Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 26th Feb 2006 14:15 UTC, submitted by subterrific
Mac OS X Apple had their pick of kernels when transitioning from OS 9 to OS X, and they chose to create their own kernel based on Mach 3.0. Was that really the best decision or did Apple make a huge mistake? At the time Linux was gaining support and developing rapidly, while development on Mach had pretty much ended two years earlier. This article makes a case for Apple using the Linux kernel in a future version of the Mac OS.
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RE: Open Solaris?
by subterrific on Sun 26th Feb 2006 18:12 UTC in reply to "Open Solaris?"
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I don't specifically mention Solaris in the article, but I do link to an article about Sun and Apple possibly merging. Sun worked with NeXT to create OPENSTEP and already ported it to Solaris.

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RE[2]: Open Solaris?
by s_groening on Sun 26th Feb 2006 18:43 in reply to "RE: Open Solaris?"
s_groening Member since:

...And OPENSTEP is Java without the virtual machine...

SUN abandoned it and made Java instead. Anyhow, it would be some marriage, the (possibly) most stable and mature Unix kernel available coupled with the best GUI out there, Apple's Aqua!

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RE[3]: Open Solaris?
by gpierce on Sun 26th Feb 2006 21:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Open Solaris?"
gpierce Member since:

If the licensing of Linux under GPLv2 precludes its use as the kernel in MacOS X then won't OpenSolaris (which speculation has will be licensed under GPLv3) be even more problematic? Don't get me wrong, I wish the next Mac OS X kernel is Linux or OpenSolaris, but if Apple has problems with the license of one, they are likely going to have a problem with the other.

The question I have is that if they do use the Linux kernel, then by the GPLv2, do they have to make all the other components of their OS that use the kernel also GPL?

It actually would seem to me that leaving kernel development to the community that has evolved around Linux would be a good business decision. Apple can continue to develop features within the kernel as they see fit in addition to benefitting from the gradual improvements in the kernel that accrue from having a worldwide base of kernel developers. The only sticking point for Apple might be the licensing terms. The real selling point of Mac OS X is the desktop interface; the underlying kernel is the boring stuff to most people. Most people care how their desktop looks, feels, and performs, not necessarily about the nitty-gritty of how the engine underneath works or how its licensed. With Linux Apple can be assured of competent long term kernel development which will keep OS X current, and share the burdens of kernel development and maintenance with numerous other corporate entities and individual developers.

I wonder whether they would have to make the souce code to Quartz and all the other components of their OS available if they switch. If so, I can't see them doing this. I don't think that they have evolved in their thinking to the point where they see their OS as just a commodity -- a "cost center" -- which allows them to sell iPods, hardware, and songs from their iTunes store. On the other hand, maybe some major changes are under way!

It all seems to hinge on the license. I personally think that Windows may sooner switch to Linux for its kernel then Apple. The complexity of developing even the relatively modest incremental improvements in Vosta seems to be straining them severely.

Time will tell.


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