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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 Rolan ( 20257 ) * on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:46PM (#14787173) Homepage Journal
    BSD actually, not Linux.
  • Code Drama Queens (Score:4, Informative)

    by maggard ( 5579 ) <> 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 WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:54PM (#14787228) Journal
    Mach actually, with a BSD API and a mish mash of OSS tools.
  • 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 Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:03PM (#14787310)
    See this comment []. Apple made a quick mistake and fixed it, and the sources ARE available.

  • by clifyt ( 11768 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:05PM (#14787317)
    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)...
  • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:09PM (#14787349) Journal

    Honestly, I don't care too much about the kernel. I would however love to see open standards for NextStep/Cocoa, and then maybe more people would use it. It is really nice, but Jobs can't have his cake and eat it too.

    You're a decade late []

    There's a free-as-in-speech implementation right here []

  • 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...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:22PM (#14787440)
    just in case anyone reads this troll (ok I did :-)

    When the supporters speak about how innovative Apple is they talk about how iMac was the first computer utilizing USB ... In reality Apple had absolutely nothing to do with the technical creation of USB

    i've never ever heard any mac user trumpet the use of USB. so the entire basis of this is wrong. interestingly enough, intel had a hell of a time getting MS to put USB support into their OS, with plenty of NT4 machines having useless USB ports, and Win95 not supporting it either (Win95 OSR2 had an orphaned USB stack that basically works with nothing else), wasn't until Win98 that USB support "arrived".

  • by ( 653730 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:00PM (#14787783)
    I highly doubt the two kernels are built from identical source code.

    For the architecture-dependent code, sure. For the vast majority of the rest of the code (filesystem, tcp/ip stack, vm) no.

    I looked a week ago at the mac os x 10.4.5 ppc [] sources and x86 sources []. A wekk ago, there were just sources for the things that GPL forces apple to release - gcc, bash, etc - but you wouldn't find anything else, not only the kernel but userspace libraries made by apple aswell.

    Today, it looks like they've added userspace libraries like "libsecurity" and stuff. Maybe they're too busy with the transition and they're releasing it slowly, who knows. But if that's the case, it'd be interesting to have a note from apple explaining that the x86 sources would take a while to release. And as you said, they aren't forced to release the TPM modules.

    Anyway, it's not that open darwin has been too succesful....sure, there're people using it (including slashdot readers) but it doesn't seems like open darwin has been as succesful as, say, opensolaris.
  • by DECS ( 891519 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:00PM (#14788299) Homepage Journal
    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 machines (with most of the software development covered by Microsoft). Microsoft then sells IT departments the related server licenses and client access licenses (per user licensing) to make their real money.

    Apple is not Microsoft, and has never had a similar goal or business model. Neither did NeXT. Both aspired (driven largely by Steve Jobs) to develop and deliver state of the art hardware that ran exceptionally well integrated software. Apple's Macs were so far ahead of anything else available that the company began pricing its hardware at a significant premium, which resulted in turing the Mac platform into a hi-end brand through the 80s & 90s. NeXT, in agreements with Apple, entered the high end workstation market exclusively.

    When Apple and NeXT merged, their combined control of markets wasn't spectacular: it was in the area of ~5% or less of all PCs shipped. The company targeted consumer sales, worked to regain strongholds in education, and has since delivered server products. They continue to make their money from hardware, not software licensing. In fact, the Xserve sales talk makes a big deal about how much cheaper they are when compared to Microsoft's client access style licensing.

    The way Apple licenses its software should serve as a wake up call to anyone who still thinks that the company would secretly welcome piracy as an attempt to bump up its market share.

    Apple already freely licenses Windows software that it believes would somehow benefit the company:

    - Bonjour for Windows is free (establishes Bonjour as an industry standard)
    - .Mac tools for XP is free (encourages .Mac subscription sales)
    - iTunes for Windows is free (iPod sales)
    - QuickTime for Windows is free (establishes QT as a standard)

    So if Apple thought that Mac OS X for PCs would be a clever ploy, they could throw it out there. They do know how to distribute software, are not averse to developing free tools, and understand how to create maintain platforms.

    Mac OS X however, is built to sell Apple's hardware. The combination of X + Mac hardware results in a package experience that is carefully controlled and easier to maintain.

    Microsoft spends a lot of its development efforts in supporting a huge array of hardware and maintaining support for decades of legacy. Apple can simply drop old cruft, release new hardware and offer immediate support for it with a new patch of OS X.

    Apple built another platform along the same lines with the iPod + iTunes + FairPlay iTMS. They work well as a package. Apple isn't licensing FairPlay for the same reason: you'd end up with a splintered experience of fake competition (everybody licenses the same songs for the same price anyway from the same music cartel), and Apple would suddenly lose control of a system they now own. So the next time the iTMS gets hacked, Apple wouldn't be able to release a patch that solves their problems, but they'd have to work with all these other stores/players/devices who were also selling FairPlay systems and figure out how to patch them all.

    Look at Apple's 1995 attempt at licensing: there was no benefit for Apple. No innovation really, just nimble companies that could obtain small batches of faster chips and sell off Apple's reference designs with the fastest of PPC processors available. Apple owes its shareholders those profits, and they owe their paying customers new developments and innovation.

    By copying Microsoft's business model, they
  • by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:24PM (#14788519)
    Note that since that fiasco they have complied with almost every term requested by the Konqueror developers, setting up a cvs visible external to apple and working with the KDE developers to get them security clearance to see the apple proprietary stuff.

    Just because they were slow in doing it because they were busy getting a project to market doesn't make them evil, since they did make a significant turnaround in this space. if you're going to criticise them (rightly) for following the bare minimum initially, you can at least mention that they have improved significantly since then.
  • by 11223 ( 201561 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:07PM (#14788863)
    There was, but you're still going senile. The product that NeXT sold was called OpenStep for Windows. At that time, the old NeXTSTEP system was renamed to OpenSTEP (note the difference in caps!) and updated for the new API. There was also OpenStep for Solaris, which you can still find floating around for download - no SDK, though.

    OpenStep for Windows lived on for a long time as part of WebObjects. I don't think it still exists anymore, though.

Happiness is twin floppies.