The SoftPear Project aims to create compatibility software between the IBM PC and the Apple Macintosh architecture.
With Mac OS X, an excellent operating system is available, unfortunately it runs only on Macintosh hardware. Therefore this project seeks to create compatibility layers to run Mac OS X on IBM PC hardware.
We do not develop an emulator for PowerPC Macintosh machines (like "PearPC", or like "Basilisk" or "UAE" for other platforms), though; the project has more similarities to Digital's "FX!32", FreeBSD's "Linux Binary Compatbility" and "WINE".
Instead, Darwin/x86 or GNU/Linux will run on the PC, and the Mac OS X user interface, its libraries and all applications running on top of it will run on Darwin or GNU/Linux, using SoftPear's compatibility layer.
This compatibility layer consists of an emulator/dynamic recompiler of user mode PowerPC code and a layer between PowerPC code and native x86 code that handles endianness issues.
Another layer can make x86 applications run on top of the PowerPC Mac OS X libraries, which in turn run on x86 hardware, so Mac OS X applications that have been developed for the PowerPC can be recompiled for the x86 CPU. In addition, all that knowlegde that will be gained by making Mac OS X run on the IBM PC architecture might help creating a reimplementation of parts and eventually all of Mac OS X unter the GPL, providing a fully open source Mac OS X clone for other processors than just the PowerPC.
Currently, we focus on two seperate sub-projects: Michael Steil is working on a PPC/x86 recompiler to make Darwin/PPC applications run on Darwin/x86. Tobias Bratfisch is working on on making Darwin/PPC's Mach-O binaries run on Linux/PPC. Therefore we will need a Mach-O loader as well as an implementation of the dynamic linker for Linux.
The recompiler works for simple applications and the loader for linux seems to work as well.
Anyway, we are still in an early stage of development. If you would like to contribute, please
contact Michael Steil or join the mailing lists.