Open source development goes Mac-tastic
IBM gets onboard
There is no small irony in the prospect that Apple's Macintosh - arguably the ultimate in closed and proprietary systems, at least until the Intel alliance - could become the open source development platform of choice.
The Register has spotted increasing numbers of Macs at open source developer events during the last year. And next month should see the long-awaited (and much delayed) full release of Mac OS X 10.5 which Steve Jobs has been bigging up all year as the "most compliant" Posix/Unix implementation.
But it's not only Apple that is enthusiastic about the Mac as an open source development platform. IBM's developerWorks site has lately become full of bullish pieces lauding the combination of Mac, Java and the open source development environment Eclipse.
As if this were not enough, even the "auld enemy" Microsoft is having to take the Mac seriously - albeit as a target rather than a development platform. With Mac accounting for around 20 per cent of all sales so far this year, Microsoft has finally unveiled pricing for the next, Mac version of Office.
It was always rumoured that early Windows applications were developed first on the Macintosh and then ported to the PC. Maybe the folks at Redmond will see this as an opportunity to return to their roots. ®
Proprietary - so what?
I'm a veteran software developer, and after so many years in the business I agree with Matt. I have a family, hobbies (other than software), and a busy life all around - I simply don't want to spend a lot of time getting my development environment to work. Besides, I share my Mac with my wife, and she is not a tech-freak.
I can't quite understand Rich's rantings - if he hates Macs so much, why did he buy one in the first place? Surely one looks at a product that puts you at least $1000 back before committing to it, or not?
Apple managed to boost its sales quite remarkably with the Intel based Macs, for various reasons. Their success makes the question if OS X is open source or not pretty irrelevant, doesn't it?
Before OS X, the Macintosh operating system was, like Windows, completely closed-source. But, in addition, the hardware platform was also made by Apple only.
This didn't mean it wasn't possible to add third-party software and hardware, but that was a difference between it and the PC-compatible world, where the hardware platform was provided by many different manufacturers.
Today, part of OS X is still proprietary; the source isn't public or available for change and free redistribution, like Linux. It still only runs on a computer made by Apple, the actual Macintosh. So Windows has a hardware platform made by others, while the Macintosh has an underlying BSD distribution in its software; these two things have different relative values to different people, which is why the original story said "arguably".
OS X origins
OS X is based ultimately on CMU's Mach kernel, not on the Berkeley kernel.