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Apple open source lead leaves

Sanchez quits, but doesn't ditch Darwin

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Apple's open source engineering project lead, Wilfredo 'Fred' Sanchez, has quit the company to join Menlo Park-based start-up KnowNow.

Sanchez joined Apple in 1997. His main area of responsibility was managing the team which developed and maintains MacOS X's open source BSD Unix core, better known as Darwin. In essence, that involved building the links that allow MacOS X's APIs, graphics sub-systems and Aqua GUI to operate on top of the Unix world of the BSD core without either side of the divide having to know too much about what the other was about.

The upshot is that MacOS X users don't need to known anything about Unix, and the OS' Darwin underpinnings can be updated and upgraded without hindering the Mac-friendly stuff running on top of it.

Part of that process also involved bridging Apple's proprietary mindset with the rather more liberal approach of the open source community. That culminated in the release last April of the Darwin source code and the launch of Apple's Public Source version of the open source licence, which finally approached something comparable to the GNU licence early this year.

Of course, with almost all the attention on MacOS X focusing on the user interface, it's easy to forget how important Darwin is to the operating system. The core provides most of the OS' key functionality - certainly the parts of it that do all those things Apple has been saying a modern OS should do: true multi-tasking, multi-processing and memory protection. That's not to belittle the work done on Aqua, integrating OpenGL and Adobe's PDF technology for 2D graphics, and building the Cocoa and Carbon APIs, but they're by no means the whole story.

Sanchez said he will continue to work on Darwin - which he can do thanks to its open source nature - and maintain the MacOS X versions of the Perl programming language and the Apache Web server.

The company he's going to, KnowNow, seems rather secretive, simply stating that it's developing technology for "powering the two-way Web", its term for what the Internet will become when clients are servers too. Essentially, that means providing Web-based services such as credit approvals, system availability information and shipping options to Web site managers on a kind of ASP-style basis. ®

Related Links

What Wilfredo did next
You can read about what KnowNow is up to here
Apple's Darwin page

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