GNU-Darwin becomes 1.0!

Posted 18 Jan 2003 at 22:08 UTC by proclus Share This

I've put the project in stable production status, and updated some key web pages.

Our core asset, the packages and software distribution system is now usable by anyone who is willing to learn the Unix command line, and we encourage everyone to do so. This system together with GNU-Darwin OS itself is an impactful force in the industry, and our project is popular, influential, and widely watched. It is clear that as a major distribution we will continue build and grow our many sub-projects, such as internet services, the ports, x86 hardware support, and our CDRs and other hard media offerings. Once again, many thanks to Cornell University, the worldwide free software development collective, Darwin contributors, SourceForge, Prime Time Freeware, the *BSD trinity, Apple, and everyone else who helped us to get to this point. In this rich context we have become 1.0, but we are just getting started, and it is going to be a wild ride and a compelling journey. Join us now.


Be sure to read the APSL and the GPL, so that you will know your right, posted 19 Jan 2003 at 00:05 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

First link, we get "Be sure to read the APSL and the GPL, so that you will know your right".

According to FSF "The Apple Public Source License (APSL) [...] is not a free software license (follow that link for more explanation). Please don't use this license, and we urge you to avoid any software that has been released under it."

I'm not aware of the "GNU-Darwin" status. How is it licensed? Is it completely free or does it mix proprietary software with free software as Apple MacOS X?

Darwin is the Apple MacOS X kernel or am I wrong (I must admit that I'm terribly unaware of Apple/Other_proprietary_companies last OSes released)? Darwin is licensed under the ASPL or am I wrong?

If so, the purpose of the project is only technical, isn't it?

Licensing, posted 19 Jan 2003 at 01:42 UTC by proclus » (Master)

Yes, it is important to note that Darwin is not free software, and we include the grey box caveat with GNU's APSL info link at critical points, such as our licensing discussions, ordering web page, and on the OS installer CDRs that we distribute.

It is also clear that Darwin is not proprietary. It is OSI-approved "open" source. APSL covered code can be proprietized by Apple, and Darwin is at the core of Mac OS X. This Unix-like environment has provided the first major opportunity to reach Apple users with free software, so that they can learn the values which bring that software to them. We GPL all of our original code, and most of the software which we distribute is GPL. We provide a free software overlay which can be used by Darwin and Mac OS X users alike. It can also be used instead of Apple's proprietary overlay, if the users chooses that.


What is GNU-Darwin?, posted 20 Jan 2003 at 04:35 UTC by sjanes71 » (Journeyer)

I can see news about it, I can download it, I can buy t-shirts for it, I can fight the DMCA with it, I can develop for it but I don't understand what it is-- and today is the first I've heard of it. Is it supposed to replace Apple's OSX? An x86 port? What is the unique service proposition of the GNU-Darwin distribution in other words? Why would I want to use GNU-Darwin over, say, Red Hat Linux, Gentoo Linux or Debian Linux? Is this a GNU/Hurd distribution using the FSF microkernel? (wild speculation on my part) What is the GNU-Darwin distribution for, exactly?

RE: What is GNU-Darwin?, posted 20 Jan 2003 at 16:58 UTC by proclus » (Master)

There is alot of discussion of these basic points in our Free Darwin! forum, and we have some FAQ and help info on our new website. Although it is under development, it is useful for this purpose.

Free Darwin!
new website

Here is a post from that forum, which will hopefully help you to understand the

Distribution better.

Thank you for your interesting question on a deep subject.

We distribute an x86 version of Darwin and a full package set for x86 as well, but IMHO there is little reason for an x86 Linux or FreeBSD user to migrate to Darwin. First of all, FreeBSD and GNU/Linux are free operating systems, but Darwin is not. If you are interested in the unique capabilities of Darwin, then it would be better to implement them under Linux or Hurd. If you are interested in assisting GNU-Darwin with our project goals, then that might be a reason to migrate to Darwin-x86. As compared to Apple boxen, it is an inexpensive way to get underway with Darwin.

If you had read the masthead and followed the developments of the Distribution over time, then it would be clear that technical merit is not the only factor in our decisions, nor should it be. We are trying to reach Apple users with software freedom, a value of openness, sharing, integrity, and liberty which is at the foundation of the internet and the scientific endeavor from which it sprang.

Darwin certainly has interesting technical qualities, such as the IOKit, NetInfo, the real time kernel, and the potential for parallel processing. Darwin is at the center of capitalization for the whole Apple community, which is a great space for innovation and growth, but we should not discard the value of software freedom for mere technical merit, monetary gain, or convenience, which are secondary values.

Corrupt laws, such as the DMCA are at odds with the value of softare freedom, and they should be repealed so that no one else will be subjected to their draconian clauses. Correspondingly, until Darwin appeared, Apple users were long besieged by entrenched proprietary interests, who cared only for keeping them on the treadmill. Apple has apparently shifted their orientation somewhat with respect to that entrenchment, and we are using the opportunity to effect a change. Any user who crosses over to freedom is a victory for us, and they are getting an education about the meaning of that freedom through our current action. Moreover, even GNU Project recognizes that only a tiny step is now required in order for Apple to Free Darwin. Apple now appears to be committed to "open source" development and contributing back to the community. One reason for our recent action is to help them maintain progress, and to publicize the desirability of a free Darwin OS sponsored by Apple. It is a step that Apple should take for their own benefit as well as that of their users.

If you are an Apple user, then join us and we will add software freedom to what you already have so that you can learn these values. In time, Apple may free Darwin, or you may learn enough about free software so that you can be done with proprietary software for good. On the other hand, if you already have a free operating system, then stick with that, or join our efforts to extend software freedom to the Apple community.

Please feel free to write me back, if you have any questions or concerns about this.


Ah, ok, so... GNU-Darwin is a distribution of Apple Darwin's BSD/Mach 3.0 Kernel., posted 20 Jan 2003 at 19:23 UTC by sjanes71 » (Journeyer)

Akin to how RMS wants people to call Linux GNU/Linux, because it's GNU tools running on the Linux kernel... so GNU-Darwin could be considered the GNU toolset running on the Darwin kernel. Am I getting this right?

Thanks for GNU-Darwin!, posted 20 Jan 2003 at 19:32 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

Thanks for your efforts in spreading Free Software to Apple users! Even though I do not use Apple products or Darwin anywhere, I think your efforts are valueable, just like people who bring GNU software to 32-bit Windows environments (GNU-Win32, etc.).

On an unrelated topic, I wonder how fast is Darwin on x86 as compared to GNU/Linux or FreeBSD on the same setup. I am interested because Darwin is microkernel based, and its performance can give us an indication if microkernels can compete in efficiency with traditional kernels like Linux. The same hardware on x86 allows fair comparsions. The Hurd, as it stands now, is very slow compared to the Linux kernel. Darwin, which I expect is more optimized, should allow us to see what microkernels can achieve.

Re: Ah, ok, so... GNU-Darwin is a distribution of Apple Darwin's BSD/Mach 3.0 Kernel., posted 20 Jan 2003 at 19:52 UTC by proclus » (Master)

Yes indeed!


Re: Thanks for GNU-Darwin!, posted 20 Jan 2003 at 20:12 UTC by proclus » (Master)

Your welcome! =}

It is important to note that we are very much about the freedom part. Apple users have enjoyed a kind of freedom, and we are trying to reach them with FSF-style software freedom. Yves de Champlain, a GNU-Darwin developer, has written well about this.

Apple in OpenSourceLand

This means that we use free software as an opening to teach the values and often "graduate" users to FreeBSD or GNU/Linux.

Last time I ran benchmarks Linux-x86 was significantly faster than Darwin-x86, although there are particular exceptions. Darwin has had a major revision since that time, but I don't think that there has been very much change in computational speed relative to Linux.

There are particular exceptions of course. Vectorization is always the wildcard. Moreover, microkernal architecture should provide better support for clustering, but in Darwin the BSD network stack is superimposed on Mach, which complicates the problem greatly.

At GNU-Darwin, we must be careful about exactly how we contribute to unfree Darwin, and we have found user-level parallelization tools like LAM/MPI to be sufficient for our needs thus far. Until Darwin is freed, I'd say that kernel-level parallelization is better pursued with Hurd or with a free BSD OS.


one more thing, posted 20 Jan 2003 at 20:15 UTC by proclus » (Master)

Although GNU-Darwin can be viewed as a standalone OS for x86 and PowerPC architectures, it is also a source of free software to Apple users. Our packages are compatible with both Darwin and Mac OS X, which is our means of reaching into the Apple community.


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