Is Apple Serious About Open Source?

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2006-08-08 Print this article Print

Apple is working to improve relationships with the free software community, but developers won't settle for lip service. (Linux-Watch)

When Apple announced that it was moving Mac OS X to the Intel platform, one thing that didnt get much attention was that Apple would not be open-sourcing the Intel Darwin kernel. Now, Apple has reversed its course and has quietly announced that it will open-source the kernel after all. In a note to the Darwin developers list, Apples open-source project manager, Ernest Prabhakar, wrote, "As of today [Aug. 7], we are posting buildable kernel sources for Intel-based Macs alongside the usual PowerPC (and other Intel) sources, starting with Mac OS X 10.4.7."
In addition, Apple is launching a new open-source Darwin developers site, Mac OS Forge.
This site currently hosts five open-source projects: the Darwin kernel; Bonjour, a no-configuration-needed network technology; the Darwin Calendar Server; Launchd, a system service management framework; and WebKit, a KDE-based Web browser engine. Tech gurus say theyll "switch from Mac." Click here to read more. These new moves come, however, only after many open-source developers have grown disgusted with Apples open-source attitude. In June, for example, Apple officials told Tom Yeager, a columnist who follows Darwin, that only a "fraction of a fraction" of Mac users were interested in working with or recompiling Darwin source code. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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