Apple actually introduced virtualization licensing back in 2007’s Mac OS X 10.5 Server software. It stated that the server OS could be run inside of a virtual machine as long as you bought an additional license and the hardware was made by Apple. Client copies of the OS were still disallowed from being virtualized.
That all looks to be changing in the upcoming release of Lion, Apple’s next revision of their critically well-received operating system. The Golden Master version (that is, the version after which no more changes will be made in development until after release) was just seeded to developers this week with a revised copy of Apple’s infamous licensing agreement.
(iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software.
One of the big reasons for the change is likely due to the fact that Apple won’t be releasing OS X Server anymore. Well, that’s not entirely true – they’ll still be releasing it, but just as a set of components built into their primary operating system. Now you’ll be able to install the OS onto your Mac hardware (or onto non-Mac hardware if you don’t mind ignoring the EULA – but then, if you’re willing to do that you’re probably not too worried about regulations anyway) and run at least 2 copies of the software within virtual machines.
It’ll likely be a boon for developers and the security conscious alike, who will be able to run whatever software they need in many configurations – all sandboxed and removed from accessing their primary working software. The new OS is expected out this month, and will be released entirely within the Mac App Store for $29.99. OS X Server is planned as an optional add-on, also purchasable from within the App Store. It’s cost, reflecting the fact that Apple wants enthusiasts and professionals alike to play around with it, will run $49.99.