Darwin/macOS emulation layer for Linux
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Darling logo

Darling is a runtime environment for OS X applications.

Please note that no GUI applications are supported at the moment.


Darling uses many Git submodules, so a plain clone will not do.

git clone --recurse-submodules https://github.com/darlinghq/darling.git

Updating sources:

git pull
git submodule init
git submodule update

Build Instructions

For complete instructions, visit DarlingHQ.org.

For running x86-64 OS X binaries

Required dependencies

Debian (stable):

$ sudo apt-get install cmake clang bison flex xz-utils libfuse-dev libxml2-dev libicu-dev libssl-dev libbz2-dev zlib1g-dev libudev-dev linux-headers-amd64

Ubuntu (16.04):

$ sudo apt-get install cmake clang bison flex xz-utils libfuse-dev libxml2-dev libicu-dev libssl-dev libbz2-dev zlib1g-dev libudev-dev linux-headers-generic

Arch Linux (4.8):

$ sudo pacman -S make cmake clang flex bison icu fuse linux-headers

Fedora (25):

$ sudo dnf install cmake clang bison flex fuse-devel systemd-devel kernel-devel libxml2-devel libicu-devel openssl-devel bzip2-devel
cd darling
mkdir -p build/x86-64
cd build/x86-64
cmake ../.. -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../../Toolchain-x86_64.cmake
make install

For running i386 OS X binaries

Required additional dependencies (on top of x86_64 dependencies)

Debian (stable) / Ubuntu (15.10):

$ sudo apt-get install libc6-dev-i386 libudev-dev:i386 lib32stdc++-4.9-dev

Arch Linux (4.8):

$ sudo pacman -S lib32-libstdc++5 lib32-clang
cd darling
mkdir -p build/i386
cd build/i386
cmake ../.. -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../../Toolchain-x86.cmake
make install

Building and loading the kernel module (x86-64 and i386)

# Go into src/lkm to build the kernel module
cd ../../src/lkm
make install

If this does not work (e.g. on newer Ubuntu versions), try the DKMS build:

# Go into src/lkm to build the kernel module
cd ../../src/lkm
sudo ./dkms.sh

Loading the kernel module:

modprobe darling-mach

# ATTENTION: The kernel module is likely unstable,
# full of vulnerabilities, etc.
# You SHOULD restrict access to /dev/mach to trusted
# users only and be prepared to the eventuality of
# kernel hangups (and related data loss).

chmod a+rw /dev/mach


Darling has support for DPREFIXes, which are very similar to WINEPREFIXes. They are virtual “chroot” environments with an macOS-like filesystem structure, where you can install software safely. The default DPREFIX location is ~/.darling, but this can be changed by exporting an identically named environment variable. A prefix is automatically created and initialized on first use.

Please note that we use overlayfs for creating prefixes, and so we cannot support putting prefix on a filesystem like NFS or eCryptfs. In particular, the default prefix location won't work if you have an encrypted home directory.

Hello world

Let's start with a Hello world:

$ darling shell echo Hello world
Hello world

Congratulations, you have printed Hello world through Darling's OS X system call emulation and runtime libraries.

Installing software

You can install .pkg packages with the installer tool available inside shell. It is a somewhat limited cousin of OS X's installer:

$ darling shell
Darling [~]$ installer -pkg mc-4.8.7-0.pkg -target /

If you have previously downloaded the Midnight Commander package from Rudix, you can now run mc to start MC for OS X. For easier installation, install the Rudix Package Manager. Note that not all Rudix packages may work under Darling.

You can uninstall and list packages with the uninstaller command.

Working with DMG images

DMG images can be attached and deattached from inside darling shell with hdiutil. This is how you can install Xcode along with its toolchain and SDKs (note that Xcode itself doesn't run yet):

Darling [~]$ hdiutil attach Xcode_7.2.dmg
Darling [~]$ cp -r /Volumes/Xcode_7.2/Xcode.app /Applications
Darling [~]$ export SDKROOT=/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.11.sdk
Darling [~]$ echo 'void main() { puts("Hello world"); }' > helloworld.c
Darling [~]$ /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/XcodeDefault.xctoolchain/usr/bin/clang helloworld.c -o helloworld
Darling [~]$ ./helloworld
Hello world

Congratulations, you have just compiled and run your own Hello world application with Apple's toolchain.


AppKit is still highly experimental and incomplete, but to work on it you need to configure CMake with -DFRAMEWORK_APPKIT=1 and install some additional packages.

Ubuntu 16.04:

sudo apt install qt5-default qtquick1-5-dev qtscript5-dev qtdeclarative5-dev