[nycbug-talk] FW: Max OS X and BSD

Isaac Levy ike
Sun Apr 11 04:22:03 EDT 2004

Rockin' answer Trish,

Thouht I'd throw in a -v flag to this thread:

On Apr 10, 2004, at 12:05 PM, Trish Lynch wrote:

> so the answer is "Yes, it is a BSD relative, and shares a lot with
> FreeBSD"

At the last meeting, the presenting Apple engineer showed this amazing 
chart, which clearly plots the family history of *NIX, including 

> and "Yes it is the next generation of NeXTStep, and shares a lot
> of the same technology and code."

At the end of the following FAQ from apple:

It states some interesting tid-bits about why Apple works with the 
*BSD's, and I thought i'd paste it below for posterity.


Darwin and BSD

Q. Why is Darwin based on BSD UNIX?

A. There are several reasons for this. The first one is  historical. 
Mac OS X draws a lot of its code base from a system  called OPENSTEP, 
created by NeXT Software, which Apple bought in  1997. OPENSTEP and its 
predecessor, NEXTSTEP, were based on 4.3  BSD. BSD has always had a 
rich academic developer community behind  it, and while much of the 
original BSD UNIX was not free, its  source code was available to 
anyone who obtained a license for  it. The wide development community 
that arose to support BSD contributed to many of the ideas that drive 
today's open source  community. That community also facilitated a great 
deal of  research, including work to put BSD on Mach at Carnegie Mellon 
  University-code that eventually found its way to NeXT and now to 

Second, BSD is widely respected as clean, robust, and  maintainable 
code. There remains a strong developer community that  knows the code 
base very well and continues the work started at UC  Berkeley. In 
addition, the BSD license is very open, which has made  it easy for us 
to leverage its compelling core technology to  enhance the Mac OS.

Best of all, as a result of making this choice, Apple is now an  active 
participant in the BSD community. This allows us to make  sure that the 
capabilities important to Mac users are added to  BSD. Being part of 
the BSD community also gives us access to excellent peer review and 
keeps us on a path to adopt and  contribute to open standards, the 
benefits of which are well known  to our developers. The BSD community 
has been extremely supportive  of Apple since we first approached 
NetBSD, FreeBSD, and others  about doing a better job of sharing code. 
That happened even before  we announced Darwin. Now we're pleased to 
have become an even more  active participant in the community.

Q. Where does Darwin fit into the BSD family?

A. The purpose of Darwin is to provide the core system software  for 
Mac OS X. It is not designed to be an alternative to  other excellent 
BSD options such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, and  OpenBSD. Darwin is simply BSD 
tweaked in ways we think will help  Apple deliver the next great 
version of the Mac OS. We should note,  however, that apart from a few 
architectural differences (such as  our use of the Mach kernel), we try 
to keep Darwin as compatible as  possible with FreeBSD (our BSD 
reference platform).

Q. Does Darwin offer any benefits to someone who's already  using 
another version of BSD?

A. Yes, it does. Darwin drives Mac OS X, which we consider a  
compelling new operating system not only for existing Macintosh  
customers, but also for the BSD community and other UNIX  users. Darwin 
is a great example of BSD running on the PowerPC  platform. It offers a 
well-defined code base from a major computer manufacturer, as well as a 
really cool graphical user interface  (Mac OS X).

Q. Why did Apple decide to share all of its modifications  with the BSD 

A. Although the BSD licenses don't require companies to post  their 
sources, divergent code bases are very hard to maintain. We  believe 
that the open source model is the most effective form of  development 
for certain types of software. By pooling our expertise  with the open 
source development community, we expect to improve  the quality, 
performance, and feature set of our software. In  addition, we realize 
that many developers enjoy working with open  source software, and we 
want to give them the opportunity to use  that kind of environment 
while they're creating solutions for Apple customers.

Although many people think that the rather simple BSD license  does 
little to protect the openness of the code, it has contributed  
significantly to Apple's ability to adapt the code for the benefit  of 
Mac users. Its emphasis on sharing code has also heightened our  own 
commitment to the open development process.

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