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iPhone Not Running OS X 476

rochlin writes "We know that Steve Jobs has said the iPhone won't accept third-party apps. The iPhone looks to be running on a Samsung provided ARM core processor. That means it's not running on an Intel (or PPC) core. That means it's not running OS X in any meaningful sense (Apple can brand toilet paper as running OS X if they like). Darwin, the BSD based operating system that underlies what Apple has previously been calling OS X, does not run on ARM processors. The Darwin / Apple Public Source licensing agreement says the source would have to be made available if it is modified and sold (paraphrased; read it yourself). A Cingular rep has said the iPhone version of the OS source will not be made available. It will be closed, like the iPod OS and not like Darwin. So if it ain't Darwin, it ain't OS X (in any meaningful way). An InfoWorld article on an FBR Research report breaks down iPhone component providers and lists Samsung as the chip maker for the main application / video cpu. So, that leaves the question... What OS is this phone really running? Not Linux or the source would need to be open."
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iPhone Not Running OS X

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  • by BrainInAJar ( 584756 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:31PM (#17594686)
    Apple's the copyright holder... APSL doesn't apply to them, it only applies to people who download XNU from their website Apple can do whatever they please with their code, it's their code
  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:37PM (#17594750) Homepage
    OSX/Darwin are based on FreeBSD. Samsung does produce ARM9 chips which have an integrated MMU, which FreeBSD requires.

    I really don't think its quite a stretch to have OSX on an ARM9 chip. GCC will compile BSD for ARM9.

    What I wont buy is the full set of Cocoa, Aqua and other graphic-heavy API in its full glory on the iPhone. The device probably uses Darwin compiled for ARM9 with mobile-Cocoa and mobile-Aqua (and others).
  • Re:so what? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:37PM (#17594758)
    Because in the keynote Steve Jobs said it would run OS X, and now that was clearly misleading if not completely false.
  • by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:38PM (#17594772) Homepage
    Last things first: Apple doesn't have to abide by the APSL with respect to their own code.

    True. And whatever code in OS X that isn't theirs is, if I am not mistaken, BSD-licensed, so that is no problem either.

    Why would Apple create a new OS from scratch? This is probably a port of OS X to ARM (or whatever processer is used), designed for a small memory footprint and so forth.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by shawnce ( 146129 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:45PM (#17594874) Homepage
    1) Apple isn't affected by the APSL in this way. The APSL affects 3rd parties that contribute, use or modify the source that Apple makes available. It doesn't require Apple to make source or changes to source available.

    2) Mac OS X is portable. It already runs on x86, x86-64, ppc, and ppc64. It looks like Apple has it running on ARM ISA (not sure exactly which) given statements by Apple.

    Exactly which aspects of XNU, IOKit, BSD layer, user-land frameworks, etc. that make up "OS X" are running on the iPhone is unknown (Cocoa has been stated to exist by Apple, which implies a handful of other frameworks also exist). It is also possible that something other then XNU is being used... but I doubt that... much more likely it is has been slimmed down to exactly what the iPhone needs.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:46PM (#17594896) Homepage Journal
    Darwin/OSX is based on the FreeBSD userland. The kernel is based on Mach.

    Mach is not a complete kernel. It's a superset of microkernel functions for the BSD 4 kernels. FreeBSD was used as the new base-kernel so that Apple wouldn't have to use the (rather ancient) BSD 4.3/4.4 code base.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:53PM (#17594970)
    Seriously don't people use google anymore? It's a search engine one can use to verify things before postting their moronic assumptions on slashdot. Samsung licensed the PowerPC core from IBM and this is probably a use for that:

    Google for: Samsung IBM PowerPC

    Here: 10/061006-samsung-may-sneak-ibm-back-into.php []

    "Last year, Samsung announced that it had licensed the PowerPC-core IP from IBM for inclusion in SoC designs." (last year=2005)

    Here is stuff showing that Samsung would have experience building it: rces_powerpc_production/ []

  • Of course it is OS X (Score:5, Informative)

    by NekoXP ( 67564 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:55PM (#17594992) Homepage
    Apple own and hold copyright on Darwin, they released their own code under APSL for YOU to use and YOU to give modifications back (i.e. this is their license protection for you making a commercial OS X clone)

    They can do whatever THEY like to it and never release the source, just like any GPL code author is free (under the terms of the GPL, even) to relicense their code for any party they see fit (BSD, APSL, whatever). It is up to the author and the copyright holder, if they are even in fact different people. Apple are both!

    So OS X doesn't run on ARM? Why not? Because OpenDarwin doesn't? This whole article is horseshit speculation and a completely random nonsense of misunderstanding how software licensing works, who wrote and owns Darwin (Apple!) and the technical aspects involved (they've been working on the iPhone for the better part of a year and a half.. that's plenty of time to do a port to a new processor, especially given how abstracted the Darwin kernel is, XNU Apple additions and so on)
  • by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @04:55PM (#17594998) Homepage
    I think you are a bit confused yourself. Apple only hold the rights to the small parts of OS X that they developed themselves. The majority of OS X (including the kernel) is based on BSD, GNU and other Open Source code that never originated within Apple. If they are to reuse any of that for the Apple iPhone, they would have to release the source code.

    No, if I'm not mistaken, OSX is based largely on FreeBSD. The BSD license doesn't require the source code to be released. In fact, I could grab the FreeBSD source code, rebrand it as anything I want, and sell it without releasing a single line of code. Not smart, but allowed by the license, and 100% legal. The only caveat is that somewhere I would have to state that I'm using BSD copyrighted code.

  • by smackenzie ( 912024 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @05:36PM (#17595510)
    Looks like it really is a scaled-down version of Mac OS X. From Macworld Expo:

    The iPhone is running an optimised but full version of OS X that weighs in at "considerably less" than half a GB, according to Apple vice president of worldwide iPod marketing Greg Joswiak.

    Joswiak confirmed that the operating system sits in the flash memory of the device and that Apple will "provide updates to the operating system like we do today."

    Joswiak claimed that the reduced size of the operating system was a result of expertise of the team at Apple, rather than cutting out functionality or removing core technologies. "Remember that OS X on a Mac features a lot of applications that we don't have to ship on the iPhone," he added. fm?newsid=16927 []
  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @05:37PM (#17595522)
    But it is running a variant of OS X. The very fact it has Cocoa and Core Animation means it has Objective-C and AppKit (and not only that, but a version derived from Leopard) and probably some stripped-down version of Darwin.

    I've been seeing these kinds of comments a lot lately. Why is it hard for some people to accept that this is a mobile version of OS X?
  • by Fred Ferrigno ( 122319 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @05:39PM (#17595540)
    Where OSX Intel and OS PowerPC do have much (most things) in common. Linux in the OpenWRT project is just as much "Linux" as the Intel "Linux" in my server.

    The analogy with Linux falls apart because we routinely use "Linux" to refer to both to the set of userland operating systems ("distros") and the Linux kernel itself. Such is not the case with OS X. The term "OS X" does not refer to the XNU kernel, which can be ported to different platforms and appear vastly different in different implementations as you suggest. OS X is instead a userland operating system with a certain interface and recognizable features. It's more of a marketing and branding issue; the deep-down guts aren't that important. In that sense, even if the iPhone does turn out to share code with the "real" OS X, I think the Windows : WinCE :: OS X : iPhone OS X comparison is pretty much accurate.
  • by rsargent ( 533171 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @05:54PM (#17595702) Homepage
    I assume Apple worked with Google in order to integrate Google Maps with the phone more tightly than would be possible with a generic web application. If you watch Steve's demo, you'll see him do a Maps search for Starbucks and then click (actually I guess touch) the result to make a (prank) call to one nearby. Very cool!
  • by zephc ( 225327 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @06:40PM (#17596140)
    It's pretty easy to figure out what they probably did: a port of XNU sitting under the most/all the higher level frameworks, and little of the BSD layer except the APIs. And like Joswiak said, thy can cut out a LOT of stuff without crippling the OS or APIs. A sizable chunk of /System and /System/Library can be cut out because it contains support for things not needed on a phone/ipod/internet device, then of course pretty much all of /Applications and that leaves you with a slim, but real, OS X.
  • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @07:09PM (#17596496)
    Darwin, the BSD based operating system that underlies what Apple has previously been calling OS X, does not run on ARM processors. The Darwin / Apple Public Source licensing agreement says the source would have to be made available if it is modified and sold (paraphrased; read it yourself).

    I suppose that might be an argument IF Apple were currently selling the iPhone. But they are not. So assuming that the iPhone runs a version of OS X as Apple has said (and there is no reason to doubt it), Apple still has several months to meet the terms of the agreement.
  • by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @08:09PM (#17597196)
    It could still be Darwin. Apple is the copyright holder, and can do whatever they want with their copyright (unless it conflicts with someone else's, but most of Darwin is BSD).
  • by gradedcheese ( 173758 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @10:40PM (#17598510)
    It's a Cortex-A8, check wikipedia. Those are new ARM cores that run in the 600-800MHz and possibly 1GHz range and are quiet capable.
  • by TheUser0x58 ( 733947 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @10:51PM (#17598606) Homepage

    Apple holds the copyright to Darwin and can use it however they want.

    Not quite. Darwin is hybrid between FreeBSD, Mach, and some extras that Apple developed, and Apple definitely does not hold the copyright for the first two. FreeBSD's license would allow a closed source derivative, but from what little Ive gleaned off of CMU's Mach webpage, CMU would not be happy about a completely closed source kernel derived from Mach.

  • by oohshiny ( 998054 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @11:16PM (#17598758)
    whose underpinnings simply do not exist (BSD not running on ARM).

    BSD is not the "underpinnings" of OS X; OS X is based on a heavily hacked Mach kernel. Only some parts of BSD sit on top of that as a compatibility layer.
  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @03:49AM (#17600542)
    1. Apple is the copyright holder and are not bound by the license.
    2. Apple is free to modify their own code to run on ARM and not release the source.
    3. You /.ers don't seem to grasp that these licenses apply to third-parties contributing changes to the project and not the copyright holders.

  • by rochlin ( 248444 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @04:10AM (#17600646) Homepage
    Several people posted good info that invalidates my original posting. 1. Samsung is a licensee/subcontractor to IBM for the production of PowerPC chips. (And IBM lists some versions that are low power and appear to be up to the task of running the iPhone). So there is no reason to suppose the iPhone is running ARM. It's a lot more common to run phones on ARM cores, but PPC can do it. A power PC core would make it much more likely that the iPhone is running on some variation of a Darwin based OS X. 2. Apple doesn't have to make any Darwin based operating system open if they don't want to. Their license restricts everyone else. So there was no material basis for my Suggestion that the iPhone isn't running OS X. It might not be, but my reasons were mostly wrong.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @08:04AM (#17601570) Journal
    Back when Darwin was part of OPENSTEP, it ran on:
    1. i486
    2. SPARC
    3. Motorola 68K
    4. PA-RISC
    After Apple bought it, they ported it to PowerPC. It hardly seems a strech to expect that they could port it to a fifth platform, especially one they designed themselves. And, as you mentioned, they have no more obligation to release the source than they did for OPENSTEP; it's their code, they can do with it what they wish. The license agreement is a binding agreement between the copyright holders and people who want the code, not between the copyright holder and themselves.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @08:10AM (#17601586) Journal

    from what little Ive gleaned off of CMU's Mach webpage, CMU would not be happy about a completely closed source kernel derived from Mach.
    Really? Because the old OPENSTEP kernel (which ran on i486, PA-RISC, SPARC and m68k), through which OS X inherits from Mach, was a closed source kernel derived from Mach. So, for that matter, was OSF/1.

    Perhaps you are confusing CMU Mach with GNU Mach, which is licensed under the GPL.

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