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BSD ‘3 times as popular as desktop Linux’ – Apple

Thanks to Mac OS X of course

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BSDCon BSD is now three times as popular on the desktop as Linux, Apple's Ernest Prabhakar told attendees at the annual USENIX BSD Conference here yesterday.

That's thanks to Mac OS X, of course, which is a BSD-based Unix (although much of this remains hidden).

Prabhakar was summing up Darwin developments for a BSD State of the Nation panel at which the five major tribes summarised what's been happening, and what to expect in the near future. We'll give you a full report on the other contributions tomorrow, but unusually two of the panelists were Apple staffers: Jordan Hubbard, who talked about FreeBSD, and Parbakar himself.

According to Prabhakar, Apple has acquired "a lot of talent" from Bay Area companies: "we have Eazel and Sun refugees, and even a frew freaks from FreeBSD."

Apple has one of the biggest gcc compiler design teams in the world, he reckons; he is working to get optimizations developed at Apple integrated into the main code tree.

It sounds like Hubbard has had an influence on the Darwin development. Prabhakar says that synchronization between Darwin and FreeBSD is still really important. The goal is to bring it up to FreeBSD 4.0 status, although this task is like porcupines mating - "you have to be careful".

Future Apple development would focus on looking for a better threading mode, and more Kerberos work including interoperability with Microsoft's Active Directory.

Speaking of which, he reminded attendees that Microsoft now has Office running on a Berkeley UNIX.

The relationship between Darwin and the rich NeXTish layers isn't easy, he acknowledges: there are two namespaces and two forms of package management. But it is a unique adventure, for sure.

"The Macintosh has always been very fascist, but we're now starting to embrace the diversity of BSD. We'd love you to bring your X11 application to Mac OS X." He cites XFree86 4.2 as a model of a Mac-friendly BSD app.

More from BSDCon tomorrow. ®

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