The beta build of Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" operating system handed out to developers at teh company's Worldwide Developers Conference has leaked to the internet and is being downloaded by users of PirateBay, the Swedish torrent tracker.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs and other company officials spent much of the conference discussing the forthcoming operating system, due for release in October. Just days later, the beta labelled build "9A466" was uploaded to PirateBay.
The first upload did not take off - there was only one "seeder", the term for a computer that has a complete copy of the torrent file - but a second upload is being downloaded and assembled, according to comments left by numerous users.
Yesterday, only four seeders were available, with 181 "leechers" - computers that have downloaded only part of the complete torrent. By yesterday, however, the numbers had climbed to 44 seeders and more than 1,500 leechers.
The beta was also posted to the private, invitation-only torrent tracker Oink yesterday, according to technology blog CrunchGear. But when CrunchGear exposed the leak, Oink pulled the beta. That sent the downloaders into a verbal rage during which they vented their collective spleens at the blogger who outed Oink. "go [expletive deleted] yourself you [expletive deleted] rat," ranted one.
It is not known whether Apple will pursue the leakers, or what actions it might take against PirateBay. The company has so far declined to comment. But last time a development version of Mac OS X ended up on BitTorrent, Apple brought out its lawyers.
In December 2004, Apple sued three men, as well as 25 others identified only as "Does", for releasing a developer preview of Tiger, Mac OS X 10.4, via the BitTorrent file-sharing network. All three were members of the company's own Developer Connection, Apple claimed, and had illegally leaked their copies of Tiger.
But after several Apple notables, including co-founder Steve Wozniak, pleaded for leniency in blogs and other online postings, Apple backed off a bit.
During a 10-month span from March to December 2005, Apple signed settlements with the three named defendants: students Vivek Sambhara, David Schwartzstein and David Steigerwald. Each promised to never again release information about the company or its products, while media accounts reported that Schwartzstein and Steigerwald also distributed repentant statements and paid damages to Apple.