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Apple Businesses

Response to the APSL 347

Bruce Perens has written a response to Apple's Public Source License (APSL). The essay discusses reasons why the license does not consitute an open source license (ala the Debian Free Software Guidlines (DFSG) or the Open Source Definition (OSD)). The essay has been endorsed by the Debian Project Leader (Wichert Akkerman), and Ian Jackson, president of SPI. Many people, including myself, feel that one of the biggest threats to the free software community is almost-free software.
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Response to the APSL

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  • by Anonymous Coward l

    Developers can alter the kernel in any way they wish -- including making it Windows-compatible -- as long as they make their changes public.

    The open-source movement refers to software such as Linux, which allows developers to freely add their own features on top of underlying technology. Open-source is a threat to companies including Microsoft, who consider their software code the company's life's blood, to be protected at all cost. Jobs was joined onstage by open-source advocates including Eric Raymond, who wrote "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," the white paper that prompted Netscape Communications Corp. to make its browser code public.

    "We see that Apple really gets it," Raymond said, adding that he hopes the move will encourage other operating-system makers to join the open-source movement, "so eventually it will all be free." The company is also considering open-source plans for other products, possibly including the newest Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X, due later this year. But Jobs would not disclose those plans.

    Chew on that, ya cynical bastards.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree that the ends are admirable. And certainly all software being semi-free would probably be better than all software being fully closed. But if we let Apple blur the distinction at this still early point in the Open Source / Free software movement (note: I don't give a shit what you call it, nor if you're a coding hacker hippie or a neo-technocapitalist), then we may defeat the idea of free software before it really catches on in the mainstream. The point is that while Apple has made a big step in the right direction, why not prod them a bit more, and explain to them that their licensing terms need to be tweaked. Then they will serve as a better model for other companies who will look to follow their lead.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree with Bruce and Justin that ESR may have gone too far on this one. By not allowing Jikes to be Open Source, but allowing APSL to be, he's made the term meaningless. Since Open Souce appears to be whatever Eric says, he is acting no less arbitrarily than a despot. Perhaps that was why Bruce left opensource.

    The clearest threat to Free Software is disolving the term to such an extent that it is meaningless. This will result in no one working on the "open source" and companies deciding it was a bad approach. The chance we would have had to change the way in which we all work would have been lost forever. Better stick with a strong radical position like RMS's which at least is clear than to have a politically swayed realpolitik position which is more business friendly, but will only result in failure []

  • Uhh, this is not just Bruce who wrote this. Lots of other people feel the same way. This is exactly the reason Bruce left OSI in the first place.
  • Pay attentoon fool! The problem is apple is calling their license "Open Source" which it is clearly not, no one is bitching about the acual code. If they want to call their license "Nearly-open source" then they can go right ahead.

    Eric Raymond is doing so much damage to the community by endorsing this kind of crap it is not even funny, he doesnt care about "open source" at all, he just wants to boost his own ego.

    Btw, its Free Software, Open Source is just a sham.
  • by Crow- ( 35 )
    Yeah, sure they can write whatever license they want. but they can NOT call it Open Source when it is not. That's the whole fucking problem. If this trend of less-than-free licenses continue eventually they will not be free at all.
  • People like you make me sick! This is *NOT* a step in the right direction! It is bad, they are setting an example for other companies to follow. They are polluting the spirit of free software and they need to be stopped. Simply changing two clauses in the license would be fine.
  • IBM is not a hero, their license is *nearly* just as bad. Netscape's is better but apple's is the worst. All these companies are trying to do leech off the open source community, they dont give a shit about freedom at all.
  • That is assuming there will be a (L)GPL version at all. Which would be really unlikely.
  • Did you even try reading the letter? it clearly defines why it is not opensource
  • The reason it is bad is because apple is allowed to leech off the community without. Say hundreds of people start wroking on Darwin.. then apple says "Your license is terminated". You must immediately destroy all copies of the software and stop distributing it, but.. apple is allowed to keep developing and distributing it. Wow wouldn't that be nice.
  • Are you blind? sections 2.2c and 9.1 are clearly in violation.
  • Please, spare the bullshit. Perens was asked to write up this letter, it has nothing to do with his personal agenda. If it did then Debian and SPI wouldn't have endorsed it.
  • Apple can do whatever the hell they please. but they can NOT call it Open Source if it is not. Thats the whole damn point, why are you people so closed minded and ignorant?
  • It violates the part about free redistribution you idiot!
  • Section 7 of the GPL terminates your right to distribute a program with contested code. Section 9.1 of the APSL terminates your right to use a program with contested code. There's a very big difference between the two.

    Just think, if anyone makes a claim against Apple, they have the option to, on a whim, invalidate all of their userbase. If they feel they tire of being Open Source, they can release a new version under a solidly closed license, and convince someone to make a claim against the open version. Bingo, everyone goes from having a nice almost open-source system, to having to pay for a proprietary upgrade just to use their machine legally. All derivative works would likewise be killed.

    This is not nitpicking, this is a clause that keeps the software from being Free. While I like Apple, they are a corporation. That means that their first responsibility is to their shareholders. That means if they are not contractually bound to do the right thing, there is always a risk that they may later decide to do the wrong thing. I don't trust them not to take advantage of the loophole they left for themselves here.

    If they want to call themselves Open Source, they need to follow the rules.
  • Section 7 does not supercede the termination clause in Section 9.1. All it says is you get to pick which version of the APSL you use and distribute under.

    On your other point, if you have a GPL'ed program that gets into a patent lawsuit, you lose the right to redistribute under the GPL. You don't lose the right to use it under the GPL, which means that you can wait for the patent to expire, or you can negotiate use of the patent directly with the patent holder.

    If an APSL program gets into a patent lawsuit, Apple can pull your rights to use the software regardless of whether the patent later expires or if you negotiate your own patent license.

    As for the APSL only terminating Affected Code, the license does not clearly define "Affected Original Code", basically the effect of this is it can mean whatever their lawyers say it means, and if you think it means otherwise, be prepared to pay for your own lawyers. If there is a lawsuit on a couple of lines in a library, they can easily say the "Affected Original Code" is the entire library, and anything which uses it. This is why Bruce asked that the APSL at minimum clarify terms like this.

    As for you update and everything is hunky dory, that assumes that 1) Apple releases an update, and 2) Apple releases the update under the APSL. If Apple invokes this clause, third parties will not be legally allowed to fix the problem. Such terms are against both the spirit of Free Software and the legal definition of Open Source. We don't have to stand for it, and we shouldn't.
  • MushMouth wrote:

    if you continue to use GPL'd code that infringes on a patent, you are still not using the code legally

    Whether or not you are using the code legally, you are not violating the GPL. If you make an agreement with the patenter, or if you use it in a country where the patent is invalid, you are using it legally.

    If you continue to use APSL code where Apple invoked their right to terminate the license because of a patent conflict, you are violating the APSL. If you make an agreement with the patenter, or if you use it in a country where the patent is invalid, you are still using illegally, because the APSL was terminated.

    although I would like the code to stick around for patents to expire, just not in use, that actually sounds somewhat dangerous, one of those things where we have
    /* do some shit fast*/
    /*slow work around*/

    I'm not sure if #ifdef'ing out patented code is sufficient. I think you need to physically remove it in order to distribute. Of course, there are many countries where the Unisys and RSA patents are invalid, and they can distribute the BreakUnisysPatent patch file.
  • And the horse they rode in on! Just be glad they aren't in the industry position that Microsoft is.
  • Even if Apple doesn't care about what Bruce has to say and would rather keep the license as it is now, they may not call themselves "Open Source" because their license does not fit the Open Source Definition. Bruce wrote the Open Source Definition, he should know what it says.
  • The Open Source service mark is still legally owned by Software in the Public Interest, Inc. It has never been transferred. The definition of what is or is not Open Source is still the Open Source Definition written by Bruce Perens.

    Eric Raymond says the Apple license is Open Source, but then it doesn't meet the Open Source Definition---is this a problem? I think so. And I think Eric is the problem.

  • It is also true then that if ESR is not managing the mark properly that he can be replaced. He is not managing the mark properly if he's saying things are Open Source when they fail the Open Source Definition. I hope SPI takes swift action on this matter.
  • Should we be criticizing Apple? Not in the least. Should we point out that their license isn't Open Source and offer to help them correct that problem? Sure we should!
  • You just don't give up do you? Try free distribution for starters. The Apple license requires you talk to Apple first. This is most certainly non-free.

    Then there's that termination clause....

  • all rights revert to Apple. Perens is right that the software would not survive Apple's demise - or until the patents expire.

    I applaud Apple in it's attempt to galvanize the Open Source community behind OS-X. OS-X is likely a very nice product and one that Apple has needed for years. HOWEVER, the new Apple license, in it's current incarnation, is nothing more than an invitation to developers to become unpaid Apple codeslaves. All work and code becomes the IP of Apple and would do nothing to enrich the world with reusable code.

    I understand that the GPL is probably incompatible with Apple's IP and the BSD license may be too free but DO NOT call the OS-X code Free Software. You could call it Source Available but it would be truly a stretch to even call it Open Source.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    1) ESR said the APSL is Open Source (tm).

    2) Bruce said it isn't.

    3) Who owns the trademark?

    4) What has RMS said about the Freeness of the APSL?

    5) If I see one more /. article pitting ESR against BP, I am dropping BOTH and going with RMS. It's getting so that he is the only NON-crazy one.
  • Posted by PUGfounder:

    I can see how many do not agree with Apple's Public Source License (APSL). This is a huge leap for Apple. The company has for so long been considered totally proprietary. I agree this is not perfect open source, but I feel this is a huge step in the right direction for Apple.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by mkultra:

    As an outsider, it seems to me that the Linux community is losing itself among letter of the law definitions, instead of the ideals.

    Now I am not clear about all of this, but if the problem is that certain files in the package distributed by Apple are also filed under GPL, then why not use Apple's files when you need them and the GPL files in other cases, and just avoid the whole mess of Open Source.

    An old saying:
    "Don't kick a gift horse in the teeth."

    "The answers you seek are the ones you destroy."
    -Collective Soul (or Heisenberg)

  • Fine, so the Apple liscence isn't 100% pure Open-source-free-as-in-free-speech, but should we be criticizing a company that is opening its code up?

    Yes! This dilutes what OSS and Free Software are defined as, and other companies are going to be quick to follow.

    Sure ideally it would be nice to have it all GPL'd, but isn't this better than what we had?

    NO! I would rather have Apple release no code than to release it, to have tons of programmers work hard on it to have their work squandered by a compnay that's possibly looking to essentially "hire programmers for free".

    Note: I'm not accusing them of this (yet), but when stuff like this appears, I tend to be rather cautious.

    What does it serve to condemn apple for taking a step in the right direction. And I know that this will certainly help groups like LinuxPPC open up the Mac platform to other OSes.

    Apple is taking a step in the right direction, but they are doing it wrong. No one is denying that Apple is trying to do the right thing, but they are venturing into unknown territory, and we need people like Bruce and RMS and ESR to keep these guys on their toes.

    If Apple changes their licence they can at least be guaranteed that I'll be purchasing a PPC in the future, if not MacOS X also. (and I have never been the biggest mac fan, but I'm interested)

    I'm imagining i'm not the only one who feels this way, and I believe that Apple is counting on that, so, hopefully they'll change their license.

  • you don't want to give back to the mac community. you're just an opportunist. Having one macos isn't just good for Apple but also mac developers and consumers.

    Having one of anything, as history dictates, is bad.

    A dictator is bad - one ruler. Fidel Castro, Adolf Hitler, anyone?

    How would you liek it if you went to the store to get a pop and all there was, was pepsi, and you didn't like pepsi? Now, that would suck too, wouldn't it?

    Gee, I can go on, and on, and on..... The same applies in any situation. If there is only one of anything, there is nothing to compare it to, and therefore creates a lock of trust based around ignorance, not knowledge or advancement.

    After all, how would you like it if you only had the choice of Windows?

    I think I made my point...

  • I am not arguing that APSL is good or bad. I am arguing that the self-proclaimed leaders of our community need to get their shit together.

    No kidding. It would be really nice to see them all get along, but that's not going to happen and in some cases it's still a good thing.

    But, it would be nice if ESR, RMS, BP & friends decided on ONE definition of source code, that is at least able to be maintained by independent developers, and have those developers be able to independently distribute the code that they contributed. This would be a good "minimal requirement" for any definition pertaining to source code that is opened to the public.

    This would be something simple that all of these guys could agree on, even though their ideological views don't fit, the programmer is protected, instead of the code.

    IANAL, so I wouldn't know the logistics behind it, but I just don't see how this couldn't be achievable, and have it ON PAPER, so it doesn't depend on one guy to "endorse" it to be legitimate to the licence, which is the current case with ESR and RMS. (ESR in particular)


  • those who never win and never quit are idiots.

    (I got this message from a rather wonderful "demotivational calendar" I saw online and then forgot...)
  • Bruce links to the SPI Website, but it hasn't been updated since the "Consultation about the Open Source trademark" document went up on 24 Nov 1998. The consultation documents haven't appered as promised, and nothing new has arrived. What gives?
  • I almost posted a colossal flame of Apple's pseudOpen-Source license yesterday. I almost questioned my Debian installation today -- why shouldn't I just be like everyone else and use RedHat? Why try and give back to the community, even if at present it's only by beta testing (at least as far as Debian goes)?

    This would be why.

  • But the pace of development in that world is a bit too fast for me to keep up with, let alone keep secure. I am interested enough in security and correctness to run Debian, but am not "elite" enough that I really have much to offer the OpenBSD people. Nor am I as comfortable with BSD internals... not that I'm that great with Linux's.

    Anyways, my point was simply that Debian (not unlike RedHat, but in a more visible fashion) reminds people that an utterly-free distribution can be worthwhile. I am doing some work on Apache sub-projects and other free projects. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not a GPL fanatic. But I think that what Apple allows themselves to do, via their license, to developers is wrong.

    They supported MkLinux so long as it benefitted their efforts towards OS X/Rhapsody. I haven't seen any development on it since, and I don't believe they're terribly interested in the continued survival of MkLinux. Granted, LinuxPPC offers higher performance, and is a more popular distribution, but MkLinux works fine for many people. Red Hat does not (IMHO) abandon projects the way Apple abandoned MkLinux, and Debian sure as hell doesn't (yeah yeah, but still).

    If it works for you, fine, but Apple's license is repugnant and that's all I have left to say.

  • >A third law might be, termination clauses "aren't". Nothing makes me have to check the site before I use it to see if it was terminated. Nothing in the code self destructs at agiven order from the central command.

    So, Mr. Big-Ass Pimp, what happens when you infringe on the license of a company with billions in assets and they decide not to take your happy-go-lucky approach to licensing?

    I suppose you could move to Mexico.

  • So much panic.

    So much deliberation.

    In these two de-facto rules of the community lies the essence of the movement and the expression of its freedom.

    1) The Coder (Apple) has the right to liscence how it wishes.
    2) If we don't like it we don't have to use it, we just have to code something else.

    A third law might be, termination clauses "aren't". Nothing makes me have to check the site before I use it to see if it was terminated. Nothing in the code self destructs at agiven order from the central command.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~ ~^~

  • The nature of comments reflect a concern that semi-"free" source puts "free" software in jeapordy. I'm mearly refuting that. Be at peace, not everything is a flame.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^ ~

  • Um unfortunately this was one of the problems that was forseen in having a central body decide what was open source and what wasn't. Unfortunately since there is an OSI and there is a ESR who do get to put that label on things, you do not. They (who get to decide) have called it open source. Apple only calls it Public Source.

    You have the right to use it or don't use it. You even have the power to add to it or take away from it. Lets not get childish.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^ ~~^~
  • Alright,

    What do you do when you find out the Open Source product you have just produced and is used by a company has been permeated with patent violating code. That company sues you as maintainer of the code, the watchdog to make sure it is truely open source.

    Decisions are easy when you don't have to pay the consequences aren't they.

    read the sig
  • Give.




    The very first company to throw open the underpinnings of its OS to public scrutiny, and you guys go beserk with condemnation. Great way to encourage companies to open up. I have long since lost my patience with the Open/Free/Slashdot crowd. The end result that will be embraced by developers is -not- software you don't have to pay for...but they will show you how it works if you are willing to show them how to make it better. This is a trade-off...the only other option is for Apple to clamp down and give -NOTHING- back to the development community.

    Regarding the first point: the license under which Mach and other components integrated into MacOS X Server specifically permit anyone to use the code for any purpose and slap whatever license on it they see fit. Not apple's fault...blame the original project leads. Kind of like how Sun appropriated BSD code for its own proprietary OS.

    Regarding the second point: IBM and Apple needed to do this in order to avoid humoungous lawsuits. Like with Netscape and IBM, MacOS X developers do -not- own their code, and the only reasons to code for it is to add features to MacOS X the developer wants/needs.

    Like it or not, Apple published its source code. This makes it open source regardless of whether or not you lie the license, whether or not you like the Mac, or whether or not you like Apple. It is a step in the right direction, and should be encouraged. The alternative is -not- totally free software from a major coporate developer, but -NO- source code made available at all, to anyone, for any reason.

    Apple doesn't -have- to do shit. They can leech off open licenses as much as they like, and not give anything at all back. They -chose- to make available, for free, detailed source code of the changes they made to Mach, BSD, etc. Thet should be applauded for making this choice, and encouraged to do more.

    Encouragement != nasty bitching and infighting between open source advocates of minutae of the description of "open source". Encouragement is downloading a copy, hacking around with it, and showing Apple that opening up the source code even more would be benefiial for you -and- them.

    Timne for all of you college kids to grow the %&$# up

    SoupIsGood Food.
  • Silly rabbit. Apple doesn't -need- to agitate on public forums,because us rabid, wild-eyed, sway-toothed mac-marine evangelistas are all too ready and willing to do it for them. We were doing the platform fanatacist thang long before you Linux lovers showed up. B)

    What you are noticing is that the Mac user tends to be very interested in computers and computing beyond our beloved Macintosh. We put be on the map. A year ago, according to the linux journal the second most popular Linux distro (after Red Hat) was Apple's MKLinux.

    Mac users like diversity. We like Amigans. We like Atari fans (what few of them are left). We like Unix gurus, yes, Linux gurus included. It tends to ROYALLY piss us off when the respect isn't returned...and we're better at arguing than you are. Bp

    Apple isn't going open source in order to provide leech^H^H^H^H^H non-customers a free ride, they are posting it in order to 1) return to the open source community the work they have done with open source tools like Mach and BSD 2) provide a means of modify ing and fixing the underlying OS in order to adapt new technologies beyond aple's R&D scope or to squish bugs that made it through QA. This is the model IBM and the other mainframe companies used back before everything went top-secret proprietary in the mid-eighties. It is a return to openess and a community approach to the installed base of high-end hardware. (coming soon...look for a possible sneak preview at NAB. Watch yer ass, SGI...)

    If you want more from sugar daddy Apple, you gotta give some sweetness yourself. Get coding, and whine loudly about all the bugs you could be fixing if you had the yellow box code. B)

    SoupIsGood Food

    I'm my own damn shill.
  • by ninjaz ( 1202 )
    I hate to say it, but you didn't make your point.

    I may be wrong, but as far as I've read, Linus yays or nays code to go into the kernel. Is he a dictator? approves or disapproves code which remains in their source.
    Linus has control over what goes into the kernel *he* distributes... That's big distinction between how Linus and Apple run their shows. With the kernel being GPL, anyone can take it and make their own as long as they share the source, too. And, as you can see by the existence of redhat, caldera, etc, other people can sell it, too. :)
  • Who actually cares about what Debian and GNU have to say...
    I do, and I'm pretty sure anyone who contributes to GNU and Debian does. They are two of the only organizations who have steadfastly defended and been propoents of Free Software.

    They had to cancel the clones licenses cause they were just bloodsuckers! And beleive me they were...
    Were the clones "bloodsuckers" or "more competitive in the market"? I honestly don't know, but suspect the latter given what I saw as an apple user in the past. For instance, when I had an Apple ][, all the best peripherals were made by third parties. Applied Engineering comes to mind.. When apple's RAM cards maxed out at 4mb of RAM, AE's could do 8mb, etc.
  • Read the fucking license. Apple simply whats to be notified of changes. You can modify the code and redistribute it all you want. Just don't put in infringeable code or you loose the license on the infringeable code. You don't break a patent, you have NO problem.
    I just read the license, and I stand corrected about the legality of forking your own branch. I actually did read it yesterday, but for some reason it got classified under "Like QT pre 2.0" in my head. (oops) ..

    In any case, the infringement section, as I interpret it, would allow Apple to kill off any real competitors using their code relatively easily.. All they would have to do is: a) get/wait for someone to claim an infringement by Apple, b) at their sole discretion and option, choose that forcing everyone to stop using their code is only option to remedy the situation. Given what they did with Apple clone hardware, and with their suit against microsoft over GUI look and feel, I wouldn't be too surprised at all if that happened.

    Of course, the target audience of Apple products may be such that they wouldn't be too interested in all of this anyway (After all, they've been using the stuff before Apple released any source)... But, confusing that type of license with real free licenses *is* an issue if it starts to spill over into areas where we *are* interested.

    Sound paranoid? Section 9.1 does to me. To continue the MacOS vs Linux kernel comparision, if part of the kernel is found to infringe on a license, Linus is told to change what he distributes. If Joe Linux Distro maintainer uses a copy that's in violation, doesn't Joe Linux Distro maintainer become the one responsible for infringement at that point (and not Linus?) Maybe there's something here that I'm missing. If so, I'd appreciate someone point it out.
  • There's nothing wrong with RedHat. But lot's of people use other distros and the world is *definitely* better off for this diversity.

    Don't switch from Debian! As a fellow Debian user, I think that it's *very* possible that Debian could be the most popular distro in the not too distant future. It has greater international reach and it's more suitable for specially tailored applications. It provides a better foundation for network appliance-style computing, which may be the wave of the future.

    I can envision a future where the most common computers are cheap, little, netwinder-esque things in homes and businesses. A company wishing to sell boxes like these wants a highly configurable distro like Debian to work with - and would probably then add lots of customizations. RedHat's easy install will buy their engineers nothing. RedHat is only easiest on random PCs, not carefully preconfigured and engineered systems.

    Mike Greaves
  • This message by the top people at Debian and Bruce is entirely correct and consistant. It makes the points clearly.

    The point at which companies try to move into free software/open source with their own license is a very critical one. If the community does not do exactly what has been done here we will be destroyed.

    Bruce, is definately a flitter and not a sticker. However, Wichert and Ian are (with lots of others) doing a great job on Debian. It was sensible of Bruce to get their backing.

    The sad thing is some of the AC comments here.I respect the need for AC's to allow people to take part in a way that does not threaten their careers, but how come so many of them have nothing between their ears?

  • IMHO Bruce has a better balance here. But if you are not going to be balanced then I prefer RMS to ESR - it's safer.

  • Sorry Mr AC but you have contradicted yourself.

    I was applauding a message that was constructively helping Apple evolve towards a fully Open Source license.

    1. I do not care much about OSI as an organisation, it is closed and I have no influence over it. I prefer SPI which I can contribute to by becoming a Debian developer (if I understand it correctly) SPI is democratic OSI is not.

    2. It is too soon to see damage by IBM's license but a) it's most common use is for Jikes which is a Java compiler, if it fails there are other alternatives, it is not as critical as an OS. b) IBM's license did not have all the same clauses (eg about the Apple URL for modifications.

    I certainly believe that if the community does not examine attempts to join it and point out any problems it will be destroyed (or at least very fragmented) - why is that zealotry?


    PS I would prefer to respond to a person not an AC.
  • Erm... IBM has made money from services for decades, certainly prior to RMS.
  • And who decides if it is or isn't open source?
  • Bruce, if your concern for free software exceeded your impetuosity, you wouldn't have quit OSI. If your concern for the "free software" name (which you claimed as a reason to quit OSI) exceeded your desire for recognition as important, you wouldn't keep attaching the OSI name to yours.

    One thing that can be said for ESR and RMS is that they're loyal to what they believe in.
  • Has slashdot become nothing but essays?
  • Doesn't the OSI own the trademark for "Open Source". Isn't Eric Raymond the president of the OSI? Didn't Eric Raymond validate the APSL as Open Source? If so, then what more is there? As far as I'm concerned, if the OSI says it's Open Source (TM), then it's Open Source (TM)!!!!

    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address
  • SPI agrees that Eric Raymond is managing the mark, and Eric Raymond has agreed to be bound by decisions made by OSI. Therefore, it's a truthful statement to say that OSI manages the Open Source trademark.
  • Sheesh, you're as bad as Perens when it comes to overreacting. The APSL termination terms are *not* identical to the objectionable Jikes terms.
  • OSI is not the registrant of the Open Source certification mark, so OSI's position on Apple's use of the Open Source mark is merely an opinion.
    In the end, the decision on whether to allow the use of the Open Source mark will be made by the registrant, Software in the Public Interest.
  • Doesn't the OSI own the trademark for "Open Source".


    Isn't Eric Raymond the president of the OSI?


    Didn't Eric Raymond validate the APSL as Open Source?


    If so, then what more is there?

    OSI is not the registrant of the Open Source certification mark, so OSI's position on Apple's use of the Open Source mark is merely an opinion. In the end, the decision on whether to allow the use of the Open Source mark will be made by the registrant, Software in the Public Interest.

    As far as I'm concerned, if the OSI says it's Open Source (TM), then it's Open Source(TM)!!!

    Entirely not true. OSI can not grant others the right to use the Open Source mark because this is something only the registrant can do. The Open Source mark is registered to Software in the Public Interest, not OSI.

  • Like it or not, Apple published its source code. This makes it open source regardless of whether or not you lie the license, whether or not you like the Mac, or whether or not you like Apple.

    Availability of source code alone does not make a program Open Source. In order to be able to use the Open Source mark, Apple must make its license compatible with certain guidelines. See the Debian Free Software Guidelines [] or the Open Source Definition [] for details.

    The Open Source mark is registered to Software in the Public Interest, and ultimately the SPI board will decide whether or not Apple is permitted to use it.

  • we sure as hell should criticize apple

    the only thing worse than overtly closed software is software that is almost open

    it is not better than what we had

    I still can't fix it if it breaks

    if I do I can't share my changes with my friends forever, that right is in jeapordy

    so why fix it?

    why not just tell apple to fix it instead?

    that kinda kills the whole dang thing

  • If Netscape got it right, why should we accept that Apple is screwing it up?


    Apple may just want 10,000 developers for free but still be able to take the code and close it in a few years.

    are you sure their license wouldn't allow that?

  • by jfm3 ( 2260 )

    it will be free when I can manufacture and sell a macosx clone

    I don't see that I can do that

    somebody correct me


  • One: You have to notify Apple of any changes you make. What the hell is the matter with that? Last I checked, certain other licenses which have been classified as Open-Source make you contact the maintainers when you do make changes to the code.
    Two: The termination clause. Not the greatest, but if you're trying to use the code in an illegal manner (which this basically covers) then why doesn't the maintainer of a project have a right to correct the problem?
  • what's your problem?

    I'm glad that he has taken the time to do a careful analysis and prepare a well thought out response. By doing this, he is helping all of us. He's also quite in the right to point out that Eric was wrong when he said the thing was OSD-compliant.

    thx Bruce!
  • Rob Malda would not accept a similar essay from anyone. The fact that Bruce has some name recognition, and thus gets his essay published here, does not mean that this is something only Bruce is concerned about.

    He said what a lot of OS developers think of as the central issue: Free Software needs to stay free, and not be gradually restricted through seemingly innocent steps such as certain requirements in the APSL. While 90% of Linux users are less concerned about these issues than they ought to be, 90% of Linux users are also recent Windows graduates, that in the long run would allow deterioration of the dynamics that has caused OSS to be a success.

  • When I read some of the flames here against RMS and Bruce Perens and other advocates of a purer model of Open Source, I am amazed at the vitriol, anger, even hatred that's expressed. I'm also amazed at the total cluelessness about the political and economic issues involved.

    First the Politics

    Critics love to brand RMS as a flaming socialist, along with Jon Katz and now Perens. Hmmm...I thought this type of political smear went out with McCarthy, but apparently there remains a certain segment of the American public still stuck in the 50s.

    Of course, RMS et al represent the true spirit of American democracy as laid out by the founding fathers, not only in their words, but in their deeds. May I remind you all, that it was no less then Ben Franklin who came up with this beautiful idea that knowledge should be freely available by all, and created the first Public Library. If anyone is the spiritual father of the free software movement, it is this great scientist, philosopher.

    No doubt, those who oppose RMS must also view libraries as the epitome of socialism - after all it is taxpayer dollars, for godsakes, buying books and distributing them freely! What an affront to the American way of life, I can hear these critics ranting.

    The fundamental flaw in these critics thinking, is their total lack of understanding of American democracy. The American democratic ideal is not the Greek one, which is mere majority rule, even where the majority is an elite. American democracy is founded on the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...for all citizens. Minority rights and the needs of the less fortunate must also be taken into consideration to ensure they too, share in the public weal. Absolute liberty, and the tyranny of the majority are not part of the American democratic ideal. Too brand the politics behind free software as socialism, shows a total lack of political sophistication.


    Free software as espoused by RMS is also attacked as economically unrealistic and a detriment to financial success. I have news for those folks who still believe they can make money creating proprietary packaged software: you're doomed to failure.

    There are two reasons for this:
    1. Technology is a commodity
    2. The Web has changed the model

    What point 1 means is that if you come up with any technology idea today, tomorrow there will be 12 implementations of the same thing cheaper, better, faster than yours. And besides, Microsoft will end up doing the same thing and giving it away for free, until you are crushed and disappear.

    What point 2 means is the move away from a computer-centric model to a computing-centric model. The fact is, that except for hobbyists, nerds and geeks, most people don't want PCs. Who wants to be a computer operator, installing software packages, tweaking this and diddling with that. People want COMPUTING not computers. Before the advent of the Web, people didn't have a choice - they needed computers to get computing. But the WEB HAS CHANGED THE MODEL. Now I can get my computing off the web - all I need is a browser client device, and I have access to all the computing I need!

    These two trends together mean one thing: the packaged software model is dead, capute, extinct.

    So if you can't make money selling packaged software, how do you make money? By selling services! Companies and individuals will still need programmers to create these web based services for them.

    IBM gets this. IBM failed miserably competing with Microsoft selling packaged software. Fortunately for them, Gerstner is a smart guy. He understood the trends. So IBM doesn't concentrate anymore on selling software. Their whole ebusiness image campaign is all about selling services. Because IBM gets it, and becaused they understand they will not be making money selling packaged software, they have more whole heartedly embraced the open source model (of course, they still have vestiges of their old corporate mentality, hence the Jikes license).

    What does this mean for the individual programmer? Well if its good enough for IBM (who certainly can't be labeled socialists), it should be good enough for you. But how can you compete with all those giants? All that free software out there provides you with this huge R&D department that puts you on an equal competitive basis with these huge corporations! So, exactly contrary to the critics, free software enhances the individual programmers competitive edge, not detracts from it. It is in your economic interest, not just your moral interest, to extend the base of free software (in the RMS sense) and NOT keep your code proprietary.

    What is truly amazing is that RMS envisioned this nearly 15 years ago!
  • Why pick on Red Hat? I just don't understand.
  • Thanks for clarifying, I understand what you're saying.
  • Well said.

    I remeber when Mac users were considered a fanatical bunch of flakes. After reading these Linux zealots posts over the past few days I can really say that they have to be some of the most rabid, venomous, emotionally driven and illogical statements I've ever read. They've truly earned the title of the most annoying and wacky of the OS bigots.
  • ESR has basicly made the term worthless. Apple is just doing this for PR. "looky here! we are open source just like Linux/*BSD", they also may get some free R/D out of it. Apple dosnt realy want to give anything back to the community. THINK ABOUT IT. You write tons of code for the APSL you get to pay $500 (or what ever) of a OS you helped make. Apple gets rich off of you for nothing. This goes the same for Netscape and IBM. Don't get me wrong... what they did wasn't 100% a Bad Thing(TM). It makes bug fixs and in house changes real easy and cheap.

    You write tons of code for a GPLed OS/program you get an OS/program that you helped make for FREE, for you and the rest of the community. You can also use your/others code for other things.
    It's all up to you. You want to help Apple/IBM/Netscape/Whoever get richer...only to get screwed out of alot of time/work, thats your choice.
    You wan't to realy make software better and give something back to the community, fine, use the GLP...your choice. You may not get tons of $$ this way...but at least your not making someone else rich off of your work, and your time/work isnt going to waste. And NOONE can ever take the code way from you. It will always be open and GPLed.

    PS: i think the Debian people are RIGHT on this. They realy do care about the community and the software. ESR just cares about his EGO. He likes being Apple's/netscape's/IBM's/any_big_corp's piss boy. I have lost all respect for him. And i wish all media would just stop caring what he says. They think he is the leader of the "community".
    my $0.02,flame on!
  • Has anyone even looked at the code? I did. Isnt much there. It's missing parts and there is 0 documentation. How does this = MacOS X? It looks more like a OS Apple/next scraped a wile ago. Everyone is saying APPLE rules over something that as far as /I/ can see isnt even real. Anyone think otherwise? If so did you even get the code to compile/boot?
  • >>Apple is opening up the source code to its OS, >>and that has convinced me to...

    Do some more reading befor you buy that Mac. Apple is opening the source to Darwin. MacOS X looks to be based OFF of this. They kinda had me fooled too at 1st..Apple opening the source to Darwin is about as usefull as MS opening the source to Windows 3.0. But it sure does make good PR
  • 3) Who owns the trademark?

    Software in the Public Interest, Inc. []. See the US Patent and Trademark Office entry for "Open Source" ( LL+3+921980+0+1+141168+F+2+2+1+MS%2f Open+AND+MS%2fSource (sorry, trying to make a out of it failed).

    4) What has RMS said about the Freeness of the APSL?

    Not much so far. RMS primarily communicates through email. In Aachen he told about getting RSI from coding; presumably he still suffers from this.
    He's being included in a thread on spi-general, so we'll learn of his opinion soon, I hope.

    5) If I see one more /. article pitting ESR against BP, I am dropping BOTH and going with RMS. It's getting so that he is the only NON-crazy one.

    Bruce isn't the only signatory. It's signed by the Debian project leader (the Open Source definition is essentially the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG []) with Debian-specific references removed), and the president of SPI.
    And while I have a lot of respect for RMS, he isn't without faults either (GPL v LGPL, not admitting to the reality that FSF gcc development is dead and succeeded by EGCS, attempts to micro-manage Debian when it was still an FSF project). Free software shouldn't be about egos, but about principles.

  • RMS is now responding on the freeness of the APSL. His extensive comments have not hit the spi-general webarchive yet, but should appear soon in the Apple and Open Source [] thread.
  • Apple added its license and copyright without removing the other licenses and copyrights that had already been applied to the files (in most cases the BSD license). So they have not plagiarized, but you still have to comply with all of the licenses on the file just because Apple stuck a notice on it.



  • seems to be having problems, and thus can not be reached. Here's the document.


    The Apple Public Source License - Our Concerns Bruce Perens [mailto] , Primary Author: The Open Source Definition. Co-Founder: The Open Source Initiative.
    Wichert Akkerman [mailto]: Debian Project Leader.
    Ian Jackson [mailto]: President, Software in the Public Interest. Author, Debian package installation tool `dpkg'.

    We welcome Apple Computer, Inc. as a participant in the Free Software Community. We feel that a few problems in the present version of the Apple Public Source License [] (the APSL) disqualify it as "Open Source(TM)" or "Free Software". We hope that Apple can address these issues to everyone's satisfaction.

    The participation of companies like Apple and IBM should be considered in the same way as the participation of any free software developer. Everyone is welcome to make a contribution. Individually, we each decide whether or not to accept a particular developer's contribution, for reasons that range from technical to legal and licensing concerns. We openly discuss these issues before our community, often quite harshly, as a means of developing consensus and charting our course. One consensus that we've reached is the Open Source Definition, a generally accepted definition of Free Software licensing, written by Bruce Perens and the Debian GNU/Linux developers in 1997.

    We note that much of the material that Apple has just released under the APSL originated at The University of California, Berkeley and at Carnegie-Mellon University. That work was sponsored by the U.S. Government, paid for with our taxes, and was already available as Free Software under the BSD license and other well-accepted Open Source licenses. Many of these files do not significantly differ from the pre-Apple versions except that they bear the addition of a new copyright and license. Other files are entirely authored by Apple or bear significant modifications that should indeed be considered Apple's property. Where Apple has not significantly modified individual files from their pre-Apple versions, their original licenses should be preserved without the addition of the APSL.

    Section 2.2(c) of the APSL requires that the producer of modifications to APSL-licensed code use a particular URL in the domain to notify Apple. While the demise of Apple Computer, Inc. is unlikely in the near future, that sad event would leave us unable to comply with this section of the APSL. This would constitute a restriction on all rights granted by the license, including those rights necessary to qualify under the Open Source Definition. The Free Software community plans a very long lifetime for its software, and we hope that Apple will cooperate by changing this provision so that APSL-licensed software could survive without Apple. We suggest that the simple publication of modifications, such as posting on a personal web site accessible to the global internet and pointed out in any binary distributions, be all that is required. This is consistent with other licenses in our community.

    Section 9.1 of the APSL allows Apple to terminate our rights to use any or all APSL-covered code, at its sole discretion, in the event of an unproven claim of infringement, no matter how specious. This is derived from a similar objectionable portion of IBM's Jikes license [], which disqualified that license from being referred to as "Open Source". We hope that Apple will consider the investment that members of the Free Software community will put into APSL-licensed code when they write modifications for it. An arbitrary termination could cause us to suddenly lose that investment at some future date, with no chance for appeal. The licenses accepted by our community do not provide the possibility of termination in this manner. If termination due to an infringement claim is to be allowed at all, it should be explicitly limited to the particular source-code lines that are considered to infringe upon an existing patent. This would make it possible for the free software community to "write around the problem" and create a non-infringing version. The authors of the APSL apparently did not consider that patents expire. It should be possible for us to store infringing code for restoral to use upon the expiration of the patent in question. Apple might also consider if it's possible to allow third-parties to defend the disputed code from an infringement claim that would cause us all to lose our rights under the APSL.

    We also regret to note that that Eric Raymond, with the best of intentions, jumped a little too fast to embrace the APSL in his enthusiasm to welcome Apple to our community. He placed the Open Source designation on a license that wasn't quite ready for that. We invite Eric and other members of the Free Software community to join us in requesting the few simple changes to the APSL that we have outlined in this letter.

    Contact: Bruce Perens <> [mailto] 510-526-1165 (USA) Links to Relevant Information

  • Huh? Steve and I were on good terms when I left Pixar 5 weeks ago. He hasn't answered my email in the last two days, but for him that is no surprise.

    I worked there 12 years and left to form another company. 12 years is a long time to be at one company.

  • I also own and . All three should work interchangably. People are used to typing .com, so I give that one out.

    Why did I get So nobody else would get it and use it to my detriment. That's all.

  • My DSL provider suddenly cancelled my account due to a paperwork error. They were very apologetic. It should work fine now.

    What a headache, though. I was on musical hold for hours.


  • I'm not flaming. Read my letter. These other guys here should not flame, I agree.


  • I sent it to this guy I know at Apple, Steve Jobs. No reply so far. I'll call this VP of Operating System Development who is quoted in the Wired story.


  • I think they are saying that they can't terminate your right to distribute your modifications. However, I have a real attorney at an IP firm who wants to answer these questions for free, so I will discuss them with him.



  • It would still be more pleasing to our eyes if a big fat link to .org was put on .com :)

    What would be? My own organization for myself? :-) I just can't convince myself that people's domain suffixes mean much any more.

    Rather than withdraw the "Bruce is totally nuts" outburst, please think twice next time. I wrote a really even-toned letter and I wish the slashdot argument that followed it had been as even-toned.



  • Was it really in the press release? I think one of the news web sites tacked that on.


  • The new version of the license that goes with Qt 2.0 is better. Troll did a lot of work to solve people's objections.


  • I left after Eric overruled the entire board on another issue. From my discussions with them, it does not appear my vote would have mattered in this issue, and had I remained on the board I would not have been free to comment on the APSL as I have.



  • I spoke with people at Apple today - their director of OS development and also the specific person responsible for Open Source development. They welcome suggestions about the license and certainly did not have any problem with my making one. Let's give them some time and see if they can improve the license.



  • Linux is the belief that by COOPERATION, a group of people can creat greatness.

    No, Linux is an operating system (or an operating system kenel, for the GNU/Linux crowd).

    Linux could disappear tomorrow, and it would only slightly hurt the free software movement. A new kernel would be written. It would be harder to replace the thousands of talented people who wrote it, but they aren't going away. There's no linux movement. There's a freedom movement.

    It's exactly the freedom element that you're overlooking. Like Ed Muth, you just don't "get it".

  • Section 2.2(c) of the APSL requires that the producer of modifications to APSL-licensed code use a particular URL in the domain to notify Apple. While the demise of Apple Computer, Inc. is unlikely in the near future, that sad event would leave us unable to comply with this section of the APSL. This would constitute a restriction on all rights granted by the license, including those rights necessary to qualify under the Open Source Definition.
    Section 9.1 of the APSL allows Apple to terminate our rights to use any or all APSL-covered code, at its sole discretion, in the event of an unproven claim of infringement, no matter how specious.

    I don't know why I bother. If you didn't get it when you read the article, you probably don't get it when you read it here.

  • by Mawbid ( 3993 )

    I'm ashamed of my comment at the end of my reply to your post. It was inflammatory and demeaning and I wish I hadn't made it.

    If I hadn't, then you wouldn't have done the same to me. I started this, and I apologise.

    To clarify, I did read and comprehend your request for the specific clause in the OSD which the APSL violates. It is not because I didn't understand you that I replied with quotes from Bruce's article, but because I felt that Bruce had made it clear in those section why the APSL didn't qualify under the OSD.

    Given that "Section 9.1 of the APSL allows Apple to terminate our rights to use any or all APSL-covered code", it is obvious that the APSL does not fit the OSD. It doesn't take careful reading of the OSD to see that; a general knowledge of its nature is sufficient. It is this obvious conclusion that I thought you were missing.

    Whether the above quoted statement is true, and a valid premise on which to draw conclusions, is another matter. I haven't made up my mind about that yet.

  • Yawn. A bunch of ad-hominim attacks, but I notice you refuse to argue against any of the points of the free software supporters.

    For what it's worth, I've become _more_ idealistic and convinced I was "right all along" the more time I spend in the so-called "real", business world.
  • people will drown in your own negative confusion. /. was interesting when I got here a year ago but all this negativity is just too much. Here's an idea. How's about any one who's registered here boycotts the comments section til and just looks at the news page for a few weeks/months til this nonsense dies down. I can't decide if I'm in the middle of 'elitest central' or a zerg swarm. sheesh.
  • I don't understand. I didn't see any reference to enemies in Bruce's article. He merely pointed out some technical flaws and encouraged Apple to correct them.

    If I submit code to go into the Linux kernel, and it has technical flaws, I would be surprised if the reviewers were this gentle. I don't see why a legal liscense should be any different.
  • I don't see where Bruce is going berserk with condemnation. There are small problems with the liscense. He pointed them out and politely asked them to be fixed. It all seemed extrodinarily civil and polite.

    If Apple want's Debian's seal of approval, they'll have to change the liscense. If they don't care, they don't have to. No one's saying Apple sucks if they don't, just that it might be a good idea if they did.

    I don't think changing the liscense in the way Bruce describes would invite lawsuits. All he's suggesting is they leave the Mach liscense alone and leave a clause for "what if Apple goes under".
  • by drig ( 5119 )
    The GUI code isn't free or published. You could make something that has the MacOSX internals, but it wouldn't look like MacOSX and probably won't run MacOSX applications (I have to assume the toolkit is part of the non-free stuff. Imagine trying to run Gnome applications on Linux without GTK).
  • Talk about casting pearls before pigs!

    You summed up the whole situation with that one line.
  • Well, I'm close.

    MacOS on a PowerTower Pro 225 (although I have both BeOS R4 and LinuxPPC R4 partitions).

    ...So close, so close... :>

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • The code is not free, and it was very appropriate of Bruce to point this out.

    That is utter bullshit!

    The code is free and Apple is free to protect themselves, their employees and shareholders from liability. Bruces problem with 2.2 was very nit picky, he simply wants clarification should Apple have an unhealthy demise, and his problem with 9.1 seems to be a non issue, since removing the Affected code is the last resort for an infringemnt claim according to Apple's license

    9.1 Infringement. If any of the Original Code becomes the subject of a claim of infringement ("Affected Original Code"), Apple may, at its sole discretion and option: (a) attempt to procure the rights necessary for You to continue using the Affected Original Code; (b) modify the Affected Original Code so that it is no longer infringing; or (c) terminate Your rights to use the Affected Original Code, effective immediately upon Apple's posting of a notice to such effect on the Apple web site that is used for implementation of this License.

    It seems that the spirt of the license is that workarounds, and deals would be the first wave of correction. Also he seems to have missed the term Affected which implies Lines of code

    Verse 7 of the GPL
    7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program. If any portion of this section is held invalid or unenforceable under any particular circumstance, the balance of the section is intended to apply and the section as a whole is intended to apply in other circumstances. It is not the purpose of this section to induce you to infringe any patents or other property right claims or to contest validity of any such claims; this section has the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the free software distribution system, which is implemented by public license practices. Many people have made generous contributions to the wide range of software distributed through that system in reliance on consistent application of that system; it is up to the author/donor to decide if he or she is willing to distribute software through any other system and a licensee cannot impose that choice. This section is intended to make thoroughly clear what is believed to be a consequence of the rest of this License.

    According to the GPL all that is needed for termination distrubution is an allegation of infringement or any other reason

    8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among countries not thus excluded. In such case, this License incorporates the limitation as if written in the body of this License.

    I put forth this last bit to show everyone that even in the GPL there IS an owner of the code, the original copyright holder, whoever that may be.
  • If Bruce was still at the OSI, maybe he could have vetoed Open Source (TM) certification of the APSL.
  • Apple's announcement was nothing but a PR stunt. The code is not free, and it was very appropriate of Bruce to point this out. I agree that Bruce has had problems controlling his ego in the past, but this is not one of those occasions (or if it is, then he's at least using it towards good ends ;).


    "A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will deserve neither and lose both."

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll