Intel Macs, FreeBSD, and drivers

David Kelly dkelly at
Sat Apr 29 22:20:59 UTC 2006

On Apr 29, 2006, at 5:02 PM, Andrew Pantyukhin wrote:

>> Question1:  If there is a driver for a device that works on an  
>> Intel Mac
>> (under OS X), will that driver work under FreeBSD?  For example,  
>> suppose
>> a very new Intel Mac has a new disk controller, is there some  
>> process by
>> which we can get its driver into FreeBSD?  E.g. via a download from
>> either Apple or the chip set vendor?
> Nope, the kernels are not that similar. Porting might be
> a short way in many cases, but we don't live in a world
> where all drivers/specs are open.

While the kernels are not all that similar there already is Darwin on  
Intel, lots of former key FreeBSD talent now works for Apple, and  
then without any fanfare MacOS X is found to support several hardware  
items which have been near and dear to FreeBSD in the past such as  
the Intel Etherexpress Pro NIC. Simply pulled a PCI NIC from my  
FreeBSD PC and dropped it right into my G4 PowerMac. Same holds true  
for several other commodity NICs.

Mostly the same for a $10 5-port NEC chipset USB2 card. I can wake  
from sleep thru the Intel Etherexpress NIC but can not wake from  
sleep with the NEC USB2. That's not necessarily a bad thing, in fact  
now that I know it, its a feature. Plugged printers into the NEC and  
now if the Mac is sleeping and I see the printer is still on I can  
turn the printer off without waking the Mac. Previously any activity  
on the USB bus would wake the Mac.

David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly at
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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