Apple & FreeBSD relationship

Tom Worster fsb at
Thu Mar 10 13:51:15 UTC 2011

On 3/9/11 8:57 PM, "mikel king" <mikel.king at> wrote:

>In recent years their marketing as gone to some lengths to scrub the
>references to BSD & UNIX from the brochures. It's like they are ashamed
>of their roots, again personally I think they hired some new anti-geeks
>that just don't get it.

i think it's deeper than that. they know what they are doing.

back at the beginning, os x was great. finally a decent, user-friendly gui
on top of a decent unix-like thing, which, oh joy, felt like bsd. for
years, apple improved os x and did some oss work. e.g. webkit is decent
stuff. life was good. ms word in this window, terminal in that one, mysql,

then the iphone and the disaster of not having an sdk ready (other than
mobile safari) happened. they wised up and everything changed.

with ios apple has a strategy to get away from all that openness. they are
steering developers away from the web and portable web apps. so they are
backpedaling on safari and os x as best they can. if they can dominate in
mobile hardware for a while longer they may achieve some serious api
lock-in. then we will be in trouble. it is the same strategy ms used after
they won the browser war with netscape -- they backpedaled on IE, got very
deep windows api lock in, and made a load of money.

it's been a curious inversion. 10 years ago, in terms of how scared i am,
i'd have ranked ms, apple and google with ms at the top and both apple and
google as not very scary. now i am terrified of google, very scared of
apple and i hardly even think about ms.

so i think the change is very canny and comes from the top, not from some
anti-geeks that don't get it.

and as far as investing in corporate stock is concerned, oss virtue (like
environmental virtue or sweat shop virtue) is just so much marketing
blather. a corporation's responsibility is to make money for its
investors. business ethics is and always will be purely utilitarian. apple
has good marketing but don't kid yourself.

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