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.
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.