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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.
  • Their choice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) * <> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:45PM (#14787162) Journal
    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
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:47PM (#14787180) Homepage Journal
    We see these stories all the time [], 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.
  • 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.
  • by thunderlizard ( 947581 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:54PM (#14787234)
    It seems perfectly understandable to me... Apple slowly reduced access to outside developers (they didn't "kill off" their open source projects, as the main article trolled), because the process was being ABUSED by external, open source developers...

    I think that in the end, Apple realized that the few contributions received from the OSS community were not enough to justify the abuses, leaks and other problems, so they took appropriate measures to protect their development environment...
  • by javax ( 598925 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:56PM (#14787248)
    no they are not - just by having a look at the tarball listing obviously didn't tell you so...

    Try to find e. g. the XNU sources.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @03:59PM (#14787272)
    Calling OS X "Linux with a better UI" illustrates a profound ignorance of the OS X operating system, from the frameworks (Cocoa and its related APIs, the best application development framework bar none) to the core technologies like Mach and BSD. Ignoring its top features by dismissing it as a "proprietary system with candy coating" strikes me as counterproductively idealistic. If you feel pressure to switch, then switch! Whatever gets your job done better, and believe me, OS X gets the job done.

    Not to mention that it's likely Apple just hasn't put the sources up yet in this situation. It took them a while to post the new Darwin sources, but they got them out. The only proprietary things in OS X are Aqua and related technologies.
  • 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 owenreading ( 948158 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <gnidaernewo>> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:09PM (#14787352)
    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...
  • by hkb ( 777908 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:11PM (#14787365)
    Uhm, no they're not. Show me where I can go download 10.4.4/10.4.5 XNU kernel source that is compilable on Intel Macs.
  • by wootest ( 694923 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:23PM (#14787449)
    Spend a day at a supermarket. Pick 500 random people throughout the day. How many of them will be able to install OSx86 even when it's more refined? 30?

    The people who will be installing Mac OS X on PCs will largely be people currently not buying Macs in the first place. Surely a fair percent will choose to go from buying Macs to buying PCs, but are you willing to bet that they'll all stay there? Drivers and official support will be lacking, as well as software updates. I'm willing to guess that a fair amount of the people that try it out will go back fairly quickly because of the experience being all the more cumbersome over time.

    I'm not saying your scenario won't happen. It's *possible*. It's just not very *probable*. The rumors of Apple's death have been, are, and will continue to be, greatly exaggerated.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:24PM (#14787457) Journal
    Ah heck, screw the journals bit; Become an analyst. IDG and Gartner expected Linux in 2005 to occupy less than 5% of INTERNET servers (i.e. just servers on the web) and less than 1% of ALL servers. These are analysts that make ~200K or so. Basically, they are paid by the industry lead to print whatever they want to say. Amazing thing is that IDG/Gartner have never been right WRT to competitors and yet everybody listens to them. Back in the late 80's/early 90's, they were talking about how OS 3x0, and AS400 would remain the dominant computers ignoring Unix on the servers and Windows on the desktop.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:24PM (#14787458)

    They don't have to give back changes, and can fuck the community.

    The community licensed the code under the BSD license and therefor doesnt expect anything back, so how can Apple be 'fucking' them? Give over with the sense of entitlement, there are levels of freedom above what you use.

  • 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.
  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:30PM (#14787520) Homepage Journal

    What would have been the advantage of using Linux for the past three years instead of Mac OS X, even under the brutal worst-case regime I described above? I really don't get it.

    This is exactly what I am addressing. The people who run Linux fall into roughly two camps. A) The people who hate Windows and saw MacOS as some kind of joke. B) The people who really depend on Linux and its environment of hacker-as-customer-#1 mentality.

    There are a lot more of A, and when MacOS stopped sucking, finally, they immediately switched. This movement of type A moving to MacOS while type B stayed still raised a lot of questions: why aren't you moving to Mac? Questions I still get today, years later.

    It's exactly the environment around MacOS X that makes it unsuitable for the type Bs. And it makes sense, there's so few of them. As Neal Stephenson said, the day [a software vendor] made a product he wanted to use was the day he shorted their stock, because he is a market of one.

    Apple knifing source code releases is a symptom of where their concerns lie. It's not for hackers (which is good, if they want to keep making money), so will everyone please stop pretending it is?

  • by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:36PM (#14787570)
    This is exaclty why I prefer the GPL license. People who create GPL software cannot just one day stop giving source code back to the community. Those who have relied on this source code are now screwed. It just goes to show that BSD licensed software is not dependable in this respect. You can always count on GPL source code and if you don't get it you have legal recourse.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:49PM (#14787689)
    You still have the last version of the code you downloaded, whats missing? The codebase Apple forked Darwin from still exists and is out there, what have they removed from you? Or are you saying that others should be responsable for keeping your codebase as feature rich as possible?

    By using the codebase that Apple forked from, you would gain the same headstart as Apple did, so what obligation do they have to you?

    You can 'prefer' any license you want, but dont act all pompus when someone else exercises their own freedom and licenses their software under a more liberal license than you would like.
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> 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 TheZorch ( 925979 ) <.thezorch. .at.> 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.
  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:09PM (#14787843)
    "What would have been the advantage of using Linux for the past three years instead of Mac OS X, even under the brutal worst-case regime I described above? I really don't get it."

    That's because you are not accounting for history. I'll skip the details, and bottom line it for everyone: control.

    The point behind using Linux (and Free software in general) is because someday, for whatever reason, your favorite proprietary vendor can pull the rug out from under you. Even if Apple is currently the friendliest proprietary company on the face of the planet, it still has the option of saying, "As of this moment, OSX (or whatever version) will no longer run [insert your favorite software], or will no longer support [insert your favorite product]."

    Free software guarantees availability regardless of the whims of the developer(s) and/or providers. It is the single most important issue in computing, and is the biggest reason why Mac and Windows are not even options to me. Having been bitten by proprietary control too many times over the years, and having experienced the significant benefits of being in control of my own infrastructure, I won't go back.
  • by Travelsonic ( 870859 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:57PM (#14788276) Journal
    Of course, at the risk of throwing this discussion, the artists should realize that the indusrtry they are working under can be considered a contributing reaon as to why they make so little.
  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:03PM (#14788327)
    The problem pointed out by other Linux-NTFS developers is that the APL is not GPL compatible, and any changes made by Apple to the driver will be unusable in Linux.

    This is where I part ways with a lot of open source folks. What exactly does it HURT to let Apple use this code? The code is for reading/writing NTFS, a specification which isn't officially available anyway and Apple has no control over. There is no risk of "embrace and extend" here. So what's the motivation for denying them?

    Who cares whether Apple gives you back their changes or not? Could they actually make a significant improvement to Linux-NTFS? Are the Linux-NTFS developers admitting that Apple can do things that they themselves are too dumb to figure out? And anyway, why would a developer in Apple's position start making wanton changes to the code when they already know that it works? That's the whole point of using it (instead of writing from scratch) in the first place.

    I'm not saying this as an Apple fan-boy, this is a free software issue. How can software truly be free (as in speech) when you place these sorts of restrictions on people who want to use it? Make whatever philosophical and ethical arguments you wish -- it's just wankery. Ultimately it boils down to pure selfishness. You don't want anybody to play your game unless they play by your rules. And this is said by those who purportedly oppose software patents and intellectual property.

    Feh. Long live the BSD license.

  • by jschottm ( 317343 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:30PM (#14788565)
    I'm not saying this as an Apple fan-boy, this is a free software issue. How can software truly be free (as in speech) when you place these sorts of restrictions on people who want to use it?

    Speech can be limited and still be free. Insert usual lines about yelling fire, etc.

    If your goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the code (and its descendents) that you write, then the APL/BSD license is bad. Many people working on GPLed software believe in that. Otherwise you're just doing work for a commercial enterprise for free.

    If your goal is to try to get as many people to use your code as possible, the BSD license is fine. If your goal is that every person in the world has the option to benefit from the code that you write, it's not. There's a place for both licenses.

    Apple (from limited reading of the posts) brought nothing to the table but wanted a leg up from Linux. Unless your only goal in life is to have your code used by whoever, there's no benefit to helping Apple in this case. And Apple wasn't overly helpful to getting read/write access to HFS+ access in Linux.
  • by Tarnar ( 20289 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:53PM (#14789152) Homepage
    From the limited sample I have met personally, yes.

    Anecdote is not the singular form of data.

    If you found a passionate Apple user, you know what they own. If you find someone with a Mac and a PC who doesn't care about one over the other, you'd NEVER KNOW they were a Mac owner, as they never spoke up.

    However you only tend to see blind loyalty and striking out at any disent on the doomed platforms.

    No, blind loyalty and striking out at dissent is par for the course of any platform. There are still Windows users who believe Microsoft can do no wrong, I find them in my industry. "Oh, sure, they make a few mistakes, but they are the best out there" they'll say, while recommending end-to-end Microsoft solutions.

    You also see blind loyalty in other industries, especially the car industry. I know a lot of smug VW owners, for example.

    And apparently you won't find many who have owned a Mac for more than a couple of years who haven't join the Cult of Mac.

    Maybe. More likely, anyone who's owned a Mac was fairly satisfied with the experience and is ready to point that out to others. Graduating to the Cult of Mac is more reserved for the people who hang out on Apple rumor websites and trade pre-release copies of the next OSX release.
  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:13PM (#14789266) Journal
    You don't want anybody to play your game unless they play by your rules.
    That's the way life works, nobody is begging Apple to use GPL'd code. GPL'd code costs, it has obligations in the license; apple is not a special case. If apple don't want to play the GPL game then fine, the GPL isn't the only game in town; they can take thier ball and find an other court to play on.
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @11:10PM (#14790032) Homepage
    what have they removed from you? Or are you saying that others should be responsable for keeping your codebase as feature rich as possible?

    What they have removed from him is a code-base that is actually useful. Its pretty clear that Darwin in and of itself was not a great Unix, not even the best choice of a BSD. However darwin was the single most commonly deployed Unix; and throwing in binary compatibility its an order of magnitude larger than anything else.

    The Darwin platform is evolving. By not releasing the evolving platform Apple is effectively closing it off and making it fully proprietary. That is an act that is hostile to the open source community.

    This is a perfect example of the problem with the BSD license. Sure Darwin associated with OSX 10.1 will remain open source forever. Who cares? The version that actually matters is closed source.


    Nota bene: I'm assuming for the purpose of debate this closing is occurring. I'm not sure whether it is or it isn't.
  • by jschottm ( 317343 ) on Friday February 24, 2006 @12:30AM (#14790387)
    You don't want to aid anybody else around you unless they give you something in return.

    No, GPL types don't want to aid them unless they're willing to give everyone something in return.

    And for the record, there's nothing wrong with quid pro quo. Would you drop by my place and wash my car for me? Or hang out at Apple HQ and scrub the bathrooms for free?
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Friday February 24, 2006 @01:45AM (#14790673) Homepage
    Who cares whether Apple gives you back their changes or not? Could they actually make a significant improvement to Linux-NTFS?

    Yeah, why not? Its not like Apple hasn't been able to make significant improvements in many areas of computing. Better error codes, better integration with languages other than C, better cross CPU support. Apple has done some unique stuff with filesystems that are virtualized on top of another very different filesystem, which is where you want to go with NTFS/LInux integration. I can think of lots of things it might offer them.

    Are the Linux-NTFS developers admitting that Apple can do things that they themselves are too dumb to figure out?

    I can't see why they wouldn't admit this. Apple has access to some of the best developers in the world. They can hire the very people who wrote NTFS.

    I'm not saying this as an Apple fan-boy, this is a free software issue. How can software truly be free (as in speech) when you place these sorts of restrictions on people who want to use it? Make whatever philosophical and ethical arguments you wish -- it's just wankery. Ultimately it boils down to pure selfishness. You don't want anybody to play your game unless they play by your rules

    Damn straight. Its called building an open source community. One of the main goals is to make it hard for people to write non open source software. The pain that apple is experiencing is deliberate. This is exactly why Microsoft is worried about academia using the GPL, because lots of commercial software starts as government / academic software. 15-20 years from now many apps might cost 3x as much to develop if they want to avoid being GPL licensed.

    How can software truly be free (as in speech) when you place these sorts of restrictions on people who want to use it?

    The GPL creates freedom for users of software by putting restrictions on developers. The BSD license destroys freedoms for users because it wants to empower second generation developers. Very different purpose.
  • by lpq ( 583377 ) on Friday February 24, 2006 @02:09AM (#14790742) Homepage Journal
    pciminon said:
    What exactly does it HURT to let Apple use this code? ... So what's the motivation for denying them? Who cares whether Apple gives you back their changes or not?

    What [who] does it hurt? Anyone who contributed code to the Linux-NTFS drivers under GPL, thinking that their contributions would only be licensed for use by those who agree to reciprocate and give back additions.

    Having the code relicensed would violate the project's contributors' expectations and would be "stealing" contributor's code for use in a close-source, commercial product for some [monetary] "benefit" to Apple and its licensees.

    Besides theft of the original contributors work, piecemeal "disposal" of "GPL-assets" harms the entire "GPL community" via:
    diminished martketshare and demand for GPL licensed products; and
    (if changes are not returned) lost opportunity in a reduced, GPL-licensed codebase.

    Disposition of all GPL contributors' rights should not be considered casually if at all. There is tangible harm that is likely in proportion to the amount of code (or work) you have donated to the GPL-licensed codebase.

    People who have not contributed to the GPL-licensed codebase or have little investment in it would be less likely to feel upset or annoyed about such losses.


Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?