Darwin and Friends

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  • DevynCJohnson
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    Darwin is an open-source Unix-like and POSIX-like system that is closely related to OS X. Darwin is developed by Apple Inc. with code from NeXTSTEP Mach, and BSD. Also, Darwin uses the XNU kernel just like iOS and OS X. Despite the fact that OS X has a GUI, Darwin is still command-line based.

    Darwin works on ARM, x86, x86-64, and PowerPC systems. In addition, this system supports iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV hardware.

    Darwin is licensed under the Apple Public Source License (APSL) version 2.0. However, the OS contains some proprietary components.

    FUN FACT: The mascot of Darwin is a Platypus named "Hexley".

    Much of the code from Darwin is incorporated into OS X. Below is a chart that matches the Darwin version with its corresponding OS X release.

    Darwin VersionCorresponding OSX and iOS Version
    0.1OS X DP
    0.2OS X DP2
    1.0OS X DP3
    1.1OS X DP4
    1.2.1OS X Public Beta (Kodiak)
    1.3.1OS X v10.0
    1.3.1OS X v10.0.4 (Cheetah)
    1.4.1OS X v10.1
    5.1OS X v10.1.1
    5.5OS X v10.1.5
    6.0.1OS X v10.2
    6.8OS X v10.2.8 (Jaguar)
    7.0OS X v10.3
    7.9OS X v10.3.9 (Panther)
    8.0OS X v10.4
    8.11OS X v10.4.11 (Tiger)
    9.0OS X v10.5, iPhone 1
    9.8OS X v10.5.8 (Leopard)
    10.0OS X v10.6, iOS 4
    10.8OS X v10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)
    11.0.0OS X v10.7, iOS 5
    11.4.2OS X v10.7.5 (Lion)
    12.0.0OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion)
    12.5.0OS X v10.8.5
    13.0.0OS X v10.9 (Mavericks), iOS 6
    14.0.0OS X v10.10 (Yosemite), iOS 7, iOS 8
    15.0OS X v10.11 (El Capitan), iOS 9
    15.5OS X v10.11.5 (El Capitan), iOS 9
    16.0OS X v10.12 (Sierra), iOS 10
    16.1OS X v10.12.1 (Sierra), iOS 10
    16.3OS X v10.12.2 (Sierra), iOS 10

    Darwine (http://darwine.sourceforge.net/) is a collection of WINE libraries that provide Darwin and OS X the ability to run Windows applications. Darwine is not an operating system. Rather, it is a port of WINE (https://www.winehq.org/).

    Some derivatives of Darwin exist such as OpenDarwin, PureDarwin, and more.


    OpenDarwin started in April 2002 and ended July 2006. However, the last release was in July 2004. Apple used code from OpenDarwin in Darwin and OS X. OpenDarwin used the GNOME user-interface.


    PureDarwin (http://www.puredarwin.org/) is a fork of OpenDarwin that started in 2007. PureDarwin supports many GUI interfaces such as XFCE, Fluxbox, GNOME, and others. PureDarwin Nano is a minimalistic edition of PureDarwin.


    GNU-Darwin is a fork of OpenDarwin with the GNU userland. This project started in 2000 and is still on-going.


    Darbat is a port of Darwin that uses the L4 Microkernel.

    Further Reading

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