updated 10:05 am EDT, Tue July 11, 2006
Darbat Project explained
One blogger has published a report of the Darbat project -- or the L4/Darwin project -- and it's implications. The Darbat project is an experimental port of Darwin to the L4 microkernel which will ideally run existing user-level Darwin binaries. The project consists of a port of IOKit to the L4 microkernel, a modified libc, and XNU. Darbat 0.2 currently supports all iMac Core Duos, Mac Mini Core Solo, MacBook [white] 1.83GHz Core duo, and the 15-inch 1.83GHz MacBook Pro.
Darbat has suffered recent setbacks after Apple's more recent movement to limit the Darwin source code, causing the project to become incompatible following certain updates.
"Geoffrey Lee [of the Darbat project] also managed to fix the IOKit binary loading, but Geoffrey has pulled off an impressive bit of engineering getting Apple's IOKit running in userland mode on top of the microkernel independent of whether or not Darbat is actually running," the blogger wrote.
The Darbat project is potentially faster than the current Mac OS X mach kernel, which is illustrated in previous performance tests:
Users cannot currently run existing applications on top of Darbat, though the blogger believes that the project has a promising future.
"The Darbat project has the potential of making something that doesn't really exist at the moment possible, a high performance, truly microkernel based operating system."