You can now download macOS Sierra 10.12 open source code of Darwin officially from Apple. Here are the details.
Apple has today released the open source Darwin code for macOS 10.12 Sierra, continuing a long history of doing the same thing with versions of Mac OS X going all the way back to OS X 10.0. While Sierra is the first to carry the name macOS rather than OS X, Apple has apparently seen fit to continue the same release schedule which has seen the open source portions of the operating system released to the community shortly after the full retail version was made available.
Darwin is essentially a collection of core components which, combined, make up part of Apple’s operating systems both on the desktop and in mobile devices.
Darwin can be found at the heart of macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It’s this shared core technology base which has allowed for Apple’s devices to be so tightly knit over the years, and Apple has today shared what it can of that core with developers. Those who can make sense of it all can download everything for free from Apple’s open source website although the main page does not yet appear to have been updated to reflect that.
Access via the direct URL does work just fine, however.
The history of Darwin goes all the way back to Steve Jobs’ NeXT, which created the NeXTSTEP operating system. This was of course absorbed by Apple in 1997 and has since formed the basis for OS X 10.10 and subsequent operating system releases. If you had never heard of Darwin before, just think of it as the thing that help kick off the Mac, and indeed Apple revival during the return of Steve Jobs.
Without Darwin and NeXTSTEP, things could have been very different.
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