Apple and Open Software Foundation Announce Linux for Power Macintosh

Leading User-Supported Version of UNIX to be Available to Power Macintosh Users

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts-February 5, 1996-Apple Computer, Inc. announced today that it is supporting a project with the Open Software Foundation (OSF) [ ] to port Linux, a freely distributed version of UNIX®, to a variety of Power Macintosh® products. This version of Linux operates on the OSF Mach microkernel which will be running natively on the PowerPC microprocessor.

The announcement was made at the Conference on Freely Redistributable Software held in Cambridge. A demo of an early prototype was shown as part of the announcement. "This is part of Apple's overall effort to embrace more open industry standards, particularly those popular in the Internet community," said Ike Nassi, vice-president of Apple system software technologies. "This software will be particularly popular with Mac users in higher education as well as the scientific research communities who have asked for our support of Linux."

"We are pleased to be working with Apple on this important new port of the Mach microkernel, now hosting the popular Linux environment," said Ira Goldstein, executive vice president and chief scientist of the Open Software Foundation. "We have a strong working relationship with Apple and this is an important result of our cooperation."

Linux is a broadly used version of UNIX supported by a wide community of programmers. Linux provides UNIX features such as true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, TCP/IP networking and many other advanced features. Versions of Linux are being ported to a wide variety of platforms, including other PowerPC-based computers. This effort marks the first time that Linux will be hosted on the Mach microkernel. (For more information, visit the Linux Web site [ ].)

Linux on Power Macintosh will be especially significant in several of Apple's key markets, particularly the higher education and scientific communities. With Linux, a student will have an extremely low-cost, yet high-performance PowerPC-based UNIX system for personal use. Advanced research that requires UNIX applications will now be possible on an engineer's personal Macintosh®.

"As a long time Linux user, I am absolutely delighted about the announcement of Linux on Power Macintosh," said Professor George Blumenthal, chair of the astronomy & astrophysics department at Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz. "Now Macs will have a dual personality, in the best sense of the word; on the one hand they will allow users to exploit the ever popular and easy to use Macintosh software, while on the other hand, they now provide a platform that appears virtually identical to the UNIX machines that many of us use daily in our work."

Linux for Power Macintosh adds a new UNIX alternative for PowerPC systems to existing products such as AIX from IBM and MachTen from Tenon Intersystems. This gives Macintosh users a range of options from a free, user supported UNIX implementation up to commercial, mission critical solutions for large enterprises.

In keeping with the spirit of the Linux community, Apple and OSF will make the source code for this Linux port freely available. This includes source code to the Mach microkernel and the required Macintosh platform driver support. Linux is distributed throughout the world over the Internet and other means, generally through the GNU General Public License, which allows people to use it and change it so long as no further restrictions are imposed and that the source code is made available.

Apple and OSF expect that the first port of Linux for Power Macintosh will be available this summer. The system will initially support the first generation of Power Macintosh computers based on NuBus expansion, and will later be extended to PCI-based Power Macs as well as the upcoming PowerPC Platform (formerly CHRP.) Information regarding this version of Linux is available on the Linux on Power Macintosh [ ] web site. Apple expects to make the software available at this location as well.

This project is an outcome of Apple's ongoing relationship with OSF, which includes consulting work for Copland, the next major release of the Mac OS. The Linux port provides Apple an open environment for OS research work, as well as enabling an exciting new opportunity for Power Macintosh users. This port delivers both the Mach 3.0 microkernel (developed by the OSF Research Institute) and Linux as an OS "personality" on Mach. The OSF microkernel was originally developed at Carnegie Mellon as Mach and subsequently enhanced extensively by the OSF Research Institute.

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Apple, the Apple logo, Power Macintosh, and Macintosh are registered trademarks, and Mac, Mac OS, and PowerMac are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company, Ltd. PowerPC is a trademark of the International Business Machines Corporation, used under license therefrom. NuBus is a trademark of Texas Instruments. All other brand names mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective holders, and are hereby acknowledged.