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I have a USB device that I use on a daily bases and it Linux and Windows drivers. I would like to use this device in Mac OS X (meaning not through a VM). Is it possible? Note that the drivers appear to contain source.

System requirements from the read me:

  • Linux 2.4 or 2.6
  • System setup for kernel compilation.
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No. The kernel interfaces are completely different. Though MacOSX and Linux are both UNIXes-ish (in fact, Mac OS X is 100% UNIX Certified) they're vastly different in architecture. Your best bet would be to try VMWare and use a Linux instance under VMWare to try and access it.

EDIT: I just saw your edit, saying you have source and don't want VMWare. I'd still say no. The underpinnings of Linux and MacOSX are radically different. The source wouldn't 'just work' unless someone made it work specifically for MacOSX. I'd check the source for '#ifdef darwin' or something similar to that, it won't work. You'd have to have the right version too - Apple changes it's kernel enough between major releases that a very old port may not work.

Many years ago, there was a project for device drivers to be portable across platforms. It was called Project UDI. The theory was to have a Device Driver Environment in your kernel. The APIs would be consistent across all OSes. Device drivers were source code compatible everywhere, and binary compatible (what you would like) across machines with the same ABI (x86, AMD64, etc). There was a port I remember for Darwin, but I think it was much more theoretical on MacOSX than anything.

The environment worked technically (it actually shipped as the native Device Driver Interface for UnixWare, with the old DDI a compatibility layer on top of UDI) but flopped for human/political reasons. Having SCO/Caldera as the main push for the project didn't help much. For an OS with good driver support (say, Solaris, Windows) having those drivers is an advantage over kernels that don't, so the only support would come by definition from OSes that didn't have drivers, and not a lot of influence. Stallman didn't like it much either - binary compatibility would make it less likely (he posited) to ship source for drivers.

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Thanks. This is what I was afraid of. My current method is to open Windows through Parallels and use the device. It just irritates the crud out of me having to do it this way. – Adam Lewis Aug 12 '11 at 18:55
Adam, you're being very vague about which device you have. If you want a Mac driver, you might try writing to the maker and pointing out that the Mac market is growing fast and they should consider supporting Apple systems. – CarlF Aug 12 '11 at 21:13

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