Boston Globe: Apple turns over new leaf

“Nevertheless, OS X has been profoundly affected by the free
software movement. The most basic part of the operating system, its
‘kernel,’ is available at no charge to anybody who wants to tinker
with it. The kernel, named Darwin, is itself based on free software
products similar to Linux. Software developers around the world are
being welcomed to study Darwin, and even produce modifications,
that Apple may incorporate into future versions….”

“In effect, Apple is placing much of the future development of
its core software in the hands of strangers. A few years ago, such
a strategy would have been unimaginable. The raw ‘source code’ from
which software is made was regarded as a company’s crown jewels,
never to be revealed to outsiders. Microsoft is fighting efforts to
force the company to reveal the underlying ‘source code’ for
Windows as part of a settlement in its antitrust case.”

“The spectacular success of Linux, which boasts publicly
available source code, has changed a lot of minds. Apple now
welcomes the assistance of smart outsiders in devising improvements
to their core software.”

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