Controversial Mac Emulator Released

Updated: Company is under criticism because CherryOS appears to boot up identically to PearPC, an open-source project.

CherryOS, the controversial Macintosh emulator for Windows that some commentators have accused of being a reworked version of open-source project PearPC, has finally been released, five months after its initial announcement.

Created by developer Arben Kryeziu at Hawaiian company Maui X-Stream Inc., CherryOS allows users of Intel-standard PCs to run Mac OS X by emulating a G4 processor and accompanying hardware.

According to Maui X-Stream, the product supports emulation of AltiVec, sound, networking and CD/DVD drive access, and is available for download priced at $49.95.

The company acknowledges in the documentation for CherryOS that "CherryOS will not turn your PC into an Apple computer.

"Apple computers are some of the fastest computers on the market today, and many of the applications designed for Macs require robust hardware architecture."

It goes on to state that the product is ideal for users who need to test on a Mac but who dont have the resources to buy one—for example, Web developers wanting to test their sites across platforms.

The application has been dogged by controversy since it was first announced in October 2004.

Although the company initially listed the product as being available for sale and download from its site, it was not made available until this week.

A trial version, which was initially promised for November, is also now available for download.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about Microsofts Virtual PC 7, which allows users to run a full version of Windows and Windows applications on their Macs.

A pre-release version obtained by Wired News in October was, according to one story, little more than a relabeled version of the open-source PearPC project—something that was denied by Kryeziu at the time.

Kryeziu acknowledged that the pre-release version contained some PearPC code, but he claimed that this was a mistake on the part of one of the programmers working on the project, who had since been fired.

A spokesperson for Maui X-Stream claimed that the released version of CherryOS contained no code from PearPC, adding that "the CherryOS product runs six times faster, so the performance is clearly superior."

However, according to BetaNews, tests conducted on CherryOS show that the product boots up identically to PearPC, includes one of the same graphics drivers, and has very similar configuration files to the open-source project.

If it proves that CherryOS still includes PearPC code, this would be a violation of the terms of the GPL (GNU Public License) under which PearPC is released.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about the challenges in changing the GPL.

The GPL requires that source code and any modifications made must also be released by anyone basing a product upon programs covered by it.

Although the legality of the GPL has yet to be tested in court, several companies—including Epson and Linksys—have withdrawn software after allegations they violated the terms of the GPL.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from a Maui X-Stream spokesperson.

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