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10/5/2009
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Psystar To Sell 'Secret Sauce' Behind Mac Clones

Reseller isn't letting bankruptcy, Apple lawsuit, and lack of partners stand in way of licensing effort.

Despite its embroilment in a copyright lawsuit with Apple, tiny Psystar said Monday that it plans on licensing its controversial Mac cloning technology to third parties.

Under the plan, Psystar will sell the rights to use its virtualization software—including an element it calls the Darwin Universal Boot Loader—to generic PC builders, whom Psystar will then "certify" as official partners.

Psystar said the latest version of its cloning technology is specifically engineered to allow so-called Wintel PCs to run the newest flavor of Apple's Mac OS.

"In an effort to spread the Snow Leopard experience to an ever expanding number of people, the licensing initiative will allow manufacturers to have their hardware Psystar certified and have their computers pre-loaded with our unique technology," Psystar said in a statement.

Psystar did not say whether it has struck any partnerships with hardware makers, but it's doubtful the company would be able to entice any reputable PC builders to join the initiative, at least for the time being.

Psystar filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, and it's being sued by Apple for copyright violation.

Apple claims Psystar's Mac clones violate the terms of the copyright it holds over the Mac operating system. The case is being heard in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Despite the suit, Psystar recently introduced its own Snow Leopard knock off. But without official support from Apple, purchasers could encounter glitches that may not be rectifiable.

Psystar, in fact, has warned customers they shouldn't attempt to upgrade previously purchased Psystar Mac clones to Snow Leopard, aka OS X 10.6, because "it may cause harm to your computer, resulting in possible re-installation of OS X 10.5 and a loss of data," according to the company.

Psystar said its virtualization system allows for the use of up to six different operating systems on a single PC and that the technology configures itself "automagically." Psystar operates from an industrial subdivision near Miami.

InformationWeek Analytics has published a guide to the business realities of virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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