MacOS X x86 kernel source "in flux"
InfoWorld reports that the open-source status of MacOS X's Darwin kernel
for x86 systems is "in
flux," according to Apple.
The x86 version of the kernel was closed off
after Apple's x86 switch in an effort to thwart users wishing to run OS
X on standard PCs, but Apple may end up reconsidering this move after
the upcoming release of its Intel-based server and workstation systems.
According to InfoWorld, open OS kernels are currently popular in fields
such as biosciences and meteorology, where users "hack OS kernels to
slim them down, alter the balance between throughput and computing, and
to open them to the resources of a massive grid."
Apple's current high-end workstation and server machines are still
PowerPC-based, and since the PPC version of the Darwin kernel remains
open, users are free to tweak it to their liking. However, Apple's
announced move to x86 workstations and servers later this year will
remove this opportunity, which could hurt the company's popularity in
such demanding professional fields. Perhaps pressure from this market
combined with the current "flux" situation could prompt Apple to change
its mind and release the source for OS X's x86 kernel.