Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Apple Businesses

Wired on Apple OSS License Revisions 58

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
Doodhwala wrote in to send us a wired story on the updated Apple License for Open Source code. Talks about various fixes that have made an appearance in this revision, following the criticism they took last time around.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wired on Apple OSS License Revisions

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Woohoo! They mentioned Slashdot in the article. Was the Slashdot response to the APSL really that enthusiastic? ;)

    Personally, I'm glad that Apple is doing their best to keep our trust, at least with regards to their stance on open software. Now I hope someone can get a full Darwin distro out for x86, pronto.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "The APSL wasn't perfect the first time around, so let's persecute them! Oh, it's right now... it isn't exactly like the GPL so it sucks! It's a few hundred words longer than the GPL, I don't have the attention span to read it all! And they're a corporation, therefore no matter what, what they are doing is only for evil reasons! Even if they opened everything up, went out of business and donated every last penny to charities, they're still evil and always will be!"

    Hmmm, it seems that _you're_ the person who is jumping to conclusions... APSL v1.0 had several provisions that were questionable; because of our complaints, Apple has revised their license. Is this not a good thing?

    BTW, Apple wasn't targeted simply because they're Apple - the Open Source community also made Netscape and Troll Tech revise their licenses as well.

    "And how dare Apple advertise and promote their own products! Those evil greedy corporate bastards! And let's hold grudges because they cancelled the Lisa and I once had one! Now I will forever hate them because of some mistakes in their past!"

    The Lisa is an ancient example of a big mistake; however, Apple has made more:

    1. Their inability to produce a truly new-generation OS after System 7, which they continually were hinting.

    Touting System 8 the way they did was truly a disservice to MacOS users - MacOS8 was still a primitive and lousy OS by the standards of the time.

    Thankfully, MacOS X changes this (though with Linux and NetBSD, I doubt I'll ever go back...)

    2. Reneging on their licensing agreements with third-party hardware vendors (UMAX, Power, Motorola).

    I own a Power box. After Apple effectively dissolved Power, I was (very rudely) referred to a third-party company for service, which was outrageously expensive, after obvious hints that I should buy new Apple hardware. Made me feel really good about the company that produced and purportedly wants to expand their OS user base.

    Just a couple examples of how Apple once treated their users. Understandably, the hardware situation was prompted by their poor financial status at the end of 1997 but did nothing to compel its users to continue using MacOS or attract new MacOS users for that matter.

    "And that Think Different campaign, pfft. If people really thought different, they'd all be using Linux like the rest of us because it is the REAL rebel OS. "

    No, converts from MacOS to Linux did so because Linux actually works as advertised. It also has preemptive multitasking and superior memory protection.

    Also, the code is available for our perusal. We can tweak it to no end to suit whatever purpose we intend to use it for.

    Linux is now a truly multiarchitecture OS - I run Debian on Alpha, i386 and m68k Amiga. Like NetBSD, Linux gives us a very wide gamut of hardware options - we're not "married" to a single hardware vendor.

    Conversely, with well-documented hardware (i386 and Alpha in particular), we're not married to one OS. I can (and do) use BeOS, SCO, Windows95/98/NT, OS/2 on my Intel hardware. I can use Digital Unix, Windows NT and VMS in addition to Linux and NetBSD I'm currently running on my Alphas.

    Apart from LinuxPPC, MkLinux and MacOS, what else will run on a new G3? How many other OS developers have the desire to reverse-engineer Mac hardware?

    rants about philosophy and economic models

    Your last statement that alludes to the notion that programmers will suffer economically because of Open Source/Free Software is patently wrong.

    Surely programmers who work for proprietary software vendors may suffer in the short term, but new opportunities will abound for these programmers with Open Source as well.

    Corporate Open Source users will need customized software - even RMS makes lots of money modifying GPL software.

    Capitalism is dynamic and the Open Source will radically change traditional economic models. However this change manifests itself, the fact that source code will no longer be any company's "secret weapon" will eliminate the ridiculous duplication of code and will further the state-of-the-art.

    In this sense, everyone wins.

    Though I wish that Apple would/could open more of its OS, its current actions regarding the APSL are definitely a move in the right direction.

    ~AC
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let me save some people some time and summarize what they will end up typing...

    "The APSL wasn't perfect the first time around, so let's persecute them! Oh, it's right now... it isn't exactly like the GPL so it sucks! It's a few hundred words longer than the GPL, I don't have the attention span to read it all! And they're a corporation, therefore no matter what, what they are doing is only for evil reasons! Even if they opened everything up, went out of business and donated every last penny to charities, they're still evil and always will be!"

    "What's with those iMacs? Those only appeal to women and gays!! I have proof of this because one gay person at my college has an iMac! And we all know being gay is just WRONG! Why did they make those iMacs!??! (Even though they make non iMac computers, but let's ignore that fact)."

    "And how dare Apple advertise and promote their own products! Those evil greedy corporate bastards! And let's hold grudges because they cancelled the Lisa and I once had one! Now I will forever hate them because of some mistakes in their past!"

    "Most of all, they're an evil empire! With over 10% of the computer market, they are a force to be feared! They just have sooo much power over standards... Look how many standards they are supporting with Quicktime 4, I bet they plan on ruining them all somehow! Look how proprietery they are!! I mean, come on! They are workers of Satan... the employees probably belong to the Trenchcoat mafia!"

    "And that Think Different campaign, pfft. If people really thought different, they'd all be using Linux like the rest of us because it is the REAL rebel OS. "

    "And if we can't think of anything to say, we'll bring up political philosophies. Down with corporations and capitalism! What has capitalism ever done for us!?!? They only exist to make money, therefore they do not care AT ALL what their customers want, but only what their shareholders want! (Let's ignore the fact the key thing with surviving as a company is pleasing customers, drawing in new ones, and providing a service(s) people want... in order to stay afloat)."

    "But wait! Linux can be used on both sides on this political debate! It helps capitalism thrive! And once all programmers who are now getting paid to program at the anti-capitalist corporations are doing tech support if even that, the world will be a happier, pro capitalistic place!"

  • Posted by TommyGun:

    Warning: Recent convert talkin'

    I've been on pcs for over 15 years, and just got my first mac (g3-300). I am really glad to see Slashdot, Apple and all the varied linux groups taking this opportunity to explore the options for darwin. But I wonder...why bother with an Intel port. The old CISC arch is slow, Intel has taken x86 as far as it'll go. MHz to MHz the PPC is quicker, and w/o the traditional Mac bottleneck of OS emmulation...the RISC G3 and soon G4 will eat the PIII. Is there anyone there who has specs for a Linux PIII v. a LinuxPP G3 shootout?

    I guess if ya got an old 486 or something, and need it to be useful somehow, a darwin port would be a great thing. But you could write it off and donate it to a boy's/girl's club or something!

    tommygun
  • An AC raised a good point, that it would be good to try to port Darwin and whatever else we can get, to try to get a free MacOS X.

    As requested, Here's a link. [of.org]

  • by Chip Salzenberg (1124) on Wednesday April 21, 1999 @09:31PM (#1922467) Homepage
    As a board member of OSI, I'd know if OSI had endorsed the APSL 1.1.

    We haven't. Not yet, anyway. We're still listening to public comments, such us on the <license-discuss@opensource.org> mailing list.

  • Apple was defintely benchmarking while development of Mac OS X Server was going on. I was told by one of the engineers at San Francisco Macworld in January that it had the best Apache performance of any server around.
  • Maybe this is a little off topic, but it's a longstanding tradition here in the Free OS world to have religious wars about which one is better, traditionally based on speed, along the lines of
    -"Yeah, well Slashdot runs linux and serves up 500k pages a day dynamic content"
    -"Yeah, well cdrom.com runs FreeBSD and serves up 500 gigs a day of files, and on a machine with 1/4 the aggregate MIPS"

    In this proud, fine, longstanding tradition, I would really like to see LinuxPPC whup the pants of MacOSX. It's based on Mach, right? Those microkernels were never that fast :)

    Anyone care to do a nice, fair SMB/httpd/ftpd benchmark?

    Perhaps MindCraft will do one for us :)

    ----------

    Welcome to the Promised Land, MacOSX. I wonder if Apple really knew what they were getting into here...?
  • OSI is listening to public discussion before their endorsement. You don't want them to do exactly what we came down on them for doing before, do you? Then, let them listen. I made it darned clear in Wired that I'd only done a first read, that I was impressed with Apple's response, and that there would be network discussion of the license this week. OSI's response is very similar, and entirely appropriate.

    Thanks

    Bruce

  • By addressing some of the concerns of the community, Apple has shown that they are willing to learn, a rare thing in the corporate world. However, their Open Source efforts will never match the effectiveness of the Linux community.

    The Linux effort and other Free Software projects like it, are held together by the large numbers of developers who are also users. A corporation will rarely have the number of developers per user as these projects. Therefore, corporate will never be as successful as Free in the Open Source arena.

    The idea of code being completely free of control from a large organization is what forms the foundation of the Free Software projects. They are essentially anti-authoritarian, because they believe that big for-profit enterprises will always be closed by nature. It doesn't matter what the license is, few people read it. It matters more that a developer who's going to work for free would rather work for himself or for the community than for a big corporation and a bunch of executives.

    Loader of Code and of Words
  • Their is several points you are missing here, about why Apple doesn't want to port it's properity OS to other platforms. For one, it would require a hell of alot of device drivers, just to support a few dozen different PC models. Their is also alot more x86 add-ons, so you would have to support them. That's a pain in the ass, because it would require a ton of resources (support personal, programmers).

    Finally, Apple has always been a mainly hardware company (software makes up like 1.5% or less of the income). So Mac OS X on other platforms just doesn't make ecomonic sense.

    Nextstep would be cool on more machines, but it's not going to ever happen again.
  • I really don't think Apple spends the time benchmarking other OS's, (except for lame presentations), they are more interested in trying to improve the OS and not waste time on benchmarking.

    I have never heard of a OS being designed just to directly beat benchmarks, but I could understand the reason for this legalized cheating.
  • Haven't you heard hallucinogens are bad for your health?
  • As far as a speed comparison goes, it wouldn't surprise me at all if LinuxPPC or even MkLinux are faster servers at this point. This is the first real release of the OS on PPC hardware, after all. I have access to a bunch of MOSXS machines (mostly Blue&White G3s) though, so if anyone wants to propose a particular test, I could probably set it up. . .


    Why not use the standard Spec set of benchmarks? IIRC there were several that assessed web/network serving performance, which seems to be an issue with some of the posters, and the straight processor performance figures should still give some idea of the amount of overhead that the OS takes up.

  • MkLinux is a single server based off of a Mach 3.x kernel, MacOS X Server is a heavily bastardized Mach 2.2 kernel with a BSD 4.4 personality compiled in.

    So MOSXS is architecturally a micro-kernel, but with the BSD personality built into the kernel so you don't have any context-switch overhead going between the microkernel and the BSD OS layer. To some degree this overcomes the drawbacks of having most of your functionality in servers instead of the kernel, while retaining the advantage of fast message passing that Mach is built for.

    Supposedly Apple is taking their ex-NeXT folk with all their custom mods to Mach 2.2, putting them together with some of the MkLinux folk inside Apple, and will end up with a "best-of-both-worlds" optimized Mach 3.x microkernel for a future MacOS X release.

    As far as a speed comparison goes, it wouldn't surprise me at all if LinuxPPC or even MkLinux are faster servers at this point. This is the first real release of the OS on PPC hardware, after all. I have access to a bunch of MOSXS machines (mostly Blue&White G3s) though, so if anyone wants to propose a particular test, I could probably set it up. . .
  • It may be a bit early to celebrate. Apple hindered adoption of their OS initiave here with the first version of the liscense. Also, the "new technology", which might've compelled linux users to try it, or at least develop for it, remains proprietary, and closed-sourced.
    I'm a die hard mac fan, so no flames please, but what value can OS 10 offer to the Linux community, besides idealogical support from the sidelines?

    On a personal note, I think its about damn time they did this! Now people need to start rolling their own OS X distro, and get a BlueBox (sheepshaver?) running as a low-end, unsupported version for people like me, with obsolete macs.
  • Acutally, I don't know if this is true, but I've heard from external developers that MacOS 10 WAS being benchmarked the whole time it was inside Apple, and against LinuxPPC. And it was winning when it was released.
    Mainly, this is because they chose to optimize it for G3 only. Their Mach Kernal is so fine tuned it is only a 5-8% slowdown, and their hardware integration is supposedly excellent. And it is questionable at best if will able to optimize/tune Darwin as much because if I remember another /. posting, Apple didn't post the changes they made to the BSD gcc compiler, so there's no telling what kind of performance MacOS 10 gives unless we benchmark it out of the box.
    I dunno. I just lost my train of thought.
    All in all, the more Decent OSes we get that can compeate against Windows, the better.
    Are you afraid of us yet, Bill?
  • Yep, they had two Intel betas out, and your right about the drivers - at the developers conference last year (WWDC '98) they said that drivers were an overriding concern - quoting the fact that IBM spent $1 billion writing drivers for OS/2. My opinion is that they underestimated the fact that the free *NIX would right drivers and many could be ported from existing drivers.

    The YellowBox API's for Win95/NT were available with the betas for Intel. They are supposed to be released with a flat rate fee to developers. Some GNUStep people have been working on basic clones of the Foundation lib I think.
  • Actually its based on a BSD variant - MkLinux was a single server implementation on top of the Mach Kernel and LinuxPPC is a straight traditional Linux kernel.
  • Who's gonna pony up the cash to buy a Mindcraft study? =)
  • First let me say that you probably didn't intend on it sounding this way, but it seems that you represent the average Slashdot user in that you can't say something wholy positive about Apple.

    Its not enough that Apple listend to Perkins and others from the OS community and changed the liscense, you still have to knock the company some way or another.

    "Damn Apple and their proprietary hardware and software!"

    "Evil Apple for trying to cover their butts from patent lawsuits and US export law!"

    "Okay, they changed the lisense, BUT its too damn long AND THEY WILL NEVER BE AS SUCCESFUL AS LINUX!"


    Again, this isn't an attack on you and I'm not saying you made some of those "Apple sux" posts. Its just an observation. Damn few /.ers have stood up and said "Hey, nice job Apple. Thanks for listening to us."
  • I take back everything I ever said about moderating (previous story I belive).
  • BTW, Apple wasn't targeted simply because they're Apple - the Open Source community also made Netscape and Troll Tech revise their licenses as well.

    I don't recall them getting caned in Linux forums though.

    Touting System 8 the way they did was truly a disservice to MacOS users

    And how did you come to this conclusion? 8 brought great enhancements to the GUI and underlying OS.

    MacOS8 was still a primitive and lousy OS by the standards of the time.

    You are forgetting that 98% people who use computers don't give a shit about having a powerful networking OS that has an uptime of a year or more.

    Operating systems are more than just kernels and multitasking, they're also about UI's and usabilty, and in these two areas Unix makes Windows look good. Anything that System 8 lacked in buzzword features it more than made up for it in the end user experince.

    No, converts from MacOS to Linux did so because Linux actually works as advertised

    Again, what parts of the Mac OS don't "work as advertized"? And 99% of Mac users using Linux are still Mac users- they simply have a dual boot system or install Linux on an old machine.

    Like NetBSD, Linux gives us a very wide gamutof hardware options - we're not "married" to a single hardware vendor.

    You are no more "married" to Apple's hardware than you are to any PC. For my next Mac I'm going to get a tower case so I can fill it up with cheap ATA disks, buy generic PC100 SDRAM and get a nice big trinitron monitor from Sony or some other company.

    Conversely, with well-documented hardware (i386 and Alpha in particular), we're not married to one OS. I can (and do) use BeOS, SCO, Windows95/98/NT, OS/2 on my Intel hardware.

    I could run Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, BeOS, AUX, NeXT, Mac OS and OS X on my various Macs. What, you can't have an orgasm unless you can install 20 different OS's on you computer?

    Though I wish that Apple would/could open more of its OS

    They've opened everything but the GUI, Netbooting and Yellow Box. They do have to make money of of something.


    Yes, Apple has made some great mistakes (find a computing comapny that hasn't) and continues to make great ones, but get your facts straight before bashing them.
  • Judging from what I've heard from fellow NeXTSTEP/OpenStep developers, they're quite upset that Apple essentially dropped support on Sparc, HP and x86 in lieu of their G3 platform. WHY???

    Hmmmm, let me think. Maybe because this would cost lots of money! Money that Apple doesn't have. Hopefully they can get back up to 20% market share and will be able do support more platforms then.

    In the meantime, all the old NeXT users can get themselves a copy of Darwin port it to any platform they please.
  • Strange recollection on your part; I distinctly remember Troll Tech and KDE being beaten mercilessly on /. Thankfully the Troll's proposed license finally meets OSD criteria :)

    Yes, but did Rob post about 500 stories on it in the space of a month? Maybe some of the Troll bashing was as vehement, but it never escaleted to a mass riot. :-)

    You missed the first part of my statement - that other platforms are well-documented.

    On current Macs the only parts that aren't well documentated are the ROM chips, and other operating systems aren't going to use those anyway. Everything else (like Firewire for example) has great docs.

    You may recall that the lack of such documentation (and Apple's unwillingness to disclose specs) made the Apple Mac m68k NetBSD and Linux ports much more problematic than most.

    Yep, the whole 68k line was a bitch. Thats why Linux only works on about half the machines. Still plan on installing NetBSD on my old Quadra at some point though....

    Personally, I'd like to see more use of non-x86 platforms in general.

    What I would love to be able to do is buy a dual PPC motherboard and put a system together myself. But unfortunatly I can't do that so I will be builing a dual Celery this summer.
  • The only reason I don't buy a Mac is that the Hardware has always been REALLY bad.

    Actually, Apple's hardware always (for the most part) been great. Something like 70% of all Macs ever made are still in use (if nothing else, those Mac classics make great ANSI terminals).

    that iMac mouse DOESN'T work,

    Actually its a wonderful mouse (for a 1 button). The only think I would change would be to make it slightly longer and add a button.

    I don't want a Laptop sized keyboard when I am working on a desktop with room to spread out.t

    As with the mouse, the keyboard is awsome. The only things I miss are the end and delete keys. The arrow keys are only bad if you are trying to play a game with them (have to be crazy to use a keyboard in a game anyway). But the iMac's trump card is that it is the best there is at what keyboards are for: typing. The keys are soo comfortable and take exactly the right amount of pressure to use.
  • This is interesting on a few levels.

    First isn't OSX server based on BSD/Mach NextStep OS. I know Nextstep runs on intel boxes.....

    Didn't apple release a beta x86 version of "Rhapsody" which became OSX server?

    Has apple decided to become a hardware company and let the OS side there operations be helped along from the "open source" stuff? I though that was the case, then they go and release some video editing software and QT. They must be fairly confident in there new hardware then, because of the economies of scale, they're always going to be more expensive, but if their machinces are enough faster they have a market..

    I think Darwin Unsupported on X86 might help them get more software for there OS X Server. Its got to be hard to write drivers for all that PC hardware so they probably don't want to support it.

    I also don't think they're going to opensource there "Yellow Box APIs" which they have from Next. That would differentiate Darwin from OSX, But they could be reverse engineered. They're supposed to be quite good. They've been rumors about them selling the APIs as an add on to NT. Malbe they plan to sell them as an add on to Darwin?

    When OS X comes out this fall, they'll be just Unix variants and Windows.. (and a bunch of little oses BE, Palm etc...) Interesting..

  • GUI's are for dumb people???

    i kindof like em, personally. :-) and apple, IMHO, has be best one out there...


    Oh, most definately. Right now I'm running E with the ApplePlatinum theme and the MacOS 8.5 GTK theme. MacOS is IMHO the nicest looking OS out there, if not quite the most functional. From what I've seen of OS X though, that might change. Almost makes me want to blow a huge wad of cash on one of the new PowerMacs.

    so now we have apples beautiful GUI running on top of a solid, fast, and open *nix based kernel, why sould we not be happy.

    OSX for intel? maybe. i think they should just make an X interface and blow the pants off KDE and gnome and...


    That would make me very happy... if, and ONLY if, it was released as a TRULY Open Source project, preferably under the GPL, but at least under a license that allows modification and redistribution (dunno if the APSL allows this, I've been up for 36 hours and don't have the attention span to see :-) No, but seriously, having the MacOS interface on top of the Linux kernel (and the GNU tools, for all you gotta-be-correct people out there) would be wonderful.

    1- apple should become a hardware company? well, the PPC's are really powerful and they do it very well well, so...

    2- apple should make OSX for all platformas and focus on software? well, they do it very well, so...

    3- apple should forget the core OS AND the hardware and focus on what they really do best: GUI's? well, there's an idea...


    I like your view of things :-) I never really thought about it before, but now I guess that my idea of the ideal OS would be Linux (*sigh*... GNU/Linux) with the MacOS interface and a working copy of WINE and Executor. Ahhh... that would make me happy :-) D'oh..... double d'oh... gotta be at work in 15 minutes and I haven't showered yet. Dammit Slashdot... stop taking up so much of my time.

    "Software is like sex- the best is for free"
  • by adrien (26080)
    GUI's are for dumb people???

    i kindof like em, personally. :-) and apple, IMHO, has be best one out there...

    so now we have apples beautiful GUI running on top of a solid, fast, and open *nix based kernel, why sould we not be happy.

    OSX for intel? maybe. i think they should just make an X interface and blow the pants off KDE and gnome and...

    1- apple should become a hardware company? well, the PPC's are really powerful and they do it very well well, so...

    2- apple should make OSX for all platformas and focus on software? well, they do it very well, so...

    3- apple should forget the core OS AND the hardware and focus on what they really do best: GUI's? well, there's an idea...

    hmmm...
  • Just thought I'd chime in that seeing as how most people seem reasonably agreeable to APSL 1.1 now, if you want to see something done, do it. That's what's OSS is all about... or partly about anyway. :)
  • The thing to keep in mind is that Apple isn't expecting that kind of huge volunteer response. Much like Mozilla, they fully expect to continue developing their OS with their own folks. If the get some bug fixes or new ideas, that is wonderful for them- but Apple has its own goals which are undoubtably different from many of our own, and Apple will make sure to focus their efforts there.
  • RE: Has apple decided to become a hardware company

    Apple had ALWAYS been a hardware company and will continue to be one. The vast majority of its profits come from selling hardware, not from sales of the MacOS. In every business comparison, Apple is lumped into the hardware column, competing against Compaq, Dell, etc., not Micro$oft. In light of this fact, Steve Jobs and company have made a concerted effort to shift to using standardized PC parts (IDE drives, USB ports, etc.) in order to drive their costs down and equalize price/performance ratios.

    Because of these facts, some have speculated that Apple will NEVER release MacOSX for Intel hardware because that would lead to cuts in their own hardware sales. Perhaps if the days got really gloomy, they'd switch just to save their butts at the very last minute, but it doesn't look like that senario is going to happen any timesoon.

    Nevertheless, that doesn't stop one of us from porting Darwin to Intel iron. It'll be interesting if enough developers get on board to do just that.

  • Who let this troll in the door?

    Oh yea... the troll is an AC. Nuff said.
  • I would like to see the Mac OS GUI take the place of Windows on the PC... Its a nicer OS, has had several advantages over the years. The only reason I don't buy a Mac is that the Hardware has always been REALLY bad. That iMac mouse DOESN'T work, and I don't want a Laptop sized keyboard when I am working on a desktop with room to spread out.
  • First of all, credit one for apple.
    As you point out, they are willing to learn - and this is still rare for corporations.

    As you pose it, they might not be so many people that are willing to contribute to a project essentially run by (and for the profit of ) a corporation, but there will still be some.

    Furthermore, having the code out in the public, forces the corporation to try to achieve higher quality standards (and quality is a real problem in their software).

    Won't these bring an increase in effectiveness?
    OK, it won't be that effective as GNUish opensource, but it will still be more effective than their current model.

    As for the license, it seems that more than "just a few" poeple read it.
    This is how it got ammended.

    --

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

Working...