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The OS-X Linux Connection

Mac OS X is evolved enough so that its features and what you can accomplish is far above better and beyond NEXTSTEP / OPENSTEP. Some regard that it might be an understatement to say that OS X is derived from NEXTSTEP / OPENSTEP. In many respects it's functionality resembles the same and one might think of it as OpenStep 5 or 6. However, the similarities should not mislead you. Mac OS X nowadays is based on Darwin and chunks of existing open source software from a large number of sources like BSD, GNU, Mach, ... and even Linux.

Although Darwin is an operating system in itself, it can be best understood as a collection of technologies that have been integrated by Apple to form a major, central part of Mac OS X. Critical application environments of Mac OS X, such as Cocoa and Carbon, are not part of Darwin. Furthermore Aqua which is the standard graphical interface of Mac OS X including the Windowing System, and several other components are neither part of Darwin.

The OS-X Linux connection exists for several reasons:

  • You only have or like Apple hardware.
  • Interaction with commercial software.
  • Input / Output devices only compatible with Apple hardware.
  • Audio or Video interfaces that don't have Linux drivers.
  • Customized software that only works in one platform.
  • Perhaps you are not used to compile Linux kernels.
  • File transfer and exchanging.

The missing link between OS X and Linux in many respects is X11 or the X window system referenced above in its own section. Many of the commands only available in Unix systems before are becoming more and more available in OS X in particular because of the Fink project which is also an Open Source initiative. Therefore it should not be hard to have that same Linux functionality with Apple hardware.

If you want to have that Apple's geek machine you need to get some packages that Apple offers for free download until now in addition to Fink. The Apple OS X developer tools, X11 for Mac OS X and of course Xemacs for Apple's X11. You get Xemacs after you have installed Fink.

As suggested by Rick Taube, following are the steps for having a ``ready made'' OS-X Linux like Apple hardware machine.

  • If you don't have Fink installed already, you need to do that first. You can download Fink from:

    fink.sourceforge.net

  • Download and install Apple's X11 server from:

    www.apple.com/macosx/x11/download/
    Note: If you are using Panther (OSX-10.3x) or above X11 comes as part of its distribution CDs which you can install at your own discretion.

  • Next you might want to intall Apple's Developer Tools as well:

    Note: Apple's new Xcode (developer) tools are also included in every copy of Mac OS X v10.3 or above and should be installed from its CD (2).

    If still you need to download Apple's developer tools, they might be found at:

    Developer Tools

  • Now, to get the CCRMA Lisp world running on OS X you should download OpenMCL from:

    openmcl.clozure.com

  • SBCL now seems to be a good option for OS-X and can be found at:

    www.sbcl.org
    Instructions for compiling the CCRMA Lisp world on OpenMCL or other OS-X Lisps like SBCL can be found in the documentation of each package (CM, CLM, CMN).



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