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Apple responds to APSL issues 85

heretic writes "Here's a techweb article on Apple's response to the criticism they've drawn on their source license for Darwin. Personally, I hope they fix at least the cancellation clause. "
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Apple responds to APSL issues

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  • It would be nice if the DFSG said something that required a license to be perpetual and non-cancellable. OTOH I agree with Ian Jackson who once posted to a Debian list that the DFSG were simply that: guidelines, not a legal document. The OSD should be considered similarly. Finding a loophole in the guidelines should not be grounds for branding a particular product "Open Source" or not.

    BTW: "All Rights Reserved" is simply a magic phrase needed to invoke copyright protection in some Latin American countries. It does not actually mean anything wrt preserving rights under US copyright law. Actually, it is possible that today the phrase is obsolete, since all affected countries may have signed the Berne Convention.
  • He doesn't. Go to [] and search for it. You will find that it has been applied for (NOT granted) by Software in the Public Interest (SPI). Additionally, you'll note a company called Open Source Solutions with a similar REGISTERED trademark that is likely to dispute SPI's claim to "Open Source".

    So "Open Source" is not yet a registered trademark or certification mark at all, much less owned by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) or Eric Raymond.

    Of coure there is still the dispute between SPI and the OSI. I am very disappointed in SPI's failure to say anything further on this. They soliticed input from the free software community with a deadline of 12/31. However, no decision was ever put out and the community feedback was never published as they claimed it would be. I emailed them about it in late January and they said they were running a bit behind. More than a bit I would guess.
  • I have Apple products. Some are really nice products. I'm also concerned about Apple's welfare, and will do what I can to help them out.
    I agree that it's unhelpful for them to make up their own license and use that, particularly with the retaining control over it- this isn't free software in the classic sense. I also feel there is value in their simply making the information available even if they _didn't_ allow forking and re-use of their code... I always think of it as auditing. Right now it's flat impossible for Apple to build in really low-level hooks that make IE work better, or make Appleworks work better. Now, granted, they never did that anyway... but isn't it good that we can be sure of that? If they tried anything dirty, people would be all over it. That's not insignificant.
    I'm just going to continue GPLing along, but I do think this is a good thing, even with the funky license, because the world does not begin and end with issues of being able to freely take code and do your thing with it. There are also issues of keeping tabs on what proprietary software companies are up to in their code- and Apple's taken a step to give us the power to audit that, and be sure nobody's twisting their arm to put in special hooks, or Clipper chips, or ID numbers or whatever. I think that's a good thing.
  • Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    This isn't from the "egg-on-their-face" department. It's from the "they-were-led-astray-by-ESR" department.
  • Thank you, Bruce, for all the effort you've been putting into this.

    I've noticed your public comments & essays have been a lot more "diplomatic" than what I think I have seen in past from you. I feel I've misjudged you in the past.

    Anyway, I had to get that out in the open. :)

  • I've been doing some thinking about this whole apple thing, and I think there is a way that this can be made to work. I might be wrong though, maybe I'm just really hoping for this to work out, so if anyone knows something I don't, do tell. :)

    As we all know, apple makes the majority of it's profits from hardware. I'm not sure what the exact figure is, but I've heard it's around 90%. So obviously, anything that sells more hardware for apple would be a bonus, even if it came at the expense of software.

    As it stands, their current license isn't motivating me, or likely many other people, to go out and buy apple boxes. Perhaps the bugfixes may make a better OS, but the fact is the UI portion of the OS is still closed. Given this, one must question exactly how much good this will do in the long run (mind you, it will probably have some benefit, just not what it could have).

    However, the obvious problem for apple is if they release all the code, then bang, someone ports it to intel, and apple is in huge trouble. I'd love to run the MacOS, and if it were fully open source, then gosh dammit, I would. But I'd do it on intel (or AMD, you know what I mean), for three reasons:
    a) Intel still gives better price/performance
    b) I already own the hardware
    c) It leaves my other operating system choices more open. For example, my favorite linux distro is debian, but the MacOS port isn't really finished yet.

    I believe most people would do the same, even the non-hacker types who just want to run the MacOS, mainly for the first two reasons.

    But can this be stopped? I think it can. I see no reason why apple can't release the code under the GPL (for example), but with a clause stating that it may not be compiled for any non apple architecture (obviously with a better, more legal wording).

    Although I'm sure some people would still complain, and I agree it's not the perfect world solution, it would provide the open source world with another great OS option, and no doubt sell plenty of hardware for apple, as the MacOS benefits from the open source model and becomes a more attractive option for many people. Heck, even the reduced development costs for apple might allow them to sell their boxes a little cheaper, further advancing their cause in the market.

    If apple did this, I'd almost certainly make my next machine a Mac.

    But is it open source? After reading the open source definition/debian free software guidelines, I fail to see why not. Taking it point by point:

    1) It would be freely redistributable like the GPL
    2) It would have source code
    3) It would allow derived works under the same terms as the original license
    4) It would allow modified binaries/source
    5) It would not descriminate against persons or groups (I don't think "intel chip owners" counts under this clause, as they are free to purchase Mac hardware - I believe this clause was meant to stop people who put racists/sexist/etc license clauses in their licenses from calling their software "free" or "open source")
    6) It wouldn't discriminate against "fields of endevour"
    7) it would have "distribution of license"
    8) The license wouldn't be specific to a software product
    9) The license wouldn't contaminate other software
    10) It would practically be the GPL but for a small clause.

    Perhaps a few clauses in the OSD are vague enough that people could complain and try to exclude it from being labelled "open source", but I think you could do that for practically any license if you tried hard enough. I do think it would be a fair license for all concerned, be of mutual benefit to everyone (Heck, you could even use the low level drivers in linux, since they'd only ever get compiled on Mac hardware and otherwise be under the GPL).

    In short, this seems such an ideal solution that I'm wondering why nobody else has suggested it?

  • I wasn't aware of the extent of ESR's involvement in the creation of the APSL. I find it very disappointing that Apple reserves the right to revoke a developer's license at any time. That makes it pretty scary to devote your time to a project only to find out that Apple changed its mind after six months of work. One of the reasons why I'm willing to hack on GPL'ed software is my assurance that no one can take my rights away with respect to that software and my changes.

    Oh, well. I wasn't planning on fooling with Apple's source anyway, but this is still quite a mark against their license.

    Of course, I'll stick with the GPL for most everything I write.
  • Wasn't the issue of the trademark of "Open Source" supposed to be resolved by SPI "by the end of last year"?

    Weren't all the comments submitted to them supposed to be made public?

    Bruce, weren't you one of the people saying that SPI didn't have a leg to stand on because ESR was the one who coined the term "Open Source" and first started to use it?

    Didn't you say that "SPI doesn't have any more legal right to the trademark than the guy who trademarked Linux"?

  • You are correct, of course. I wish everyone were willing to do a bit of research before freaking out. This includes esr, unforch.

    As for OSS, they have no claim. Theirs is a service mark held for ''. That's all. As for the status of 'Open Source':


    Serial Number: 75439502

    Registration Number: (NOT AVAILABLE)

    Trademark (words only): OPEN SOURCE

    Current Status: A non-final action has been mailed. This is a letter from the examining attorney requesting additional information and/or making an initial refusal. However, no final determination as to the registrability of the mark has been made.

    Date of Status: SEP 17,1998


    Wonder what that letter had to say, and whether or not SPI has responded or not. Given the community nature of this mark, it would be nice if they'd let us know it's status in some way.

    "First they ignore you.
    Then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.

  • Thanks for your reply...

    Your argument makes sense, and I do think that Apple could _eventually_ make a profit as a hardware company working on GPL code. But right now, as we all know, Apple's market share is not enough to differentiate it, especially in the cutthroat hardware atmosphere these days.

    Increasingly, it's the operating system the differentiates the hardware. Apple's success, while partly due to its revelation in using industry-standard parts to improve the PC, is mostly due to the brand loyalty of Mac OS users.

    Increasingly, margins on hardware are growing thinner and thinner. Apple's "upper" OS is both the differentiator from other OSes and the consistent money-maker.

    In order to succeed in a world where Apple's own code, including that "wedge," has been ported to its competitors' hardware, Apple needs to be able to provide hardware the trumps the rest. Right now, as has been noted, Apple's hardware is very powerful, but many feel it is too expensive and others feel it's not powerful or expandable enough.

    Apple needs a market-share cushion so that when it does go fully open-source (if it does), the resulting loss of some market share will not result in the folding of the company.

    Therein is the core of my argument: Apple just can't afford to do it right now. Perhaps sometime in the future that will be different. My point here is that Apple can only move so fast because of its position.

    P.S. The "easy interface" of which you speak is exactly what Apple is holding onto- that's the resource which, right now, guarantees its survival.

    My wish in asking for perspective is that people will realize that the Free Software revolution, if there is to be one, must really be an _evolution_ over time, of the prevailing corporate atmosphere into the new paradigm. Until the GNUlians =) recognize that, they'll push and push and cause strife, which is not what the Open Source/Free Software movements need right now.

  • by i, Mac ( 1975 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @11:02AM (#1962847) Homepage
    Apple has made a tremendous step toward legitimizing the Open Source movement in the minds of major businesses and enterprise shops in its decision to open the lower layers of its next-generation operating system.

    At the same time, it provides a core OS for free for the tinkerer, and I believe that at least those tinkerers who have come onto the Darwin mailing lists will not only add value to the Darwin environment but perhaps bring some of Apple's technology back to Linux.

    Yes, the license is written in such a way that it is hard to understand and can be misconstrued. Bruce Perens has said many times now that he and others are working with Apple to help them revise the license to better support Open Source's ideology.

    This company- which has endured tremendous abuse on the Slashdot forums- witness the transition of the most popular argument from "Apple is overpriced" to "Apple is closed and proprietary" (so are IBM and Sun, for most of their stuff) to "Apple's license is evil and a threat to our freedoms"- has made an offer of great import to the Open Source community... "Here. Here is the source code to everything that makes our OS run. You can use the technology for your purposes and we get some of your innovations and bug fixes too."

    Of course they keep the top layer. This is a company that NEEDS to make money in order to survive. Unlike a band of programmers unified only by their passion for the project- with no corporate expenses to pay- Apple must pay for its very survival. And it does so by maintaining control of the GUI and high-level layers of the OS. That's why the argument "I'll think they're serious about Open Source when they give away the entire source for the Mac OS" doesn't fly.

    Apple has made great strides- perhaps they still have a distance to come, but I don't see why they need to be continually attacked for their efforts.

    I do understand, however, the viewpoint of the GNU people, whose very purpose is the same as the ant-establishmentarians from the 60s- to provide a radical counterpart to the closed corporate culture that prevails. They embrace an extreme that substitutes the cry "freedom of code" for "free love."

    Apple, by its very nature, can not be Free Software because they need to retain some control over the code they release. Unlike a lone programmer, Apple has billions in assets to lose over a patent lawsuit.

    But the company can, and is trying to embrace the ideals of Open Source. I think, despite the initial stumblings, that Apple will continue to refine its license and move closer toward those ideals.

    Let's wait and see. Perhaps Apple is making an effort to break from its past mistakes. Based on its performance and actions in the past year, I'd bet they really are trying.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @11:33AM (#1962848)
    I find it very disappointing that Apple reserves the right to revoke a developer's license at any time. That makes it pretty scary to devote your time to a project only to find out that Apple changed its mind after six months of work.

    For crying out loud, read the license, people! Apple can't do that!!! If you'll look at the license, the only time Apple can terminate a license is if it has evidence that a developer has violated a patent (might I add that if they didn't do this they would be breaking the law), and they can only terminate the license to that developer (plus remove that bit of code, which was illegal to add to the codebase anyway.).
  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @10:58AM (#1962849)
    OK, I suppose I've sort of got a vested interest in this if you want to call it that. I do use Apple hardware for personal use. Boycotting is absolutely the wrong thing to do if you ever want to see mainstream companies start to embrace Open Source or GPL or any other similar license. I'm not saying that you've got to accept what their license offers, or contribute to it or sing songs of apple pie and motherhood about it. A few companies are taking their first baby steps towards free software. Yes, they are doing it because they see the possibility of some tangible benefit. They owe that to their employees, stock holders and customers.

    Rather than boycott support the efforts of people like Bruce Perens in getting Apple (and other companies) to change the offensive parts of their license agreements. This is new to them, its new to the corporate lawyers. It's even new to the traditional Open Source community. Apple, Netscape, Sun, IBM and all the other companies that are taking their first steps towards open source face difficulties different from what a lone coder or an unassociated group of coders face. They can be sued by a variety of entities: stock holders; customers; competition.

    The license will change and for the better. I'm sure of it. Or Apple's open source will fade away into obscurity. I'm sure of that too. The open source community needs examples of companies making a success at open source. It doesn't need examples of companies that either got out of open source because of boycotts or law suits or went under because they went open source. It will happen eventually of course, failures happen, but right now everybody needs some success stories.

    Leave the boycotts for televangelists and their campaign against childrens TV shows or uneducated house wives and prime time TV.

  • The trademark situation is almost entirely my fault. I screwed up. I did some things that will probably not stand up in court, although I doubt they'll ever get to court.

    SPI will act eventually. I think they want to be really sure that they've discussed all of the options before they do, but I do not speak for them and am not privy to their plans.



  • If the license ever terminates, tests 1 through 9 of the OSD all fail. Thus, by implication termination is against the OSD. If we are to accept termination at all, it must be very limited to situations in which the original developer is forced to terminate against their will, and only the minimum necessary code must be terminated.

    I don't think the license has to prohibit obfuscation. If we ever see an incident of obfuscation, that software is not open source. The license doesn't have to come into it.



  • See my reply in the "Sheesh" thread. Thanks Bruce
  • The "explicit definition" you are pointing out is this sentence:

    If any of the Original Code becomes the subject of a claim of infringement ("Affected Original Code")

    As long as you and I can argue about the precision of that definition, it can be argued either way in court, too. Let's make it completely unambiguous and keep out of court!


  • If the license terminates, you may no longer redistribute the program. The default case with no license is "All Rights Reserved". If you can't redistribute the program, it's not Open Source.

    I agree that we could make it explicit in the OSD, but it's already there by implication.



  • Yes, I saw your post. If that's a "definition", it's not a good one. An apple exec I spoke with agrees that this can be tightened up. He's not digging in his heels on this, so there is little reason for you and I to argue about it.



  • The trademark situation is pretty much my fault. I screwed up. The outcome so far is that SPI still owns the mark, dispite actions I took that it appears would not stand up in court. I am not relishing the idea of being in court about this, but it will probably never happen anyway.

    If SPI is not acting, it is probably because they want to think and discuss for a long time before they do anything. They are certainly aware of what is going on. I, however, do not speak for them.



  • The termination issue is based on the lack of a definition of Affected Original Code. They'll define it. Right now, it might mean all code.

    There will be lots of specious patent suits, that is the nature of the U.S. software patent system. Some future Apple management could decide to fold up its tents for any one of these suits. We want to get good wording now so that this could never happen.


  • I endorsed Troll's new license on their own web page, and I persist in telling people to turn the heat down now that Troll has accommodated us. It's sad that the abuse is still happening.



  • 16000 people clicked through the license to download and get a look at the code. Me among them. They are not developers until they upload new code. I would not do that with the license in its present state, I expect the license will be fixed soon.



  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Thursday March 25, 1999 @10:06AM (#1962860) Homepage Journal
    SPI still owns the Open Source trademark. Ask the USPTO.

    16000 approvals of the license means that people clicked through the license page on the way to downloading the software to get a look at it. It doesn't mean that many of those 16000 people would contribute their own work on the software, given the current license. But it's a good thing to say at the stockholders meeting where nobody understands this anyway.

    Apple is still listening to comment on the APSL and does not intend to leave it at 1.0 forever, although Avi might not be aware of that.

    So far, CMP has done two of the worst stories on this topic, and they don't write back when I write them.


  • ...sorry about that apostrophe in your last name Bruce. I guess I shoulda hit preview...

  • ...go here:
    and type in Linux as a keyword. The job is in Santa Clara :-) Have fun...
  • on Apple's Public Source list so he's helping from the inside. He posts frequently and there's a good conversation going on about the various contentions brought up here and others /. may not have considered. And it's refreshingly free of A.C.'s :-) Even with mod's I still see the occasional lame A.C. post here. On the maillist there are people you can recognize from the community and names you can associate projects with. I'm glad I joined it.
  • >Do you really think the average Slashdot'er would have bought any of Apple's products anyhow? How do you boycott something like that?

    I'm not sure what your *intention* was here, but reading at face value you're presuming a LOT. What is the average Slashdotter using? Just x86 and Linux? I see a LOT of users here talk about Alpha, Solaris, Be and yes Apple. PLEASE don't marginalize us - that's what Bill Gates does when he redefines "crossplatform" to mean "Windows 9x, or Windows NT?". That said, you could have meant something completelky different than my interpretation... tis the nature of electronic words and this imprecise thing called English. :-D

    Back on the license, I DO think Apple is targeting Linux but NOT in the same way as Microsoft, who is launching FUD that will eventually be picked apart and laughed at once the press is educated.

    Apple's just trying to show it can adapt, and tap into the "alternative" programming pool. Apple is a powerful ally with some really smart people who are JUST AS DEDICATED to their platform as Linux users (is anyone dedicated to Windows? besides Bill's little "lap-dog" face-lick companies like Rational or SilkNet)

    I am relieved the tone of most of this has been rational, or maybe everything's moderated past -5? :-)

    Apple would not have taken this step without considering the consequences of being told it's not enough. They have to be listening.

    That said, I heard back from an Apple developer today, and they don't thing there are enough people in the Linux community who would be willing to buy QuickTime Pro for x86 Linux. Am I the only one who doesn't believe this is a true assessment?
    I don't have to reboot my PC to Windows quite as much now that I bought a G3 box, but I get really bad framerates with the free Linux video players (NOT a dis against the authors of that software!)
  • Give me a break. The argument that Apple has to maintain control of the top layers of their OS to remain profitable is inane. For years, people maintained two complementary points about Apple that you ignore at your peril. Apple has never made money selling its OS. All the profits Apple has hapily received over the past year and half have come from new and inovative hardware strategies. People rarely buy the MacOS. It usually comes with the computer you purchase. Apple could give away a closed copy of any verison of the MacOS and still remain highly profitable.
    Secondly, the argument against cloning was that Apple had to maintain low level control of the Hardware and the Opreating system to maintain the high levels of reliability and interoperability that people expect from Apple's boxes.

    Thus, from these two facts, Apple's profitability does not depend on keeping part of their OS closed. Additionally, they have ceeded the importance of control over the low level interfaces but in a very cynical and greedy way: Apple still makes the profits from the hardware but it gets a huge pool of beta testers and if one of these testers happens to come up with an interesting piece of code, Apple gets that for free too.

    I trust Apple about as far as I can throw Steve Jobs and I am a Macintosh user from as far back as 1985. I know this company and never forget that they are determined to make an "impact" even if that means driving the company to bankruptcy. Jobs has never been a colaborator. He has never believed in letting go.

    So sure, Apple gets half a point for giving us access driver code that we can integrate into LinuxPPC. What else does the community get?
    Where are the significant benefits to the rest of the community?

    Don't be so quick to dismiss the FSF and and its desciples as 60's radicles. They are talking about something entirely different than free love (or free beer for that matter, something I think should be part of any national health plan, btw).
    Their points about the social consequences of closed source for programs or hidden information in general are devestating to a society that prides itself on freedom of speach and dissent.
    Apple could dump the MacOS, or more likely, make blue box run on top of LinuxPPC, give it away to anyone who wants it, and sell hardware and be a very profitable (perhaps more so) company.
    They don't because they have a philosophical distrust for the intelegence of their users. This makes for a highly structured, highly reliable, and really simple to use OS. Unfortunatly it is also made in the image of Steve Jobs, Avi Trevana or whoever is leading Apple at the time.
    This is fine for some people and some applications. But it is entirely disntinct from the Free Software movement (no matter what you call it). Choice is the rule when you can mix and match your components as easily as you choose your sox.

    We in the Linux/Open Source/Free Software community have nothing to fear from Apple. They can't harm us and they can't stop our software from being better than theirs. Apple doesn't need us to help it make a profit. They can try to be open source if they like but we have the right to say, "Nope, that isn't what I call open source."
    I owe Apple nothing. I've paid for my Apple computers and bought updates to their OS many times. If anything Apple owes me but I don't expect them to give anything back because that isn't how capitalism works.
    But I'll be damned if I'm going to bless this latest publicity stunt from Apple as anything more than an interesting development.
  • I know that there are a lot of you that think the APSL is just plain bad.......and I agree that there is some tweaking to be done. However, with that being said....I think Apple deserves some credit.....this is not a bad thing. And as far as the coordination issue...think about it. Apple needs to keep the ease of use of their products. That is one of the things that they are known for. So if people start taking this "Darwin" thing and just running wild with it, it will start to become a new monster that they can't control, and if it mutates, its is going to look bad for Apple. I like the idea of Apple controlling this thing. First of all, they got some pretty smart people working for them these days. They are doing a lot with their software, making incredible improvements in performance......MRJ is 5 times faster, OS 8.5.1 is almost rock solid (pretty damn impressive for a OS that is not buzzword compliant), Quicktime keeps getting better and better. Apple pays some pretty damn good engineers....and I for one think they deserve it. I think that they will do a great job of keeping this thing under control. They are not trying to capture Linux developers, they dont need to. They are doing fine by themselves, but they seem to understand that the more open something becomes, the better chance of finding a better way of doing things becomes. They could release OS X Server as closed up as allowed, and i bet it will be a beautiful piece of software. But they want to open some of it up.....not cause they need help, but to ensure it just gets better. I think a lot of current Open Source stuff is out there because people need help with it. If Linus would have kept Linux to himself, and got a job that required most of his time, and released updates everyonce in a while, how far do you think it would have gotten? I seem to remember he started this revolution as a student, when you are immersed in an evironment that encoureges the productive act of exploration. I am not sure what all of you do, working or students, but the idea for everything to be like Linux, free and open and everbody is happy, will just not happen. The world just doesn't work like that, and probably never will. Linux is great, and will get better. But that pond is only so big. Apple knows this. It would be great if I could just work for free and design great stuff......but there are only so many hours in a day, and I need to provide for myself and others. I think that the introduction of new hybrid licenses will help this movement. There is no reason why a commercial product cannot tap into the wealth of kowledge in the public domain. There is no reason it cannot be controlled by a corporation. I think we have all been burned so many times by a company, that trust levels are extremely low, and rightly so.......I have been burned by countless developers, my neighbors, "friends", employers, and countless others. It is a fact of life. I am sure Apple burned many a people (cloners?), I know Microsoft has, and I bet one day Redhat, Debian, BP, RMS, ESR, will burn someone if they have not already. It is just part of life. You gotta take chances. Sure, Apple can yank a license if trouble brews up, and you may get burned. I doubt they really want to reload for another round of Russian Roulette. Remember that our society is EXTREMELY litigious. For all of you that work at a job that has serious responsiblity, go ask your boss how much money is sunk into insurrance each month. I am an architect, and responsible for everthing I design, and can get sued for just about anything. It is actually pretty scary. But that doesn't stop me from doing what I enjoy. So, if you really are into the Open Source movement because you want to help you fellow (wo)man, then by all means, take the chance and look at the code. Find something that interest you and play with it, have fun. See if you can make it better. Help out cause it makes you feel good. If you are just in this for the politics (which I think is the case for most), well......I think you need to find something more productive......or realize that life isn't governed by software licensses.

  • Is a basement full of G3/333's with Total Impact QUad G3/333's filling all four PCI slots, (thereby giving me 15 CPUS) running some program capable of it.

  • AGGGH.... Total Impact Quad G3/333's filling all THREE PCI slots....

    which gives me 13 CPUs... still nothing to sneeze at.

  • >I urge everyone to boycott Apple's license.

    Do you really think the average Slashdot'er would have bought any of Apple's products anyhow? How do you boycott something like that?

    >It does not meet the *community's* definition of
    >what open source is.

    I understand your frustration, and agree to a great extent (esp. about the termination clause), but there's something to this that a lot of people aren't getting:

    This isn't about your community.

    Although Apple did use the 'open source' label, as it was the closest thing that fit, they're not targeting the Linux factions, really. Apple is trying (justifiably) to satisfy their OWN developers. This is for Mac devs, not Linux devs.

    Let's turn this around a little bit, perhaps Apple isn't terribly concerned about this 'movement', but are you terribly concerned about Apple's welfare? Why should it be only a one way street?

    Not you specifically, but a lot of people seem to be complaining that they're afraid Apple will 'take the source and run', and yet that almost seems precisely what THEY want to do.

    Anyhow, just my thought... :>

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • >What is the significance of an "average"

    I dunno. I think Slashdot's advertisers are probably the most likely to have an expert opinion on that. :>

    >If a person (party, commune, whatever) doesn't
    >want to subscribe to Apple's license, they're
    >welcome to ask for amendments, or to not download
    >it at all.

    Oh, definately agreed. That wasn't the issue. What I found odd was that people here seem to believe that Apple is specifically targeting them - in fact, Apple is really trying to woo back the loyalty of current Mac developers. The definition of 'open source' as it applies to a Mac dev may be different than the stricter version as it applies to a Linux dev.

    Other than the cancellation section (which I believe needs to be edited), most Mac devs aren't really concerned. Many people here seem aghast that Apple has a vested interest in this, "they're just in it for free code!". Mac devs know this, but don't mind - free code turns into a better product which means more support for them in turn. Plus a little underlying OS code is fun to play with, possibly even turn into something cool.

    I'm just concerned that this 'take', 'take', 'take' and no 'give' attitude doesn't affect Apple. You have to admit a lot of the bitching is by people who will never buy an Apple product.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • If Apple isn't making any kind of profit off OS sales in comparison with hardware sales, then they stand to gain little, and perhaps lose a lot, by the Open Source(tm) community porting the MacOS to the x86 platform. Remember, margins on x86 machines are razor thin. If Apple has shown that it cannot make significant amounts of money from the software alone, as they seems to have claimed when they shut down the Mac clone businesses, then they have no incentive to port to x86.
  • Apple has chosen to retain control over the OS, even though they released the source code. This, in itself, is not evil. However, Apple has also chosen to call their source code release "Open Source(tm)". In reality, it seems closer to "Community Source". That is, the source code is available to the community, but it is not "open". By calling it "Open Source(tm)", Apple *is* doing something evil. They are, in effect, diluting the concept that underlies our wonderful community.

    I hope that Apple will either revise the terms of the license, or rename their source code release "Community Source". I don't have problems with the license, I have problems with Apple calling the license "Open Source(tm)".

    If neither happens, I hope the SPI enforces its trademark. It would be a terrible loss of mind share if the "Open Source(tm)" term were allowed to be diluted in this manner...
  • Quoting from the article:

    > "I guess we are finding out that there are >many open source spokesmen, but Eric owns the >Open Source Initiative trademark," Tevanian said.

    Is he implying that only ESR could legaly certify something "Open Source"?
  • Apple is attempting to piggy-back the media success of the Open Source movement while at the same time providing the part of the operating system that we have done better than they have already.

    Their kernel is slow and buggy -- Linux and *BSD are not -- why would we want to work on a part of an operating system which locks us into a particular vendor for a usable display server if we actually want to *do* anything with the OS?

    Sorry, but GNOME is catching up on YellowBox fast and I hope that apple dies the slow death that should become the hallmark of companies that attempt to keep platform technologies proprietary. What, then, could OSS do to benefit apple?

    They could keep their stinking mess of a kernel to themselves (sorry for the constant harping on that -- but I've never used a MacOS X box for more than 2 hours without a friendly little kernel panic window popping up...) and start opensourcing the things that they've done that are truly revolutionary. YellowBox for Linux under the APSL (despite the APSL's problems) would gain Apple instant popularity -- "Look, we can code to their APIs without proprietary code!"

    Apple would sell more boxes that way, because more people would write applications for MacOS X. The brilliance of this strategy? They already allow developers to develop on NT. They'd vastly expand their market *for developers* if they also allowed us all to use Linux. If they didn't rely on charging developers for the right to use their platform, they'd attract more consumers by the number of available applications.

    Apple could live out the cross-platform promise that Java affords us linux hackers in a rather half-assed way right now. Imagine if we all had access to a free Yellow Box -- integrated with GNOME or KDE, choose your environment -- wouldn't you code *your* next app to run on MacOS, WinXX, and Linux, too?

    However, they have merely provided us with yet another crashy kernel that they want the community to do their dirty work in debugging, and we'll all have to wait for GNUstep (if that ever gets done) to write yellowbox apps under Linux.

    Brilliant move, apple. Open source the problem that someone else has already solved better.

  • This is a grave threat to the OSS movement. One of it's central tenets isn't the mere release of source code to the public - but the rights to contribute to the source ->AND- make use of that code in a useful way independently of the creators, and without many restrictions.

    Apple's license must be repealed or boycotted immediately. They have capitalized on a personality dispute to call this "open source" - we need to hold to our definition of it, and reject apple's interpretation. Eric, you're wrong - Debian and RMS, whom both authored the definition(s) of open source both agree this is not open source.

    I urge everyone to boycott Apple's license. It does not meet the *community's* definition of what open source is. We need to signal that to them politely, but firmly.

    And let's hope nobody else tries this for a long time after that...

  • ESR is selling out the drive and moral of the movement to buy pulbicity for it and, more importantly it would seem, for himself. These are not mistakes that the movement can afford to make now. He has lost my respect.
  • Apparently Apple has signedup 16,000 developers, so you are not alone in your community. ;^)
  • How much money does Apple make off its Operating System
    divsion. I'd be mighty surprised if they made a profit on upgrades that is significant in comparison to profits
    on hardware sales

    Ok, so if your scenario was to play out (MacOS gets ported to Intel.) First of all, I suspect that many Mac heads (who love MacOS, but aren't necessarily married to Apple) would buy PC hardware since it's cheaper, and run MacOS on that. Apple loses right there. I certainly don't see such a move resulting in more hardware sales for Apple.

    Second, if MacOS is GPL'd then why would someone wanting to run MacOS have to buy it from Apple? In the same way you can buy Red Hat Linux from CheapBytes for $1.95 or something, I'm sure the same would happen to MacOS as well. Apple loses there too.

  • The GNU people unfortunatly don't look at things this way. Most of them can't seem to understand why the GPL can't be used for everything.

    The whole Troll Tech/QT thing taught me how unreasonable they could be. Troll was semi-open source. These people treated it as though it came from Bill Gates himself.

    So Troll went back and came up with a new license that RMS himself said was acceptable. And I STILL see many of these people complain about how awful the Troll's QPL is. Troll tried to do the right thing, and for that they get so much hate thrown there way it's unbelievable.

    Now apparently it's Apples turn.
  • by eponymous cohort ( 8637 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @10:43AM (#1962880)
    I think it will be very difficult to get a license without the termination clause past company lawyers.

    I can't blame them for having it. It's very specific as to what can cause Apple to terminate there are three conditions. 1) User fails to comply (reasonable) 2 & 3) User engages in patent or copyright infringement, and Apple cannot secure the necessary rights. (If Apple has liability, then this is necessary)

    The license doesn't say that Apple can revoke the license at any time for any reason.

    I suspect that the GPL could be struck down in court because it doesn't offer a reasonable way out, but I'm not a lawyer.
  • The problem here is that values such as freedom are not uniform across our community. There are many who believe that the APSL is a free license (ESR among them). Since the APSL is hardly final right now, I reserve my personal judgement(which matters to me, at least) upon it until they stop listening to suggestions.

    The idea that we can judge software as either free or non-free in some grand unified manner is absurd. Why? Becasue we are unique individuals in a community. For some, nothing less than the infective nature of the GPL is revered as free. For others, the BSD,NPL,QPL,and even the IBM and APSL licenses are delegated free status.

    What the community needs is some kind of license taximony. For example, if that vile (IMO) retraction clause is in a license, then classify it as such. There's no grey area in that decision. Then let the judgement of freedom rest upon the individual hands of the community, and the direction(s) of the community will be revealed. Could it get burned or fragmented in the process? Yes, of course it could. That's all part of a maturing community. To force a single defintion of freedom on people would be a much more horrible - and costly - mistake.
  • Both valid arguments. Let me explain.

    1) Is Apple can't compete with their hardware against Intel, then why haven't they gone bankrupt already? I hardly believe it is due to their interface, since if that was such an advantage then replicating their interface would have happened long ago. People buy Macs because they are easy in _all_ regards to get set up and going. Note that in all of Apple's IMac ads, they emphasized the ease of installation and setup of the hardware and the benfits of Mac hardware over PC stuff (remember the slug ad?). I don't recommend Macs to novices because the interface is sane, I do so because the chance of them getting tied up into the setup and configuration problems that plague PC architecture is non-existent. It is even worth sacrificing their Windows experience they carry from their workplace.

    Besides, I see no reason to think that Apple can't compete with PC vendors. They have proven themselves ( at least over the last year) to be quite cunning and capable of tearing into markets.

    I'll ask you this: If you could buy a PC running MacOS or a similarly equipped G3 running MacOS at the same price, which would you pick, ceteris paribus?

    2) I already stated that Apple isn't making any kind of profit off OS sales in comparison with hardware sales. In my experience, only corporations have bothered to pay the upgrade costs, and most of those do it for the support they receive for the migration-which they would pay for anyway instead of using some Cheapbytes CD. Besides, MacOS installations like that only give the platform what Apple needs most to continue to succeed-marketshare and an expanded application base.
  • x86 margins are very thin indeed. For reasons already stated, Apple can (and has) charged a premium for superior hardware design and implementation.

    What Apple needs most is marketshare. They need the assurances that they can count on apps that people buy computers for in the first place run, and run well, on their platform. They do not have this 100% right now, especially in the gaming industry (what most home PCs do), and they will not get it unless they can increase marketshare.

    I agree that full disclosure is a risk. No major computer company has ever risked their very existance on free software. But Linux is poised to become the priemere operating system in less than 3 years. Apple can either snag developer mindshare now and focus on being a hardware company with a great free software OS, or they can try to catch up later. It's the same problem that a great deal of computer companies are going to have to deal with as free software begins its march.

    As a consultant, I've seen the forces of free software at work before my very eyes. As they say, "You can't fight the future, time is on its side."
  • First the APSL should be, at this time, considered a rough alpha cut at best. It would be foolish to believe that Apple would not make amends to at least fix some of the "wording" issues that ESR has pointed out.(then we'll determine the degree, if any, of ESR's duplicity)

    But what of the perspective you describe? How much money does Apple make off its Operating System divsion. I'd be mighty surprised if they made a profit on upgrades that is significant in comparison to profits on hardware sales. In their case, the OS is included as part of the cost of manufacturing. Contrast that with Microsoft, who makes a profit on every systems sold by other people.

    So, how does keeping the higher-level parts of their operating system proprietary keep them alive? You say it is because having the higher-level portions on only one platform force users to buy their hardware to get the Mac interface.

    Let's do a mind experiment:
    Suppose Apple releases all of _their_ code under the GPL License. Company A does what Apple fears most-ports the whole shebang to x86. Now, since the code is under the GPL, the features of the new port will be folded main tree.

    Now we have competition independent of software ( any software written for the Mac can now be targeted at either platform). As the companies rush to improve their support for the latest hardware technologies, drivers and new features to support the hardware are incorporated into MacOS. Both platforms, Mac-i386 and Mac-PPC benefit. Any software written for MacOS runs on both sets of hardware.

    The result? Consumer choice and higher quality software, as well as programmer freedom.

    What does Apple live off of by not exposing the upper levels of its software? Control and monopoly over a customer desiring their interface.

    I know I must sound like a Stallmanista right now, but look at what differentiates Apple from a PC vendor. Different hardware, an easy interface, and , most of all, brand recognition. Freeing the higher levels of their OS deprives them of none of those, and will eventually result in a higher quality OS that Apple can use to trump Microsoft's PC lackeys with.
  • by dria ( 9758 )
    I'm a little confused by this:

    SPI still owns the Open Source trademark. Ask the USPTO.

    (I'm assuming that you're referring to the United States Patent and Trademark Office?...I've never actually heard of such a place (what being Canadian), but it's the only expansion that made sense in this context :)

    I was under the impression that you (Bruce) had handed over ownership of the trademark to Eric. On the front page of the [] website, there's the following paragraph:

    The phrase `open source' has been registered as a certification mark. You can examine the Open Source Definition that sets the conditions for use of this mark. You can read about software that qualifies and our branding program.

    Yet on this page [] of the SPI website, it appears that the trademark ownership is still in dispute.

    Should the resolution of this dispute be of fairly high priority? I mean, yeah, the APSL is being disputed, but if it -weren't- being disputed, would Eric be able to officially dub it "open source" if the OSI doesn't own/control the trademark?

    Why hasn't this been resolved? The SPI page is dated Nov 24 1998. What's the current status of the dispute? Who is actually officially and legally in control of the mark?

    - deb
  • There is a lot of talk happening (usually voiced by critics of the whole free/open source thing) about the forking of code and how the various versions of Linux (etc) are a bad thing that will lead to a fracturing of the movement. I, personally, don't know if this is true, but it is something to keep our collective eye on.

    What worries me is that the Free Software and Open Source movements are going to be more damaged by license forking. The GPL made this whole thing possible. Will the introduction of all these new licenses (NPL, MPL, QPL, APSL, NCL, etc.) end up muddying the waters and diluting the power and meaning of the movement? If every corporation who jumps into the frey is allowed to introduce their own customized version of an "open source" license, will the One True License (GPL) get lost in the background while various factions bicker about the validity of each new corporate open source license to be issued?

    Obviously it's a major victory that corporations are beginning to embrace the idea of open source. But what happens when they begin to "embrace and extend" (see Halloween Docs I & II)? The APSL scares me a little because (if I understand it correctly), Apple has built into the APSL the provision that they can revoke anyone's license at any time. This feels like an "extension" to me.

    If Apple can build this into their "open source" license, chances are the next corporation will do the same, and so on and so forth.

    Now, granted, if programmers don't like the terms of the license, they don't have to work on the code. The community is going to "vote with their feet", as it were, on each license that comes out.

    But will dubbing each of these licenses "open source" not possibly dilute the meaning of the term?

    If the trademark is in dispute (between the OSI and the SPI and, possibly, the Open Source Solutions people) and if it's possible that the meaning of the term is going to be diluted...well...

    Maybe we need a different term that -isn't- being disputed, and maybe we need to formulate an extremely rigorous set of conditions under which that term can be used. When someone wants refer to a license using the term, it has to be discussed not only amongst the higher ups of a single organization, but discussed and debated and argued in an open forum by the members of this community.

    Or something.

    I'm just concerned that:

    a) the term "open source" ends up becoming nothing but another bit of marketing-speak
    b) the term "open source" ends up being a commonly used term over which the community has no control (in terms of the ownership disputes)
    c) newcomers and the press get confused about what the free software/open source movement is really all about.

    - deb

  • It seems unfortunate to me that, at this point, ESR's role seems primarily to welcome people into the community without ensuring that they fully understand what works and what doesn't.

    It's attractive to try to get commercial organizations to buy into open source, but if the licenses have serious problems, I'm not clear we're really getting them to buy in at all.

  • I think it's pretty obvious that this is just the first version of the license, and that Apple is aware that everyone has a lot of concerns. The GPL didn't develop overnight, and I don't expect that the APSL should either. Give them a little time to update it and work on it. If in 3-6 months the main concerns haven't been met, then there's a problem, but after only a few weeks it's too soon to say that things are set in stone.
  • The termination issue is based on the lack of a definition of Affected Original Code. They'll define it. Right now, it might mean all code.

    Not as far as I can see. Section 9.1 explicitly defines "Affected Original Code" as Original Code that becomes the subject of a claim of infringement. Original Code, in turn, is defined in section 1.6 as "the Source Code of a program or other work as originally made available by Apple under this License, including the Source Code of any updates or upgrades to such programs or works made available by Apple under this License, and that has been expressly identified by Apple as such in the header file(s) of such work.".

    So, Original Code is only something that is directly published by Apple.

    Now, you could argue that Apple could yank the rug out from under you by republishing Covered Code that you submitted to them, whereupon it would become Original Code and therefore Affected Original Code. However, there are limits to what "Covered Code" covers.

    "Covered Code" is defined in section 1.2 as "Original Code, Modifications, the combination of Original Code and any Modifications, and/or any respective portions thereof". "Modifications" are defined in section 1.5 as "any addition to, deletion from, and/or change to, the substance and/or structure of Covered Code", encompassing "(a) any addition to or deletion from the contents of a file containing Covered Code; and/or (b) any new file or other representation of computer program statements that contains any part of Covered Code" [emphasis added].

    What this does and does not cover can be assessed by comparing it to the definition of a Larger Work, in section 4. The gist of it is that if you make a bug fix to Apple's code or mess with what Apple gives you directly, it becomes Covered Code. However, if you build a software package _around_ Covered Code, that uses it but adds components that are completely new and different, you have created a Larger Work. As long as you are tidy and keep most of your code in separate files, Apple can only lay claim to the components that are essentially pieces that they supplied to begin with.

    I'm afraid that I don't really see the problem.

  • I'll ask you this: If you could buy a PC running MacOS or a similarly equipped G3 running MacOS at the same price, which would you pick, ceteris paribus?

    That's making a big assumption.

    What is the cost/performance ratio for x86s vs. Macs?

    I remember studying this at one point with respect to workstations, and coming to the appalling conclusion that the best thing to run the ray-tracer of my dreams on is a basement filled with K62-400 boxes.

  • See my post replying to an earlier thread in this page.
  • Is a basement full of G3/333's with Total Impact QUad G3/333's filling all four PCI slots, (thereby giving me 15 CPUS) running some program capable of it.

    Can you provide concrete prices for how much a box like that would cost? Also, is there a version of Linux or something similarly friendly that will support aggressively multithreaded programs well on that platform? I keep hearing about "Blue G3" problems and SMP not being what it could be, though the second point may not be relevant as this is wouldn't be making many kernel calls.

    A minimal K62-400 box (booting off the network, no video card or hard drive) would cost the equivalent of about $400 US up here. Performance would at worst be about half that of a G3 (I'd need to check the spec figures for both to get a better estimate).

    At some point I plan to drop about $10k Canadian ($6.5k US) on something like this, so I do appreciate people pointing out other options.

    Though it will probably be most useful as a thought experiment, as I won't have that much free cash for about a year and a half.

  • Yes, I saw your post. If that's a "definition", it's not a good one. An apple exec I spoke with agrees that this can be tightened up. He's not digging in his heels on this, so there is little reason for you and I to argue about it.

    I have nothing against it being tightened up; I'm mainly responding to the posters who feel that no definition exists at all (and repeat the "Apple-can-take-away-everything-at-whim" line). IMO, the APSL is cryptic but not ambiguous on this.

    I'm actually more worried about the wording of secton 12.1, which seems to contradict the wording in other sections. The clause in question is:

    "This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate: ... (b) immediately in the event of the circumstances described in section 9.1 and/or 13.6(b)"

    This implies that the license will be revoked for _all_ code, while section 9.1 specifies that it is revoked only for Affected Original Code. This could be fixed by a modification along the lines of:

    (b) immediately in the event of the circumstances described in section 9.1 (termination applying only to Affected Original Code, as described in section 9.1)

    (c) immediately in the event of the circumstances described in section

    While I feel that Apple could be successfully challenged in court if it tried to yank the rug out from somebody using this approach, preventing this from happening in the first place would be nice.

  • I myself am sick of reading "IBM has embraced Open Source" just becuase a few AIX configurations ship with Apache. Does anyone actually think that IBM would sell that configation to someone who would buy Lotus Domino instead? Other than a HTML page about "Linux at IBM" and the Jikes thing, IBM hasn't done nothing for open source.

    MacOS/X also ships with Apache, by the way.

    So at this point, Apple has done more for "open source" than IBM, and what have they gotten for it? Venom.

    (PS Apple's hiring a Linux Technology Manager - _wizard/queries/wizard_external_pagesNEW .qry?function=DetailScreen&REQUISITION_uid1=100396 3&TITLE_uid1=Technology%20Manager%2DLinu x)

  • >I have been accused by many people of 'owning stock in Apple'

    I have to say that the "you must own stock in ______ company" argument to be worthless. Apple's stock ahs performed well over the last 18 months, a lot of people could have made money owning that stock. I hate Microsoft and Dell, but I'll keep on buyiong their stock as long as it performs well. People/companies don't play the stock market for kicks or because they like a company. They do it for money.

    I've said it again and again - give Apple time. How long do you think it took them to decide to APSL anything? Changes will come slowly.


  • I am wondering if you can repeat this statement a couple of more times. I don't think a lot of people have caught on to the point you are trying to get across.

    Lots of people download source and never take a look at it. Lots of people download software and never look at it. I don't understand why you must be so cynical about Apple saying they have 16,000 developers. In a normal group, I think your comments would be seen as constructive and helpful. I feel that what you say is just inciting the ever so mature readers of slashdot sometimes.


  • I thing this gentleman has summed up the situation with the smallest amount of words possible.


  • It's my opinion that this ongoing debate about "open source" vs. "free software" is pointless. (Yeah, that'll draw flames-- but I can take it.)

    Hear me out. The issue is, and always has been, the question of what rights the owner of a packet of software should be recognized to have. The GPL and other OSD licenses are all about protecting the rights of the owners of the software they cover-- they are not about protecting the software itself. The APSL is no exception.

    We have this nomenclature that promotes a certain kind of muddle-headed thinking about what makes the GPL and its ilk into a special class of software license. We're using terms like "open source" and "free software" to describe the effect of the license on the software. We should instead be using terminology that describes the effect the license has on the owners and the users.

    What are these licenses designed to do? They're trying to ensure that the users of the software are also basically the owners. To do that, they have to play crazy games with copyright and software licensing law that were designed for the completely opposite purpose. For example... I use emacs, the copyright for which is asserted by the Free Software Foundation. Do I have a claim of ownership? Or does the license merely extend to me all the privileges as a user that I might want out of ownership? The latter, I think.

    There has been a lot of noise from various sources about termination clauses, especially in the APSL-- though it should be noted again that the GPL has a [different] termination clause of its own. Why do these licenses have termination clauses? Because the owners of the software are trying to protect their rights and limit their liabilities in the face of patent dispute.

    You'd think we'd all recognize that for the prudence it is. Some of us are radical enough to cast suspicion on the patent process itself as the source of this problem-- but there's a thorny issue there. The legal tradition of patent protection for software is a long and well-established one, i.e. it goes back hundreds of years.

    Attacking it is almost like attacking the notion of private real estate. Here is a sharp stick. Go poke Mr. Cyclops in the eye and call him "One Eye"-- I will wait for you here.

    We have to muddle through this problem the best we can, but it would help if we all tried to remember whose rights we're trying to protect with these nifty licenses-- including the APSL: users.

    If Apple wasn't at all interested in using its ownership of some of the code in Darwin to help protect the rights of users to read and modify the code they are using, then I submit you would have seen a very different license agreement for acquiring the source code.

    And we wouldn't see leading lights in the "open source" movement taking any notice of it whatsoever, let alone quibbling in public over whether the termination clause grants too much control to an allegedly capricious and malevolent profit-driven enterprise.

  • A boycott has to be aimed at causing (usually economic) pain to the people to whom you want to send a message to be effective - a boycott of downloaded software that you don't have to pay for achieves nothing.

    As an example of a mis-directed boycott (as far as I understand it - I didn't have access to all the facts at the time), I remember quite a few years ago now, when I was the owner of a Macintosh Classic (the best I could afford), about the time of the infamous 'look and feel' lawsuit, someone told me about this thing called the 'Free Software Foundation' that had this compiler called 'gcc' for which you could get the source and contribute. I was excited about this until I was told that as a result of Apple's lawsuit (of which I didn't approve), the FSF wasn't porting (was discouraging porting? I'm not sure) any of their stuff to Macintosh. I immediately lost interest, because no matter how cool their stuff was, I wasn't going to be able to run it. It took about another 7 years for me to look at open source software when I installed Linux on my G3. The only sufferers in that particular case were me for not having access to GPL software, and possibly the Open Source community for not having any input that I might have provided. Apple certainly wasn't hurt one jot, and I had enough reasons to choose Macintosh over Wintel Box to not make that an option for me.

    On the subject of the Apple License, it would certainly be great to have the flaws removed, but remember that this is a huge step for Apple - I thought that Apple releasing a large part of their source was a joke when I first heard it (given how closed they have been up till now), so give them a chance to not get it perfectly right first time.
  • > If the community will present well reasoned, politely phrased objections...

    Aye, there's the rub. Unfortunately, as /. clearly demonstrates, a large number of the users/developers that object to the APSL will be anything but civil about it. If we really want to make a reasonable impact on Apple, we need to treat them with the same courtesy that we would want from them.

    I'd also like to salute Bruce, ESR, RMS, and Apple for maintaining that level of courtesy. I'm not entirely familiar with the machinations and past history behind the various open source organizations (OSI, SPI, FSF...), but I know that they have handled themselves well during this incident. If there has been any vitriol behind any of their statements, it has, for the most part, been well contained, allowing for a reasonable discussion of the issues. I have high hopes that this issue will be worked out by just such rational people.

    In the mean time, I fully intend to toy with the code. Even if I turn out to have no rights at all, it'll be fascinating, and I will enjoy it, whether or not I'm actually ever able to make a significant contribution.

    -Snibor Eoj

  • easier to avoid zealots when not discussing Apple :)
  • make use of that code in a useful way independently of the creators, and without many restrictions.

    But you can already do that. Don't violate any patents, don't try to sell your modified code, make your changes public and you can do whatever you want to it. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    I urge everyone to boycott Apple's license. It does not meet the *community's* definition of what open source is. We need to signal that to them politely, but firmly.

    As I believe somebody already said, maybe it doesn't meet your defenition, but for the people who have actually bothered to read the ASPL, it is open source.

    No offense to you Bruce, but I think you're just quibbling over some of the wording.

    And let's hope nobody else tries this for a long time after that...

    Christ, it hasn't even been out for two weeks and you're ready to write Apple's efforts off, permanently.

    Did you guys ever think that this might not be the way to get commercial companies to start open sourcing their products if you shred them on their first attempts? BP is being rational and pointing out some of his reservations about the license. Thats going to be a lot more productive (and helpful to the open source community) than flamming Apple and boycotting Darwin.
  • You can hardly blame them. BP makes some good points on how the license should be reworded, but most of the other guys (like RMS) just started raving without actually reading the ASPL.

    What I find dissapointing is the way many Linux people claim they want companies to go open source, but flame them when they try.
  • Yes, but if your license to the Covered Code gets revoked, and you have built your software package around the Covered Code, your software package has just had its guts ripped out of it. Now you have to re-implement all those sections that depended on the Covered Code.

    Not an enviable position to be in. Good thing that, even though Apple thinks I accepted the license because I had to to see what they were offering, I will not be using any of their code anytime soon.
  • I don't see how the tests would fail. If the license terminates, there no longer is a license - - pure and simple. The OSD does not say anything about terminating licenses. It does not require that the license be valid for eternity.

    I still say that the OSD is simply not strong enough and is in fact the reason Open Source != Free Software.

    I'm going strictly by the letter of the OSD here, which is probably what Apple and the Open Source Initiative did as well. The fact remains that the APSL contains esentially nothing explicitly forbidden by the OSD. I say again: Termination is NOT forbidden by the OSD. If anyone can read the OSD and point to the line that forbids termination , I'll retract my claim.

    I'm not saying that the APSL is any good; I'm saying that the APSL is compatible with the letter of the OSD, but that alone does not make an acceptable license. There are too many other problems with the APSL that the OSD does not address.
  • First of all, if the license terminates, it no longer applies. Instead, the null license, containing "All rights reserved", takes over. At that point, and not before, I would consider the license no longer being Open Source. In case you're wondering, yes, I feel the Jinks license is Open Source as well _according_to_the_current_definition_, though neither is Free Software.

    Being there by implication may as well be not being there at all as far as I'm concerned. The fact is, the OSD does not contain the words "The license must not contain a clause that would allow the licensor to terminate said license arbitrarily." or a similar phrase. Come to think of it, the OSD does not even guarantee that the license allows the software to be distributed by itself! Rule 1 only guarantees distribution with an aggregation of programs from other sources, i.e. a package. Rule 8 guarantees that the program will not be restricted to distribution with a specific other program. Therefore, I could write a license that says, "You may not redistribute the Software unless a Compiler is included in the distribution.", where Compiler is defined such that any one will do, and then claim that my license is Open Source according to the OSD! And indeed, it does follow all equirements as listed for Open Source software. Clearly it is not, though, according to the spirit of Open Source.

    This sort of ambiguity can ruin a software developer's day. Suppose that a developer was developing a compiler for a large computer company that wanted a single compiler for both its Minina 31 and WhizBang 666 based systems. The requirements state that it must produce machine code for both systems. So months later the developers deliver the finished compiler and the client finds out that even though the WhizBang 666 is supposed to be 3 times as fast as the Minima 31, code made with this compiler runs about the same on both systems. A heated conversation follows.

    "Why is code compiled with your cmpiler so slow on the WhizBang 666?"
    "It runs, correct?"
    "Your compiler is supposed to optimize code for the WhizBang 666 so that it runs as fast as possible!"
    "Well, that was never stated as a requirement."
    "No but it was implied by saying that the compiler should produce code for both CPUs. See you in court for breach of contract."

    Seems we have a similar situation here with Apple and Eric Raymond being the developers, the OSD being the requirements, and the Open Source Community the client. No lawsuits, but plenty of anger and disappointment from the clients.

    May I suggest the following changes:
    1. Amend Rule 1 to read "giving away the software by itself or as a component of an aggregate software distribution... other than as required or allowed elsewhere in this Definition."

    2. Add rule 11: "License must not terminate." The license must not contain a clause that allows said license to be terminated for all licensees at the licensor's discretion.

    With these amendments, both loopholes I mentioned are closed AND the APSL is definitely NOT open source because it violates both section 1 with its requirement that Apple be notified when the Software is made available and section 11. This also reinforces the fact that you have declared Jinks not open source.

    Finally, it is sad to see the split between you and Eric Raymond, both high-ranking and highly respected members of the Open Source Initiative, the organization advocating this definition of Open Source. If you two can't agree on whether the ASPL is Open Source, what hope is there for the future of Open Source? I feel this can only lead to further abuses of Open Source (the ideal), eventually rendering the label meaningless. The two of you need to get on the same page and take a stand against this.

    I was going to say something about how enforceable the termination clause is, but i'm much less sure of that than this.
  • First of all, let me look at the termination issue:

    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.

    However, nowhere is Affected Original Code defined in the license. Theoretically, then, if somepone sued Apple over some part of the ELisp parser in Emacs, Apple could claim that this affects the entire Original Code and thus cancel your license for the entire Darwin project! Not cool at all.

    Now for the other question, namely "Is it Open Source?" I'll go line by line straight from the Open Source Definition:

    1. Free Redistribution

    The license may not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

    True, by section 4. "You may create a Larger Work by combining Covered Code with other code not covered..."

    2. Source Code

    The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of downloading the source code, without charge, via the Internet. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

    Probably false, as obfuscated source code is not expressly forbidden by the APSL. This is potentially a major oversight. I would assume that notifying Apple where your source code is would satisfy the "well-publicized" section of the definition.

    3. Derived Works

    The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

    True. By definition of "Modifications" and section 4, modifications and derived works are allowed. In Section 2,

    (b) include a copy of this License with every copy of Source Code of Covered Code and documentation You distribute, and You may not offer or impose any terms on such Source Code that alter or restrict this License or the recipients' rights hereunder, except as permitted under Section 6;

    means not only that you "may" but you MUST use the same license, except you can charge for support and the like.

    4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code.

    The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

    True; it allows both modified source code and object code distributions as long as the source code is freely available and you tell Apple where your source code is. The APSL prohibits you from calling your modifications "Apple Darwin" but you can call it "Bob's Darwin".

    5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups.

    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

    True, as there's no explicit language saying this and I believe and other ftp sites that still accept incoming files have enough FTP space to host the modified source code.

    6. 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor.

    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

    Although there is the following clause:

    You acknowledge that the Original Code is not intended for use in the operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation, communication systems, or air traffic control machines in which case the failure of the Original Code could lead to death, personal injury, or severe physical or environmental damage.

    This does not expressly prohibit you, only strongly discourages you, from using the Code in such a stupid way.

    8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product.

    The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

    This is true; nothing prevents you from using only one file or program from Darwin.

    9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Software.

    The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

    True; the license says in Section 4 " In each such instance, You must make sure the requirements of this License are fulfilled for the Covered Code or any portion thereof." So other software distributed with Darwin can have any license whatsoever.

    So going real strictly by the definition, the APSL is NOT open source because it allows obfuscated source code in the Modifications. Other than that, Apple is right about the License being Open Source.

    However, as this shows quite clearly, the Open Source definition DOES NOT guarantee "free software". In order for this to be free software, for starters the termination clause must be eliminated. The trouble with patent infringements is that the parties are usully gagged from talking about the specifics of the suit, especially if there never is a trial. That means that Apple wouldn't be able to tell us what portions of the code would be affected, and hence would just say, "The APSL has been revoked for all Darwin source code due to patent litigation. NEENER NEENER NEENER!!!" Modifying it to say that only each file that contains Affected Source Code, or each function or object, is both impractical because then the project won't work, and can be easily gotten around by Apple by claiming that all files, or functions. or objects contain Affected Original Code(tm) and must be disposed of.

    Other things that would make this free software would be forcing Apple to use the same terms as anyone else for this software and eliminating the requirement that Apple be notified when the software is deployed.
    So, to sum up:


    OVERVIEW: The APSL contains 2 potentially serious bugs. First of all, the APSL does not prohibit licensees from writing modifications as deliberately obfuscated source code. This results in compromising the openness of the source code.

    The second bug is that the APSL contains a termination clause. This termination clause allows Apple to terminate the license for portions of the code if a patent infringement lawsuit concerning the Affected Original Code(tm) has been brought against Apple. In certain circumstances, (like Apple feels like it), this can result in the termination of the license for the entire Source Code, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.


    FIX: Substitute software covered by the GPL, BSD-style, or X-style licenses for software covered by the APSL. If a suitable replacement cannot be found, write a clone of the APSLed program that is covered by one of these licenses.
  • you mean it doesnt meet your communities definition of open source...

    the source is open, i can hack away at it all i want... i can even not tell apple about all my awesome changes and see if they ever catch me...

    but more importantly to me and my community is that i can look at the code and learn... i would love for apple to release more... especially more proprietary stuff, not just their modifications to BSD... net events is cool though...

    anyways stop assuming everyone is in your community... this liscence meets my community's version of open source...

    even if my community so far only numbers 1.
  • Everyone bitches when they don't have open source, and then everyone bitches when they do have open source. apple took a step in the proper direction. give them a break they are moving in the right direction
  • First of all, this is not a grave threat to the OSS movement. At the worst, nobody will use Apple's code. What this would result in would simply be a percieved failure of corporate value from open source licensing. If Apple bows out of the open source game, the only people who are hurt are the people who agreed with Apple's licence and worked on the code.

    Having said that, I think that with some cooperation and thought, Apple could actually be a boon to the OSS movement. If they are willing to change their license to reflect the reasonable desires of the community, a great amount of credibility would be given to the concept of open source.

    I'm not talking about Bruce Perens or any of the others who have been using their reasoning skills on this issue. I think that the people doing the damage to the OSS movement right now are the zealots. Zealots on any side of an issue generally hurt the cause they're intending to help. The open source movement doesn't need more zealots.

    Just a thought
  • If you don't want to see it used, or don't want to develop on it, don't download it. To suggest a boycott of something you apparently don't even plan on using is ludicrous. Those who have a need and a desire to work on and contribute to the Darwin project will, and those who don't, won't. It will survive if and only if a community - much like the Linux community - grows around it.

    I'm amazed at how many people in the smiling, benevolent Linux "community" of which you speak seem to get so pissed off when the new kids come play in the sandbox and ask to use the toys a bit differently than you do. I'm also amazed at how the words "open source" can be so rigid.

  • Average?

    I am a student, run linux, dislike NT, love comptuers, and usually vote with the mode in the /. polls. By most defintions, i would say I am an average user. and yes, I own a mac.

    it seems to me that this community is best served by diversity. One-architechture One-OS One-processor computing doesn't seem nearly as intersting as being able to choose from Alphas, Suns, Macintoshes, other PPCs, Intels, and MIPS running Linux, MacOS, IRIX, SunOS, BeOS, DOS, and whatever else there is out there choosing on whatever suits your needs for cost, expandibility, ease of use and install, and everything else.
  • What is the significance of an "average" slashdot'er? Must I conform to your ideal to make a contribution to this community? Apple's stupid decisions aside, they've got some really good stuff that I've bought in the past, and I will buy again in the future. If a person (party, commune, whatever) doesn't want to subscribe to Apple's license, they're welcome to ask for amendments, or to not download it at all. I TOTALLY fail to understand why people perceive this as a threat to their way of life. Don't like it? Ask for it to be changed. They don't elect to change it? Don't use it.
  • Bruce, I've disagreed with many of your comments, but here I have to agree with everything you've said. In my comments, I have emphasized again and again that this /is/ a first version of the license. If people will give Apple a chance to update it, they may (Notice I say /May/) be pleasantly surprised.

    I have been accused by many people of 'owning stock in Apple' or 'thinking they can do no wrong'. This is not true. I am simply an optimist who happens to prefer this OS and this company. Despite what many people say, this company cares about their users. They design an OS that works as smoothly as possible, and require the least hassle to learn. Is this a bad thing? No. I choose to feel that they will do the same thing with this license. If the community will present well reasoned, politely phrased objections, Apple will give it a good /hard/ look, and almost certainly change some of the problems.
    Matthew Walker
    My DNA is Y2K compliant
  • Obviously it's a major victory that corporations are beginning to embrace the idea of open source. But what happens
    when they begin to "embrace and extend" (see Halloween Docs I & II)? The APSL scares me a little because (if I
    understand it correctly), Apple has built into the APSL the provision that they can revoke anyone's license at any time.
    This feels like an "extension" to me.

    Please read the license and the many posts on all these apple threads. Apple cannot revoke the license. They may revoke your access to 'affected' code (and here the definition can be interpreted variously) if they are sued, cannot settle the suit, AND cannot develop a work around.
  • Would be if Apple attracted LOTS of developers, far and wide. We all put our heart, soul and code to help them improve their product (which I don't mind at all) and then they take our changes and their source and go home.

    I don't worry about annoying companies, those that see the value of Open Source (or whatever) will make use of the community in whatever ways they see fit. A company will always look out for it's best interests. I'm more worried about the developer who burns their nights helping to create a better product for all to use and then Apple revokes their right to play with the code.

    Do this to a developer once you've burned them against (Open|Free) Source forever.

    If (Open|Free) Source loses all it's developers, it dies.
  • I see a lot of wisdom in this post. I sometimes imagine myself as someone trying to run a software company and make a profit. In this context, a pure Open Source/Free Software model would scare the bejeezus out of me. Even if I included source code (which I think users deserve), I would want to hang on to SOMETHING that said, "hey, my company wrote this and we want to profit from it".

    OTOH, the Open Source Definition is pretty clear to me. I would never attempt to seek Open Source Certification for software that doesn't fully meet the OSD criteria.

    You can include source code without an Open Source Certification. I think Open Source advocates would respect a company that included source code without certification and the media sound-bytes it provides. Imagine the quote -- "We include the source code simply because we respect our customers and believe they deserve it."

    Am I right here?
  • This is unfortunate. Apple had a chance to make a genuine gesture of good
    faith towards the free software community by engaging in a dialog with its
    leaders, and instead, they say "Well, the Open Source trademark holder says
    it's OK." I don't consider the fact that they released the software under a
    free-ish license to be important (easy to write off as a publicity stunt),
    it's becoming an active, engaged (listening) member of the free software
    community that counts.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"