Apparently not content with just selling cloned Mac hardware in the form of PCs built out of components that are OS X friendly, Psystar, that perennial legal foe of Apple, has now released a software program, too. The program, dubbed Rebel EFI, perhaps in an effort to stir the patriotic hearts of American and Star Wars fans alike, “allows for the easy installation of multiple operating systems on a single system.”
Despite the odd syntactical choice made by Psystar’s copy editor, the ramifications are clear: you should, in theory, be able to install Mac OS X on any old PC hardware. Not only that, but Rebel EFI also reportedly scans your system for compatible hardware and downloads all the appropriate drivers where they are available.
Of course, Psystar is in the business of making money (though sometimes I wonder how it thinks that’s possible when tangling with Apple in court), so Rebel EFI isn’t free. It’ll cost you $49.99 to get the full version, which ships as a direct download.
You don’t have to dive in blind, though. Anyone can download and use Rebel, but the trial version limits some hardware features and only works for two hours. To prevent piracy, you see, or the unlicensed use of Psystar’s software. Yes, the irony is delicious.
Psystar bundles the Rebel EFI with the Darwin Universal Boot Loader, or DUBL, which allows for users to install multiple operating systems on the same computer on different drives. It supports up to six, so you could have OS X, Windows, and any number of Linux builds all running on the same machine, for example.
Rebel also uses the same “Safe Update” method Psystar includes on its pre-modded hardware, which automatically screens updates from Apple and lets you know if they’re safe to install. The same tool also checks with Psystar’s servers to make sure all your hardware is using optimal drivers.
Finally, Psystar has even introduced a new “home certification program.” The program encourages users of the Rebel EFI software to send in hardware components that aren’t fully compatible with the tool, so that the clone-maker’s engineers can correct the problem for all users affected. To me, sending your own hardware components in to a company with a questionable track record which could, theoretically, close its doors any day doesn’t seem like the wisest course of action, but to each his own.
If anyone is planning on purchasing the Rebel EFI, or even just downloading and trying out the demo ISO, we’d welcome an account of your trials and tribulations in the comments.