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Was Macintosh System software ever free to use?

aolanytime

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Was Macintosh System Software ever free to use? Was an operator/user formally allowed to use a Mac, no matter their age, language, or intelligence? The earliest partial Mac Software License Agreement (SLA) I found, is System 7.0. Thanks to Marcin Wichary's GUIdebook.

PLEASE READ THIS SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT ("LICENSE") CAREFULLY BEFORE PRESSING THE "AGREE" BUTTON BELOW.

IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE, PRESS "DISAGREE" AND (IF APPLICABLE) RETURN THE APPLE SOFTWARE TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU OBTAINED IT FOR A REFUND.

Did some old version have no rules appear on screen, but license terms presented in paper documentation? IF System 1 was free to use, then which version crossed the line from 'right to use by default taken for granted' to 'IF you abide by rules, THEN you are granted permission to use'?

I am interested in license agreement of all home computers, but especially Apple II and Mac. So if you have information about other PC license history, then please do share the knowledge.
 

Ed in SoDak

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Mac Systems up to 7.5 or 7.6.1 were free online and the disks were available to download from the Apple website. Might be if you got factory disks/CDs with printed manuals in a box they charged for that, plus there were server or multi-user licenses that could be purchased.

With System 8 onwards, they could be purchased but were included with new computers. I don't know specifically when a ULA was added to the installer.

-Ed
 

vwestlife

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The licensing probably changed when the legal Mac clone era began and Apple changed the name from System 7.x to Mac OS 7.x.

In the old days (Mac SE/II era), Apple was kinda funny in that you got the OS, MacWrite, and MacPaint free with the machine, but you had to buy the keyboard separately!
 

Unknown_K

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From what I heard you could go into an Apple shop and get the latest OS copied for free since you needed the Mac hardware to use it anyway.

Did Apple sell retail OS kits pre OS 7 anyway? Generally anything you see pre OS 7 (or before 6.0x) were OEM disks that came with the machine.
 

njroadfan

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Apple used to give away the OS. It was standard policy with Apple II OSes as well. You could have gotten a copy from them for a small fee to cover disks and such. The only boxed OS for the II line was System 6.0.
 

KC9UDX

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Where did my post go? I'll retype it:

I called the local Apple dealer round 1996 or 1997, inquiring about purchasing System 7 for my Amiga. I was told they'd give me a free copy if I bought a Mac, even if it was a used, broken one from a rummage sale. Sans that, I simply couldn't have it. I was forced to obtain it by >cough< other means.
 

SomeGuy

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Interesting, so there was no printed license agreement anywhere included with an early Macintosh? Even back then there was normally some kind of license agreement included with the disks or manuals of most boxed software.

Of course, some of the nasty things they put in license agreements these days would have been unthinkable back then.
 

njroadfan

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Where did my post go? I'll retype it:

I called the local Apple dealer round 1996 or 1997, inquiring about purchasing System 7 for my Amiga. I was told they'd give me a free copy if I bought a Mac, even if it was a used, broken one from a rummage sale. Sans that, I simply couldn't have it. I was forced to obtain it by >cough< other means.

Apple sold System 7 Pro retail, but it wasn't cheap. It did come with a ton of features like full Quicktime and such. There were also System 7.0 upgrades sold retail. Whats odd is that by 1996, Apple started their policy of selling upgrades and stopped releasing new versions free. You should have been able to walk into any software store and buy it off the shelf.
 

olePigeon

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System 7.1 was never made public. Only 6.x, 7.0.x, and 7.5.x. I'm not sure why 7.1 was never released.
 

aolanytime

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Not gratis price! I mean freedom, permission TO USE?

Not gratis price! I mean freedom, permission TO USE?

It seems, a few of you do not understand my question. I tried to be clear, but it went over your head.:confused:

I am talking about software freedom, NOT PRICE. I am well aware that, back in the day, a Mac owner could get copies of upgraded System Software from computer shops, and that some old versions are still distributed on Apple's Web server today. But I did not ask about price, or permission to share copies.

Did Mac ever offer something close to freedom zero: freedom to use? Not necessarily for any purpose: nuclear missile factories might not be allowed. I want to know about terms of use for typical users: home user, office user, little children user.

I first touched a personal computer when I was in kindergarten. It was a Apple II. At that age, I recognised English alphabet, and only words as simple as: cat, dog, pig, sun, zebra. At that age, I certainly could not read Mac System 7 license agreement, could not even have understood it if a grown-up read it to me.

I trust Marcin Wichary; I consider his screenshot PROOF System 7.0 is not free to use. Therefore, politics of clones in the nineteen-nineties, System 7 era, is irrelevant.

I know that Macintosh is a magical mix of code in ROM and disc. Such technical properties are irrelevant.

I expect freedom to use ink and paper.
I expect freedom to use mechanical typewriter.
I expect freedom to use electric typewriter.
I expect freedom to use electronic typewriter.
I once used a word processor. I have no idea what freedom or restriction applies to its code. Like a kindergartener, I did not read documentation first.
I want to expect freedom to use a personal computer. But against my common sense, Mac OS, from System 7 through to latest 2014 release, is not at all free to use. Before unwrapping a new Mac out-of-box, one faces a notice that to turn-on the machine requires acceptance of Software License Agreement.
 
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vwestlife

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Apple had a laissez-faire attitude about the Mac system software because it was useless without their ROMs. Remember, when they went after Franklin, it was for copying their Apple II ROMs, not for copying their Apple II DOS.
 

olePigeon

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That's what I meant, yeah. Never made free on their website. 7.1 Pro is my favorite version for vintage Macs. It has a small footprint, but can be expanded to support a lot of the features found in 7.5.
 

aolanytime

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Late follow-up:
The nice members of 68kMLA: Elfen, Paralel, and others; were nice enough to answer my question. Unlike anybody here, who all seem to have poor reading comprehension, and one even sent me a mean PM.

The topic is readable only to members, not open public. In brief: by all accounts, there was no Software License Agreement to use Macintosh before System 7. It is comforting to know, if I get a Mac which runs System 6, then I can play one of my favourite video games (Spectre) without agreeing to B.S. Apple SLA.
 
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