Subject: Re: Apple and Open Source
From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 05:59:57 -0700
Sat, 21 Apr 2001 05:59:57 -0700
on Sat, Apr 21, 2001 at 11:42:59AM +0100, Simon Cozens (simon@netthink.co.uk) wrote:
> Oh, it's gone quiet, so I'll throw out a controversial one.
> 
> ----
> 
> So, what is it with Apple and Open Source? Once upon a time, when they
> were desperate to get an operating system written, they were bending
> over backwards to attract open source hackers - even going through a
> few iterations of the ASPL and giving up their precious rights to own
> any modifications to the software in order to have the license
> certified Open Source.
> 
> Now, on the other hand, they're sending cease-and-desist letters to
> open source projects (http://macthemes.org) which appear to be nothing
> but thinly-disguised and baseless threats. Of course, the cynical
> explanation would be that the persecution of MacThemes could well be
> related to Apple's own patent on themes - a patent which MacThemes
> predates. Removing the visibility of prior art would be a useful step
> in securing the ligitimacy of that patent.

Doesn't change the fact of prior art.  Hell, I commented on this earlier
-- the themes.org domain registration predates the patent filing date by
13 days, and Tigert was doing themes for some time prior to registering
the site.

> Is this behaviour compatible with their desire to be seen to be part
> of the Open Source movement - in fact, *is* there such a desire on the
> part of Apple to be counted as an Open Source vendor? Or are they
> stuck in the old economy and still playing the game for purely selfish
> interests?
> 
> An alternative and slightly more charitable explanation would be that
> Apple's right hand - the developers - doesn't know what its left hand
> - the legal team - is doing. Of course, if this is the case, and Apple
> will court you with the one hand and savage you with the other, does
> it really make sound business sense for any company to deal with them?

In Apple's case, the left mouse finger doesn't know what the right mouse
finger's doing, so they gave you a one-button mouse.

Apple's tended to be hypochondriac about UI appearance issues from day
one.  They fought (and lost) a nasty lawsuit with Microsoft over this
(though you trash your Mac while you recycle you WinXX).  There was just
a patent filed over theme management which was largely against an
Apple-related site.  Themes.org has had more than one Apple-patterned
theme pulled from it -- I don't remember if these were E, blackbox, KDE,
or what.  There's some current Gnome/E chrome that looks a hell of a lot
like Aqua.

This is pretty much SOP for them.  Not much has changed for the past
decade.  Except that Steve Jobs's ego now blocks out both the sun *and*
PG&E.

Couple of items from The Register:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/17461.html
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/39/18349.html

Cheers.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>    http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/         http://www.kuro5hin.org


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