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Joke of the Day: “Open Source Developers Should Thank Apple”

"Apple is fighting against powerful and fundamental economic forces. In the short term, Apple’s technological and industrial design prowess can help to prop up dying business models."

--Timothy Lee



Summary: Responses to the mythology of Apple as a defender of open source ideals

IN MANY WIKI indexes (see Apple Deception; Apple's Dark Side; Apple Versus Partners; Apple on Software Patents; Apple vs HTC; hypePad Watch; Apple Helping Microsoft) we have gathered bits of news and analysis about Apple's harms and attacks on software freedom. It's hard to deny it when the evidence is right there at one's fingertips.

DJ Walker-Morgan, who is usually a great writer, has just written a bizarre piece that first seemed like it was comical but it's not. Luckily for us, a lot of people have already responded to it and highlighted the flaws in the argument. Here is the best rebuttal we have found so far. It compares Apple to the mafia (Apple does support racketeering through MPEG-LA for example, not to mention Hollywood).

Blogger DJ Walker-Morgan says open source developers should thank Apple for raising the competitive bar. Rubbish! That's like the police thanking the Mafia for making them more work

[...]

Walker-Morgan's fuzzy logic has it that Microsoft had lowered the bar so low (I love it, another Apple fan boy bashing Microsoft. Maybe they can do a commercial on that or something) that open source developers were "doing just enough" to beat Microsoft. It wasn't until Steve Jobs took all of his open source based know how and technology and fused it into Apple, that the open source community had to really try its best in order to do one better than Apple.

Utter nonsense! First of all, if Apple is using all of that open source technology, how is it that none of what they push down to us is open source? In my mind that makes Apple a parasite of open source. They have used the technology, are notmaking the resulting products open source and are contributing zero back to the community. Why is that any different with that and what the Mafia does? They both are just taking, not giving back and living off of the work of others.

[...]

Mr. Walker-Morgan saying that Apple makes open source better is like saying the Mafia made the police better. It would be better if they didn't have to!


Alan Shimel later needed to defend his position in the face of Apple apologists. Apple's propaganda says: "Apple believes that using Open Source methodology makes Mac OS X a more robust, secure operating system"

"Great," says Shimel, "explain to me why that is not a parasitic?"

“I'd like to see Apple speak honestly and openly about what projects they have made actual contributions to and explicitly list those contributions which have been ACCEPTED by the original projects.”
      --Bill Salak
Further down in the comments Bill Salak writes: "It's a list of open source projects Apple is using. A list of projects with links to the source code of those projects does not constitute a contribution to the project itself.

"I'd like to see Apple speak honestly and openly about what projects they have made actual contributions to and explicitly list those contributions which have been ACCEPTED by the original projects." Yes, Apple does this just for PR most of the time. It also breeds some pro-proprietary software bullies who are pretending to be "open source" people (who only agitate and harass those who really are).

Days ago we explained why the Free software/Open Source community does not love Apple, having shown just shortly beforehand that Apple spits on software freedom and merely exploits/hijacks "Open Source" projects, then claims credit for them. How about KHTML? Apple takes it, then renames the thing, calls WebKit its own work and pretends that Google owes Apple for its so-called 'innovation' (no word about KDE). Let's remember that WebKit is "Open Source" because it has to be. There was actually a dispute. Apple contributes the very least that it's required to give. For all other purposes, Apple shields the proprietary code which is an imitation with multiple layers of DRM. Has Apple neither shame nor humility?

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”

--Steve Jobs



Apple headquarters



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