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The macOS operating system is on nearly every Mac. What has Apple done to make sure that their users cannot see, and thus recreate or modify, the low level code that makes macOS, macOS, how have they done it, and why can't we, the users, get around their method of hiding parts of macOS?

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  • Are there particular parts of OSX that you are wanting to see? Is there a problem you are trying to fix? For anyone that is really curious there are decompilers that will give you a relatively good approximation of the original source code of any binary. Apple isn't really doing anything unusual to prevent people seeing the code, they just don't distribute the a sizeable potion of the original code that makes up the OS. Dec 16 '17 at 19:15
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    Tempted to vote to close as too broad. People have literally written thousands of pages in multiple books on the internals of iOS / tvOS / macOS / watchOS so I’m wondering if you need to edit in some practical question rather than “lets talk about this” - osxbook.com - newosxbook.com/index.php
    – bmike
    Dec 16 '17 at 19:43
  • I agree that it's too broad, but my knee-jerk, broad-stroke answer is that the open source software they do happen to use is mostly covered under the BSD license which basically states they are free to use with no expectation of reciprocity (unlike the GNU license)
    – Allan
    Dec 20 '17 at 9:39
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We don't know whether Apple did anything special here (like obfuscating their code or such).

  • A lot of software in macOS is actually Open Source and published on Apple Open Source
  • The source to the kernel (the core of the OS) is available from the above link but also on GitHub where it includes the version history.
  • You can also learn a lot about how everything works by reading through the documentation available (e.g. Mac Technology Overview)
  • And there is always the technical option to reverse engineer any library or application (even though it may be illegal to do so depending on where you live)
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  • It's a nice answer, however, to your first point "A lot of software in macOS is actually Open Source and published on Apple Open Source", to say "A lot" IMO that's a gross overstatement and actually very little of all that makes the delivered whole product macOS is available to the public. Also, are not questions like... Asking how/why Apple does <some thing XYZ>, off topic? Dec 16 '17 at 18:50
  • @user3439894 Sometimes there is a good question hidden in something which seems to be off-topic :-)
    – nohillside
    Dec 16 '17 at 19:06
  • BTW I left out the words "source code" and meant to say... actually very little of the source code of all that makes the delivered whole product macOS is available to the public. Dec 16 '17 at 19:11
  • Asking out of curiosity more than anything else, why link to PureDarwin for the kernel rather than Apple.com or Apple's account on GitHub? Dec 16 '17 at 20:36
  • @AlistairMcMillan I didn’t find the github page, feel free to add it
    – nohillside
    Dec 16 '17 at 20:48

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