Psystar's Rebel EFI -- Snow Leopard on a PC

By Frank Ohlhorst, Computerworld |  Software, Mac OS, Psystar

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.

This is not Psystar's first venture into Apple's realm. Psystar has offered Mac clones for some time, experiencing Apple's wrath in the form of lawsuits and injunctions.

Apple's response to Psystar's encroachment is understandable; the Mac OS has always been tightly coupled to hardware designed by the company. In fact, the end-user licensing agreement or EULA (pdf) for Mac OS X expressly forbids users from installing the operating system on hardware not sold by Apple: "You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so."

Now Psystar has upped the ante by offering the virtualization technology that powers its Mac clones as a standalone software package called Rebel EFI.

Rebel EFI works by creating a virtualized environment that allows users to install OS X version 10.6 (commonly referred to as Snow Leopard) on a PC with a Core 2 Duo, Quad, i7 or Xeon Nehalem processor. Rebel EFI is available in two forms: a free download with limited support and a full-functioning version for $50.

The free download is a good starting point to test hardware compatibility, but is limited to a two-hour session and does not support any driver downloads. If your hardware checks out and you like how OS X runs on your PC, then you will want to invest in the $50 version, which gives you access to software updates and support from Psystar.

Creating a "Hackintosh"

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