When did Apple steal OSS?

In today’s Level1Show video, @wendell said:

So it’s exactly the same situation as OS9 and it’s going to ultimately be the case that Apple Steals and incorporates a bunch of Open Source stuff because that was better than anything that they had. See also; OSX.

What’s the backstory behind this? The most I could find was that Apple basically took some of KHTML and CUPS and repackaged and rebranded it as WebKit but not much more than that, so I’d be grateful if anyone could explain the backstory to me in detail.

He’s probably referring to OpenBSD. “Unix-based” was the entire sales pitch for OS X after all. Not much “Open” left.


Do you really need more evidence of apples sociopathic behavior?

“Apple hasn’t explained why” Its because they stopped updating bash when the bash people asked apple to upstream their changes… they basically ignored them, then bash went gpl v3

… which would force apples hand.

In general,
Apple is unwilling to publish the source code of proprietary non-Darwin applications and libraries in their OS.

… even when they didn’t do their own homework.

So there’s webkit. If it hadn’t started life as an open source project with a non-bsd license (I’m not even complaining about everything co-opted from BSD! But I should ) the internet would be a very different place. Look at this very basic thing:

Safari JS and webgl performance is degraded to force app developers to develop an app instead of the web. This is extremely anti-consumer because it has been shown time and time again that apps are simply not as restrictively sandboxed as websites are… and this is a problem.

Apologists often point to webkit as some good open source apple has done… but apples actions have been to undermine anyone who is using it. If apple knew then what they know now RE webkit I can assure you they would have started from scratch. And, ironically, few execs in apple realize this openness of webkit is precisely why it is in the position it is in today. They want webkit to be good… but not tooooo good.

If you look up the KHTML project apple was especially shitty to them before doing the webkit thing… no bug reports and, arguably, tried to sabotage the whole project by initial non-compliance with the damn license.

They did something similar with Samba… fixed juuuuust enough of it but without really working with devs so they wouldn’t have to fix their own shit.

They very nearly rolled in ZFS to OSX but they were legit afraid of Oracle. The fact ZFS was licensed less restrictively than khtml or cups AND apple wasn’t willing to mess with oracle? That tells me they knew exactly what they’re doing and had planned to play these same type of games with ZFS, but feared oracle.

Apple maximizes as much benefit as the possibly can from others’ hard work and then not just merely do as little as possible so others can benefit from their work – that’s not the sin – they actively stifle anyone trying to learn from what they did or make things better whether that’s with webkit and the internet community at large – forcing chrome on ios to use their html rendering engine – degrading js and webgrl performance in web apps – that’s the real crime here.

Also, there is a special place in hell for a company that releases a product but doesn’t give programmers any documentation. (M1) Think about the level of unnecessary human suffering the ashai linux people have gone through to try to support something more open on apple hardware.

And yes, the fact OSX is based on BSD. The BSD license is open but I would say that if you are in a position such as apple, it hurts you so little to just “do the right thing” with BSD-licensed stuff. Did you do something awesome to improve bash? Can that really be proprietary special apple flavor? The license doesn’t force you to give up your changes, but you should do the right thing. You aren’t required to do the right thing by the license, but you aren’t required to be reprehensible with code stewardship either.

There are countless examples of this kind of thing from Apple. Maybe it’s especially egregious to me because in the early days apple was actually really good about providing decent to good documentation about rom routines, operating system functions, etc.

Corporations are never your friend, but on a bell curve this is more than 3 standard deviations away from the norm.


Closed BSD


I actually like how rubbish Safari is. It makes web developers restrain themselves, slightly slowing down how quickly they can ruin everything. Ideally Apple would drop javascript in the browser altogether and only permit CSS, html, and webp. The iPhone userbase is large enough that web developers would be forced to adapt, it would enormously improve everything wrong with the modern internet.

My biggest gripe with Apple is that instead of using their grip on the market to do good deeds, like reining in web developers (web destroyers), they only do evil things like make it just about impossible to make a YouTube Vanced clone for iOS.

At least they contribute back. Not by upstreaming code, mind you, but through generous donations.


A genuine example of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” here.

SMB on macOS was effectively broken for at least a decade after they “deprecated” AFP. I’ve never seen critical issues go ignored for so long (with the exception of any Adobe product).

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That’s change and a token. Apple sitting next to private individuals is the list is more of an embarrassment to me.

It’s PR and marketing so people like you say that Apple does good things. It has nothing to do with generosity. tax-deductible 1000-5000$ 2022 in donation is a Macbook or two they couldn’t sell elsewhere. These things are done for profit, not charity. If these would be 6-7 digit numbers, then we’ll start talking about generosity.

Oracle is never a friend. But “Oracle for the rescue” just shows that we reached brand new levels of desperation.


I thought it also because Jobs was buddy buddy with Larry Ellison

Oh wait

2010: The little engine that still couldn’t

Amazingly, that wasn’t quite the end for ZFS at Apple. The architect for ZFS at Apple had left, and the project had been shelved, but there were high-level conversations between Sun and Apple about reviving the port. Apple would get indemnification and support for their use of ZFS. Sun would get access to the Apple File Protocol (AFP—which, ironically, seems to have been collateral damage with the new APFS), and, more critically, Sun’s new ZFS-based storage appliance (that I helped develop) would be a natural server and backup agent for millions of Apple devices. It seemed to make some sort of sense.

(Amusingly, the version of the story told quietly at WWDC 2016 had the friends reversed, with Steve saying that he wouldn’t do business with Larry. Still another version I’ve heard calls into question the veracity of their purported friendship and has Steve instead suggesting that Larry go fuck himself. Normally the iconoclast, this would if true represent Steve’s most mainstream opinion.)


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One aspect that’s not mentioned here is that upstream might not always want (accept) patches for various reasons such as lack of interest and/or maintenance burden of “exotic” features/platforms and there may be legal issues preventing them to do so. It’s also very different for a company from a legal perspective compared to some “random” open source repo. Licensing is tricky and sometimes you want to protect your IP because you/a business etc needs cash to operate.

I honestly don’t see the need to bash Apple when for example Linux-kernel support is “not prioritized” to phrase nicely. Don’t forget that Apple do contribute in various projects that you might use quite a lot such as LLVM.

I’m going to make people angry here but that’s a good thing. Keeps the javascripty usb-over-browser and similar bs that google releases for chrome away. I’m pretty sure developers would not blink an eye to the prospect of every browser being a skin to Blink.


Literally, an employee matching donation, not “Apple” . Wasn’t the fact was less than $250 a clue? I’d expect the FreeBSD Tower of Freedom, a 100 floor highrise in some major metro, if Apple wanted to generously contribute back imho.

If any exec had both realization of the benefit they’ve gotten from BSD, and just an ounce of conscience, that figure would have at least three zeros after for a “zero effort” worthwhile contribution. Maybe 4 or 5 zeros… Woz was apple’s heart for these things.

… okay. Sure, apple can drive their software however they see fit, but they’re locking me in here with them and I can’t get out. What if I want to run my own non-rubbish web browser? Lol no they say. (You do understand Chrome on iOS is literally just a different skin around the ios safari engine right? Not based on the same webkit rerolled by Google. the same api widget

I believe this is likely a crime under existing law, but boiling away all the irrelevancies to get to the heart of the matter would likely be a 10 year legal battle. Apple will not do the right thing, or even what is reasonable, you can count on that.



Yeah, I know. I’m saying this is a good thing, because Safari doesn’t support all the bullshit Google and web devs dream up, which leaves the Internet vaguely usable yet. If it weren’t for Apple probably all websites would now be those horrible “scroll to view the next animation of our dumb slideshow” abominations. But because sites need to also work on iPhones, which only have Safari, they’re forced to restrain themselves.

Safari is recommended by Apple and it’s built for the best user experience. And you don’t want to catch spyware or malware, so you’re safe and protected as well. Don’t be tempted by others leading you astray.

But then they might get ideas and get a legal department like e.g. Oracle.

But I would totally do a pilgrimage to that tower.

web browsing on an iPhone is a pretty horrendous experience.

I don’t think it is the web developers problem.

Web developers Should include less scripting and such, but I’m not sure the app-bomination is the right hammer to hit that message home with…

But, if you like it, then each to their own. Like Edge, which works perfectly well…

Works for me.

As one of the three Linux Edge users, absolutely. It’s a decent browser, and it has vertical tabs, which makes it absolutely great.

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Works for me too, and has for the past 10 years :laughing:

People who don’t use Apple products sure seem to have a lot of issues with them…

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none of the problems in this thread are to do with the products themselves. the products are fine.

works for me is a poor reason to excuse unfettered capitalistic behaviour. this is a global problem that big tech are treating customers not as people but as cash cows, and it’s leading to unnecessary modern problems like stupid amounts of e-waste and interoperability problems

the sad thing is that if Apple were even a little bit more benevolent, they’d capture a whole lot more of the market. their main “integrated hardware” competitor is Microsoft, a bar so low you can almost trip over


Well i used to use them but no more.

Our apple on our side of the world is allied to China and their iCloud is in mainland China.

Also I dunno, they sort of use child slave labor. Is that not appalling enough, even for non apple users?


that’s… a good point, i didn’t think of that

wonder where australia’s icloud is hosted

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If your country could provide a cheaper data hosting than China for Apple, I’m sure Australia will host it.

Which wont happen because their tech industry is owned and subsidized by the government. It will be cheaper than the competiton, just like how HikVision is cheaper than the rest of the camera providers.