Just wondering, are there any projects like WINE, but for Mac software? That is, can we use a program that acts like a compatibility layer to run Mac apps?

  • What program you need to run anyway? – Javier Gonzalez Oct 12 '10 at 1:49
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    I managed to run terminal programs like htop on a mac, when I took the file straight off my Ubuntu laptop. – Alvar Jun 22 '12 at 8:29
  • @Alvar Don't think any application can work on one or the other. Ubuntu is Linux-based while macOS is Unix-based; they both use the Bash shell which makes high-level programs semi-compatible. – Dev Dec 20 '16 at 12:32

Recently featured on Slashdot was the Darling project, which aims to provide Darwin / OS X emulation and can already run some Mac OS X applications on Linux.

It appears to be developed for academic purposes and is still in its early stages, but it looks promising. It is based on the aforementioned GNUstep.

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  • Turns out it was merely promising – jchook Mar 16 '19 at 23:04

Sadly not.

There are various projects that attempt PowerPC emulation, but none that would allow you run your standard Mac OS X application.

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    I think mac switched from PowerPC to x86, around the time of the switch from Macos 9 to Macos X. – ctrl-alt-delor Jul 18 '12 at 16:22

GNUstep as an equalivelent API to Cocoa, the NeXTstep based Mac API, but it's not complete, needs recompilation, and then your Mac app looks like it went back in time.

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There was a project attempting to do this for very old Mac Software (68k) called Executor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executor_%28software%29 -- it is, of course, defunct.

There is no modern equivalent as far as I can tell, and making such a thing would be almost as big a task as Wine itself.

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EDIT: Reading the other answers, it appears that there are now ways to do what OP asked. I'm leaving this answer here because it is still a viable alternative on some hardware for applications which won't run under emulation.

While the other answers are correct (no, you cannot), there is a way to install OSX on Virtualisation software such as VirtualBox. This is not what you asked for, so be careful, but it may get you the results you need.


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  • I have got this working on one machine, but couldn't on another. Whether or not it will work for you depends greatly on your hardware. – scottl Oct 18 '10 at 10:15
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    I found performance to be pretty poor using VirtualBox for running MacOS X inside a Linux host. – Ken Kinder Mar 1 '12 at 15:43
  • You'd be breaking the EULA unless you're doing this on a Mac. @scottl the reason it only works for specific machines, is because macOS is optimized for Intel processors only (atleast the current versions). – Dev Dec 20 '16 at 12:30


There is no way(without emulating/virtualizing Mac OSX itself) to run mac programs, sadly. Unlike Windows, whose libraries have been legally replicated for WINE, there is no such replication for Cocoa, except Gnustep, which is very incomplete.

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You cannot run Mac applications on an Ubuntu machine. Even if it were possible, it would be very hard to satisfy the requirements of most applications.

Most Mac applications use features like /Library/Application Support, something Ubuntu doesn't have (to my knowledge). Some apps even modify system files or add new ones (The former could break your system if they happen to be in the same location).


If you really want to run Mac apps, your best bet is to either virtualize macOS or boot it natively. The latter would (most likely) be the hardest; it's called hackintoshing and it's a very popular method (but breaks the Apple EULA).

If you can find a distro of macOS that would work on your hardware, it's not a bad idea to give it a try if you really want native support. However, it could be a tough job. I won't go into much detail, but most of what you'd normally want to know can be found with a quick Google search.

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Your best bet now is running Mac OS X in virtualbox and using seamless mode. I have tried seamless mode with Winxp and it works great. I haven't really tried this with Mac OS X but I guess it's never too late!

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    this is exactly the same as an answer posted one and a half year before this one... – Alvar Jun 22 '12 at 8:31

Hmm , you cant run OSX apps in Ubuntu. Although both OS are based on Unix , but Mac OS X apps are designed to run on its Mac OS X platform and coding , while Ubuntu is based on Debian , there are relatively no common factors.

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    Linux is not UNIX. – RolandiXor Jun 23 '11 at 3:03
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    He said "based on Unix" which does not necessary mean it shares common code with Unix. It may mean "behaves in a manner similar to"... – Sergey Aug 11 '11 at 8:48
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    "is based on" is not "is" – dag729 Sep 14 '11 at 10:13
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    Linux is based on Unix (inspired by), but is not UNIX (a trademark). Where as GNU's not Unix. – ctrl-alt-delor Jul 18 '12 at 16:26
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    this answer is very ... how do I say? much-a-do-about-nothing-ish. To people that know this, apart from "you cant run OSX apps in Ubuntu" it's not really telling me anything – pythonian29033 Jul 21 '16 at 8:39

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