Apple has created a “forge” or foundry, an open repository for code that anyone can download and use, fix and send back to Apple. This is an exciting development, Apple both shares with the world its great software and Apple benefits from the input and creativity of the many developers and hackers who will download their software.
Perhaps it is because of the great response to dashboard widgets and the surprising participation of thousands of developers that Apple has seen how important it is to involve the developer community in building software. Perhaps it is because of the incredible success of debian and its offspring, like Ubuntu, that Apple now recognizes that open code repositories are capable of producing better code. Or maybe because the code that comes from the public, through a rigorous vetting system of ad hoc peer review, is safer, more stable, maybe that is why Apple is opening up and sharing its code.
And Apple is not throwing a sop to the critics, it has included some real software under some real licenses. Lets take a look at launchd for example, I suspect many Free Software developers will. launchd is now released under the Apache License Version 2.0. While I am not a lawyer, this is definitely a developer-friendly license and should be considered Open while protecting the original author’s copyright(s). This is not a license created at Apple which dips a toe into the open source waters, this is the real deal.
I think this will be a welcomed move by many, and I am certain it will help Apple develop better software. I think Apple feels the same, otherwise they would not have done this, they would not have built the future of their operating system on BSD tools, they would not have brought people such as Jordan Hubbard into the company. You remember Jordan Hubbard, he is the guy whose web site convinced me to install FreeBSD over my Windows partition by hypnotizing me on his web site, see for yourself.
In any case, this is good news. Thanks Apple.