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Running Mac OS X Apps on Linux

Anthony Baby (1015379) writes | more than 6 years ago

User Journal 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 the concept of 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 x86.

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 the concept of 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 x86.

Virtualizing and emulating is 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?

cancel ×

497 comments

Cocoa and Carbon (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041075)

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.

also (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041153)

aren't some of the cocoa/carbon binaries encrypted?

Admittedly the open source crowd has proven encryption of that style to be a show stopper of no more than 5 minutes usually, but that'd be another reason for delay.

Re:also (4, Insightful)

Trillan (597339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041337)

Some of Apple's Mac OS X binaries are encrypted. However, if you're really talking about an open source clone, you have no business trying to use Apple's binaries.

Re:also (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041703)

I'm not aware of any central Windows library being encrypted, that doesn't mean Wine has only taken 5 minutes to replicate Windows. I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041167)

Wine has taken years to get as far as it has.

Amen to that. And it's still going to be years before it will support anything as current as today. By the time full XP support is available in WINE, XP will be 2 generations past.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041319)

By the time full XP support is available in WINE, XP will be 2 generations past.

Nice troll, but Wine aims for compatibility with Win32 code, not some specific version of the OS. It already supports more than 90% of the API.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (5, Funny)

derrida (918536) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041611)

So according to the Ninety-ninety rule [wikipedia.org] :

"The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time."
one may assume that full API support will arrive at 2017.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041229)

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.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041427)

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:Cocoa and Carbon (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041489)

I suspect that an 'OS X Wine' would take as long.


And would be just as immoral.

Stop undermining the business models of companies whose software you want to run.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041623)

Stop sucking Steve Jobs' balls.

Re:Cocoa and Carbon (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041627)

He obviously doesn't want to run their software, otherwise he wouldn't be asking for compatability layers in Linux to run other people's software without having to run a certain OS.

Quit with your trollish BS already Anonymous - I really wish you'd get a job and stop posting what seems like thousands of comments a day on /.... :o

Of course you can't (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041569)

You guys aren't grasping the FOSSie anti-choice agenda. They are ONLY concerned with ripping off Microsoft, and trying to weaken their market share. Teh Lunix D00dz have zero interest in doing anything which could harm the Apple monopoly, since it's a "Shashdot approved monopoly".

The FOSSies only permit two choices: either you go with teh Lunix and the all-FOSS application lock-in, or you go with OSX and the all-Apple application lock-in. The LAST thing FOSSies want is for people to go with Windows, where true choice exists: you can choose from a huge market of commerical software, you can go with any of tons of FOSS solutions, or any combination thereof.

The GPL is all about destroying choices in the marketplace, and we all know that Apple is a brutal monopoly. The amazing thing, to me, is how Apple managed to get FOSSies to help them in their monopolistic agenda. I don't know what's in it for the FOSSies, but maybe the fact that both groups walk around with a false sense of superiority (and security) is the glue which binds them together.

Re:Of course you can't (5, Funny)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041833)

*sprays can of Troll-Be-Gone*

Damn. This stuff must be expired!

Either that or I'm not using enough of it...

There is no project because..... (0, Troll)

darinp (1076055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041083)

Microsoft will give you everything you need on the x86 platform No, Really!

In answer to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041105)

In answer to those who ask why... its because we CAN. (you dumbassess).

Simple reasons for this. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Simple reasons for this. (1)

CadetStimpy (1134823) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041303)

I agree - Apple wouldn't let much, if any, work be done on this before they intervened. IMHO, though, there just wouldn't be enough interest in running it to justify the effort. Mac users in general are pleased with their own OS. If we want to hack on Linux, we'll just use an old PC for that.

Re:Simple reasons for this. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041425)

And here's me thinking it's because no one smart enough to do the work buys a mac.

10 years (4, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:10 years (1)

hitchhacker (122525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041179)

This would also require a re-compile on the part of the application vendor. IMO, highly unlikely. -metric

Re:10 years (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041235)

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:10 years (2, Interesting)

ultramkancool (827732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041283)

Interesting thing here is that WINE hasn't actually used any reverse engineering! (although reversing probably could have accomplished the job much faster, say 3-5 years for a nearly perfect reimplementation) I once asked them about this on IRC and was almost swiftly kicked from the channel.

iTunes (4, Insightful)

egandalf (1051424) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:iTunes (1, Flamebait)

lorenzino (1130749) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041253)

Hey, is not like that once we have iTunes source you can crack their DRM. The DRM is applyed to the files only when they get to your computer, true, but with keys that anyway some program can find and crack already the files. The DRM can't be cracked, the keys can be found.Or the files read before encryption. The security of a system is not in its private source, otherwise we would have cracked public encryptiption of PGP long time ago. Bye

Re:iTunes (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041477)

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.

Re:iTunes (1)

Dh2000 (71834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041595)

Who cares, anyway? We have plenty of excellent media players, already.

Re:iTunes (0)

Tim_UWA (1015591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041771)

None that can stream other people's shared iTunes library over a network

Re:iTunes (4, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041785)

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:iTunes (1)

CNLohr (1134839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041839)

Some of us enjoy paying for music. Granted about 80% of my music comes from albums that I bought, it's still nice to just get that one or two songs without buying the whole album. I'd pay big bucks for a way to download music on Linux that resulted in me officially owning the right to play that music on my computer, another computer, or in a car.

Re:iTunes (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041823)

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:http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/ 23/1840206 [slashdot.org] . This article has very clear stats which show that one of the primary targets of MacOS on Intel has been the desktop Unixes:http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx ?qprid=5 [hitslink.com] . There is a direct correlation between the decrease of "Other" and increase of "MacOS Intel" in the graphs. I have also observed a fairly large set of converstions amidst friends and collegues in support of this trend.

If Apple ports iTunes to linux it will eliminate at least one of the market drives for these new MacOSX conversions. It is not mad to do so, so I would not expect any iTunes ports anytime soon.

Just a ripoff of Microsoft Office (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041169)

Linux uses kernel source code taken from Apple OSX anyway, so it should be easy. But this will lead to Linux viruses being passed into Apple machines which Steve Jobs won't be very happy about.

Re:Just a ripoff of Microsoft Office (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041291)

That's true. But apple fanboys will be all like "oh noes" and "wah wah" because their precious softwares have been pwned.

But by the time anyone's translated several forum comments from chinese just to figure out how to get the OSX app to compile on their variant/version of Linux they'll probably give up and use a proper operating suystem since you get what you pay for in the end.

Purpose. (4, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041173)

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.

Why?

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.

--saint

Re:Purpose. (1)

denali99755 (974676) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041213)

i agree, and i'd add that if i wanted to run linux, the last thing i would do would be pay the premium for apple hardware. sure, it's pretty looking, but wouldn't you rather be able to replace just a small part of it if something breaks?

Re:Purpose. (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041395)

You can. Welcome to 2005.

Fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041705)

You can. Welcome to 1995.

Seriously, being able to replace parts yourself if nothing new. We even had incremental upgrades on a couple of our beige boxes. Yes, opening the machine up and changing parts around can void your warranty, but why would you expect Apple to make any guarantee about your ability to not screw things up?

Re:Purpose. (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041357)

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. (5, Funny)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041541)

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?

--saint

Re:Purpose. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041603)

Okay, okay...

Please stop the Hans Reiser bashing right now.

Re:Purpose. (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041631)

...

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. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041779)

Hah! You're funny. Did you miss the point on purpose? Or do you just not have a sense of humor?

By the way, he doesn't want to just run Linux as his primary OS, he wants it to be his *only* bootable OS. You'd think that somebody with an ID as low as yours would know what dual booting is.

Purposes (2, Informative)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041963)

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 at the same time -- Parallels. Want to run everything within Linux, and only need to access OS X once in a while -- BootCamp. Want to run open applications -- us X11. This doesn't seem any more complicated than using Windows and OS X applications. But if performance is an issue, why are you using a consumer machine?

Aside from workflow and high performance issues, it has never been so easy to work across platforms, and frankly I feel that Apple has done a pretty decent job of developing the right resources.

Resist the Urge (3, Insightful)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041307)

Why would you want to replace OS/X with Linux? Thats like replacing a shiny new Mercedez-Benz with a rebuilt Chevy.


Mods: Why did you mod him down? He has a point!

That depends. Maybe the poster believes in the ideals of the Free software movement. If you really do believe in Free software, then you just have to say "no" to a non-free operating system. Or, maybe the poster wants to take advantage of the features or lower memory/CPU requirements of a desktop Linux distro. Maybe OS X doesn't meet his needs in other ways.

An operating system is a tool like anything else. Owning a Mac isn't a religion. Not everyone bows to the Great Turtlenecked One. It's up to each person to pick an OS, platform and application suite that meets their needs and fits in with their world view.

Re:Resist the Urge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041329)

Why do people always use a Mercedes-Benz as the top of line car in analogies. The things suck, they break down all the time and are way too expensive. In fact the last Consumer Reports I read said it was better to buy a 9 year old Lexus than that shiny new Benz. So in that context, maybe it is better to just run one OS and be able to use all your programs, whatever they're written for.

Re:Resist the Urge (5, Interesting)

GrumpyOldMan (140072) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Resist the Urge (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041633)

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 it all starts automatically. Enjoy. I recommend Fink for ease of getting apps to your Mac ... They'll have most of what you want. I _know_ this does not answer the original question, but it is a more practical solution given the lack of actual requirements or desires for why Linux when Mac OS X is beloved by the original author...

Re:Resist the Urge (1)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041893)

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" (3, Informative)

johkra (1127573) | more than 6 years ago | (#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" (http://lwn.net/Articles/229088/ [lwn.net] ), but this far away from being usable.

You Answered Your Own Question (5, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:You Answered Your Own Question (1)

thejam (655457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041871)

I think the even bigger question is why run Mac apps at all. Sure, there are some proprietary apps that are really convenient, but if you take a real hard look at functionality, some kind of free software workflow usually suffices, and over my 14 years with GNU/Linux, the sacrifices have diminished into pettiness. If you must, run Windows apps under wine, or install a bare-bones XP under vmware but use it rarely. You can even install OS X under vmware, apparently.

congtratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041197)

You have finally figured out that asses are for shitting out of.

Why? (1)

seemer (1133661) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041205)

Why do it? You buy a Mac to have one operatingsystem and have all the programs look alike. And what program is worth the effort?



http://www.maceater.com/ [maceater.com]

Why? (4, Insightful)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041207)

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".

Re:Why? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041345)

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.
Evidently, you don't really understand the FOSS ideals. The FOSS ideal is not "I want to run some neat free software on top of my proprietary OS" ... it is "I want to replace as much of my proprietary software with free software equivalents." In which case, replacing the OS with a free equivalent is a big step in that direction.

Of course, that's assuming this guy is switching to Linux-only on ideological grounds--but if he were, presumably he would be motivated to give up on his previous closed-source OSX-only apps, and switch to using free software equivalents. So, in fact, his motivations may be more pragmatic. Though OS X has lots of UNIX-goodness, there are some things that are just easier to get done in Linux. (Some examples of things that I find easier in Linux than OS X are programming, designing websites, and running websites (both in terms of deploying sites and as a server).)

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041461)

I'd have to ask what environment you write code in. I find that Xcode on OS X is one of the best environments that I've ever developed in, there are a few things about the IDE that bother me, but it's great overall and is getting better with each new release, and designing websites is really where OS X shines.
I can agree with you on Linux being an easier to use server platform, but OS X runs almost all of the same tools so that may change if I used it as a server more often.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041745)

Well I find that in KDE the desktop environment itself is a great way to code (Konqueror can open remote locations as if they were local, Kwrite does syntax highlighting, global keyboard shortcuts bound to recompiling, multiple desktops to keep things organized, etc.). I'm certainly not trying to say that OS X isn't a good environment for coding. Rather, I'm saying that some people (such as myself, and possibly the original poster) have come to prefer the Linux environment for some tasks. I fully admit that this is largely a matter of preference (e.g. I love keyboard shortcuts and find OS X slightly lacking in that department, compared to KDE).

It's also possible to want to switch to Linux for mixed ideological/pragmatic reasons. For instance, you agree with "free software ideology" but you still need to, pragmatically, get your work done. If you find that (for instance) you're about equally efficient on OS X and Linux, then you'd feel "honour-bound" to switch to Linux. However if you can't find an equivalent free-software app to replace a proprietary OS X app you've come to depend on, you may search out ways to be able to keep running that app within Linux. This may be the situation the original poster finds himself in.

(P.S.: My software projects are not enormous or complicated, so take my opinions on coding environments with a grain of salt. I admit it's been awhile since I've given Xcode a try... I may have to take another look at it.)

Re:Why? (1)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041655)

If ideological reasons were the basis for wanting to run Linux on a Mac, then that is a half-assed conversion. Take an expensive, proprietary machine just to put a free OS on it? A better idea would be to sell the Mac (especially since they hold value so well) and build a PC from parts. That is more ideal, as it makes the hardware a bit more free as well. And financially it makes a lot more sense.

I don't see any other good reason to do the conversion except for ideology. I own a couple of Macs, and a couple of PCs -- and the only reason I forked over the premium for the Mac hardware was so I could run OSX. If I wanted to run Linux I'd save my money and buy another PC.

Re:Why? (1)

thejam (655457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041967)

Macs are more expensive on the low end, but suprisingly cheaper on the high end. I recently saved $800 buying an 8-core Mac Pro instead of a similar spec'd Dell. Indeed, the Dell didn't have 3GHz chips, nor could I buy them separately to make the PC myself (which I confess I didn't want to do for the consulting gig the machine's for). It runs Ubuntu Feisty quite nicely; I don't even have OS X on it!

Re:Why? (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041709)

I was thinking along the same lines as GP. And you are correct about your explaining the urge and ideas of "going FOSS".

But if poster is a "proprietary stuff" hater, than why in the first place does he land an iMac on his desk. Is that an "Open Platform"?

So, in his place I would (as GP) go the "Parallels" route. Just run Linux next to OS-X in a virtualized environment.

Re:Why? (1)

jesterpilot (906386) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041989)

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.

Funny you should mention this... (5, Funny)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041209)

I'm looking for a way to convert my Lamborghini Diablo into a lawnmower.

Re:Funny you should mention this... (5, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041377)

Thats easy. I'll trade you my lawnmower for it.

Re:Funny you should mention this... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041407)

That's going to be one hell of a lawnmover! ;-)

Re:Funny you should mention this... (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041445)

Well today is your lucky day!!... My special lawnmower, which I call Asta La Vista, and it has allot of "special" features which kind of stops someone from stealing it... Admittably these features makes it super slow moving, and most of the time prevent you from actually mowing the lawn. Also, it has an engine the size of your Diablo just to idle, but it definitely is a lawnmower and it definitely does sometime actually cut grass sometimes. Another great feature is that it has a really great paint job that sorta looks transparent, and it even has some of the latest and greatest paper mache cutting blades... And the best part is that if you actually do try to mow the lawn, it will send back to the manufacture all of your personal information... This is one heck of a deal you would not want to pass up on!! Buy now becausse supplies are limited!!

Let me know if you are interested!! :-)

You can't (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#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).

Re:You can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041343)

A couple of years ago I would have agreed with you. But Apple is making some really high quality apps that I would love to buy without having to purchase a mac (I own one anyway, but that's not the point). Now that the Mac platform is x86-based the argument for a compatibility layer (using whatever technical means) has more impact.

Re:You can't (1)

glenstar (569572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041463)

But... imagine the name of that project: MINE. Or to you Farkers out there: Can't Have. Not Yours.

Re:You can't (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041493)

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.

Why? (2)

ZipprHead (106133) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041223)

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.

Why not? (5, Insightful)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041227)

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 [folklore.org] 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.

Re:Why not? (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041559)

To your forth point, read the first sentence again: "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. "

Re:Why not? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041681)

Every Apple computer extends the Steve Jobs reality distortion field [folklore.org] to the computer user, ensuring lifelong devotion to the product. I haven't a clue why it doesn't affect you this way.


Maybe we should study him in a lab! I think this 'reality distortion field' is the result of some sort of weird mind-control virus! Good thing I don't have it.

All hail the Great Turtlenecked One! The iPhone is awesome! The iPod is great! Mac OS X just works!

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041691)

"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." Boy, do I hate this comment. It always comes up.
A typical user will tend not to tinker whatever the OS. Someone that likes to tinker will prob be better placed under OSX than Windows, what with the simple ability to bring up a terminal window and get a shell. Install xcode from the cd provided and you can get started compiling all those unix based programs (though most of the common ones are already there).

Re:Why not? (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041697)

Some users such as myself project Reality Assertion Fields. I have and enjoy using a MacBook Pro but this is a work machine and I don't find OS X so compelling to switch all my personal desktops from my fast, reliable, and inexpensive Linux installs (which I find more than adequately useful BTW). I could catalog complaints about Linux, Windows, aaaand OS X but that would get three sets of fanboys after me. Anyhoo, I find Parallels sufficient for my cross platform needs with the MacBook in question. Still, if I could run Linux as the primary OS on the MacBook and virtualize OS X then I would do it. I used to run my PowerPC notebook that way with Mac-On-Linux and it worked quite well.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041781)

There is such a thing for PPC Macs. It's called Mac-On-Linux.

http://mac-on-linux.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Huh? (3, Informative)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 6 years ago | (#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!

Re:Huh? (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041549)

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:Huh? (1, Insightful)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041803)

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:Huh? (2, Interesting)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041723)

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 browsing is annoying. I use the OS X Finder enough that these two problems make Ubuntu my desktop OS of choice.

Re:Huh? (1)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041997)

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...

Use VMWare or similar (3, Insightful)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Why not Linux apps in OSX? (4, Informative)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041281)

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.

Re:Why not Linux apps in OSX? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041379)

Running Apple stuff on cheap hardware might be interesting to some. Apple wouldn't like it, however.

Re:Why not Linux apps in OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041479)

unning Apple stuff on cheap hardware might be interesting to some. Apple wouldn't like it, however.

but people do it anyway..... what, don't tell me you haven't seen the
intel binaries on bittorrent !! some guy on our server team has OS X on a Dell.....

Re:Why not Linux apps in OSX? (1)

robbieduncan (87240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041535)

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.

Re:Why not Linux apps in OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041801)

1. It is called "X Window System".

2. The window system is based on DPS, for which a Linux implementation already exists.

Re:Why not Linux apps in OSX? (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041973)

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 you need and use, moving to such a desktop might be a better option.

As a UNIX user, I'm also always really annoyed by Apple's outdated and incorrect documentation. Check out `man fstab' for example. I reported a bug about that being wrong and out of date (since it's function is now in netinfo, now OpenDirectory) more than two years ago. They just don't bother fixing the man pages when they rip some BSD-like behaviour out and replace it with Apple-specific features, so you never even know where to start looking. How do I automount an afp volume? Certainly not in fstab, but the documentation won't tell you that. Eventually you find out the netinfo format (totally different for afp than any other FS, with no documented reason why you have to use the url form) and use it. A while later, you figure out that the mount points are magic and you have to use /Network to get the machine to do the sane thing. ARGH!

So ... I agree that there's little appeal to trying to kludge Apple apps on to Linux. I just don't think that makes using Mac OS X the logical choice - and I don't agree that it's a better unix than UNIX, as some like to claim. A new OS that uses a changed and somewhat mangled version of BSD for some of its functionality and provides a POSIX layer as one of its 5 major userspace realms, yes, but not a UNIX.

If I was in the situation of needing just a few Mac OS X apps, I'd probably want to use something like VMWare for that. Pity Apple won't let me buy a license to their OS separately to their hardware or run one that came with hardware I own under a virtual environment :S

As it is, I can only advise the poster to endure Apple's X11 implementation, or if that proves non-viable try using Linux in VMWare or Parallels.

Why (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041351)

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 of tinkering, that's fine, but this just seems silly. I've flirted with Linux a few times on my old PC, but anyone who came anywhere near my 20" iMac with it would get a swift left hook ;)

Re:Why (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041537)

I'd probably catch 'em with an overhand right... just to embarrass them a little more

Different executable formats (1)

dysprosia (661648) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041359)

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.

Re:Different executable formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041667)

Executable formats barely matter at all in this context. They are just serialization containers for putting stuff on disk. Mac OS 9 supported directly running PEF and XCOFF as well as cross linking them. The bigger issues are ABI differences, but that only matters if you are trying to link object files that use different ones. Then the linker has to put in some kind of swizzle/thunk/trampoline (depending on just how different they are). In most cases people avoid all of that hassle by just adding alternate system call entry points to their kernel that behave like the emulated OSes and run a complete second software stack with the the emulated OSes dynamic linker and libraries. It takes a lot more ram but it is much simpler.

Funnily enough (4, Insightful)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041365)

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.

Here is a good way to do it... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041525)

Just run Mac OS X you fucking twit.

Market Share (4, Insightful)

bernywork (57298) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041543)

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.

I want to take something that's supported... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20041553)

...and turn it into something that's not supported.

No really, I want to hear tech support ROTFLTAO when I call to tell them that Photoshop won't save my file.

This won't happen (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041617)

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 (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041735)

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.org] . 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 [netbsd.org] . However, the project is now dead [hcpnet.free.fr] , 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 [bellard.free.fr] 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 [winehq.com] 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? (4, Insightful)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 6 years ago | (#20041889)

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 http://www.macports.org/ [macports.org] 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.

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