Apple MacOS x86 patented against virtual machines?

Quoting from Architosh:

Yesterday an interesting news item on the Net aligned with a previously published statement about Apple’s ultimate intentions behind the Intel switch. A reliable source had told Architosh prior to the highly anticipated Apple WWDC event earlier this Steve Jobs would make an announcement that would be ultimately about expanding Macintosh market share.

Jobs himself never said anything about expanding market share in regards to the reason for choosing Intel. In fact, the company has been saying for about a year or two now — in the wake of a failed “Switch” advertising campaign — that market share isn’t that important.

However, the company is exhibiting a new face when it comes to saying and doing, as evidenced by the new video capable iPod. Jobs for years said there was no real market for video on such small devices, yet it released a video iPod with major content wins on the iTunes music store.

Clearly what one says and what one does are starting to appear as divergent things when it comes to Apple. And that’s okay. All is fair in love and war.

The big news yesterday was the discovery of an Apple patent that allows the computer maker to protect the installation of Mac OS X. In this case, really limit it to just Apple-produced hardware. However, the patent describes a process whereby users would be able to load one of three operating systems as their primary OS and then load a secondary operating system as their secondary OS. In the patent application, titled, System and method for creating tamper-resistant code, they describe the process as thus:

  • 22. The method of claim 20, wherein the first operating system is selected from the set consisting of Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.
  • 23. The method of claim 20, wherein the second operating system is selected from the set consisting of Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.

Preliminary Comments

Feel free to read the patent yourself. There is a link to the patent in this article here. For some reason the same link doesn’t appear to work from our site. (US patent number: 20050246554). There are several interesting aspects to it, including the discussion of hardware serial numbers, virtual machines and the all important discussion of “tamper-resistant techniques” including the use of obfuscating a first object code block that determines a secondary code block. There is the discussion of operating systems being able to access core service calls based on a tamper-resistance policy.

Apple itself has said they will not prevent other operating systems from being installed on future MacTels. However, this patent seems to indicate a way the company will prevent Mac OS X from being installed on other hardware, while simultaneously dealing with multi-OS startup and the use of Virtual Machines on future Mac OS X systems.