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Apple Losing Touch With the OS Community? 410

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-know-this-guy-named-steve dept.
InfoWorldMike writes to tell us that InfoWorld's Tom Yager recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Apple about their closing the OS X Kernel. From the article: "The Mac platform is an overflowing basket of raw materials for innovators and creators of all stripes. It's what Steve Jobs would fantasize about if he still worked out of his garage, and you can bet that he'd be livid to find that the vendor locked some portion of his chosen platform behind a gate without a word of notice or explanation."
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Apple Losing Touch With the OS Community?

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  • Part Deux (Score:5, Informative)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:39PM (#15533610) Homepage
    This is a follow-up to one of Tom Yager's earlier editorials [macworld.co.uk], which was discussed recently on Slashdot. [slashdot.org]

    Oh, and nice headline. I'd even go so far as to call it a sensational headline. You get a slow clap.

    • Re:Part Deux (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:16PM (#15533918)
      This is yellow journalism, plain and simple. Tom Yager claims with a straight face "no story is more timely, or more broadly relevant, than this one." When asked by Apple, according to his own account, Tom Yager could provide no examples of people who had written to him to complain about this issue. Tom Yager goes on to accuse Apple of suggesting people who recompile kernels are an "underclass". Way to create a straw man, Tom Yager. How easy it is to knock that down.

      Hey, Tom Yager, you claim Apple promised to make future kernels' source open? Care to point us to any supporting evidence for your spurious claim?
      • Re:Part Deux (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @02:45PM (#15534622)
        When asked by Apple, according to his own account, Tom Yager could provide no examples of people who had written to him to complain about this issue.

        Umm....

        FTFA
        The meeting started sliding downhill when Apple asked, "Has anybody ever written to you about this? How many people actually recompile their OS X kernels?" I do, for one. I rattled off some of those groups that value open source in its fullest sense. I included academia, high-performance and high-throughput computing experts, and shops that want to roll in system-level enhancements before Apple gets around to packaging them.


        Did you need specific examples? I suppose you could ask him what he rattled off but it is very clear that he did give apple names of people that had contacted him.

        Tom Yager goes on to accuse Apple of suggesting people who recompile kernels are an "underclass". Way to create a straw man, Tom Yager. How easy it is to knock that down.

        He didn't say that. He was talking about his readers who may or may not recompile kernels.

        FTFA
        Apple pushed back, saying that as eclectic as my readership is, the subset I described is only a "fraction of a fraction" of the geeks (Apple's word) who are my regular readers...I go on the defensive whenever a vendor suggests that any portion of my readership is an underclass because of its numbers. It is our fraction of a fraction that is the bellwether for the next leading edge.


        He is preaching to the choir, but sensationalism it is not.

        He actually has a desire to recompile the kernel and not get ad hits as far as this article appears.
        • Re:Part Deux (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mrtrumbe (412155) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:39PM (#15535010) Homepage
          Umm....

          Look closer at the passage you quoted. Here it is again:

          "Has anybody ever written to you about this? How many people actually recompile their OS X kernels?" I do, for one. I rattled off some of those groups that value open source in its fullest sense. I included academia, high-performance and high-throughput computing experts, and shops that want to roll in system-level enhancements before Apple gets around to packaging them. He never says that these groups contacted him, which I sincerely doubt they did. Instead, he says that these groups value open source in its fullest sense. This may be true, but whether they are complaining about this is another matter entirely.

          Taft

          • Re:Part Deux (Score:5, Insightful)

            by multimediavt (965608) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:53PM (#15535494)
            As a representative member of two of the communities he references (academia and HPC), I can say that having the kernel closed *DOES* cause concern. We have modified and compiled alternate kernels for Mac OS X running on System X at Virginia Tech. We did, however, get the kernel source and assistance from Apple to do this. I would imagine (not being perfectly positive) that legitimate requests for kernel source *MAY* still be an option even with the closed kernel.

            The one thing that Yager does fail to address is the reason WHY Apple closed the kernel. I think everyone knows that answer, but for the sake of discussion I'll inject the prominent theory. The kernel was closed so Apple could protect the code used to lock the Mac OS to Apple Intel-based hardware. Until Apple can find, or invent, a better way to secure that Mac OS X will not get into the wild, i.e., installed on non-Apple hardware, or just gives up trying and declares that they will not support it running anywhere else, the kernel source will remain closed. I do believe that Apple will re-open the entire Mac OS X source in the future, but they are presently protecting their fragile sliver of market share in the mean time. Is it an affront to the OSS community? Yeah, but it's also business. They have a product to sell and shareholders to protect. Was it uncool? Yeah. Will the recent actions be nullified and a fully open Mc OS X re-released? I believe so.
        • Did you need specific examples? I suppose you could ask him what he rattled off but it is very clear that he did give apple names of people that had contacted him.


          He didn't give examples of people contacting him, he gave random examples (no specific names) of people he thought were recompiling the OS X kernel.
  • Personally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:41PM (#15533619) Journal
    Personally I find Apple very much like Microsoft. They are trying to take over as "King of the Lock-in Mountain". Go European countries that are bitchslapping them.

    I will stick with OSS thanks.
    • Personally I find Apple very much like Microsoft. They are trying to take over as "King of the Lock-in Mountain"

      It's not like the concept of take over and control is limited to software. This is fundamental human behavior. Anyone ever hear of the Roman Empire?

      I don't understand why everyone bitches so much when a corporation makes a strategic decision that takes them one step closer to market dominance.. If it's really that bad. If it is that bad, you should go make your own OS/mega-corporation that

      • by cmacb (547347) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @02:38PM (#15534563) Homepage Journal
        "I don't understand why everyone bitches so much when a corporation makes a strategic decision that takes them one step closer to market dominance."

        Maybe because as a former Apple supporter (a short-lived state of being as it turned out) I am frustrated to see them cavalierly drop the principles that got me to switch. It might be a different matter if they had already captured a 50 percent market share, or for that matter even a 20 percent market share, but their number are right where they always have been. I see all their recent moves as desperation, and quite possibly the results is that they will cease to matter at all. I just got done answering a request for advice on a non-technical forum and I couldn't honestly advise them to buy an Apple "laptop" even though my last two laptops were Apple machines. Their switch to Intel, coupled with more and more DRM orientation, legal action against well meaning users, and the dissing of the Open Source roots of their OS makes me wonder if the company hasn't suffered a stroke or something. The personality of the company has changed, and with no good reasons (roadmaps be damned), their quality control sucks and they spend more time on propagandizing than they do on actually supporting their users. I have little use for them any more. Unlike the author of the original article, I don't expect them to get better any time soon. Recent departures at the top ought to give some people a clue that something is wrong in Cupertino.

        If the iPod market fails the company is history. That should give the fans nightmares.
        • I am frustrated to see them cavalierly drop the principles that got me to switch. It might be a different matter if they had already captured a 50 percent market share, or for that matter even a 20 percent market share, but their number are right where they always have been.

          Why do you give a fuck about the market share of a computer company whose products you are no longer buying? Is your IRA tied up in APPL shares?

          I use Macs all the time, and I don't give a rat's ass about their market share. As long as
        • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:18PM (#15535250) Journal
          I am frustrated to see them cavalierly drop the principles that got me to switch.

          Oh, for christ's sake. TWO PEOPLE are SPECULATING as to the reasons why Apple hasn't released some of the CoreOS code YET, and everyone takes their guesses as gospel?

          Did anyone consider the possibility that the code in question is being delayed because publishing it right now (in the middle of a processor transition) would probably tip their hand as to features of upcoming products?

          If that code doesn't show up after we get the Intel Xserves and the Intel desktops, there might be some reason to believe that Apple's decided to give up on open-sourcing the OS. Until then, it's nothing but guesses, so can everyone can just quit going off half-cocked?

          -jcr
      • by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:08PM (#15534765)
        It's not like the concept of take over and control is limited to software. This is fundamental human behavior. Anyone ever hear of the Roman Empire?...If it's really that bad. If it is that bad, you should go make your own OS/mega-corporation that will be better than the one you are bitching about.

        Rome circa 100AD

        Roman Slave: This sucks
        Roman Centurian: *whips slave* Quit your bitchin! If it is that bad, why don't you go start your own empire.
        Roman Centurian: Ow! Well... I would but you see... You've got this thing called a Roman Legion and I've got these chains on me... Oh and I did revolt you'd kill my family and then crucify me and feed me to the lions.
        Roman Centurian: Good point! Get back to work anyways! *whips slave again*
        Roman Slave: Ow!

        Corporate Environment 2006AD

        Cubicle slave: This sucks!
        Supervisor: *delegates another deadline* Quit your bitching! If it is that bad, why don't you go start your own company.
        Cubicle slave: Well... I would but you see... You've got this thing called millions of dollars of investment into entry barriers of the market and I've got this NDA and contract that owns all my ideas... Oh and I did revolt you'd sue family and then crucify my VC capital and then feed me to the Patent Lawyers.
        Supervisor: Good point! Get back to work! *assigns another deadline*
    • Yeah right, Apple's lock-in formats like .jpg, .pdf, DV, .zip, mpeg4, etc. are real dead ends.

      You DO realize that Apple is going to great effort and expense to use industry standards, unlike OTHER mass-market OS vendors that are famous for their proprietary formats?
      • Re:Personally (Score:2, Insightful)

        by C_Kode (102755)
        iPod.
    • Re:Personally (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:09PM (#15535636)
      How am I "locked in" because I can't compile the Darwin kernel? You would never, ever even have a need to do that. You're putting ideals over common sense needs.
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:41PM (#15533624) Homepage
    Well we will always have Linux/BSD. I mean that is why they became so popular in the first place, because people wanted to kernel hack. You want to be all practical and have pretty graphics get a Mac. You want to have fun rewriting the driver stack install something open source, it's that simple.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:27PM (#15534003)
      Only a tiny minority of Linux users program at all. An even smaller fraction of those programming are going to touch the kernel source.

      The most common reasons for trying Linux are going to be:

      (1) It's something different.
      (2) It's free (as in beer).
      (3) It's not Microsoft.
      (4) It's generally very stable & secure.
      (5) There's a lot of stuff to customize (not talking about programming).

      Yes OSS is nice (I actually advocate it whenever I can at work as we have onsite programmers so we can customize OSS apps however we want), but if you think that most Linux users care about it being OSS, you'd be mistaken. If you think they switched over to Linux just b/c it was OSS, you're crazy. And no, a quick response typed back stating "But I did switch b/c it was OSS." does not negate this point.
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by binary paladin (684759) <binarypaladin&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:59PM (#15534277)
        I think you hit the nail on the head. The part of "free" software that most people like is the free as in beer portion. Personally, I also like the philosophy behind open source but I initially jumped into Linux/BSD for reasons #1 and #3. (I paid for a boxed distro my first time so free wasn't so much an issue.)

        I'm arguably a programmer. (I say that because if you're not using some sort of compiler there are a lot of people around here who won't even call you a programmer.) I do not hack anything but scripts (and the occasional C CGI). I don't look at or mod any source code for major applications and idea didn't even strike me until after I began using Linux on the desktop and I considered all the little features I wanted to see in X app.

        Eventually though, I became a Mac user because I had tasted the fruit of Unix and the command line, loved many of the tools there but didn't have a lot of the commercial apps I liked. (Games obviously aren't a factor.) And motivations were #1 and #3. Apple fits the bill. This is why a lot of geeks are going over to Apple.

        When you're 16ish - 20ish (and perhaps a little older) it's cool to upgrade your computer every single paycheck, tweak this and that and spend hours fiddling with your computer. My computer used to triple boot: Win2k, Slackware Linux and BeOS 4.5. It was all fun. But when I actually started making money doing web dev and server related stuff, that kind of lost its luster. I wanted a computer that "just worked."

        Macs fit the bill. I will say this though, if you use a little but of forethought when picking out hardware, Ubuntu installs and "just works" easier than WinXP or Win2k. I still keep an OSS desktop around and run FreeBSD on my servers, but I don't want to fiddle with my work machine and generally prefer Mac GUI apps to anything I had in Linux. (Safari, TextMate, Pages, iTunes, Photoshop, etc.) My computers are my tools and I go with preference.

        OSS is not why most people/geeks play with Linux. The fact that they're geeks and routinely do technological crap like install NetBSD on their DreamCast is why. We like to play with stuff just because.
      • All of those reasons condense down to 'It's free.'
      • I can cite two examples of a "network effect," where FOSS has improved commercial products. One example involves Apple.

        1. Embedded Linux has a huge growth rate in mobile handsets and other embedded applications, most of which are big commercial product development projects. These projects benefit from widely available experience with Linux kernel building. Anyone with a spare old PC and the time to read an O'Reilly book (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/belinuxsys/)can get into configuring and building embedd
  • Jobs upset? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:42PM (#15533628)
    I doubt Steve Jobs would have been the one to get upset about thing being closed off, since very little of the actual innovation, creative, and design work ever was his. I can see Steve Wozniak getting ticked off about it, but I imagine he'd hack away anyway.

    Jobs may be great at pushing the designers to do more, but he was NOT the one who did most of the hacking. He even exploded when Woz asked if he could help with the Apple's analog port.
    • Re:Jobs upset? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888)
      Exactly. One of the driving forces behind the original hermetically sealed Macintosh getting upset about the Mac OS kernel being closed off? It seems that this guy doesn't know his history. Or more accurately, he's fully aware of the history behind it, but writing that up wouldn't draw the page-hits like a sensationalistic write-up like this does.
    • Re:Jobs upset? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bombadillo (706765) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:57PM (#15533750)
      I doubt Steve Jobs would have been the one to get upset about thing being closed off, since very little of the actual innovation, creative, and design work ever was his. I can see Steve Wozniak getting ticked off about it, but I imagine he'd hack away anyway.

      The only problem is that OSX is based off of NEXT OS. Steve Jobs started NEXT when he was forced to leave Apple. A more apt comparison would be when Steve Jobs hired John Sculley as the new CEO of Apple. Sculley and Jobs had a a power struggle. The board stood behind Sculley, and Jobs was stripped of most of his duties and banished to an office at the back of a distant building on the Apple campus unofficially known as "Siberia". After a few months of being ignored, he left.

      So Steve Jobs would get ticked off and come up with something better.
    • Re:Jobs upset? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ultramk (470198) <ultramk@noSPAM.pacbell.net> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:20PM (#15533948)
      Honestly, I don't think either one would have given a damn about this: they would have been too busy creating their own system from scratch. Neither one has ever been content to play in someone else's sandbox, and I can't picture them whining about someone else's system being closed off to them.

      FWIW, I believe that both Steves were necessary for the creation of Apple as a world-changing phenomena. Steve W. was (and still is) the prototypical alpha geek, who views a technical challenge as a personal quest, and who doesn't "work" on a problem, he plays with it. Steve J. had the vision of a world where technology was put in the hands of regular people, and knew enough to make seemingly impossible demands from the people who worked with him, and for him. The kinds of demands that once they were met, resulted in a revolution. I've briefly met both men (at different times), and I have deep respect for what each brought to the table in that fateful partnership.

      Vision without ability is neutered. Ability without vision is sterile. The one thing both Steves have in common is the refusal to accept the idea that something's impossible.

      m-
    • Steve Jobs despites all of his personality flaws, understands that much of Apple's value comes from software , not the expensive dongles they passed off as products. Locking down the OS and services to prevent... compatibility with "unauthorized platforms" is absolutely essential in maintaining that value.
  • by moankey (142715) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:44PM (#15533647)
    This is not different than how Apple has always approached things. They have always been about form and function. Developing the next killer app or killer hardware. And making everything as proprietary or closed as possible.
    Doesnt matter how stubborn it may seem at the time and goes against potential profits or their customer base, its just classic Apple thinking.

    While people may remark that Jobs should be thrilled at their level of success and want things opened up or looking towards Mac's as a game machine, or whatever else it may be. This was more Woz's thinking not so much Job's. Job's has always been the suit side of it all, that happens to be in jeans and loafers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:12PM (#15533865)
      Also consistent with the BSD license. In fact, BSD license advocates suggest that this ability to create proprietary derived works of their stuff is exactly what makes it better than the GPL.


      Personally, I don't quite get it, but this move of Apples clearly should NOT offend BSD license advocates since that is exactly what they stand for.


      I think this is a perfect example of some of the tensions within the open source community too, and a key differtiator between the positions of the FSF (Stallman's group who advocates GPL-like philosophies) and the OSI (who has people like ESR who often advocate BSD over GPL tend to like it when companies like Apple do this).


      To summarize, I'd say that Free Software advocates will criticize Apple's move, but Open Software Initiative advocates will hold it up as a prime example of business and open source playing nicel togehter.

      • "Personally, I don't quite get it, but this move of Apples clearly should NOT offend BSD license advocates since that is exactly what they stand for."

        Not exactly. BSD license advocates just don't stand against it. They stand against the additional restrictions of the GPL license.

        You're right that it should not offend. It shouldn't offend anyone and it should have been expected.

        The real mistake is thinking that Apple is a friend of open source to begin with. They sometimes contribute voluntarily, sometime
    • And making everything as proprietary or closed as possible.
      I strongly disagree with this statement. Apple's preference to in-house proprietary solutions early on had more to do with the intense desire to design a better mouse trap and less to do with locking in customers. If you want to see proprietary for the sake of being priprietary, check out Compaq computers and peripherals in the 80's, or Sony' UMD, Memory Stick... etc.
  • Proprietary != OSS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fak3r (917687) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:44PM (#15533652) Homepage
    Yeah, since Apple used parts of BSD people think it's as free and open, but anyone who knows what's up knows this is not the case. Sure, Darwin is available, but how is that comparable with OS X? It's not. The base, sure, but anything above 'ls' and you're not in an enviroment that even tries to be similar; it feels like lip service only. The 'closing' of the kernel (many things have been written to prove/disprove this actually happened) is just going to end up being Apple protecting its marketing edge; if the src was available all of a sudden 'free' versions of OS X would appear everywhere, and since they run on Intel now they could/would be running on any x86 box. No, they wouldn't run as smooth, which would again damage Apple's cred as having a 'rock solid' OS. Let's not forget the 'hook' (aka hardware) would be cut out of the loop too, so I think this discussion goes more along to the 'apple should release OS X for general x86 boxen' that failed to solve anything last year.
    • by zeroduck (691015)
      They closed the kernel. They say this has to do with piracy issues of OSX86 (as to not have someone make one that will run on generic hardware). Big deal. Aparently, the code for the PPC kernel is still open. Still the rest of Darwin is as open as it always was--and if you think the extent of Darwin is 'ls', then. . . well, you're wrong. The pretty GUI has never been open, and I surmise, never will. Stop complaining, they have no obligation to open it up to the world.
    • As if OS X on Apple runs "smooth". What exactly is that anyway?

      I'm writing this on a MBP. It's already failed and required a new motherboard (which resulted in having my HD wiped my Apple, why's that?) and it crashes often enough. Perhaps not as often as my XP notebook but hardly "rock solid". My mac early-life failure rate is still 100% and i've owned 3 macs now. Pitiful.

      Hardware lockin for OS X has nothing to do with "smoothness". It has to do with protecting the MacOS monopoly and minimizing ongoing
    • people are presuming they didn't release the latest darwin x86 kernel (xnu) source because they don't want hackers to circumvent the DRM in OS X by replacing the apple supplied kernel with a custom kernel...

      why not put the DRM in something that is proprietary like Aqua?

  • by WinEveryGame (978424) * on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:47PM (#15533664) Homepage
    IMHO, OS-X is pretty much a closed operating system at this point. All of the innovation is dictated by Apple. BTW, I am not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but I do believe that Apple can not claim that OS-X has the benefits (and downsides) of open source development.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:47PM (#15533668)
    but when exactly was Apple ever 'in touch' with the OS Community?

    At one point it was cool to have a PowerBook to do unix dev on, but the quality of Mac hardware has plummeted now that they have been forced to turn to Intel for chips and I don't see many people rushing to trade in their existing non-Mac hardware.

    With how fast Ubuntu with the new accelerated desktop is coming up to speed, I don't think I even care about OS X anymore outside of the more ascetically pleasing UI elements.

  • If I may add... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MudButt (853616) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:48PM (#15533675)
    FTFA, It's not about code. It's about character.

    It's also about money. Yager states that he believes Apple will open the OS back up again (eventually), and I'd have to agree. A running theme in economics is that investment (in technology) leads to increased capital. I believe the main reason that the Linux community enjoys so much capital right now is because of the years of investment. That investment was at the cost of human labor and hard work by the OSS community!

    When Apple realizes that free (as in beer) investment into their business (by the OSS community) actually has a bottom dollar impact on capital, the lock on the kernel will fly open pretty quickly.

    • When Apple realizes that free (as in beer) investment into their business (by the OSS community) actually has a bottom dollar impact on capital, the lock on the kernel will fly open pretty quickly.

      That's not really the way it's ever worked in Darwin's case. The amount of "OSS community" involvement in Darwin was relatively low, and Apple did what they could do to keep it that way. Apple was happy to extract code from existing OSS projects to put into Darwin, but once put together, pretty much all develo

  • OS X (Score:2, Insightful)

    by geekmansworld (950281)
    It's a non-story being touted by yet another tech columnist who's realized that pushing mac users' buttons generates site traffic. Indeed his fraction of a fraction geeks don't outweigh the larger fraction of geeks who want to use Darwin to port/pirate OS X to generic X86 hardware. Like is or not, Apple is still a business, and their goal is to make money.
  • Fork? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rehashed (948690)
    My understanding was that they cannot guarantee an OSX compatible open source darwin kernel. Wouldnt this be more along the lines of a fork as opposed to being evil?
  • No quotes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stevejobsjr (409568) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:59PM (#15533775)
    He sat down with Apple, yet he has no quotes. 95% of the "article" is his own speculation. I'm betting the 5% paraphrased from the alleged talks comes from his own mind, too.
  • Does anyone actually use Darwin as an OS? If so, why? Does the 'closing' of the Intel version of the kernel really affect anyone?
  • by WombatControl (74685) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:12PM (#15533863)

    Apple is a hardware company.

    Apple happens to have an incredibly great OS and great consumer and pro apps, but when it comes to what butters Apple's bread it's all about the hardware. Apple is not, nor will it ever likely be, a software company.

    Does opening the source for OS X sell more Apple hardware? Obviously not, since it allows people to use OS X on non-Apple machines. That's not in Apple's interest, and that's why they're making that more difficult to do. Apple is first and foremost a business, and no smart business would cannibalize itself to pick up a market that they don't need.

    People who are dogmatic about OSS have plenty of choices in the market. Apple just isn't one of them. Somehow, I doubt Steve Jobs really loses sleep over such a small part of the market.

    • I disagree. I think Apple is a computer company. Apple is interested in selling you the complete package, software and hardware. Having seen the company from the inside, I don't believe that the infrastructure and effort that's behind their applications is merely some kind of slick adjunct or value-add to sell hardware. The strategy is synergy.

      Apple is about selling (and having as much control as possible over) the whole enchilada.

    • Apple is a hardware company.

      Again supporting my mantra that human rationality goes to zero when a computer is involved.

      Apple is a computer company. In fact, the name of the company is "Apple Computer, Inc."

      So, what is next? Verizon being a phone company? Oh, they have proprietary software, they sell phones, but their bread and butter is ripping people off via locked in contracts.

      Oh, and Ford is a car company. Yeah, they have proprietary software, and sell auto parts, but their bread and butter is sellin
    • Apple is a hardware company

      That reminds me: Apple is a computer company they should not get involved in music.
  • Excuse me, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bobalu (1921)
    As far as I know (not being a rabid Apple historian) when they started with the Apple I they DID in fact do the whole thing themselves, right? So what Jobs and Woz must've wanted while starting up in a garage was just the chips. They didn't expect to be handed the thing on a platter by some big existing company. Quite a difference.

  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:13PM (#15533889)
    I'm sorry to say this, but this is BSD's 'fault'. They put the kernel under the BSD license - a license that allows for this to happen.

    In my opinion, this is why the BSD license is bad. However in many other people's opinion this is why the BSD license is good - because it gives you the freedom to fork and close source it.

    Whether it's better to have the 'freedom for the code' (GPL, LGPL somewhat, etc) or the 'freedom for the person' (BSD) is of course a personal opinion.

    • In case you are saying that it's somehow a "bad" or "unwanted" thing and, like, people don't realize that Big Evil Companies are going to !!steal!! their precious code if they put it under the BSD license and are just doing it because they are ignorant:

      Wake up. That's what the BSDL is *created for*! If you don't agree with it, go use something else. Don't pretend you know the reasons behind people's actions better than they do.

    • by dfghjk (711126)
      Claiming that this is anyone's "fault" is also a personal opinion. Some, especially Apple, would consider it a feature and you can bet Apple never would have worked with the code to begin with had it been under the GPL. You aren't getting complete OS X source---it's the family jewels.
  • by MacDaffy (28231) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:28PM (#15534007)
    Apple has finally mounted a head-to-head challenge with Microsoft (see the new commercials). Microsoft is struggling to get features into Vista that Mac OS X has had from the beginning. Does anyone really think that Microsoft would resist taking advantage of an open source Intel-based kernel if it could help them solve the mountain of problems under which Windows is buried?

    Microsoft has taken advantage of Apple's innovation before and thrived in doing so. I think it's prudent for Apple to keep its guard up and its kernel safely locked away until it has enough momentum and market share to make it a smart move.

    I imagine that Microsoft's first look at a MacBook made them feel like Apple felt when it got its first look at Windows 98; "Holy shit!"
    • Too much paranoia. None of the stuff that gives Apple a competitive advantage was open sourced. (You may have noticed the ads talk about iPhoto and not Mach messaging.) In fact the OS X kernel is probably the weakest part of the whole system, and probably offers very little to Microsoft who already has a decent OS kernel. This has nothing to do with Microsoft and everything to do with piracy potentially cutting into their hardware revenues.
  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:32PM (#15534053)
    Apple hasn't released the kernel for x86...YET. See this forum post from a Apple Employee:

    http://lists.apple.com/archives/Fed-talk/2006/May/ msg00105.html [apple.com]

    In my opinion if I had to put companies on a list, Apple would stil be high on my openess with developer list. At least Apple has all of the developer tools (Xcode and others) free for the taking. You still have to pay Microsoft to write programs for windows unless it's a batch file.


    • You still have to pay Microsoft to write programs for windows unless it's a batch file.


      Here [microsoft.com]

      You can stop talking rubbish now.
    • You still have to pay Microsoft to write programs for windows unless it's a batch file.

      What? 5 seconds of research would have kept you from looking ignorant. You can download all the needed SDK's from MS without cost. You can even get the free (as in cost, not Freedom) versions of Visual Studio 2005 along with the free (cost) version of Sql Express.

      The Visual Studio Express [microsoft.com] editions allow you to do development with C#, J#, C++ and unfortunately VB.Net.

      I am not an MS fanboy, however if you are g

      • "I am not an MS fanboy, however if you are going to take a jab at MS, at least do it for a valid reason."

        Whoa there cowboy, slow down... If you read the Slashdot rules and regs you will see that you are way offbase with your comment.
        • Whoa there cowboy, slow down... If you read the Slashdot rules and regs you will see that you are way offbase with your comment.
          I appologize. I will hand in my geek-card for a period of 1 week :-)
  • Remember what Steve Jobs said about France regarding interoperability? Apple isn't just losing Touch with the OS Community. Apple is losing touch with _ALL_ the community!
  • by amightywind (691887) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:34PM (#15534075) Journal

    Proprietary OSX should be expected now that Apple has gotten all it can out of the BSD code base. Let it be a lesson to the Free Software Community about the dangers of BSD style licenses. It encourages opportunism. Theo's rant earlier today is a further example.

  • What exactly?

    Fewer technical folks will switch to OS X, but on the other hand the typical Mac user could not care less either way. Open source, closed source, or even lose the shell prompt again, they'll be totally unaffected.

    As an aside: I still want OS X, but I do not want Apple hardware. Open up the licensing, Jobs!
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:41PM (#15534143)
    To sum up Apple's objections, they felt I had given a year-old story a fresh coat of paint and sensationalized it for an audience that wasn't affected by it.

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

    To date, the only official response [apple.com] has been:

    Just to be clear, Tom Yager was *speculating* about why we have -- so far -- not released the source code of the kernel for Intel-based Macintoshes. We continue to release *all* the Darwin sources for our PowerPC systems, and so far has released all the non-kernel Darwin sources for Intel.

    Nothing has been announced, so he (and everyone else) certainly has the right to speculate. But please don't confuse "speculation" with "fact."

    Thanks,
    -- Ernie P.

    Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. (408) 974-3075
    Product Manager, Open Source & Open Standards; Mac OS X Product Marketing
    Apple Computer; 303-4SW 3 Infinite Loop; Cupertino, CA 95014


    and a response to a private message I sent:

    Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 12:08:45 -0700
    From: Ernest Prabhakar
    To: Dave Schroeder
    Subject: Re: [Fed-Talk] Apple [may not open] OS X Kernel for Intel

    Hi Dave,

    On May 21, 2006, at 11:41 AM, Dave Schroeder wrote:

    When *will* something regarding a xnu source release on x86 be announced?

    I know you probably can't answer this, so it's somewhat of a rhetorical question, but seriously: the lack of release of source for xnu on x86 represents a significant change in strategy to some customers with no corresponding announcement or roadmap. When will concerned customers be informed as to what is happening?


    Generally speaking, when a final, irreversible decision has been made, we will find
    _some_ way to let affected customers know about it.

    If nothing else, the very fact I am telling you to *not* assume that something is true,
    means *I* don't believe it is true. :-)

    -- Ernie P.


    Seriously, might there be kind of a, you know, huge developer conference coming up in a month and a half or so here where some of these questions might be answered? Especially since Tom Yager's speculation is just that - speculation - and extremely old news [slashdot.org] at that? Is it any wonder that both of Yager's articles are under "Opinion" headlines?
    • Tom isn't "speculating", it's quite honestly a fact that Apple has not released the source to Intel XNU. Claiming this is false, or "speculation", because they "haven't yet" released the source, as a multitude of Apple apologists have done so far, is sophistry. The binaries are out. The source is not. Apple has given no indication it intends to recant and release that source code. It is, very clearly, a reversal of policy. Prabhakar's comments do not add anything whatsoever to the discussion, other than to

      • Tom isn't "speculating", it's quite honestly a fact that Apple has not released the source to Intel XNU.

        To date, yes. I will 100% agree that the Intel xnu source is currently closed. However:

        - Intel xnu source hasn't always been closed
        - PowerPC snu source is still open
        - The change happened with Intel-based Macs began shipping
        - He is speculating as to the *reason* xnu on Intel isn't currently open source
        - The implication in Yager's articles is that because it's closed now, it must/might be closed permanently
  • Apple will release the kernel code when Vista comes around. They are just so sick of Microsoft copying them they'll wait till vista is out and done...

    I know, it may take some time...
    ---
    Donde Ser Geek No Duele [blogspot.com]
  • by kuwan (443684) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @01:55PM (#15534260) Homepage
    I find it interesting that he doesn't name the source at Apple that he spoke with. From the tone of the article it sounds more like he spoke with some marketing nitwit than an actual OS X Engineer/Manager. This is evidenced by the questions that Apple purportedly asked:

    Has anybody ever written to you about this? How many people actually recompile their OS X kernels?

    These seem like questions marketing would ask. People that are actually in charge of OS X's development wouldn't need to ask these questions because they would understand the reasons why people would want the kernel's source code.

    At any rate, we still don't know why Apple hasn't released the source yet (or if they will at some point). There are some hints that there might be Intellectual Property issues involved. This post [apple.com] on one of Apple's Darwin mailing lists indicates that there are IP issues that precluded the release of one of their Intel ethernet drivers. If the Intel Kernel contains licensed code from Intel (for TPM or EFI or something else) or licensed code for Rosetta then they might have problems releasing the code.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @02:06PM (#15534329)
    The Simple Part
    Darwin is still open source, except for the x86 kernel (XNU).
    This is meant to slow down / stop wholesale use of OSX on generic x86 hardware.
    Everything else, including the PPC source for XNU is right there, open and available to developers. I browsed it mere minutes ago.
    Apple still hasn't said that this is the final disposition of the x86 kernel, but it's what they have for now.

    The Part Tom's Making Complicated
    Tom's invoking everything short of motherhood and apple pie (sorry) over this.
    He imagines and carries the standard for legions of people who want to compile custom x86 Darwin kernels.
    (Isn't this the very definition of astroturfing - "a few people discreetly posing as mass numbers of activists advocating a specific cause"?)
    He seems to claim customizing the kernel is Very Important, Real Soon, for those who simply want to, and for those who want to optimize some custom servers and thin clients / workstations that he imagines Apple will be releasing in the future.
    Maybe they will. If so, they'll figure it out.
    But so far, no pitchforks or torches have been spotted on Mariani Ave.
    Take his argument to the logical extreme and Apple lets everyone run OSX on anything they want.
    That would be Bad for the future of Apple.
    He does seem to say there's some magical way for Apple to have it both ways, but doesn't say how.
  • Microsoft, IBM, HP never was open about their OS to the OSS community (Windows, AIX, HPUX), so shouldn't Apple have the right ?

    The BSD camp keeps boasting that the BSD license is more free than GPL because it allows modified distribution without the source code, and now they're complaining Apple is no longer opening Darwin ?

    And even Apple did open Darwin, the OSS crowds keeps claiming it's semi-proprietary, and continued praising Linux/BSD instead of Darwin. Apple has to spend the time and resource to keep
  • by jdbartlett (941012) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @02:24PM (#15534457)
    "...without a word of notice or explanation."

    Try: too many people hacking OS X to run on PCs.
  • I don't really see the issue about the kernel and everything. I am geek. Moreover, I am and Apple geek. The OS satifies my needs in current incarnation. I have never saw the need to recompile the kernel for this OS. I recompile for Linux more out of necessity than any masochistic desire. I rather not be bother with it which is why OSX is my primary OS.
  • Target market? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:36PM (#15534994)
    Who is Apple's target market? I think the only reason they even try to appeal to geeks is because they can use the word "UNIX" like some kind of geek mating call. Aside from that they've really got nothing geeky in their linup. It's all posh bling. Look at the PC vs Mac adverts - it's all about easy to use and does the things a basic user wants to do.

    Apple and Jobs don't care that they're losing touch with 'the OS community'. I doubt they ever cared much in the first place. Just enough to get Slashdot to make an Apple section.
  • by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:17PM (#15535706) Journal
    The fact that the Power PC version is still open and not the Intel makes me wonder if Apple is hoping to keep non-intel OSX freaks at bay a little while longer.

    And by "at-bay" I mean several hundred feet below the Golden Gate Bridge...
  • by m874t232 (973431) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:25PM (#15537707)
    OS X wouldn't exist without open source software, and huge chunks other than the GUI in OS X are derived from open source software; yet, both Apple and NeXT have given back very little in return--even when the license forced them to open something, what they put up has often been completely useless to the original open source project.

    Prior to OS X, Apple for years was shipping a clunky, single-tasking OS when other systems were already robust and multitasking, and at some point, Apple tried (and fortunately failed) at their attempts to shut out all other GUIs from the market.

    I don't think Apple has ever been "in touch" with the tech community.

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