Psystar's Rebel EFI is Evil

As we all do know that Psystar has launched Rebel EFI (aka repackaged boot-132/Chameleon + PC_EFI with a nice GUI and theme) which allows users to install MacOSX and other OS easily. In other words you can put your Snow Leopard Retail DVD and bam it boots. Its all only for USD $ 49.99 (limited offer , it costs you ~USD $90). You can check out the pricing and other details from Psystar site here for yourself.
More after the jump

Instead I am going to explain to you why its evil. Firstly what pystar currently doing is daylight robbery. In other words they take the great open source projects such as PC_EFI by netkas and Chameleon and boot-132 method and glued it together with premium support and a nice front end. Thats about it. I’ll explain how Rebel EFI works. Its simple , what it does is that you enter your login/password , it checks against the server and then logins. Then it runs lspci command to check what kind of hardware you have and then it checks against their server database for supported devices. It would tell you if the device is supported or not. If its supported ,it will automatically download “kexts” (drivers) for you and install it. Alternatively you have an option of making your own boot disc. Kinda fancy isn’t it. Now all of this for $50 is indeed daylight robbery. If it was for free , I wouldn’t mind. Even if you want to charge it $50 for “repacking” stuff at least give due credits for those who have done it – for instance lspci was included inside the app but it was never given for credits and such and other tools which they have used.

Wow references of lspci ( a tool which lists hardware that you've it installed which you can get it for free)
Wow references of lspci ( a tool which lists hardware that you've it installed which you can get it for free)

I’ll explain to you on how you could do it for free. When I say its for free , its free and it includes bit of googling and researching. Plus it works on all platforms including AMD and legacy Intel processors unlike Pystar’s software. Generally Pystar is a combination of Chameleon/PC_EFI , boot-132 , lspci (for osx) and a bit of googling and browsing sites such as these for your kext and knowing how to install them. Thats about it. If you want to install Snow Leopard on your PC. Do read my guide or tons of guides out there in the Internet. if you’re looking for an easier method , then try Conti’s Installer. Its basically simple. As for “premium support” you can always drop by at IRC networks such as irc.osx86.hu , #snowleopard and ask questions if you’re stucked. Sure you don’t get polite and professional support but the folks there would surely point you up for the right direction.
My question is why on earth are folks willing to pay $50 when they can it by themselves with a retail disc of MacOS X . Sure it takes a bit of effort to get it up and running , but then if you’re talking the dark side of the path – its better to learn it fully and take the proper step. Plus it runs great on even old Pentium 4s , AMD processor and even Atom processors
To Make it simpler lets do a comparison between free and the paid edition (Free being the proper way to install)
Free Method (Boot-132 + Chameleon + following guide)
Pros

  • Works on every single hardware on planet earth (i.e even with legacy Pentium 4 and AMD with SSE2)
  • Allows you to have more control over your hardware as in selection of kext and tuning it right to work it properly (DSDT)
  • Its free (as in free beer) plus you’ll just have to pay $29 for genuine Snow Leopard installation disc

Cons

  • Its not for everyone
  • Requires extensive reading , searching and not to mention  basic understanding of UNIX and such (which could be useful in just about anything)

Paid Method (aka Rebel EFI)
Pros
Can’t think of any. Seriously. If you think that it saves time , etc. Yeah sure but those aren’t real pros
Cons

  • $50 for a software whereby you could do it for free

Oh yeah I am in the midst of compiling enough evidence just to say that the tool was made from free stuff and repackaged together . I mean , the hex editor points out some intresting stuff . My next mission is to open initrd.img and take a look to see whats inside of it .
Note #2 – Evidence eh ? How about reading this View post or check out netkas’ site.

34 thoughts to “Psystar's Rebel EFI is Evil”

  1. Setting up Chameleon was a pain in the ass. First getting the EFI partition mounted wasn’t very straight forward, then getting the right drivers and making a dsdt.aml was horrible. 12 hours of work to get thing working nicely. I would rather fork over $50 than go through that hassle again

  2. Well thats your call. Personally for me thats daylight robbery. For something that you could do with a bit of googling and learning something. if you don’t want that , go ahead and pay $50 and get premium support for a company. Its your choice after all

  3. I gotta say, if your time is worth more than $5/hour then it sounds like buying this thing is a good option. It isn’t exactly moral on their part, especially not crediting people, but for the end user it’s a great option. I mean look at how well the efi-x USB dongle did. That thing was essentially a hardware things that did the same thing for >$200. For the novice, they can put together their own $3000 Mac Pro for $1200+$50 or so with no hassle. Sounds like a deal to me.

  4. I understand your point but I have to agree with the other two guys here: it’s a matter of time versus money.
    If you don’t know how to do it, and if you’re not a unix/linux user, you’ll probably have to spend 5+ hours reading guides, downloading the right software/drivers/packs and so on. And then you’ll have to try the actual install, hoping that everything goes well.
    Now I don’t really want to install OSX on my PC but if I would, my time is much more valued than 5$ per hour and I really prefer spending a little money and have a simple, almost problem free solution than start going through technical docs and so on 🙂
    IMO if you’re really against this Psystar offer, look for this software on some torrent site and then spread it as much as you can. If they steal from the comunity, you can steal back from them 🙂

  5. Look i can’t say i agree 100% with this software. But your argument on “a bit of googling” is not that simple. Sure you have sites all of the place but nothing as simple as this software. Yes they are stealing software, and i would love for them to just give credit. BUT no one in the community has done anything like this. Boot 132, doesn;t work for everything. Making a DSDT file is a pain. Looking through forum posts and random kext is really a pain.
    50 bucks is not that much money, it;s less then a video game.
    I have had many Hackintosh machines since tiger days. Everytime a new patch goes out it’s kext patching and fixing all over again.
    If the community wants to fight back. Then take there tool and hack it, give all the credit.. and make it free. What are they going to do? Sue? HAha.

  6. Pretty comical. Your argument is that someone is taking something free (another example might be… say… FreeBSD or OpenBSD), adding some support and shiny, charging for it, and that this is bad because the people could eschew the $50 fee and do it themselves?
    When writing this post and coming to the conclusion you did, did you realize the irony of talking about installing a fundamentally free operating system (OpenBSD) that costs lots of money (MacOSX), that’s forced to run on very particular (and ridiculously expensive) hardware, whose only benefit is that it’s “shiny” and you don’t have to see the command line?
    It’s good to bring products (and their free and open source brethren) to light, but…

  7. There are options like
    osx86.sojugarden.com
    which i might just try. But i have to agree with Daniel. There are MANY examples to this.
    I guess it;s because most of these hackers are not making the money them selves they get angry. It’s not like they can release most of there hacks under the GPL/GNU Open Source License.

  8. “i have to agree with Daniel.”
    I have to disagree. There is much much more to OS X than just the BSD layer. Besides, using BSD code in proprietary products is specifically allowed under the BSD license.
    These hackers (OSx86 Project, etc) don’t want to make money or they would charge for the code. They’re angry because Psystar is taking their code to make money, without even giving them any kind of credit. All the Psystar ruckus is also drawing unwanted attention to said hackers. The community has been ignored by Apple until now. If this was to change, the whole hackintosh scene could become a casualty.

  9. I don’t know why all the criticism towards the article, it just pointed it out: if this is based on open source and doesn’t credit it, it’s wrong and they should’ve credit it – and make it open source as well, if it’s based on gpl’ed software or similar – it’s that simple. Then, everyone would be happy (except for Apple, obviously, but hey… that’s life!).

  10. many of you missed the point.
    the argument of time saving vs $ spent/saved is irrelevant.
    Put it this way, it may take 1-2 hours of planning and 5 minute to rob a bank. The money robbed may be more than what you can earn for the next 10 years.
    could you justify that robbery with the time saved vs spent/saved?

  11. I think you are missing the point, the boot cd is based on other peoples open source license code that says you have to release the source code if you publish any binary, and:
    1) They didnt publish any code.
    2) They didnt include the licence.
    3) They encrypt the thing to bypass these requirements.

  12. The man doesn’t even explain or cite sources when stating they stole code. False claims such as those, when proven false can lead to costly consequences.
    The poster above noted that OSX is utilizing a BSD layer and charging boodles of money for it, and someone chimed in “There is much much more to OS X” — There is obviously much more to this than the other, pain-in-the-class, utilities out there.
    Your claim about the licensing only applies if you can prove that this code is stealing the code from the open source projects. Even if it is using the other peoples drivers, it’s quite obvious that the program itself is a boot-loader for installing that downloads drivers off the internet.
    They aren’t even stealing the drivers.
    Psystar has been loading computer natively and selling them as Macs, how can you be so sure this isn’t based off a tool THEY developed to install the MacPCs?
    Oh.. watch out! Black Helicopter!
    I agree with everyone else, 50 bucks is worth not having the hassle of building a hackintosh with the tools available and dealing with the pricks on the channels. My time is worth quite a bit more than $10 an hour and I’m not going to waste it when I could be using an operating system to do what I want.
    You might prefer to “learn some things” on google, but I have no need of this knowledge. 1) It changes constantly, 2) It’s irrelevant to my work; and 3) It isn’t going to be performed repeatedly, I would have to google for each individual machine most likely. I have 3 computers I wanted to try MacOS on, all completely different.

  13. Well installing SL on a PC can be total hell, or absolutely impossible for someone without at least some technical inclination, so I’d say paying 50 bucks for a software that does everything automatically is a pretty good deal.
    Or at least as long as this isn’t just a re packaged boot132 & Chameleon… :/

  14. So let me get this straight, you have no quams with violating Apple’s License Agreement, but you have issues with the violation of another License Agreement?
    Difference between the two is what? Apple charges for code they developed, and the other does not? Any License applies restrictions to the software (and code if open source).
    So lets skip the debate of wether or not Apple is wrong to restrict what hardware their software maybe installed/used on, the $29 for Snow Leopard is an upgrade cost, not the full version which is $129. So even if it was ok to install Mac OS X 10.6 on non-Apple hardware, you still pirated $100 from Apple.
    As for “Apple takes OSS and repackages it and sells it” first off, everything Apple uses that is OSS is still open sourced with the improvements Apple has made to it (WebKit anyone?), Apple also gives credit where it is due and lastly Apple creates other software ( http://developer.apple.com/opensource/ ) that they also open source (libdispatch as the latest example).
    Before you jump to respond with, how expensive Apple’s hardware is as justification for pirating Apple’s software, ponder this.
    I can buy the same paint that any other artist does, but what i create with it might not have the value or worth that a famous artist’s work does. Also I may not feel as though a painting by an artist is worth millions of dollars, but if someone else does, and is willing to pay it, then so be it.
    You guys are comical, and karma is a bitch.

    1. Anyway I am not going to add that much. Pystar is doing commercially while we are doing it for free. Its just like how there are certain group of people who would sell jailbreak solution. Apple kinda hates this , as you see that they have done a lot of steps to prevent it. Obviously Pystar is just going to make things a bit harder for the rest of us.
      At least we are releasing the source code and helping Apple in a way to secure their OS compared to the folks in Pystar. Plus this is more of a hobbyist project rather then something for the commercial world. You may have your own thoughts. If you think $50 is worth it , by all means go ahead and buy the project. At least you’ll get professional support with it.

  15. @ Bah :
    Here is the proof that Psystar stole their code from OSx86 community: (Translated from Russian)
    http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=ru&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fteateam.blogspot.com%2F2009%2F10%2Fpsystar-rebelefi.html&sl=ru&tl=en&history_state0=
    @ Sekhmet and others who say $50 is worth it to get OS X going quickly and easily… The “myHack Installer” supports just as much if not more hardware than REBEL EFI does and is just as easy to use, with better documentation. Oh and it’s free, does not violate the modified BSD OSS licensing of the OSx86 project – in fact it has the blessing and support of the OSx86 community behind it.

  16. Looking at this as I wish I had bought a MacPro when I got my most recent computer. But I’ve read the guides, and while I’m an experience Linux/Unix developer type, it looks like a lot of fiddling and chance. If this works and is relatively pain free, I’ll drop $50. Yes, it would be nice if they gave credit where credit is due. But many a business has been made from bundling open source in a commercial wrapping, and with pressure the credit should come.

  17. While having something done for you for $50 might be nice, the real value OSX86 developers/projects provide is the education of how everything works. If you’re going to support anyone, support the work and time of our beloved OSX86 developers/projects, not Pshitstar.

  18. On top of paying $50 to a company of very questionable repute, if Rebel is indeed a repackaging of Boot-132 and lspci they are in violation of the GPL that states no one may use the code for profit. So they are making money off of other people’s work. Again.

  19. I agree with Pradeesh on this. I wouldn’t pay anyone for software/material I could get from guides & forums such as this. Especially not Psystar. If anything, osx86 should stay in the in the internet underground, else Apple may pay much closer attenton.
    I don’t spend my time in the OSX86 community for the sake of convenience, I am interested in the challenge and rewards of installing OS X on PCs. I installed Snow Leopard on a few PCs already using guides like this one (and various pieces of information from forums). Sure, it took awhile the first time, but as I learned more about it, the installation process got faster.
    Myhack has a a real good free installer to simply the install, for those that need quicker options.

  20. Ok. So people are spending allot of time trying to get the whole process figured out. They say that it’s better to just buy the psystar product. Notice that I did not capitalize psystar. I believe that Knowledge is Power. If I want to install a Snow Leopard DVD on my PC I want to know that I have control. I do not want to rely on a company that may go under and or have to give up their records on registered users. Also if they go under the support is GONE! Your out in the cold and probably have to learn how to do it anyway. Oh yes some one may take over the reigns. There is no assurance that it will happen. knowledge is Power. I do not like having to rely on others to do it for me. If we rely on everything to be done for us, we then become slaves to the system. We already rely on too much. I want to have control over my system. I do not want my info sent to some server some where and then have some puppy maybe sharing it with another person for kext purposes. Time… We have time it just comes down to how patient are we. If you want ti done in one day. You are probably one of those people who will pay. I have a saying. There are those who pay, and there are those who don’t pay as much. Microsoft loves for us to pay. The US Government loves for us to pay. Apple want’s us to pay for their hardware. But they have given us a break in selling Snow Leopard at a pathetically low price. I say thank you Steve. And Thank you Hackintosh developers. If you are one of those people who want to empower your self you will strive to learn and free your self from the bonds of ignorance. Ignorance breeds bondage. Governments want to control. People want to control. We; those who want to understand and grow; we want freedom in ways that we never knew before. Power to those who want to open their minds.

  21. why does the community not do an installer like this.
    with a server that automatically provides kexts
    with a list of recommended hardware that will give you a 100% supported machine.
    i work on a hackintosh
    but its a PAIN IN THE ASS
    i dont want to scour forums for HOURS
    but i am happy to pay for the time and hassle i dont have to put up with
    if the community provides it i will go and pay the community guys
    if only psystar provides an easy install then i have to go the psystar way
    i have done a few hackintoshs already
    so i kind of know how to
    but for me its just too much time spent
    i would buy a mac if they had single chip mac pros that allowed overclocking
    but paying 2400 for the mac pro that is slower than a 700 euro custom built is a bit too much to ask
    so please community
    Provide a rebel efi version that works
    i will gladly donate

  22. btw i bought the rebel efi for my p5w
    because i wanted a quick and easy install (without scouring forums for hours)
    and it does not work
    when i bought it they didnt have that compatibility list
    it actually does not work at all – a quick hackintosh install gets you a lot further than the rebel efi
    best thing is:
    a friend of mine brought me his x58 ud5 which is 100% supported on their site
    but you cant install it because they lock your user to one mainboard (in my case to an unsupported p5w)
    isnt that crazy ?
    psystar really does suck
    i would be happy to pay 30euros if it worked
    but it doesnt

  23. I agree they should give credit, but it is worth the money, i’ve tried many time to do it myself, and could rarely get the stuff to work

  24. Look. Apple has made it as easy as possible to own a Mac. I bought a Mac Pro. I am very happy with it. I know people who haven’t been able to afford a Mac Pro. I have setup five Hackintosh machines. All different makes. I have read allot of info on how to do it.
    When it comes to Psystar… They are not an origin company and have no desire to help you when they are gone. As said in the above posts, you can see that Psystar has no desire to help. They only want to sell. They cannot even afford to pay Apple. What makes you think they will help you.
    I never knew anything about Hackintosh. I did allot of research. I am retired. I have time on my hands. I also know some one who is going to school, and raising a family. He was able to learn how to build a hackintosh. He did it by reading a little at a time and doing massive goggle searches. There are allot of public hackers out there who have been working really hard to make it easy for you. I am not saying that you are lazy. I am not saying that you are stupid. I am just saying that when you try and try hard your hard work pays off.
    There are plenty of forums out there. There are plenty of web sites out there. Google is the number one search engine. It gives lots of info on this topic. Searching in such manners as examples below. Using a plus between each word will give you results intotal with each word. Using the right combo of words matters. Also typing in your mother board or computer make plus leopard will give you results. I installed iDeneb Light on an IBM Think Pad Lenovo T42. It took me a week to figure it out on my own. I did some research on that machine after words on google with the search of Thinkpad+T42+leopard and found the rocedures on how to install Kalyway 10.5.1 and 10.5.2. They had trouble shooting issues and possible fixes.
    There are lots of people out there wanting to help. Other than the cost of your internet and the cost of the electricity everything else (the info) is free. Psystar isn’t. As said in the Above posts by other people in this forum. They bought the Rebel EFI fro Psyatar and it didn’t work. After they bought it it was registered to that mother board and it could not ever be used on any other board. The person was out all that money. After words they decided to research it and do it the hard way and eventually got it working without Psystar.
    I know you can do it. I believe you you can do it. If you couldn’t you wouldn’t be reading this and you wouldn’t of found this posting. reading this means you are exerting some sort of effort and seeking knowledge on this whole matter. So I believe that Knowledge is POWER. Knowledge opens the mind. Knowledge leads to Wisdom. Wisdom is a means to giving. It will make you want to share your experience’s in this endeavor. Eventually when enough people share knowledge and wisdom the road becomes easier to trod.

  25. Apple sells Macs starting at 600 dollars. They finance though a credit company. That is the easy way to won a mac. If you have bad credit and cannot afford a mac then you go the hackintosh way. Remeber what I said above.

  26. Here is a link to building a Snow Leopard Hackintosh. Patience. It took the IBM T42 Lenovo Thinkpad 5 minuts to boot up to the install DVD After it was installed it booted much quicker. I noticed that the power settings caused it to boot slower. Here are some of the mother boards I have installed on. ASUS P5K, ASUS P5Q, IBM T42 ThinkPad, Compaq Presario V4000, GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard an others. Rule of thumb… OS X Likes Nvidia and Intel. I have tried to get it working on AMD Machines and it was very difficult to get it to final boot. All the Intel socket 775 and above with Nvidia 7200 geforce or better worked very well. OS X likes Serial ATA. It will work on PATA but you have to select the right drivers in the hack install DVD. A good Monitor that can handle low and high res settings. The hackintosh link has the most info on allot of this stuff. I hope this helps.
    http://lifehacker.com/5351485/how-to-build-a-hackintosh-with-snow-leopard-start-to-finish
    Here are some links to getting help for Hackintosh Leopard on PC.
    http://www.osx86project.org/
    http://www.hackintosh.com/
    http://lifehacker.com/321913/build-a-hackintosh-mac-for-under-800
    http://lifehacker.com/321913/build-a-hackintosh-mac-for-under-800

  27. But why not compile a competitive tool on that open-source code that would duplicate Rebel EFI’s function for free? If that was possible, there would be no reason for the end-user to buy their stolen code.

  28. Where exactly does it say that it’s verboten to charge for compiled and packaged FLOSS (GPL, BSD, MPL, APSL etc) work. GPL licence even goes as far as EXPLICITLY ALLOWING profit making as long as the source is provided. It’s always been about it being free as in speech, not as in beer. If the former was true, the RedHats, SuSE’s, Mandrakes, Progenys and Cannonicals of the world would not exist and Linux would still be a tool for ultrageeks to satisfy their own apetite for geekdom and wouldn’t be taken seriously anywhere.
    Giving credit to comunity is also not part of any licence. This is usually solved by the previous two obligatory requirements (ie source and/or licence would usually contain info about original devs). So most of you people are way off here.
    Truth be told:
    1) They didn’t make source of their additions to the software available as per licence of any given FLOSS sw they used
    2) They didn’t include licences with the binaries
    3) As has been said before, they add further restrictions not present in original code — big breach of GPL if anything is GPL-ed there, not sure where other licences stand.
    Finnaly, they sell a shit product with shit support. It had worked for people in niche markets before (Steinberg anyone?) but doesn’t work in “packaged FLOSS” market EVER. They have alienated both of their upstreams (Apple and OSX86 community), and are alienating their clientelle — so they already failed. I don’t get it why anyone would get their knickers in a twist over something like this.

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