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Portables (Apple) Operating Systems Software Hardware

Should Apple Open Source the iPhone? 379

Posted by timothy
from the would-sure-to-have-to-have-all-that-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Given the OpeniBoot project is just a breath away from getting Android onto the iPhone, maybe Apple should consider opening up the platform. This post has five reasons, but I think there are far more. Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years."
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Should Apple Open Source the iPhone?

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  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:42PM (#26064607) Homepage Journal

    Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

    The largest software producer on the planet? Perish the thought! That would be TERRIBLE!

    Anyway, I don't like the iPhone either but let's face it, some people are zebras and others would just as soon kill you as open a pack of gum.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by theaveng (1243528)

      WITH open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's IBM. (looks at PC). Nope not an IBM and soon Iphone/Macintosh will not be apple if they go down this road.

    • by unassimilatible (225662) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:24PM (#26065233) Journal
      I prefer Apple's performance [yahoo.com] over the last 15 years over Microsoft's [yahoo.com]. Even at 50% of its all-time high, Apple is still trading at 25 times what I paid for it, and runs the most profitable retail business per square foot in America.

      Compare: The glory days of MSFT are over. It is no longer a growth company. That stock made a lot of early adopters rich, but MS is a victim of its own monopoly. Where do they go from here, other than forcing needless OS upgrades down XP users' throats?
      • by tsa (15680) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:39PM (#26065435) Homepage

        I prefer Apple's performance over Linux. I have been using Linux for more than 10 years, and I still think it's not nearly ready for the desktop. Many commercial systems or programs still outperform their open source compatitors by far. Give me a phone that works, not one that I have to tinker with for a long time to get something simple working.

      • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:53PM (#26065693) Homepage

        Where does MS go from here? Oh, I don't know... Consoles, handheld music players, cell phones, car control systems, Internet search...

        Oh wait, they're falling in all of those (consoles excepted) because they waited for someone else to forge the path, then were unable to buy the leader out as easily as they have been able to in desktop software.

        Microsoft isn't suffering from success, they're suffering from a profound lack of vision.

         

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by onefriedrice (1171917)

          Microsoft isn't suffering from success, they're suffering from a profound lack of vision.

          That may have been the wrong thing to say. Watch out for incoming chairs...

    • in other words they'll have too much money to care what customers think about their products because the products sell themselves... (waits for trolls)

      What company wouldn't want enough cash on hand to be able to NOT SELL STUFF for a whole year? (of course what kinds of products would they make?)

    • Re:Oh no! Success (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:34PM (#26065383)

      I have to admit I had a similar response. There are so utterly few open source projects that succeed in any large financial way, apple are a company that wants to make money, and the iPhone is one of the biggest gadget successes in the last 5 years - their iPod is one of the others.

      This post seems to say Apple should dump surefire success and go for something risky and likely to flush all their efforts into the toilet. Goodluckwiththat indeed.

  • by Alcimedes (398213) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:43PM (#26064621)

    "Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years."

    You say that as if it were a bad thing. I'm guessing that despite the recent drop to 89% marketshare MS is feeling just fine.

    I'm not saying OSS would be a bad move for Apple or the iPhone, but to say that if they aren't careful they might end up completely dominating the market and rolling around in mountains of cash isn't going to get your point across to most people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm not saying OSS would be a bad move for Apple or the iPhone, but to say that if they aren't careful they might end up completely dominating the market and rolling around in mountains of cash isn't going to get your point across to most people.

      Oh NOES!!! Teh moneeeez!!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, I can't imagine what is going through the submitters head. Are they saying that if they go open source they will never be successful? Sounds like a good reason to drop OSS

    • Agreed, but for different reasons.

      Apple won't be Microsoft ever, because unlike Microsoft Apple actually uses open standards. Sometimes they help to develop them, but even when that's not they case they haven't hesitated to use them. Microsoft has a history of releasing competing technologies, then leverage their large market share to drive open standards into the ground. When they try to play the open standards game it has to be their standard, and the rest of the world is expected to conform. OOXML an

  • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:45PM (#26064645)

    are doomed to repeat it

    one would think apple would have learned from their past mistake of a less closed platform overtaking them and nearly sending the company down the drain

    • by mmkkbb (816035)

      Did people ever need a license to sell Macintosh software beyond paying for a copy of MPW or what-have-you? I don't think so. This is going to be a new and excitingly different lesson that Apple learns.

    • They did... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@gm a i l.com> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:54PM (#26064819) Homepage Journal

      one would think apple would have learned from their past mistake of a less closed platform overtaking them and nearly sending the company down the drain

      Apple went down the drain more from the clones. Look, Apple's whole thing is about the entire consumer experience from store to computer hardware to boot. It always has been and hopefully always will be. To say that Apple should just be like Microsoft, is kinda crazy. Apple doesn't have the money to compete with Microsoft or Dell and so the real brand differentiator is that they have an entirely different business model.

      • by eleuthero (812560) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:59PM (#26064881)
        Different business models entirely--Apple learned their lesson in the late nineties by finally stopping its efforts to be like the big boys. By focusing on a niche market and slowly expanding it is perhaps akin to Southwestern Airlines vs. American
      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Apple went down the drain more from the clones. Look, Apple's whole thing is about the entire consumer experience from store to computer hardware to boot.

        So are you saying the clones had a better customer experience? Because it looks to me as though if a company can be damaged by clones, then the reason for that is that most of the people who use its products just want the product itself, and don't give a damn about the "consumer experience" or the trendy white stores.

        • by mmkkbb (816035)

          The Mac clones gave people pretty much the identical experience to using a Mac. In fact, most clones used very slightly modified Apple motherboards, and required a strenuous testing process to be legally sold. The problem is that they undercut Apple's prices without making the market for Macs any bigger. Also, this was in the days of Mac OS 7.6, before Steve Jobs' return, before the iMac, before Apple really figured out the whole lifestyle thing despite numerous attempts.

      • Re:They did... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Score Whore (32328) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:04PM (#26065839)

        Not to be contentious, but you might want to review your statements before posting.

        Dell market cap on 12/10/2008: $23.41 billion.
        Apple cash in the bank at quarter ending Sep 08: $24.49 billion.

        Apple could write a check for Dell and have a billion dollars left over. If they aren't competing with Dell, it's not because of a lack of money.

        • So, uh.... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tjstork (137384)

          So, if Apple has more money in the bank than Microsoft and has more money in the bank than Dell's market cap, exactly why should Apple change its strategy to be more like Dell?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lymond01 (314120)

        Apple went down the drain more from the clones.

        Apple went down the drain due to slow processors and slower, buggy operating systems. The very early OS 7s (7.1, for example) were solid, fast...of course the fastest processor at the time was about 33 MHz. Then came 7.5.3 where Apple was on its knees and it was rumored to be the "last MacOS".

        With the price point of Apple hardware higher than PCs and the advent of Windows NT taking over Graphic Designer's workstations, all of a sudden Apple had to work harder

    • one would think apple would have learned from their past mistake of a less closed platform overtaking them and nearly sending the company down the drain

      Huh? If anything, the original IBM PC was more closed than the Apple II...

    • by megamerican (1073936) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:31PM (#26065343)

      And those who do learn from history go mad while watching the same shit happen over and over again.

  • Will never happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m4g02 (541882) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:45PM (#26064651)
    Apple don't let you develop for the iPhone freely; it has to be done under their conditions and with their approval, asking the OS to be open sourced is foolish and it will never happen, Apple has shown what does it thinks about developer freedom.

    More likely they will try to find a way to prohibit Android from being installed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by thegnu (557446)

      OP is not asking if the OS should be open-sourced. They're asking if the platform should be open for development.

      Two vastly different things.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:45PM (#26064657) Homepage

    A huge part of the reason why people buy the iPhone is the unified user experience. Yes, I'd like a platform that I don't have to pay $100 to develop on...

    But my mother doesn't care. she wants a smartphone that "Just Works": its easy to use, with lots of apps.

    Apple has provided a great unified user experience on the iPhone, and thats the secret. Its a smartphone my MOTHER can use.

    Opening up the platform wouldn't help.
       

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      Well they are talking about attracting developers in the long run. Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed? It's just good business and we've seen it work. Besides, even your mother would benefit from more developers being attracted to the iPhone. I don't see how it could hurt so long as the major carriers still control the pipeline from the hardware vendor to the consumer.

      • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:54PM (#26064821) Homepage

        From a developer standpoint, the iPhone is actually damn good.

        The dev kit is $0, and a signing key/registration is $100. So the barrier to entry is very VERY low.

        And the app store is a godsend. A distribution system where the distributor gets a flat 30% and thats it? And already has a micropayment infrastructure? Thats unheard-of nice.

        If you can make a $10 app that sells to just 10,000 people, thats $70K gross revenue to you as a small developer.

        • 30% seems like a lot to me.
          • by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:32PM (#26065355)

            Really? For a complete selling infrastructure including payment processing?

            Kagi charges like 16%*, and that's just for payment processing -- you still have to do your own distribution and installation. I'm not saying 30% is cheap, but it's hardly unreasonable.

            * Kagi has flat fees, percentage fees, and both flat and percentage credit-card fees, so the exact amount varies from order to order. Given a $10 credit-card order it comes out to about 16%.

            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              30% is not an unreasonable rate. But saying that it is my only choice and I am not allowed to bypass it is unreasonable.

              If I think I can do better then I should be able to try. A good merchant account might charge 5%, and the rest is up to me. Yes, it's more work, but if I do a lot of volume then building my own store and website can be well worth it. But I can't even consider it for the iPhone because Apple won't let me.

        • by nxtw (866177)

          The dev kit is $0, and a signing key/registration is $100. So the barrier to entry is very VERY low.

          The dev kit only runs on Intel systems running OS X. Other systems also have free development kits that run on a greater variety of systems, and they don't even require you to pay any money to the smartphone vendor to get permission to run your own code on your own phone. Nor do they prohibit you from using third-party compilers, interpreters, etc.

          And since other vendors don't exclusively control the softwa

          • by drerwk (695572)
            The codesigner only runs on Intel. Xcode and the rest of the iPhone sym (at least v 2.0 ) ran on PPC if you made the effort to install it.
        • If you can make a $10 app that sells to just 10,000 people...

          There's no "just" about selling 10,000 units of anything...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Gilmoure (18428)

          Developers are already being squeezed by the App store shifting towards .99Â apps. Good breakdown on developing for the iPhone here [cnn.com].

      • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:07PM (#26064995)

        Well they are talking about attracting developers in the long run. Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed?

        Which ever one has the most users that they can sell their product to so they can make the most money possible.

      • Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed?

        A high barrier to entry is always more attractive to smart developers who are willing to pay whatever price and jump through whatever hoops to get over the barrier, and keep the riffraff out.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by larry bagina (561269)

        The iPhone app store currently recently hit 10,000 apps and 300 million downloads. How is your open platform app store doing?

      • by MrMickS (568778)

        Well they are talking about attracting developers in the long run. Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed?

        If you are writing for the iPhone/iPod Touch you've got a fairly consistent target. This won't be the case with Android once the various companies get their phone out. This will lead to the same user experience issues that S60 has. It will require an awful lot of clever coding to get an app to work the same across all Android phones, especially with the varying input methods that will be on offer.

        The $ cost of developing for Android may be less than the iPhone. The real cost could be much higher though. Onl

    • by thegnu (557446)

      Do me a favor, and don't capitalize "just works"

      Unless you put a (TM) after it. Thanks.

    • I don't think you're really addressing any important issues here. Apple could open source the iPhone software completely, and even allow people to install software on their own phones freely, without sacrificing the unified user experience. New phones would still come with Apple's default distribution of software, and you'd have to go mucking with internals to get it to break.

      For example, when I buy a Mac, Apple is effectively controlling the user experience. I can install whatever applications I like,

  • Good points? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:48PM (#26064701)
    • It Will Solidify Apple's Dominance
    • If They Don't, Someone Else Will

    How are those good points?

    Apple has a history of pulling bait and switch tactics, often being more locked down than Microsoft is in many areas etc.

    Look what you can do with a TiVo, that's supposively running on OpenSource software, you can't run your own software on the TiVo usually because it checks if the kernel running etc. is signed by a specific key.

  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:49PM (#26064731) Homepage Journal

    A loser blogging from "Wahoo's Fish Tacos" who contents "They're Gonna Have to Eventually," and decides put it to a vote: "all those in favor of an open source direction for the iPhone, leave a comment that starts with "+1." All those who think the iPhone should stay buttoned up, leave a comment starting with "-1."

    This will be at least as effective as an online petition!

  • Briar Patch (Score:4, Informative)

    by drerwk (695572) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:50PM (#26064745) Homepage
    AAPL cap $86 Billion
    GOOG cap $97 Billion
    MSFT cap $182 Billion

    Sounds good to me. I hope AAPL has twice the value of the rest of the pack.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:50PM (#26064751)

    Should Apple Open Source the iPhone? The answer is threefold:

    1. We must consider that if hackers mark off the natural paths that official developer programs later pave over and make safe for the less adventurous and smart companies know this, then Apple should - and will - pay attention to their hackers. (Google Maps is a great case in point. It became the mapping platform of choice because, rather than shutting down the early mashup hackers, it quickly figured how to pour fuel on the fire that they'd started.) Despite the official disapproval, Apple knows that the hacker interest in the iPhone is a great boost to their program and their goals. (Witness the fact that the Apple store in Cambridge MA allowed Rob Malda to suck his own cock and to present on iPhone development in a meeting at the store with cum dripping from his jaws.)

    2. The open API has a great deal of overlap with the official API. So getting up and running with the open toolchain will help developers get a head start. But it's also more powerful than the official toolchain, and will let developers continue to push Apple in interesting new directions.

    3. The demand is there. We should never kid ourselves on this. The number of slots in the official API program is far smaller than the apparent demand. We published the book, and it sold out immediately, indicating that we were right. Information about the official API as soon as the Apple NDA is lifted should be published, but for now, the iPhone is one of the most important new platforms in the market today, and one that developers should be exploring as deeply (and as soon) as possible.

    sm2704

  • A stupid question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast (590680) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:51PM (#26064773)
    First, they simply won't. The question is little more than theoretical and we all know how that goes.

    And secondly, they'll end up like Microsoft? Do you mean they'll end up with 85%+ of the market share? How is that a loss?

    I know OSS is real popular around here but let's face facts, MS and Apple have a combined 98% of the marketshare in their primary markets and tons of side markets that are doing well. Give us a real reason they want to be in alignment with the other 2% of the market.

    I know, most folks here have a real love for the open source way but when it comes down to making a dollar off it the ratio of wins to loses is pretty sad. Given all the advantages of open source it's hard to understand why it never really got a bigger foothold and now it seems to be little more than that... a foothold that those involved are trying to keep in fear from falling off the mountain altogether.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Given all the advantages of open source it's hard to understand why it never really got a bigger foothold and now it seems to be little more than that... a foothold that those involved are trying to keep in fear from falling off the mountain altogether.

      Is this a purposeful troll? Linux hasn't done all that well on the desktop, but open source in general has been wildly successful. Open source operating systems are widely used on servers. Firefox has become a very popular browser and continues to grow, Safari is the number 3 browser, and lots of people use some kind of open source applications or tools on a daily basis. Even Apple's OS is largely based on an open source project.

      And on top of all that, Linux is starting to do well on the desktop. Thos

  • Same position? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:53PM (#26064807)

    Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

    How is Apple's iPhone position anything like MS? In both mobile phones and computers, MS sells their OS software to OEM hardware manufacturers. Some of the problems of MS have come because they have had to support a myriad of devices. Apple sells their hardware with their OS. If anything, with open source, Apple to be like MS in seven years.

  • Retarded (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573)

    Why would Apple open source their phone?
    They already have the attention of the masses, and every phone is compared to the iPhone.

    Every company is trying to come up with a handset to compete with it. The managers meet with the project leaders and the first question they ask is undoubtedly "does it have a touch screen?". Every Android-based phone is referred to as a "gPhone".

    Why would Apple change their ways?
    They are selling overpriced, underpowered, late-featured, shiny, UI-focused, locked-down, restrictiv

    • Re:Retarded (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:28PM (#26065309)

      "underpowered"

      CPU or battery?

      "late-featured"

      What features is it missing?

      "UI-focused"

      Uh.. that's a bad thing? for a smartphone?

      What are you comparing it to, anyway? In he US market there's what, like three phones with multitouch interfaces?

  • ...at which time Apple will either abandon that particular market, or jump on the open source band wagon while Apple fans pat themselves on the back for being flexible and forward thinking. Why would they give up 7 years worth of profit and reverse current trends. Apple have continually tried to close off their hardware. Look at the latest generation of iPods which attempt to prevent users from loading alternate firmware. In any case who knows what will change in 7 years. It'd take them all of 3-6 months to

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dedazo (737510)

      People talk about how Apple changed when Steve Jobs came back but I don't see much change.

      C'mon, let's be fair here. They did change, and they did get a hell of a lot better.

      It seems to me that Apple have always been more about marketing and hype than about empowering their users.

      That has nothing to do with whether or not you create good products, which I will admit some of Apple's are. Can you use a Zune or a Sansa MP3 player instead of an iPod? Sure you can. Can you use a normal cell phone instead of an i

      • by syousef (465911)

        C'mon, let's be fair here. They did change, and they did get a hell of a lot better

        C'mon, you be fair. What did they really do. Put see through cases on their computers and start designing things that were as thin as possible?

        Is the iPod really THAT great? I have a 30gig video model and the wheel has always stuck (warranty repair with Apple being a nightmare I've never bothered sending it in) and as your music collection grows you realize the click wheel interface isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

        That h

  • Nah. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @02:57PM (#26064869) Homepage Journal

    No, I think they should keep it as is, or maybe even lock it up even tighter.

    Umm, what were you expecting Slashdotters to say?

  • by jht (5006) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:00PM (#26064897) Homepage Journal

    After all, Apple is having so much trouble selling iPhones and attracting a developer community that open-sourcing the iPhone is the only way to survive... Wait, what? Apple already has the top-selling smartphone? They already have a huge developer community and thousands of applications in less than six months of having this OS on the market? They've all but killed Palm, made a huge dent in Microsoft's Windows Mobile business, and forced RIM to come out with a poorly-regarded "me too" touchscreen phone while eating market share?

    Well, I guess that's how poorly things are going for Apple with a closed design. There's lots of valid reasons why Apple might be well-served to open up more of their iPhone code, but it's not like the current strategy has exactly failed miserably. Right now iPhone is in a pretty enviable place from a development point of view. Apple is early in the 2.0 cycle, and hasn't even implemented all the promised features for developers yet (like central push notification and true turn-by-turn GPS capabilities), and they still have a massive base of developers who are leveraging their Cocoa code and methods to produce iPhone software.

    Not to mention that touch in general is a full-fledged platform for Apple. Not just phones, but iPods and likely other devices. Build for the platform and you run on all the devices (unlike, say, RIM's multiple platforms). And they have teh sexy as well in their hardware and UI designs, so there's consumer appeal (compared to, say, the skins manufacturers have had to overlay on Windows Mobile to make it less hostile to users).

    There's always going to be people who want to tweak their phone, or run Linux on it because it has a CPU and RAM. But the mass market doesn't give a darn if iPhones are open or closed. They don't care if Android is open, either. They just care that the devices are cool and useful, and that there's plenty of nice software to run that's easy to get. iPhone is leading in that race now, and as long as they're all that, nobody important gives a darn otherwise.

  • You know, BusinessWeek asked me about Apple potentially open sourcing the iPhone over a year ago. Since then: nothing out of Apple, despite mounting pressure from projects like Android that are vying for Appleâ(TM)s throne.

    They might be vying for Apple's throne someday. Right now? They're vying for scraps outside the royal kitchen.

  • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:09PM (#26065021)

    I don't care about open source, just give me relatively open platform like OS X. I don't mind if the underlying OS is closed source so long as the dev tools, APIs, and application installation are all open. As long as I know that I can release my application to be installed on other iPhones without going through iTunes (or dev tools), that's all I'm really asking for. I think iTunes still provides a great way to sell and distribute applications, but there's no way I'm developing for a platform where a company can decide on a whim whether or not I can distribute my application.

    The development and the iron-clad ties to AT&T are the two reasons I didn't get an iPhone, and this is coming from a huge Mac fanboy. The rest of my family got iPhones, and it's definitely a great phone.

    • Before Open Source, before the GNU Manifesto, there was "Open Systems". Systems built around open APIs, interfaces, and protocols. UNIX was really the big push for Open Systems. If your software used the UNIX APIs, it would run on hardware from just about anyone, with less work than you might expect to do porting it from one release of an operating system to the next. Thanks to efforts like the SOftware Tools VOS, and emulation platforms like Eunice and Phoenix, it would even run on other operating systems

  • by nostriluu (138310) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:16PM (#26065115) Homepage

    Yes. They should also make it 100% based on Java.

  • by CatOne (655161) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:27PM (#26065281)

    The iPhone can play DRM'd movies. Yes, DRM and encryption and the like give the Stallman set fits, but it's certainly a key bit of functionality for the phone that would go away if it were open sourced, right?

    I just don't really see more benefits to Apple, especially when if the iPhone were open sourced would make it easier to add the stuff to Linux or other competing devices, no? Of course that would _never_ happen, code being snagged and all :-/

  • Apple is reaping millions from the unwashed masses and unbathed developers. They are becoming rich on the sweat of others while lifting no finger of our own. Their profit margins are at an all-time high. As long as the iPhone remains a unified piece of technology under the control of one boss, it will remain a cohesive product. Upon becoming OSS, it runs the risk of zealots branching off versions purely for the sake of stroking their egos. Stevie is the only allowed stroke the ego when it comes to Appl

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Well, concerning your quote: They are certainly lifting some fingers. You can have a very stable BSD-like kernel (Darwin) without the Aqua overlay (but you're free to load KDE or Gnome on there) for free, no strings attached, code and all. Webkit got very good feedback from Apple. Apple has been working together with FOSS projects, finding and fixing bugs. I currently use XCode for one of my FOSS projects and imho it's better than Eclipse, it's free. There is a lot of source open and very well built SDK's f

  • Several people have pointed out variations on this, but we'll try again:

    Apple sells hardware. To a certain extent, they sell content. I don't know how much the App Store or iTunes makes for them. Maybe a substantial amount. Hardware is their cash cow. Open source the software, and both pillars of their model are lost.

    Microsoft sells software. That's self-evident.

    OSS companies are generally in the business of selling professional services. i.e., we'll give you the operating system. We will sell you w

  • Apple doesn't need to Open Source the iPhone. What they need to do is make it available to multiple carriers (something most think will happen eventually anyway) and ease up on the app restrictions. Let's face it, everyone wants an iPhone. They may not all have one or even get one but they WANT one.
  • I love you open source nuts...

    Open source is wonderful, but what position is Microsoft in today? Microsoft is still king of the industry, their OSes are still the most widely used.

    So are you saying that Apple will end up, king of the hill?

    MS isnt going anywhere, and Linux is still not a mainstream desktop. Sorry guys, Its a great OS but the lens at which the die hard Linux Zealots look through is so skewed that it distorts reality.

  • At least not with the GPL (which most people this as Open Source)
    There are a lot of closed source code included and legally protected source, like Microsoft License to Hook the iPhone to exchange servers. As well Apple applied for Many patents when they made the iPhone. Then why would Apple want a team of outside developers making changes and "improvements" to the code without Apples control.

    Apples success based on the "We Know Best" mentality. Microsoft failure is saying Customer knows best and will try

  • Rebuttal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by allanc (25681) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @04:21PM (#26066075) Homepage

    Since then: nothing out of Apple, despite mounting pressure from projects like Android that are vying for Apple's throne.

    First off, I want to point something out: "Apple's throne" was achieved in less than two years, starting basically from zero, when competing against companies that have been in the cell phone market since the 80s. Keep that in mind when criticizing Apple's business strategies.

    Open source is becoming the default way to develop software in many industries.

    One SIGNIFICANT subset of the industry where open source is not the default way to develop software: Industries where the user interface matters. Think about how many times you've heard the phrase "As easy to use as Linux".

    Open sourcing the iPhone gives customers a much broader selection of applications. Customers faced with a plethora of attractive applications when they visit the app store will spend money.

    There is a lot of empirical evidence to refute this. Customers DO NOT want choice. One of the big complaints about Linux is that people have to choose between Ubuntu, Redhat, Slackware, Debian, Kubuntu, Fedora, LFS, Gentoo, etc. Or maybe FreeBSD or NetBSD. And on top of that, Gnome or KDE or something else. When faced with too many choices, the reaction amongst most humans is give up. One of the reasons Ubuntu has been so successful is that (unlike, say, Slackware) you don't have to go through and choose which programs and window manager/desktop system you want.

    One of the biggest wins by far of the App Store is that there is a certain minimum quality level needed to be in it. If they opened that up, it would turn into something like SourceForge and it would be impossible to find the good stuff amongst the chaff.

    It Will Solidify Apple's Dominance.
    Apple's got a rare opportunity to solidify dominance in a market by killing the competition in the cradle.

    But I thought you said choice was good? ;)

    Honestly, I prefer Apple to have competition. Keeps 'em honest.

    If They Don't, Someone Else Will

    All of the other smartphones are already a lot more open than the iPhone, and (with the exception of Android) they've been around a lot longer. Apple's still whuppin' their asses.

    That's right, Linux on the iPhone. Earth to Apple: if the iPhone had been open sourced, this probably wouldn't have happened.

    Wow, you don't understand Linux people at all, do you? There is a certain sort of person who will try to install Linux on anything that stands still in front of them for too long. The only computing hardware that people won't try getting to run Linux is computing hardware that's already running Linux. And even then, they'll try to swap in a *custom* version of Linux. It's what they do. Making the iPhone more open would just have made that happen more quickly.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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