Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Feb 2012 14:56 UTC
Mac OS X It's still early days, but this has the potential to put more fuel on the Apple rumour mill fire than anything else in recent times. A BA thesis by Dutch student Tristan Schaap details how, during his internship at Apple's Platform Technologies Group, he ported Darwin to a certain ARMv5 developer board. A few blog articles later, and the headline has already turned into 'Mac OS X ported to ARM'. So, what have I been running on my iPhone and iPad all these years?
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How much of Darwin is actually in iOS?
by No it isnt on Tue 7th Feb 2012 15:21 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

Just wondering, since I've read that parts of the BSD userspace need to be installed when jailbreaking.

(And also, wouldn't Apple's wireless routers use Darwin?)

Reply Score: 2

brynet Member since:
2010-03-02

The iOS kernel is Darwin/xnu, but presumably maintained separately from the version shipped with OS X.

As for the userland, Cydia seems to mostly install GNU utilities.. I'm not really sure why the jailbreak community opted against using the source made available by Apple.

IMHO, that would have been preferable.. but it was enough of an environment for me to port over some OpenBSD stuff.

Still.. from my iPod Touch 4G (5.0.1).

$ uname -a
Darwin iPod 11.0.0 Darwin Kernel Version 11.0.0: Tue Nov 1 20:33:58 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1878.4.46~1/RELEASE_ARM_S5L8930X iPod4,1 arm N81AP Darwin
$

Edited 2012-02-08 01:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

But it is ported. Since the iPhone
by Jesuspower on Tue 7th Feb 2012 15:27 UTC
Jesuspower
Member since:
2006-01-28

Sure, it doesn't have menu bars, etc. But the iPhone is MacOS ported to the arm processor. SMH.

Reply Score: 1

@Thom
by Drunkula on Tue 7th Feb 2012 15:40 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

Have something against interns do you? ;-)

Reply Score: 2

Not the same OS
by jessesmith on Tue 7th Feb 2012 15:52 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

"'Mac OS X ported to ARM'. So, what have I been running on my iPhone and iPad all these years?"

My guess would be you've been running iOS on your iPhone and iPad, not OS X.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Not the same OS
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Feb 2012 11:37 UTC in reply to "Not the same OS"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's strange you're modded down, because you are right.

Quite simple, you can't grab an OS X dvd and install its contents on an iPhone, nor can your run iOS on a Mac.

Both are related, but iOS is a modified mini OS X.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not the same OS
by vidarh on Wed 8th Feb 2012 12:41 UTC in reply to "Not the same OS"
vidarh Member since:
2011-10-14

My guess would be you've been running iOS on your iPhone and iPad, not OS X.


Read the whole post again, not just what you quoted. Thom was pointing out that this guy ported Darwin, not OS/X, and iOS uses Darwin just like OS X is, so clearly a Darwin ARM port is not a new thing.

Reply Score: 2

TimeCapsule
by lucas_maximus on Tue 7th Feb 2012 16:07 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showpost.php?p=2039414&postcount=26

Marvell's ARMv5te MV88F6281 processor. That's the same processor used in the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule products.


Just doing a quick google it seems to be used in quite a few embedded solutions

Edited 2012-02-07 16:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Well...
by Tuishimi on Tue 7th Feb 2012 16:14 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

Having worked on some of the after affect bugs on an OS that had recently been ported (at the time, not recently) to a 64 bit architecture I can say what he did was still a ton and a half of work.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Tue 7th Feb 2012 16:23 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a move to ARM within the next 5 years - ARM has already announced ARMv8 which it jointly developed with nVidia under the name 'Project Denver' so I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up seeing sometime in the future, when ARMv8 is ready that Apple makes the switch to 64bit ARM.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by David on Tue 7th Feb 2012 16:54 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Apple's become pretty cozy with Intel in the past few years, but I'm sure that you're right. Maybe Apple will always use Intel chips for it's higher-end computers, but I'm sure how they remember how uncomfortable it was to get chained to the comparatively-stagnant PPC platform.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by No it isnt on Tue 7th Feb 2012 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Intel is far from stagnant, though, and ARM is many years behind in performance. Switching to ARM right now would be like switching to Atom, i.e. relaunching the Air as a netbook. It does not quite make sense.

Here are some recent benchmarks on Linux, with Tegra 2 being not quite half as fast as a Core Duo (from 2006):
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=compulab_trimsli...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai
by David on Tue 7th Feb 2012 17:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Great resource. I didn't mean to imply that Intel was stagnant, just that Apple, and other vendors, are obviously heavily invested in ARM on mobile, and that Apple in particular knows what it's like to end up with all its eggs in the wrong basket. Right now there's a clear division with ARM in the battery-efficiency column and Intel in the performance column, but that's likely to shift over time.

And the shift could certainly be that Intel makes big inroads into efficiency and erases ARM's advantage there.

Edited 2012-02-07 17:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by kaiwai
by Treza on Tue 7th Feb 2012 22:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai"
Treza Member since:
2006-01-11

Intel has been claiming for many years that it is capable of reaching ARM efficiency and has consistently failed.
Their technological advance (2 years ?) is not sufficient. Actually, it is both what makes it very sucessful and a very isolated company.

In a world of SOCs, either Intel must do the whole platform optimising every single block to their "special" fabs (with different settings for power or performance), or they licence the Atom or whatever x86 to TSMC or GloFo and have no advantage anymore. A x86 has no magic appeal for phones, consoles, GPS nav, USB keys, tablets, set-top boxes, digital cameras... All these gadgets where the CPU core must cost less than 20$.

I know that the huge success of ARM is also related to the fact that, being a fabless company, they are considered as a fair and neutral player by Nvidia, TI, Qualcomm, Marvell, Freescale, Samsung... Having too close ties with one of these vendors would actually be very negative for ARM. There are hundreds of niche markets looking for bespoke devices.

When x86 will be relegated to very-high performance servers and everything else will use SOCs, Intel may need to open their fabs and licence their technology to attract fabless companies and OEMs like Apple looking for multiple sources.

Actually, this is how AMD got its x86 licence thanks to IBM...

(Sorry, I realize the rant above is quite muddy)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 8th Feb 2012 01:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Intel is far from stagnant, though, and ARM is many years behind in performance. Switching to ARM right now would be like switching to Atom, i.e. relaunching the Air as a netbook. It does not quite make sense.

Here are some recent benchmarks on Linux, with Tegra 2 being not quite half as fast as a Core Duo (from 2006):
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=compulab_trimsli...


But you're comparing this generation of ARMv7 to Intel but skip what ARMv8 bring to the table for both 32bit and 64bit computing specifically when it comes to performance. Right now it would be suicide for them to adopt ARM but I could see in the future ARMv8 laptops, desktops, workstations etc. centred around very efficient multicore CPU's with software taking advantage through a combination of Grand Central, GPU offloading for things like video encoding/decoding. In 5 years time a lot can happen.

Edit: And the benchmarks btw say more about how optimised the software is rather than whether or not ARM lacks raw performance when all things remain constant.

Edited 2012-02-08 01:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Pandaboard
by fithisux on Tue 7th Feb 2012 18:02 UTC
fithisux
Member since:
2006-01-22

So, we can expect a port of Darwin to PandaBoard or Genesi Cortex?

Reply Score: 2

Does anyone know much about this?
by Tony Swash on Tue 7th Feb 2012 18:33 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Apple has recently filed for international trademark protections of "macroscalar," its name for various patented optimizations for efficiently executing code on a processor - does anyone know much about this and care to comment?

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/02/apples-macrosca...

more info here

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/02/06/apple_trademarks_its_...

Reply Score: 3

REM2000 Member since:
2006-07-25

i may be totally wrong and i suspect i am, but looking at the patents i thought that they applied more to Apple Grand Central Dispatch concept introduced with Snow leopard, the idea of generalising computer power, be it a CPU, GPU or any other specialist chip/processor and to send the appropriate instructions to it, so for example some complex image or video processing could be sent to the GPU instead of the CPU?

Reply Score: 2

BA?
by Savior on Wed 8th Feb 2012 09:01 UTC
Savior
Member since:
2006-09-02

Completely beside the point, but a _BA_ thesis? I hardly believe such a thesis would be accepted by any Department of Humanities in any university. You certainly meant BSc?

Reply Score: 2

RE: BA?
by Theodric on Thu 9th Feb 2012 11:21 UTC in reply to "BA?"
Theodric Member since:
2008-12-10

I attended Illinois Wesleyan University, which only issues BAs, but has strong Biology and Computer Science programs. It can happen.

Reply Score: 1

RE: BA?
by pqnelson on Thu 9th Feb 2012 23:45 UTC in reply to "BA?"
pqnelson Member since:
2012-01-17

In Europe (on the continent, at least!) you need to actually write and defend a thesis to obtain a bachelor's degree.

It can be quite intense, too. My Italian friend's research kinda blew up right before her defense; she had to re-perform a large number of chemistry experiments in just a couple weeks (and rewrite her entire thesis!).

So, it's not just "plush" humanities which write theses!

Reply Score: 2

RE: BA?
by zima on Tue 14th Feb 2012 23:50 UTC in reply to "BA?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I kinda doubt strictly either is typically issued by Dutch universities - the classifications across countries & educational systems don't map quite as neatly as we like to pretend, many people (Thom possibly included, certainly me) don't really "feel" the differences.

Reply Score: 2

More than once?
by ohbrilliance on Thu 9th Feb 2012 00:09 UTC
ohbrilliance
Member since:
2005-07-07

Just because it had been done before doesn't mean the intern didn't also port the code.

Reply Score: 1