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  What Is Darwin (and How It Powers Mac OS X)
Subject:   Will Darwin continue to be open source?
Date:   2005-09-28 03:56:31
From:   Mafretete
One thing about the Intel switch hasn't been discussed here:

Apple needs (and wants) to protect the Intel version of Mac OS X, so that it will only run on genuine Apple computers and not on otherwise compatible industry standard PCs. To do so, they will have to put some kind of protection in the kernel. It will be much easier for hackers to disable this protection if they have access to the kernel source code (via Darwin). So has Apple already confirmed that Darwin will stay open source even after the Intel switch?

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  • Kernel source may not be enough to port OS X
    2005-09-28 08:56:25  Reedo [View]

    If the restriction of OS X to Apple hardware uses code embedded in the hardware (which Apple makes), then the kernel source may be as open as can be. One key in a cryptographic pair could be in the hardware, say, and the other could be in the kernel source. Running OS X on a non-Apple PC might require a mod chip like people have done with the XBox. Plus, as this article indicates, not all of OS X is open source now anyway, so whatever interesting parts of OS X handle the Apple hardware restriction may just be in a closed-source portion, with some bare hooks into the kernel.
    • Kernel source may not be enough to port OS X
      2005-09-28 15:36:46  Mafretete [View]

      But there's a big difference between Linux on the XBox and Mac OS X on PCs. Linux on the XBox has to "persuade" the hardware to run it. The hardware contains the protections and prevents other OSes from running.
      When you run Mac OS X on Intel, the hardware does not prevent OS X from running in any way. Instead, the OS has to detect that it's not running on a Mac. Every protection built into the kernel can be easily disabled if you have the kernel source. So there are only two possibilities: 1.) Apple puts the restrictions in (many) closed-source portions, e.g. Quartz, or 2.) Apple does no longer release the kernel source.