Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th Aug 2006 19:38 UTC, submitted by proclus
Mac OS X Apple is stonewalling open-source developers despite the company's recent release of much of the Mac OS X Tiger kernel source code, according to Proclus, administrator of the GNU-Darwin Distribution. "In order to have a free and open source system, two things are necessary. First, all the necessary source code must be obtainable by anyone, and second the system must obviously be bootable in order to use it," Proclus told MacNN. "Darwin OS is not bootable without the AppleACPIPlatform driver, which is closed source [and proprietary] at this time." On a related note, a slew of unannounced features have been posted to the web, found in the developer preview of Leopard.
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RE: Whiny Witch
by TechGeek on Thu 10th Aug 2006 20:47 UTC in reply to "Whiny Witch"
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I don't care about OS X in the slightest, but he does have a point. Apple tries to sell themselves as an open source ally, and yet they are withholding key elements of the OS from being open. Yes, you can boot the code with their binary driver, but thats not really the point. What if 6 months from now they decide that they dont want you using open darwin anymore and stop distributing that binary code? Then all the work that developers have done kind of becomes pointless doesn't it?

Off topic, who cares if he uses a handle? Most major sites have staff that use aliases during their posts. Check out arstechnica or slashdot or digg. Its the exception I think to see people using their real name on the web.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Whiny Witch
by taos on Thu 10th Aug 2006 21:20 in reply to "RE: Whiny Witch"
taos Member since:
2005-11-16

"Apple tries to sell themselves as an open source ally"

Apple tries to sell their products. (shocking?)

Does "open source ally" mean one should not use/produce any closed source softwares anymore?

Does everything have to be black or white?
How many have been infected with this "either you're with us or against us" virus?

Can we just accept that open source is not the only ethical way to develop software?

TechGeek, I am just very tired of this "for" or "against" open-source discussion.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Whiny Witch
by butters on Thu 10th Aug 2006 21:54 in reply to "RE[2]: Whiny Witch"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I also find it irritating when the free software community reacts negatively to progress. When Google, released Picasa for Linux, for example, people had a problem with the method they used to port the application, even though it was released under a free software license. But this is a different matter.

Apple's committment to open source has regressed as a result of their switch to Intel. On the PPC970 architecture, OpenDarwin had access to all of the code they needed to boot the system. After the switch, the community lost this capability. Apple has made "progress" in the sense that now the free software community has a much more complete codebase for Intel hardware than they did before. But, compared to our fully-booting system on PPC, the current situation falls short.

The free software community is hell-bent on ridding the world of proprietary, binary-only kernelspace drivers such as Apple's ACPI driver. There are as many pragmatic reasons as idealistic justifications for wanting open access to kernel sources. Without open drivers, the community cannot help audit and improve code that is critical to the stability and security of our systems.

In this sense, I do believe that open source is the only ethical way to _distribute_ kernel code. Community development models are, of course, optional, but we must have the opportunity to use our distributed code review capacity to find and report bugs in security-critical code. If we can't trust the system, then it is useless to us.

Free software operating systems already have mature ACPI support for Intel architectures. I can't imagine that Apple cannot open this driver because of Intel's IP rights. I really wish Apple could provide a reason for why they can't open this code, because only then can the community figure out whether the goal of an open Darwin-based system is feasible.

You see, it's not so much that the community is demanding anything from Apple. We're saying that their substantial code release is a waste of their resources if they can't provide the sources for a bootable system. If they can't, that's fine. The community has plenty of other open kernels that run the GNU stack, we'll just have to live without Darwin.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Whiny Witch
by ZephyrXero on Thu 10th Aug 2006 23:38 in reply to "RE[2]: Whiny Witch"
ZephyrXero Member since:
2006-03-22

Anyone's more than welcome to mix their closed source and open source software as long as they follow licensing properly. However, there is an implied agreement that even though the software is free as in price, it still comes at a cost. If a large company like Apple wants to use open source software in their closed source products, they have an obligation to contribute back to the community and not just be a mooch.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Whiny Witch
by anonymousbrowser on Fri 11th Aug 2006 11:53 in reply to "RE[2]: Whiny Witch"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

I think the most annoying thing about Apple's Open Source games with Darwin is the confusion it has created in the minds of their customers, I'm sure a lot of less well informed OSX users would quite happily sit there and tell you that OSX is UNIX, OSX is Open Source and therefore it's the same as Linux only better because apple charge for it. These people don't even begin to understand the differences between Free Software and Open Source Software or what Apple's Public License actually permits you to do with their code.

With Linux we have the right to make it run on any hardware that we wish, with Linux apple couldn't take our code and start using it without contributing changes back to the community, with OSX Apple restricts your ability to do so and with Darwin it holds back the one piece of software which might make it easier to do and encourages you to code under a license which gives Apple a free lunch.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Whiny Witch
by Tom K on Thu 10th Aug 2006 21:21 in reply to "RE: Whiny Witch"
Tom K Member since:
2005-07-06

Clearly if the driver contained open-sourceable code, Apple would open-source it. What you GNU kiddies don't understand is that in the real world, a company can't just decide "We're going to release this to the public!" when that code is partially or completely proprietary/patented by other companies. Your dream-like utopia just isn't realistic.

In this case, Intel probably has some hooks in said driver. Apple has already done you a great service by releasing the Intel OS X kernel source. Take it or leave it.

As predicted, a few angry fanboys have to scream that it's not enough, and that they want more. And you wonder why companies are hesitant to open-source their stuff?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Whiny Witch
by anonymousbrowser on Fri 11th Aug 2006 11:50 in reply to "RE[2]: Whiny Witch"
anonymousbrowser Member since:
2006-04-28

<blockquote>Clearly if the driver contained open-sourceable code, Apple would open-source it. What you GNU kiddies don't understand is that in the real world, a company can't just decide "We're going to release this to the public!" when that code is partially or completely proprietary/patented by other companies. Your dream-like utopia just isn't realistic. </blockquote>

While it's true that large pieces of proprietary software almost always contain code licensed from a 3rd party and , as such, often couldn't be released as opensource even if that were desirable(see the early days of OpenOffice 6 when sun were busy removing all foreign code for an example), I seriously doubt that this is the case with Apple, wouldn't access to the sources for this module make hacking OSX about to run on commodity hardware one hell of a lot easier? If so then you can see the primary reason for not releasing the sources.

Apple haven't done anyone a great service in releasing the sources they have, they aren't there for our benefit but rather to allow Apple to continue to slap an Open Source core sticker on their product, remember the Apple Public Source license isn't designed to ensure the availability of code to you but to ensure that you will allow Apple to use your contributed code without question. Apple only release the source because it suits them and their PR machine to do so.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Whiny Witch
by bryanv on Fri 11th Aug 2006 03:20 in reply to "RE: Whiny Witch"
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

I think you're missing the point.

The open-source code you have now will not stop working down the road. It's already out there.

You are not thinking of open source, where code is given for oversight, contribution, and modification. You are thinking of free product, and that's a totally different objective.

Read the license, and tell me where what they're doing is in violation of that.

This isn't a matter of Apple pissing in the face of open source. This is a matter of a bunch of liberals with a hose up their ass getting all pissed off that someone switched their coffee enema to foldgers crystals. The end result is the same : they get their caffeine rush, but the method in which it's done has different terms, and it irritates them.

Get over yourselves. The world does not revolve around Richard Stallman and his freak-ass "share the software" acid trip.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Whiny Witch
by kaiwai on Fri 11th Aug 2006 06:50 in reply to "RE: Whiny Witch"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Babe, you do realise that the ACPI code is actually opensource and available via Intel under the BSD licence; the very same code which FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and Linux all rely on.

Oh, and in regards to the 'contributions' there have been no 'contributions to Darwin by any opensource developer, hence there were questions as to the whole point of actually having Darwin opensourced in the first place!

I hardly blame Apple considering there is next to no contributions being made by the so-called 'feel good' opensource community - given the terrible performance of XNU at server tasks, was expecting *atleast* a dozen or two to start working on the XNU core to improve scalability and performance, but no one has taken that task on board.

So much for the 'scratching the itch' which proponents of opensourcing Darwin would have allowed.

Edited 2006-08-11 06:57

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Whiny Witch
by r_a_trip on Fri 11th Aug 2006 18:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Whiny Witch"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh, and in regards to the 'contributions' there have been no 'contributions to Darwin by any opensource developer, hence there were questions as to the whole point of actually having Darwin opensourced in the first place!

Well, the APSL, Apples way of interacting with sister projects (KHTML / Webkit) and the partial nature of Darwin, which is a freaky hybrid *Nix, may have pushed serious developers towards pure BSD. BSD doesn't have weird corporate hoops to jump through.

Reply Parent Score: 1