Psystar’s Rebel EFI allegedly contains OSS Code covered under Apple Public Source License

Apple Online Store“When Psystar announced it Rebel EFI package, the company was quickly accused of simply taking open source code, repackaging it, and selling it for US$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,” Thom Holwerda reports for OS News. “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).”

Holwerda reports, “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.”

“Now, I place a certain amount of trust in Netkas’ words, but his evidence isn’t necessarily conclusive. More investigations into the matter will have to be performed to get more conclusive evidence,” Holwerda reports. “Assuming Netkas is right, this i a very bad thing [for Psystar]… [Breaking] an open source license which covers distribution… constitutes a breach of copyright, which is a serious offense.”

Full article here.

38 Comments

  1. The problems with companies like Psystar is they’re so damn hard to kill. They won’t die of old age, either; they have to be poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disembowled, drawn and quartered.

    Then they tell you, “Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I’ll be back!”

  2. I think Apple is playing long-ball with these guys just to make sure they die a long, horrible corporate death, and to allow that horrible death to be a warning sign to others.

    As far as this issue is concerned, I’m confused as to whether this is actually actionable. Any lawyers wanna chime in?

  3. Interesting – being forced to release the source code would knock the props out from under Psystar’s business model in selling their “Rebel EFI” package.

    Conversely, however, if Psystar is nothing but a front for other companies which seek to undermine Apple’s business, then releasing the source code would be exactly what they want. (Though doing so would make it even more transparent that Psystar’s existence has nothing to do with selling products, and everything to do with attacking Apple.)

  4. This is one case where Mac owners should wish it isn’t true…but it probably is. Psystar releasing the OSC will put OSX on every wanting-hacker’s system and Psystar would be martyrs, gaining a huge following.

  5. Sometimes evil needs to be existed. I hope that apple will be forced to make mac os x for public license so that anybody can use OS just like windows. I can see that future. Do you think I am crazy, and it won’t be happened forever? NO. It will be. I won’t be surprised at all.

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