Thursday, August 16, 2007

Operating Systems: OpenDarwin Shutting Down

I totally missed this: OpenDarwin is shutting down:
OpenDarwin has failed to achieve its goals in 4 years of operation, and moves further from achieving these goals as time goes on...The original notions of developing the Mac OS X and Darwin sources has not panned out. Availability of sources, interaction with Apple representatives, difficulty building and tracking sources, and a lack of interest from the community have all contributed to this.
I can't say I'm surprised. When it comes to playing fair in the open source world, I simply trust the Linux guys more than I trust Apple. Besides, Darwin isn't even the most interesting thing about OS X--Cocoa is. Tragically, it's closed source.

As you all know, I've been pondering operating systems lately. I just don't think people are going to tolerate Apple's walled garden / vendor lock-in forever. I don't get the sense that Vista is a huge success. Based on my attendance at Linux Expo for the last seven years in a row, Linux seems to be somewhat quiet these days, at least on the desktop side. It makes me wonder what's going to happen on the desktop.

Maybe the desktop is dead--killed by the Web and Google. Maybe the desktop is going to be reborn via the likes of Adobe Air. I sure hope not. I don't need any more proprietary systems from Adobe! Maybe the desktop and the world-wide Web are both less important these days now that Facebook is functioning as a social operating system.

I don't know, but I do think there is some room for innovation.


Shannon -jj Behrens said...

Ok, I've thought about it a little more. What would I like to see? Now that Second Life is becoming an open platform where everyone can run their own servers and there's an open source client, I want to see Second Life win as the next UI platform. I'm not so sure I want to be word processing documents in Second Life, but in some sense, I'd like to see it succeed as the next great platform.

Anonymous said...

> Linux seems to be somewhat quiet
> these days, at least on the
> desktop side.

Would you say KDE4 is "quiet" ?

Jesse said...

Apple is less of a walled garden then it typically appears. A lot of the DRM/Proprietary/iPhone esque lock in is a thin veneer of control, frequently - as seen with the apple tv, Apple looks the other way.

Darwin is still open source, and I can still run open source applications - linux/unix applications on the platform (OS/X) I run.

Anonymous said...

The announcment is from July of 2006. It was well known at the time amongst the very small group of people who were paying attention to Darwin. The OpenDarwin group were trying to expand Darwin past its very limited user base, but couldn't find sufficient interest amongst developers to continue. No big deal.

mikeal said...

The day OpenDarwin shut down apple brought up MacOSForge.

Instead of having a group the "plays nice with the community" MacOSForge just gives a place for all the open source work being lead by apple to happen in the open and they leave it to those groups to engage the community and outside developers on their own. It's actually a much better system.

The Apple Calendar Server and WebKit have a better list of outside contributions right now than Thunderbird does. And in terms of ease of development by outside developers, I would say WebKit is a more straightforward and easy to dig in to that the Firefox core.

Every time a company dedicates a group to be their "open source" group it inevitably goes sour. Their job is basically to make open source work for their company and rarely the other way around. But just having a policy for a product to be built in the open and allowing the engineering to manage the community themselves is much better. Engineers just want to make a cool product and tend to work better with the community because they have a common goal.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

> Would you say KDE4 is "quiet" ?

Maybe I live in a box, but I haven't heard anything about it lately. I would be trilled in KDE konquered the world ;)

Shannon -jj Behrens said...


Thanks for your comments. Don't mind me if I play devil's advocate a little:


Oh, thanks for that. Still, that looks more like a Sourceforge than a Debian, if that makes any sense.

> Apple looks the other way.

Yeah, but that's not a way to encourage an active community. "Prison's a lot of fun because you can goof off when the prison guard isn't looking!"

> Darwin is still open source,

Yeah, but what good is a kernel that you can't really use because you lack necessary drivers for your Apple hardware?

> I can still run open source applications

That's true of Windows too ;)

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

Mikeal, great comments. Thanks.

jon said...

Air isn't proprietary. It's html, javascript and CSS based on top of Eclipse. Air is one of the cooler things I have seen in a long time, especially if you need to compile down to a 'native' app.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

Air is built on Flash and Flex: