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Open source: the mark of cool?

The fact is no company is as proprietary as Apple is. But at the same time there is a lot of open source development at its edges, and the licensing of that development is moving steadily toward more openness.
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Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Open source has become a mark of cool. (Like this button.)

It's a phrase through which companies display concern for customers. It's also a way for them to throw things over the side that might-or-might-not-be-great, and get in-depth reaction to them. Sort of a giant, unstructured beta test.

Maybe that's cynical of me, but it's what I thought while reading Apple's announcement of a buildable Intel kernel, a new "home" for Mac open source development with the word "forge" in it, the move of iCal to Apache, and the release of Bonjour service discovery and Launchd process management, also under Apache.

The fact is no company is as proprietary as Apple is. But at the same time there is a lot of open source development at its edges, and the licensing of that development is moving steadily toward more openness.

The cynic in me says that Apple is offering open source licensing only on things it no longer wants to commit big company resources to. But what is really wrong with that? Isn't that one of the great benefits of open source, the ability to make lemonade out of lemons? (Or apple cider out of old apples?)

Maybe we should all just celebrate instead. What do you think?

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