The Tame Apple Press trumpeted Apple’s move to make its Swift programming language available to the great unwashed claiming that it bought the company’s open source efforts to the forefront.
One of the pages on Apple’s developer site even touted the company as “the first major company to make Open Source development a key part of its software strategy”. Yeah, you read right, Apple actually claimed to be there before anyone else including Microsoft, IBM and, in fact, most other companies out there.
There were more than a few open sourcers who felt that Jobs’ Mob marketing stunt was in poor taste given that Apple’s relationship with open source software is a bit like UKIP’s attitude to Romania.
True, Apple has made some code available to the public since OS X platform version 10.0 and is also responsible for curating a number of other open source projects – most famously WebKit, which powers its Safari browser.
But Jobs’ Mob does the sort of thing that annoys the hell out of open sourcers including having significant delays between releases, holding back key code for new products for weeks or even months – then dumping it on developers all at once.
All this lack of understanding about how open source works leads to a significant gap between when new software is released and when developers can start making their own modifications to it.
To be fair to Apple, it did go back and delete the reference to being ‘first’. The page now claims that open source software is at the heart of Apple platforms and developer tools, and Apple continues to contribute and release significant quantities of open source code.