CherryOS Emulator Faces Licensing Problems

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.

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.

1 Comment

  • It strikes me as a little hypocritical of these Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS)-loving "critics" to slag Cherry OS. One of the arguments that we hear presented over and over from all corners of the FLOSS community is that FLOSS allows for vibrant and viable COMMERCIALISATION of said software.
    Unless the makers of Cherry OS are violating the terms of the licencing agreement under which the original code is distributed, it doesn’t matter WHAT the makers of Cherry OS are doing with the code, now does it?
    I fear that all the bad press that Cherry OS is getting (unless it’s self-generated in order to create visibility in a short time… "there’s no such thing as bad publicity") might discourage other companies from adopting FLOSS software as a business model.
    Yes, the FLOSS community claims that FLOSS is a viable business model. However, beware, the FLOSS community appears to take away with its right hand what it gives with its left.
    I’d rather see a little more information and a lot less hype. Whether the "controversy" is intentionally being created by X-Stream, I do not know. If it is, then I’m all for punishing the company since they’re engaging in unscrupulous business practices. If it’s the FLOSS community "eating its own" then those rogue members ought to "shape up or ship out".
    Sincerely, Eric.
    hide me 666 at hot mail dott com

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