Apple Opens Up

by Jeremiah Foster

Apple has created a "forge" or foundry, an open repository for code that anyone can download and use, fix and send back to Apple. This is an exciting development, Apple both shares with the world its great software and Apple benefits from the input and creativity of the many developers and hackers who will download their software.


2006-09-01 01:31:57
Please, ask first about OpenDarwin project ...
It closed about a month ago, and now?! Apple opens up ?!

Bleargh! 8-(


2006-09-01 03:16:58

Apple simply decided to host the project itself. It's still as free as it was before. They also host MacPorts (neƩ DarwinPorts) now.

2006-09-01 04:10:19
@DAvide... The OpenDarwin project was just a hosting solution for Mac OS X related open-source programs. While Apple may have contributed to this in some way, there were quite a few other factors, especially a lack of community involvement.

Apple could have 'packed up their toys and went home' because very few developers wanted to participate and moved the source code in house., But they didn't. Kudos to Apple for strengthening their open source position by keeping going, and for providing a more popular license choice.

jeremiah foster
2006-09-01 07:25:56
Well said Dale.
2006-09-02 23:29:08
Wrong no all counts. Apple is not in any way altruistic. Tsk tsk on yuo guys being sucked into Apple's reality distortion field. The reality is that as software and systems become more complicated (complexity increases), Apple does not have the internal resources to MAINTAIN the complexity so now suddenly they are trying to "share" their code with the world in the hopes that they can parasitically live off of the generous contributions of open source developers. Motorola is trying to do the same thing with by allegedly providing an open source framework for one of their mobile phones. If you don't believe me, why then would Apple suddenly open up parts (but not all of) WebObjects see < > ?

The reason Apple has moved to the Apache license is that the APSL was dead the minute their lawyers wrote it up because they don't understand open source movements and what motivates these movements. Look around and you'll see true blue open source projects that were started as grass roots movements, not from large coporations like Apple (e.g., Linux, Ruby on Rails -- Linux has Linus, Ruby on Rails has David Hansson ... Steve Jobs is not a Linus or a Hansson).

jeremiah foster
2006-09-04 01:46:43
Thanks for the comment Simon.

There is no question that Apple's software, and software in general, has reached astonishing levels of complexity and corporations are looking for ways to manage it. It is also widely known that many Free Software tools exist to effectively manage distributed code. I'm thinking of Bazaar, CVS, Subversion, darqs, etc. So you are right that Apple is not being purely altruistic.

However, Apple could have released its code under another license, like Sun has done or the APSL, which is homegrown and not so free. But Apple has not done this - and that is the significant fact. I can take Apple's rendezvous code, add or modify the code, package it with the Apache license, sell it and be within my rights. Apple has effectively lowered the barrier to entry into the software market for network hardware self-discovery. This is very good for consumers since it means better software at a better price, it is good for software developers since they can read and use the code in their own projects without having to re-invent a potentially difficult wheel. Why Apple has not done this with WebObjects is unknown to me. I can speculate that there are license issues since WebObjects actually came from NeXT and not Apple, so Apple my not be allowed to release NeXT's code without permission. Steve Jobs also ran NeXT so this really should not be an issue.

Also, there may exist some slight confusion about "true blue open source project(s)". One of the reason's Linux has been so successful is the license Linus Torvalds chose when he released his source code. That license allowed people to contribute, to use the code for their own purposes, and feel assured that their code would not be co-opted into a commercial entity. The GPL is the fundament upon which Linux and many other projects are built, rarely is a software project successful because of one bright individual alone. (Does anyone really think that it is a coincidence that RoR (Ruby on Rails) and the linux kernel both share the same license?