MacOS X on Solaris ?

Our COO invited Apple to adopt Solaris as the base of MacOS X. For those of you who don't remember or know the history behind this, this isn't the first time there's such a proposal. See our own Rich B's blog here for a bit of history. In fact, OpenSTEP implementation was working (including Mail.app albeit with fonts rendered ugly compared to native NeXTSTEP). FYI, our COO used to work for a company called Lighthouse Design which used to produce softwares for NeXTSTEP.

I used to run NeXTSTEP 3.3j on my SPARCstation, as well as the earlier versions of OpenSTEP on Solaris. All NeXTSTEP GUI applications were great - it indeed was 10 years ahead of everything. However, mach kernel and BSD server in NeXTSTEP was...at best flaky and slow and it was clearly behind Solaris at the time. I think it will take years for darwin to catch up with Solaris 10 - evidence ? OS X has very recently added 64bit support or fine grained locking/reentrant kernel and it's been years since Solaris had those. And it will take even more time for Apple to catch up with all those new features in Solaris 10 - Dtrace, Zones, ZFS, FMA and etc. IMHO, it would make perfect sense for Apple to switch to Solaris 10 on x86 replacing Darwin. Here's hoping that Apple will consider switching to Solaris :)

PS. I know. It's even less likely than Apple's switch to Intel. But surely one can have a dream.

Comments:

Well, where is ZFS now? ;-)

Considering MacOSX still mainly targets desktop/home users, beating MacOSX with Zone/ZFS/DTrace doesn't make much sense either. In the desktop/home arena, it's Solaris lagging behind, (with JDS, Solaris began to catch up, but still lagging behind though.)

To have decent desktop UI/application is certainly the most desirable thing for people like me who use Solaris as everyday desktop. However, if I were Mr. Jobs, there isn't much incentive for me to use Solaris x86/x64 as my base OS, too bad. :(

Posted by Ivan Wang on June 06, 2005 at 06:49 PM PDT #

It seems that you understood that I ask Apple to throw away MacOS X. That is not so. MacOS X is built on top of darwin, and what I'm dreaming is porting all those APIs built on top of the darwin to Solaris kernel. So if you compare darwin to equivalent part of Solaris, I don't think Solaris lags behind at all - it's years ahead. Moreover, computers are increasingly playing various server roles (all those entertainment PCs are essentially a storage server/multimedia streaming server), and so all those new features are increasing more important for a home computer. So security is increasing becoming the most important aspect and Solaris has better mechanisms such as the least privilege model/RBAC/ACLs - combined with Zones, it could provide a very powerful defence against security breach. Also, processors are becoming multicore and arguably Solaris is one of the best OSes that can deal with many processors and cores - MacOS X (and darwin underneath) has just started to scale well to 2 processors (and I heard that it still has some scalability issues at that) and it will take even more time for it to catch up on that. In other words, I'm asking for a marriage of the (arguably) best server OS and the (arguably) best GUI/user-interface OS.

Posted by Seongbae Park on June 07, 2005 at 12:43 AM PDT #

on current form it looks like it will be years until <em>Solaris</em> has ZFS ...

Posted by Halvard Halvorsen on June 10, 2005 at 12:25 AM PDT #

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