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Run Mac OS X Apps On Linux? 497

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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  • Cocoa and Carbon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:38AM (#20041075) Homepage Journal
    Duh. The Cocoa and Carbon libraries aren't open source. Wine doesn't really emulate Windows libraries, it runs them directly. I suppose there might be some way of getting Carbon and Cocoa onto Linux, but I'm guessing that it's no easy task. And even then, you'd be subject to the same thing you are in Windows -- undocumented APIs, less-than-fully documented APIs, etc.

    Wine has taken years to get as far as it has. I suspect that an 'OS X Wine' would take as long.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wine is an open source implementation of the Windows API, though it can use Microsoft dlls if you supply them.

      An OS-X Wine would probably not take as long I suspect, due to the techniques developed in writing Wine and the fact that OS-X has BSD roots. Still, not exactly a simple project.
      • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:06AM (#20041427) Homepage Journal

        Wine is an open source implementation of the Windows API, though it can use Microsoft dlls if you supply them.

        Correct. I'm operating under the assumption that Cocoa and Carbon use Unix APIs at some level, since they sit on top of a Unix core. So as Wine is an implementation of the Win32 API, the Win32 API is just a fairly low-level API that lets you make windows and buttons and pull-down menus, access the filesystem, access task and memory management, etc., but if you want any of the niceties of newer Windows applications, like toolbars, reconfigurable menus, fancy controls, Windows media, etc., you need Windows/Microsoft DLLs that aren't a core part of the Win32 API proper. Sure, Wine provides open source implementations of some of these, but in most cases you need them provided from the application or from a copy of Windows. The analogy is not quite the same, with Cocoa and Carbon, but I think you get my point.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) *
          Carbon is a sort of bizarre chimera library, which was intended to provide a compatible set of APIs between classic Mac OS and Mac OS X. So that once OS X was on the way, you could carbonize an app under Classic and have it just work on OS X. Brilliant idea, but it means Carbon isn't a close relative of anything. It's a huge library and framework (since it spanned multiple operating systems), and would basically have to be engineered from scratch.

          In contrast, Cocoa is what used to be OPENSTEP; it's just
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by shmlco ( 594907 )
            You guys need to get serious. It's not just Carbon and Cocoa, but Quartz and Quicktime and Core Audio and Bonjour and all of the other technologies OS X applications are based on.

            You're better off running Parallels and virtualizing Linux. Performance is actually quite good and besides, how much of a hit are you going to take going the other way around, "virtualizing" OS X applications to run under Linux?
    • Re:Cocoa and Carbon (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT 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:Cocoa and Carbon (Score:5, Informative)

      by HeroreV ( 869368 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:15AM (#20042259) Homepage

      Wine doesn't really emulate Windows libraries, it runs them directly.
      Wine implements the Windows API. Wine does not use any software from Microsoft. Windows programs are just run with the Wine implementation instead of the Microsoft implementation.

      The Cocoa API is based on the OpenStep API, which has a full open specification []. We've had a FOSS implementation of the OpenStep API for years: GNUstep. GNUstep has even implemented some of the Cocoa additions. Producing a Cocoa compatibility layer should be much easier than producing a Windows compatibility layer.
      • Re:Cocoa and Carbon (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @11:44AM (#20043423) Journal

        Producing a Cocoa compatibility layer should be much easier than producing a Windows compatibility layer.
        There are a few more things required than just GNUstep. GNUstep gives source compatibility and is now fairly good at reading nib files. In order to run OS X pure-Cocoa applications you would also need a Mach-O binary loader. Linux uses ELF as the format for binaries, and so the loader can not start and link OS X applications. Next you would need to compile the Apple (NeXT) Objective-C runtime library on Linux. This is pretty easy (the code is ASPL), but currently GNUstep has problems running with the NeXT libobjc (it uses the GNU one by default).

        If you did this, you could run applications that just used Cocoa. Unfortunately, a lot of OS X applications also use Carbon. There is no open source version of Carbon, although a few people have written GNUstep wrappers for the parts of Carbon which are toll-free bridged with Cocoa. You would also not be able to run anything that depends on WebKit (unless you use GNUstep's SimpleWebKit as a stop-gap), QuickTime, or any of a number of other frameworks that have not yet been added to GNUstep.

        WINE has had a lot of time and effort put into it because there are a huge number of proprietary Windows-only applications that would be useful on other platforms already deployed. There are far fewer essential applications for the Mac (90%+ of computer users don't use any OS X apps, after all), and so no one has bothered. For the few apps that would be worth supporting, it is probably easier to re-write them from scratch than it is to write a general purpose compatibility layer.

    • >>>>> I realize your request is for "intel" MacBooks... but for those of you with PPCs or Developers...

      I'm pretty sure Mac On Linux (MOL) won't work for intel machines, but if it did it would more or less do what you want. A short search shows it probably doesn't work, maybe someone should look at porting it to intel hardware (if its doable).

      The feature list for processors /Features [] doesn't mention anything remotely intel.

      I think for now the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:42AM (#20041117)
    Apple isn't going to allow it to happen. It's very important that Mac OS be seen as part of the Mac -experience-, not something that you can install on any computer. Trust me, they would find some grounds upon which to shut down such a project if it ever became popular.

    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, and unfortunately that has a long way to go as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Only in the US out side of it they can say what you can do with there os after you buy it. So when 10.5 comes out BUY and hack it to run on any system and apple will not be able to stop you.
  • 10 years (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Constantine XVI ( 880691 ) <`trash.eighty+slashdot' `at' `'> on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:43AM (#20041141)
    Wine took ten years to get where it is now, without any real documentation whatsoever.

    I can guarantee you it would take at least that long to reverse-engineer Carbon from scratch. However, Cocoa is really nothing more than OPENSTEP v2. Linux already has an OPENSTEP implementation (GNUStep), so a portion of the work is done.
    • This would also require a re-compile on the part of the application vendor. IMO, highly unlikely. -metric
      • I was talking about using the GNUStep implementation as a starting point for a WINE-like Cocoa layer. I know you can't run native Mac apps on linux yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abcd1234 ( 188840 )
        Why? Wine doesn't require a recompile of the executable in question. It simply does a manual load of the PE/COFF file. Creating a similar loader for the Mach-O format is probably no more difficult.
  • iTunes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by egandalf ( 1051424 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:45AM (#20041163)
    All I want is iTunes compatibility. Sure, I can sync my ipod with Amarok or RythmBox, but I haven't found anything that works well for syncing video and I can't purchase music from the store. The kicker is, I would probably purchase LOTS more music if I had a solid linux port.

    This will probably not happen in the near future, though. I think Apple is afraid that a linux port would get reverse-engineered and their DRM would be cracked in a week. But with their apparent success in locking down the iPhone, I find that unlikely.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      Apple are probably more concerned with the fact developing a Linux version if iTunes would cost more money than it'll make in iTunes Music Store revenus... Linux doesn't have the market share clout to command a port of iTunes as Windows does.
      • by Dh2000 ( 71834 )
        Who cares, anyway? We have plenty of excellent media players, already.
        • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hatta ( 162192 )
            How about not buying hardware that ties you to a specific platform for no reason? If you buy a product locked to proprietary software on specific operating systems, don't complain when it doesn't work anywhere else.
        • Because of the features of iTunes that aren't in those players.

          Specifically, the ability to purchase music and shows from ITMS, and its seamless integration with the Apple TV

      • Re:iTunes (Score:4, Insightful)

        by croddy ( 659025 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:43AM (#20042641)
        The Linux and OS X desktop user bases have been roughly the same size for several years now, although I believe the OS X user base has finally begun to slightly outnumber the Linux share. I think the argument you want to make here is that the technically-oriented and freedom-inclined Linux user base would be unlikely to purchase low-bitrate DRM'ed AAC files.
    • by arivanov ( 12034 )
      If they make the port reliant on the TPM/DRM support present from 2.6.14 kernels onwards - not bloody likely. In fact it is likely to be possible to lock it down considerably better than Windows where this is not native to the OS prior to Vista.

      I would speculate that the reason for Apple not doing any such port is completely different. There was a recent slashdot article about Vista/Apple/etc market share based on browser stats: 23/1840206 []. This article has very c
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vux984 ( 928602 )
      All I want is iTunes compatibility.

      Seeing as iTunes has been ported to windows, have you explored running the Windows version of iTunes on Linux instead of the OSX version?

      It seems that iTunes 6 at least has been successfully done... es-in-linux-not-any-time-soon/ []

      Not sure when that was written, so someone may have figured out 7.

      It sounds like 6 can't access the itunes store anymore; but this is certainly a partial solution. And is priobably the avenue to wat
  • Purpose. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:46AM (#20041173) Homepage
    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.


    It seems sort of silly to deliberately kneecap yourself like this. Generally, you only see this behavior in serious FLOSS zealots. They're the ones not trying to run closed-source Mac OS X applications.

    • I prefer to think of myself as a dark templar. Anyway, isn't there a way to compile linux apps in Mac? For the most part I think as a desktop OS Mac is better anyway.
    • Re:Purpose. (Score:5, Funny)

      by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:17AM (#20041541) Homepage
      Flamebait? Fucking crackhead mods.

      The guy refers to "my beloved Mac OS X" and then goes on and on about how he wants to get rid of it, but can't leave behind the application support. Why?

      "Dear Slashdot, I've got this urge to kill my beloved wife. Could you please tell me how to do it, and how to simultaneously make her sister as hot as she is and have her marry me instead?"

      What the fuck is he trying to gain?

      • Re:Purpose. (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:22AM (#20041603)
        Okay, okay...

        Please stop the Hans Reiser bashing right now.
      • ...

        No way. You didn't... just... compare...

        He wants to run Linux as his primary OS, or at least experiment with it. There's nothing wrong with it. That you see this as a kind of homicidal impulse is bizarre to say the least - is this a symptom of your fanatical devotion to an OS?
      • Re:Purpose. (Score:5, Funny)

        by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:29AM (#20042463) Homepage Journal
        "Dear Slashdot, I've got this urge to kill my beloved wife. Could you please tell me how to do it, and how to simultaneously make her sister as hot as she is and have her marry me instead?"

        Didn't Hans Reiser submit that story?

        Sorry, that was in poor taste :P
    • Purposes (Score:3, Informative)

      by simpl3x ( 238301 )
      That probably could have been stated better! I believe the question is what is each good for? If free is a goal, then why not run Linux as an OS? But, why on Apple hardware, not that the cost is bad nowadays compared with the "general" hardware quality and design if that's your thing.

      If you need OS X applications, why not run Linux through Parallels or some VM? If Linux is your primary OS, use BootCamp to allow access to OS X. These approaches make sense depending upon your needs. Want access to everything
  • Resist the Urge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:46AM (#20041181)
    Why would you want to replace OS/X with Linux? Thats like replacing a shiny new Mercedez-Benz with a rebuilt Chevy.
    • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Ummm... Run X11 (found in the Utility folder in the Applications folder). Run it in take over the screen mode. Or replace the window manager with your choice.
        Take the linux apps you love. Build them on the mac. Minor fixes may be needed, far less than recreating OS X on Linux. Use any number of the guides to slim down OS X to the bare minimum foot print. Enjoy your Linux-lite experience on your nice iMac and get all the benefits of optimized drivers for the hardware. Set your environment up so that at login
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        VMWare Fusion ... download it ... it's really good on OS X. I have 3 Linux images I regularly use with almost no perceptible performance hit. It has a really slick full screen mode. Also, there's nothing stopping you from imaging your machine with Linux and installing OS X in a VMWare VM, it's a bit flaky on the redraws, but you'll have access to iTunes since you DO have a valid OS X license after all. The downside to that is you won't have access to firmware updates from Stevie.
    • I do - and I would if I could get 3D accelerated ATI Radeon 9200 drivers for Linux running on a PPC Mac Mini.

      My biggest gripe is Finder. Another gripe is the lack of GUI themes. Another gripe is the creation of hidden dot files on removable storage used on other operating systems. Next, the slowdown of the OS from 10.4 to 10.4.10 (I have reinstalled twice during that time).

      I do digg the clarity of the fonts, and zooming in with Ctrl and Scroll wheel. I just dont want it to be my primary OS at home anymore.
  • "darwinux" (Score:3, Informative)

    by johkra ( 1127573 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:46AM (#20041185)
    I was searching for the same thing (I wanted to test a crash Mac users experienced with an cross-platform app, but I don't own a Mac.), but I found nothing usable.

    There's "darwinux" ( []), but this far away from being usable.
  • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:47AM (#20041193)

    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?
    I think you answered your own question. Mac apps are very complex due to all of the mechanisms they use to maintain backward compatibility. Reimplementing all of those libraries is a huge task. Wine exists as a reimplementation of Win32 and DirectX strictly out of necessity, but there is little need to run Mac apps in Linux. Most people who want to run Mac apps prefer to run them on Apple hardware. Seeing that you already own an iMac, I think the bigger question is why are you so insistent on running Linux on your Mac?
    • Seeing that you already own an iMac, I think the bigger question is why are you so insistent on running Linux on your Mac?

      funny, i asked myself the same thing. Last summer I was a few months in to my Linux transition on my desktop and I decided I wanted to find a cheap laptop to sit on my couch with and browse the internet as I watched tv. I thought I was going to run Linux on the laptop too, and I ended up with an old PPC powerbook that had OSX on it. I already knew that OSX was built upon BSD and the

    • Seeing that you already own an iMac, I think the bigger question is why are you so insistent on running Linux on your Mac?

      I was wondering the same thing. I love linux, but I see no advantage of running it on my iMac. Linux runs great headless on cheap hardware, and OS X has X11, NFS, a great terminal application _AND_ it runs OS X apps. I leave my iMac on 24/7, and its power management spins down the harddisk and turns off the monitor. All of the software to hardware stuff like my bluetooth keyboard and
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      That was going to by my question.
      Most FOSS Linux applications are available for OS/X, just install fink and maybe the Xwindows server. If you really want to run Linux then you have Parallels as an option to run a Linux instance on Mac OS/X.
      OS/X looks like a great OS that offers a really nice GUI with a nice stable Unix foundation. Unless OS/X compatibility becomes a real issue for Linux users I doubt that you will see the effort needed to make an OS/X Wine-like system. It is an itch that not enough peop
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jessecurry ( 820286 ) <> on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:48AM (#20041207) Homepage Journal
    I just want to know why you would want to replace OS X with Linux? I understand the FOSS ideals, but you could always run linux in a virtual machine. I've installed Linux on quite a few of my Macs over the years, but since OS X I find that almost all of the linux functionality is sitting right in OS X.
    What do you hope to gain by installing Linux as the full-time OS? Please don't flame me, I'd like some logical points, or even a "just because".
    • I can think of a few reasons. One is the possibility to run a different desktop like KDE (Yes, mac-zealots, there are people who do not like the mac-GUI.) Another is package management: as far as i know OSX does not have a feature which enables you to install or update your software in large batches. Another would be a need or wish to develop for the Linux-platform.
    • People I know seem to have 'switched' for reasons that are perhaps most eloquently stated [] by Dive Into Python author (and veteran Apple user) Mark Pilgrim:

      In many ways, the tale of my switch is more of the same old story. Mac OS X was "free enough" to keep me using something that was not in my long-term best interest. But as I stood in the Apple store last weekend and drooled over the beautiful, beautiful hardware, all I could think was how much work it would take to twiddle with the default settings, insta

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AnObfuscator ( 812343 ) <{ude.lfu.syhp} {ta} {gnireno}> on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:39AM (#20042587) Homepage

      That's a good question. For me, my move from OS X to Linux is motivated by several reasons.

      1. Portability
      OSX runs on Apple Hardware. It can be hacked, sure, to run on some non-Apple systems, but widescale hardware compatibility is lacking (just look at the difficulties in getting a GeForce 8x00 series card running). With Linux, I have a much wider choice of hardware vendors.

      2. Flexibility
      Linux gives me a lot more control over my OS. While this is pointless for 90% of users, for me, it is very nice to be able to custom compile a kernel with the options I need, recompile any given app for the characteristics I need, and so on. I can enable, disable, theme, customize, and otherwise hack my environment to suit my needs much more easily than in OS X.

      3. Security
      OSX is pretty good, but I'm a little worried at Apple's highly negative response to security concerns (anyone remember the wireless driver exploit fiasco?). Also Linux offers some features that OSX doesn't currently offer, such as MAC. 10.5 is supposed to have MAC, but I can't find any info on it. While both systems are good, I perceive the Linux market as responding more credibly to security issues.

      4. Software Ecosystem
      OSX software is great. However, Linux offers me a great deal more choice, and that choice tends to be much more configurable to my needs. While I love the Cocoa API and what it allows apps to do, Linux is catching on fast, and I find that good GNOME or KDE apps perform most, if not all, the functionality I care about in OSX, while being beer free, and offering me more choices (i.e. Anjuta, Geany, Eclipse, KDevelop vs XCode, Eclipse). There's also a lot of software I like to use that aren't available on OSX yet. I'm starting to learn CUDA, for example, and that is not yet offered for OSX. Also, VMWare workstation offers some nice features targeted at developers (such as host-to-VM project deployment & debugging) which I haven't seen offered yet on OSX.

      5. Usability
      I know a lot of people disagree with this, but I find a lot of OSX's UI broken, at least for how I use my system. I find the window management to be frustrating, the Dock to be very limited, and the lack of decent app launching & management to be very frustrating (although QS does manage to solve app launching in a pretty nice way). GNOME's clean usability and massive customization have allowed me to create a Linux system that I actually find to be more usable for me than OSX.

      I guess I could summarize all of that by one word: choice. For my needs and uses, I find the flexibility of Linux far more convenient.

      If OSX's behaviors work well for you, and you are happy with Apple's hardware offerings, then you have the choice of OS X instead!

      Isn't freedom of choice a great feeling?

  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:48AM (#20041209)
    I'm looking for a way to convert my Lamborghini Diablo into a lawnmower.
  • You can't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:49AM (#20041211)
    There's no much motivation right now for "Mac Wine" since there isn't such a flood of Mac-only apps that are essential to Linux users.

    You're trying to do something stupid here: a Mac is only good as Apple sold it to you. They've went to thoroughly extensive work to ensure it is so, trying to get something production ready with OSX apps under Linux is begging for problems.

    You bought a Mac, use OSX (you can dual boot still, or virtualize).
    • But... imagine the name of that project: MINE. Or to you Farkers out there: Can't Have. Not Yours.
    • You're trying to do something stupid here: a Mac is only good as Apple sold it to you. They've went to thoroughly extensive work to ensure it is so, trying to get something production ready with OSX apps under Linux is begging for problems.

      Mmm, yes. Thar be dragons young one. Go back to your pre-packaged world and don't you worry your pretty little head about this "Linux" thing. Let the soothing tone of Steve Jobs' voice sing you to sleep.

  • Isn't OSX based off of BSD? Won't most Linux apps run with a little with tweaking to them?

    OSX is the reason I stopped using windows with a linux server in the other room.
    • Going from Linux to Mac is pretty straightforward. OS X has an X11 install (it's available on the install disk, but not installed by default), glibc, python, php, and stuff. You can install the KDE libraries from source, and I think KDE 4 will have a Mac binary.

      However, the question is asking about going from Mac to Linux, which is more difficult.
    • No (Score:3, Informative)

      Mac OS X has a subsystem based on BSD, and it uses it for some system tasks and to present a POSIX runtime environment. It's only a very small part of the system and rather a second citizen. Let's not even talk about their X11 support, which is pretty unpleasant to use for anything but the basics.

      Only a Mac zealot is likely to tell you it's just a "better unix than unix". Real unix users tend to cry when trying to use it, especially since half the man pages are outdated and completely wrong because Apple ch
  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:50AM (#20041227) Homepage

    Does such a project exist yet? If not, why not?

    • There's not much demand for it.
    • Most commercial Mac software exists in Windows, so you can run the Windows versions under WINE in Linux.
    • Most people who buy a Mac are even less inclined to tinker than a typical Windows user, and therefore much less likely to switch to Linux.
    • Every Apple computer extends the Steve Jobs reality distortion field [] to the computer user, ensuring lifelong devotion to the product. I haven't a clue why it doesn't affect you this way.

    It's a fair bet the real answer is one or all of those.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cereal Box ( 4286 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:50AM (#20041233)
    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. You can run Linux for a lot less money, you know.

    Honestly though, Mac OS X really isn't that bad -- in fact, I think it's pretty nice, especially if you come from a Linux background. You do realize that you can run pretty much any Linux app (as long as it doesn't do any funky OS-specific things) natively on Mac OS X, right? You could even run a full-fledged Linux installation via Parallels if you so desire. ... Or is the main issue that you're one of those people who gets the "heebie-jeebies" at the thought of running software that isn't open source? In that case, my advice is to get a life -- it's just software! The world won't end if you run a piece of non-free code!
    • Interesting the way you attempt to dismiss people who value software freedom, there. Has it occured to you that those that do, aren't doing it because of the 'heebie-jeebies', but of a greater sense of community, liberty and rights?

      You might be fine with proprietary software, but please don't dismiss people who aren't.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Cereal Box ( 4286 )
        Seriously man, it's just software. It's not a way of life.

        And if he was so concerned about "community, liberty, and rights", why did he buy a $2000 proprietary machine just to run open source on it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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 br

    • Those of us with PPC processors can't do that. Many Linux apps are several versions older in Fink than on Linux.
      Maybe KDE 4 will be different.

      Mac OS X is too simple for me. I had more control over Windows 3.1...
      • I meant the GUI and its configuration options is more simple than Windows 3.1...
        Note to self - I must use the preview button ;-)
    • by DaveCar ( 189300 )

      Personally I wouldn't buy an Apple desktop, because I would built my own PC.

      Buying a laptop would be a different matter however. If you buy a laptop you are pretty much buying an operating system too. I would much rather buy a UNIX based OS which, if some bit of hardware doesn't quite work right under Linux, which is ofter quite likely with a laptop, I can get to work on the supported OS and not have to run Windows to do it.

      I would really like to be able to get some (self-compiled) OS X command line applica
  • by Wooky_linuxer ( 685371 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:51AM (#20041255)

    is your best bet right now. I am not sure if OS X can be properly virtualized, since it seems to check whether you are running it on Apple hardware - of course, if you are going to use an iMac, then you are indeed using Apple hardware, but it doesn't seem so to the OS. You'd need to use a hacked version I guess - oh the irony!

    If you asked me, I would advise the contrary: run Linux in a virtual environment under OS X. Less trouble to get it running, no need to use hacked versions, and there is a good possibility that features such as Coherence from Parallels or the equivalent in VMWare Fusion might be available for Linux guests someday.

  • by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:55AM (#20041281) Journal
    Let's see- you take your unix kernel, build a fully rewritten, GL-optimized X Windows system... solidify your GNUStep libraries until they're fully compatible with cocoa-

    Then be certain you're only running systems with SSE3 or above, since all the intel binaries are optimized for that.

    Whoops- also gotta build a compatible CoreAudio system.

    Oh no, looks like you're now Apple.

    If you're using Mac OS X, you're already using a NeXT compatibility layer on top of a streamlined X and a really high end specialized desktop unix. The question is- why are you trying to run linux? You're using a much higher end unix system that supports X11 and has a full BSD layer, with package managers available. Why don't you just run linux apps in OS X?

    Making an OS X "compatibility layer" would essentially just require you to create a shoddy set of OS X libraries- something Apple's already done better.

    Take advantage of your resources.

    Let me repeat this - OS X is a "mac compatibility layer" running on top of a unix kernel already- it's a totally insane waste of time to re-implement it. If you're that interested in making OS X, you should work for Apple.
    • Running Apple stuff on cheap hardware might be interesting to some. Apple wouldn't like it, however.
    • OSX does not use an X Windows system, not matter how streamlined or GL-optimised. The entire window system is different all the way down. Sure there is an optional install X11 that runs on top of Quartz but all native OSX apps are non-X.
    • I'm not fond of the idea myself, as I suspect it'd never work well. Apple's OS is also a fast moving target and maintaining compatibility would be a nightmare.

      I don't buy the "why not run Linux apps on Mac OS X" line though. Apple's X11 is a second citizen that is very poorly integrated into the UI, slow, and clumsy to use. They don't have to be, but Apple hasn't been too enthusiastic about improving X11 support. X11 apps are much easier to use on a native X11 desktop (obviously) and if they're most of what
    • Because currently you can only buy that Mac compatibility layer from one place.
      If Apple goes bankrupt, or drops it, then your left out in the cold.
      Similarly if Apple don't move it in the directions you want, then your stuck. (think very cheap lowend hardware, or very tiny laptops)

      I run Kismac, it's a very nice wireless sniffer similar to Kismet on Linux, but graphical and with good gps integration including downloadable maps. I would like to run this on a tablet or a PDA, but Apple don't make such devices, so i have to run Kismet instead (text based) and then import the data into a mapping program later.
  • If OSX is so "beloved" to you, why on earth would you want to commit to using Linux instead? Honestly, at least on beige box PCs you have the excuse that your choices are limited to Windows and Linux, but you have a tightly integrated, beautiful looking and perfectly working operating system which you want to chuck for...some reason. What can't you do on OSX than you can on Linux? If you want to tinker, why not grab Bochs, QEMU or even better Parallels Desktop and run Linux in that?

    I understand the appeal o
  • I don't know how difficult it would be to dynamically (or otherwise) translate Mach-O binaries to ELF. The two systems are using different kernels and different kernel architectures, so even at that most basic level, this would be a problem.
  • Funnily enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simong ( 32944 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:02AM (#20041365) Homepage
    I was just thinking about this coming back from lunch. OS X has become the pragmatic choice of many sysadmins simply because it is the best of both worlds: you get a GUI OS on (generally) reliable hardware that will run Microsoft Office (if you must) but also has a full command line interface that will run most Unix tools without any fiddling. Part of OS X's success is wholly due to this, and the Linux/FOSS community has responded by making the Linux front end more Mac-like with Compiz, Beryl and Etoile.
    In short, you aren't going to gain anything by running Linux, except some nebulous feeling of self-satisfaction about something or other, and you are going to lose an awful lot. Running Windows on a Mac makes the Baby Jesus cry; running Linux exclusively gives him slight heartburn.
  • Market Share (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bernywork ( 57298 ) * <bstapleton AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:17AM (#20041543) Journal
    I know this is really stating the obvious, but it comes down to this, market share. Windows has a large market share, and therefore has a large amount of developers building applications. There is also a lot of work done on WINE by CodeWeavers and Cedega, these are builds of WINE that are commecially supported for applications and gaming respectively. (Not to take anything away done by others on WINE, but these people are contributors as well)

    The real reason that these companies exist, is that there isn't THAT much of a demand for Mac apps on Linux. There is a large demand for Windows apps on Linux because there are so many Windows developers and subsequently applications that run on Windows. That's why we have WINE.

    It would be possible I guess to do Carbon and Cocoa on Linux, re-implement the APIs, but for the amount of applications that there are on Mac that aren't on Windows, there isn't much point.

    If Apple opensourced Carbon and Cocoa (Not likely) then I guess they would get ported to Linux by someone, but till then, someone isn't going to do this as the amount of developers out there just isn't high enough. There isn't the interest.
  • This isn't something that can happen. There's just not enough demand for it, and there never will be. Why? Because, unlike Windows, Mac OS X is good enough as it is. The only certain benefit of Windows is "lots of applications", so of course trying to merge that benefit into another OS makes sense. The benefit of Mac OS X *is* Mac OS X. You're being silly trying to move a disadvantage (second place in app availability) and move it onto a platform with few advantages or differences.
  • Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:34AM (#20041735) Homepage Journal
    Some of my thoughts, in no particular order:

    - The Officially Sanctioned API (TM) for OS X apps is Cocoa. This is basically an extension of OpenStep. So is GNUStep []. GNUStep even aims to implement Cocoa's extensions so as to allow Cocoa apps to be linked with GNUStep. However, for the time being, compatibility is incomplete and only at the source level. You might have some luck compiling GNUStep apps on Cocoa/OSX, but not running compiled Cocoa apps on GNUStep/Linux.

    - Some people tried to get Darwin binary compatibiltiy into NetBSD []. However, the project is now dead [], purportedly due to lack of user interest. This is the only Darwin binary compatibility project I am aware of. What this means is that, at the moment, you can only run Darwin (AKA OS X) executables on Darwin.

    - QEMU [] is a fast and open source emulator that can be used to emulate, among others, x86 PCs, AMD64 PCs, and Power Macs. This should allow you to run OS X as a guest OS. If you use QEMU to emulate an x86 on an x86, or an x86 or AMD64 on AMD64, it should run close to native speed. That is, as far as the CPU is concerned. Other hardware, graphics hardware in particular, will not have native performance.

    - I've been a GNU/Linux user for over ten years. I also used Mac OS X for a couple of years. Eventually, I got frustrated with it and installed Linux on my iBook. I've never looked back. Of course, I am primarily a GNU/Linux and BSD user, which causes the little (sometimes significant) oddities of OS X to frustrate me. If you're primarily an OS X user, this will likely work the other way around.

    - GNU/Linux does have some definite advantages over OS X. Just throwing down a few: more customizability, easier maintenance (given a decent package manager, such as apt-get), better compatibility with open-source software, and several possible advantages that depend on your choices: lower memory usage, lower latency, lower disk usage.

    - Given that you have a Mac, OS X also has some advantages over GNU/Linux. Among others: it supports your hardware (what you get from Apple, anyway; Linux has the edge when it comes to third-party hardware), companies are more likely to support it (think software, hardware, and manuals), and ... well, can't think of anything more right now.

    - As for why there is no compatibility layer yet: probably just because it's a monumental task. Think about how old Wine [] is and how well it works. Then think about Apple's yearly OS upgrades. Then consider that Apple has also moved architectures (PPC -> x86) since the introduction of OS X, and probably will again (x86 -> AMD64 - they ship that hardware, but the OS is still at least mostly x86). Then look at GNUStep and the instructions for building it (you're allowed to shiver at this point). A Mac OS X compatibility layer won't happen anytime soon.
  • If not, why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lally Singh ( 3427 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:46AM (#20041889) Journal

    If not, why not?

    Because it's a terrible, terrible idea. The Mac software stack is *large*, with API compatibility going back 20 years. 3 full-size APIs are supported (bsd, carbon, and cocoa), and they're all constantly being improved by apple. Any such project, while also being an absurd waste of time, could never catch up. Not to mention all the GPU stuff they're doing these days, integrated into the window server (Quartz Extreme, CoreAnimation, etc.). Feel like extending X11 to get decent performance? I don't, and neither does anyone else.

    You've already gone past the hurdle that keeps most from using Linux: buying a Mac. If you want all the linux software, just download port from [] and let it download prebuilt binaries of traditionally linux applications for your mac. The website is crap but the tool's good and the repository is active and well maintained. They run just like the linux side, only you don't have to start hating your life by using Linux as your desktop OS. Switching back from OS X to Linux is about as painful as shoving a screwdriver in your eye. There's no point.

    Some corrections:
      * Parallels/VMWare aren't emulating anything. They're using newish x86 instructions to let the system run 2 OS's simultaneously
      * Ever consider recompiling? I mean, it's called open source for a reason.

    Also, if you're gonna tinker, consider Solaris. It's free and Parallels supports it with nice X11 extensions for mouse sharing, etc. Also, it's BrandZ lets you run Linux binaries.

  • A better bet would be virtualization, given the realities of market share and the amount of time such a compatibility effort would take for relatively poor results. The Mac platform is also such a moving target that any such layer would be outdated by the time it was even close to working.

    Unfortunately, Apple don't want to you run their precious OS in a virtual container. They want to force you to do everything else in a virtual container instead. They won't sell you a license to their OS for user in a virt
  • Let's see -

    Classic -> Carbon
    Carbon -> Mach-O
    PPC -> Intel/Universal

    Aren't we due for a new architecture/API soon?

    It's hard enough keeping up with porting existing applications.
  • 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 []. 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.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"