The future of open source at Apple

TSSaloicApple has always been an open source-friendly company. In fact, as the company’s website declares, it is “the first major computer company to make Open Source development a key part of its ongoing software strategy. (Ways Apple can get better with Open Source.)[…] Thanks to TSSaloic for providing this nice story on Digg.

What other users say about this:

deadbaby: 1) Improve developers network: Sure. Good suggestion.

2) Invest in OpenOffice: Meh. Sun has more than enough money to develop OpenOffice. I don’t see why Apple should invest any time or money in the project. They should focus on improving iWork which is, IMO, better than OpenOffice by leaps and bounds.

3) Invest in FireFox: They already are. Any code developed for WebKit could be ported to Gecko if someone saw fit to do it. WebKit is one of the most standard compliant renders out there so it’s a stretch to say Apple is undermining FireFox in any way. If you develop good code it will work on any platform that complies to proper web standards.

4) Don’t lock down the iPhone: Uh they haven’t.

rebelyell2k5: @daftman


daftman: Apple? Open Source? Hahahaha. Apple rips off Open source software much more than it contributes back. Apple is all about control, from software to hardware. Open source will take that control away from them.
When Apple releases Safari or iTunes as open source software, then they’re serious about open source. Other than that they are no more serious about open source than Microsoft with their Ms-PL

WiseWeasel: Some good points. I disagree with the third point, to stop developing Safari and support Firefox. Safari’s rendering engine Webkit is not only a GPL open source project (meaning that any other GPL-compatible project – including Firefox – can take advantage of it if they want), but it’s also the most efficient and tightly-designed rendering engine on the market. Apple would be insane to give that up, and open source software (including KDE’s Konqueror) benefits from work on the Webkit project. It might turn out that Firefox will be the one to abandon their own rendering engine Gecko, and adopt Webkit for their rendering needs.

Apart from that, I agree with the points made. It would be nice if Apple threw some resources at Open Office, as it’s pretty embarrassing to have Sun, Apple’s competitor, dedicating more developer resources for a Mac version of Open Office than Apple itself. I know it competes with iWork, but the market is large enough for both. I suppose Apple’s tenuous relationship with Microsoft might be further jeopardized by such a move, and that alone might provide enough of a justification for the lack of support.

The issue of open development on the iPhone is a no-brainer, and Apple should have little choice but to support this.


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