Open source should support Apple over Psystar

Summary:What is at the heart of open source? Contracts. The BSD and GPL licenses are contracts, which people freely enter into before they agree to download. Apple's EULA is the same sort of thing.

Psystar logo
I have been wracking my brain all day for an angle on this Apple-Psystar story (great work by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes) and I can't come up with one.

Save this. Open source should be supporting Apple here.

Think about it. What is at the heart of open source? Contracts. The BSD and GPL licenses are contracts, which people freely enter into before they agree to download. Apple's EULA is the same sort of thing.

Sure, the Apple EULA is nasty and green and yucky, while the open source licenses are juicyful and filled with deliciousness.

Apple licenses tie you down and are written in a way that would have Einstein tearing his hair out. Open source licenses give you freedom and are written in a language called English unknown to most lawyers.

But if a company can ignore an Apple EULA, another company can ignore the GPL. Isn't that what folks like Harold Welte at GPL Violations are fighting so hard for, the recognition of software contracts as legitimate?

To those who like to stick it to proprietary outfits -- and Apple is the most proprietary outfit there is -- this may stand as an inconvenient principle. But it is a principle.

Principles are only worthwhile when they are applied consistently. Otherwise they are mere flags of convenience.

Topics: Apple, Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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