Apple Locks Down Intel Tiger Kernel

In what appears to be a move to curb piracy, Apple is not releasing open source Darwin code for Intel-based Macs. According to TechNewsWorld, withholding the Intel version of the code that Apple makes freely available to G3, G4, and G5 Mac users is intended to stop potential hardware pirates from making unauthorized Intel Mac clones and installing their own operating system based off of the Darwin code.

Darwin is the open source core of Mac OS X. Apple makes the code available on its Web site, but does not offer the proprietary Aqua graphic interface for free.

The average home user that isnit even aware that Apple releases the underpinnings of Mac OS X for free isnit likely to be concerned by Appleis decision, but power users and programmers that want to optimize their system performance for specific tasks will be. These users often want to optimize network throughput for specialized servers, or maximize the processor usage for data-intensive tasks.

Other technologies that Apple has traditionally made available as open source, like QuickTime Streaming Server and Bonjour, are still available.

The future of an open source version of Darwin for Intel Macs is in question. Right now, Apple says that the state of an OS X-compatible open source x86 Darwin kernel is "in flux."

ComputerWorldis Tom Yager recently met with Apple to discuss his concerns over the closed nature of the Intel version of the Darwin kernel. He feels Apple will eventually re-open the Darwin kernel for Intel Macs, but until then, some users will stay away.

TMO originally covered this issue in May.