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I stumbled across a website on the internet for an Operating System named "Darwin OS". I know that Darwin was an open source project made by Apple and is still included in modern day OS X operating systems, and while this supposed "Darwin OS" that I stumbled across is some form of Ubuntu (from what I could extract from that website), it apparently has the same Darwin features that OS X has – meaning that it would technically be able to run Macintosh applications, correct?

The features of this operating system seem to be similar to the features of OS X, and from the information on the Darwin OS website, it seems plausible that this operating system is in essence Mac OS X that can be installed onto any hardware – even non-Apple hardware.

If this is the case, this "Darwin OS" could be used as a full alternative to "Hackintosh" builds, and the such, right?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ben Franchuk, Kevin Panko, Art Gertner, Moses, Patches Sep 24 '14 at 10:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Darwin and therefore OSX are based on BSD rather than Linux. Both are UNIX-like OSes though. – justbrowsing Aug 14 '13 at 8:44
up vote 7 down vote accepted

While Darwin is in fact a core component of OS X, and free to use, there's still a long way to go from just running the kernel or core system components to running the entire OS X operating system.

The reason for this is that not everything required for actually running OS X applications is found in Darwin… all sorts of kernel extensions and libraries. Those only come with a full OS X installation.

Have a look at the rather new project Darling. It tries to run OS X applications through an emulation layer, just like Wine for Linux did with Windows, and is therefore similar to the Darwin OS you mention. The hard part is mapping the native OS X functions called by the individual applications you want to run to Linux functions – or else you'd need to fully re-implement them. It seems running this emulation layer on Linux is easy though since OS X and Linux share a common base – that's why Darwin OS is based on a Linux distribution.

In short, that whole thing is not easily doable though and requires configuration for each application you want to run – just like in Wine. In the long term though, you might see this as an alternative to run OS X apps on Linux. The only questions remaining are the legal implications. While Darwin is open-sourced, and probably easy to embed in FOSS projects (IANAL though), OS X applications are usually not, and you may not be allowed to run them on non-OS X operating systems.

See also: OS X apps run on Linux with Wine-like emulator for Mac software | Ars Technica

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Darwin is only one of the multiple components of OS X. Another major component is Cocoa and that one is not open source.

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It seems as though it is nothing more then an Ubuntu Remix with a Mac OSX theme as it's main look. I wouldn't say it is true Darwin and most likely wont run Mac OSX programs. You may have luck using Mac OS command line based programs.

Apple always changes the way they use they do things, which makes it even more difficult to create a WINE like program to run Mac OSX programs. There was a program back in the day called Darling but they stopped support for it.

If you want to use older Mac OSX programs you may or may not have luck with getting them to work if you install things like clang, gnustep openssl some bsd libraries and stuff. I attempted to created the bennix system which was intended to be able to run RPM based programs and Deb based Linux programs as well as Windows programs, Mac OSX, BSD, Solaris. It does run them but I wouldn't recomend using it. I stopped working on it do to lack of community support and funding.

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While OSX and GNU/Linux might be Unix-like operating systems and compatible to a degree, they are different.

You cannot run OSX applications on GNU/Linux simply because they're compiled with apple's Cocoa API and not even real Darwin distributions like pure Darwin (formerly open Darwin) can run them, even if you compile the entire operating system form the source code that apple releases after each version of OSX because they don't include the closed source components of OSX.

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