OS X apps on their way to Linux courtesy of Darling project

OS X apps on their way to Linux courtesy of Darling project

Summary: A project is aiming to build a Wine-like compatibility layer for Linux operating systems that would allow them to run OS X applications.

TOPICS: Linux, Open Source

Fancy running iWork on Linux? It may one day be possible courtesy of a project to get Apple OS X programs running on Linux-based operating systems.

Similar to how Wine allows Windows applications to run in Linux OS, the Darling project is trying to build a software compatibility layer to run OS X apps.

So far the project has a small number of OS X programs working with Darling and is testing various other applications, such as Midnight Commander, QREncoder, Bayon, The Unarchiver and World of Warcraft. Which apps could or couldn't be run on the Darling layer isn't yet clear.

Theoretically the Darling layer could also run iOS apps, as it is targeting software that has been compiled to run on the Darwin software kernel used by iOS and OS X.

While the idea of porting some iOS apps to the Linux-based Android OS might sound appealing, the Project Darling wiki says there are a number of technical barriers, such as porting assembly code to the ARM-based Risc chip architecture used in smartphone handsets and adding support for relevant software frameworks.

According to the project's wiki page, Darling works like so: "It parses executable files for the Darwin kernel (Mach Object Files) loads them into the memory (just like ld-linux.so does with ELF executables) and executes them."

On top of that Darling needs to make the software libraries and frameworks that OS X applications require available in an Application Binary Interface-compatible fashion.

Darling relies on GNUstep, an open source implementation of Apple's Objective-C software libraries whose purpose is to allow applications to be built that can be run on Macintosh, Unix and Windows systems.

More details about the project are available on its wiki page and the code for the project in this GitHub repository.

Topics: Linux, Open Source


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • As with most cases with Linux it is about Compromise

    Apple clearly do not feel it is worth their while with porting some of their software to Linux like they do with the the likes of iTunes and Safari to Windows.

    So once again as with WINE it is a compromise just confirming Linux distros. are merely masquerading as a viable alternative platform.

    Also as with WINE it is likely to be a Hit or Miss situation. Once again the only viable option to running Linux is on a virtual machine.

    Anyone hoping to run Linux as the primary platform is suffering Delusional disorder.
    • since when does windows have safari?

      or anything from apple besides itunes and quicktime?
      • Safari is available on Windows

        Maybe you should have a look see and catch up to the real world
        Dreyer Smit
        • Actually, Safari is discontinued on Windows

          "A version of Safari for the Microsoft Windows operating system was first released on June 11, 2007, and supported Windows XP Service Pack 2, or later but it has been discontinued. Safari 5.1.7, released on May 9, 2012, is the last version available for Windows."


          Discontinued over a year ago too, apparently.
          • No Loss...

            Safari is a wretched slow browser that makes Internet Explorer look like a speed demon. And I think there's consensus out there that iTunes is another Piece Of ... Software (garbage). It would be worth running it on Linux to keep it from screwing up your Windows machine.
          • It is a loss...

            Especially for web developers. I don't want to have to buy a Mac just to make sure sites are displaying properly in Safari 6.

            I know several people who having bought apple initially now feel trapped because they don't want to lose access to their expensive industry standard OSX programs that they use for work.

            Anecdotally a lot of other people with ageing Macbooks would love to have an easy option to shove Linux on it to lighten the load on their ageing machine but still stick with the progerams they are used to - remember these are Mac users so often not the most technically savvy, many don't want to learn new software if they can help it because they find it pretty hard.
            Publik Emily
    • Real people already run Linux as their primary platform.

      "Anyone hoping to run Linux as the primary platform is suffering Delusional disorder."

      Rubbish, people (like me, for instance) do this already and have done for years. It sounds to me like you are deluding yourself.
      • Apple clearly view porting software to Linux a waste of time

        Apple clearly view porting software to Linux a waste of time.

        That in itself speaks volumes. If Linux were viewed as a credible platform then some kind of development may take place.

        As it stands this will NEVER happen.

        Desktop Linux is only suitable for virtual machines as all the compromises that exist can be avoided
        • Apple does what it wants.

          Apple is for Apple, and AFAIK it always has been. Or should I infer that Apple discontinuing Safari for Windows is a sign that Apple believes that Windows is a waste of time?

          Actually, Apple may indeed believe that Windows is a waste of time. That wouldn't be inconsistent with the "Apple is for Apple" view.
          • Re: Apple does what it wants.

            It is indeed quite likely consider Windows to be a waste of time but they still develop and port iTunes to Windows because of the volumes of consumers that work with it.
            Something that can not be said in the case of Linux and for good reason.

            Furthermore if Macs were to reduced in price users would desert Linux in their droves.
          • ??? What on Earth are you talking about ???

            "Furthermore if Macs were to reduced in price users would desert Linux in their droves."

            I have no idea where *that* statement came from, but don't have any more time to waste on Trolls.
          • Closed at any price

            > Furthermore if Macs were to reduced in price users would desert
            > Linux in their droves.

            Really??? If I wanted to live in a "walled garden", at any price, I could just stick with MSWindows . Sorry to disappoint you, but avoiding vendor lock-in is a higher priority than price. All cheaper Apple systems would do for me is open up more options for hardware to run Linux on.
          • well also account for OS X x86 or whatever it is called...

            Apple just assumes that if you want their software bad enough, you already have it. Why would they bother wasting their time developing for Windows if such a (be it pirated) project like this exists? It would be a monumental waste of their time and resources to continue to develop safari for Windows. iTunes, however, is required for their iJunk to work, so to appease the idiot masses they develop iTunes for Windows.

            If you are a developer, you either own a Mac or run OS X x86 on your machine. Why would they then care or even bother with Windows if it is insanely simple for OS X to run on just about any PC? Even if they don't admit it openly, they know about it but do nothing to stem the tide.

            The more people using OS X and not any other OS, the more they can say "we have X amount of user share" which raises their stock a bit. Eventually most OS X x86 users will eventually buy a Mac...
        • 5735guy

          If Linux desktop gets discontinued, where would the most important tools be developed? I mean, GNU Emacs, vi(m), gnu bash etc, those that most or every advanced user on Mac adores. You might say FreeBSD (or some other flavor of BSD) you might say? No, mon amie, Apple has been spitting on Free and other BSDs even more than they have on GNU/Linux. Say, this useless iTunes app is not available for FreeBSD, the mother OS to Mac OS X.
          And BTW, we don't need cr@p @pps like iWork, iTunes. No, Mr. Cook, you can it yourself.
          • Oh, please. BSD is freer (as in speech) than

            Linux. With BSD, there are NO restrictions on what I can do with my changes. I can release them to the public, or I can keep them to myself and charge money for them. Linux advocates who preach about free (as in speech) software but continue to demand people can only use their free (as in speech) software only in certain ways are hypocrites.
          • Hence OSX is derived from FreeBSD

            Mr. Jobs' engineers morphed it made their own X Windows desktop, and they are free to re-sell it for a LOT of money. No restrictions.
          • eulampius: "Apple has been spitting on Free and other BSDs"

            Does this mean that IBM, an important GNU/Linux supporter, supplier and user, is also spitting on PostgreSQL with their Netezza data warehouse appliance? Here's the list of PostgreSQL-derived database management systems (including Netezza):


            And, btw, the people at PostgreSQL like their license, which is similar to the BSD license:

            Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Trolling much recently?

      Writing from my primary Linux desktop.
      • Re: Trolling much recently?

        Written from my OS X 10.8 desktop
        • OS X 10.8 desktop

          what's this? :)