ARCHIVED: What is Darwin?
Darwin is a Unix-like operating system based on BSD and the Mach microkernel. It offers advanced networking, the Apache web server, and support for both Mac OS and Unix file systems. An implementation for the X Window System is also available. It was originally released in March 1999, and currently runs on PowerPC-based Macintosh computers, as well as Intel-compatible platforms.
Darwin forms the core of Mac OS X, and most software written for it should be able to run unchanged in Mac OS X. However, because Darwin doesn't encompass features such as Cocoa and Carbon, or the Aqua graphical user interface, software that uses those features in Mac OS X will not run in Darwin alone.
Apple's releases of Darwin focus primarily on supporting Mac OS X. However, others can use Darwin to customize Mac OS X to meet their specific needs, by adding platforms or features that are not a priority for Apple. In addition, Darwin has become the foundation for a complete, stand-alone, open source operating system distribution, similar to FreeBSD or Linux.
For more about Darwin, see Apple's Open Source.
Last modified on January 03, 2013.