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Mach Kernel Frequently Asked Questions
For various copyright and licensing reasons, it is not permissible to
place most code from linux into the Mach Kernel without the permission of
the author. Linux is generally covered under the GNU Public License
(GPL). This license basically states that any code that incorporates
GPL'ed code must be distributed in open source under the GPL unless
the author grants permission. To release the Mach Kernel under GPL
would violate the Berkeley-style license agreement used in the majority
of the Mach Kernel's code, because it would cause that code's use to
be restricted to what's allowed under the GPL.
- Why can't we put (fill in blank) from Linux source into
the (fill in blank) driver?
- Who is firstname.lastname@example.org?
- What does NMGS stand for?
- How do I obtain the latest sources?
- How do I obtain precompiled kernels?
- Who wrote the Mach MicroKernel?
- Is MkLinux's Mach MK compatible with (insert OS here)
- Who are the regular MkLinux developers?
- How do I report a bug?
- Where do I send patches?
- Where do I send money?
- Where do I send cookies?
There are exceptions to this rule, however. First, some code in linux
is under a dual licence (generally BSD and GPL). Likewise, if the
author gives permission to release a version of the code under a non-GPL
license, then that is also acceptable. Also, run-time linking is
allowed, e.g. libraries, kernel modules, etc. Finally, it is generally
accepted (although not explicitly stated) that you can put code into
the kernel in an optional module, so long as that module is governed by
the GPL, and so long as the operation of the kernel as a whole does not
depend on that module. Note: this is a layman's view from reading the
licenses involved and discussions on the topic. I am not a lawyer.
Michael Burg, a member of the MkLinux team for some time, now a member
of the OS X team.
Actually, not what, but who. According to Gilbert Coville, those are
the initials of Nick Stephen, one of the OSF members of the original
To obtain the latest sources, as used to create the GENERIC series
kernels, first download and install cvs (there's an RPM for it in the
DR3 distribution). You might also consider compiling version 1.10.x,
but it's not necessary. After you've installed CVS, download and
install the tools and ode-bin tarballs into /usr/src (/usr/src/DR3).
Then do the following:
mv mklinux mklinux-DR3
mv osfmk osfmk-DR3
cvs -d":pserver:email@example.com:/MkLinux" login
cvs -d":pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/MkLinux" get osfmk
cvs -d":pserver:email@example.com:/MkLinux" get mklinux
Precompiled kernels are available by ftp at:
For more information, check out the -current kernels page at:
The Mach MicroKernel, as used by MkLinux, was originally written at
Carnegie Mellon University. Since then, it has been substantially
altered by the Open Software Foundation (OSF), now part of the Open
Some time ago, Apple Computer asked the Open Group (then OSF) to work with
them on a port of linux to the PowerMac. They began by creating an x86
version of MkLinux in order to get linux running on the Mach MK. They then
wrote Mach drivers for the PowerMac.
MkLinux's Mach MK is not compatible with NeXT, Rhapsody, or MacOS X Server.
The Mach MK as used by MKLinux is substantially similar to that which is
expected to be used in MacOS X in that they are both based on Mach 3.
The extent of the similarity, however, cannot be determined until MacOS X
No one is willing to admit to being a "regular" MkLinux developer.
To report a bug, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To submit patches for inclusion, please post a notice about their
availability on email@example.com.
If the patch is fairly short (two or three screens worth), it's
probably okay to post the patch. Any longer than that, and you should
put it up for anonymous FTP somewhere, and post a notice about where
people can get it. If you don't have a way to serve files by anonymous
ftp, upload it to the incoming directory on ftp.mklinux.org, and
let me know that it's there. Unknown files will be deleted to prevent
people from abusing our site with warez, etc.
Since there's no charitable org with MkLinux in mind, might I recommend:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN, 38105
Be sure to mention the MkLinux Project when you make your donation.
Email me. We'll talk. :-)
This page maintained by David A. Gatwood.
Contact the web team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (©) 2001 MkLinux Developers Association. Permission to freely
distribute this document is hereby granted, provided that it is distributed at
no charge other than normal connect-time charges. All rights other than those
specifically granted above are reserved.