Jobs does Windows with open source

Jobs does Windows with open source

Summary: Think of Safari as Apple outreach. Apple is the most proprietary company in the computing universe, more proprietary even than Microsoft. It's tossing some open source code over the side, wondering what the so-called "community" will do with it.


Steve Jobs from the BBCThere are two major tech stories this decade. Open source is one.

Steve Jobs is the other. Jobs put Apple back into the computing mainstream, starting with iTunes and the iPod. Without Apple, where has the excitement been in PC computing this decade?

Now Jobs has combined the two trends by releasing a Windows version of his Safari browser, as open source.

It has drawn some horrible reviews, along with outright contempt from the Mozilla Foundation, whose Firefox must compete with it.

I think all this misses the point.

Think of Safari as Apple outreach. Apple is the most proprietary company in the computing universe, more proprietary even than Microsoft. It's tossing some open source code over the side, wondering what the so-called "community" will do with it.

So far, they've hacked it. But there are things you can do with code other than hack it. Over the next year or two, that's what Jobs is looking to see. Will Safari be improved? Will the community which claims to love Apple and open source code make it better? Or is all this just talk?

So don't download Safari to use it. See its weaknesses as opportunities. See what you can do with it. What can an outstanding open source browser be?

Topics: Apple, Open Source, IT Employment, Windows

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  • Safari isn't much open source

    [i]B. Certain components of the Apple Software have been or may be made available by Apple on its Open Source web site ( (collectively the ?Open-Sourced Components?). You may modify or replace only these Open-Sourced Components; provided that: (i) the resultant modified Apple Software is used in accordance with the permitted uses set forth above; and (ii) you otherwise comply with the terms of this License and any applicable licensing terms governing use of the Open-Sourced Components. Apple is not obligated to provide any maintenance, technical or other support for the resultant modified Apple Software.

    C. Except as and only to the extent expressly permitted by this License, by applicable licensing terms governing use of the Open-Sourced Components, or by applicable law, you may not copy, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, modify, create derivative works of, incorporate into or compile in combination with your own programs, rent, lease, lend, sublicense or otherwise redistribute the Apple Software. THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.[/i]

    The Windows version of the EULA is similar:

    And even going to the aforementioned Apple Open Source site, Safari is [b]not[/b] listed as an open source project. The only thing with Safari that could be open source is the iPhone "development" tie-in that Jobs tried to sell at the developer conference.

    I think you may have been hit by Steve's famous "reality distortion field" and confused cross-platform with open source Dana ;)
    Tony Agudo
    • You're mistaken

      Go see the WebKit site for enlightenment...
      • Yeah, I just caught that

        But still, it would be more correct to say that the browser engine is open source(and I believe has been for a long time). Dana said Safari itself was open source, which is a subtle, yet very important difference. Having Safari itself as open source means you can get the source, compile it, and wind up with a total Safari browser. That's not the case.
        Tony Agudo
        • Open Source--Under What Terms?

          "Open Source" can be a pretty nebulous phrase without some kind of definition. In reading about the idea of Safari (or parts thereof) as "open source", I'm not sure what they mean by that. Under what license is this code released under? BSD? GPL? CDDL? Apache? Mozilla? Some in-house Apple license? If they're not using a license that's certified as OSI-compliant, how "open" is it?

          Specifically, how do the license terms line up with RMS' "four freedoms" ( )? I'm not out to start an argument, but to gain clarification. If the freedom of the software isn't defined, how can it truly be "open source"? Heck, Microsoft thinks (as I understand it) that its "shared source" program is a type of open source licensing, when it is not--you can look at it, but you can't do anything with it.

          So how does Apple define its release of Safari code as "open source"?
          • Hiding at the bottom of the WebKit home page

            WebKit is open source software with portions licensed under the LGPL and BSD licenses. Complete license and copyright information can be found within the code.
    • Slight correction

      Aside from iPhone web apps, there is one component of Safari that is open source: WebKit. However that is the only component that is open source. You still can't say Safari for Windows is open source, though.
      Tony Agudo
  • Opera > Firefox > IE 7 > Safari

    That's the current SRK Quality Rating for
    Win32 browsers.

    Safari on Windows isn't even Alpha right now.
    Alpha means you can see text; google up Safari's
    bugs in this area, if they haven't bit you yet.

    Since Firefox is open source, mature, and
    Mac/Win/Linux, it's the best place to put
    one's energies.

    Opera, by the way, is the only one of the four
    whose current production shipping Win version
    passes the Acid2 test.

    -- stan
  • Splitting Hairs?

    It's built upon open source, that's the whole idea behind open source development.
    Just like OSX is built upon BSD. OSX Server uses over 100 open source tools, Apache,
    Samba, OpenLDAP, Kerberos, Postfix, Jabber and SpamAssassin, just to name a few.
    Safari supports open web languages as well, this is important.
  • eye candy and marketing

    "Steve Jobs is the other. Without Apple, where has the excitement been in PC computing this decade?"

    Maybe to the non technical person the above may be true. However if one is a programmer and programming professionally and watching the technologies come out, Apple wouldnt make the list. The list would be dominated by Microsoft and Google would make the only other significant presence.
    For the layman who is generally not so involved in technology its the eye candy and marketing that he/she understands. Why dont you sift through and understand and get to the bottom of technologies from these powerhouses.
    • Re: eye candy and marketing

      What's so exciting about the Mac?
    • Really?

      From what I've read, a LOT of developers are VERY excited about Core Animation.
  • Without Apple - No excitement!?!!

    I don't own an iPod, and I don't use iTunes. I'm still excited about my PC computing without either one, honestly.
  • Not Open Source, but Friendly?

    As an open source developer, I definitely know what you mean by Apple being more
    proprietary than Microsoft -- they're also extremely aggressive from a brand-
    protection standpoint.

    I do think, however, this image is tempered by a couple things for many
    developers, including myself:
    1) Mac OS X, based on top on UNIX, is simply a better development environment for
    many developers, working with common open source tools
    2) Apple includes development tools for free, right on the installation media (think
    XCode), and seem to respect developers more as a source of innovation vs just a
    source of income (whereas Microsoft forces them to buy expensive build tools and
    access to better documentation).
    3) Apple is still very much the "underdog," and it's hard for open source developers
    not to like that at some visceral level.
  • When will it end?

    "Apple is the most proprietary company in the computing universe, more
    proprietary even than Microsoft. "

    Mac OS X is built on a open source micro-kernel (Mach BSD license), with other
    open source BSD then FreeBSD code to form XNU. Then add heaps more open
    source libraries with full source available in Darwin.

    We then look at the other Apple open source projects :

    GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) contributions supporting objective-c (unlike MS
    compiler collection). Full source for the QuickTime Streaming Server (unlike MS's
    WMP Server). Apple's Open Directory technology (unlike Active directory). Bonjour
    (Zeroconf) networking technology, enhances to WebKit (what no IE), fs_usage,
    cups enhancements, efax enhancements, ...

    Even iTune DRM has is no more less open source than MS's, however it would be
    fair to say it has a much more restrictive proprietary license. Even here Apple has
    been the major advocate for DRM-free media.

    Clearly it's pick on Apple month at ZDNet because their favourite company have
    absolutely nothing to talkabout as usual and Apple is everywhere with their
    WWDC. However statement like the above is not just wrong but offensive to the
    many of us that have suffered under MS antitrust abuse stifling innovation for over
    a decade.

    Apple might not be as open source as many of us would like, however compared
    to MS they're saints.
    Richard Flude
    • All along...

      ...we've been told that Apple is really a hardware company, and is only using the software to sell the hardware - in much the same way that IBM is a service company and is only using Linux to sell its services. Otherwise, why wouldn't Apple allow people to purchase OS X separately and install it on any hardware they want?

      I think the blogger is referring to Apple's closed hardware (its primary business), not the software it provides along with the hardware.

      Carl Rapson
      • If true, why the comparision to MS?

        "I think the blogger is referring to Apple's closed hardware (its primary business), not
        the software it provides along with the hardware."

        If true, why the comparision to MS? I can't see the blog referring to anything other
        than software.
        Richard Flude
  • You must have one to understand

    I'm a programmer. As a programmer I know that the most important thing is what is under the hood and not the eye-candy. But I also know that the public, the ones who actually buy my software, see the eye candy NOT the framework behind.

    When you as a programmer miss this point, ends up with a piece of software than no one want to use.

    Apple has done more in creating more friendly and easy to use computers than MS.... remember that at the end of the day, the user doesn't want to know or deal with geek's stuff... all they want is to get the jobe done... and no body is better than apple doing this.

    Don't believe me? don't agree? get a mac and see it by your self.
  • just wanted to thank you, Dana

    I'm with you on your opinion of Steve Jobs. I'm not a groupie, just a marketer that learns something from him every step he takes. I admire skill. Glad to find someone else who recognizes greatness.

    And I don't own a Mac. :-)
  • Not so fast...

    Your point that Apple is the most proprietary company in personal computing is a little hard to swallow. On the one hand, it's easy to understand why you'd say that. Apple is secretive, and they do like to control the whole equation -- software, hardware, even network protocols. This control is probably a major reason why their products tend to be so much better on average.

    However, Apple has released the core of their operating system as open-source software. The core of their Safari browser is open-source. Their development system is based on open-source software, which they improve with patches and other contributions. They have released any number of significant libraries and utilities as open source (bonjour for example). Their participation with the open-source world is certainly imperfect, but it is far ahead of the "shared source" ideas put out by the likes of Microsoft.

    No, I think it is fair to say Apple likes control more than anyone else, but not fair to say they are the most proprietary company. As soon as Microsoft releases large swaths of Windows as open-source, we can revisit the issue. Until then, while Apple is not perfect, the company continues to be a much better friend to open-source than most companies its size, certainly including Microsoft.
  • Safari works OK!

    Not being a techie, I was frustrated with Firefox and even internet explorer not
    being able to play msn videos. On my Win 2000 pro machine I installed all
    available free browsers. Safari works really fast, but the display is hard to
    customize. The only faster browser is Opera 9.2. Safari will play msn videos
    flawlessly. If I try this on IE-6 or Firofox, I have to reboot my machine! All in all
    Safari is a decent browser and helps me to get along without rebooting my
    computer too many times per hour! For reading web pages I use Opera, for playing
    videos, I use Safari. If I make a mistake and th screen freezes, I turn off my
    computer and then turn it back on. This is faster than playing around with CTRL-
    ALT-DEL... may be these guys need to talk to each other and make a better
    product. While you are it make the windows shut down and restart quickly and
    properly as well. Fixing bugs to make the small guy this not what open
    source is all about? .