Apple's contribution to FreeBSD

Paul Robinson paul at
Tue Jul 20 01:48:51 PDT 2004

On Tue, Jul 20, 2004 at 11:55:57AM -0400, Robert Storey wrote:

> 1) How much of FreeBSD did Apple actually use in OSX? If I'm not
> mistaken, the Darwin kernel is not related to FreeBSD in any way (or is
> that wrong?). Basically, what exactly did Apple gain from FreeBSD?

As I understand it, all of userland, plus they stole Jordan Hubbard. :-)

The kernel is based on Mach, not FreeBSD, and when you do drop down into a
shell, it doesn't look or feel much like a FreeBSD system really. They might
have taken a lot, but you can barely tell. Quite honestly, I don't think
they've taken a great deal more than /bin, /sbin, /lib, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin,
/usr/lib or if they have, I couldn't tell when I was hacking away on one the 
other day. The config files don't *really* sit in /etc, home directories are 
in /Users and it's full of that kind of non-sensical nonsense. So, to say 
Mac OS X is like FreeBSD with knobs on, is like saying the Ferrari F1 car is 
like a Testarossa with knobs on - bits might have come from the same 
factory, but at different times and for different purposes.

There are a lot of OS X guys around the FreeBSD lists though who will no 
doubt jump in and explain if it's more than what I'm suggesting. If you're 
writing an article on this though, you should absolutely 100% go out and try 
a Mac OS X box, otherwise you're just making stuff up.
> 2) What exactly has Apple contributed back to FreeBSD? (money?
> equipment? source code?). Nowadays, does Apple still continue to give
> anything back to the FreeBSD community?

I know they sometimes help sponsor the odd event relevant to us, and they're
the first OS vendor I know who will go to a Linux User Group and give a talk
to a bunch of people who won't buy their product just to talk about the
tech. Also Darwin is there for us to nick things off if we want it, just
like the other BSDs. 

If FreeBSD wanted more than attribution, perhaps the choice of BSD license
was a bad idea. :-)
> 3) How much of OSX today is open source (or "shared source")? Can you
> actually see the OSX source code? Can you use any of it?

Darwin. As somebody else pointed out, Darwin is open source, but doesn't 
have the GUI or proprietary libs included.
Paul Robinson

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