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Darwin

In the standard OS X architecture model, Darwin is represented by a single layer. In reality, Darwin itself is composed of two layers: the Mach kernel and the BSD subsystem. This distinction is important to Mac users because this represents the first time that the consumer Mac OS has been kernel based.

Mach Kernel

A kernel is a small piece of controlling code that abstracts the hardware of a computer from the software that runs on it. The kernel serves as a gatekeeper for all other processes and programs. In a kernel-based system, only the kernel can directly access hardware (I/O systems, memory, and peripherals). By only allowing a single piece of software to perform critical activities, individual applications can no longer crash or corrupt the system. As any user of earlier Mac OS revisions knows, this is not how the Macintosh has worked in the past.


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