Apple Darwin

Hexley, the mascot of Darwin
Hexley, the mascot of Darwin

Darwin is an open-source operating system released by Apple Computer in 2000. Darwin is the operating system component of the Mac OS X operating environment. Apple first released Darwin to the open source community in 2000. Currently Darwin runs on both Apple's PowerPC architecture and on the Intel architecture, though the latter only has very limited driver support as of this writing.

Darwin is a Unix-like operating system that integrates a number of technologies including the open-source XNU kernel, a microkernel-based kernel architecture implementing the Mach microkernel. The operating system services and userland utilities are based on 4.4 BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution of Unix, particularly FreeBSD and NetBSD). Like other Unix-like operating systems, Darwin has the advantages of symmetric multiprocessing, high-performance networking facilities and support for multiple integrated file systems.

The main benefit of integrating Mach microkernel into the XNU kernel is portability, or the ability to use the software on different types of systems. For example, an operating system kernel integrating the Mach microkernel is able to host binaries for multiple distinct CPU architectures within a single file (example x86 and PowerPC) due to its use of the Mach-O binary format. A drawback of Mach integration is the addition of complexity to the kernel, which is the core part of the operating system. In past microkernel implementations, this complexity has sometimes introduced difficult-to-isolate kernel performance problems. Thus, the adoption of the Mach microkernel carries risk, with the potential benefit of widespread portability. As a concrete example of Darwin's portability, in June 2005, Apple announced that it would begin using Intel processors in Mac computers starting in 2006.

The Darwin developers decided to adopt a mascot in 2000, and chose Hexley the platypus over other contenders, such as an Aqua Darwin fish, Clarus the dogcow, and an orca. Apple Computer does not sanction Hexley as a logo for Darwin.

In April 2002 the ISC and Apple founded, a community to foster cooperative Darwin development. OpenDarwin creates its own releases of the Darwin OS. Notable subprojects of OpenDarwin include DarwinPorts, which has the goal of assembling a next-generation collection of ports to Darwin (and also, over the long term, to the other BSD derivities.

In July 2003 Apple released Darwin under version 2.0 of the APSL license, which the Free Software Foundation (FSF) approved as a free software license. Previous releases had taken place under an earlier version of the APSL that did not meet the FSF's definition of free software, although it met the requirements of the Open Source Definition.

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de:Darwin (Betriebssystem) es:Darwin BSD fr:Darwin (informatique) it:Apple Darwin nl:Darwin (besturingssysteem) ja:Darwin pl:Darwin (system operacyjny) pt:Darwin (sistema operacional)


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