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Desktops (Apple) OS X Operating Systems Apple

Psystar's Rebel EFI Hackintosh Tool Reviewed, Found Wanting 328

Posted by timothy
from the weighed-in-the-balance dept.
CWmike writes "While the world focused on Microsoft's launch of Windows 7, Florida-based Psystar quietly launched Rebel EFI, a software product that should worry Apple a lot more than Microsoft's latest operating system. Rebel EFI allows users to run Apple's flagship operating system, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, on non-Apple hardware. Computerworld test drove the making of a Hackintosh out of a generic PC with the company's new software package and found a product that has a lot of homework still to do. Reviewer Frank Ohlhorst's final analysis: 'Psystar's Rebel EFI (a free trial is available) is an interesting tool, but it is very limited when it comes to the selection of hardware that you can use. The company really needs to create a compatible hardware list and post that on its Web site — and it also needs to create some usable documentation. As it stands right now, you can use Rebel EFI to build a Mac clone, but unless you stick to relatively generic hardware, you will be disappointed.'"
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Psystar's Rebel EFI Hackintosh Tool Reviewed, Found Wanting

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  • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:13PM (#29879391) Homepage
    http://chameleon.osx86.hu/ [osx86.hu]
    The same, but FOSS. Some even suggest the same codebase, but I of course would never be cynical enough to suggest that or that running strings on both if someone had a spare moment might be interesting.
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:22PM (#29879451) Homepage Journal

    A lot of Apple computers use the intel GMA950.

  • Re:Virtualization (Score:3, Informative)

    by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:35PM (#29879555)
    Don't count on it. The problem with virtualization is that it requires the virtualized OS to be as cooperative to the whole affair as possible, since it needs to be fooled into thinking it has unfettered access to the system, which in many ways is much harder than just getting the OS to run natively on the hardware. Windows and Linux are becoming more virtualization-friendly every day since their developers have realized that their operating systems are being virtualized on a regular basis, but since there is no Apple-approved way to virtualize OS X, it would be a fairly trivial matter for them to make it as unfriendly to virtualize as possible. If that doesn't sound like such a big deal, consider how many strange bugs there are in VMs where the virtualized operating system is TRYING to make it as easier on the VM.

    Is Apple doing this at the moment? Probably not. Would they if they saw OS X virtualization becoming widespread against their will? Of course no one can say for sure, but I don't think anyone would put it past them either.
  • Re:Virtualization (Score:2, Informative)

    by rfuilrez (1213562) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `zerliufr'> on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:37PM (#29879569)
    http://pcwizcomputer.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=75&Itemid=45 [pcwizcomputer.com] You can give that link a try. pcwiz does some good stuff within the OSx86 community. I'm not sure if he's gotten Snow Leopard running, but I've seen Leopard running inside VMware. There's also a VMWare image you might still be able to find on torrent sites, so you don't have to actually do the install. Not sure if it's still around though.
  • Re:Virtualization (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rebelgecko (893016) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:38PM (#29879579)

    I believe more recentish version of VMWare can virtualize Mac OSX

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:40PM (#29879599)

    As for unethical, it's not unethical in the least unless you're stealing the code directly

    Which is basically what CherryOS was doing. They took the PearPC code, slapped a CherryOS logo on it and distributed/sold it.

    It's hypocritical beyond belief whenever somebody says that it's unethical to use Apple software in a way that Apple doesn't approve. Makes me wonder what that makes anybody that runs software based heavily on designs lifted from elsewhere.

    I don't think you understand what he was saying. He wasn't saying that it was unethical to use this to run Mac OS X but rather it seems to be heavily borrowed from a F/OSS project much as how CherryOS basically took PearPC and changed it to make it look like a different product. That is unethical.

  • Re:Virtualization (Score:5, Informative)

    by ya really (1257084) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:43PM (#29879617)

    I am waiting for the ability to run it ala VirtualBox or Vmware Player/Workstation.

    It's been done for ages:
    http://pcwizcomputer.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=75&Itemid=45 [pcwizcomputer.com]
    It says 10.5.2, but it works with at least the last version of leopard from my knowledge.

  • Re:Virtualization (Score:5, Informative)

    by MtHuurne (602934) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:47PM (#29879635) Homepage
    You can run a virtual Mac in qemu using the "-M mac" option.
  • by maxume (22995) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:48PM (#29879639)

    Another way to put it would be to say that Intel supports Linux (this is only a vague impression on my part, but I'm pretty sure I have it right).

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:06PM (#29879765)

    None have the 4500, but plenty had the X3100.

  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:21PM (#29879861) Homepage Journal
    Wrong, it is specified, inspected and tested Apple approved PC parts on a scratch designed motherboard with their timings and their layout. The Intel Chipset may indeed have been used but so what, maybe in their inspection process the pick and choose the ones that have the best characteristics (unlikely but possible) and perhaps they have other quality control bits that make it a bit better than the average PC parts.
  • by camperslo (704715) on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:24PM (#29880189)

    Pystar is trying to get around Apple suing them for the "clone" of Snow Leopard. This is supposed to be a "generic" MacOS clone..which seems to me would make it pretty much UNIX BSD.

    Not sure how that got modded up... it's entirely wrong. While the hardware Pystar has sold might be called a clone (it's just PC hardware with known-compatible chips), they are NOT providing a clone as an alternative to OS X. The OS X that is installed is the actual retail version. They're loading some things to allow it to install (emulating the Mac EFI, IIRC), and providing some drivers/patches to get some hardware to work.

  • by fredc97 (963879) on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:32PM (#29880241)

    I just got an email back from Psystar support, unfortunately they don't answer my question on USB CD and their Wiki does not cover the subject either:

    Hello,

    The RebelEFI Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) can be found at http://wiki.psystar.com/ [psystar.com] . Here you will be able to find information regarding your hardware. If your device/computer is not listed please send a complete report of what is not working to support@psystar.com. Please include: Computer Model, Motherboard, CPU, Video Card and Order Number if you have already purchased. You may also download a trail copy at http://cdn.psystar.com/rebelefi_latest.iso [psystar.com] . Updates to RebelEFI including change log will be posted both on http://wiki.psystar.com/ [psystar.com] and http://community.psystar.com./ [community.psystar.com] Hardware still not working? Don't get discouraged. Psystar is actively adding more hardware support to RebelEFI.

  • [sigh] (Score:5, Informative)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:54PM (#29880323) Journal
    OSX uses the xnu kernel (a derivative of Mach). It is not based on BSD, and only provides a BSD userland to make things easier for developers/users. Xnu is open-source.

    Having said that, a huge chunk of the user-visible runtime is not open-source, and Apple maintain an actively protective stance over it. I agree with the lawsuits comment...

    Simon.
  • Re:Virtualization (Score:5, Informative)

    by snuf23 (182335) on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:06PM (#29880399)

    From your link:

    "As you can imagine, the VMware Fusion team was pretty excited when Apple modified their licensing to allow Mac OS X Leopard Server to run in a virtual machine on Apple hardware."

    So in order to run an OS X VM you need to run it on a Mac. Somehow I don't think that would help the original poster get rid of his Mac Mini.

  • by srh2o (442608) on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:38PM (#29880563)
    Yeah damn those Compaq guys...err Psystar
  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:52PM (#29880607)

    http://chameleon.osx86.hu/
    The same, but FOSS. Some even suggest the same codebase, but I of course would never be cynical enough to suggest that or that running strings on both if someone had a spare moment might be interesting.

    Pystar itself uses an open source boot loader, Darwin Universal Boot Loader [macobserver.com] or DUBL. This leads me to question exactly what value Pystar adds. It can't be hardware compatibility and drivers, the CNet tester even says "It seems like Psystar still has a lot of homework to do when it comes to drivers and hardware compatibility." Hackers, open source, and other programmers provide a list of hardware [osx86project.org] compatible on the OSX86 Project website.

    Falcon

    Oh, btw I hope Apple comes down on Pystar like a sludge hammer. I don't mind if individuals, such as those with the OSX86 project work to get hackntoches running, but not for profit businesses. While I believe Apple should either license OSX to OEMs or release mid range expandable Macs I also believe they should be able to set hardware requirements. The simple fact is though is that Apple is a system integrator, they make hardware and software run well together for the most part. By specifying hardware Apple can make sure the software runs well on it.

  • by Bobartig (61456) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:21AM (#29880735) Homepage

    I just searched WestLaw for "EULA End User License Agreement", and came up with 100+ documents, most of them reading over and over "the EULA clearly restricted blah blah", "...were clearly enforceable under California law", "EULA... was a validly binding contract.", "EULA.. was enforceable", etc. etc. Way to post nonsense with absolutely NO research to back it up.

    So let me fix that for you.

    *HUNDREDS* of cases about violating EULAs have been brought to court in the US, and in many cases, they were found enforceable.

    Just a couple weeks ago I was in district court listening to a case regarding an EULA, and discussing various aspects of it. There was no discussion of whether it was enforceable. Clearly it was, but that there was dispute as to the scope of the contract itself.

  • by Stupendoussteve (891822) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:32AM (#29880773)

    Sure they have, see Blizzard vs Glider. Glider didn't come out of it very well with words like copyright infringement, interference with a contract and a DMCA violation.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:31AM (#29881401)

    Also the motherboards ARE custom made versions using established intel chipsets, they need to be custom made to fit the shape of the iMacs and Mini's.

    They're no more "custom made" than any other motherboard that has to fit into a non-standard form factor - and there are a hell of a lot more machines like that sold by companies other than Apple.

    There is nothing special, or unique, or exciting about about the construction of a Mac's motherboard, no matter how much Mac zealots might try to argue otherwise. They're built by the same manufacturers, with the same components, on the same assembly lines as the millions of other motherboards used by Dell, HP, et al. It's just another PC with a fancier firmware.

  • Re:[sigh] (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:22AM (#29881933)

    Mac OS X's operating system is XNU. The XNU is the operating system (so called "hybrid kernel"). The XNU operating system kernel is a Mach 3.0. Mach 3.0 is just a microkernel and all other OS parts (servers) are from the (Free)BSD (networking, filesystems etc) and Driver I/O Kit.

    The Darwin is then a XNU operating system + development tools. You need to darwin to get the XNU operating system compiled so it will work with the Mac OS X API's.

    If you want, you can just compile the Mach 3.0 microkernel, while leaving all other OS parts (XNU) in touch.

    http://cs.nyu.edu/~pcg234/xeniac/compile_darwin_x86.html [nyu.edu]

    http://dinomite.net/2006/darwin-kernel-compile/ [dinomite.net]

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f2/Diagram_of_Mac_OS_X_architecture.svg/556px-Diagram_of_Mac_OS_X_architecture.svg.png [wikimedia.org] (even that it has GNU-like propaganda in it)

    Even GNU's own operating system Hurd, use derivated Mach 3.0 microkernel what is called "GNU Mach". GNU Mach is the kernel of the Hurd operating system what is part of GNU/Hurd development environment. All other Hurd OS parts are written by GNU people but the microkernel is copied from Mach 3.0.

  • Re:[sigh] (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @06:25AM (#29881941) Journal
    XNU is a hybrid kernel, which means it's basically a monolithic kernel but it runs something that looks a bit like a microkernel and puts all of the important system servers in the kernel's address space. The Microkernel is Mach, which was released under the CMU license (roughly equivalent to the BSD license) by CMU. Most of the services (e.g. process management, networking, and so on) are provided by the BSD server, which is now mostly based on FreeBSD. You'll note how easily libdispatch was ported to FreeBSD. This is because it uses the kqueue interface to the kernel, which XNU only has because it was copied from FreeBSD (and then slightly modified to support things like Mach ports). Almost any system call you issue in OS X will be serviced by code taken from FreeBSD. The biggest difference is the driver subsystem, which is completely new in OS X.

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