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The GNU-Darwin Distribution 1.0: A Perspective from the Founder

By proclus in Technology
Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 08:05:55 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

Darwin is the "open source" core of Mac OS X. This standard Unix-like environment is an opportunity for savvy developers to provide Apple users with free software favorites such as The GIMP, Open Office, and Mozilla. All of the software is compatible with Apple's new Aquaized X11 system, which was announced at MacWorld. Although Darwin is largely based on a free operating system, FreeBSD, it is important to note that Darwin is not free software (see GNU Project). It is also clear that Darwin is not proprietary, in the sense of trade secrets and patents, because the APSL license is OSI-approved and Darwin is "open" source. APSL covered code can be proprietized by Apple, and Darwin is at the core of Mac OS X. This Unix-like environment has provided the first major opportunity to reach Apple users with free software, so that they can learn the values which bring that software to them. GNU-Darwin distributes an enhanced version of Darwin OS, and free software packages which are compatible with Darwin and Mac OS X.

Although GNU-Darwin can be viewed as a standalone OS for x86 and PowerPC architectures, it is also a source of free software to Apple users. The FreeBSD ports system was used to build over 15,000 software packages for Darwin and Mac OS X users. The ports system is a natural fit with Darwin and Mac OS X, because it orginates from the FreeBSD project. Standards compliance is very high in the ports system, which means that most of the packages build with little or no modification, and users get a familiar Unix-style installation. We GPL all of our original code, and most of the software which we distribute is GPL. We distribute an enhanced Darwin OS, and we provide a free software overlay which can be used by Darwin and Mac OS X users alike. It can also be used instead of Apple's proprietary overlay, Mac OS X, if the users chooses that. GNU-Darwin has brought many thousands of free software titles to Darwin and Mac OS X, so that Apple users can experience the benefits of free software.

From the beginning, GNU-Darwin has been about much more than merely publishing OS X compatible binaries. We are trying to bring Apple users the _full_ benefits of free software. Software freedom depends on the values of openness, sharing, integrity, and liberty which are at the foundation of the internet and the scientific endeavor from which it sprang. We participated in the Adobe boycott, Free Dmitry, Stakeholder 7/17, and many other actions, so that users could see the real meaning of software freedom.

Our anti-DMCA and free software activism has been the source of some misunderstanding, especially with respect to Apple and our "Free Darwin!" campaign. We consider the DMCA to be a corrupt law, and we oppose any action based on it. Such laws are at odds with the value of software freedom, and they should be repealed so that no one else will be subjected to their draconian clauses. Correspondingly, until Darwin appeared, Apple users were long besieged by entrenched proprietary interests, who cared only for keeping them on the treadmill. Apple has apparently shifted their orientation somewhat with respect to that entrenchment, and we are using the opportunity to effect a change. Any user who crosses over to freedom is a victory for us, and that often means "graduating" users to FreeBSD or GNU/Linux. Until Darwin is freed, activists such as myself will be leading users away from it instead of toward it.

This antagonism towards Apple in the free software community has been aggravated by Apple's DMCA fiasco. For example, Slashdot coverage of Apple has soured considerably since that time. We added the caveat to our Darwin distribution CD's soon after that. It is unfortunate that Apple has found it necessary to enter into agreements which block the release of certain codes, but those codes are not a part of Darwin anyway. Apple can repudiate the DMCA, free Darwin, and still keep the critical proprietary parts secret as required by law. As a scientist, I find such secrecy to be contrary to the basic principles of the endeavor, and as an activist I find it distasteful and wrong, but under the current circumstances it may unfortunately be required. I hope that Apple will reconsider the necessity of entering into such agreements in the future.

Even GNU Project recognizes that only a tiny step is required in order for Apple to free Darwin. Apple now appears to be committed to "open source" development and contributing back to the community. Our "Free Darwin!". action is to help them maintain progress, and disovow the DMCA, and to publicize the desirability of a free Darwin OS sponsored by Apple. It should be reiterated that we are not necessarily asking Apple to GPL Darwin. The GPL is clearly the ideal for many of us, but it would be sufficient to modify the APSL so that it met the standard free software definition to the satisfaction of GNU Project. It is a step that Apple should take for their own benefit as well as that of their users.

The GNU-Darwin x86 installer CDRs and images have consistently been our most popular offering, and our Intel and AMD user base is comparable to the size of our PowerPC user base, but there is little reason for an x86 Linux or FreeBSD user to migrate to Darwin. First of all, FreeBSD and GNU/Linux are free operating systems, but Darwin is not. Darwin certainly has interesting technical qualities, such as the IOKit, NetInfo, the real time kernel, and the potential for parallel processing. Darwin is at the center of capitalization for the whole Apple community, which is a great space for innovation and growth, but we should not discard the value of software freedom for mere technical merit, monetary gain, or convenience, which are secondary values. If free software developers are interested in the unique capabilities of Darwin, then it would be better to implement them under Linux or Hurd. If activists are interested in assisting GNU-Darwin with our project goals, then that might be a reason to migrate to Darwin-x86. As compared to Apple computers, it is an inexpensive way to get underway with Darwin

Apple users may say that they are no stranger to freedom, because their software does what they expect it to do, and it "just works". This argument has unfortunately been too readily dismissed in the free software community, and only recently is the software becoming easier to use. Based on our own experience in the Apple users community, GNU-Darwin is working carefully with Apple users so that they can see a rational path to obtain the benefits of GNU-stye software freedom.

We have everything in place that is required to challenge Microsoft in their current weakness. This is not wishful thinking but rather a proposal, and Microsoft users should be encouraged to migrate to Darwin, or better yet to FreeBSD or GNU/Linux. There is Open Office, Mozilla, GNOME desktop, and much more, which will make the transition easier for them, and our email forums are useful for those who have questions, or if they need help getting started. Apple's release of the Safari web browser, based on an LGPL rendering engine, is yet another validation of this strategy.

The GNU-Darwin packages and software distribution system is now usable by anyone who is willing to learn the Unix command line, and we encourage everyone to do so. They are compatible with Mac OS 10.2 and Apple's new X11 release. This system together with GNU-Darwin OS itself is an impactful force in the industry, and our project is popular, influential, and widely watched. It is clear that as a major distribution we will continue build and grow our many sub-projects, such as internet services, the ports, x86 hardware support, and our CDRs and other hard media offerings. Once again, many thanks to Cornell University, the worldwide free software development collective, Darwin contributors, SourceForge, Prime Time Freeware, the *BSD trinity, Apple, and everyone else who helped us to get to this point. In this rich context we have become 1.0, but we are just getting started, and it is going to be a wild ride and a compelling journey. Join us now.



Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Slashdot
o see GNU Project
o GNU-Darwin
o FreeBSD ports system
o participat ed
o source of some misunderstanding
o DMCA fiasco
o Free Darwin!
o CDRs
o images
o no stranger to freedom
o current weakness
o GNU-Darwin packages and software distribution system
o X11
o http://www.gnu-darwin.org/
o Also by proclus

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The GNU-Darwin Distribution 1.0: A Perspective from the Founder | 60 comments (46 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Question (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by Anonymous 7324 on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 07:36:17 PM EST

it sounds like (and I've been told) that the distribution, be it Darwin itself or GNU/Darwin, is mostly targeted towards developers. While it's certainly useful that way, are there situations where end-users might wish to run Darwin itself sans OS X, given the plethora of working and functional Linux/BSD-based PowerPC UNIX workalikes out there?

use a free os (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by proclus on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 07:51:22 PM EST

Thanks =}. The answer is in the article. Although Darwin has many technical and economic advantages, it is better to use a free OS such as GNU/Linux than it is to use Darwin.


[ Parent ]

A point you can make (4.40 / 5) (#4)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 07:40:08 PM EST

Before Linux was ever dreamed of, Richard Stallman wrote GNU software that ran mainly on BSD Vaxen and the BSD-based SunOS.

You couldn't run a Free operating system, because th FSF was taking so long to get Hurd written, but they provided a wonderful set of Free tools that made the user and developer's life much easier when using non-Free systems. (BSD wasn't Free yet back then, because it was intermingled with proprietary AT&T code. You had to get an AT&T Unix source license to read the BSD sources.)

And included with those tools would be the GNU Manifesto and the text of the GPL itself, slowly but surely spreading the word.

A lot of people are likely to tell you that your time would be better spent getting people to run Linux or *BSD, but if you did that a whole community of Mac users would remain lost to the Free Software community.

By providing tools that make the user's and developer's life easier and more productive, and including Stallman's message along with it, you can evangelize Free software to the community that I think knows the least about it.

It so happens that when I started my career as a programmer, I hated it and I wasn't a very good programmer at all.

Everything changed when a visitor installed GNU Emacs on my Sun workstation. He explained about Free Software and had me read the GNU Manifesto.

I decided I wanted to modify Emacs but at the time there was little documentation on how to do so.

So I spent about a month reading the source code.

Everything changed for me then. I decided that programming really was a worthwhile activity after all. Before that I thought computers were at best useful tools for scientists, but could not be objects of beauty in their own right.

I also learned a lot about programming by reading Stallman's code.

I decided that I would suffer whatever it took to become a great programmer, and that someday I would write my own program that would be great in the way Emacs is.

I started reading Knuth's Art of Computer Programming on the bus on the way to work.

It's been fifteen years, and I think I can finally say I am the kind of programmer I hoped I would be way back then in 1988.

I'm contemplating various ideas for my great work. I have some ideas.

I would like my work to effect significant social change.

Here's one thing I'm doing.

Thank you for your attention.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

nice job (none / 0) (#6)
by proclus on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 07:55:17 PM EST

and thanks! That is a good point, which I frequently find myself making with other free software activists. There is a tension between the differnent kinds of user freedom, and Apple is at the center of that tension. I'll have a look.


[ Parent ]

your cross platform web page (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by turmeric on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 08:31:58 PM EST

is illegible in MS IE6 with fonts enlarged.

[ Parent ]
Same with Mozilla (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by enterfornone on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 09:43:53 PM EST

As is the W3C Validator page.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
god i love standards people (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:46:11 AM EST

they care SO MUCH about us dumb users

[ Parent ]
Yes, I think the same exact sarcastic thing... (none / 0) (#49)
by amarodeeps on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 02:47:46 PM EST

...every time I go to a site designed only for IE 5.x and above on my Mac or Linux box...

[ Parent ]
White text on a white background!! (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by mr strange on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 03:33:59 AM EST

Don't rely on the background image to provide contrast. Some people turn off image display!

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]
and (none / 0) (#56)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 02:37:59 AM EST

the boxes and crap are all sqooshed over. the w3c certificate picture is on top of some text. ugh. this is why adobe had to use acrobat. but even it screws up sometimes.

[ Parent ]
Now that takes me back! (none / 0) (#60)
by Joe Tie on Mon Jan 27, 2003 at 04:28:20 AM EST

You're the guy who wrote "I'm worried about my future. That's why I'm a Be developer"? Reading that was, or was one of the final pushes that got me first into using BeOS and then Linux.

[ Parent ]
One question (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by spacejack on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 09:54:14 PM EST

It's probably answered in there, buried somewhere in all that text, but... what advantage does this give the x86 user? Is there any MacOSX-specific stuff I can use that I can't otherwise get on Linux or *BSD? Are MacOSX developers going to start writing X11 apps?

One thing I'd love to see: to be able to build binaries for Mac OSX using an x86 box. AFAIK there is no GCC cross-compiler for that yet.

Re: One question (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by proclus on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:10:17 PM EST

Yes it is in there; The GNU-Darwin x86 installer...

> One thing I'd love to see: to be able to build > binaries for Mac OSX using an x86 box. AFAIK there > is no GCC cross-compiler for that yet.

This is a touch and go proposition. It is certainly possible to cross-compile and even build fat binaries. If you are building for the proprietary frameworks, the Aqua interface, then it is more difficult. There is a new Darwin in the pipe, which reportedly will have stubs for all the proprietary calls. In such a case, you may be able to build a Cocoa app for ppc with x86, but you will need Mac OS X to test it, and that is only available for Apple computers.

I just thought of one exception ;-}. X11 apps are highly portable and interoperable. I believe that it would be necessary to build against fat X11 libraries.

Incidentally, GNU-Darwin currently has a policy against distributing programs that link to proprietary libraries, and we build everything with Darwin-only packaging robots.


[ Parent ]

An invitation to proclus (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by jdrake on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:17:33 PM EST

Proclus, you have written a lengthy article here. I would like to invite you to #macdev on irc.freenode.net.
- If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around, is there any sound?
- If the universe is created, and nobody is around, is there any bang?

Re: An invitation to proclus (2.00 / 1) (#26)
by proclus on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:38:48 PM EST

Thank you for the invitation, but sorry, I'm not much into chat. Feel free to email, if you have any questions, or post them here, if you like.


[ Parent ]

hooray! (none / 0) (#22)
by VoxLobster on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:31:45 PM EST

finally, I've been waiting to try this out on the x86 platform. ever since a friend of mine got OSX, i've been really impressed with it's coolness. Hooray!

I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

Re: hooray! (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by proclus on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:35:52 PM EST

It is important to note that Darwin-x86 does not include the Aqua user interface. We use standard free software tools; WindowMaker is my favorite.


[ Parent ]

i know (none / 0) (#29)
by VoxLobster on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 11:17:24 PM EST

i did read the page before downloading, but if i can get a nice looking gui to go with an actual command prompt...sweet.

I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar
[ Parent ]

Darwin vs OS X (none / 0) (#25)
by egg troll on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:36:16 PM EST

The girlfriend got an iBook from Christmas. Using it has been wonderful. I was wondering if you could explain how Darwin relates to OS X.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

Re: Darwin vs OS X (none / 0) (#27)
by proclus on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:51:00 PM EST

Darwin is included with Mac OS X. In fact, the Aqua user interface runs on top of Darwin. If you want to see Darwin, you will find it with the Terminal.app in the Utilities folder. It is a command-line user interface, and in order to use it you need to learn a little Unix. Here are some commands to get you started.

cd Desktop

That last 'ls' command should list the files that appear on your Desktop, and the first should list the files in your Home folder. Folders are called directories in Unix.

I'm not so good with this basic level, but there are plenty of tutorials in books and on the web. You can see the books that TDC users bought at DevDepot.


In addition, there are now several books written especially for OS X users.


[ Parent ]

Errr... (none / 0) (#30)
by egg troll on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 11:44:09 PM EST

No, no. I have an excellent familiary with Unix. I was wondering what Darwin was exactly. Was it an abstraction layer between BSD and OS X? Or what?

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

Darwin is BSD (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:00:20 AM EST

Darwin is a stand-alone Unix OS, something like the OpenBSD base installation. It includes a Mach microkernel with BSD networking stack, userland, etc. Apple released the source code for other key components of the base system which are unique to Darwin, such as NetInfo, and IOKit.

Over this base, Apple builds a proprietary interface which is commonly known as Aqua GUI. If you were an OS X developer, you would be writing to the abstraction layers and other subsystems that comprise the proprietary layer.

GNU-Darwin provides an alternative, free software overlay, which provides a GUI interface that would be familiar to BSD and GNU/Linux users. Interestingly, GNU-Darwin software can also be used from within the Aqua GUI, so that Mac OS users can try it without leaving familiar ground.


[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#32)
by egg troll on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:02:05 AM EST

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

oh lordy (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by turmeric on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:39:12 AM EST

if this thread had been a troll that would have been brilliant. too bad you were serious.

[ Parent ]
Trolling is an art (none / 0) (#37)
by egg troll on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:47:45 AM EST

The key to trolling well is to mix in the occasional serious comment. It keeps them off guard.

BTW, excellent work on that alien article. How does it feel to be the most-respected author on K5? I'm honored you took the time to write me, and will remember this until the end of existence!

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

stop that (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 02:34:49 AM EST

you are freaking me out

[ Parent ]
Driver compatibility? (none / 0) (#33)
by John Milton on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:07:41 AM EST

Can Darwin use Mac OS X drivers. I know that display drivers would be impossible because Apple's GUI subsystem is proprietary. I mean can I use an Apple modem driver in Darwin without a bunch of configuration.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Re: Driver compatibility? (none / 0) (#34)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:25:18 AM EST

Darwin itself includes a modem, /dev/tty.modem, and the ppp daemon, but I am not personally familiar with its configuration. GNU-Darwininsts tend to be broadband users. That might be a good question for one of the Darwin lists.


In general, you can try OS X drivers, and if they don't link to the proprietary frameworks, then they will also work with Darwin. Darwin itself ships with quite a collection of drivers, and more are under development. The driver situation is not yet as good as with GNU/Linux, and we recommend using non-proprietary drivers, and advocating for open source drivers.

Ack, I'm tired. See you all in the morning.


[ Parent ]

Bzzt, -1! (4.00 / 5) (#38)
by buck on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 02:40:45 AM EST

Sorry, but I'm sick of this shit, and this is why. 'Nuff said.

“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
Bzzt, redundant and crude (1.00 / 4) (#45)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 01:17:59 PM EST

[ Parent ]
GNU Darwin. Who needs it? (5.00 / 4) (#40)
by grrussel on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 04:20:26 AM EST

"our project is popular, influential, and widely watched"

Really? Popular compared to what? If I want a free OS, I have far more mature choices.

Influential? With whom?

Widely watched? Again, by whom?

If you want free on non Apple, use Linux, *BSD. If you want free on Apple, use NetBSD or Linux, or load up on Unix ports for MacOS X with a good ports tool such as "fink".

See http://fink.sourceforge.net

As for all your American political posturing, free software is about software. The politics are banal.

"This antagonism towards Apple in the free software community"

The antagonism that encourages hackers to buy a stylish RISC based Unix portable and port their software to it in droves?

It should be noted, that Apple are cooperating well with the free software community, with the KHTML improvements being just the latest example.

In conclusion, this project seems to be created out of politics and license bigotry. Use whatever works, and forget the rhetoric.

Re: GNU Darwin. Who needs it? (2.50 / 2) (#46)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 01:28:21 PM EST

"Widely watched? Again, by whom?", etc

Good questions, but I'm abstaining. Hope you don't begrudge us the 1.0 laurels.

Fink is a great project, and you should use if you are more comfortable with it. It is not productive to bash our fellow free software projects.

"In conclusion, this project seems to be created out of politics and license bigotry. Use whatever works, and forget the rhetoric."

This conclusion is clearly false and does not follow from the article or even your own statements. It is also a recipe for mediocrity. GNU-Darwin has brought a mountain of free software to Mac OS X and Darwin users as part of an effort to make the world a better place. It also "works", but that is an impoverished notion of value.


[ Parent ]

OSX as X-Windows replacement (none / 0) (#41)
by schwar on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 06:05:55 AM EST

Does anyone know if there is any project in the works to make an open source version of the OSX windowing environment for GNU-Darwin?

GNUstep (none / 0) (#44)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 01:10:17 PM EST

GNUstep is a free software implementation of the old Next interface which became part of Mac OS X. Incorporating this system is a long term contingency for the GNU-Darwin project.


[ Parent ]

GNUStep (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by wiesmann on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 01:38:02 PM EST

More or less. The GNU Step project aims at implementing the Open Step API on which Mac OS X is based. Basically this means that programs that use the Cocoa API could be recompiled for GNU Step and vice-versa. Gnu-Step does not replace X11, in fact you can configure it to use X11.

You could therefore install GNU-Step on top of Darwin and have a close cousin of OS X. Carbon applications like Word and Photoshop would not run, but Cocoa applications like Safari or Omnigraffle could be recompiled for GNU-Step (if the authors are willing to do it is another question).

I think that GNU-step is a very good project, and I find it intersting that there is a lot of whining that Apple should open-source this or that, but few people contributing to GNU-step. The project is quite low profile, but personnaly, I tend to respect much more projects that try to do things instead of making a lot of noise. The Open-Step API is quite advanced and implementing it must be quite tricky.

As for running GNU-step on top of Darwin, it is possible, but I think it makes little sense. Darwin for x86 is far from mature (very few drivers) and BSDs and Linux are IMHO better choices. As for PPC machines, running plain Mac OS X is a no-brainer. The truth is the kernel is not that important.

To the best of my knowledge, while Apple never supported GNU-step in any way, they did not do anything against the project. GNU-Step uses an open API and does no try to replicate the Mac OS X look and feel - in fact the default look is the Next look.

[ Parent ]

Who posted this tech article to our politics site? (none / 0) (#42)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 07:32:21 AM EST


+1, fp

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Are you kidding? (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by BadmanX on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 12:20:39 PM EST

The whole GPL/OSS/Free Software thing has always been about politics. You're not supposed to use Free Software because it's better, you're supposed to use it because it makes the world more free.

Unfortunately, I have no real interest in making the world a better place...at least not until I can do so without having to drop to the command line to do every other thing. And play Warcraft III/Age of Mythology/Battlefield 1942/Deus Ex 2 at the same time. Sorry.

[ Parent ]

better place (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 02:59:29 PM EST

You might be interested in another post, where I have addressed this issue.



[ Parent ]

Meh. (none / 0) (#59)
by BadmanX on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 12:02:50 PM EST

You're free to think your way. Fortunately, I am also free to think mine. To me, computers are tools, not a way to make a political statement.

[ Parent ]
Couple questions: (3.16 / 6) (#48)
by Bob Abooey on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 02:46:12 PM EST

1) Do you or are you familiqr with any plans to provide native support for a two button mouse in OSX/Darwin?

2) It's commonly known that Mac users are not computer savvy and simply purchase a Mac because they think it looks cool or perhaps they fell for the brilliant marketing ruse put forth by Apple. These people, while obviously not quite as bright as a your average computer savvy person have feelings nonetheless. How do you deal with their perception that Darwin is ponderously slow when in fact it's their legacy Apple hardware running on an old slow Motorola PPC chip that's slow, and not the software?

3) Throughout the ages it's been proven time and time again that providing a superiour technical platform does not automatically mean widespread adoption with the public at large. Given that Mac users have been abused by Apple selling them over-priced slow and crappy products which have been built on inferiour technology for years do you feel the public will now be open minded enough to embrace Apple again now that they are using superiour *nix technology, even though they still charge twice what it's actually worth?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. --Yogi Berra

mouse buttons (none / 0) (#51)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 03:50:06 PM EST

I use 3-button emulation, which is comfortable to me after several years as a LinuxPPC user ;-}.

You might want to direct this question to one of Apple's email forums.



[ Parent ]

PowerPC is Fast, OS X is slow (none / 0) (#54)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 10:48:10 PM EST

Linux and BeOS work just great on even very old PowerPC hardware.

It's not the hardware that's slow, it's the operating system.

Most PowerPC's retire instructions faster than most x86 chips, so a simple clockspeed comparison is not a fair comparison.

I installed OS X on my 8500 with a 350 Mhz PowerLogix G4 CPU upgrade card, and it works OK, but is so slow as to be really unusable for production development work.

So I put Debian Woody Linux on it instead.

I had BeOS on it when it just had a 150 Mhz PowerPC 604, and the responsiveness was quite snappy.

I think one reason that Apple purchased NeXT over Be Inc. is that the BeOS was just so efficient. It wouldn't give people reason to buy new Apple hardware.

For my OS X work I bought a 700 MHz G3 iBook. I'm quite happy with it, but it's no more responsive than my 350 Mhz 8500 with Linux.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

Fink is de-facto standard, not GNU-Darwin (N/T) (3.00 / 5) (#52)
by Quietti on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 05:19:53 PM EST

The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky
based on what (2.00 / 1) (#53)
by proclus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 05:47:50 PM EST

Interesting assertion, but no matter. Anyone who is more comfortable with Fink should use use that instead of GNU-Darwin. It is all free software.


[ Parent ]

O'Reilly books? (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by wiesmann on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 06:31:50 AM EST

Well you can argue if O'Reilly books are a reference for such matters. Fact is, there is a chapter in Mac OS X for Unix Geeksthat talks about fink, not gnu-darwin.

[ Parent ]
not a bad book (none / 0) (#58)
by proclus on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 11:19:25 AM EST

It is on my Safari bookshelf. For what it is worth, O'Reilly covers GNU-Darwin as well, although the info is quite obsolete, incomplete, and not applicable to GNU-Darwin 1.0. They have useful books, but they are not authoritative, and I'd recommend that you get this kind of info from the projects themselves.

It is misguided IMHO for users to call one project a standard, and wish the other to go away. It is certainly non-productive from the standpoint of software freedom. Each project has it's own different method, strengths, philosophy, file structure, package manager, etc. Christoph Phisterer, the Fink Founder, impressed me as a brilliant guy who started a software collection based on Debian tools instead of BSD. Fink is an impressive project, and we are free software brothers. If you like the Fink better, then use that.


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The GNU-Darwin Distribution 1.0: A Perspective from the Founder | 60 comments (46 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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