Does Psystar’s Rebel EFI software contain code covered by an Apple Public Source License?

Thu, Oct 29, 2009


In their latest attempt at a shameless money-grab, Florida based clonemaker Psystar recently released its Rebel EFI software which purports to enable users to install copies of OS X on non-Apple hardware.  Early reviews of the software have been overwhelmingly critical, with the overarching consensus being that the software provides little to no documentation and may not even run on whatever hardware you happen to be running.

That said, OS News is now reporting that the Rebel EFI software may contain code subject to an Apple Public Source License, whereby anyone who releases it must make the source code publicly available.

When Psystar announced it Rebel EFI package, the company was quickly accused of simply taking open source code, repackaging it, and selling it for USD 50. While selling open source code is not a problem, not making the source code available if the license demands it is. Netkas, famous OSX86 hacker, and a Russian site are now claiming they have found the smoking gun.

Sadly, neither Netkas nor the Russian site are particularly proficient in Engish, so it’s not all entirely clear what’s going on here, but I’m taking them – Netkas especially – on their word when they say they have found evidence that Rebel EFI is based on open source boot-132 code. Apparently, the Darwin Universal Bootloader, the tool Psystar uses, contains the same strings as boot-132 and tools based on boot-132 (e.g. Chameleon).

That of course wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself, if it weren’t for the fact that boot-132 is licensed under the Apple Public Source License, version 2. This is a license which contains a clause similar to the GPL in that when you ship modifications, you also have to provide the source code to anyone you shipped your product to. So far, Psystar has not done so, but it could theoretically be that if you ask them, they might provide it.

Good ole’ Psystar.  They must have been in such a hurry to get their “quality” software out the door that they must have plum forgot about irrelevant things like, oh I don’t know, license terms they’re required to adhere to.



1 Comments For This Post

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