ZDNet Spreading FUD about Apple?

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Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman
May. 02, 2001 12:02 PM

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Over on the ZDNet website, Evan Leibovitch, accuses Apple of being an Open Source Black Hole and calls them the Big Lie of the year.

Well, I don't agree with that opinion.

Apple has given back exactly what was asked of them by the BSD community. Evan is asking them to give back more than they have taken.

He wrongly asserts that they haven't given anything back. The Darwin project is an open source project started by Apple to allow the source code for the project to be available to the community. The code they have taken is made available via the Darwin project. They also have paid developers working on the project, which in my opinion is giving back to the community.

However, that wasn't what was asked for by the BSD license.

The BSD license is designed to allow a piece of software to become a standard and be used in proprietary software, without requiring anything except recognition. Apple has done that, and more.

Apple has used BSD software to create their product and they have openly recognized the fact. They have gone one step farther by making the code available via the Darwin Project, which is an official Apple project.

While, it would be nice if Apple went even further and open sourced some of their other components, we can't require it of them just because we want it. The accusations that Apple isn't giving back seems unfair in light of the agreement they signed and just designed scare people into using the GPL, a license that forces its creator to make compromises in order to make the software "free."

I'm not in favor of software licenses that inhibit my rights as a developer to receive a fair return on my investment of time and money.

Chris Coleman is the Open Source Editor for the O'Reilly Network and is actively involved with community projects such as OpenPackages.org and Daemon News.