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Run Mac OS X Apps On Linux? 497

Posted by kdawson
from the must-be-a-layer-somewhere dept.
I have the urge to commit my 24" Core 2 Duo iMac to a single Linux operating system, thus giving up the goodness of my beloved Mac OS X. I am not a stranger to Linux, but I am a stranger to running Mac apps on Linux. On my PowerPC I can use SheepShaver to run Classic apps. The Mac-on-Linux project can run OS X apps, but it requires a PowerPC, not an x86. Virtualizing and emulating are inefficient, especially given the wonderful results the WINE project has had in getting Windows apps to run on Linux. What I would like is an equivalent: a software compatibility layer that will allow Linux to run Mac OS X apps at native performance. I believe there is some additional complexity in accomplishing this. Mac OS X apps aren't just Mac OS X apps. They are Carbon. They are Cocoa. They are universal binaries. They are PPC code with Altivec. Does such a project exist yet? If not, why not?
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Run Mac OS X Apps On Linux?

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  • also (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:44AM (#20041153)
    aren't some of the cocoa/carbon binaries encrypted?

    Admittedly the open source crowd has proven encryption of that style to be a show stopper of no more than 5 minutes usually, but that'd be another reason for delay.
  • Re:10 years (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ultramkancool (827732) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:55AM (#20041283) Journal
    Interesting thing here is that WINE hasn't actually used any reverse engineering! (although reversing probably could have accomplished the job much faster, say 3-5 years for a nearly perfect reimplementation) I once asked them about this on IRC and was almost swiftly kicked from the channel.
  • Re:Resist the Urge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrumpyOldMan (140072) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:09AM (#20041455)
    I'm in the same situation. For 99% of what I do, MacOSX is a flaky pain in the neck. I'd love to be able to confine MacOSX to a window. Here is my background:

    I've run *nix on the desktop for roughly 17 years. Last year, after we had a baby and I had essentially no time, I finally got tired of maintaining my system, and thought the "just works" aspect of MacOSX might be a nice change. I've been running 10.4.x on my Core 2 Duo iMac since last October. I've found that after more than a decade and a half of being able to customize my desktop behavior, I just can't adjust to the MacOSX gui. I hate the menu bar at the top, I hate not being able to define *MY* hotkeys for resize, move, and iconify, I miss the easy X11 1-click cut and 1-click paste, etc. To get around some of this, I run most of my shells via xterm. However, X locks solid every few weeks (usually when I scroll too much or too fast in some window).

    I also find that the only MacOSX application I ever use is iTunes. I started out using Mail and Safari, but I moved back to Thunderbird and Firefox for the plugins. Specifically, the external editor plugin for Thunderbird so that I can edit messages in xemacs, and the noscript and adbplockplus extensions for Thunderbird.

    I also hate that my 4 USBserial connectors are flaky, and have to be re-plugged before they'll all show up on boot. Neither Linux nor FreeBSD had this problem.

    At any rate, how is the codeweavers support for playing iTunes videos? That's really the only thing I use iTunes for is video.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jessecurry (820286) <jesse@jessecurry.net> on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:09AM (#20041461) Homepage Journal
    I'd have to ask what environment you write code in. I find that Xcode on OS X is one of the best environments that I've ever developed in, there are a few things about the IDE that bother me, but it's great overall and is getting better with each new release, and designing websites is really where OS X shines.
    I can agree with you on Linux being an easier to use server platform, but OS X runs almost all of the same tools so that may change if I used it as a server more often.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dystopian Rebel (714995) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:33AM (#20041723) Journal

    I will never understand why someone would buy a $2000 iMac and negate the entire reason for purchasing from Apple -- to run Mac OS X.
    The word "never" is a reliable marker for silly thinking.

    OS X is not the sole reason for buying Apple hardware. Some Apple hardware is very nice. The Mac Mini is a great little computer, period; I run Linux and Windows on mine. I have never owned an iMac, but I assume that the Intel generation hardware offers no obstacles (except Apple Bluetooth for non-XP Windows).

    Although I like OS X and think it's better than Windows, it isn't perfect. The Finder in OS X leaves .DS_STORE droppings everywhere. Network browsing is annoying. I use the OS X Finder enough that these two problems make Ubuntu my desktop OS of choice.
  • Re:iTunes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:38AM (#20041785) Journal
    Because if your iPod has a nervous breakdown -- and there is a good chance it will -- only iTunes as the "Restore" button. Amarok can't restore a corrupt database and wil just refuse to work with the iPod. Time for a trip to the Apple store.

    Now, if there is a nice FOSS "iPod Restore" tool, that would help. Integration into Amarok as a plugin or something would be even better.
  • Re:Cocoa and Carbon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:57AM (#20042013) Homepage
    A wine-like system for OSX would actually be a lot easier to accomplish...
    There is already something iBCS, which lets Linux run binaries from other x86 unix-like systems (SCO, Xenix etc... old stuff), and various BSD's have the ability to execute Linux binaries...
    You only need to emulate the kernel interfaces, and then the user mode programs/libraries should run atop a Linux kernel just like they run on OSX's existing kernel. Then you can begin reimplementing the proprietary libraries one by one. Those libraries which are BSD licensed you can directly port the source.
    All in all, a much easier job than wine.
  • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:03AM (#20042097) Homepage
    You can virtualize OSX...
    You might need to download a "dodgy" version to do it, but as far as the legal implications go, you *do* have a legal copy and you *are* running it on apple hardware, the license agreement doesn't state that you must run it on the bare hardware and not under a virtualization environment.
  • Linux on Mac (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rev_karol (735616) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:14AM (#20042245)
    I put Ubuntu on my macbook recently and was seriously impressed. Really looks up to scratch for the desktop. First off, pretty much everything worked without too much googling. Picked up the graphics, sound, wireless, etc., no problem. I read I can get the webcam working quite easily too. The only thing I didn't try was the dual screen/extended desktop. The compiz stuff worked as soon as I turned it on (I'd miss exposé otherwise). I have a usb tv-receiver that won't work but I expected that since it's built for Mac. It was the responsiveness that really got me though, Ubuntu was far snappier than OSX (and I've 2GB of memory) - Mac apps like to think about things for a while sometimes (and they're not using the CPU to think, whatever the hell they're doing).

    There are a couple of Mac apps I'd miss. Number one is Omnigraffle [omnigroup.com]. Really handy for making diagrams. There's nothing close on linux as far as I can see (although I've just tried the OpenOffice Draw program and there's potential there). Second one is Keynote. OSX also has PDF built in as a native format, which is really nice, and the drag and drop support is unparalleled.

    I use Linux in a virtual machine on Mac for college. It's about a 2GB code base (or something ridiculous) so I won't be trying to recompile for mac any time soon. It works, but native would be much nicer.

    I think the Apple hardware is pretty decent. They cram a lot of good stuff into a small space. I've been hard pressed to get all the same features in a Dell for the same price last time I tried (and it's usually twice the size/weight).

    So I think Linux on Mac makes sense for some of us.
  • Intel VT-X (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @11:31AM (#20043231)
    I've been running Ubuntu Linux and various versions of Windows for some time under Parallels Desktop for Mac. It is not "inefficient".
  • Hardware Lock-in (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mawginty (882393) on Monday July 30, 2007 @12:10PM (#20043797)

    I've been using Apple computers for about three years now, and I can definitely see why someone would want to transition out of Apple into something else. I bought my iBook because I needed a laptop and I thought it was a good "bang for the buck" computer (with a student discount I think it was). I grew to like OS X a lot, I bought apps that I liked and I've been very happy with the computer.

    But at this point it is starting to get a little long in the tooth, and I'd like to buy another laptop, but I don't like the laptops that Apple happens to be selling right now. MacBook Pros are a little too expensive and a little too big for me, MacBooks are little underpowered (especially in the graphics dept). I can certainly see the appeal of moving to a platform with more hardware choices, but not having to move over sums of data that I've put into platform dependent pieces of software and not having to give up apps that are OS X only that I like. I'll probably just stick it out at this point and wait until Apple starts selling something that I want. But having a WINE equivalent for OS X would allow much greater freedom in hardware configuration.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @12:19PM (#20043939)
    Not everyone is happy with the closed nature of Apple products, as well as their support for DRM and software patents. I'd certainly be game to dump OS X in favor of linux if it could run my apps.
  • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday July 30, 2007 @01:13PM (#20044749) Journal
    "Apple isn't going to allow it to happen."

    That's just silly, because they wouldn't have any say in the matter. It would be a reimplementation of the OS API's and wouldn't use Apple code. Or, are you so naive to think that if Microsoft had any say in the matter, they'd have let the WINE project just keep on truckin'?

    "The second reason would be that the people who might work on it are already too busy trying to do the same thing for Windows applications"

    That's retarded. Can't you think past your own little box? There's many tens of thousands of programmers out there that could do this work. Windows API's aren't similar to OSX API's. Why would you get the idea that it would be the same people doing a "WINE/OSX" as WINE, and they're "busy" working on Windows WINE?
  • by hummassa (157160) on Monday July 30, 2007 @01:39PM (#20045179) Homepage Journal

    Even though Linux is "free" it would probably cost me $5-15/month in electricity to run it on my Mac, and it would at the same time put more wear and tear on my hardware.
    Funny, my laptop runs cooler under linux than under WindowsXP. It suspends automagically if I close the lid, and takes like five seconds to restore when I open the lid and press any key. I smell some FUD here.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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