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CherryOS Emulator Faces Licensing Problems

By Susan B. Shor
Mar 10, 2005 11:00 AM PT

Five months after a preview version of CherryOS was released to cries that it was merely a copy of the open-source PearPC, software distributor Maui X-Stream has done it again. The Hawaii-based company re-released a final version of CherryOS on Tuesday to a similar reception.

PearPC, a PowerPC architecture emulator, is released under the General Public License, which means anyone is free to use and modify the code as long as the modifications are again released under the GPL. CherryOS is selling as a commercial product, for US$49.95 a copy. Critics say the programs are almost identical.

CherryOS Emulator Faces Licensing Problems

Smoking Gun

"The evidence is very strong, and the almost all, if not all, of the entire emulation engine, which is the core of the product, is a directly taken from the PearPC project," Dave Schroeder, a senior systems engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told LinuxInsider.

That evidence includes identical configuration files, error messages and almost identical source files. The program also boots up the same way as PearPC, open-source developers said.

An emulation engine adds a layer that imitates a different architecture, to allow, for instance, someone running Windows XP to install Mac OS X. CherryOS's problems extend beyond the claims of the open-source community to its seeming violation of the Apple licensing agreement, which allows installation of Mac OS X on one Apple-branded computer at a time.

Development Application

Schroeder said that a PearPC user could do the same, but that the program is intended for a wider purpose.

"While it can run Mac OS X, and likely some PearPC users are doing just that, it does have other applications, and PearPC does not promote or market itself as a tool to exclusively run Mac OS X," he said.

"CherryOS, on the other hand, is a commercial product that is specifically marketed to people for running Mac OS X on Windows systems, which is a clear violation of Mac OS X's license agreement."

PearPC was developed to allow the installation of PowerPC architecture operating systems, which include Mac OS X, for development or testing. Linux and UNIX software developers have used PearPC to port and test projects on operating systems such as Darwin and PowerPC variants of Linux, Schroeder said.

Maui X-Stream did not reply to repeated calls for comment, but it did say that it plans to post a response to criticism on its Web site.

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