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Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry 268

Posted by samzenpus
from the giving-back dept.
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "Given Apple's status as the world's most valuable company and its enormous cash hoard, the refusal to offer even meager support to open source and industry groups is puzzling. From the article: 'Apple bundles software from the Apache Software Foundation with its OS X operating system, but does not financially support the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in any way. That is in contrast to Google and Microsoft, Apple's two chief competitors, which are both Platinum sponsors of ASF — signifying a contribution of $100,000 annually to the Foundation. Sponsorships range as low as $5,000 a year (Bronze), said Sally Khudairi, ASF's Director of Marketing and Public Relations. The ASF is vendor-neutral and all code contributions to the Foundation are done on an individual basis. Apple employees are frequent, individual contributors to Apache. However, their employer is not, Khudairi noted. The company has been a sponsor of ApacheCon, a for-profit conference that runs separately from the Foundation — but not in the last 10 years. "We were told they didn't have the budget," she said of efforts to get Apple's support for ApacheCon in 2004, a year in which the company reported net income of $276 million on revenue of $8.28 billion.'"
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Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Back To the Tech Industry

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  • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:39AM (#46739769)

    Google doesn't contribute to (insert some random pet project of mine) but apple does.

    Microsoft ONLY does it to gain control, the fact that you mention them hurts your point more than helps it.

    You have selection bias, there isn't actually anything to see here, Apple contributes to just about every OSS project they themselves use themselves in the form of code contributions.

    Just because they aren't buying favors doesn't mean they don't contribute.

    This post will be followed by many people throwing out long lists of Apple products that are OSS and the contributions back to those projects from other posts so I feel no need to bother reposting the various pages that show their contributions but ... LLVM would be a really good place for you to start.

    Selection bias doesn't make your point valid.

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @10:52AM (#46740137)

      Microsoft ONLY does it to gain control, the fact that you mention them hurts your point more than helps it.

      Does Microsoft really control Apache now? Why wasn't this news splashed all over the news sites?

      If I have it wrong, and it is not Apache that the company bought, which open source project did it take control of?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Does anyone have any actual evidence either way? TFA is about one bit of software, and your response doesn't even provide a single example of a project Apple has donated cash to.

  • -1, Flamebait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:40AM (#46739779) Journal

    Does this article exist for any purpose other than fanning the flame?

    Yes, Apple should probably throw some cash at the Apache foundation, but that's not why this was posted to Slashdot.

    • by fche (36607)

      It must be awkward for the ASF/OASIS fundraiser folks to have helped a reporter make it sound like they feel entitled to Apple's charity.

  • Cherries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:41AM (#46739783) Homepage

    So Apache is now is equal to the entire tech industry? Nice title there.

  • I imagine this is due to the influence Jobs had on Apple's culture. It's my understanding he wasn't big on giving money away.

    I think in time we'll see Apple more prone to contributions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:58AM (#46739859)

      It's my understanding he wasn't big on giving money away.

      Well your understanding is wrong. He donated anonymously [dailymail.co.uk].

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm still skeptical, and you posting a link to the daily mail doesn't help your cause as proof. It's one step away from a tabloid, you are aware. Lets look at their front page right now. (yes, this is the American front page, but yeah)

        What does $120M buy you these days
        'I was assigned to her and fell in love': Decorated NYPD officer reveals how she adopted sole survivor of Palm Sunday Massacre thirty years later
        Kate looks blooming lovely in floral at Coachella
        Gisele Bundchen audited by IRS after being name

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @10:06AM (#46739897)

      It's my understanding he wasn't big on giving money away.

      Your understanding is incorrect.

      He didn't like telling everyone about his donations.

      He didn't like doing it to show off or for politics, he preferred to donate to the actual cause, not so other people would think he was a good person.

      He didn't donate so you liked him, he donated to accomplish things.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @10:27AM (#46739997)

        It's my understanding he wasn't big on giving money away.

        Your understanding is incorrect.

        He didn't like telling everyone about his donations.

        He didn't like doing it to show off or for politics, he preferred to donate to the actual cause, not so other people would think he was a good person.

        He didn't donate so you liked him, he donated to accomplish things.

        But still, somehow, you know and it makes him even better in your eyes. Interesting that.

        • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:47AM (#46740535)

          Well, he was a shrewd business man so maybe it was part of his plan.

          Of course, the reason I know is because I get interested in learning more about why people are assholes ... And in this particular case, I found out that he wasn't nearly as bad as the haters want to make it out.

          The organization his wife created ... Many of its employees don't know that she created it nor that she donates massive amounts to it ... Because it was designed from the start to hide her contributes.

          That could be a money laundering scheme of course, but considering the scrutiny you get as a member of the Job family, that would be surprising.

          It's more likely that this is just an extension of the fact that they are very private people.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Antonovich (1354565)

            This is too long, sorry I can't help myself...

            Ok. I'll assume you are an Actually Interested Person and not just a fanboy in disguise. Maybe you can clear up a possible misunderstanding I have with some facts, or at least give a compelling alternative interpretation. I was a fan of Apple until a little after they really took off. Yes, I'm a fan of FOSS, and let's face it, I'm a bit of a Google fanboy. I don't need to hate everyone though, and Microsoft was doing a sterling job of being my pinup demon.

            Then I

        • Why We Know (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          But still, somehow, you know

          We know because people researched the hell out of Jobs, for both good and bad reasons. There are very few things someone as heavily analyzed as Jobs can hide.

          I don't care about Jobs personally, but he seems to have drawn the utter fascination of many - ironically including yourself, or you would not bring him up. How does it feel to have someone you hate controlling your head from beyond the grave anyway? Just curious.

        • by Uberbah (647458) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:32PM (#46740915)

          But still, somehow, you know and it makes him even better in your eyes. Interesting that.

          And just why do you find that interesting? If making himself look better was Jobs's game plan, he would have been public with the donations. What I will find interesting is how much of a dent this makes in the Jobs-never-gave-money-to-charity talking point. Sort of like how you could dig up the Apple -> XEROX stock receipts and it wouldn't make a dent in the "Apple stole from PARC" talking point.

        • by mean pun (717227)

          But still, somehow, you know and it makes him even better in your eyes. Interesting that.

          There can be many reasons why this knowledge became public. Yet you seem to imply one particular reason. Interesting that.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        Then perhaps Apple HAS given back significantly more than we know about?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:56AM (#46739855)

    Why would I contribute to open source, when Apple - and Google - use it to build walled gardens and make millions - billions - of dollars I'll never see a penny of? The exploitation of open source by companies that use it to build products that are the opposite of the open source philosophy - I mean walled gardens - is getting hard to take. You can say that they're free to do whatever they want with open source as long as they comply with the licenses, but that's not my point. What could possibly motivate me to donate my time and skills to making Apple and Google more money? The walled garden is going to destroy open source. The funny thing is no one seems to care. People are abandoning GNU's forced openness and going to licenses that basically let big companies exploit the software any way they want to. I guess the days of principled opposition to what Apple and Google are doing are over.

    • by kthreadd (1558445) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @10:00AM (#46739875)

      You can't stop someone from using the software the way they want. That's an essential part of how free software works.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:08AM (#46740227)

        You can't stop someone from using the software the way they want.

        Yes you can. You can release it under a restrictive license such as the GPL Version 3, then they either cannot legally use it, OR they must distribute the source back.

        You can also choose a GPL-incompatible free software license with even more restrictions, if you like.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by The123king (2395060)
          And that's why i believe the BSD licenses are the most open of all open-source licenses.

          1) Do what the f**k you want with it
          2) If it breaks your stuff, we're not liable
          3)if you want to redistribute it, in any way shape or form, give us credit
          • by mysidia (191772)

            3)if you want to redistribute it, in any way shape or form, give us credit

            Yes... Unfortunately number (3) is a bit lost, for most redistributions of OSes or large software packages that happen to have BSD licensed elements --- there is no meaningful show of credit.

            There used to be an advertising requirement in the original 4-clause BSD license, that would require mention of the developer's organization in advertising material --- but that bit got raped/essentially forced out, mainly due to the GPL

        • by poetmatt (793785) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:25PM (#46741275) Journal

          Not true.

          GPL doesn't restrict people from using the software any way they want. It restricts them from preventing anyone else from using the software any way they want.

          Which matters - let me know how trying to run Apple on non-apple hardware without paying for a license goes, in comparison to a GPL'd OS.

    • People are abandoning GNU's forced openness and going to licenses that basically let big companies exploit the software any way they want to.

      Which people/projects have switched away from GPL? I'd really like to know.

    • by Jon Sawyer (3544317) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @02:33PM (#46741709)
      Duh, you are not doing it for Apple. If I feed the homeless and a fat cat millionaire comes up and gobbles down a plate, I have STILL fed the homeless. But at the same time it is my duty and the duty of any community that enjoys feeding the homeless to SHAME that fat cat.
  • by colfer (619105) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:59AM (#46739867)

    They all need to be contributing to OpenSSL or a fork.

    In a typical year the OpenSSL project receives about US$2000 in donations.

    This week we have received roughly 200 donations totaling nearly
    US$3000. Amounts have ranged between $0.02 and $300, and I notice that
    some individuals have made multiple contributions.

    https://groups.google.com/foru... [google.com]

    Security theater is sometimes more like security exhaustion.

    • by Goaway (82658)

      Apple has deprecated OpenSSL on OS X a long time ago, and provide their own replacements.

  • Wait...what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chas (5144)

    Okay, you're stunned that a company as culturally blinkered and rapacious as APPLE isn't turning over some of their huge cash hoard to fund Open Source projects that are outside of their control and might sabotage their patent warchest?

    Why not just walk up to Smaug, kick him in the eyeball and demand the Arkenstone "OR ELSE" there Bilbo!

    As long as you are witholding something Apple wants, they're either charming as fuck or litigious as hell in an effort to acquire it.

    Once they have what they want out of you

  • Apache Foundation this days is mostly Java(TM)(R) Foundation.

    Why would the Apple want to subsidize the Oracle?

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @10:41AM (#46740069)

    "The company lists dozens of open source projects and components that it contributes code to: from the Apache web server"

    And that, my friends, is what open source is all about. You use, you give code back.

    The article title should really be "Apple's Spotty Record of Giving Monetarily To The Apache Foundation." To agree with that Apple should be giving them money is the moral equivalent of saying that users should have to pay to use Apache.

    • You have to read the whole article - ASF is not the only example cited. It is the only example cited within the first three paragraphs of the story, however.
      • by drcagn (715012)

        Regardless, his point still stands--open source is about sharing code. Open source groups share with Apple, Apple shares back, even when they don't necessarily have to. That, to me, is a great record. While it would be nice for Apple to give some money, I don't believe Apple should be shamed for not doing so. So many people champion open source for being free (as in beer) for their own benefit, but suddenly it's bad for Apple to use things for free even though they contribute back and sometimes create new p

  • But Apple's contribution to FOSS has been to provide an operating system that is Unix-based. Open a 'terminal window' on any of its computers and you have the real Unix command line to play with. Not locked-down Windows or flavor-of-the-week Linux, but the same consistent Unix on every machine.

  • by paulpach (798828) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @10:53AM (#46740151)

    I absolutely despise the phrase "giving back" when referring to charity, because it implies they took something.

    Apple has already given back, every dollar they got was in exchange for either an app, iphone, ipad, laptop or something else that the customer got. They have already given something back for every penny they made. This goes for every single company selling products or services (Except when governments are involved)

    I donate quite a bit every year for worthy causes without asking for anything in return, and I hate it when my efforts are diminished by calling them "giving back".

    Charity is not "giving back", charity is charity, it is a company or individual willingly giving up profit in order to help someone. Ideally, the company benefits from the charity by getting good PR, so it becomes a win-win; it becomes an investment instead of charity, which makes it more sustainable and will hopefully cause it to repeat in the future.

    As far as open source code goes, Apple does invest significantly in projects like llvm and webkit and the world is a better place because of it.

    The idea that apple somehow owes me and you or the apache foundation is just entitlement mentality.
    If you bought apple's products, it is because you think their product is worth more than the money you paid for it, otherwise you would not have gotten it. In that case, Apple owes you nothing.
    If you did not buy apple's product, then what they do does not affect you. In this case, Apple owes you nothing.

    If you want to encourage Apple to donate code or money, then highlight, applaud and buy products from companies that behave the way you want them to. If enough people vote with their money and show that charity pays off, then either apple will do it, or the companies you support will do it more thanks to your support.

    • by Barsteward (969998) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:14AM (#46740287)
      and they've done their best at tax avoidance depriving each country where they trade of valuable tax revenue
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by paulpach (798828)

        and they've done their best at tax avoidance depriving each country where they trade of valuable tax revenue

        They do not deprive the countries of money. They deprive the governments. This is a _good thing_ as governments are notoriously more inefficient than private companies since they don't have any incentive for saving and investing, but to spend and buy votes for the next election.

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          They do not deprive the countries of money. They deprive the governments. This is a _good thing_ as governments are notoriously more inefficient than private companies since they don't have any incentive for saving and investing, but to spend and buy votes for the next election.

          Like how socialized medicine provides better care at a third of the cost of a system based on profits and insurance?

          • by paulpach (798828)

            They do not deprive the countries of money. They deprive the governments. This is a _good thing_ as governments are notoriously more inefficient than private companies since they don't have any incentive for saving and investing, but to spend and buy votes for the next election.

            Like how socialized medicine provides better care at a third of the cost of a system based on profits and insurance?

            When comparing what to what? The American medical system is as far as it can be from free market without being socialized. Between RX, now mandated insurance, tax distortions, billion dollar FDA approval process, AMA certification (enforced by government), etc. it is all a big clusterfuck of inefficiencies and monopolies imposed by government. They just assume people are to stupid for their own good and then need a daddy government to treat the smallest infection.

            Heck the cost of approving a new me

            • by Teun (17872)
              Tell that bull to people that do have socialised (=of the people and for the people) medicine.

              I live in such a country and visit similar countries, everywhere medicine is available and accessible to who needs it and at much less cost than the US system ever can or will offer.

              In the parts of Europe that have socialised medicine there are wishes and complaints, grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but no-one would want to go the US way where general and affordable health care is *still* o

        • by Teun (17872)
          I don't know which country you registered and are paying tax.

          Where I am registered and pay and the many countries I visit all have in common that the people (society) has demands that require financing.

          It could be a simple road or it could be national defence but it'll cost money to make.
          That's where tax money comes in but also leaves again, people and corporations get paid to fix these things, it's not money lost, it's money circulated.

          Multi-national companies like Apple employ expensive specialist tha

      • by Solandri (704621)

        and they've done their best at tax avoidance depriving each country where they trade of valuable tax revenue

        If you really want to to tax Apple (or any company for that matter) in the country where the transaction is made, it's really simple. All you have to do is raise your sales tax rate.

        The reason governments try to do it by taxing corporations is because they don't want their citizens to see how much they're being taxed. Charge a 20% sales tax, or charge a tax on corporations which they can only pa

      • by Rick Zeman (15628)

        and they've done their best at tax avoidance depriving each country where they trade of valuable tax revenue

        In violation of the law? No? Better change the laws then. I damn well take my mortgage deductions, etc, when I do my taxes. I owe that to me. If Apple (and all of the other companies....) take advantage of loopholes and other deductions it's because they owe that to their shareholders. Don't like it? Get the laws changed.

      • Like every other company with a non-brain-dead accounting team.

        No. Really. EVERY company does their best to reduce their taxes. Why aren't you vilifying all the other companies who tax advantage of legal tax deductions to reduce their tax burden?

        And I'm willing to bet you, as an individual, did too. I bet you took advantage of some sort of tax break when you filed your taxes. Why should you be allowed to do so but not Apple?

        No. Really. Answer that please. Why should you be allowed to benefit from any tax br

  • WebKit etc. (Score:5, Informative)

    by greggman (102198) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:11PM (#46740733) Homepage

    Apple funds the majority of WebKit which is open source. So they are funding open source to the tune of millions of dollars a year. I'm guessing they have between 50 and 200 programmers on WebKit. I'm guessing they have a few other open source projects as well.

  • Apple's main interface to the opensource world is through the FreeBSD project, which is how they also drew in PF, the OpenBSD packet filter and most likely shipped more copies of that code than any other consumer. However, they made some changes that they contributed back to the world #ifdef'ed with their own incompatible license. I wrote about that a couple of years back for Call for Testing magazine, see http://callfortesting.org/macp... [callfortesting.org]

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