Darwin, the open source foundation of Mac OS X, has finally evolved, according to
a Wired article.
When Apple first announced Darwin, it also announced that its programming code was accessible to anyone who wanted to download it. The idea was that developers could customize and enhance it and other Apple applications.
However, some open source developers felt that Apple’s licensing agreement for Darwin was too restrictive, according to Wired. A new version of the Apple Public Source License (APSL) 1.2 was released on Wednesday and it addresses many of the issues that developers were concerned
Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project, told Wired that previous versions of APSL had “three fatal flaws, any of which makes (the) license unacceptable.” He said there had been a perceived lack of respect from Apple for open source developers and their work. Earlier versions of the APSL did not allow developers to modify code for their personal use, plus any and all changes had to be publicly distributed.
Stallman told Wired he was also concerned about the APSL’s insistence that Apple be notified each and every time a developer made a change to source code. And he had issues with the termination clause, which essentially allowed Apple to revoke the APSL agreement if anyone accused a developer of copyright or patent infringement and forbid the developer from continuing to use all or some part(s) of the software.
However, under the terms of the new APSL, developers no longer need to distribute modifications made for personal use, are no longer required to notify Apple when code modifications are released, and the Infringement/Suspension clause has been removed; developers are now responsible for securing all necessary rights themselves.
“Apple has jettisoned the vast majority of the most aggravating problems with the ASPL. They took a big step in the right direction with this new license,” Charlie Minsk, an open source programmer, told Wired. “I feel like I can really get involved with the Darwin project now, something that I couldn’t do before when I really felt the licensing terms were insulting and wrong.”
A spokesperson for the Apple Open Source Development team told Wired that the license was rewritten to respond to comments received from developers working on the project, and also to streamline and clarify the wording of the APSL license.