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Mac OS X Leopard is Now Officially Unix

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  • Good for them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceeam (39911) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @07:54AM (#20069255)
    Now can we have POSIX specs publically available (free)?
  • Dumb questions (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @07:56AM (#20069283)
    Was Tiger (10.4) certified? I don't see it listed on the Open Group website. Did Apple even try to certify Tiger? Why (not)? If not then why start now with Leopard?
  • by mjgraham (1135833) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:08AM (#20069435)
    If UNIX meant more than real world UNIX Compatibility, there's now an easily usable, affordable real UNIX on the market - is the jist of the news. For the few organisations that demand real UNIX this could be in Apple's favour. Yes, the hardware may be crappy, but admin costs would be lower. Or not. Either way the Pointy-haired bosses of the world will be all over it, so many admins will have no choice.
  • by ThosLives (686517) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:10AM (#20069469) Journal

    It's not about the 'name' it's about what the certificate represents: Compliance with a specified set of tests.

    That's actually very valuable and it isn't just the name, because it means that if you have an application that relies on the functionality proven by those tests, then you're good.

    That's the whole point of standards and standardizing bodies. You want a gallon to be a gallon (US or UK, just be consistent!), a kilogram to be a kilogram, a UNIX to be a UNIX. Testing isn't free, so instead of relying on volunteers to do testing it looks like IBM, Apple, Sun, HP, and Fujitsu paid some guys calling themselves the Open Group to do some verification and certify that some standards are met. I don't see a lot of controversy there.

  • by pzs (857406) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:10AM (#20069471)
    That's preposterous. How do you explain the large number of hard-core computing people who are converting to Mac because they like the balance between usability and Unix?

    I regard the drones who buy a Dell machine with Vista as a good deal more trance-like than somebody "thinking different".

    Peter
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dogtanian (588974) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:14AM (#20069511) Homepage
    Beyond being a brand/certification, what does Unix actually mean these days, really?

    My guess is very little (as the summary acknowledges, to be fair). Though I can't say it was pointless for Apple to get the certification, if only because it's a selling point to ageing senior managers who vaguely remember when "Unix" actually meant something (and think it still does). Since the Apple and Mac names aren't particularly associated with the Enterprise/Server market, the Unix brand gives them a "serious" selling point.

    Sure, they could have pointed out the "BSD" underpinnings, and any real expert would know what they meant. But for the management types, "Unix" is probably still the name to go for.

    Linux meanwhile *is* spiritually just as much "Unix" as any of the "official" licensees... but it has enough brand recognition in its own right anyway.
  • Re:No Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:15AM (#20069521) Homepage Journal

    Oddly enough, I don't see any Linux vendors on that list. Does this mean that OSX is more Unixy than Linux?


    The certification process is expensive. Very expensive. A Linux distro could, in fact, be certified, but no one has been interested in spending that much money to get one certified. It would take a lot of money, and what's it worth, really?

    It would take a lot of money.....? Hey, yo! Mark Shuttleworth! You're a billionaire, right? You want Ubuntu to be UNIX-certified, right?
  • Re:Thank goodness! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HairyCanary (688865) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:36AM (#20069751)
    Ummm... when I hit Ctrl-D, it DOES close the terminal. Ever thought about examining the preferences? I guess not.
  • by ericrost (1049312) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:37AM (#20069753) Homepage Journal
    Linux isn't UNIX for cost reasons. UNIX is a copyrighted compatibility certification. It costs a lot of money to get that moniker, and it really doesn't mean anything in these days of Linux and BSD.

    Linux is Linux, it doesn't NEED to be UNIX.
  • by Lepton68 (116619) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:41AM (#20069807) Homepage
    Doesn't this mean places like US gov't agencies can finally buy Macs, because they are only allowed to buy Windows or Unix? Something like that? If true, this makes the certification very valuable, Macs were shut out from official gov't purchases for a long while.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @08:42AM (#20069841) Homepage Journal
    It's not just testing, there is a LOT of money involved here. Maybe Apple only paid to test the Intel version, there is little reason for them to pay to test a legacy (for them) architecture, the newest PPC models are now nearing two years old now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:09AM (#20070215)
    What is truly astounding is that there's a group of extortionists out there who own the name UNIX, and yet the stamp of approval means nothing.

    Are systems branded UNIX binary compatible? No
    Are systems branded UNIX object compatible? No
    Are systems branded UNIX source compatible? No
    Filesystems? Display Mechanisms? Libraries? Nope, no, zilch.
    Compliers? Linkers? Make? Bzzt. Bzzzzzt. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt.
    APIs? Kernel Internals? Are you serious?

    WTF does "UNIX" mean? No two systems officially certified as "UNIX" have anything at all to do with one another. As near as I can tell, it comes down to support of one set of APIs and nothing more. If a batch of generic source code with no real-world relevance can compile with some set of switches specific to your machine, and you pony up the bucks, you get the seal. It is of no use to me as an end user, integrator, or developer. Once I pick one OS I'm stuck, and moving is as hard as going to any other OS.

    On the other hand, there are dozens of Linux distros that are all binary-compatible with one another, differing only to the extent that I have real choice among user interfaces and administration options.

    Having said all that I'm a die-hard Solaris bigot :-) Have a nice day.
  • by david.emery (127135) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:23AM (#20070391)
    1. For at least some contracting contexts, a POSIX conformance certificate is necessary to bid.

    And it's part of the argument that there are viable -standards-based- alternatives to Windows. As a long-time open systems advocate (and someone who worked on POSIX standard), I think this is A Very Good Thing for the industry as a whole, and I'd hope Linux advocates would also see this as progress. Note that Linux does have some known inconsistencies with the POSIX standard, so this is something OS X did that Linux has not achieved.

    2. I know (private communications) that there were problems between Apple and Open Group on this for a long time. Some of these were technical problems, areas where apparently Apple didn't conform to the standard. Now those problems have been fixed.

    The Linux community needs to work with Open Group and IEEE and ISO to get Linux into conformance (and I think changes to the POSIX standards could well be appropriate here. Presumably we've learned some things over the last 15 years in specifying and implementing the Unix interface.)

    3. Open Group testing does have some value, it has been known to find bugs in vendor implementations.

    So the fact that OS X provides a complete Unix implementation is hardly earth-shattering. But at least it's a commitment by Apple to pay for the certification, and a recognition that Apple has jumped through both technical and managerial/business hoops.

    Now Apple needs to work through the FIPS/Common Criteria certifications for IA.

              dave

  • Re:Dumb questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david.emery (127135) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:36AM (#20070583)
    I think the more accurate statement is that Leopard is the first one that -passed- certification.

              dave

  • by randomjohndoe (618905) on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:45AM (#20070727)
    I don't think it matters whether the hardware is discontinued. Certifying Leopard on PPC would have cost more than Apple cares to spend on a platform it is leaving behind. There isn't a business case for getting the certification.
  • by nightcats (1114677) <nightmeow&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @09:57AM (#20070951) Homepage Journal
    Nah, I'm not in software development--I couldn't code my way out of a wet paper bag (which is why I use MEPIS). I just read slashdot for the humor. Reading the comments is usually funny: everybody is insulting each other; I just can't figure out why or what about. But I'll let you in on a secret, based on my many years on the corpo-treadmill in QA and (now) as a BA: geeks in real life are easily the most reasonable, balanced, and generous people I've met in corporate America. In fact, I wrote about it at the blog [blogspot.com].
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday August 01, 2007 @10:10AM (#20071201) Homepage Journal

    A Unix certification is a bit more than a moniker. It means that the level of software portability between Unix 03 compliant systems is guaranteed to be very high. That may not be important to you but to companies/corporations seeking to reduce costs and development times and to achieve the maximum level of reliability and portability in their business critical software a Unix 03 certification has meaning.
    All this means is that, within the plethora of Unix variants, there's high portability.

    The same is true within the plethora of Windows variants and Linux variants. This does not add value to any of those OSes beyond what one would already expect. BSD *is* a Unix derivative (and, at this point, Unix is also a BSD derivative, ever since System 5 rolled in BSD 4 features), so it makes perfect sense for a BSD-based system (MacOS/X) to aspire to compliance with other OSes of its ilk.

    You seem to be making an assumption, however, that portability across "species" of OS lineage has some value. I'm really not sure that it does beyond the basic level of API standards compliance that any modern POSIX system (be it Unix, Linux or even Windows) maintains. Modern OSes are just too different, and an effort to create universal portability will ultimately result in very poor utilization of at least n-1 of the OSes out there (c.f. Java). It won't be too long, I think, before we're ready for a new round of standardization around core OS features to layer on top of POSIX, as there's certainly now a new high-water-mark for "stuff you expect to work the same everywhere," but much of the OS still falls well above that mark and remains a moving target as OSes continue to evolve.

    Also keep in mind that although no Linux or BSD flavor other than OS X has gone for actual certification apparently many Linux distributions for example still make sure they are more or less Unix compliant and they do it using Open Group test suites. So even if no Linux distro has officially applied for certification it looks to me as if they are keeping their options open.
    Linux developers like to make sure that their software is compatible with as many applicable standards as is reasonable. I don't think anyone wants a Linux variant that's shoe-horned into meeting the full breadth of Unix certification, though. If you really needed Unix, you'd just get Unix, not Linux.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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