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FSF's Opinion of the Apple Public Source License

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  • And?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tbien (28401) * on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:05AM (#6653367) Homepage
    Since when does the FSF recommend other software licenses then the GPL? Even the LGPL isn't recommended.
    • Re:And?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:15AM (#6653406)
      If you create a license which is compatible semantically with the GPL, then the FSF will approve it.
      Besides, I'm pretty sure that if you find out flaws in the GPL, or devise a new license including ideas that the FSF didn't think of, the FSF will certainly consider these ideas, and eventually include them in the GPL if they are valid.
      • I'm not sure man. It seems to me that sometimes the FSF is deliberately vague about what parts of the GPL mean, and won't answer straight up questions about them. Maybe that's just lawyer life but I find it pretty annoying - their license is safe by keeping it obscure.
        • Can you give a specific example of their vagueness? (I am making a joke, yes, but I also would like a specific example of them being deliberately evasive.)
        • Vague? (Score:2, Informative)

          by hummassa (157160)
          Have you ever gone to the GPL FAQ? [gnu.org] and found anything you think is vague not clarified there?
        • ...deserves more cheering than they got for the improvements which have been made.

          Sure, Apple are at heart more or less as greedy and controlling as the next company, but consider how much of MS-Windows, OS/400 or Solaris has been distributed on terms anything like as good as these. Then can you tell me that a step forward hasn't been made here?

          I believe that FSF are right to point out the remaining deficiencies in the licence, but they really could have put more effort into thanking Apple for coming to the party as much as they have.

          Here's a suggestion for the FSF: set up a Corporate Heroes page, and put stuff like OpenVMS, OpenOffice.org and so on which has been GPLed by a corporation up in there in big print with links and logos. Then add a link to an "honourable mentions" page which mentions (in fine print, no logos) efforts like Apple's which are incomplete or grudging, but yet are progress in the right direction. ANy who care will get the hint. (-:

    • Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      From http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html we see that FSF "...recommend[s] it[the LGPL] for special circumstances only." There are quite a few other licenses on that page, the Perl license, the X11 license, etc., which FSF reccomends. More specifically FSF reccomends that you use a license which makes your work "free software" as defined here http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.
    • Remember Ogg Vorbis? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dido (9125) <dido@@@imperium...ph> on Saturday August 09, 2003 @05:24AM (#6653567)

      Ahem. The FSF actually recommended that the Ogg Vorbis toolkit remain under a BSD license, rather than insisting that it go GPL. This was all done, apparently, with Richard M. Stallman's blessing! Yes folks, RMS actually encouraged the Xiphophorous [xiph.org] people to use the BSD license rather than the GPL! The story here [slashdot.org].

      In response to the change of license, Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation says, "I agree. It is wise to make some of the Ogg Vorbis code available for use in proprietary software, so that commercial companies doing proprietary software will use it, and help Vorbis succeed in competition with other formats that would be restricted against our use."

      No, the FSF does not recommend exclusive use of the GPL at all times. They can encourage use of other more permissive free licenses if they believe that it will aid the cause of Free Software.

      • Also, this document [gnu.org] states:

        When you work on the core of X, on programs such as the X server, Xlib, and Xt, there is a practical reason not to use copyleft. The XFree86 group does an important job for the community in maintaining these programs, and the benefit of copylefting our changes would be less than the harm done by a fork in development. So it is better to work with the XFree86 group and not copyleft our changes on these programs. Likewise for utilities such as xset and xrdb, which are close to th

      • The FSF actually recommended that the Ogg Vorbis toolkit remain under a BSD license, rather than insisting that it go GPL.

        No, no, no. They did not "recommend" it at all... RMS begrudgingly accepted it, no more.

        They can encourage use of other more permissive free licenses if they believe that it will aid the cause of Free Software.

        And thoses are incredibly rare cases.
        • by dido (9125)

          I have to correct myself a bit here. The Ogg Vorbis toolkit was originally licensed under the GPL, from what I remember, and they later shifted to a BSD-style license, which move was not begrudgingly accepted by RMS and the rest of the Free Software Foundation. They actively encouraged the move, IIRC, as Ogg Vorbis is a technologically superior format unencumbered by patents, unlike the dominant MP3 format, for which a legal codec would be impossible for Free Software (LAME and Bladeenc are legally a gray

    • Circular reasoning (Score:5, Insightful)

      by commodoresloat (172735) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @05:38AM (#6653592)
      I love #3:
      • It is not a true copyleft, because it allows linking with other files which may be entirely proprietary.
      • It is unfair, since it requires you to give Apple rights to your changes which Apple will not give you for its code.
      • It is incompatible with the GPL.

      So, basically, it's incompatible with the GPL because it's incompatible with the GPL. But it gets better:
      Aside from this, we must remember that only part of Mac OS X is being released under the APSL. Even though the fatal flaws of the APSL were fixed, and even if the practical problems were addressed, that does no good for the other parts of Mac OS X whose source code is not being released at all. We must not judge all of a company by just part of what they do.
      First of all, who said anything about judging a company? The issue here is whether a particular license is useful for the free software community, not whether Apple will go to corporate heaven. You can't say the APSL is flawed because Apple doesn't use the APSL for all its software. Obviously Apple is being strategic about what license it chooses for which products (and Apple stockholders probably prefer it that way). It doesn't mean the free software community can't acknowledge positive developments about Apple licensing, even if it's not ideal for everyone.
    • Since when does the FSF recommend other software licenses then the GPL? Even the LGPL isn't recommended.

      The LGPL is not always recommended, but it can be [gnu.org]. I'm not sure if what you're saying is meant to suggest the FSF is blinded to anything but the GNU GPL (version 2 as I write this) or if you appreciate the obstacles involved and understand their goals and strategies.

      The FSF has okayed use of non-copylefted free software licenses in some instances (I vaguely recall them saying Xiph's approach with

  • by MrFreak (204353) <sloppy@@@sloppydisk...com> on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:05AM (#6653368) Homepage
    Its a hell of a lot better than the old license. And its not like developers working with Darwin have much of a choice. I mean, who is going to use the APSL on a non Apple derived product?
    • I mean, who is going to use the APSL on a non Apple derived product?

      What about their 'Rendezvouz' specification? What about AAC, if they decide to release it under APSL? Numerous others I can think of.

      Apple (and other commercial entities) need to realise they're better off supporting GPL than writing their own licenses. Else, let them fight it out with SCO, Microsoft et al, and see what market share that gets them.

      -
    • by Ben Escoto (446292) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:35AM (#6653450)
      Exactly. Everyone is dumping on the Free Software Foundation for no reason again. The FSF says that the APSL is a free software license (a high form of praise indeed coming from the FSF), but that it is somewhat unfair to users, mainly because it gives Apple rights that other users don't. Thus it recommends that the licensed not be used for new products.

      This seems entirely reasonable to me. FSF is telling people not to use the APSL because they will be giving some of their rights to Apple. Duh! No one would do this anyway.

      Slashdot: say something obvious and get flamed for it.
      • Exactly. Everyone is dumping on the Free Software Foundation for no reason again. The FSF says that the APSL is a free software license (a high form of praise indeed coming from the FSF), but that it is somewhat unfair to users, mainly because it gives Apple rights that other users don't. Thus it recommends that the licensed not be used for new products.

        This seems entirely reasonable to me. FSF is telling people not to use the APSL because they will be giving some of their rights to Apple. Duh! No one woul
      • Duh! No one would do this anyway.

        Unless they wanted to work for Apple. Or friends of Apple. IANAP(rogrammer), but I would think that if the APSL meant work and the GPL didn't, the differences in "freedom" between the two licenses aren't significant enough for the FSF to make you feel guilty using the one that gets you paid.

    • by TrentC (11023) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @11:50AM (#6654709) Homepage
      Its a hell of a lot better than the old license. And its not like developers working with Darwin have much of a choice. I mean, who is going to use the APSL on a non Apple derived product?

      Heh. The FSF has this to say about the original BSD license; I suspect you would see the same thing happen with APSL2-licensed stuff...

      There are many variants of simple non-copyleft free software licenses, including the X10 license, the X11/XFree86 license, the FreeBSD license, and the two BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) licenses. Most of them are equivalent except for details of wording, but the license used for BSD until 1999 had a special problem: the ``obnoxious BSD advertising clause''. It said that every advertisement mentioning the software must include a particular sentence:

      3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:
      This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.


      Initially the obnoxious BSD advertising clause was used only in the Berkeley Software Distribution. That did not cause any particular problem, because including one sentence in an ad is not a great practical difficulty.

      If other developers who used BSD-like licenses had copied the BSD advertising clause verbatim--including the sentence that refers to the University of California--then they would not have made the problem any bigger.

      But, as you might expect, other developers did not copy the clause verbatim. They changed it, replacing ``University of California'' with their own institution or their own names. The result is a plethora of licenses, requiring a plethora of different sentences.


      When people put many such programs together in an operating system, the result is a serious problem. Imagine if a software system required 75 different sentences, each one naming a different author or group of authors. To advertise that, you would need a full-page ad.

      This might seem like extrapolation ad absurdum, but it is actual fact. NetBSD comes with a long list of different sentences, required by the various licenses for parts of the system. In a 1997 version of NetBSD, I counted 75 of these sentences. I would not be surprised if the list has grown by now.
      [Remember, this was written in 1998; this has obviously not happened.]

      Jay (=
  • doh (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Gherald (682277)
    Dupe! [slashdot.org]
    • Nope. That was saying it's approved, this is saying they still don't like it even though it's approved. More of a Slashback issues IMO, but oh well.
  • by DwarfGoanna (447841) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:07AM (#6653376)
    Apple is a commercial software/hardware company.


    We can hope that they are cool about being open (I think they have been, for the most part). But who really expects them to be Free?

    • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:30AM (#6653436)
      But who really expects them to be Free?

      RMS and the FSF. Then again, the GNU/Hippy crowd often reminds me of a greedy, petulent child. When MacOS was completely proprietary, Apple was evil for not letting the code roam free in wild fields as it is apparently entitled to. When Apple opened up some code, they were chastisted for not opening it in the manner that the FSF demands... err, politely asks. Now Apple has changed its license to appease the FSF, but the first thing the FSF does is spout off about how the changes aren't good enough, and even if they were Apple would still be condemned for not opening up all of OS X.

      Frankly, I think Steve should tell RMS to shove it. Apple has already given back a lot of code (ZeroConf, KHTML updates, etc.), but the FSF is never going to be happy. Apple should just continue to make jobs for lots of developers and make quality products, be they proprietary or open source.
      • Um, have you ever read the philosophy pages [gnu.org] at gnu.org? Of course RMS won't be satisfied until all software is free. It's like expecting human rights organizations to stop complaining because only two political dissidents are executed per day, instead of ten. (For the logically challanged: no, I'm not comparing releasing proprietary software with killing dissidents).
    • Maybe you haven't heard of some commercial software companies such as Red Hat. Apple would actually even have an advantage here because it's not only a software company, the hardware is a very significant part of the whole package. (Writing this on an Apple iBook running GNU/Linux, btw) Saying that Apple is a commercial software/hardware company doesn't really reveal anything that should force us reconsider our expectations from Apple.

      I don't know who expects them to give their users freedom. I haven't rea
      • by Senjaz (188917) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @06:00AM (#6653627) Homepage
        You have a funny idea of what constitutes the "vast majority" of an OS if you reckon that most of Apple's OS is closed.

        Most of it is in fact open source, Darwin is a complete OS in it's own right. What Apple have chosen not to release into open source is their window client/server Quartz which is understandable if you ask me and a whole load of Apps that ship with the commercial OS which aren't actually part of the OS iTunes, iMovie, etc. The other notable exception that springs to mind is QuickTime, but that would be pretty useless anyway unless the community licensed the Sorensen and MPEG4 codecs used to play and create it's content.

        Now maybe you think that Apple can survive like Redhat, the whole PC market in this case only supports that company of ~600 employees (http://www.redhat.com/about/presscenter/presskit/ fact_sheet.html). How long do you reckon that business model is going to support a company with ~12,000 employees? (http://news.com.com/2100-1040_3-978535.html, those are 2001 figures - I can't be bothered to look through Apple's SEC filings to find out exactly how many employees they currently have)

        Now maybe you're just a troll or maybe you're just an impulse poster. Sometimes I wish people would think a little before they post.
        • Sometimes I wish people would think a little before they post.

          That would ruin all the fun.

        • I happen to think that the complete graphical user interface and pretty much every Apple-developed tool within it is no small part of an OS to have proprietary. It's a component that is absolutely needed for an modern OS. And I don't think it stops there. In any case, the graphical user interface is plenty to justify calling OS X non-free.

          You say that you understand Apple's decision to keep Quartz non-free. Care to elaborate? They build on a lots of important software components that are free software and
        • FWIW, Darwin is a very, very, small part of OS X.

          If you don't believe me, try and find the device drivers for DVD and CD burners in Darwin. Other than generic IDE *access*, they do not exist. The entire DiscRecording framework is a closed part of OS X.

          ...which is a pain, because the entire thing is tied to specific products, so if you want to get a driver for an unsupported but entirely standard and generic CD burner, you end up having to use a hex editor and a lot of patience (seriosuly, check out xlr8

      • Redhat is not a commercial software companies. They are a consultent company who also package software so they have something to consult.
    • It would be most beneficial to consumers if all of their software used open standards. Imagine if Microsoft Office used a set of open document formats, for instance.

      I use Apple's products partly to manage a lot of my personal data, like my address book. If I had no way of using this data with other software, I'd be pretty screwed if Apple fell of the face of the Earth. I think that's more important than whether or not the Address Book is an open source package.

      That is all I'd really hope from a commerc
    • by commodoresloat (172735) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @06:04AM (#6653636)
      Apple is a commercial software/hardware company.

      You mean, they're not the last bulwark against the brutal tyranny of OS imperialism? Then why were they throwing that hammer at that TV???!!

  • Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kethinov (636034) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:08AM (#6653381) Homepage Journal
    they don't recommend it. They have an "our's is better!" mentality. Would you recommend something that competes with you?
  • This is no big deal (Score:3, Informative)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:09AM (#6653385) Journal
    They have all sorts of Free Software Liscences they recomend against.

    Even a handful of Copy-lefted ones.

    This is essentially a copy left for everyone escept Apple, who gets BSD like (from the FSF comments, I couldn't find that in the actual liscense though).

    practically every non GPL compatible Copy-Left on their site says "though it is OK to use this software we recomend against using the liscense for new software".

    And all the BSDish ones recomend using the X11 liscense instead. I don't see how this is news one bit.
  • by Calibax (151875) * on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:09AM (#6653386)
    I guess that Michael needs to learn to review previous stories - this story, complete with the details about FSF approving but not recommending it, was covered in an article three days ago.

    In any case, I can't really imagine the FSF recommending any license other than their very own GPL, now the darling of IBM and the open source movement in general. Not that it isn't deserving of this adoration, as it may have saved Linux from SCO.
  • It's Just an Opinion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:11AM (#6653391)
    I don't think this truly matters very much. Three objections to a software licence has to be well below average. I don't see a problem with points one and three. Yes, it may link to proprietary code, and yes, it's not GPL compatible, but those seem to be minor points, if at all. Perhaps the second point, that Apple gives itself right to changes you make in the code, but not vice versa. However, it is Apple Corporation's code. Apple would have a very tough time surviving if it's code or an ISO image was free for download off of a server. Most of its value is in the OS, not the hardware. Although it is nice and shiny, just expensive.
    • Apple would have a very tough time surviving if it's code or an ISO image was free for download off of a server. Most of its value is in the OS, not the hardware.

      I don't think so; its real value is the elegant combination of the two. I think it would be huge - and profitable - if Apple embraced open source fully and released all of OSX under GPL. I don't think it would hurt them at all, and programmers would flock to the platform. But it ain't gonna happen.

      • I think it would be huge - and profitable - if Apple embraced open source fully and released all of OSX under GPL.

        This would be nice, if it wasn't for the minor problem that porting projects for OS to i386 would emerge instantly. And that would kill Apple.

        Insofar I think it's a little bit off from the FSF to critizice Apple for not doing what would eventually mean corporate suicide.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:12AM (#6653396)
    I'm confused! am I meant to like apple or hate apple today? OSX is good... but the license is bad... but then the license is good... now the license is bad...

    I can't help feeling the Apple license over OSX is a bit better than the SCO license over Linux :)

    (yes. it was a joke)
  • Nothing suprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lateralus (582425) <yoni-r@a[ ]om.com ['ctc' in gap]> on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:13AM (#6653400) Journal

    I'm happy that the FSF are considering other licenses for discussion, this can only be a Good Thing and foster the exchange of opinions in the community (this /. article for example).

    I would not be too surprised if they do not recommend it. Even from a business point of view they have the most substantial investments in the GPL.

  • by Valar (167606) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:19AM (#6653414)
    might as well piss off some more people.
    Disclaimer:I own an iBook.

    Yes, Apple's liscense isn't really the most free of them all. This is because Apple's primary motivations in using Open Source solutions are to: a)harness the man power and combined talent of the open source movement to aide their own software, thus making profit from software they would otherwise have to write themselves :) b)sell to the open source crowd. Face it, how many /. geeks would have bought anything Apple before OS X and Darwin came out? It's cool now though. Admittedly, that's kind of what made me get my iBook...

    So maybe we have a new category: free as in, you're free to help Apple.
    • by spectecjr (31235) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @05:28AM (#6653579) Homepage
      Yes, Apple's liscense isn't really the most free of them all. This is because Apple's primary motivations in using Open Source solutions are to: a)harness the man power and combined talent of the open source movement to aide their own software, thus making profit from software they would otherwise have to write themselves :) b)sell to the open source crowd. Face it, how many /. geeks would have bought anything Apple before OS X and Darwin came out? It's cool now though. Admittedly, that's kind of what made me get my iBook...

      So maybe we have a new category: free as in, you're free to help Apple.


      Funny... I don't see it that way.

      The way I see it is this:

      Apple wanted to use a mature kernel for their OS. So they used it. As a mark of respect and good faith to the Open Source community whose work they used, they decided to release the changes they made (which they were not obliged to) back to the community. The caveats they added ensure that they can use any derivatives of the work which they did, and that their true intellectual property (the Mac GUI and libraries) which they've spent 20 years developing remains theirs. (Otherwise, if the license was true GPL, they'd have to release all of their other work under the GPL as well).

      So their license limits their involvement to the changes to the kernel. They don't want to release their GUI under a 'free'* license? Good for them. They don't have to. They were acting in good faith, and that should be the end of it.

      Simon
      * I use 'free' in quotes, lowercase, because I highly disagree with the FSF's definition of 'free'. Particularly because the only license which meets that description is not a license at all - it's called Public Domain.
      • Apple wanted to use a mature kernel for their OS. So they used it. As a mark of respect and good faith to the Open Source community whose work they used, they decided to release the changes they made (which they were not obliged to) back to the community.

        I once read an interview with Hubbard, one of the former top coders on the FreeBSD project. He revealed some interesting things, for instance:

        * The only code FreeBSD got out of Apple were some minor bugfixes/style changes and some test cases.

        * He wa

      • * I use 'free' in quotes, lowercase, because I highly disagree with the FSF's definition of 'free'. Particularly because the only license which meets that description is not a license at all - it's called Public Domain.

        The GPL was specifically designed to be the very definition of free...

        The FSF/RMS would say it's free as in "You will always be free to use it", but it's really 'free' as in "You are free to with it exactly what we say you can do with it."

        Instead of worrying about all the words they've re-

    • You raise a good point. Is there actually much community participation in Darwin development?

      I haven't heard of many features or bugs in Darwin being fixed outside of Apple.

      So, anyone have any good stories for how the open source parts of Darwin are being used?
  • A couple of points (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arvindn (542080) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:20AM (#6653415) Homepage Journal
    Aside from this, we must remember that only part of Mac OS X is being released under the APSL. Even though the fatal flaws of the APSL were fixed, and even if the practical problems were addressed, that does no good for the other parts of Mac OS X whose source code is not being released at all. We must not judge all of a company by just part of what they do.

    Remind me, since when did companies have a legal or ethical obligation to release the source for any of their work? Apple is certainly a friend of the open source community, since they pay people to write OSS. This "all your code are belong to us" ideological BS isn't going to help anyone.

    Note that "does not recommend APSL 2.0 for new software" != "APSL is bad". The FSF is against almost all licenses other than (L)GPL, including (especially?) BSD. What this means is that if you are writing OSS, then the GPL is your best chance to ensure that your work will always be Free. However, this does not mean that if someone distributes software under some other OSS license, then their intent is to screw you over.

    • Remind me, since when did companies have a legal or ethical obligation to release the source for any of their work?

      You're missing that Gnu is an organization which is all about ethics. You could just as well say, "Since when did lawyers have an ethical obligation to work pro bono?" but there are lawyer groups who do this for ethical reasons. I've known some who felt obliged to do this with their lives.
    • Remind me, since when did companies have a legal or ethical obligation to release the source for any of their work?

      There are legal cases where companies had an obligation to release the source of their work, but this is because of licensing agreements (building off of GPL'd code for example).

      However ethically I think you are missing the entire point of the FSF. The FSF believes that software companies have an ethical responsibility to include the source to programs they sell in the case they go out of bu
  • Have to wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:24AM (#6653426)
    I admit that I have very little understanding of the open source/free software side of the computing world, but I would think that any company trying to mold their business model around such a movement (whether done in an ideal manner or not) would be embraced. I wonder how much longer it will be before Apple finally tires of the carping from the open source/free software community and just goes the route of... ahem... other companies and just starts "borrowing" code from open source for their own use without any intention of trying to give back.

  • by ReciprocityProject (668218) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:32AM (#6653442) Homepage Journal
    Apple's model of mixing open source and proprietary software is an effective idea.

    After all, no hacker wants to idle away his time polishing the mundane details of a user interface. I sure as hell don't want to, but I might if someone paid me. Why not let hackers build the fascinating technologies, open source them, and then let companies pay people (and make money) off of polished user interfaces? We hackers will always have our own (unpolished) interfaces, so we aren't tied down. Granted, the user interfaces are going to have all the problems of close source software - bugs that we can't fix, ect - but it seems like a very reasonable compromise.

    Anyway think whatever you want, this model is the one that will carry the most real-world punch in the years to come. The 2.0 is just symbolic of Apple's intention to play the game.
    • OS X doesn't just have a proprietary UI. Even if it did, having a non-free UI won't just affect UI designers. There's a lot that a hacker could want to play with in there. How much of XFree86 is UI design? - all the important stuff is done in KDE/GNOME and you're not saying those are just UI design are you? You're seriously confusing things here.

      That said, while the classic hacker is a coder, there can just as well be UI hackers. Hacker isn't necessarily a word only restricted to coding.
  • Is it just me or ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Heartz (562803) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:33AM (#6653445) Homepage
    does anybody else notice that does not recommend APSL 2.0 for new software does not mean APSL is EVIL.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:48AM (#6653479)
    Ahem:
    The problems described in this page are still potential issues for other possible licenses, but they do not apply to version 2.0 of the APSL.
  • by iamacat (583406) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:49AM (#6653480)
    Apple, IBM and a handful of other companies heavily invested in Open Source and gave a lot of their work back to public. Granted, they are out to make money, but they still took a big risk and huge number of users got free (both as in speech and as in beer) stuff without paying them a cent.

    I wish FSF would spend more time to promote current leaders of open source and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. But all I see on their page is critisism:

    Aside from this, we must remember that only part of Mac OS X is being released under the APSL. Even though the fatal flaws of the APSL were fixed, and even if the practical problems were addressed, that does no good for the other parts of Mac OS X whose source code is not being released at all. We must not judge all of a company by just part of what they do.

    So basically, they are more interested in "ideological purity" than promoting realistic progress towards their goal. This is fine as a PHD thesis of some MIT student. But it does show that RMS/FSF are worthless as a realistic leader of today's free software movement. The question is, who and which organizations are up to the task?
    • From your 'quote'
      We must not judge all of a company by just part of what they do.

      I think you need to thank the FSF for highlighting this fact. No one in their right minds would say Apple is doing illegal things by hiring programmers to write OSS, but the fact remains that Appleware must not be mistaken for Freeware.

      If Apple were to get sidelined and their market share dwindles (I hear they have about 1.5% now, and operate in less than 6 countries), they might try to do a SCO. And then all hell breaks l
    • Apple, IBM and a handful of other companies heavily invested in Open Source and gave a lot of their work back to public. Granted, they are out to make money, but they still took a big risk and huge number of users got free (both as in speech and as in beer) stuff without paying them a cent.

      Companies are out there for one thing: to make money. They are taking the risk to release their software under the Open Source license to make MORE money (by getting some of "their" programmers to work for free). I don'
    • I wish FSF would spend more time to promote current leaders of open source and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. But all I see on their page is critisism:

      The FSF won't promote anything "open source" -- it's the Free Software Foundation. But anyway, you want the FSF to help promote leaders of FOSS (Free/Open Source Software) projects? I guess that might sound cool, and they do in their own little way with the annual Free Software Awards. However, this isn't what the FSF is for. The FSF provi

    • So basically, they are more interested in "ideological purity" than promoting realistic progress towards their goal.

      Their goal, AFAIK, is to give computer users freedom by making sure that everyone can run free software - not just some free software, but entirely free software. The operating system by itself is not enough, but it seemed like a good place to start. Given that goal, they seem to promote realistic progrses towards it and to act practically in pursuit of it.

      But it does show that RMS/FSF

    • by Dashmon (669814) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @06:51AM (#6653709)
      First of all, the FSF does not promote Open Source at all. They're called the Free Software Foundation, and there's a difference between the two. They're job is to be objective, not to kiss the asses of companies that want in on a movement that's not theirs at all (the open source one).

      If all you see on their page is criticism, you need to get a grip, or you're clearly biased. They call the APSL Free. That is very, very positive. Anything that's free is not evil, from the FSF's point of view. It is, however, not smart to use it. That is TRUE. It grants Apple some important rights that you don't get. I wouldn't want to use that kind of license if I didn't have to, and I'm sure many people think the same. You should THANK the FSF for being objective like this, instead of convering it up just to please Apple.

      Thirdly, the FSF is the one institute that CAN lead the free software movement (note: I said FS, not OSS). Why? Because they ARE idealistic and they do NOT make compromises to kiss megacorp ass. If you start out with a compromise, you'll end up with nothing. Cheers to the FSF for remaining completely true to their goals.
    • I wish FSF would spend more time to promote current leaders of open source and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

      The last thing we need is for more companies to act like Apple or TransGaming, who think that turning code into proprietary products and "giving back" by doing enormous (and inconvenient) patch dumps is good enough.

      There are many companies out there that really are fully paid up members of the community, and who work to ensure it remains healthy. By contrast, if we all ended up u

      • By contrast, if we all ended up using a partly open source OS, we'd have got essentially nowhere - it'd be Windows all over again.

        Beggers can't be choosers.

        Apple isn't under any obligation to release any of their source code under any license.

        But, instead of keeping everything propritary, they do give away a good chunk of their work, and what do they get??? Criticism from the FSF and people like yourself who complain that they aren't giving enough.

        Besides, nobody is suggesting you use Mac OS X... Mayb

    • I wish FSF would spend more time to promote current leaders of open source and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

      I agree with this statement, except I must point out that the FSF objects to lenient perspective of Open Source (vs Free Software). FSF's historically justified fear is that Open Source can be undermined and eventually become mostly closed. FSF injects a little preventative kick into the GPL to prevent this. It seems that most Open Source developers understand this fear, which i

  • FSF doesn't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:54AM (#6653488)
    This is a double post story, but I saw one particularly insightful comment [slashdot.org] from the last one (that I did not make) which I would like to re-iterate over here.

    Thanks to Llywelyn [slashdot.org]:

    My experience from reading GNU's work is that they aren't terribly fond of anything that isn't GNU.

    From that webpage:

    -------------
    The FSF now considers the APSL to be a free software license with three major practical problems, reminiscent of the NPL:

    *It is not a true copyleft, because it allows linking with other files which may be entirely proprietary.

    *It is unfair, since it requires you to give Apple rights to your changes which Apple will not give you for its code.

    *It is incompatible with the GPL.
    -------------

    Let's go over these point by point.

    >*It is not a true copyleft, because it allows linking with
    >other files which may be entirely proprietary.

    So does BSD. This does not, in my book, qualify as a "major practical problem."

    >It is unfair, since it requires you to give Apple rights to
    >your changes which Apple will not give you for its code.

    Yes, it requires this. I'm not sure why this makes it "unfair" though: this seems like more of a "legal cover our asses" clause on Apple's part so that they can use the changes elsewhere.

    >It is incompatible with the GPL.

    Would someone look up the definition of "circular reasoning"?

    It seems, from everything I've seen come out of GNU, that they fit every definition of "Zealots". They almost seem to be *reaching* for something bad to say about the license simply because a proprietary software company is behind it.
  • by nsuttitinagul (318095) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @04:59AM (#6653501) Homepage
    Let's consider everything in context. It's true that the FSF does not completely approve of Apple's 2.0 license. It's true that Apple does not make their entire OS source code available in any form, let alone under GPL.

    Still, it is an improvement over the more restrictive license earlier, and much, much better than the days before Jobs' return from NeXT. At that time, none of the source code was available.

    Furthermore, I think this is a Good Thing. A commercial vendor releasing the source code to any central part of their operating system was unheard of years ago. Sun and Microsoft have yet to do this; complaints about Apple's specific license are paltry in comparison to the strict use of binaries in place in other operating systems.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2003 @06:03AM (#6653633)
    I find it incredible that all the posters to the SCO stories say how terrible the land grab is and yet here, the majority of posters are criticical of the FSF for endeavouring to prevent that kind of nonsense from happening again. I don't pay too close attention to people's usernames so there may be a completely different demographic contributing to both stories but I suggest that those posting here get out their history books and start reading. You may then understand why the "idealogy" of the FSF is so important and precious.
  • by tm2b (42473) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @06:39AM (#6653688) Journal
    In a Linux Journal editorial [linuxjournal.com] a few years back, Eric Hughes (of the Cypherpunks) put it very well:
    "I still can't figure out how the claim that the GNU Public License encourages free speech is not utterly disingenuous. The GPL is the opposite of free speech; it's a highly detailed copyright agreement with the purpose of restricting the expression of derivative works."
  • From the GNU.org page: "It is unfair, since it requires you to give Apple rights to your changes which Apple will not give you for its code."

    And how is this any better than Microsoft's "shared source" idea, where all the changes get sucked one way?

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @07:50AM (#6653823) Journal
    It is not a true copyleft, because it allows linking with other files which may be entirely proprietary.

    As is every other license on the planet... The GPL is pretty much the only exception.

    It is unfair, since it requires you to give Apple rights to your changes

    Fair enough, that's one big red check-mark.

    It is incompatible with the GPL.

    That's being quite hypocritical there. Their policy is that software released under every other license should be able to be GPL'd, but it's fine that, once GPL'd, it can't be used with software under any other license... Really, really one-sided guys.

    Of course, if that was a problem, they could very well change the GPL now couldn't they??? No, they'd rather have the rest of the world change to what they want.
  • Why is it that whenever a story that has anything to do with RMS comes out, it ends up in a huge bashing section?

    If Linux kernel was not GPL and was instead BSD, it would be far easier for SCO to hijack it than it is now.

    All of the counter-lawsuits against SCO so far are pointing out that SCO distributed their own distro of Linux and hence are bound by the GPL.

  • by feldsteins (313201) <scott@scottfelds t e in.net> on Saturday August 09, 2003 @08:42AM (#6653907) Homepage
    All of this just goes to show that there are people in the hippie free software movement who will never, ever accept or approve of anything less than total compliance with their GPL license. If a company doesn't use GPL licensing for their software: evil. If they use it for one product and not another: evil. If they use free software licensing for some of their stuff while their competitors use totally proprietary licensing: they're even more evil because they're just trying to appear like they aren't evil. But they are.

    I think GNU-Linux and the open source and free software movmement is an incredible thing that should be encouraged and nurtured. I cheer at their successes. I use Linux both at work and at home. Yay for them. For us all. But I think this community can clearly go too far in what it expects/demands of proprietary software development companies who try to adopt open source principles.

    Apparently releasing half your software under an open source license isn't any better than releasing none of it. It's all seen as some sort of subterfugue, an attempt to "dupe" the open source community into thinking the company is "cool." You people need to chill the hell out and realize who your friends and allies are.
  • by Zebra_X (13249) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @10:46AM (#6654334)
    that holds so much weight in the software development community, the "recommendation" by Bradley Kuhn was rather terse. Moreover, his argument was not well-supported. His relase read more as if he was simply bashing Apple's license. The first half of Bradley's statement reads as if he is supporting the new version of the AFSL. Statements such as "The APSL 2.0, like the Affero GPL, seeks to defend the freedom...". Two thirds of the way through his statement we are hit with three bullet points stating why the AFSL is "bad". Prefacing these bullet points is an unlinked reference comparing the AFSL to the NPL. After the bullet points Bradley then goes on to state "For this reason, we recommend you do not release new software using this license". Bradley probably knows a great deal more about the AFSL issue, but such a terse and unelaborated statement against adopting it is irresponsible. Especially coming from a representative of the organization that supposedly worked with Apple's lawyers to draft the new version of the License.

    Furthermore - a company such as apple is in the business of making money. In many ways operating a software business "is incompatible with the GPL." [kuhn]. It's nice to see - for a change - an organization that is at least making an effort to give back some of their innovations to the development community. The only other method of protecting their IP is through patent law, and we know how GNU feels about that [petitiononline.com] (link on GNU's home page)

    Instead of taking such a cynical and negative stance on an effort to change the way the software industry works - why don't we support it?
  • by fiftyvolts (642861) <`moc.stlovytfif' `ta' `aiotm'> on Saturday August 09, 2003 @11:37AM (#6654602) Homepage Journal

    I don't think Apple has any intention of other people releasing their own code under the APSL. The way I look at all of this is that the license is intend to allow people to modify the darwin core of Mac OS X freely, while at the same time provide provisions that protect Apple's non-open improvements.

    Some talk about the provisions that allow Apple to effectively take your code, but when you think about it if you make any great and/or useful modifications you'd probably try to commit them to Apple so everyone could use them, wouldn't you?

    I prefer the ASPL to nothing, and it is undeniable that the source is open. Only the distribution and code ownership is effected.

  • by jazuki (70860) on Saturday August 09, 2003 @06:30PM (#6656655) Homepage
    I'm actually happy both with what Apple has done and with FSF's response.

    I credit Apple with the work they did with FSF to come up with a license that can be called Free, and consider significant the set of software they have released under the license.

    However, I also understand why they haven't release the whole of Mac OS X under the license. While Apple may be mostly a hardware company in terms of revenue, I don't know a lot of Mac users, myself included, who would buy the hardware if it weren't for the software that goes along with it. And who, conversely, would be happy to buy hardware from a different vendor if the software were available for it.

    Thus, though reasonably up to date hardware doesn't hurt, it's the software that keeps the hardware selling. Just imagine where Apple would be if they had to compete with Sony or Dell systems running Mac OS X.

    So, I'm glad Apple keeps some significant things (like Quartz) close to its vest, even though I would love to run Quartz on Linux instead of X11. This is what keeps Apple alive as a company that can continue to be creative and innovative in both hardware and software.

    And, on the other side, I'm glad that FSF is taking the line it is. I think the GPL is a great thing and without it and the contributions RMS and the FSF have brought to both free software and the cause of free software, the software world would be a far more proprietary place today. And I'm grateful that they continue to push this cause, even if in this case this means they would prefer a course of action that I would prefer Apple not to follow.

    So, I like the tension. I'm glad the FSF is the FSF and the hard pull they provide to the cause of Free software. And I'm glad Apple takes a more nuanced and evolutionary approach that helps them survive as a company and the Mac as a compelling platform.

    They both provide an important service, and I think the state of software today would be much poorer without them both. So, Apple and FSF, keep it up. Please.

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