McNulty - April 27th, 2000
Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] announced the release of Darwin 1.0, the advanced
operating system core at the heart of Mac OS X, and the release of an
updated Darwin Streaming Server. Darwin's open source model allows the
tens of thousands of registered Darwin developers to modify, customize,
and extend key Apple software, including the modern mach kernel and BSD
layers found in Apple's next generation operating system, Mac OS X.
"The core of Mac OS X is the only mainstream operating system following
an open source model," said Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of
Worldwide Product Marketing. "The new Darwin 1.0 posting includes some
of the most advanced operating system technology available, and it's open
to our customers and developers so that we may collaborate on the future
of the Mac OS."
new Darwin kernel is based on FreeBSD and Mach 3.0 technologies and supports
the Kernel Extension Developer Kit (KDK) for developing drivers and loadable
modules. Darwin 1.0 gives developers access to essential Mac OS X source
code. This allows developers to enhance the feature set, performance,
and quality of Mac OS X products in partnership with Apple engineers.
Darwin 1.0 is processor-independent and is built for PowerPC and Intel
platforms, enabling Open Source developers to work on Darwin projects
on the widest choice of computer systems.
Apple's Darwin announcement only increases the pressure on Microsoft [NASDAQ:MSFT]
to open up Windows - not just Windows CE. Apple Mac OS X, Red Hat Linux
[NASDAQ:RHAT], and Netscape 6 [NYSE:AOL] are all, at least in part, open
source. Apple's Public Source License requires all modifications to source
code, and all extensions based on that source, to be publicly posted and
shared with Apple.
date, Microsoft is the largest software publisher for Macintosh platforms.
Microsoft can't be thrilled about the potential for opening its code base,
even if it's only for parts of Office for Macintosh.
it comes to operating systems, it's the applications, stupid. Microsoft
taught us that one a long time ago. Get the independent software vendors
to build it, and the market will come.
open source does not equate to automatic, free software development. Netscape's
open source program, Mozilla.org, did not automatically produce Netscape
6. Developers are somewhat less eager to add their open source additions
back into the revenue stream of companies like Apple or AOL. Apple needs
to nurture this market through extensive support, developer forums, and
seed investments in the most promising of new developers.
It remains to be seen how long Apple remains committed to open source.
Years ago, Apple made a great show of opening up its OS licensing program.
At the time, it was touted as a way of broadening Apple's hardware market
and creating a market for low cost Apple clones. Unfortunately, OS licenses
were one of the first things Steve Jobs killed in 1997 when he rejoined
Apple. Back then, Power Computing was on its way to US$ 400 Million in
revenues. No more. Apple giveth, but Apple may taketh.
For end-users, there will be no significant effect until Mac OS X is in
wide release. OS X will be released for retail sales during summer 2000,
and will be pre-loaded on all Macintosh computers beginning in early 2001.
Until then, Darwin remains an interesting evolution .