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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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  • Virtualization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corychristison (951993) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:23PM (#29879457)

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

    I don't have any use for my Mac mini other than checking some web design comparability with Safari under OSX (Win port does not like WINE). I can run XP under VirtualBox no problems but the Win Port of Safari isn't exactly the same anyway.

    I don't like having yet another piece of hardware I don't even need sitting around. I already have two desktops, 2 laptop, media center pc and my homebuilt router (ITX board w/ dual Gb lan + gb switch + wifi card running pfSense).

    Perhaps this Rebel product will lead the way into running OSX under virtualized hardware?

  • by IonOtter (629215) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:50PM (#29879655) Homepage

    ...is that Psystar is still around.

    All the previous predictions were that Apple would sue them into a hole so deep, the Salvation Army would be sending them their beans with a shotgun.

    Yet here they are, still going strong, apparently?

    Good for them.

  • OS X on Mini 9 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:18PM (#29879845)

    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.

  • Re:Virtualization (Score:2, Interesting)

    by callinyouin (1138469) on Monday October 26, 2009 @09:54PM (#29880043)
    I can also confirm this works, although not well.
    As soon as you give the OS a fair amount of filesystem activity (ie decompressing, installing etc.), it locks up. Vmware complains about something related to filesystem activity/read&write/something (can't remember, really), and the only option is to turn the virtual machine off at this point.
    This is only my experience, of course. I have only tested this on Linux with host filesystems reiserfs and ext[3,4], and have not used a dedicated hard drive, only seperate partitions.
    It's probably worth noting that it was also under Arch Linux, which requires a certain "hack" for installing VMware (Vmware requires sysv init scripts, Arch uses BSD-style).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:09PM (#29880119)

    Why? I mean, I take the opposite approach -- that you should never pay money to someone else for pirated goods. It's bad enough to rip-off the original producer (especially if you aren't doing it to "try before you buy") but to pay someone else who wants to make a living helping rip-off the original producer? That crosses a line for me.

    So, no. I wouldn't pay for this any more than I'd pay for a bootleg CD or an anti-copy protection tool.

  • Re:OS X on Mini 9 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Monday October 26, 2009 @10:51PM (#29880311)

    I'm running Leopard (and Solaris) on an Acer Aspire One and it's amazing how well it runs on what's really the lowest of the low end especially when there's no chance of squeezing decent performance out of MS' latest offerings on the same hardware. Apple's definitely doing something right with their OS.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:03PM (#29880383)

    Was that supposed to be clever? Apple owns OS X. No one claimed they owned BSD. OS X was developed, marketed, and sold by Apple. It is not BSD, although it has it's roots in BSD. NeXT was based on FreeBSD and NetBSD. OS X was derived from NeXT.

    Think you could do better? It's perfectly legal to take open source, package it, and sell it if the license allows. Take the path that Apple did. Of course you'd need developers, tons of money, and then more cash to market it. They own OS X. Any arguments to the contrary are just slight of hand.

    Psystar didn't do that. They took a product owned by someone else and sold it as their own. Hell, they are doing the same thing to the OSX86 community and all their work. I find it curious that people will try to defend Psystar when they are turning their thumbs at the very same open source community.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:32PM (#29880535)

    Does that Christian university STILL have that course that gives credit for Christian postings on "difficult" websites ? Do they have an integrated kindergarten ?

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:41PM (#29880571)

    The special sauce is in the firmware. Apple are using a custom EFI firmware (which even supports wireless and bluetooth right in the boot menu) in their machines while I've never even seen a PC which uses EFI instead of BIOS, let alone one that boots from custom built firmware. Windows and Linux boot through EFI's BIOS emulation IIRC. 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.

  • Re:The problem... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @11:46PM (#29880589) Homepage Journal
    Well, not in the consumer market at least. If you remember NeXTSTEP, IRIX, AIX, HP-UX, among others, that only ran on certain hardware. And Windows locks you into x86 based computers.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:45AM (#29880851)

    Apple specs out the parts to the same manufactures that a lot of PC users do, but they are slightly different specs. When I opened up a 5 year old PowerBook and dell the other day, they both had Hatichi Travelstar harddrives, but the one in the Mac had a "Made for Apple" on the label. The one from the Dell had just a generic label. As far as I can tell, the drives are identical other than the type of ribbon had a standard EIDE connector on one end and a ribbon with a special adaptor for the motherboard. Same with the DVD burner.

    Now what I have found is that Apple tends to write their own drivers. For YEARS ATI had better hardware than Nvidia, but ATI's drivers sucked on windows. It was literally buy a graphics card, wait 6 months for a decent driver to come out. On the Macs, never had the issues. From my understanding, the reason behind that was the fact that Apple wrote the drivers, not ATI.

  • by dbet (1607261) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:02AM (#29880913)
    Until Apple proves in court that you're criminally liable for installing OSX on a non-Apple brand computer, they can take their EULA and stuff it. An EULA cannot be legally binding if it contains instructions that violate the law (for example, an EULA that says I now own your children). This is the crux of Psystar's argument - that Apple's restriction of using OSX on Apple-brand hardware is not supported by the law.

    I don't really care about this particular court battle, however, the ramifications for what an EULA can restrict are important to pay attention to. What if MS decides you can only install Windows on a list of approved brands?
  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @04:06AM (#29881497) Homepage Journal

    You don't need a license to install or run software once you've bought a copy. 17 USC 117 [bitlaw.com] is all the entitlement you need.

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @08:31AM (#29882413)

    The commercial market for Psystar's machines would dry up overnight if Apple released a ~$1100ish headless tower.

    The problem is that there is a very, very good reason why Apple only makes small-form-factor, all-in-one, mid/high-end laptops and workstation class machines: profit margins.

    Such machines can be sold for a premium price c.f. generic tower hardware - and most objective reviews of Apple hardware find that it is reasonably competetive when compared like-for-like with other SFFs, all-in-ones, workstations or high-end laptops.

    A headless tower (or a chunky, entry-level laptop) would be in direct competition with the most competetive sector of the PC market, where manufacturers throw together Windows systems from whatever components are going cheap that month, and only make a profit if they manage to sell you an extended warranty or overpriced upgrade.

    So, its very questionable whether releasing an affordable tower would actually expand Apple's market - but it is almost inevitable that it would leech sales from Apple's other, higher margin, products.

    Remember, the last time Apple tried licensing its OS, the problem was that rather than introducing cheap'n'cheerful entry level systems, the cloners went after Apple's high-end workstations because that was where the money was.

    Also, the PC market has a huge market for basic tower systems in the form of the corporate sector. That sector is pwned, lock stock and barrel, by Microsoft - Apple is not going to crack that any time soon. The other big market for towers is gaming: again, one of Apple's weakest areas (Apple do have a successful gaming platform, but its called the iPhone).

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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