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Apple releases open-source Mac OS X kernel for Intel

Apple Computer this week released the kernel for Mac OS X 10.4.7 to open-source developers, on the first day of its Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.

The move was announced through a posting to Apple's Darwin developer mailing list by Ernest Prabhakar, the open-source product manager for Apple. "As of today, we are posting buildable kernel sources for Intel-based Macs alongside the usual PowerPC (and other Intel) sources, starting with Mac OS X 10.4.7. We regret the delay in readying the new kernel for release, and thank you for your patience," the message read in part.

The delay Prabhakar is referring to had caused whether Apple planned to release an open-source version of Mac OS X for Intel at all. Piracy concerns have been a hot topic with Apple's move to Intel's chips after hackers demonstrated how Mac OS X could be run on Intel-based machines other than Apple's with a little bit of work. Apple does not allow Mac OS X users to run the operating system on anything other than Apple hardware. But high-performance computing shops like to tweak open-source kernels for their own applications or environments to ensure maximum performance.

UPDATED: An Apple representative confirmed the posting was sent out earlier this week.