Does Unix & Linux software run on Mac OS X?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by firstyearprof, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. firstyearprof macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2007
    HI all,

    I'm a mac newbie. Sick of windows, so my macbook pro is on the way. But I have to admit to suffering some buyer's remorse/anxiety. I'm an academic researcher in genetics and several important software packages only run on windows or linux/unix. My question is, in general, do programs written for linux or unix run on Mac OS X? How does one do that... using X11 or is there an even more integrated way to do it? Am I worrying myself for nothing?

    In addition to my questions, if anyone has any words of wisdom about running unix programs in Mac OS X, I would really appreciate the help. Thanks in advance.
  2. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    the source code can be compiled on the computer to run, fink or my favorite darwinports, ports the libraries and the apps over to os x. real simple.

    some apps might be a pain, involving some rewritting of the code, to port it over, but anything of much value will be installable through fink or darwinports.
    just google them.
  3. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    U need to use FINK or MacPort to run linux apps on OSX, and since you are using special apps, you probably need to compile it by yourself since it has very little chance to be pre-compiled by FINK/MacPort team.

    There will be a app called openLina, supposed to be able to run linux apps under windows/osx, but so far looks like it will be very slow.

    My suggestion? if u need linux, get a linux installed.
  4. tutubibi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
    I agree, if you already know that app is running on Linux just install Linux.
    Switching to OS X is not the only option to get away from Windows. If you just need to run some apps it may be too much trouble rebuliding everything.
  5. JasonElise1983 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2003
    Between a rock and a midget
    yeah, you could always install Parallels and run your favorite version of Linux/UNIX side by side. Just a thought. I personally have Parallels installed just to run Ubuntu. I love it, and when not preaching the mac gospel, i'm preaching the OpenSource gospel. Anywho...just my 2¢.

  6. firstyearprof thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2007
    Thanks for everyone's replies. I can try to port the programs I suppose - not sure if they'll work or not, but time will tell. I have considered running parallels, but the programs I'd be using on linux require a lot of CPU. I assume that there would be a performance hit in running two OS's side by side. Is that correct?

    I think that I will probably install a unix OS under bootcamp. It's my understanding that you have to reboot to switch between OS's though, is that right?

    Thanks again...
  7. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    yes and yes
  8. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    Compile from source. Don't need to boot into a seperate OS or any of that junk.
  9. firstyearprof thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2007
    Hi sc68cal -

    I'm willing to try compiling things from source but have no clue how to do it. Can you recommend any websites or books, esp that are geared for Mac users, that go over how to do it and when its possible?
  10. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    I'd reccomend "Learning UNIX for Mac OS X Tiger" by Dave Taylor

    Or check out my lecture that I did on it, at my website. It's under "Recent Work"
  11. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2003
    What are the exact apps and do you have links to their websites? I could try to see if they compile.
  12. firstyearprof thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2007
  13. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    I just want to be sure that you know OS X is Aqua GUI running on Darwin, which is an apple bastardizaion of FreeBSD. It's hard to get more UNIX-like than that.

    I don't see the need to install a separate partition with "a unix OS". Or maybe I'm missing something? Do you mean Linux?

    Compiling on a Mac is (more or less) the same as any other UNIX/UNIX-like OS. Except... you will need to download the latest version of XCode so you can install GCC3/4 to compile. You can get it at for free.

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