There has been a lot of noise in the UNIX/Linux world recently when a presentation was made at the last Bay Area FreeBSD Users Group meetup where a couple of guys have patched the most recent FreeBSD release with a bunch of services like the Mach IPC, launchd, notifyd, asld, and libdispatch that are heavily used by Apple and the Darwin kernel. This “science project” as they have called it is NextBSD – taking it’s name from the NeXT components that eventually became part of OS X and the Darwin kernel.
The video of the meeting is available here.
The goal as I’ve been able to understand at this point isn’t an entire fork of FreeBSD, but a parallel development that utilizes FreeBSD as it’s core – just changes to how it’s compiled, essentially how Fedora Core is well.. a core to RHEL/CentOS. Not only are there inclusions of components found in the Darwin kernel, but they also hope to incorporate pieces of HardendBSD as well for security reasons.
I stick more to the Linux side of things, close to the Fedora/CentOS/RHEL distributions given the plethora of software available on it, but if they are successful in porting the development abstractions that has made Mac OS X development easier, that could open it up to running Mac OS X software as well. It seems if Apple won’t be serious about taking Mac OS X servers seriously, then these guys might just be able to pull it off for them.
There is no installer or ISO at this point for NextBSD. It requires installing a fresh copy of FreeBSD 10.x or 11.x, git, and building the universe yourself. The news of it’s existence went well beyond what they thought the response would be, so much so that the permalink tag for the first blog post on their site is still “welcome-to-ghost”. It took me about a day nonstop to figure out how to make a VM of it from beginning to end given there are no directions anywhere as of yet outside of Makefiles, but here are the commands I used on a fresh FreeBSD 11.0 installation…
Now that I have it, I’m unsure of what to do with it. But I feel accomplished from doing it anyways.