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Mac Clone Maker Psystar Ships First 'Service Pack'

The fixes address a range of troubles, from glitches in Apple's Time Machine backup feature to quirks in the Keyboard Viewer and Character Palette entries in Leopard's system preferences menu.
Not only is systems integrator Psystar continuing to defy Apple's no-cloning rule by selling Leopard-based knockoffs, it's now supporting the machines with a service pack that includes multiple bug fixes -- some of which address problems inherent in Apple's software.

"Safe updates, as well as bug fixes and workarounds, are now available," Psystar said in a note Monday on its Web site.

The fixes address a range of troubles, from glitches in Apple's Time Machine backup feature to quirks in the Keyboard Viewer and Character Palette entries in Leopard's system preferences menu.

The patch collection comes preinstalled in Psystar Mac clones shipped as of Monday, the company said. Patches can also be downloaded individually from Psystar's Web site.

Other available updates include patches that add international security standards for networked devices, support for the latest versions of Java, and a fix for a conflict between Apple's Airport Extreme router and the Realtek network card that Psystar includes in its computers.

By offering a full menu of support, Psystar appears to be daring Apple to attempt to enforce provisions in the Leopard license agreement that forbid third-party installations and sales. Apple has not taken any legal action against Psystar to date. Not publicly, at least.

Despite the legal questions, Psystar appears intent on expanding its line of products and services.

Last month, the company introduced a new system called OpenPro. It's a beefed-up version of its Open Computer Mac clone. The company claims it will ship either with a choice of preinstalled operating systems that includes Ubuntu Linux 8.04, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Apple's "Leopard," which is also known as OS X 10.5.

Ubuntu is free. Windows Vista or XP costs an extra $150, while Leopard costs an additional $155, according to Psystar.

Psystar claims its Mac clones cost about one-quarter of what Apple-branded systems go for. The company maintains that Apple marks up the cost of the hardware on which its operating systems ride by as much as 80%.

One version of Psystar's Open Computer features Apple's Leopard OS X 10.5 operating system ported onto generic PC hardware that includes an Intel Core2Duo processor at 2.66 GHz, a 250 GB hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card.

The system is priced at $804.99. A similar, Apple-branded computer could cost more than $2,000.

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