[TUHS] MacOS X is Unix (tm)

Nick Downing downing.nick at gmail.com
Sun Jan 1 10:43:09 AEST 2017

One significant area of non compliance with unix conventions is its non
case sensitive filesystem (HFS and variants like HFS+ if I recall). I think
this is partly for historical reasons to make Classic / MacOS9 emulation
easier during the transition. But I could never understand why they did
this, they could have put case insensitivity in their shell and apps
without breaking the filesystem.

Anyway despite its being unix I can't really see it gaining much traction
with serious unix users (when did you last get a 404 from a major website
with a tagline "Apache running on MacOSX"?), the MacPorts and Fink repos
are a really bad and patchy implementation of something like
apt/ctan/cpan/etc (I think possibly at least one of those repos builds from
source with attendant advantages/problems), it does not support X properly,
the dylibs are non standard, everything is a bit broken compared with Linux
(or FreeBSD) and Apple does not really have the motivation or the manpower
to create a modern, clean system like unix users expect.

Open sourcing Darwin was supposed to open it up to user contributed
enhancements but Apple was never serious about this, it was just a sop to
people who claimed (correctly) that Apple was riding on the back of open
source and giving nothing back to the community. Since Apple refused to
release any important code like drivers or bootstrap routines the Darwin
release was never really any more useable than something like 4.4BSDLite.
People who loved their Macs and loved unix and dreamed of someday running
the Mac UI on top of a proper unix, put significant effort into supplying
the missing pieces but were rebuffed by Apple at every turn, Apple would
constantly make new releases with even more missing pieces and breakage and
eventually stopped making any open source releases at all, leaving a lot of
people crushed and very bitter.

As for me I got on the Apple bandwagon briefly in 2005 or so, at that time
I was experimenting with RedHat but my primary development machines were
Windows 98 and 2000 (occasionally XP). My assessment was RedHat was not
ready for desktop use, since I had trouble with stuff like printers and
scanners that required me to stay with Windows (actually this was probably
surmountable but I did not have the knowledge or really the desire to spend
time debugging it). That's why I selected Apple as a "compromise unix"
which should connect to my devices easily. I got enthusiastic and spent a
good $4k on new hardware. Shortly afterwards Apple announced the Intel
transition so I realized my brand new gear would soon be obsolete and
unsupported. I was still pretty happy though. Two things took the shine off
eventually (a) I spilt champagne on my machine, tore it down to discover my
beautiful and elegant and spare (on the outside) machine was a horrible
hodgepodge of strange piggyback PCBs and third party gear (on the inside),
this apparently happened because options like the backlit keyboard had
become standard equipment at some point but Apple had never redesigned them
into the motherboard, the whole thing was horribly complicated and fragile
and never worked well after the teardown (b) I got seriously into FreeBSD
and Linux and soon discovered the shortcomings of the Mac as a serious
development machine, everything was just slightly incompatible leading to
time waste.

Happily matters have improved a lot. Lately I was setting up some Windows 7
and 10 machines for my wife to use MS Office on for her uni work. Both had
serious driver issues like "The graphics card has crashed and recovered".
And on the Windows 10 machine, despite it being BRAND NEW out of the box
and manufacturer preloaded, the wifi also did not work, constantly crashed
requiring a reboot. Windows Update did not fix these problems. Downloading
and trying various updated drivers from the manufacturer's website seems to
have for now, except on the Windows 7 machine where the issue is noted and
listed as "won't fix" because the graphics card is out of date, the fixed
driver won't load on this machine. Given this seems to be the landscape
even for people who are happy to spend the $$ on the official manufacturer
supported Windows based solutions, Linux looks pretty easy to install and
use by comparison. Not problem free, but may have fewer problems and easier
to fix problems.

It appears to me that with the growing complexity of the hardware due to
the millions of compatibility layers and ad hoc protocols built into it,
the job of the manufacturers and official OS or driver writers gets harder
and harder, whereas the crowdsourced principle of open source shows its
value since the gear is better tested in a wider variety of realistic

cheers, Nick

On Jan 1, 2017 9:46 AM, "David" <david at kdbarto.org> wrote:

> On Dec 31, 2016, at 8:58 AM, tuhs-request at minnie.tuhs.org wrote:
> From: Michael Kjörling <michael at kjorling.se>
> To: tuhs at tuhs.org
> Subject: Re: [TUHS] Historic Linux versions not on kernel.org
> Message-ID: <20161231111339.GK576 at yeono.kjorling.se>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> I might be colored by the fact that I'm running Linux myself, but I'd
> say that those are almost certainly worth preserving somehow,
> somewhere. Linux and OS X are the Unix-like systems people are most
> likely to come in contact with these days

MacOS X is a certified Unix (tm) OS. Not Unix-Like.


It has been so since 10.0. Since 10.5 (Leopard) it has been so noted on the
above Open Group page. The Open Group only lists the most recent release

The Tech Brief for 10.7 (http://images.apple.com/media/us/osx/2012/docs/OSX_
for_UNIX_Users_TB_July2011.pdf) also notes the compliance.

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