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Open Source Initiative Affirms Support for Apple License.

By Rachel Chalmers The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has reacted quickly to Bruce Perens' criticism of Apple's new Public Source License (APSL) (CI No 3,621). Perens, a co-author of the Open Source Definition, has outlined several problems he sees with the APSL. One is that Apple requires its licensees to notify the company of modifications to APSL-ed code. Perens claimed that if Apple went out of business, it would be impossible to comply with this part of the license. Writing for the OSI, Eric Raymond says that's not the case. Bankruptcy is covered in a separate part of the APSL. "If Apple dies, clause 2.2(c) becomes ipso facto unenforceable and (under 13.6) is voided without compromising the remainder of the license," he explains. Perens also expressed concern that the APSL contains a termination clause. "This clause merely covers Apple's liability under law," says Raymond, "it does not create any more exposure for open-source developers than would exist under US patent law if it were not present." In other words, the termination clause covers Apple's back if any of the APSL-ed code turns out to have been patented by somebody else. Raymond also rejects Perens' implicit contention that he, Raymond, was too quick to embrace the APSL. "The OSI board requested - and got - substantial changes from Apple before the APSL was made public," he writes. He says the board was then unanimous in authorizing Raymond to publicly endorse the APSL on OSI's behalf. Arguments over licenses are not the only heat being generated by Apple's decision to release Darwin as an open source OS. While the company has chosen not to include the Macintosh graphical user interface with Darwin, developers are reportedly keen to build GUIs of their own. The Yellow Box version of Netscape's "Gecko" layout engine could be used to create a basic user interface in XML, just as it does for Mozilla 5.0. Mac OS Rumors says a Darwin-XML web site could be up as early as next week. Darwin appears, in fact, to have galvanized the once-moribund Macintosh developer community. "What's the big first step for Darwin?" the Mac OS Rumors editors wonder, before attempting to answer their own question. "Think convergence with Linux, most likely. Once Linux developers get over their (understandable and justifiable) concerns about whether Apple is serious about open source - and we think that most of them will - there will no doubt be a stage at which Darwin and Linux will be exchanging a lot of technology between them. This is an amazing time to be a Mac user."
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 19, 1999
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