Is FreeBSD a suitable choice for a MacBook? --- WHY?

Dr. Aharon Friedman afriedman at
Mon Oct 6 20:53:53 UTC 2008

Thanks Robert,

I just did not want to go into a lot of details.  My bottom line was  
that unless you want to run a very specific port that has not been  
ported to Mac OSX (these are quite rare), I do not see the reason to  
install FreeBSD on a Mac Book.  As for X11 it is maintained as a  
separate port, and one can go to: to download the latest version  
which is much less buggy.  The only caveat is that when Apple updates  
the operating system it reverts to whatever they have on the official  
release and one has to reinstall the latest version.

Aharon Friedman

On Oct 6, 2008, at 1:36 PM, Robert Watson wrote:

> On Mon, 6 Oct 2008, Dr. Aharon Friedman wrote:
>> Sorry, I meant BSD.
>> Here is the link:
>> Aharon Friedman
> I don't see the origina message you replied to on the list, so am  
> replying to it via your post...
>>> I'm just a lurker, but even I know that only some of the userland  
>>> apps in OS X are BSD-based. The kernel is mach microkernel based  
>>> and not even slightly similar.
> This claim regarding the kernel is highly inaccurate.  There are  
> significant quantities of FreeBSD, Mach, and Apple-originated code  
> in the Mac OS X kernel, both because Apple pulled in a lot of  
> FreeBSD code early on, but also because code moves between the two  
> kernels fairly easily and fairly frequently, and in both directions.  
> You'll find a FreeBSD-derived VFS, network stack, and countless  
> other kernel parts in Mac OS X from their first open source drop  
> forward.  More recently, though, you'll find that the Audit  
> implementation present in FreeBSD 6.x and later is based on the Mac  
> OS X kernel audit code, and the TrustedBSD MAC Framework that  
> appeared in Mac OS X Leopard is straight from FreeBSD.
> It's certainly true that there's a lot of non-FreeBSD code -- XNU  
> uses the Mach scheduler and Mach IPC, and a quite different driver  
> framework, for example.  There's also some convergent evolution:  
> FreeBSD contains a Mach-derived VM that also comes from the original  
> Mach project.
> Finally, just to be clear: XNU is not a micro-kernel, even though it  
> contains significant amounts of Mach code.  The "microkernel" and  
> remainder of the kernel run in a single address space, and although  
> certain separation is (often) maintained in the source code /  
> abstractions, the Mach, FreeBSD, and device driver parts run in a  
> unified and tightly integrated way.
> Robert N M Watson
> Computer Laboratory
> University of Cambridge

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