EFI-X Mac hack dongle accused of stealing GNU code

Sep 9, 2009
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EFI-X Mac hack dongle accused of stealing GNU code

EFI-X's OS X hack dongle always seemed too good to be true; according to a new report from Tom's Hardware, it really was.  The adapter promised to take a computer built from standard PC components and allow Mac OS X to be installed on it, without the usual patching and tweaking required for a regular "Hackint0sh".  However, as one EFI-X owner has discovered, it seems the company did little more than repackage Chameleon/Boot-132 bootloader code onto a DRM-encrypted USB stick.

While EFI-X always maintained that their dongle contained more than just memory and software, owner AsereBLN stripped away the casing and, after some sleuthing, discovered the guts were in fact little more than storage with an accompanying DRM chip to avoid prying eyes.  What those eyes would find, indeed, was that the dongle uses uncredited OSX86 code with no attribution, while module files from the company were masked patch files from the open-source community.

As for the difference between EFI-X v1 and v1.1 - which we were originally told would simply be better construction and gold-plated components - the company is now saying that owners of the $280 former will not be able to load Snow Leopard; only those who pay $300 for the latter will.  However, a source "close to the company" claims that the two dongles are pretty much identical, with the v1.1 models having their firmware version hard-encoded so that older versions can't masquerade as them.

ASEM, the firm behind EFI-X, is now apparently threatening to sue AserBLN for attempting to reverse-engineer their hardware and identify it.  With this controversy raging, and reports from buyers that the current modules are suffering intermittent faults, complete breakdowns or hardware issues, it no longer seems that an EFI-X dongle is the easiest way to get an unofficial OS X machine.


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