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Will MacIntel Kill Apple Open Source Efforts? 557

An anonymous reader writes in to say that "Rob Braun (OpenDarwin core developer claims Apple's open source efforts are now dead, because Apple is afraid of assisting OSx86 piracy. First, Apple withheld the source of cctools required to to build Darwin. Now it seems they are no longer releasing the source to OS X's xnu kernel. "
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Will MacIntel Kill Apple Open Source Efforts?

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  • by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:43PM (#14787154)
    So they missed a chunk of headers. It's happened before, and been fixed. I see no reason at all for Apple to get out of open sourcing Darwin. They won't include the TPM related kext's, of course, but the rest should be fine.
    • Yeah. The Intel move is pretty huge-- perhaps it'll take a little time for things to get back to normal with releasing sources for new things.

      It would also be enlightening to read whether they're legally obligated to provide these sources.
      • Darwin isn't GPL'd or anything like that.

        Its original source was licensed under BSD and then later released under an Apple license that was close to the BSD license -- but asked that you submit your changes back to Apple (or something similar).

        As such, they are not legally obligated to release the sources in any way. They have only done so because they felt it was a good move on their part and would increase their valuation at the time (of which, the leaders may not think this is longer the case)...
        • They have only done so because they felt it was a good move on their part and would increase their valuation at the time

          Valuation never had anything to do with it. Releasing the Darwin sources was simply to make life easier for people developing drivers and other low-level code for OS X. Back in the NeXTSTEP days, it was quite a hassle to deal with showing your AT&T license before NeXT could show you the sources you needed.

    • I dunno dood. It just wreaks of mklinux [mklinux.org]. I hope you're right though.
  • Their choice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) *
    Apples license allows them to do this , however it is a large PR disaster towards many OSS developers .Sadly I doubt most people will know or care.
    It is a shame really , I was looking forward to a Darwin based OSS-OS
    • Try out Open Darwin [wikipedia.org]!
    • Re:Their choice (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      I was looking forward to a Darwin based OSS-OS

      Seriously, why? Darwin is about the last kernel I would choose for real-world usage. I use it on a daily basis, and only put up with it because the GUI layer built on top of it is nice. Get rid of Quartz/Aqua, and you're left with an over-engineered kernel that has delusions of being a microkernel. It has all of the performance problems that first-generation microkernels had and none of the stability advantages. I am used to getting a minimum of a 2x spe

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:45PM (#14787165) Journal
    I am not so certain that this is true, but if so, so what? The license allows for this. It was certain that apple did OSS while it benefits them, but not when it could hurt them.

    I would guess that if they do not support OSS and it ends up hurting them, they will then do a Sun and re-open it. Sun did the same with Solaris X86.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:47PM (#14787180) Homepage Journal
    We see these stories all the time [google.com], I'm just wondering how often these predictions come true. One thing we know for sure is the iPod has survived many attempts on its life.
  • Code Drama Queens (Score:4, Informative)

    by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:48PM (#14787192) Homepage Journal
    For all of those crowing "I told you so!" the files are all where they should be, still under an open license. There was apparently a hiccup which Apple fixed as soon as they found out about the oversight.

    You may now move on to other pumped-up / days-old non-dramas.

  • by dmoen ( 88623 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:49PM (#14787201) Homepage
    I RTFA, and I saw this in the email thread about cctools:

    >>>I was amazed to find that the gas sources had been split out of cctools, so they could be provided in accordance with the GPL, but no other part of cctools was made available. So I never did get an answer to my question.

    >>I see today a much more populated source tree for x86.
    >>Thank you to everyone responsible.

    >Indeed, I also would like to pass along my thanks, since I was one of the people to comment on this with my concern before.

    Doug Moen
  • by C. E. Sum ( 1065 ) * on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:51PM (#14787213) Homepage Journal
    Which would fit perfectly in this story.

    A minor problem is blown out of all proprortion, and it's the end of open source on OSX-x86?
  • by Jackdaw Rookery ( 696327 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:54PM (#14787226) Homepage Journal
    This is a none story, unless I'm missing something. Some headers were missed off files and some assumptions are getting made from it.

    Where is the proof that Apple is changing their policy?

    This seems like a story designed to raise OSS hackles rather than anything useful.
  • Not specifically because of the "piracy" of Mac OS X (and I'm not certain that it should actually be called "piracy" - even in the colloquial sense - to buy a copy of Mac OS X and install it on a non-Mac, even if the EULA is enforcable), but the TPM capability of the Intel chipset does make Open Source Darwin a problem. Releasing the source to the OS without making it possible to use the source to bypass any strong DRM Apple happened to have a use for just becomes harder and more expensive.
    • You can't actually buy a copy of OSX for x86, the only versions on the shelves are PPC. So you must either be downloading it illegally or copying it from a MacIntel install disc, and unless you wipe it from your new Mac, you're installing more copies than you have licences for. So all the OSX86 users out there pirated it somehow...
      • Before we get into the digression I'm glad to hear that my prediction has not in fact come true, and a technical glitch has been blown way out of proportion (which is, now I think of it, what happened with the "Apple's ripping off KHTML" flamewar).



        You can't actually buy a copy of OSX for x86, the only versions on the shelves are PPC.

        That's only one of many reasons I haven't personally so much as downloaded any of the bits necessary to install any version of Mac OS X on Intel hardware. Don't make
    • <p>Yeah, it is definitely still software piracy. Mac computers are sold with a license to use Mac OS X. The retail box you can buy is an <b>upgrade</b>, which presupposes you already have a Mac (and thus a Mac OS license).</p>

      <p>That said, there is a way to avoid it being quote-piracy-unquote while still breaking the EULA: buy and wipe clean an old Mac. Either never use it, or install Linux on it. I doubt Apple would consider this any more kosher, but on the other hand I doubt
  • 1. What is Darwin? (Score:3, Informative)

    by demon411 ( 827680 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:56PM (#14787251)
    wondering what the british naturalist has to do with a kernel?

    Darwin is used as the UNIX core of OS X. Darwin iteself is a version of the BSD UNIX operating system that offers advanced networking, services such as the Apache web server, and support for both Macintosh and UNIX file systems. It was originally released in March 1999. Darwin currently runs on PowerPC-based Macintosh computers, and is currently being ported to Intel processor-based computers and compatible systems by the Darwin community.

    XNU is the name of the kernel that Apple developed for use in the Mac OS X operating system and released as open source as part of the Darwin operating system. It is a hybrid kernel combining the Mach kernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University with components from the FreeBSD kernel as well as a C++ API for writing drivers called IOKit. XNU is an acronym for X is Not Unix.[1]

          1. ^ (2005). Porting UNIX/Linux Applications to Mac OS X: Glossary. Apple Computer. URL accessed on December 13, 2005.
  • by MacBoy ( 30701 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:05PM (#14787321)
    Apple's switch to Intel didn't kill Apple's open source efforts...

    People using Apple's open-source efforts to pirate Mac OS X killed Apple's open-source efforts.
  • by Orrin Bloquy ( 898571 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:08PM (#14787344) Journal
    "...unnamed executives at Apple admitted that the sourcecode to Xnu had to be pulled after threats from the Church of Scientology."
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:14PM (#14787389)
    Ok, this one was a false alarm. Tomorrow it won't be. I laughed as much as the next slashdot reader when Dvorak made his silly prediction of Apple on Windows but after thinking about it I think he was probably right.

    Think it through folks, there isn't anything in a Macintel that won't be in every Dell this time next year. EFI is the future, we all know BIOS is on the way out and the machines that ship with Vista will most likely be EFI with EPT instead of traditional partition tables. They will also very likely be totally legacy free, USB keyboard/mouse, only SATA drives, etc. In other words, almost identical to the current crop of Apple hardware. We already know Apple hardware will run Vista and it already runs Linux.

    If you think Apple is going to have a hard time justifying the premium on their hardware you are right. But the bigger problem is going to be finding a response to customers who begin to dual boot their Macintel to gain access to all of the cheap hardware on the shelves at Walmart or online at Newegg. It is device support that is going to force the issue.

    In the end, Apple doesn't care about the underlying OS. Mach was handy, they only need a substrate to run their desktop environment atop. Remember that NextStep was ported to Windows once already and that NT based systems are a small sorta microkernel with one or more subsystems sitting atop it. Win32 and now Vista's stuff are but two which have existed. There was a POSIX one and an OS/2 compatibility one also in the past. Sooner or later Steve will swollow his pride and create a subsystem consisting of a modernized POSIX and NextStep and that will be OS XI. It will also ship with all of the Vista subsystem. That will allow all the device installers to run and gain the ability to run all Windows apps besides. Which also solves the Microsoft Office availibility problem.
    • Sooner or later Steve will swollow his pride and create a subsystem consisting of a modernized POSIX [...]

      He doesn't have to. ...that already happened. [microsoft.com].
    • They don't have to switch to Windows to gain Windows apps, though.

      The ability to virtualize and run Vista inside OS X, the adoption of WINE, or some hybridization between the two would allow a Vista compatibility mode without giving up OS X.

      They would gain viruses, malware, and spyware if they switched to Vista.

      By adopting WINE, they get none of those things
      By virtualizing, they can contain those things inside a sandbox.
    • In the end, Apple doesn't care about the underlying OS. ...
      It will also ship with all of the Vista subsystem. That will allow all the device installers to run and gain the ability to run all Windows apps besides. Which also solves the Microsoft Office availibility problem.

      Here's the thing. Apple wants to sell hardware. They do this by creating a unified set of products that "just work." These products are shiny goodness, great design, easy to use.

      Grafting their prettyinterface on top of a Windows Vista subs
    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:51PM (#14787700) Homepage
      No way. I switched to PPC to get OS X, and when I replace my current Mac I'll go to x86 for OS X.

      The prediction that Davorak reported on was flat out wrong. Apple won't do that. So what if Vista will boot on a Mac. People don't buy Macs because they don't run Windows, they buy them because they do run OS X. Why would they switch? Your argument is that they will have to move OSes because of hardware support?

      What hardware support? Everything I've plugged into my Mac from the last few years has worked just fine. I plug in a USB drive and it works just fine within a few seconds, compared to a Windows XP computer which either asks me to install the generic driver, or generates 5 little pop-up balloons telling me that it found this, that, mounted this, did that, and it is ready to use. Printers? Most printers in the last few years (and most all of the big names, Epson, HP, Canon, etc.) support OS X. CD burners and such? If they are USB they use the generic USB storage drivers. If they are FireWire they use the generic FireWire storage drivers. Same with cameras and camcorders. Mice work without drivers. With everything going USB/FireWire (fewer and fewer reasons to buy expansion cards these days) work. Major manufacturers of other things (Adaptec, for example) sell products for Macs.

      I see no hardware driver problem. Mac hardware is supported now, and things will only get better if Apple's market share improves.

      As for switching to Windows, that makes very little sense. They would have to rip out the Windows GUI and put in the OS X GUI. That means that they would only be using the NT kernel. Why would they do that? That would put 99% of the computer world in the hands of MS. They would be beholden to MS for updates to add new features, new kinds of hardware, etc that wasn't already supported. The idea of a using a subsystem of POSIX and NextStep to make "OS XI" and run it under Vista or whatever is insane.

      Basically, you are saying that Apple will, because they moved over to x86, dump 5 years of having a great OS (this doesn't include NextStep) to make a desktop environment to run on top of Windows (ala MS Bob) because of hardware drivers?


      Apple won't ditch OS X. Everyone likes OS X. Even Dell said they would sell OS X if Apple wanted to let them (I don't think they should). Moving over to EFI doesn't change things (although I would have liked OF better). They can keep their OS tied to their computers (within reason).

      The idea of Apple moving to Windows is idiotic. Sorry, but it is. That would put them in direct competition with Dell and Sony and HP and such. With the margins they are used to, they would be slaughtered out of the market.

      I've got $5000 that says Apple will move to quad-Cell processor based iPods before they will port their OS over to Windows (yeah, I know, makes no sense).

  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:15PM (#14787396) Journal
    Ok, I'm going to admit this is somewhat redundant, as a number of posts already point this out, but the story just isn't true.

    Might the Intel transition impact Darwin's open source status a bit? Sure, it might. It will certainly make releases a bit slower as code is reviewed and seriously sensitive bits ( if any ) removed, but I'm not sure I see the reason why Darwin builds shouldn't be able to be done going forward...

  • From the story:
    Apple is afraid of assisting OSx86 piracy
    Maybe because I'm not an Apple user(?), I have no idea what this story is about. What on earth is OSx86 piracy?

    "Aye...my hearties...I'm a pirate from the good ship, OSx86, a catchy name for my ship....aaaarrrrh...and I always eat an apple everyday 'cause remember a good apple assists in keeping the scurvy away....arrrhh." No...really...that's my best guess.

    • Apple doesn't want the Intel version of MacOS X to run on non-Apple Intel boxes.

      In a way, at the moment it really is piracy, since no legitimate copies of MacOS X for Intel are available except those bundled with a new Intel Mac or obtained from Apple's developer support. And those are licensed for the hosts they came with only.

      The situation will change when/if Apple makes boxed copies of MacOS X available in their stores - probably when 10.5 ships. If I buy a legitimate retail copy of the OS from Apple

  • Unless Netcraft confims it!
  • by daksis ( 163887 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:26PM (#14787478)
    I think that we are blowing Mac "fears" of OSX86 piracy completely out of proportion. I have a sneaking suspicion that Steve and his crew would like nothing more than OS-X86 to be available tomorrow running on hundreds of x86 PCs across the globe. Let's face it, for your average person, the OS is moot. Joe Average User wants "tools" to get work done quickly and in time to get home for little league. He could care less what the OS running things looks like.

    (NB: We're assuming that consumer OSs are pretty much limited to Windows and OSx here... granted there are other user friendly OS's but they aren't really hitting the mass market....yet.)

    If we consider that OS-X has a comparable suite of tools to get work done as your standard consumer friendly MS OS - then the next barrier to entry becomes cost. It's a version of the all things considered equal: most people can't tell you the difference between two HP laptops running versions of windows, so how do you explain to the guy who's trying to buy a new system at the local best buy or circuit city that these two pieces of hardware do pretty-much the same thing, but you're going to pay a 25% premium because that other one *looks* cooler. Joe Average is likely to judge technology in a simple, superficial way; one of the most superficial methods available is price. If the windows pc lets him get email and surf the "inter-web" *and* costs less welp, then that's the choice to make.

    What gets interesting is when someone has made this investment and they aren't happy with windows. Currently, they're stuck. Most people don't have a geek friend that will happily burn them a user friendly distro, or spend the next three weeks teaching them how to build a BSD box. The old scenario for someone wishing to switch from windows to OsX would be something like:
    Step 1: "Buy new pc that is two or three times the cost of current cheap windows box."
    Step 2: "Pray that you really like OSX"

    If OS-X is unlocked and allowed to roam free, then people are now free to try out OS-X with a minimal investment in the software. Don't like it? No problem, go back to windows. Shucks, if Apple was really devious, they would be paying people to create live-cd distros of OS-x86 to hand out to people so that you could have as many people trying out their OS as possible. Remember, for your average user, the benefits of an OS designed with usability in mind are too intangible for them to switch. Windows "works well enough". Joe Average User has to see, touch and feel the improvement for it to be real. The only way to get Joe Average to switch is to provide him a low risk environment where he can experience the user-interaction elation that Mac users are always going on about. Mac could have an army of people using their OS on "unsupported" non mac hardware - a great guerrilla tactics way of increasing market share.
    • While I don't agree with the people who beable on about how "used Macs enable even the poor to productively use OS X, just look at eBay", it's worth noting that you CAN get Macs capable of running OS/X up to 10.2.8 without any tweaking for as little as $40... and get quite a good taste of the system from that.
    • Piracy worked to entrench MS-DOS and later Windows, but would work against Apple.

      Microsoft's business model involves licensing OS software as broadly as possible. That requires creating cheap licensing and allowing piracy to achieve dominant market share, while at the same time building complex licensing rules that monetize their market share control for the customers who can and will pay for it.

      So, OEMs get fairly cheap licensing that allows them to sell a range of PCs from bare bones to elaborate gaming m
  • Custom hardware? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yoik ( 955095 )
    I expect that Apple will put some hard_to_duplicate features in hardware to preserve their market and margin. That's what they have done before.

    That could make it nasty to port osx to non-Apple platforms without severely crippling the result.

    One good place for this would be a DRM/encryption chip.
  • by TheZorch ( 925979 ) <thezorch@gmail. c o m> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:52PM (#14787720) Homepage
    This very likely shouldn't have an effect unless they make it impossible for anyone but licensed vendors to write software for MacIntel systems which for Apple would be suicide. Without the ability to create software of your own using publicly available dev tools the Mac would become useless in the business arena. Apple would never be able to compete with Windows for corporate contracts.

    It would be like Microsoft making it illegal for companies to ship C++ tools for writing Windows software. It would kill them.
  • by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:54PM (#14787739)
    Nowhere in any of the links given was "piracy" given.
    I would expect the Apple PR to say something like this.

    But there is no validity in the statement.

    Open source would only perhaps add competition. This does not have anything to do with copy protection.

    Limiting open source, and adding DRM as Apple is using it is meant to limit/stop hardware competition/cloning and limit/stop direct OSX competition/cloing.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger