Tim Cook at Startup Fest Europe (Amsterdam)

Tim Cook back stage in Amsterdam
Minutes before entering the podium. Now in talk with Dr. Neelie Smit-Kroes
So far nothing new, but still good to see him here. Hmm. This is interesting. Apple folks are going to volunteer, assist and teach teachers in The Netherlands. Nice.

Sorry Eric. I am going to the Apple store now. Crap. Tim Cook went to the Apple Store yesterday already (I missed it).
Courtesy Michael van Wetering
Anyway. Where is Tim Cook? I know he’s not visiting the Anne Frank House, because he was there yesterday already.
Courtesy Apple
Too bad. I had some question for him… about open sourcing OS X. And not just parts of the kernel and some drivers, but the whole lot.

7 thoughts on “Tim Cook at Startup Fest Europe (Amsterdam)

  1. You think seriously they would even consider that as an option, ever? 🙂

    anyway, a more complete SDK, with full IOFamilies and Frameworks’ headers, would be a welcome first step. Too bad they went in the opposite direction recently, making more header files private.

      • I bet it would be along the lines “We understand the power of open source and have a healthy relationship with the open source community, yak yak contributing back, yadda yadda Webkit, CUPS, yak yak we also have contractual obligations with regards to licensed patented technologies and intellectual property of our own as well as third parties which we are eager to protect, yak yak NVidia and AMD, yadda yadda our own branding and trademarks, yak yak superior quality product that is a synergy of superior hardware and software, and that is why we opted to confine our OS to our hardware and take steps to enforce some limitations, which prevent us from opening the sources more than they already are”.

        This is the usual rhetoric of any company that flirts with open source without committing heavily to it. And while Tim was all about going more open when he took the CEO role (I don’t think Jobs would allow public betas this often), the actual bits of source they open is less than in the older days.

      • NVidia and AMD have their own agenda’s so that is understandable. You cannot expect them to OSS everything.

        Apple on the other hand, as you call it: “flirts with open source without committing heavily to it“. But even that is not true. Apple is committing more and more, but the XNU source, specifically, is lacking the same drive. And what I would like to know is why they allow people to setup a hackintosh, and sometimes help us by fixing hack specific issues, but not go the last mile.

      • Well, whatever that agenda is, the truth is you cannot really make an accelerated video driver for OS X without signing an NDA with them (or hope that your video chip is so good they themselves will reach to you) to even see the closed APIs they don’t document. Not even Intel has anything open source go into OS X, and for Linux/BSD their whole graphics stack is open.

        Apple clearly had hardware restrictions in mind when deciding to remove 802.11 related headers from their SDKs.

        I think the OS X being, by and large, exclusive to Apple machines, is a part of their brand identity, being “different” (not much on the inside, though), and a means to guarantee quality of the whole product (although it looks to me that OS X has undergone a severe quality decline lately).

        Also, pre-Jobs Apple licensed System up to System 7 to third parties, and there was a project to bring the OS Classic to IBM PC which collapsed in on itself. I don’t think they would officially ever allow generic PC to run OS X (which inevitably will result in expectations to have the same level of support, as even IM/Tonymac86 forums show: while there is an expectation you are a power user and know what you’re doing, there are masses of ignorant people expecting free handholding all the way).

        Unofficially, though… a hackintosh is an excellent edge case which can expose (and does expose) bugs in OSX that would never show up on the supported hardware. Nobody knows if those bugs don’t pop up on newer hardware Apple adopts. I think that this is why they allow us to do our thing, while we keep *reasonably* quiet and don’t try, for example, to sell the stuff, or make money on it.

        I bet my beard that the status quo will be maintained: Apple won’t openly help hackintoshers, but will fix a bug or two that they find, especially if those bugs can manifest on real Macs; Apple won’t open significantly more kernel-related source than is currently available, or even close a module or two more by 10.12.

  2. It would be really nice if Apple at least open sourced (or at least provided headers for) some of the IOKit drivers, such as the IO80211Family, IOAccelerator & IOUSBHostFamily. IO80211Family had headers in the 10.5 SDK, but they were quietly removed by Apple starting with 10.6. [url=https://github.com/mercurysquad/Voodoo80211/tree/master/net80211/apple80211/Lion]Voodoo80211[/url] has updated headers for 10.7 (through reverse engineering) along with a fully ported net80211 stack, but IO80211Family has changed even more since then.

  3. Back in the brief PowerComputing/Gil Amelio era it was a serious threat as the clones basically undercut the cream of Apple’s hardware margins – and got product to market quicker too. This Was way before Apple had serious, alternative revenue sources.
    It wouldn’t be a threat at all – now – to sell the OS for, say, $250USD on select mobo’s, (‘validated’ for high end Asus?) maybe restricted to Xeon/HEDT.
    In fact, it would expand the subscription model for iCloud services – more Mac OS, more icloud/itunes subscriptions, more income: win/win.

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