason not to.
    they have been very measured in their moves the last few years. they have a playbook and they follow it religiously.

  21. dave says:

    mike, we wrote our responses at the same time.
    so, here is my response to…
    3.) Copy protection and DRM will always be crackable. You’ll never stop a certain sub-percentage of the population from stealing software. That’s not the point though. The point is to more easily enable the honest percentage of the population to receive bits quickly and then pay for them.
    it’s a double-edged sword. p2p would make tiger easier to get as well as the crack.

  22. Sean Madden says:

    I think this is definitely a good idea as an addition, not a replacement. One of the main problems with this would be the tech-savviness of the average consumer. Granted, we Mac users tend to think highly of ourselves and bittorrenting has become the norm for many of us. However, Apple likes to tout themselves as being easier to use, hence the whole “Switch” campaign, and P2P networks are not quite there for the average user.

    Technology like bittorrent still requires the user to have an application outside of the browser to use and some understanding of the technology. As an addition to the normal distribution channels, this is great, as a replacement, you’re going to alienate not only the customers who require the love they get at a brick-and-mortar, but also the luddites who can’t figure out how to use the distribution technology.

  23. Todd Dominey says:

    How appropriate someone from Microsoft would suggest activation.

  24. Ste Grainer says:

    See – the download for me would have to basically be an .iso (something I could burn to a DVD to make it an auto-installer). When I install an OS, I like to start completely fresh – there’s less chance for error that way, and I just like to start fresh every year or two anyway. The idea has merit, but for OS upgrades, I would probably stick with hard copy to be on the safe side. :) If you think about it, most other software already works this way – you can download trial versions of most shareware and even from most of the big names like Macromedia and Adobe. (Wait, do those count as two names now?)

  25. stuart says:

    I was crying the same thing when I walked half way across the north west in search of a world of warcraft box, when All i really needed was a game code. When distribution is such a pain, it would be nice to offer alternative methods of getting stuff, though product activation is a scar on my memory from my windows days.

  26. Dale Cruse says:

    I just noticed the band The Decemberists are offering the video for their song “16 Military Wives” via BitTorrent download. Check out the page with instructions:

  27. Offering Tiger as a BitTorrent download is a good idea, but rather than relying on the user to have a client installed on their computer, couldn’t Apple simply create a branded BitTorrent client that is offered to those who have no clue what BitTorrent is? The files are already going to be on BitTorrent no matter, so why not make it as easy as possible for the non-techies?

  28. Dale Cruse says:

    Well, rather than using BitTorrent to distribut the file, why not use a function already built into OSX? It’s called “Software Update.”

  29. Ryan Nichols says:

    I think your right. Bottom line in most things, the easier you make them, the more people that will do them. If my OSX 10.3 popped up with a window prompting me to enter my credit card and DL the OS during the night… I would have antied up by now without hesitation. The temption WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO GREAT! (impulse buy)

    As it is I have to spend time, find a place to buy it, order it, wait for it, open the package, throw away the package, put in the CD and install it….

    I’m not saying I won’t buy it, but I’m certainly going to take my sweet time. In fact I’ll be MORE tempted to just DL it off bittorrent and maybe pay for it later…JUST BECAUSE IT’S EASIER.

    I think you right on the money.

  30. Eddie says:

    I don’t know … seems a bit too gimmicky for Apple. Not surprising that the idea came from a Microsoft person … at first blush, sounds like a fun way to do it but Apple has demostrated for years that they won’t do something just to do it.


  31. Nathan says:

    Activation could be greatly improved by just using the serial number of the computer. It can be read by a program, sent to apple, validated against who paid, and then let you go. The user would not have to type anything in and it would be quick.

    Now I wouldn’t like this, but it would be better than anything else that it out there. I mean they put a serial number on em anyway, why not use it for something other than applecare.

  32. Dave Marks says:

    As far as reactivation goes, its not been a problem with XP that I’m aware off – believe it or not, i just reinstalled a box for a customer this evening. You simply hit next as you step throuhj the initial setup and boom its done.

    Fair enough, i’m on broadband, and the box grabs an ip/gateway etc from my dhcp server, but i have simularly setup/installed new machines at client locations on dialup, and had no problem with actiavtion there either.

    I find it funny, that an MS employee suggested P2P after a lot of people got in trouble with MS for distributing the network install of SP2 of P2P… What the hell? they were saving MS bandwidth and helping people get it faster. Its not like you had to pay for it or anything!

  33. Sage Olson says:

    Doesn’t matter to me — I got something you people used to know as “dial-up”. ;-) Downloading the incremental updates is painful enough!

  34. Ryan Latham says:

    To me activation becomes a terrible process, as their is often unreasonable boundaries placed upon it. For instance with Windows XP you are limited to the times you are allowed to activate the product. Which with a Microsoft product is completely foolish, because I cannot remember a time where I had a single installation of Windows run solid for a long time.

    The fact that I spent $200 on a piece of software that I was allowed to re-install a handful of times is ridiculous. Now I use a MSDN version which requires no activation.

    But comparing Mac to Windows is comparing Apples to Piles of crap. If Mac could come along and build off the idea of activation, and do it in a way that doesn’t lead to more drawbacks than benefits; I guess it would be a good thing. I would just have to see a good implementation of this before I was sold on the fact.

  35. AkaXakA says:

    To which my response was “How would they collect money from the sales then?”

    To which his response was “Require activation.”

    Funnily enough, this is basicly how steam works. (Valve Software’s mechanism to distribute -it’s- games).

    We (the Half-life 2 buyers) had HL2 sitting on our discs a looong time before the actual sell date. Once the date had arived, we could activate it and download the last few components.

    Not that they don’t use P2P though, eventhough they have Bittorrent’s author on their payroll. Maybe something for later.

  36. Xinex says:

    I’ve never even used a Mac and I would do this. This would not only be beneficial to Apple in terms of bandwidth, but it would also increase their “coolness.” Think about it: everyone’s in love with bittorrent, everyone’s in love with companies that use bittorrent.

    Now that I think about it, this makes perfect sense. Heh, think of the sheer number of seeders this would get. So now Apple would have superfast downloads available and be loved by all Mac+BitTorrent users. What a great idea.

  37. Phil says:

    As it has been mentioned, activation could be nasty on those who like to re-install their OS cleanly every so-often, and how would it handle those 5-license packs that Apple offers?

    The other issue is that activation is easily broken. Microsoft made a mistake by releasing a version of Windows XP which didn’t require any activation (the volume licensed ‘corporate’ edition). But it would not take long at all for crackers to replace the appropriate framework, or figure out how to simulate an activation server.

    I’m personally glad that Mac OS X doesn’t even have a CD Key (one less thing to lose), not because it helps pirates, but it shows how confident they are in their flagship product.

  38. Vladimir says:

    One thing that the computer industry must understand, Microsoft, Apple and all others, is that there will always be software pirates. By making their software available for download then require a sort of online fee for product activation is probably more incentive for someone to pay for this OS or other program rather than spending a fortune to get the CD from retail and what not.

  39. johnny says:

    I’m not quite sure I understand how this would benefit Apple. Would DL-ers be willing to spend the same amount of money as those who get a cool box w/ all the manuals and the dvd? Also, Apple would still be paying to package a hard-copy version of Tiger for their store and other retailers. How many fewer to produce, to take into consideration downloading, is anybody’s guess. Then there’s the expense of developing an activation tool that is friendly and the man-hours spent researching and strategizing for a deployment over P2P. I couldn’t give you numbers, but Apple doesn’t usually do things half-baked … and that time and effort doesn’t come cheap. Lastly there is the unknown. Has any major software company released their product in this fashion? I don’t know of any examples. Not that I think it couldn’t work or that Apple shouldn’t try, but I sure would be nervous about using my flagship OS as a guinea pig, no matter how well planned it was. From a business standpoint, unless there’s a real financial or strategic advantage to be had, doing it because it would be really cool isn’t reason enough.

    All of this being said, if Tiger showed up on Bittorrent, I’d download it in a second. Once the two week (or whatever) period was up, though, I drive down to the Apple store and buy the box.

  40. Ryan Latham says:

    I think the key benefit here is the factor of “in advance.” By eliminating the need to go through printing to the media, packaging, and shipping it is likely that there would be some sort of perk of getting it sooner than those who opt to have a hard copy of the product.

    If not; what the hell is the point? Especially if no price break was involved. Sure I could download Tiger from Mac at 12:00 AM April 29, but what’s the point as opposed to waiting another 8 hours going to the store and buying it, when you’re not going to get around to installing it until around 5:00 in the afternoon anyway (this is just my life).

    Until there is some sort of true incentive for people to take this route, it will be a failure. You need to prove to people that there is a reason to download and activate as opposed to going to a store and purchasing. I’ve had terrible experience with activation, so until I see real progress being made; I choose to stay away from it as much as possible.

  41. mik1264 says:

    To Ryan Latham, Phil:

    To me activation becomes a terrible process, as their is often unreasonable boundaries placed upon it. For instance with Windows XP you are limited to the times you are allowed to activate the product. Which with a Microsoft product is completely foolish, because I cannot remember a time where I had a single installation of Windows run solid for a long time.

    Not true.
    In fact the special number is generated for your harware configuration and if you reinstall to the same PC/HDD you don’t’ decrease your instalation count. The count is decreased only after instalation to another machine. This means you can’t go over 3-5 times through computer migration/upgrade with single OS license which is quite normal. Even if you do more migrations and counter is exceeded you can always call Microsoft to help activate by phone number.

  42. Adam says:

    It’s not as interesting as distributing a full software package on bitTorrent, but World of Warcraft now connects people using p2p software to download their content patches.

  43. Ryan Latham says:

    In regards to what mik2164 said. Yes, I am aware of this, however hardware is likely to change. Hardware after time can fail, or become outdated. And if you are left making a change to the current hardware in your system, and find yourself needing to re-install, then you are in quite a predicament.

  44. Max Khokhlov says:

    I don’t think it’s such a good idea.
    First of all, unfortunatelly, there’re millions of people who can only dream of broadband. Even though I have an ADSL connection, it would still cost me $130 to buy the OS and the same sum just to DL it.

    And if it’s just a complimentary way of distribution, that would mean — just like XP — existence of 2 kinds of OS: DL-able with activation and retail w/out activation. Which will again result in easily breaking the protection by hackers.

  45. Mike D. says:

    Max: Again, the idea is not to “replace” traditional retail copies so the broadband thing is a non-issue. And again, *everything* can be cracked and this will always be the case. Right now, the OS is completely unprotected and can be distributed on BitTorrent with no protection whatsoever. So I guess my point is that I don’t see how this makes anything any *less* secure.

  46. Max Khokhlov says:

    Yes, I agree.
    However, the experience — especially in my home country, Russia — shows that that’s unlikely to improve the situation either. Probably BitTorrent would be then flooded with images of unprotected retail copies.

    I would agree with the previous commenters, that, taking into consideration the amount of money and effort involved in an affair like this, Apple might have decided that it’s not worth it.

  47. Scott Kidder says:

    I haven’t seen this mentioned here, but it would be my big concern — how could a user determine it’s not a virused copy?

    Perhaps BitTorrent makes this impossible, I don’t know…

  48. Mike S. says:

    Among all the thoughts and differing opinions listed in these comments I’m surprised it took so long for the issue of hacked or malware copies to come up (Scott, #47).

    This would be one of my bigger concerns. How can you tell if the torrent file you downloaded is the one from Apple? Granted, Apple would most likely put the torrent file on their homepage to ease the confusion but what about all the other bit torrent networks? Once one person has it downloaded they are likely to post it to another network. This increases the speed at which the OS will penetrate the market but it also adds questions about reliability.

    I’d also like to offer a question on the point of Apple saving bandwidth. One point to note would be that Apple would have to offer the initial seed until others have completed the download. Apple would save money in the long run but that initial burst when the download is released would be killer – I’ve seen it happen on more than one bit torrent network (1 seeder and 400+ leechers, imagine what it would be like from Apple’s site).

    In the end, this could definitely be a viable alternative and really that’s what is being asked. As much as some people hate activation I agree that most of the software seems to be heading in that direction. Personally, it’s not that much of a hassle to hit an “Activate” button and wait a few seconds even on dial-up.

    I’m still a box person though. As much as it would be more convenient I would rather have the box in my hand, a manual to read (maybe), and a CD/DVD in case I need to re-install.

    The idea of distributing through the Software Update is interesting and could probably use more thought and investigation by Apple.

    Holy crap, that’s the longest comment I’ve ever written. Sorry for boring everyone ;o)

  49. Mikolaj says:

    From Apple’s Site:

    Is there someplace I can just download Tiger instead of having to wait for it to ship?
    Tiger is a totally new, fully featured operating system that contains new applications and utilities. The size of this upgrade makes it more suitable for DVD distribution. In addition, you’ll want to keep the DVD for backup and troubleshooting purposes.

    Translation: go to the apple store, buy accessories; in fact, you should buy that new powerbook you’ve been eyeing!

  50. Sean S says:

    You play poker?

  51. Max Khokhlov says:

    I’d also like to offer a question on the point of Apple saving bandwidth. One point to note would be that Apple would have to offer the initial seed until others have completed the download. Apple would save money in the long run but that initial burst when the download is released would be killer – I’ve seen it happen on more than one bit torrent network (1 seeder and 400+ leechers, imagine what it would be like from Apple’s site).

    But don’t forget that Apple owns a share of Akamai and has been using their servers, examplewise, for live broadcasting of Jobs’ keynotes. So that’s an issue Apple can solve.

  52. Mike S. says:

    Max: This is true and an aspect I completely forgot. Thank you for reminding me.

  53. Rajiv P. says:

    I think it is a great idea. Apple is spending at least $10 on distribution and packaging (maybe more). The download version could be $90. Optional, for $10 more you could get a CD copy mailed to you.

  54. Andrew says:

    Hacking aside – it’s a problem no matter what – distribution of anything via P2P is getting harder. Not technically harder, but harder thanks to lame Terms of Service from annoying ISPs.

    I’m in Connecticut. My local cable operator, Cablevision, operates an otherwise fast, reliable broadband network (in my experience anyway). However, they’ve started enforcing their ‘no server’ terms of use to include P2P software.

    So regardless of whether you’re using it for legitimate purposes, running P2P software for more than an hour or so, or allowing it to connect to more than one other node, results in Cablevision tagging you as ‘abusing the network’ and capping your upload speed to 20 Kbps. This happened to me a few weeks ago.

    After the fourth ‘violation’, they may close your account.

    I’m beginning to worry that restrictive ISPs will cripple legitimate applications like bittorrent before they get started.

    Oh, for a laissez faire ISP.

  55. Scott says:

    I guess this would require ‘wanting’ a copy of Tiger. For people who eschew Macs, like myself, I would just as soon like to see Apple go under. After all, they aren’t a software company so much anymore, as a hardware (iPod) company.

    How about that perfectly round one-button mouse that everyone immediately threw in the closet? Maybe Apple could give everyone $10 off on Tiger if the brought one of those in? Or maybe Apple could stop charging for every dang little update.

  56. Sean S says:

    Scott, are you bitter? Sounds like you’re bitter. Did Apple lay off your uncle or something?

  57. johnny apple seed says:

    Scott, 9 little updates to OS X 10.3 without a charge, approximately 16 months since the last paid update for OS X. Just because they release more frequently than Microsoft, doesn’t mean they’re overcharging.

    As for Apple and Akamai, if owning stock is “owning part of the company” then I guess Apple “owns” some of Akamai. Make no mistake though, they don’t get free Akamaized servers as a result of being shareholders…and, if I’m not mistaken, they’ve sold almost all of their shares. Check the filings for the last five years, they report income from the sale of stock, and I’m certain much of their Akamai stake (if not all of it) has been liquidated.

    As for authenticating a bit torrent, Apple can simply provide an MD5 hash of the bittorrent file, then after you download it, you run your own MD5 hash on the file and if they match, bingo, it’s authentic. Forget all of that for a minute anyway, if Apple were to go down this road, (which they will not, because it’s not even a good idea) they could build a stripped down client (iUpdate) that could ONLY download OS X torrents and distribute it via Software Update. This would give you the P2P power you’re looking for, and the simplicity for iUsers to do it. In fact, they could just update Software Update itself to be a P2P app, instead of always downloading from Apple.

    Now that’s a good fucking idea. They control what you can download (Apple Software) and the bandwidth burden is shifted from Apple’s servers to it’s customers. Now apply it to all Software Updates, QuickTime Streaming, iTunes downloads, etc.

    Here’s a better idea, stop thinking so SMALL. Take Apple’s clustering software, make it work on all macs across the entire internet, and rewrite all applications and the operating system to use any available processor cycles from the entire installed base.

    I’m keeping my best ideas private. but they’re even bigger than that.

  58. Marco says:

    I really hate any form of activation, license codes or DRM mechanism. And with a passion too. They’re always annoying as hell and history has proven they have ZERO effect. I’d say quit investing in this nonsense and use the saved money to make the product cheaper.

    The thing is there are only two kinds of software users on the planet:

    – Those who want to pay for their software
    – Those who don’t

    The people in the second category are not at all stopped by any of those protection mechanisms. If it can be coded it can be cracked and it WILL be cracked. It’s a waste of time and only annoying for those who actually pay for their stuff. I guess Apple can see this very issue clearly as well since they’re not using this activation nonsense.

  59. Detective Futile says:

    I think enforcing laws across the world is stupid too. There are only two types of people in the world, those that don’t want to follow the law, and those that don’t. Instead of arresting, convicting, and jailing criminals, we should “take all that money” and use it to provide apartments, big screen TVs, chrome rims, etc. for the criminals so they would have no need to steal.

    This wouldn’t have any effect on society at large, just like product activation doesn’t. Ahem, if you weren’t stealing software in the first place, you wouldn’t be “burdened” with product activation.

    Let’s face it, the only problem with product activation and DRM is that it makes it harder to steal software and content. Most people will not go to the lengths required to crack a software application or strip their content of DRM–it’s to prevent CASUAL copying, which is what costs companies money. Thiefs are already built into the cost, just as thiefs at brick and mortars have already raised the prices of goods purchased there.

    Anyone complaining about DRM or Product Activation is a tool. Take that open source mentality elsewhere, if movies were open source, no on would watch them–because they’d SUCK.

    Incidentally, there are very few people that can (or would take the time to) actually crack software activation, the fact that they are zealous in their endeavor and SHARE the method is the root of the problem. In time, new methods will become available that will be so sophisticated that the instructions will be too complex for the lemmings to follow. This will decrease the cracked software market by 99% or more–leaving only the gifted to steal software–and all of you blowhards, out in the cold.

  60. Marco says:

    if you weren’t stealing software in the first place, you wouldn’t be “burdened” with product activation.

    This doesn’t make sense at all.

    Also, complaining about DRM being annoying as hell doesn’t have anything to do with an ‘open source mentality’. I pay for MacOS too and I’m happy it doesn’t annoy me with activation mechanisms.

    On legally downloaded music DRM is even more annoying. While I can put a CD into any player (except those pesky ‘protected’ ones) I’m not allowed to use my downloaded music in all devices I have or at best I’ll have to perform annoying operations in order to transfer the content from device A to device B.

    The protection schemes are annoying the ones who pay for their content while copies remain easy to acquire for those who don’t wish to pay. And trust me, this won’t change. Not ever. For every smart guy out there developing a protection scheme there’s an army of other smart guys who are itching to outsmart the protection scheme guy.

    Between the lines you are suggesting that people like me who are annoyed by stuff like DRM are thieves. I find that downward offensive to say the least.

  61. Mike D. says:

    Marco: I tend to agree with Detective Futile on this one. As I said before, the practical goal of DRM/activation is not to stop everyone from thievery… just to stop casual thievery, which is a large portion of all thievery. It does indeed work at stopping casual theft and that’s why a lot of major companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Macromedia are now using it. This is a trend we’ll see continue, so my only advice is for companies like Apple to engineer their activation mechanisms to be as easy as possible.

    The comparison to music DRM is moot as well because when you buy a CD, you have the right to “use” it on as many devices as you want so slapping DRM on there is of course going to reduce its value to you. But with an OS, you clearly don’t have the right to just install it on 100 computers (nor do most people need to) so putting an activation restriction on there just really isn’t that big of a deal.

  62. Michael says:

    I realise I’m a bit late to the party here… But couldn’t they satisfy both camps with one solution ?

    Provide the BitTorrent, that requires activation after, say, 1 month.
    Require the torrent version to connect to the internet every twelve hours for verification that it’s still valid (after all, the only people that are using it are those wanting a ‘quick fix’ until they get their disks). Then, provide a single method for activation, which is via an actual CD/DVD install disk.

    This gives early adopters an ‘instant’ download, and everybody still gets the hardcopy that they like, with no internet connection required – So long as the activation time is long enough for the normal distribution channels to catch up, but not so long enough that people don’t bother buying it.

    Once the OS has been out for a month, they remove the torrents (which wouldn’t work after this time).

    Sorry if this doesn’t make sense, but it seemed a valid solution at the time.

  63. das7282 says:

    There’s nothing like having an authentic CD (or DVD) in your hands. I’m not sure I would buy into a distribution system like that.

  64. steve says:

    product activation ofr an apple product is a stupid idea. the whole philosophy behind osx is that it’s open source. of course you should pay for a copy and its worth it. but product activation schemes are anti-apple.

  65. Jeff says:

    I’m opposed to just about any idea that Microsoft comes up with, especially product activation. Personally, I like the fact that Apple trusts its customers and does not force them to go through a complicated process when installing software.

  66. Genetic_Anomaly says:

    There is a conceivable way to make products uncrackable, copyable, atleast by conventional means, what i speak of though involves changing computer hardware entirely. An encrpyting/decrypting CPU with strict rules on access to software. A strong layer of protection that is hardware-based is unlikely to be intruded on. Remove the programmer and user capability to view, run, or modified denied software. If apple is the first to develop this, imagine what would eventually happen to x86 computers. Microsoft would take a serious blow.

  67. Mike says:

    Apple would never do that to there customers. Apples are used by mostly designers, not software pirates. let Microsoft deal with that headaque. Apple has great products and are fair in there prices so theres no need to pirate there stuff.

  68. alex says:

    Operating systems are now a commodity. OS X is built from an open source product, why should they even be charging for it? Sure they hire software engineers to customize their extreem mutation of freebsd, but so do phone, camera and other misc hardware companies to make their little operating systems(they dont charge for them do they?). Its only officially compatible with their hardware which means 99.9999/100 people bought a computer to run the software. not only do I think an activation code would be dumb and unreasonable but I don’t think apple should charge as much as they do for a new version os.

  69. Ana says:

    Bittorrent is a solution for me since I live cut off from the snail mail route. Apple doesn’t ship to Mexico, let alone my super remote location in Mexico and Internet is readily available.

  70. Abandoning the lowest common denominator

    Infiniti’s ad agency takes a bold step by eliminating weather.

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