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I was just about to type up a question regarding installation of OSX Server 4.0 inside VMware Workstation on non-Apple hardware.

The more I typed my question, the better the suggestions in the suggestion box got.

So I checked out the first three and all of them ended up answering an inherently technical question with a reference to the EULA.

Example for one of those questions and answers:


Now don't get me wrong. It's fine if this reference to the EULA accompanies a technical solution (or the statement that it's technically impossible) to the purely technical question. But for the life of me I cannot figure out how such an answer which is borderline legalese can garner so many upvotes or even acceptance.

Questions about the EULA are inherently tied to the jurisdiction under which this EULA is accepted. The relevant jurisdiction is neither clear from a purely technical question (though the assumption always appears to be that it's the US, despite English being official language in many countries) nor would giving the jurisdiction generally help anyone. Who knows what the relevance and validity of the Apple EULA in Zimbabwe, Russia or China is?

If I'd ask a question about the EULA I'd be lucky not to get my question plastered with "IANAL" comments or answers. However, somehow it's legit to answer a completely technical question with a reference to a EULA, taking the EULA at its face value.

A EULA is nothing but a contract and always governed (and overridden) by the jurisdiction under which it is accepted. Assuming what's in the EULA is true to the comma means disregarding that fact.

Yes, I've read What topics can I ask about here?

So could anyone shed any light on how and why such answers are acceptable?

To me it would seem more logical to close such a question as off-topic from the outset, if it is (off-topic). But answering with borderline irrelevant information isn't helping anyone.

Thanks for reading. Double thanks for answering.

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    There is mixed consensus and strong opinions both ways. I personally am a proponent of letting great questions remain - especially when they have solid technical foundation. I would say, ask your question on the main site and we can open a thread here to discuss improvements if or when it gets closed. – bmike Oct 17 '14 at 13:45
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I don't have a solid complete answer for your question, but I have one nugget of wisdom to share:

  • Steer away from legal ramifications and just acknowledge frankly that you are aware that you are possibly in violation of the EULA and/or want to set aside EULA complications and just discuss technically what is possible.

Once you dismiss the many problems of legality (location, time, circumstances, ability to fund a proper legal defense, etc...) most good questions are easy to gain support on the main site in my experience even if they stray close to the line of what the FAQ prohibits.

The FAQ is intended to be very brief and there is room for interpretation and even disagreement on the main site about leaving some questions open when they are not blatantly about pirating and/or how to steal software.

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