Open Source Isn't When It Comes to Apple

OSX seems to be a great tool when it comes to software development: it's essentially an UNIX system which has however a good UI and great commercial support.

Unfortunately, Apple is also run by a control-freak who wants to make sure that once you sign up for the Apple ecosystem, you *will* sell your soul too.

Open Source is a great and awesome thing. With commercial software, you only get the binaries, not the source code. The source code allows you to tinker with the code, improve it, or find bugs. In the least the availability of the source code means that if the originator company goes bust, you can hire someone else to maintain it.

But the thing is - to turn the source code into a runnable binary, you need a compiler. Otherwise it's just source code. The problem here is that the only usable compiler is owned by Apple, and recently they've started to require you to sign an NDA with them if you want to download it. It's still available on the OSX install disks, so the situation isn't that bad - yet. But today I encountered this:

% sudo port install subversion-javahlbindings
--->  Computing dependencies for subversion-javahlbindings
--->  Fetching subversion-javahlbindings
Error: Target org.macports.fetch returned: 
subversion-javahlbindings requires the Java for Mac OS X Developer Package from Apple.
Please download and install this package:

Yup. You need to sign an NDA with Apple if you want to use Subversion (OSS) with and IDE, like Eclipse (OSS). You know, like *most* Java developers do.

And this is true for all of the open source port projects for OSX - they all require the Apple compiler and Apple tools. Apple has the OSS community by their balls, and they ain't letting go. (And what's with the idiotic practice of refusing to distribute binaries, Fink and Port guys? And where's an usable gcc for OSX? And since XCode is still largely based on the GNU toolchain, is it even legal to require an NDA to download it?)

I'm starting to think it's time for me to ditch OSX completely, and move to a more open system, like Windows or Linux. What would be good replacements for Scrivener and Quicksilver?


For Quicksilver replacement I use Launchy in Windows.

--Teeemu, 26-Dec-2010

I have used Macs as my work laptops for some years now, and they've seemed somewhat open, but this makes them just unusable as development platforms.

I used to think Microsoft was bad, but Windows doesn't seem to have such controls. I really don't like the way Apple is going, or rather, where it has been and now has proper tools to enforce it.

--Pare, 27-Dec-2010

Quicksilver for Ubuntu is Gnome Do.

--AnonymousCoward, 13-Feb-2011

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"Main_blogentry_261210_1" last changed on 26-Dec-2010 10:57:45 EET by JanneJalkanen.

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