AiryxOS wants to be an open-source macOS, complete with support for Mac apps

AiryxOS wants to be an open-source macOS, complete with support for Mac apps

There are dozens (or perhaps hundreds) of excellent desktop Linux distributions that can be capable alternatives to Windows or macOS, but there are also a few systems that are outright clones of proprietary software products. One of them is AiryxOS, which aims to combine the interface and software design of macOS with the versatility of FreeBSD, which is currently in the early stages of development.

There are a number of open-source operating systems that aim to clone proprietary systems, usually with some level of binary support — ReactOS is a clone of Windows (specifically, Windows Server 2003 right now), Haiku is a continuation of BeOS, FreeDOS is an MS-DOS clone, and so on. The AiryxOS project is still in early stages, but it has some lofty goals. Zoë Knox is the main developer, who currently works as the Vice President of Engineering at the OpenNMS Group.


The readme document outlines plans to have source and binary compatibility with macOS applications (e.g. you could compile a macOS app or run an existing Mac app on Airyx), a Mac-like interface and folder layout, and a “pleasant to use, secure, stable, and performant” design. It also shares some code and resources with helloSystem, a FreeBSD distribution with a Mac-like interface.

Full support for existing macOS software is likely a ways off, if it happens at all — there are thousands of developers contributing to the Wine project, and it’s still not a perfect compatibility layer for Windows applications. However, the FreeBSD base should make the task a little easier (the XNU kernel in macOS is partially based on BSD), and also opens the door for running native FreeBSD applications and some Linux software. For example, the included Firefox application is the FreeBSD version.

There’s not much you can do with the current v0.3.0 release, but the project has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time — the first developer release was in May of last year. If you want to give it a try, head on over to the official website at the link below.

AiryxOS Website

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer. Check out what he's up to at

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