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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 Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:12PM (#29879379)

    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

    So in other words an OS made to run and tested only on 6 or 7 different major configurations of computers is going to need some tweaking before it can run on other, untested and unsupported hardware? This is hardly a suprise. Next thing is we're going to have a story saying that iPhone OS doesn't run so great on the G1...

  • The problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattventura (1408229) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:18PM (#29879421) Homepage
    ...is that it turns it into a cat-and-mouse game. Just like the Apple vs Palm USB issue. Apple will find a way to prevent OS X from running on this, and people will have a system where any software update could brick their computer. Then the Psystar team will find a way around that. Rinse, repeat. So I can either ignore upgrades, use a different OS, or actually buy a Mac. Sounds like some great choices.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:20PM (#29879437) Journal
    What is it with unethically derivative commercial tools for running OSX on PCs? Back in the PPC days, there was the whole CherryOS [wikipedia.org] thing, that turned out to be a straight rip-off of pearPC. And now this.
  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@gmail . c om> on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:25PM (#29879477)
    Although I am all for the proliferation of decent software, Apple should be considerably nervous about these kinds of offerings. Right now the support loop for hardware is fairly closed; the amount of variables they must take into consideration when providing tech-support is fairly small considering they control the hardware side of things so tightly.

    On the same token, it seems these days a lot of add-on hardware is Mac compatible, hard drives, memory, video cards, sound cards, the list goes on...so this leads me a conclusion of Apple putting more bullets in its feet as the list of upgrades and add-ons for Apple machines grows; they lose that hardware control variable.

    This leads to the next conclusion, at what point does outfitting a machine with tons of non-factory-spec hardware separate it from a ground up build? If it is just the motherboard, then they are facing a conundrum.

    Again, IANAMU, does Apple's support coverage encompass machines with things like user-added memory & videocards? If it does, then eventually they might as well just allow individuals to purchase OEM copies for their build, seeing as their support loop must scale to additional interoperability anyways.
  • by zn0k (1082797) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:37PM (#29879561)

    He's talking about Psystar being unethical in - potentially - taking an open and free tool that does the same thing and re-branding it and charging for it without giving credit.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:52PM (#29879675)

    Yes, you do have it right, they release specs and they actively contribute code and developer time, they're a good friend to Linux.

  • by minsk (805035) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:00PM (#29879729)

    Aside from the detail that Apple is busy [groklaw.net] suing them into a deep hole...

    Welcome to legal systems. Whether or not you think justice is being rendered, the rendering takes time.

  • Re:Virtualization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beauTOKYO.org minus city> on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:08PM (#29879777)

    > You can run a virtual Mac in qemu using the "-M mac" option.

    I have heard this before. Is this an out of tree patchset? On Fedora 11 I get this:

    $ qemu -M help
    Supported machines are:
    pc Standard PC (default)
    isapc ISA-only PC

    I'd love to explore OS X a bit, but the price tag to get in the gate and look around is just to much unless you have already drank the Kool-Aid. The mini at $599 is sort of a joke and everything else goes over the 1K line.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:10PM (#29879781)

    But we already knew that psystar was unethical in taking a semi-open operating system and boot loader, and copying it without a license.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:29PM (#29879911)

    Do you really hear yourself? Apple could care less if Joe User comes in, buys OS X [apple.com] , and makes a hackintosh. They do care when some business comes in, takes their intellectual property, packages it in competing hardware, and sells it as their own. I'm also sure they do have a problem with folks who go out and download it via Torrent. Psystar can't even prove that they bought OS X. They 'lost' their receipts. Funny thing that...

    There is nothing 'dubious' about it. Apple owns OS X. They can license it to whoever they choose. You may not like it, but that doesn't make what Psystar is doing right. If someone else tries to make profit off of Apples product without license from Apple, then Apple is absolutely within their rights to prevent it.

    Think you can do it better, than purchase something Like NeXT and design your own with your own time and money and then Open Source your result.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:30PM (#29879917)

    When you buy a Psystar mac clone you're buying a valid license of OSX, you're just not buying the mac hardware.

  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:35PM (#29879937)

    Maybe they put unicorns and fairy dust into it, too, but I doubt it.

    A Mac is just a fancy PC with a pre-set hardware spec. If it was really some bizarre, proprietary hardware configuration then Windows and Linux wouldn't run on it. And the fact that you can run virtual OSX on a non-Mac if you don't care about unsupported hardware just reinforces that.

  • Re:Virtualization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beauTOKYO.org minus city> on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:46PM (#29879989)

    > Why don't you just go down to the Apple store and ask to shown around.
    > It's what all those macs are sitting there for.

    1. Using Mapquest's estimate, the closest Apple store is 2:56 away.

    2. A half hour playing with a demo unit isn't likely to be very helpful. Especially compared to a few hours with a VM.

    3. Even if I didn't like OS X enough to want to drink the Kool-Aid, a VM version would, as others pointed out, allow an occasional use to test compatibility. That would be enough to spend $130 on, but not $600 plus a KVM and all that other crap to support a whole physical PC.

  • by porl (932021) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:46PM (#29879993)

    you have made a very strong point, but not the point i think you wanted to make. congratulations, you ignorant moron.

  • by v1 (525388) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:55PM (#29880047) Homepage Journal

    The catch here is that Apple's Mac OS X license forbids installation on anything but a "Macintosh Brand Computer", hence when you install snow leopard you are violating its license. That's the main sticking point. Not that I like stupid tie-downs in licenses like that, but the law looks to be on Apple's side. Pystar themselves may not be violating the license, but they're blatantly assisting and encouraging their customers to do so. Should make for an entertaining battle...

  • Better the devil you know... I'm unhappy enough about Microsoft's kill switches, and I'm still on Windows 2000. There's no way I'd trust a crack that replaces Apple's copy protection with one containing a kill switch like this:

    "Rebel EFI is free to try and download, though it will have limited hardware functionality and a run-time of two hours."

    Certainly not one by a company that's already stated they can't keep track of their own paperwork.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:09PM (#29880115)

    Can you name a single instance where Apple has prosecuted someone for making a hackintosh in their home?

  • Re:OS X on Mini 9 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:57PM (#29880341)

    I got Dell Mini 9 last spring but it was almost unusable with WinXP due to the screen resolution and sluggishness of Windows on Atom CPU. Later I installed Mac OS X 10.5.7 and then 10.5.8 with EFI and it completely changed usability problems I had with the netbook. And no, I didn't copy that floppy but rather bought Leopard DVD from Apple.
    This is an intermediate solution because I'm still waiting for a netbook or a 4x iPhone-type panel from Apple. Once I put my hands on it I will certainly sell this Dell.

    "ZOMG! My blender wasn't working well, until I installed Mac OS X, now I also can use it as a karaoke machine!"

    So your Mac OS improved your screen resolution?
    Seriously, I don't think you're talking about issues with the OS, but the bloated systems Dell and other manufacturers sell, and the awful anti-virus software that requires at least 2 cores.
    Don't mix the two things.

  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:03AM (#29880655)

    No case about violating EULAs has ever been brought to court in the US.

    I interpret that as meaning companies prefer the current FUD enviroment surrounding EULAs to actually attempting to enforce them, since they may be ruled non-binding.

    It's fairly clear they don't meet the legal definition of a contract.

  • by lurker-11 (977638) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:16AM (#29880715)

    If someone else tries to make profit off of Apples product without license from Apple, then Apple is absolutely within their rights to prevent it.

    It's perfectly legitimate to resell products at a profit without permission or "license" from the manufacturer. That's exactly what any retail store does to make money (in the case where they buy from a distributor and aren't the original manufacturer).

  • by Stupendoussteve (891822) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:27AM (#29880753)

    Actually in the EULA "Apple-branded hardware", I have a feeling just slapping on a sticker does not equate to being Apple branded, as Apple is not the one claiming it is theirs.

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:13AM (#29881329)

    Because Apple uses dubious means to prevent people from running OSX on computers they don't bless. There's always going to be a market for it as long as Apple refuses to allow for people to just install on whatever hardware they want.

    They don't even need to do that. The commercial market for Psystar's machines would dry up overnight if Apple released a ~$1100ish headless tower.

  • OSX Virtualization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:15AM (#29881339)

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

    That's what I want to do, run Snow Leopard, SN in a VM. I want to setup my Mac I'm typing this on to dual boot SN and Ubuntu. Then I'll use VirtualBox or another VM program to run Ubuntu in a VM. I'd also like to run SN in a VM in Ubuntu, that way I could boot into either OS and still run the other one. In the VirtualBox forums [virtualbox.org] I read it was possible to run OS X as a guess but when I last searched I didn't find out how to.

    I don't have any use for my Mac mini other than checking some web design comparability with Safari under OSX

    I'll be using my Mac for development. With my Mac I can program and test them in Linux, OS X, and Windows.

    I don't like having yet another piece of hardware I don't even need sitting around.

    I know what you mean. I have a WinME PC with hardware problems I'm thinking of putting into storage for now and I have two other PCs, one dualboot with NT4.0 and Redhat and the other's a Linux PC. That is I bought it new with Linux preinstalled. Both are under my desk now. The NT4 box being more than 10 years old, and having a DEC Alpha [wikipedia.org] CPU, I'm not sure what to do. That is other than gut the case and rebuild. Now I plan on doing that with the Linux PC, it was a low powered PC anyway, I paid $250 for it versus more than $5000 for the NT4 box. I have other PCs renters in my apartment building left behind as well. For those I was thinking of listing them, and maybe my old ones, on Freecycle [freecycle.org] for anyone willing to come and pick them up.

    Maybe you can do the same, list your hardware on Freecycle.

    Falcon

  • by imakemusic (1164993) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:01AM (#29882259)
    I was going to post a rebuttal but this has to be a troll. I refuse to believe that anyone is this retarded.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:37AM (#29882455)

    Getting behind Psystar is Pointless. What's the main argument against Macs? "I can't build whatever custom machine I want." Well if you don't build to the specs the Psystar machines have issues. The other argument is the fossilized argument that Macs are too expensive and probably overpriced. There are arguments for and against them being overpriced so that argument is a wash it's more about them servicing the low end market which they have always avoided. My ex business partner tried to save a buck. I needed a Mac Pro for editing. I was using a desktop Intel Mac but it was maxed out and it couldn't keep up. He insisted he knew some one that said they could build a Mac clone that was faster than "any" Mac. Well I let him order it and I expected the worst but gave it a chance. The thing was buggy and ran half as fast as my Intel iMac. It was half the price of the Mac Pro I needed but it wasn't half as good as an Intel iMac that was around the same price. He returned it and got a Mac Pro which ran like a champ. Moral of the story if you need a Mac then buy a Mac. If you don't and you are offended with the Apple business model buy a PC. There are an ocean of options out there including home built. I've got lots of issues with Apple and I'm hardly a fan but Psystar isn't striking a blow for freedom they are trying to leech off Apple. They built up a solid brand name and now Psystar wants some reflected glory to sell cheap knock offs. Apple tried letting another company clone and it was a royal headache and not profitable so they cut them off. The whole argument does seem pointless. Should Porsche be forced to sell bodies to a competitor who installs cheap under powered engines and poor suspensions and sell them as Porsches? A customer is going to be wildly unimpressed and it'll likely reflect back on Porsche. Apple wants quality control and their OS is not written as a commercial standalone product. Just look at the last upgrades. Microsoft is selling theirs for nearly 10X as much, I just priced out Windows 7 and had my breath taken away. Apple sells the Snow Leopard upgrade for about the price of a tank of gas. Can you see a sizable profit margin in them just selling OSs? Or would you be happier to have them just up their OS upgrade price ten fold? Even their full copy is cheap because even it is considered an upgrade since it's meant to go into a machine that's already licensed.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:37AM (#29882459) Homepage

    It's one thing to sell a product "as is". Retail stores does this all the time. It's another thing to take a product, modify it and then re-sell it without the permission of the OEM

    I don't see why permission would be needed.

    Do you need permission from the provider of wood to make chairs with it that you will sell? If I buy a vase and paint it, do I need to ask the maker for permission to resell it?

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:10PM (#29886601) Homepage Journal

    Most courts would not consider such a license valid: if it isn't granting you any rights other than the ones you already have, there's no "consideration", and thus no contract.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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