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Apple Announces New Open Source Efforts 323

Today Apple announced a few expanded open source efforts. First, beginning with Mac OS X 10.4.7, the Darwin/Mac OS X kernel, known as "xnu", is again available as buildable source for the Intel platform, including EFI utilities. Second, iCal Server, Bonjour, and launchd are moving to Apache 2.0 licensing. And finally, Mac OS Forge has been launched, as the successor to OpenDarwin as a conduit for hosting projects such as WebKit that were formerly hosted by the OpenDarwin project's servers, such as WebKit. Mac OS Forge is sponsored by Apple. DarwinPorts has already moved to its own servers. Update: 08/08 01:43 GMT by J : The official Apple announcement is now out. Other fun news: Leopard will ship with Ruby on Rails.
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Apple Announces New Open Source Efforts

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  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:28PM (#15863136)
    The official announcement by Ernie Prabhakar of Apple is here []:

    From: Ernest Prabhakar
    Date: August 7, 2006 4:15:51 PM PDT
    Subject: Apple Opens Up: Kernel, Mac OS Forge, iCal Server, Bonjour, Launchd

    Hi all,

    In conjunction with this week's Developer Conference, we have four great pieces of news for Open Source developers:

    A. Intel Kernel Sources

    As of today, we are posting buildable kernel sources for Intel-based Macs alongside the usual PowerPC (and other Intel) sources, starting with Mac OS X 10.4.7. We regret the delay in readying the new kernel for release, and thank you for your patience. lls/apsl/xnu-792.10.96.tar.gz []

    B. New "Mac OS Forge" for Community Projects

    Mac OS Forge, a new community site hosted by Apple, is being created to support WebKit and other open source projects focused on Mac OS X, especially those looking to transition from []

    C. New Open Source Calendaring Server

    In order to encourage community participation, source code to the new iCal Server in Leopard Server is now available on Mac OS Forge under the Apache License.* []

    D. Apache-Licensed Bonjour and Launchd sources

    To further enable and encourage cross-platform adoption, the APSL** sources for Bonjour service discovery and Launchd process management are being re-released under the Apache License and hosted on Mac OS Forge: [] []

    Apple is more excited than ever about the power of Open Source development to create value for our (and your) products and customers. I'll be offline much of this week due to WWDC, but I look forward to working with all of you as we move forward to Leopard.

    Ernest Prabhakar
    Open Source Product Manager, Apple
    WWDC 2006, Aug 7-11, San Francisco []

    * Apache License, Version 2.0 []

    ** Apple Public Source License 2.0 []

    And as always, Darwin and Darwin component sources are available here: []
    • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @11:07PM (#15863526) Homepage Journal
      The most interesting of these to me is the iCal server. This looks like it could become the best open-source competition to Microsoft Exchange. The Leopard version detailed here [] looks like a pretty compelling product to have as an Apache-licensed piece of code, and I could see the code getting merged into a lot of other products.

      • It would make a dandy Apache module just like Subversion.
      • I would be very happy to find an alternative to MS Outlook. I'm sick of people reaching the "2GB" mail limit and the program wiping all their messages. It happens all the time, and causes no end of frustration in the IT department and especailly the end user. MS needs some real competition in this arena to help them do some actual innovation. Apple and Open Source may provide the answer that we have waited a _long_ time to see come. Outlook needs to be completely redone, maybe MS will start feeling the
  • Darwin on PC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <> on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:29PM (#15863141) Homepage Journal
    Is there any reason to run Darwin on a PC instead of FreeBSD or other *nix system? Everyone knows OS X has a fantastic GUI, but is there anything exceptional about its kernel?
    • Re:Darwin on PC (Score:3, Informative)

      These guys [] might have something to say about that, they've got a supercomputer of 1100 dual G5 Xserves running OS X 10.3.9. There are other OS X supercomputer and distributed cluster projects you can read about here [].
      • Re:Darwin on PC (Score:5, Informative)

        by oudzeeman ( 684485 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:04PM (#15863288)
        vtech used a custom compiled kernel, and have also been using Linux on the cluster. I used to work for a site with a 256 node Xserve cluster that was running the latest OS X 10.4 (we started with 10.3 and switched to 10.4 shortly after it was releases). They still run an up to date 10.4 on the cluster, but now they also have a portion of the cluster running Linux, which performs better than OS X for many HPC applications. They are working on software that will interface with TORQUE/Moab to install either a Linux or OS X disk image prior to launching a job thereby allowing a fully dynamic OS X / Linux hybrid cluster. Xnu appears to have issues with its memory manager. Sites often write their own simple memory manager in order to get the best possible benchmarks for OS X. VTech did it. We did it. Ours was a IOKit driver that loaded at system boot. The first thing it did was grab about 90% of the physical RAM (contiguous). The driver had to be loaded at boot or else this would have failed. Then we wrote a library that would overload the malloc familly of functions to use our memory manager rather than the default. This ensured that our high performance app would always get physcally contiguous memory which improved cache hits and greatly improved the performance of Goto's blas libraries (he has a very low oppinion of the OS X memory manager).
      • You could make a super computer out of DOS 6.1 given enough computers. Most of what makes a supercomputer is the libraries and hardware. For many single task runs you don't even need an OS.
    • There are only two reasons: "because you can" (e.g. you get "cred" & can try to hac OS X to run on white box hardware (in violation of the license), etc.) and driver development for Macs.

      Darwin isn't designed to be run without OS X for desktop usage & it certainly shouldn't be used in production.
    • That's not really what it was made for, it was really only a development platform, a testbed, etc.
    • Re:Darwin on PC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by m874t232 ( 973431 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:13PM (#15863330)
      There is little reason to run Darwin if it didn't ship with your machine: it's a decent kernel, but kernels like Linux and BSD have more hardware support, more functionality, and somewhat better performance. However, the technical differences are not large enough for Apple to bother switching right now. On the other hand, if Apple wants to move to generic PCs, porting their user environment to a Linux or BSD kernel might make a lot of sense.

      In any case, Apple's future is likely in hypervisors--small kernels that allow Linux, Darwin, BSD, and NT to run on top of them. In a sense, that's what Mach was supposed to be from the beginning, but it's being achieved using different technologies now.
    • Re:Darwin on PC (Score:2, Interesting)

      by paulmer2003 ( 922657 )
      Am I the only one whom is irrated by the lack there of VIRTUAL CONSOLES?
  • The closing of the Xnu kernel and proprietary nature of carbon and aqua made alot of former macosx FOSS zealots switch to Linux. I am aware that Windows is all closed source but people run windows because it comes with their computers and all the software runs on it.

    Most os's today are open source such as Solaris and the free unixies.
    • by Quantum Fizz ( 860218 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:54PM (#15863246)
      I'm the opposite. I used to be a FOSS zealot, I've run Linux since 1998, I've gone out of my way to write reports in LaTeX instead of Word and to do presentations in OpenOffice instead of Powerpoint, etc. But now my time is worth more than a few bucks, and putzing around with my Linux box is getting too annoying.

      So last year when my GF got a Mac Mini and I started using OS X, I've come to realize that I'll gratefully pay money for Quality closed-source software. I've since even bought iWork '06, and I never would have thought I'd pay money for an Office Suite.

      So what you say might be true for a select few of the harder-core FOSS zealots, but I don't see why FOSS zealots would have even been on the Mac platform anyway if they're as zealous as to switch merely for the closing of Xnu. But anyway, for the rest of the 99% of the computing populace, this OSS initiative will be welcomed.

      • Quality is important, that's why I use Opera not Firefox (yeah, I know funboys will mod me down) however, what's more important is to have the freedom to switch, that's why Firefox is still important to me. I think that Mac OS is a good thing just as long as there is a easy way to switch to another, preferable free, OS (Linux) in case you need.
        • The second the Mac OS gets like Windows, I'm gone. I think the whole point of this OS conundrum is to make sure that many OSes survive. It would be best if they play nicely together, so that you can move your e-mail for Mac to Linux and so on, and open up Word docs on all platforms, maybe in a free app, but the maintenance of a number of systems in important in a networked world.
      • Huh. I'm currently typing this on my sixth Mac in 15 years, but it will go the Ubuntu way soon (I've already tried... "release keys?" WTF?). My iBook already did.

        Thing is, I won't pay to upgrade from 10.3.9, and I can't friggin' make either Fink or GCC work on what I have. That means I'm stuck with substandard versions of AbiWord and OO.o, and general frustrations with Scribus, Inkscape, etc. All of it just works on Ubuntu.

        Not that there haven't been frustrations there, too (wireless? "release keys???"), bu
    • There might have been 3 people who switched during the couple of months before apple released xnu for intel because of that. And I doubt there were that many.
    • The closing of the Xnu kernel and proprietary nature of carbon and aqua made alot of former macosx FOSS zealots switch to Linux.

      Care to quantify that? What? You can't? You mean you're only talking about a handful of bloggers? And even though many read their rants for amusement, does that bless their scribblings as a bellwether for OS X? It doesn't? Oh, I see.

      Some may have "gone over" to Linux, but I don't think Apple loses sleep over it. I don't, and I fail to grasp what bearing it has on Apple's a

    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:02PM (#15863277) Homepage

      Oh please. If you switched to OS X because you are a hard core FOSS person, you're an idiot. OS X is not open source. It never was, it never will be. Linux will ALWAYS be more open. Apple may open the kernel and various low level things, but OS X in total will not be. It's a great OS and if you want a no-fuss desktop with true Unix under it, it's great. If you want to be that hardcore ("Apple was late so forget them") then why did you choose a proprietary closed-source OS in the first place?

      As for the comment that most OSes are open today, that's because you can't survive otherwise. No one has survived the desktop/server space except MS (who was once up near 100% of the market) and Apple (who bundles with their computers). Solaris is open because it wasn't profitable enough. OS/2 died. BeOS died. At this point, if you want your new general purpose desktop/server OS to have a chance in hell it has to be open source. The only way to live and be proprietary is to have a niche and run on custom or embedded hardware.

      • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:52PM (#15863476) Homepage Journal
        BeOS died because of Microsoft.

        During the whole antitrust thing, Be had gone to the DoJ and presented their case to them stating that, basically, with all the evidence they had, it was an open and shut case against M$. the DoJ, for whatever reasons, decided to instead focus on the fact that IE was bundled and embedded inside windows.

        Be's case was that M$ was using unfair business practices to force them out of the industry. the M$ contract, to bundle and pre-install windows with your computers was that you were not allowed to sell any other operating system software, even if you bundle windows in addition to Windows, whether it's installed or not, or sold separately.

        I believe it was Toshiba that was in talks with Be to bundle their OS as a dual-boot option, but M$ started throwing their lawyers at them.

        The reason this didn't hit mainstream was that this contractual agreement between vendors and M$ was protected as a trade secret.
  • Very nice ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sonic McTails ( 700139 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:42PM (#15863197)
    I wasn't too happy about xnu-x86 and related kernel modules being closed source because the fan controls for the MacBook Pro are software based (in AppleSMC AFAIK), and that means someone can use the source code, and modify it so the fan starts at a lower temperature which should hopefully resolving the heating issues.
    • by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @11:12PM (#15863551)
      By all accounts the fan control is entirely firmware-based, on both Macbook and Macbook Pro. In other words, no licence in the world would do you any good right now in coming up with a utility or even kernel extension to change the fan switch-on threshold.

      This is a marked difference from the hardware sudden motion sensors, which CAN be accessed via software APIs on Macs; this is why a couple of funky hacks using the SMS, like iAlertU, or switching virtual desktops by tapping the side of the screen, were done on Mac notebooks first (IBM notebooks with similar sudden motion sensors did not have APIs exposing them).

      I understand why Apple won't release actual APIs for these--the last thing they'd want is anyone accidentally (or purposefully) changing the fans to turn on far hotter than when they do now. What I DON'T understand is why they didn't design the firmware to allow a system preference that uses the current setting as the maximum threshold, with a couple of options to start the fans at lower temperatures.
      • I found your comment interesting because it's different from what I know from experience is the case on the desktop machines (G5 towers). While I have no experience with the newer Intel-based systems, I always assumed they were the same.

        At least on the G5, the firmware acts only as a "fail safe." If the software doesn't come up after some reasonable amount of time and take control of the fans, and keep the core temperatures within a normal range, it will kick the fans on to keep the system from melting (or going into some sort of thermal-shutdown mode, also bad).

        You could test this easily by rebooting the machine into single-user (recovery, safe, whatever you want to call it) or target disk mode, in which all the hardware/firmware systems ought to be running normally, but many parts of the system aren't loaded, and watching what happens: after a delay, the fans would be ramped up to their highest setting and left there. The intelligent control normally performed (which regulates the fans/pumps based on temperature) doesn't happen at all.

        Seems like it would be a pretty easy test on any other machine to reboot it in Target Disk mode or single-user mode (maybe it was open firmware mode), and watching what happens to the fans, to see if they're managed by a firmware system, or by a combination of hardware and a kernel extension.
  • OSx86 (Score:2, Interesting)

    How long will it take for this new kernel to make it in to OSx86
  • by redragon ( 161901 ) <codonnell AT mac DOT com> on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:48PM (#15863222) Homepage
    I thought Apple was evil and torpedoing the OSS efforts on OS X, because they don't want their Intel work to see the day of light, cause someone would hack OS and get it to run on home-brew hardware. Oh, or were people just being bitchy?
    • Re:I Thought... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:58AM (#15864541) Journal
      were people just being bitchy?


      Apple doesn't talk about unreleased products, and they won't release any code that tips their hand. The Intel kernel sources would have made it very clear what was going on with the replacements for the G5s, so they waited until today to release that code.

      The lesson here is: don't jump to conclusions just because some people with an inflated sense of entitlement throw a tantrum about someone taking their time to do something.

    • Re:I Thought... (Score:3, Insightful)


      Apple didn't "get" Open Source (that's fine, many of us Free Software [] enthusiasts don't "get" Open Source [] either) and began deprecating it when it started to interfere with their other plans in general. The first to be deprecated was the open-sourciness, with Apple releasing code but generally not in a "community friendly" way and rarely making it easy for the community to contribute directly back.

      There's no evil in that, if you're strongly opinionated about the direction code should take, and

      • Re:I Thought... (Score:4, Informative)

        by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:52PM (#15867423)
        I don't think there's a credible alternative explanation. The "undisclosed technology" thing has been revealed to be utterly untrue.

        Why? The x86 kernel sources almost certainly have references to Woodcrest and quad CPUs, which Apple wouldn't have wanted to expose until the hardware announcements.
  • by cblack ( 4342 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:49PM (#15863226) Homepage
    But what about WebKit, or other projects like it, such as WebKit?
  • by bobalu ( 1921 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:52PM (#15863237)
    Y'know, with all the crap Apple takes here about fanbois and shit you go ahead and tell me what they do compared to what Microsoft does isn't light years better for everyone in the community.

    And yeah, my MacPro order is in already.
  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:52PM (#15863240) Homepage
    I still can't help feeling that at least outside the USA, the future will be Linux - China, India, Brazil, Eastern Europe, and other places with low costs of living and an educated population are going to power the world's economy, and I don't see the rest of the world paying the Microsoft tax.

    That said, Windows, Linux, and OS X are all good platforms for open source applications: for work I 'live' using open source applications that really run great on all three OS platforms: Emacs, Eclipse, Ruby, LaTex,, and others...

    Commercial products that I rely on also run well on all three OS platforms: IntelliJ, LispWorks, and Franz Lisp.

    The only commercial application that I love to use that is single platform is OmniGraffle (OS X).

    I actually have a psmall oint here: as Linux gets better (and Ubuntu is approaching OS X in usability for my work, and is roughly on par with Windows), people like myself will likely use Linux and non-programers OS X or Windows.

    Anyway, I checked out Apple's new OS site FTFA, and it looks useful. Some enthusiasts will likely get Apple's open source OS core up and running with X Windows, etc., and make a free distribution, but I am not sure what the point is.
    • I agree. Over the past few years I've seen just how bad Windows is for the average person. This is through a combination of exposure to Linux and later OS X. If OS X didn't exist (or I couldn't afford the Mac) then I would run Linux. OS X is worth the extra cost. But if that is an issue, then I can see using Linux. It may come time that Linux surpasses OS X.

      I also agree about the Xnu being open source. It's cute and all, but for practical reasons who cares? They have nice projects that I can see being usef

    • outside the USA, the future will be Linux - China, India, Brazil, Eastern Europe, and other places with low costs of living and an educated population are going to power the world's economy, and I don't see the rest of the world paying the Microsoft tax.

      I agree for the near-term, but probably not for the reason you think. I think areas where people's time aren't as valuable and there are more unemployed people around to do "grunt" technical work, Linux makes a huge amount of sense. In countries where peop
      • I think 'hacking' is far more dependant on age rather than location. Linux seems to appeal to the younger crowd, both because of the appeal of FOSS, and the 1337 ability to tailor your system EXACTLY to your liking! I first entered the Linux community in high school, and back then Gentoo seemed like a good match for me. Sure, it took me several weeks to properly install it. (I did not know what I was doing, so at every attempt I started from scratch. I liked to start from stage one and bootstrap the compile
    • Not in Switzerland (Score:3, Interesting)

      by theolein ( 316044 )
      Here, in admittedly tiny Switzerland, we have the highest percentage of Mac users anywhere, period. While I'm one of those and also work with Linux and Windows, the fact is that Macs are incredibly popular, and if people have money (Switzerland is fairly well off), they will buy them. Sweden, for example, which is also fairly well off, also has a high percentage of Mac users. The fact is that Macs are simply a bit simpler to use and somewhat more robust against user wear and tear than Windows.
  • (tapping foot) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:02PM (#15863280)
    OK - let's see the rush of support for Apple that's roughly equal to the bashing they took when Intel XNU source went dark.
  • I'm rather annoyed that Apple has chosen not to open their modifications to J2SE 1.5 and greater, since the project is now open source and can even be built on Windows by anyone that wants to ... kind of ironic it can't be built on a supposedly more open operating system.

    The reason I really care is that I can't use anything but Java 1.4 on our OS 10.3 systems; I have no interest in upgrading to 10.4 except for the fact that Apple refuses to port J2SE to such an old and outdated os as OS 10.3 .....
  • by TheNoxx ( 412624 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @11:05PM (#15863518) Homepage Journal
    Apple's just trying to find a balancing point between the open source philosophy and financial viability. I love the open source idea, and I'm guessing Apple does too, but you have to make some fucking money to support yourself, end of fucking story. I've never seen any other line of work ever that gave away so many man-hours of ingenuity and labor for nothing to the whole world. I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but I will willingly burn karma to emphasize that people working on open source projects deserve compensation. The groups organized to work on the projects deserve compensation. Perhaps some open source groups will get this in the future and willingly hire translators to work with third-world countries so they can set up an open source or *nix based infrastructure for the entire government (education, military, police, revenue, legislation) in return for some tax funding or whatever.

    Just my couple of my petty cents.
    • Perhaps you are confused about what the community understands already, and will consider other perspectives in the future?

      Your statement implies that people contributing to open source and/or free software projects/efforts/whatever aren't always compensated, and also that compensation equates with financial gian. Contribution alone suggests that there is some interest already at stake. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are some common motivations:

      1) Challenge. Perhaps someone's working on som
  • ls-will-ship-with-os-x-10-5-leopard [] "The love for Ruby has definitely spread inside Apple and we've been thrilled to see the level of interest they've taken to get OS X to be a premiere development and deployment platform for Rails." So what happened to a rather fruitful discussion, we had with Steve jobs. id=14341270 [] Yeah, I know you may still argue like James Golsings that Ruby is alright for gene
    • If there is a love, why don't they help in writting Ruby bindings for Cocoa??

      It's not really love, it's just them looking at Ruby on Rails, and being pissed off because Ruby on Rails is like their own product WebObjects, except it doesn't suck.
      • Sigh. Wrong? Some of us like rails just because we like rails, OK? And, for the record, we HAVE helped with the writing of Ruby bindings for Cocoa - anyone who was actually interested in that topic rather than just pulling it out of the air as a randomly chosen example of "why Apple must not really love Ruby" would already know this because they'd have checked out the RubyCocoa project and noticed, surprise surprise, that Apple had donated a number of improvements back. Ruby is an excellent language and one
  • I know that there is Neo Office and that's all well and good, but I want to run the same Office software on all my machines. When OpenOffice goes native for OS X, I'll buy a Mac. Probably that day.

  •   Does this mean Microsoft will consider open sourcing parts of it's NT 'Vista' OS? If Apple is willing to embrace Open Source community then Microsoft should seriously consider it. It would appear Microsoft is dragging it's feet in accepting Open Source.
  • by Narcogen ( 666692 ) <narcogen@ram p a n c> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:32AM (#15863851) Homepage
    Anybody want to make a list of all the sites that announced that Darwin was now "closed source" because of the delay in releasing xnu source for Intel?

    Any of those sites now care to print a retraction, and admit they actually had no solid information whatsoever, that they were building their stories up from the fact of this delay plus rampant speculation?

    For a few weeks there it seemed every tech site on the planet was decrying how Apple had abandoned Open Source, was not giving anything back, was closing the kernel, and how this was going to negatively impact Apple's customers and benefit Linux on the desktop.

    And now, at Apple's own developer conference (of all places) they release that source code. Isn't anyone pointing that out to the sites who said it wasn't going to happen? Or are they already claiming that the only reason Apple did it was because of their articles?
  • Apple's Teams (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nedaf7 ( 851534 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:16AM (#15864158)
    Browsing through the new, I noticed something on the page for the Calendar Server. In a list of compatible clients [], it lists "Apple's Teams". I've never heard of this application, and I did a little poking around on Apple's website. I noticed a page describing OS X Leopard Server's built in Wiki Server [], specifically the repeated mention of teams using the Wiki server to collaborate on projects.

    This along with the iCal Server leads me to believe that OS X Leopard will include systemwide collaboration functionality that will integrate with any Apps that are programmed to use it. More evidence: How come during the demo of iChat's ability to share Keynote presentations, photos, videos, etc., we never saw the interface for the person sharing the documents? I would guess it's part of Leopard's collaboration system, named Teams.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault