Darwin 1.0 will constitute the core of Apple's forthcoming operating system called OS X and is partially based on the open source Unix-like OS, BSD.
Darwin -- which was officially launched at the Internet World conference in Los Angeles this week -- is not yet compatible with all Macintosh platforms and does not currently work on Intel machines.
Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing claims in a statement that the core of Mac OS X is the only mainstream operating system following an open source model. "The new Darwin 1.0 posting includes some of the most advanced operating system technology available," he says.
Opening up its source code is likely to popularise Apple's OS X when it is released in the summer, but the company's decision to embrace the open source movement is not quite absolute. It does not plan to make all of the source code for the OS X server available to open source programmers.
In a statement on Apple's web site Ernest Prabhakar, Darwin Project manager encourages programmers to develop software for Apple's operating system. "You should now feel free to write enhancements, fix bugs, and expand driver support -- and know that your work will be compatible with future versions Mac OS X. This release even includes rudimentary Intel support, for those of you who'd like to make Darwin a full cross-platform OS."