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Apple Changes the APSL Rules 177

aitikin writes "Apple recently changed their license for the OS X kernel. According to semthex's post, Apple has reworded the APSL to prevent him and others from open sourcing the kernel hacking under the APSL: 'This file contains Original Code and/or Modifications of Original Code as defined in and that are subject to the Apple Public Source License Version 2.0 (the 'License'). You may not use this file except in compliance with the License. The rights granted to you under the License may not be used to create, or enable the creation or redistribution of, unlawful or unlicensed copies of an Apple operating system, or to circumvent, violate, or enable the circumvention or violation of, any terms of an Apple operating system software license agreement.'"
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Apple Changes the APSL Rules

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  • "Operating system" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Monday November 13, 2006 @08:53AM (#16822108)
    I suppose if you stretch the meaning of the words "operating system" like you stretched your mom's belly in the womb, you could somehow come to the conclusion that Apple is trying to restrict you from developing and releasing your little application. If you read it like a normal human being who's stretching your mom's baby hole, you'd understand that Apple doesn't want you to release the suite of open applications as a whole.

    I am disturbed to see that people would jump so hard on this non-issue.
    • by bhima ( 46039 ) <Bhima.Pandava@g m a i l . com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:03AM (#16822188) Journal
      I wouldn't exactly call this a non issue but basically you are right I can still develop my little application and I can still screw around with the OS just like I have been. I suppose I won't be able to go out and buy a dual socket motherboard and two of Intel's new quad core chips and gobs of memory and expect to easily or legitimately run Mac OS on it. But I'm fairly sure that does not impinge on my liberty or my human rights.

      Nice bad analogy... btw.
      • The silly thing is that anybody interested in using Apple's source to remove copy protection from OSX won't be bothered by the small hurdle of violating a license agreement. But AFAIK, XNU is the OSX kernel, and there is source code available. I have no idea how hard you'd have to stretch your personal concept of "Operating System" to where running traditional OSX binaries on a modified / recompiled version of the XNU, but for me, at least, that's really where the OS is at. Not a collection of software, but
        • by bhima ( 46039 )
          You are absolutely right but the vast majority of the people interested in modifying XNU want to do so in order to run MAC OS on white box hardware.

          How many people do you know of that are using XNU in some innovative and interesting way that is eliminated by this new license agreement... so far I'm counting 1 and he's pretty questionable.
          • How many people do you know of that are using XNU in some innovative and interesting way that is eliminated by this new license agreement... so far I'm counting 1 and he's pretty questionable.

            Unless you count running OSX on a laptop you already own as interesting... ;)
            • by bhima ( 46039 )
              Actually, unless you yourself modified the code, I'd call it lame: anyone can follow a described path.
              Additionally Apple already makes laptops... so running OS X on a some random laptop is bland.

              All you did is save some money, that's hardly unique or interesting.

              Do something that Apple hasn't thought of, one that's worth commenting on, otherwise you are doing nothing more interesting than I am... and I'm using my my Apple to watch my fish. Fuck, that's like watching paint dry!

              Some ideas:

              ZFS for Mac OS
              • A combination of Waacom Tablet & Apple MacBook for a tablet (I'd pay for that!)
                I haven't tried it, partly because I don't own a valid copy of OSX, but one could probably throw OSX on a tablet PC like my Toshiba Tecra; Linux mostly works, I don't see why it would be a challenge to get OSX to cooperate.

                Apple isn't restricting my creativity; I primarily use Linux, if only because I find "only saving myself some money" worthwhile and interesting. They're certainly restricting the creativity of people who wa
                • They're certainly restricting the creativity of people who want to legally do things like put OSX on a tablet PC.

                  Putting OS X on a tablet PC or any non-Apple hardware was and always has been against the terms of the license for OS X and thus illegal. The only thing they are stopping you doing is hacking the kernel to make it run on non-Apple hardware - something you could previously write and release the code to do, but you have never legally been able to actually test that code by running OS X on non-A

    • You analogy leaves me breathless, like a glass eel.
    • by kypper ( 446750 )
      Insight mixed with yo' mamma jokes. Who knew?
    • by Afecks ( 899057 )
      What the hell kind of analogy is that? Womb? Baby hole? This is insightful?

      /head asplodes
  • Ah well. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Funkcikle ( 630170 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:02AM (#16822186)
    Apple attempts to plug license hole which was used to circumvent Apple's valid (even if unwelcome) desire to protect own commercial interests. Locals up in arms. Villagers outraged.
  • Excellent phrasing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:08AM (#16822224) Homepage Journal

    I think Apple has done a very smart thing for a CSL (customer source license) by specifically limiting the use in such ways.

    I would be more restrictive -- the source is available for debugging purposes only, and may only be modified through it's core project. I view using/linking CSL code as a variant on LGPL -- I don't care about the specifics of how code is linked (static, DLL, dynamic, whatever), just that any and all changes to such code must be submitted to the core project regardless of where someone deploys the changes.

    i.e. No GPL escape clause of "internal use only" that lets weasels try to lawyer their way out of releasing changes by hiding apps behind web interfaces (the equivalent of screen scrapers IMNSHO.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think you need to read up on the current state of Apple's open source development initiative. I believe the process for submitting a kernel patch goes something like this:

      1. Obtain the source [] by reaching up into the ivory tower and taking it. Notice that you're fetching tarballs over http, not svn or cvs. I'll bet that's current.
      2. Beat yourself with a stick trying to build it until you discover darwinbuild [].
      3. Develop your patch.
      4. Submit a bug to the Radar [].
      5. Announce it in Darwin-kernel [].
      6. Wait
      • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Monday November 13, 2006 @10:18AM (#16822942) Journal
        So far Apple has done open source as a publicity stunt

        Linux weenies consistently miss the point of Darwin. It's not another BSD distro, it's ther for the convenience of Mac developers who have to work with kernel code, such as driver writers and third-party hardware manufacturers.

        • Linux weenies consistently miss the point of Darwin. It's not another BSD distro, it's ther for the convenience of Mac developers who have to work with kernel code, such as driver writers and third-party hardware manufacturers.

          Can you blame the linux weenies for expecting that when Apple talks about Open Source [] that they actually mean the same thing as everyone else who uses the term?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Maximalist ( 949682 )
      Well, there is no independent exclusive right to "use" code that is licensable under copyright law. The relevant copyright rights are to copy, distribute, publicly display, and to make derivative works. Language about a license to "use" is an invitation to litigation over its validity. Despite the fact that such language is a common meme, its basis in the law is tenuous.
  • I _really_ wish Apple would work out more licensing options --- if they're not going to make a replacement for my Newton MessagePad, the least they could do would be to allow licensing Mac OS X for use on hardware which doesn't compete w/ their products.

    As much as I like my NeXT Cube at home, and Mac OS X at work or on my wife's Powerbook, I'm simply not willing to give up the flexibility of having a tablet computer w/ integrated graphics tablet capability (I currently use a Fujitsu Stylistic), or to go bac
    • by bhima ( 46039 )
      how is that Fujitsu working out for you?

      I'd seriously love to have a Tablet running Mac OS but I've just about given up on Apple.

      Is the Linux support decent or was it a pain in the ass to get everything working as it should?
  • Summary: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:44AM (#16822564)
    Summary: "This licence can't be used to create unlicenced copies".

    DUH. That doesn't rule out much. You can't do that on the GPL either.
    • Exactly. I don't know where these slashdotters got it into their heads that the GPL somehow magically removed all copyrights. The GPL does not remove any rights from the copyright holders and the copyright holders can at any time remove their source from public view and cancel use of any code they write in the future under the GPL.

      For example, if someone created a project under GPL and they were the sole contributor or had all contributors assign their rights to them as the main contributor to the project

      • For example, if someone created a project under GPL and they were the sole contributor or had all contributors assign their rights to them as the main contributor to the project, that person could at any time take their source and walk away announcing that any future source they would write would not be GPL'ed. Say that someone decided to continue the GPL'ed code, that person would not have any right to include any source written by the original author after they revoked the license in their GPL'ed project

  • by mjg59 ( 864833 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @10:05AM (#16822778) Homepage
    The fact that the license prohibits you from doing illegal things may not be a problem. However, it also appears to to claim that you may not modify the software in such a way that it allows the circumvention of EULAs. Depending on jurisdiction, there appears to be some degree of uncertainty about whether EULAs are legally enforcable. So, in effect, one of the limitations of this license may be that it prevents you from doing some things that are perfectly legal, but which Apple don't want you to do. It's pretty easy to argue that that sort of restriction prevents it from genuinely being an open source license, in much the same way that a license that said "You may not use this code to produce a Windows version of the product" wouldn't be an open source license.

    Note that I'm not passing any sort of judgement on Apple here. It's their code, and they absolutely have the right to do what they want with it. I'm surprised that they feel that unauthorised use of the OS on PCs is sufficiently important that they need to restrict their license terms to make it harder, but, well.

    The GPL doesn't limit this sort of thing - you're permitted to use the code for anything, but there are certain limitations on how the resulting work may be distributed. The distinction is subtle, but real.
    • The GPL doesn't limit this sort of thing - you're permitted to use the code for anything, but there are certain limitations on how the resulting work may be distributed. The distinction is subtle, but real.

      The GPL prevents you from releasing binaries only to the public. That is a hard limitation since you cannot use GPL'ed code with in house developed proprietary code without being forced to release it as GPL as well giving away any competitive advantage your company may have had over the competition.

      • by mjg59 ( 864833 )
        That's a restriction on means of distribution, not a restriction on use. You're perfectly welcome to use it with your in-house code, providing that everyone who receives a copy of the binary can have a copy of the source. The additional restrictions to the APSL mean that there's no way to use it if that would result in people being able to breach Apple EULAs.
  • by sfraggle ( 212671 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @10:23AM (#16822982)
    People are missing an important fact here: Darwin is no longer Open Source under the Open Source Definition []:
    • 3. Derived Works

      The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

    • 5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

      The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

    • 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

      The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

    • Where in that definition does it say that any open source license removes to right of copyright owners to protect their rights? Go read up on the GPL, nowhere does it remove the copyright from the original authors. These licenses are merely a way of extending certain rights to others who would otherwise not have such rights but they do not reduce or diminish in any way the copyright of the original authors.
      • Open Source licenses must not discriminate based on "field of endeavor". The license discriminates against people whose field of endeavor is to hack the OS to run on non-Apple hardware, therefore it is not Open Source.
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @10:33AM (#16823092)
    Does it mean the new APSL is no longer OSI complient?
    Does it mean that its no longer "free software" (and that the GNU project will start listing it on its "licences to avoid" list again?)

    On the other hand, it should mean that apple will continue to provide kernel source code for both x86 and ppc quite quickly after kernel releases since if someone does use it to pirate osx, apple can sue them right away (and force removal of the source code)
    • I'd be willing to bet that with this change, the APSL is no longer free enough to be considered a Free license. As such, it'll be removed from the OSI-approved list []. That means that any projects using it can't be hosted on SourceForge, Google Code, etc.

      This shouldn't really be surprising to anyone. Apple never really intended to truely open up their stuff and allow others to fully use it without their blessing.
      • No license be it LGPL, GPL, or APSL removes any right (copyrights) from the original copyright owner(s). You cannot use any license as a defence of wilfully violating the copyright of the authors of any software regardless of the license used.
        • by Mr2001 ( 90979 )
          Irrelevant. This change still means the APSL no longer fits the Open Source Definition, because it discriminates against developers whose "field of endeavor" is running OS X on non-Apple hardware. Running OS X on other hardware isn't necessarily a copyright violation, and even in those cases when it is, that doesn't mean Apple is exempt from the OSI's requirements.
  • by salimma ( 115327 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @11:15AM (#16823612) Homepage Journal
    IANAL, but does this just count as additional limitation under the same license, or would the reworked license count as a new license altogether (i.e. not the same version 2.0 [] that OSI approved)

    If not, would it not need to be recertified?
  • aitikin is a dumbass (Score:3, Interesting)

    by torstenvl ( 769732 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @12:15PM (#16824358)
    The OSx86 project is far more than "kernel hacking." Nothing whatsoever prevents you from hacking Darwin as much as you want. Admittedly, it would have been less ambiguous for them to prohibit unlawful or unlicensed copies of an Apple-branded operating system, or a commercially available Apple operating system, but its meaning is clear enough to stand up in court if they were to sue you for hacking on Darwin.

    Semthex's OSx86 project may be out-of-luck-ish (I don't know the OS X EULA - if running OS X on non-Apple hardware doesn't trigger the "unlawful or unlicensed" condition, then it seems fine to me).

    Incidentally, Apple's legal department isn't that great. As far as I know, they still haven't updated the AppleCare terms and conditions to cover displays bought with MacBooks and MacBook Pros. "Apple covers the Covered Equipment and one Apple branded display if purchased at the same time and registered with a covered Mac mini, PowerBook, or Power Mac computer." Apple Computer, AppleCare Protection Plan Section 1(a)(i), available at [].

    PS - Anyone know why the section symbol ( ), entity &sect;, isn't showing up?
  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @02:18PM (#16826130)
    Look at the dual licensed software out there. Copyright owners have a right to license as they see fit. Abusing the spirit of the APSL by distributing patches that allowed for patching pirated versions of OS X with Darwin code would be the same as taking any additional documentation supplied in a dual licensed situation and including it with the Open Sourced code.

    This kernel hacker was violating the copyrights of Apple. It does not matter what license they used, their copyrights remain intact. Circumventing the dual licensed MySQL would be just a illegal as what this guy was doing.

  • I did RTFA but it's hard to take the poster seriously when he starts off with three typos in the first sentence:
    "Appe silently as usal changed the APSL text distributed with the latest released sources to make further work on it imposssible."

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel