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Apple Plans To Release Rendezvous As Open Source 348

Posted by timothy
from the so-it-won't-be-a-secret-rendezvous dept.
Snuffub writes "According to MacCentral, Apple announced during an interview today that they would be releasing Rendezvous, their implementation of the zeroconf standard, under an open source license. I can't see this as being anything but great news for everyone involved -- the community gets a mature implementation of an emerging technology, and Apple benefits as more devices are created to support Rendezvous. For everyone interested, you'll be able to download the source from Apple's site in a couple weeks." uglyhead69 adds: "The article is light on details and doesn't mention what license will be used, but it's probably safe to assume that it's the APSL."
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Apple Plans To Release Rendezvous As Open Source

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  • uPnP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cscx (541332) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:42PM (#4167766) Homepage
    I believe Windows XP's Universal Plug and Play is similar to this... it auto-discovers network components, such as gateways, etc and allows the OS to determine the external IP address, for example, which is useful in some applications. But this seems a whole lot cooler... and now that it's open source, hopefully we'll see it get integrated into a lot more OSes. Apple is really good when it comes to the "innovation" and "ease-of-use" way of doing things.
    • Re:uPnP (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sportiva (603085)
      it is similar to universal plug and play but more than that....it it as more full featured solution to the network configuration problem. And to anonymous coward, easy doesn't always mean less secure :)
    • Re:uPnP (Score:2, Informative)

      by gamorck (151734)
      They are similar because they are one in the same. Go check out http://www.upnp.org for more information on this. Zeroconf is actually a smaller part of the Rendezvous/uPNP pie. Zeroconf is essentially a standard for a serverless DHCP hybrid. I think its great Apple implemented this - but since its been present in one form or another since Windows 98 as I recall, I dont think Apple has enough marketing muscle to push it assuming Microsoft could not.

      Perhaps MS just implemented it because they thought it was a good idea and didn't actually try to push it in the marketplace. Either way - I think its nice that uPNP/Rendezvous is starting to look like a level playing field for all applicable platforms.

      J
      • Re:uPnP (Score:3, Interesting)

        by j h woodyatt (13108)
        Actually, the only thing they have in common is that they both use the as-yet-unofficial IETF standard for IPv4 link-local address self-assignment. Everything else about the two initiatives are completely different.

        Check your facts.

        --
      • ...I dont think Apple has enough marketing muscle to push it assuming Microsoft could not.

        M$' failure to promote this initiative might have something to do with the dismal association most people see in "Microsoft" + "Plug and Play". Also, Microsoft fucks everything up and then charges you for it, which Apple does less often.
      • They are similar because they are one in the same

        I don't know enough to be sure, but I THINK this is wrong.

        I dont think Apple has enough marketing muscle to push it assuming Microsoft could not.

        Actually Apple has a much better track record in pushing technologies than Microsoft does. Part of this is due to the fact that it is often a higher priority at Apple than at Microsoft. Microsoft makes money day in and day out just selling their products whether vendors & consumers adopt a new technology or not. Apple's business model seems almost more like a movie studio. They scratch by day in and day out and reap a windfall by producing "blockbuster" products (Like the iMac or the recent launch of 10.2 which produced more sales in two days at Apple stores than they had in the entire preceeding Quarter). Often these blockbusters are built on the backs of new technologies which Apple is consequently more commited to pushing on third party vendors.

        Another part of it is that mac users have higher standards for consistency from app to app & from peripheral to peripheral. They expect things to work "the mac way". So Mac users are much more likely than windows users to reward a manufacturer who follows Apples lead and adopts ZeroConf (for instance) and will avoid a manufacturer who doesn't. Since the market is small to begin with manufacturers intending to sell to it take greater pains not to alienate any significant percentage of it. If half the windows market wouldn't even consider your peripheral because you don't support the newest most snazzy technology - you still have a huge market in the other half to make your money off of. If half the mac market won't even consider your product you might as well not bother (which many don't). These two dynamics reinforce each other - the vendors that actually DO decide to sell to the mac market are more slavish in following Apples lead and so the users come to expect the consequential consistency even more.

        Of course Apples success in pushing new technologies is initially confined to the Mac market but that sheltered niche seems just large enough for the new technology to gain a critical mass that allows it to burst on to the larger PC scene.
  • by Lieutenant_Dan (583843) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:43PM (#4167771) Homepage Journal
    I think Apple should allow the Open Source developer community access to the code bacause ...

    oh wait. they already have?

  • by XBL (305578) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:46PM (#4167780)
    Recent interview post here [slashdot.org]. Stuart is awesome (he wrote Bolo).
  • w00t! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rice_web (604109)
    But seriously, how beneficial will this really be? I'm not an expert on open source (I'm not qualified for the term "beginner" either), but what advantage is this to Apple?

    I can see where developers could use this to create thousands of cool applications for little tasks here and there, but what is the advantage outside of this? And how would it help the Rendezvous program grow?
    • what is it good for? (Score:5, Informative)

      by j h woodyatt (13108) <jhw@conjury.org> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:25PM (#4167930) Homepage Journal
      Suppose you want to write a distributed system.

      Lots of processes running on an array of machines. Say for example you have a data center full of racks of 1U servers, and each one is cranking away on some part of the application code. You have redundant processes scattered around too, so if one machine takes a dive, you want the whole application to stay up and running anyway.

      Imagine you're the administrator of this system. How do you tell each little process in the system what IP address and TCP port to use so that every other process in the system knows where to find it?

      Without Rendezvous, you have several options-- all of them unappealing. You might start with some kind of application specific configuration file format and a cobbled-together system for distributing such data around to all the hosts in the system. You might instead store such network configuration in some directory server on the network, like DNS or LDAP or some kind of custom front end to some kind of evil database backend.

      Either way, you quickly encounter what we veterans like to call "the cache coherency problem," i.e. the information in the directory must be consistent at all times with the actual state of the processes in the system. Whenever processes start, stop, migrate or change their profile, you have to update the directory. Solving this problem with existing technology can be expensive. If you don't solve it, then single-point failure modes proliferate and the system becomes exponentially more difficult to manage the larger it gets.

      With Rendezvous, the network itself is the directory service. Since all the little processes in the system are responsible for their own advertisements, there is no cache coherency problem. You don't have to assign addresses and ports to all your processes because the application can simply assign itself a set of abstract service names and discover all the instances of those services on the network with Rendezvous service discovery. No configuration files to keep updated. No dynamic updates to LDAP or DNS servers that might get overloaded, or may not be running or in the right place when they need to be.

      Of course, there are alternatives to consider. You might think to use SLP (RFC 2608-2610), which you can download now from www.openslp.org, but strangely... SLP hasn't managed to get much traction in industry. Some say that's because it's too unwieldy to use effectively.

      You should compare Rendezvous with OpenSLP and see which one you think is better.

      --
      • by dhovis (303725) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:49PM (#4168003)
        Suppose you want to write a distributed system.

        You know, it is funny you mention that, because I've been wondering if/when Apple might introduce automatic clustering. The way I understand it, the threading implementation in Darwin is such that threads can not only be transferred between processors, but also between computers too. Rendezvous could let you find all the other computers on the network that will let you run code (in a sandbox, perhaps) and automatically throw threads to them if it will help.

        Imagine the Photoshop benchmarks if everything was spread across a rack of XServes!

        <DUCKS>

        • by Maserati (8679)
          NeXT had a distributed processing system. Making an autoconfing cluster available would be a big win for Apple. Any graphic design shop does a lot of CPU intensive work, making the LAN be the cluster would be so useful it would be scary. I'm thinking of our Splash server right now, but big Photoshop filters or 3D rendering would also benefit.

          Time to invest in switches to the desktop if you haven't already, this will seriously increase your network utilization.
      • by eswierk (34642) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @11:17PM (#4168113) Homepage
        You should compare Rendezvous with OpenSLP and see which one you think is better.
        SLP is actually part of Rendezvous/ZeroConf. The goal of ZeroConf is not to reinvent the wheel; perfectly good protocols already exist for service discovery (SLP) and name-to-address translation (DNS). The ZeroConf working group is attempting to define basic host requirements for autoconfiguration, and fill in the gaps where existing protocols are lacking.

      • by KidSock (150684)
        Without Rendezvous, you have several options-- all of them unappealing. You might start with some kind of application specific configuration file format

        Why does it have to be application specific? Like using Rendezvous is less "specific".

        and a cobbled-together system for distributing such data around to all the hosts in the system.

        What's wrong with TFTP or NFS or any other network filesystem?

        You might instead store such network configuration in some directory server on the network, like DNS

        DNS is a directory server?

        or LDAP or some kind of custom front end

        So Rendezvous has a non-custom front end? That's not good. If my processes are specific to the particular problem domain (probably unique if it demands a "distributed system") then I would rather have a "front end" to match.

        to some kind of evil database backend. Either way, you quickly encounter what we veterans like to call "the cache coherency problem,"

        Then what do you call it? Because using a database sounds like a very good way to maintain cache coherency. You would rather state be strewn across the network?

        i.e. the information in the directory must be consistent at all times with the actual state of the processes in the system.

        So Rendezvous is going to guarantee state consistency between processes better than a database backend? It was compared to NetBIOS for cripes sake. I think you've made a pretty stong case against using Rendezvous for a "distributed system". My impression is that other than negotiating IP and multicast addresses a Rendezvous client is otherwise application specific.

        Rendezvous is used to setup printers and wireless devices, not orchestrate large scale distributed processes.
        • by j h woodyatt (13108) <jhw@conjury.org> on Friday August 30, 2002 @12:56PM (#4170772) Homepage Journal
          You raise some points that call for rebuttal. (If you see me ignoring them, it means I think they're not worth rebutting.)

          > What's wrong with TFTP or NFS or any other network filesystem?

          Ever tried to deploy a distributed NFS server? By that I mean: if the primary NFS server goes down, a secondary automatically and transparently serves as a replacement without the NFS client ever having to be redirected? Such things exist. None of them are cheap.

          > Then what do you call it? Because using a database sounds like a very good
          > way to maintain cache coherency. You would rather state be strewn across the network?

          You *already* have state strewn across the network, i.e. the availability states of the various processes that comprise the distributed system. Why try to maintain a cache of that state in a database when the processes can use the network to discover and locate one another directly?

          Have you every tried to deploy a replicated database manager? Every transaction on the database must be ACID for this to work with high reliability. (ACID is an acronym, stands for Atomic Consistent Independent and Durable.) Easy to do with a monolithic database manager. Much harder to do with a replicated system. Again, such things exist. None of them are cheap.

          My point: distributed systems with more single points of failure provide less reliability than systems with fewer. Rendezvous eliminates an important single point failure mode.

          --
    • Re:w00t! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tupps (43964)
      The more people who use this and the more machines that use this the more 'value' it provides to apple customers. Imagine: I walk into a company and hook up my Mac Notebook. I need to get printer access, one of the guys has a linux machine running rendezvous code, I can now print. That provides a heap of value to the person with a Mac. If it was MacOSX only it would be good for close shops. Also I don't think that this technology would be a deal breaker/winner. Eg I have to get a MacOSX box so I can use Redezvous. I am guessing iTunes, iDVD, iPhoto, Final Cut Pro, are all thinks that add to the deal winner for Apple. My guess is you won't ever see them open sourced.
    • by El (94934)
      Apple is in the business of selling clients. If all the vendors of servers (yes, your network printer is a server) adopt this technology, then they can sell more clients. It's that simple -- make it easy for everybody to implement Rendevous, and you make more money. This is different from Micro$oft's business model, which calls for controlling both the client and the server, so they don't make it easy to implement ANYTHING that's compatible with their software.
  • Peripherals! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:59PM (#4167837)
    The last Stevenote showed this off, a PowerbookG4 being walked in range of a Rendezvous enabled HP printer, they were configured on the fly by the OS and in seconds they were able to print to it. No wires, multiple users, no configuration. Besides iTunes p2p music library (it automatically locates other Rendezvous enabled Mac's and adds their music library to yours, streaming wise, it doesn't actually transfer the music ;) )

    Many, many possibilities here.
    • Oh great, more reasons to want a Mac.

      Now if I could just find another job I'd be all set.

      • Re:Peripherals! (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by MoneyT (548795)
        Or you could stop wasting you rmoney upgrading you raging PC and buy the mac with the money you save...... Just a suggestion
  • Smart business move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:59PM (#4167838) Homepage Journal
    This is one way Apple can align themselves more closely with users of other *NIX OSes. By helping to improve easier connectivity between various non-MS OSes, Apple is essentially saying: "Look, you can now easily hook into a Windows network on a Mac. But, you can do even more if you're using a network with OS X, Linux, BSD, et. al."

    From Apple's point of view, anything that puts Microsoft outside a large pool of functionality is good. Essentially, it's an attempt to conduct a reverse embrace and extend. Take something that was already there, improve it, then give it back.

    Apple isn't doing this out of selfless motives. But the fact is, they're doing it. Pretty cool indeed. I've been using 10.2 since the public release, and I'm impressed by Rendezvous, and I can't wait to use it with Linux as well.

    • Coolness factor (Score:3, Interesting)

      by XNormal (8617)
      Apple isn't doing this out of selfless motives. But the fact is, they're doing it. Pretty cool indeed.

      I think that the coolness factor may have played a big part in Apple's reasons for this business move.

      The hackers of the Open Source community are addicted to cool and will use this technology and exploit it to the maximum. I think this may have an even bigger effect than Sun's open sourcing of StarOffice because an office suite just doesn't have the same coolness factor. Sure, it's very important and the OpenOffice team have been doing a great work but it just doesn't scream "play with me!" to tinkerers and gadget freaks like this does...
  • My implementation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The-Dork (470891) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:16PM (#4167896) Homepage
    I implemented one of the Zeroconf internet drafts on Linux for a class project. It can be found here [ku.edu].
    It is in no way a complete implementation, but got me an 'A' grade :)
  • by dfj225 (587560) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:19PM (#4167909) Homepage Journal
    Apple didn't really have a choice on this one. The only way their technology will become successful is if it is accepted and supported by a large number of companies. If its open source, why not include it in your next hardware release?
  • It will be nice when they do release some source for this, and make all of the technical documents available. I'd like something to look over about all of this autoconfiguration software.

    I mean, am I the only person this scares? Microsoft Outlook had (has) the autoexecute feature that allows virii authors to introduce new and inventive ways to drop rootkits into IIS servers.

    Linux has their own little features that have to be guarded against as well. In the basis of security very few of my companies Linux boxes are running any form of FTP. Way too many security alerts, and 90% of the boxes don't need to do file transfers anyway.

    Now Apple offers us a really cool and interesting technology that will allow a computer to automatically find a printer. How long before one of these virii authors writes himself an object that allows his PowerBook G4 to introduce itself to a Rendevous network and take control of several machines at once.

    Here you go, a really sweet streaming virus.

    I for one, hope that there isn't just a way to turn this off, but delete it entirely from a running system. Because as of right now, I'm a little more worried about this than anything new from Redmond about automatically updating my systems.

    We use all *NIX on the outside anyway, so that doesn't really apply to any sensitive systems ^_^

    • discovery != access (Score:4, Informative)

      by El (94934) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:56PM (#4168036)
      Just because you can find my address in the phone book, it does't make it any easier to break into my house. Rendevous doesn't ship any actual code around, so what's to carry the virus? About the worst that can happen is multiple machines come up with the same address -- but a malicious node on your network could make that happen WITHOUT Rendevous.
    • by epeus (84683) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @11:14PM (#4168105) Homepage Journal
      I don't think you understand what Rendezvous does very well at all. It does not allow remote execution of code; it enables you to advertise and discover services on the network.

      This means you don't need to know IP addresses and well known ports, or run port scanners to discover services. If your machine doesn't want to be found by Rendezvous, don't advertise your services with it.

      One key thing that makes it smarter than UDDI and the like is that it is service-centric, not device-centric. You don't have to find a machine and try to open special ports to see if it has a webserver or SLP printer or SMTP relay or whatever, instead, you ask for a service that you already know the protocol for, and you find out if any devices that implement it are available.
    • Read the story. ZeroConf or Rendezvous is basically a way of defining a little better how computers can "guess" an IP address for themselves and try it out. That doesn't open up any new security holes; rather, it brings some order and standardization into the things people already do more haphazardly. Windows XP, for example, already uses a mechanism like ZeroConf, but in a way that is more disruptive to networks.

      (BTW, the English plural of "virus" is "viruses"; the Latin plural would be one of "viri" (pronounced "vee-ree"), "virorum", "viris", or "viros", depending on case.)

  • by TellarHK (159748) <{tellarhk} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:35PM (#4167953) Homepage Journal
    I'd really like to be able to take my iBook (or any networked laptop, really) into a public place with the AirPort card turned on and have it not only pick up a base station signal, but every once in a while send out a signal over the wireless card to see if there are any other non-base-stationed wireless cards present that might want to hook up for a small wireless mini-LAN. This sounds like the kind of thing Rendezvous would be a great start for. It'd be a good way to meet people, too. Set up your machine with a little program that does the 'ping' for other machines and advertises whatever it is.

    Ping.
    iBook, OS 10.2, anyone around?

    It'd be like combining Wardriving with those weird "Beep if someone you'll consider hot is nearby." things they were selling in Japan a while ago.

    • It'd be like combining Wardriving with those weird "Beep if someone you'll consider hot is nearby." things they were selling in Japan a while ago.
      Holy crap, you're right. Rendezvous could become a Lovegety [cnn.com] for geeks.
    • Actually it's not harder than to open up the Airport menu, click Make Network and other users can easily access you.

      But Rendezvous (zeroconf) is a very interesting technology, I tried to get it working in Linux a while back but the project was not that complete and there were few things you could do with it.

      Ciryon
    • This is, of course, why iChat has a Rendezvous-driven P2P chat system built into it to run alongside the AIM stuff. I imagine that when I'm standing in line for 10.3 or 10.5 or whatever Panther gets numbered as, that there's going to be a lot of IM chats going on via Rendezvous...woulda been nice to have had it last Friday. :-)
  • I forsee a hiccup... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkVein (5418) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:36PM (#4167958) Journal

    If Apple uses the APSL [apple.com], then the source code could not be used in Linux [kernel.org]. I'm uncertain if Debian [debian.org] would accept any APSL submissions.

    The issue to my mind is that Rendezvous needs popular adoption, and rapid acceptance would be best. If Apple has it in mind to emphasis Windows' network reliablity, then a GPL license would allow the technology to be integrated into Linux, and percolate into FreeBSD via ports. If Apple wants the most rapid adoption a source license can provide, the BSD license would be best, but then Microsoft would be free to embrace & extend.

    This is why I root for the GPL in this case. Rendezvous is very cool technology, so Microsoft would either have to ignore it, attack its mindshare, impliment its own version, or bend knee to the GPL. Their own implimentation would be inferior for a time, and due to demand and early deployment, Microsoft would be unfairly judged as having an incompotent implimentation, rather than a primitive one. This would add pressure to move to non-Microsoft platforms. This is good for Apple, because non-Microsoft means Unix, and in many cases, that means MacOS X.

    That's aside, however. I'm afraid that an APSL license would cause the source to stagnate except for the eyes of a few Wizards that learn from the implimentation and then develop their own (L)GPLed version.

    I think I'm rambling.

    • by Arandir (19206)
      If Apple uses the APSL, then the source code could not be used in Linux.

      In the kernel, no. Only GPL or relicensable code can be used in the kernel. But it certainly can be used in the userland.

      I'm uncertain if Debian would accept any APSL submissions.

      What part of the DFSG does the APSL not meet?
      • Indeed - in fact the APSL is OSI Approved [opensource.org]. So it is just fine.
        • Just because it's OSI Approved does not mean that Debian will also conclude that it qualifies as Free, or that Debian will decide that it is practical to distribute it.

          Personally, I think the 12 minimum publication of source feature of APSL fails on clause 3 of the DFSG because Apple is imposing an unequal restriction on people modifying their code, because there is no obligation on Apple to publish their modifications for a minimum of 12 months.

          Alternatively, one might consider it to fail on clause 5, on the basis that it implicitly discriminates against people that do not have an infrastructure capable of guaranteeing that they will be able to retrieve every version of the code that they've deployed (no matter how briefly, or how limited the deployment) over the last 12 months.
    • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday August 30, 2002 @12:17AM (#4168120) Homepage
      If Apple uses the APSL [apple.com], then the source code could not be used in Linux [kernel.org].

      The APSL is not compatible with the GPL. This means that you could not link the APSL code directly into GPLed code such as the linux kernel. However, i do not see why the rendezvous code would need to actually be in the kernel. It seems preferable to me that a linux implementation of rendezvous would be just a daemon or something, like inetd or any other number of things are, in which case it would just be a normal program and could be under any license at all.

      If for some reason i can't forsee it is somehow necessary for the rendezvous implementation to be in the kernel, it could just be done as a kernel module; there is some dispute [tux.org] as to whether it is okay for linux kernel modules to be non-GPL, but a lot of people, including Linus Tourvalds, interpret the GPL such that OS kernel modules do not have to be GPLed.

      I'm uncertain if Debian [debian.org] would accept any APSL submissions.

      The GNU foundation doesn't like the APSL. [gnu.org] However, debian is more aligned with OSI [opensource.org] than they are with the GNU foundation. (Correct me if this is incorrect.) Anyway, in order for Debian to include software in its core distribution, that software must fit the Debian Free Software Guidelines [debian.org]. The APSL is on the OSI approved license list [slashdot.org] meaning it fits the DFSG and APSL code could be included in Debian's main codebase, no problem.

      Incidentally, Debian does maintain [debian.org] a non-free portion to their distribution, it is just that this portion is not considered "part of the main distribution", and it is not always included with the install discs (it depends on how you obtain your copy of debian, as far as i can tell). But that's irrelivant here because the APSL is OSI certified!

      The only reason Apple's decision not to use the GPL would be a problem, as far as i can tell, is that some people don't like to release code under non-GPL licenses, and those people may decide not to contribute to a rendezvous implementation. But other than a few offended people, that's about the extent of the problems the APSL presents.
      • While the DFSG [debian.org] and the OSD [opensource.org] are equivalent, that doesn't mean that Debian and the OSI always interpret them similarly.

        Debian generally errs on the side of caution, whereas the OSI seems mostly interested in looking good in the press, so lets dubious stuff like the APSL through.

        The last word [geocrawler.com] on the APSL on debian-legal concludes that the APSL probably doesn't even qualify for non-free, because of the insistence on a 12 month minimum source publication period, whereas Debian only keeps source for versions of binaries we are currently publishing.
    • Apple as the license holder can allow the Linux kernel to release their implementation GPL. License's don't restrict copyright owners.

      • Apple as the license holder can allow the Linux kernel to release their implementation GPL. License's don't restrict copyright owners.

        You are correct that copyright holders could have multiple licenses or none at all.

        But on your first point, if Apple allows Linux kernel to release under GPL, then this is tantamount to GPL licensing it to anyone. If I see a GPL licensed XYZZY in the Kernel, then I am free to take it, use it in anything else, so long as it continues to be GPL licensed.

        (Moderation hints: Troll: -1)
        Moderation should be done according to how much you agree with the post.
    • by MoneyT (548795) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:32AM (#4168304) Journal
      As I read the APSL, it's simply and open licence that also ensures that Apple remains removed from you. That seems perfectly reasonable. GNU doesn't like it because of the termination clause, but when you think about it, it's entirely nessesary. What if a version with your modifications becomes the norm, even becomes packaged with Apple machines. If that happens, and you get accused of infringing on someone elses patented work, Apple could be in serious trouble. By terminating the agreement and stopping distribution of your code, Apple can keep themselves free from you. Just because they terminate does not mean they will sue you. As near as I can tell, the APSL is a very very open license for a corporation and is what we arround here might call a Good Thing (TM).

      OTOH, I seem to have picked up a flaw in the GPL, which may be the reason corporations have been slow to take up software released under the GPL. If as you say, proprietary or APSL and other less open licensed software was not permissable within GPL software, many companies would not want to take up that software. The reason being is many companies develop their own private modifications to software. For example, I worked for a time at a well know power company which shall remain nameless. This company had a software suit which they had purchased which provided for the creation and movement of troubleshooting "tickets". The software in it's basic form was useable, but the company had other needs. They wrote modifications to the software (with the original creators permission) to run within their networks and throughout the company. If under a GPL license the company would have had to opensource their modifications and release them under the GPL, the company would not have taken up the GPL software.

      Freedom is a good thing, but forcing people to open their code is almost as bad as the closed code is.
      • You seem to be making a common mistaken assumption about the GPL. A company can make all the private modifications they want to any GPLed code & distribute them all over the the inside of the company w/o fear of legal retribution. Its only if they try and distribute the code OUTSIDE of the company is where the GPL's source-code-must-also-be-available clause kicks in.
      • OTOH, I seem to have picked up a flaw in the GPL...[deletia]...The reason being is many companies develop their own
        private modifications to software...[deletia]...If under a GPL license the company would have had to opensource their modifications

        BZZZT... you're wrong.

        The GPL does not require modifications of modified versions of software to be 'opensourced' if the modified program is not distributed to a third party, as explained in the GPL FAQ [gnu.org].

      • Incorrect. The GPL clearly states that it only covers DISTRIBUTION of the software, not USE of the software.
    • No worries, I don't see most Linux kernel hackers being really anxious to incorporate a bunch of Objective-C code into the kernel, do you? ;-)

  • how ya doin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by awb131 (159522) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:40PM (#4167967)
    I like to think of Rendezvous as a much smarter analogue to NetBEUI, which I often refer to as the "butt sniffing protocol" that Windows machines use to detect each other in the absence of IP networking.
  • Methinks this is just a technology to allow Bolo players to find games without any configuration changes being required.

    Bolo and WinBolo [winbolo.com] rock!

    Cheers
    VikingBrad
  • NOW you tell me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by El (94934) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:43PM (#4167978)
    Gee thanks Apple... after I've already gone a implemented Zeroconf myself! Just to think I could have just waited and stolen your code...

    But seriously, Sharp has already embedded this technology in thier printers, so it's not just Epson, HP, and Lexmark that will be supporting this standard.

  • On your Jaguar CD, CFNetServices adds a higher level abstraction on top of zeroconf; this part most likely won't be open source, since it is in one of the higher level frameworks on the sytem (CFNetwork in CoreServices) The relevant headers are: /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/ Frameworks/CFNetwork.framework/Headers/CFNetServic es.h Using these, I was able to get my server application Rondesvousing in about 10 minutes...
  • by JohnsonWax (195390) on Friday August 30, 2002 @12:29AM (#4168137)
    Apple has yet to reveal their clustering solution for Mac OS X and Xserve, but consider how easy Rendezvous will make this task.
  • by keithmoore (106078) on Friday August 30, 2002 @12:42AM (#4168167) Homepage
    and there are several problems with it.

    zeroconf breaks applications in several ways, for instance:

    • v4 linklocal addresses are unstable and subject to change at any time without notice to the parties using them
    • they don't work well on machines with multiple network interfaces.
    • existing apps don't know to avoid using linklocal addresses when they're not appropriate, and in general neither apps nor hosts have any good way to tell whether a linklocal address associated with a host is accessible without trying it and waiting for the connection to time out, or connecting and then verifying if it's really the right host (since the host you really want to talk to might be on a different network).
    • nobody has figured out how to ensure consistency between multicast DNS and real DNS, so different machines talking to each other can have different ideas of what a DNS name means or even whether a name is valid at all. so applications that pass DNS names around (like the web or email or anything that uses URLs) and rely on consistency of DNS may break in strange new ways if some of the hosts are using multicast DNS and others aren't, or if the hosts using multicast DNS are on different network links.
    • DNS-based service discovery is even less well understood.

    zeroconf will be really nice when we figure out how to make it work well without breaking apps. It's unfortunate that Apple is trying to deploy a technology widely that has several serious known flaws and claim that it is a standard before those flaws are fixed.

    • Doesn't the multicast DNS stuff always just use a .local TLD? So, there wouldn't be any conflict with a real DNS system outside of that TLD. From what little I've seen, that was the impression I got.
  • Funny, any link for the draft you might find refers to draft-ietf-zeroconf-reqts-10.txt which just doesn't exist on the ietf site. So being real clever I flipped that 10 to an 11 and behold theres a new version dated the 26th.

    http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-zer oconf-reqts-11.txt [ietf.org]
    • Re:Latest IETF Draft (Score:3, Informative)

      by keithmoore (106078)
      actually there are several drafts you should look at:

      draft-ietf-zeroconf-ipv4-linklocal-07.txt
      draft -ietf-zeroconf-reqts-11.txt
      draft-ietf-dnsext-mdn s-12.txt

      and I think there's another one somewhere about
      DNS service discovery, but I don't recall it offhand.
  • Would someone please explain, in normal english what the major differences are between the GPL policy [which I understand to be, if you modify the code, your modifications have to be open source and GPLed and anyone should be allowed to use them],and the APSL policy [which I understand to be any modifications you make must be distributed with the original code intact, all the disclaimers intact, wiht the source and must be usable by anyone including us].

    To me, there seem to be no big differences, so why do people have such a problem wiht the APSL
    • As I understand it (and by no means am I any sort of expert here), Stallman's main objection is that the APSL is asymmetric, in the sense that Apple, as the original creator of APSL'ed code, has more and different rights then subsequent modifiers of the code. Specifically, if you change ASPL'ed code, even if you don't publicly release the changes, you still have to notify Apple of the changes. In the eyes of GNU/FSF/Stallman, this is a violation of privacy which free software licenses should protect, and represents a central control over code which free software licenses should prevent. For more info, see This commentary on the GNU site [gnu.org].

    • by plaa (29967)
      ... the GPL policy [which I understand to be, if you modify the code, your modifications have to be open source and GPLed and anyone should be allowed to use them]

      Slight correction, which is often forgotten: If you modify the code and distribute the resulting program, you have to make it GPL. If you don't distribute the stuff, there's no requirement to make the changes available. I believe this is actually a requirement of the Free Software and/or Open Source definition (though I'm not absolutely sure).
  • Money Making (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Farley Mullet (604326) on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:10AM (#4168382)

    This might be a bit redundant, but it seems to me that the most interesting thing about all this is that Apple seems to have hit on a business model that actually makes money off open source software. First came OSX, which isn't really much more of a modifed PPC port of FreeBSD (Darwin) with a wicked nice (and nicely engineered) GUI (Aqua) slapped on top. Now we have Rendezvous, where Apple is making their implementation of an open standard open source, in hopes that its broad adoption will encourage people to buy Apple's software. Imagine what these guys could do with Ogg. . .

    So maybe the moral of the story is this:

    1. Find a niche for an open source project (using BSD to give MacOS solid underpinnings)
    2. Add value by adding high-quality proprietary elements (Aqua) by making use of your existing strengths (GUI design)
    3. Give back to the community (Darwin)
    4. Profit?

    Of course, you can't attribute all (or even most) of Apple's financial success to their OSS endeavours, but (and I speak from personal experience here) OSX has changed Macs from cute little toys to a viable and intiguing alternative to x86 hardware. And if Rendezvous takes off, not only will it be a boon for the community, but Apple could do quite nicely as well. In the end though, Apple might be a pretty unique case: Apple is primarily a hadware vendor, and Apple's involvement with OSS primarily adds value to the hardware it sells (I'll buy a TiBook because it's the only game in town for running OSX), and there aren't a heck of a lot of hardware vendors who are in a position to duplicate what Apple is doing.
    • First came OSX, which isn't really much more of a modifed PPC port of FreeBSD (Darwin) with a wicked nice (and nicely engineered) GUI (Aqua) slapped on top.

      Thanks for enlightening me. I was under the mistaken impression that the only FreeBSD stuff in the Darwin kernel was the filesystem and network code (and a bit more, I'm oversimplifying). I somehow got the idea that it had a completely different driver model (IOKit) and a completely different core (Mach). Silly me thought most of it came from NeXT. Boy, was I ever wrong! Thanks!

      • Re:Money Making (Score:2, Interesting)

        ZigMonty wrote:

        > I was under the mistaken impression that the only
        > FreeBSD stuff in the Darwin kernel was the
        > filesystem and network code (and a bit more, I'm
        > oversimplifying). I somehow got the idea that it
        > had a completely different driver model (IOKit)
        > and a completely different core (Mach). Silly me
        > thought most of it came from NeXT.

        Apple has a good explanation of Darwin here (http://www.apple.com/macosx/technologies/darwin.h tml):

        >> Darwin is a complete BSD UNIX implementation,
        >> derived from the original 4.4BSD-Lite2 Open
        >> Source distribution. Darwin uses a monolithic
        >> kernel based on FreeBSD 3.2 and the OSF/mk Mach 3,
        >> combining BSD's POSIX support with the
        >> fine-grained multithreading and real-time
        >> performance of Mach. Darwin also provides a
        >> complete shell environment based primarily on
        >> NetBSD 1.4

        Or another way to put it:

        Darwin, child of NeXT, combines the best of all BSDs, with the finest kitchen sink money can buy thrown in for good measure. ;)

        "Heart can reach where hand cannot. Climb over any wall..."
        Mothra (via Moll) "Mothra 3: King Ghidora Attacks"
    • Re:Money Making (Score:3, Informative)

      This might be a bit redundant, but it seems to me that the most interesting thing about all this is that Apple seems to have hit on a business model that actually makes money off open source software.

      Indeed they have. They write their own OS but use parts of open source code to make their work easier, then sell their proprietary OS on top of proprietary hardware. Remember Apple make most of their money out of hardware, not software.

      There seems to be a common misconception that somehow MacOS is really an open source OS with some closed artwork/widget toolkit on top. Er, no. In fact, the vast majority of OS X is closed source. The kernel is open, but all the rest, the graphics/widget toolkit, the Cocoa APIs, Quartz, the finder, the applets, the dock, in short most of what makes MacOS X MacOS and not UNIX is closed source.

      Making money out of open source code is easy. You just take somebodies code, don't tell them and use it in your own product. Voila, work saved, money made. See the company that ripped off the XVid guys for an example (except they got caught).

      What's hard is actually making your own products open source (entirely open source) and still making money. RedHat manage it. CodeWeavers manage it. Apple do tell people when they use their code (well, mostly, G-Force anybody?) and they do contribute code back. However, their software is not in fact open source. It's hardly a revolutionary business model.

      Mod me as a troll if you like, but that doesn't make my points any less valid.

  • And yet again, we see a reimplementation of something that ITS and lispms had (in this case, through CHAOS).
  • This is great and all, but will it let iDVD automatically detect my non-SuperDrive DVD burner?

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