back to article Apple lifted 'make web go away' button from open source

Apple Safari's new "make web go away" button is based on an open source project distributed under the Apache 2 license. The Safari Reader – which debuted yesterday with version 5 of the Apple browser — is built using the source code for Readability, an Apache project from Arc90 Labs. In the wake of the browser's release, Arc90 …

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Well, that's what Open Source means

Ok, not exactly, and there are many variants. But I guess that people doing open source should expect their code to be used, possibly even by soulless corporations like Micro^H^H^H^H^HGoog^H^H^H^HApple.

Telling the Readability project people would have been polite, but hey...

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Joke

Why should they?!

This is Lord Jobs of Cupertino.

These FOSS people should be honoured that Lord Jobs has lowered himself to bless their product and see fit to include within the blessed Apple Canon!

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Re: Well, that's what Open Source means

"Ok, not exactly"

No, that's *exactly* what open source means. Open source is about sharing your work so that others can benefit from it.. If you think otherwise you are completely missing the point. Mac OS X uses a ton of open source software: MacOS is based on the MACH microkernel and variants of BSD. Safari is based on WebKit. XCode uses GCC. Apple list a load of stuff at http://apple.com/opensource/

It's interesting that Apple used Readability, and I bet the Arc90 team are as pleased as anything that their code is being used, but to say that Apple "lifted" the code, or that there's any controversy here has a tinge of Daily Fail journalism.

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Jobs Horns

"Fanboy" posts response...

...while I don't consider myself a true "boi", I do consider myself a fan.

And after reading this, I quote a notorious statement to Jobs & al:

"Not in my name"

Nope. No thank you.

Sorry, but concealing the acknowledgement in some minutae, and passing it off as your own creation is simply not on. You've been in the grey area before, but now you're really taking the p!ss. If you'd really come out and said - "we've borrowed the best from OSS", you'd have saved at least some credibility.

Will seriously consider moving from apple when your competitors "catch up" and offer or exceed the criteria that made me a fan in the first place.

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Alien

Apple, stealing ideas?!! You sure!!??

Skeletor owns everything so it's not stealing.

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Jobs Horns

The new oxymoron...

Apple Innovation at its best... Wish that someone has patented this 'method for one click web stripping' and b*tchslaps them. A 'we could not stand by while others misappropriate our intellectual property' letter against Apple would be reeeal nice!

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Go

TechCrunch don't know anything

There's a reason I read El Reg instead...

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Exactly!

TechCrunch, sounds like a brand of Japanese dried cat food or something frankly.

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Black Helicopters

GPL vs the world

Why the shock and surprise? Those who pick software licenses that don't require contributions back to the open source community, or allow corporations to just pluck out what they want, have made their choice. If they didn't want that, they went GPL.

Since they didn't, it means that they are in fact OK with corporations doing exactly what Apple did. The Apache, BSD and numerous other licenses allow Apple to do exactly what they did. I'm sure they kept the necessary licenses in the code itself, as required by the license. Since they aren't required to distribute that code, tough luck. Heck, far as I know they weren't even required by these licenses to put any acknowledgement anywhere other than the code. Which isn't distributed. Because the authors of these programs wanted that to happen. So why cry now?

Think Apple is the only one? Ha! At least Apple DID acknowledge it! They technically didn't actually have to.

There is, I believe, one license that forces corporations to acknowledge where they got the code, and forces folks who use the code to redistribute it. But of course, many of those who are currently blithering against Apple also get all hot and bothered against the GPL. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

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Cite?

"But of course, many of those who are currently blithering against Apple also get all hot and bothered against the GPL."

Sorry to be a pain in the arse but I don't believe that.

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Cite? Why?

Personal observation and opinion? This ain't a fucking research paper, it's an opinion and comment posted by someone who goes by the moniker "raving angry loony". WTF do you expect? Sheesh.

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Coat

Well I stil don't believe it.

S'there!

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Cite? No, logic

OK, let's answer this more seriously

1) the only people who complain about others taking their stuff and not contributing are those who don't use the GPL. Those who use the GPL don't need to bitch about it, because they chose a license that doesn't allow it.

2) the people who don't use the GPL are usually very defensive about their choice of license, and are often offensively minded against the GPL. They'll call it the "cockroach license", the "virus license", and other such terms of disdain.

Therefore, I submit that those who complain about stuff getting used without public acknowledgement (1) are often (probably? that's the main arguable bit) part of the same group that complain about the GPL's existence (2). Because those that use the GPL don't need to complain about it, and those that don't use any license aren't contributing anything anyway.

HTH. HAND.

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WTF?

Or three..

None of the above.

I'm a Linux user, and quite like the whole GPL thing. But willingly accept that some prefer to use a BSD style license or keep the whole thing closed and locked down as tight as legally possible.

Anybody who complains GPL is bad is usually trying to freeload and sell someone else's work. Anybody who moans about anybody closing BSD type licenses is just as bad, and hypocritical if they are free software supporters.

The only person who gets to decide is the owner of the code. Not me, not you, not the community at large. And not some faceless corporation.

Apple have as much right to use open code as I do. No license infringement, no problem. IT would have been courteous to send a little thank you acknowledgement to the original authors, but not required.

The article was no doubt intended to poke fun at Apple. Poster boy for closed locked down "look at our products funny and we'll sue" mentality, and the fanboys who have got themselves convinced that Steve Jobs personally invented everything. . Not to suggest that there is any reason why they should not have the option to use open code within the license conditions.. .

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Wrong

1) People using the GPL have complained many times about people using their code and not re-sharing.

Just look at the Busybox hall of shame (now not updated, but gives you the idea). http://www.busybox.net/shame.html

2) What basis is this "usually" coming from? I admit I'm not really into following people's license choices, but aren't those who bag the GPL normally people who are against Open Source altogether (Ballmer for example)?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong

"1) People using the GPL have complained many times about people using their code and not re-sharing."

Yes, because that behaviour you refer to as "not re-sharing" is known as "copyright infringement" or "violating the terms of the licence". That is not at all like complaining in the fashion of people who apply permissive licences to their work and then get upset when other people adhere to the terms of the licence but don't pat them on the back, send them money, or whatever.

"2) What basis is this "usually" coming from? I admit I'm not really into following people's license choices, but aren't those who bag the GPL normally people who are against Open Source altogether (Ballmer for example)?"

Nope. There are a bunch of people who hate the GPL because it doesn't permit them to take GPL-licensed software and ship proprietary software based on it - for them, persuading everyone to write permissively-licensed software is essential to keep the flow of goodies coming. Usually, such people like to refer to the FSF as "communists" or other such nonsense in order to play the fear card and make it look like no-one will ever make any money from anything ever again if someone writes their stuff and puts the GPL on it.

Interestingly, people who think Apple are really nice to open source (reality check: Apple actively apply for and enforce software patents) are quite likely to "not recommend" the GPL, as indeed are Apple themselves. Guess why that is!

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GPL is depressing

People get involved with developing OSS for various reasons. I've worked on projects over the years, things that are more interesting than my day job or extend my experience. You get to share knowledge with like minded people, the work gets done quicker than if you did it on your own, and quite often there are people who enjoy doing the bits of the project you aren't too interested in.

I use BSD style licences, because I prefer the code to be used, if indeed it is of any use to anyone. I have never met anyone on any project i have worked on who actually wanted GPL (to be fair, most didn't care either way).

I find GPL completely depressing, and quite damaging to OSS, because there is a whole body of open source out there which I can see but can't use in my own open source projects. And most of it is only GPL either because they got brainwashed the FSF ideology, or they were effectively blackmailed into it in order to make use of other GPL sources.

There are plenty of people hate GPL for various reasons.

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Re: GPL is depressing

"I find GPL completely depressing, and quite damaging to OSS, because there is a whole body of open source out there which I can see but can't use in my own open source projects."

Why can't you use it? Oh, that's right: you want to reserve the option of making proprietary software, or you "don't mind" if others do that. But if you really are developing "open source projects" where, you know, your users actually get the source, then the GPL is just fine.

"And most of it is only GPL either because they got brainwashed the FSF ideology, or they were effectively blackmailed into it in order to make use of other GPL sources."

Oh, that's right: people couldn't possibly make an informed choice about it; you're the only one with the brains, after all. I think not.

"There are plenty of people hate GPL for various reasons."

Yes, most of them aren't even good reasons.

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GPL Fanbois

And now the GPL fanboys crawl out of the woodwork..

enough already! go back to slashdot!

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Linux

Us vs. YOU

> There are plenty of people hate GPL for various reasons.

Yes. They hate it because they can't take it and treat it like their own personal property like some bratty 4 year old. THIS is the primary contingent of people that whine about the GPL. The GPL is meant to cater to "you and me" rather than the wannabe robber baron.

Any GPL hate thread invariably comes back to people who really haven't gotten past preschool that equate stealing other people's work with hijacking their own.

There are a lot more "users" than there are "wannabe robber barons".

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Dual-licensing

One other thing about the GPL. There's nothing in it to stop the owner of the copyright granting a non-exclusive non-GPL license to interested parties, in exchange for payment. Had this code been GPL'ed, its copyright owner might have been offered payment by Apple.

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Linux

And leopard is

not about to change its spots. Most of apple's commercial codebase is built on Open Source foundations. Get over it or get on it - they don't have a monopoly on hardware or software - simply the vision and resources to do what they do. Retaliate with better products back or accept that your late nights and C++ code is out there to be monetized ...

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Straw man

a) Noone accused them of having a monopoly

ii) Of course they have the vision and resources to do what they do. Every has the vision and resources to do what they themselves do. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to do it.

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No shit Sherlock...

It's always amused me how Apple's reinvention over the last few years has been described as innovative, despite the majority of their software releases since OS X having been derived from existing open source solutions. Fellow programmers are often surprised when I point out that Apple doesn't invent its own solutions. Sure Apple are great at dressing things up, but ultimately their programmers are touching only the cosmetic aspects of existing open-source solutions, and not actually getting involved with the nitty gritty of real coding.

Shame Apple gets all the credit for other peoples' hard work.

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WTF?

And what is non-innovative about using OSS?

Eh? You write as if the proprietary closed-source nature of Windows is good for anyone. Apple's insight was that they could make a better commercial product by building on high-quality peer-reviewed OSS, and use their internal development resources for things like the UI where differentiation was important. And, no surprise, that's worked very well for them.

OSX incorporates well over 200 OSS projects. Unfortunately, Apple's token contributions back to these projects and the OSS community at large - let's not even get into KHTML, Safari, and WebKit - has always been a source of contention. At the point that Apple contributes something substantial back to the community that has been critical to the success of OSX, Stevie-boy can finally brag about Apple's "openness".

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Gold badge

Eh?

If OSX is just something like Linux dressed up then why does it perform so much better than Linux?

OSX is a Unix based OS. However the GUI frameworks and system libraries are mostly Apple's own.

You seriously need to look at the history of the OSX, it is derived from Nextstep which was Steve Job's company that was set up when he left Apple years ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nextstep

Much of the OSX code technology was taken from Nextstep, display postscript, use of Objective C.

If you'd done any ObjectiveC on Mac OS using Cocoa (unlikely) then you'd know that many of the datatypes (like strings) start with NS, eg. NSString. The NS = Nextstep.

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Linux

Fanboy nonsense.

> If OSX is just something like Linux dressed up then why does it perform so much better than Linux?

It does? That's news to me. I have a neglected mini under the desk. Short of hosting some interesting proprietary apps, IT DOES NOTHING BETTER. It is better than Windows but that is a pathetically low bar. It is mainly better than Windows because Windows is a malware breeding ground. Get beyond that and MacOS doesn't have anything on anything else.

If anything it is more difficult to deal with because it is restrictive. It's like iphone-lite.

You're fine if you have very light requirements.

Then you're stuck installing all of the stuff that you could run on Linux or Windows.

If I want to spend $500 or $1000 for some payware app, then a Mac makes sense. Otherwise, it's just a combination of Microsoft's BS with some more of it's own added for good measure.

...I had to add memory to a mini just to get to the point where it ran MacOS without being intolerably sluggish (rather than happily running Linux).

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Megaphone

Need room to put their own ads on there...

Of course Apple wants all those distracting ads out of the way so that they can make room to put their own ads on there. And you can bet there won't be a button for getting rid of those --- too many useful buttons just clutters up the UI. Hey Apple, I've got a gesture for you, and it only requires one finger. Works without a touch screen too!

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@coco

Saw that while gazing into your I-hate-Apple crystal ball, did ya? Amazing insight. I'll bet you get hours of fun every night sitting around it finding new things to loathe and hate about Apple.

Get a fucking life.

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Got enough stuff already, don't need a life

I don't think you need to be an Apple hater to see where things might go.

First, Apple launched iAds, HTML5 based advertising sold through Apple and easy to incorporate into iPhone apps.

Next, Apple starts pushing out new versions of Safari with more HTML5 compatibility.

Then Apple launches a version of Safari that allows you to get rid of those pesky ads all over normal web pages (Flash ads, anyone? Google who?).

It doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to see that they might put iAds into Safari at a later date and make sure they show up in the current "ad-free" mode.

How much extra revenue will the generate if advertisers can make an iAd that will appear on both the iPhone and Safari *and* isn't easily blocked?

Apple exists to make money, I seriously doubt they haven't at least considered doing this. It's not about being a hater or a fanboi, it's about trying to spot the business opportunities. If Apple thinks they can do this without driving too many people away, then expect to see it soon.

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@Anonymous Coward RE:@Coco

i find it funny that you, Mr. Anonymous Coward, come here to El Reg and so bravely stand up and defend the honor of Fanbois Apple-Tards and Fruit Fairies the world over, proclaiming that Coco should "Get a fucking life.", Yet you lack the moral fiber to show your face and post your comments under the veil of the Anonymous Coward.

To that honor, I sir, hand you a mirror for the next time you wish to utter your advice: "Get a fucking life."

I would also like to hand you this cute furry little doll as a parting gift for coming here and expressing your opinion of others.

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Flame

@Wallyb132

Your username is just as anonymous. Nobody has a clue who you are, so unless you're prepared to use your real name, shut the fuck up about us "anonymous cowards".

Some of us have very good reason to be anonymous, such as I don't want my comments identified by my boss.

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Any developers here?

Some of the commentators really don't understand the nature of open source. In day to day development for all sorts of enterprise and other applications, an absolute shedload of open source libraries, apis and toolkits are used as a matter of course and the developers not told about it. It's just the way it works.

Apple are to be applauded for actually using this sort of resource!

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Apache lic huh?

this is why the apache and BSD licenses are inferior to the GPL.

I would welcome apples use and contribution to OSS code and projects, but when they are declaring a patent war on other OSS offerings, I call shenanigans.

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Patent war

Oh, and Apple's "patent war" as you put it isn't against open source but against companies like Google and HTC who are blatantly imitating the iPhone for their own commercial benefit (unless you think they're driven by altruistic motives?)

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Badgers

Inferior?

Sorry, why exactly is BSD inferior to GPL??

It seems to me that the purpose of writing software and giving it away for free is one or more of:

a) to attempt to make the world a better place by letting others share and benefit from what you've done

b) to get kudos and recognition for what you've created

c) pursue a one man vendetta against the evils of capitalism and large corporations

If your purpose is c) then go for it, the GPL is for you, but if it's a) or b) how exactly are your objectives met by writing software and then NOT having people use it? If I'd written something like Readability and then had my ideas validated by having it deployed overnight to millions of machines around the world I'd be chuffed as hell, not upset about it.

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The Commons

Rolf:

Because the BSD and Apache licenses produce a weak commons, it's a protected area that is guaranteed in some for to remain free as in accessible. It's no good having licenses that can so easily be enclosed.

It's the misunderstanding of FOSS that makes people use BSD style licenses, they think it's a charity, they think it's altruism, it's not, it's industrial revolution.

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Bronze badge

No, it's not a misunderstanding

I've been writing code for 20 years. Most of it commercial, some I release under BSD and some under GPL. It depends entirely on how you want the product used - what platform, what role it fulfils with other software, whether you're trying to encourage or discourage commercial use, whether you're trying to encourage or discurage third-party contribution and so on.

Each license, like a programming language, is appropriate for some jobs and not for others. These days for a project I pick the license shortly after I prove the concept works, and I do that after some serious thought. Misunderstanding's got nothing to do with it.

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Inferior?

The choice of License and development strategy is dependent on the developer(s) of the project and how they want the project to be used.

If the developers don't want people to see or modify the code, they should use a proprietary model.

If the developer wants people to see the code, but not necessarily contribute back and are happy with people using their code in proprietary code bases / products, they should use a BSD-style license.

If the developer wants people to see the code and contribute back any and all changes to the code, and is happy with people using the code in proprietary code bases / products as a library / external module, they should use the LGPL license.

If the developer wants people to see the code and contribute back any and all changes to the code, and is not happy with people using the code in proprietary code bases / products as a library / external module, they should use the GPL license.

It is that simple.

People who choose the GPL license do not necessarily have a vendetta against the evils of capitalism and large corporations. The GPL does not forbid capitalists or large corporations from using the software.

Likewise, people who choose a BSD-style license are not anti-Open Source.

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Happy

Thanks for the link

First I'd heard of Readability, and I'm still stuck on OSX 10.4. Yeah, I need to upgrade, but I'll make use of Readability until then.

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Stop

Open source is not a religion, nor Stallman your Lord and Savior

This is a non-story. This code is available through the Apache license, which allows pretty much anything. It's not the same as GPL. You can argue until you're blue in the face that GPL is better, but Arc90 chose to release their code under an Apache license, and that's their right. Go write your own code and release it however you want. Apple didn't "lift" anything. It actually did more than it was required to by putting a credit to Arc90 in there.

At the same time, Apple needn't be applauded for anything. This was just some developers doing their jobs, which they did completely legally and appropriately.

Open source is just a copyright license, people. It's not a way of life.

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Stallman is not our Lord

It's more like a prophet but, man, the best we ever had. This is why Microsoft and Apple are unwilling to even spell the word GPL.

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Boffin

@AC

One good idea does not make a god.

Particularly when there are so many other crappy ideas to go along with the one good one. And don't forget that the ultimate irony that the 'one good idea' goes a long way towards paying for Stallman's bed and board - so not so 'Free' at all.

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Linux

@Apache lic huh?

> this is why the apache and BSD licenses are inferior to the GPL.

Some companies/corporations could or would not use OSS if they were compelled to contribute back (for various reasons, such as competitive advantage, corporate politics, questions over legal ownership etc.) so the choice of licences - some of which do not require contribution - is actually a GOOD thing as it lowers the barrier for OSS usage.

I have personally worked for one of the worlds largest investment banks where I had to hack a change into Tomcat but did not contribute the change back because the firm were (at the time) unclear over how to accomplish that from a legal perspective. As the licence didn't compel us to commit the change we didn't - if it had we'd have had to use an alternative (and quite possibly closed source) product.

In the case of Apple, like it or not they are abiding by the licence. In fact it doesn't even sound as if Arc90 are that upset by the lack of recognition from Apple or their wholesale copying of their idea. Fair play to them for taking such a mature attitude, but I admit it would be nice if Apple were to acknowledge where they got the idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Apache lic huh?

"Some companies/corporations could or would not use OSS if they were compelled to contribute back"

Copyleft licences only require you to disclose the sources to downstream recipients. In fact, you can't have conditions like "you must send me, the original author, your changes" and be compatible with the GPL.

"I have personally worked for one of the worlds largest investment banks where I had to hack a change into Tomcat but did not contribute the change back because the firm were (at the time) unclear over how to accomplish that from a legal perspective."

I guess big companies with tons of money just can't get decent legal advice, then. Even if Tomcat were copyleft-licensed, without distributing it you wouldn't need to make that change available to others. Getting stuff into the upstream distribution would be desirable from a maintenance perspective, but just about any licence would trouble the lawyers, not just copyleft ones.

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Linux

GPL is a DISTRIBUTION license.

> have personally worked for one of the worlds largest investment banks where I had to hack a

> change into Tomcat but did not contribute the change back

This is NONSENSE.

You don't have to give access to change unless you DISTRIBUTE THEM.

They can change all sorts of GPL code all they like, all day, if they want. They don't have to "give back" a thing. You only have to distribute changes when you actually distribute them. If you don't try to set yourself up as the next Microsoft then you are in no danger. The requirement to distribute changes/source only triggers when you distribute your changes. Send out the binaries and you have to send out the source.

Some company that want to exploit something and tweak it and never release it to anyone else never has to to worry even under the GPL.

The GPL only gets in the way of software robber barons.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Programmers use other people's code all the time.

What the hell do you think libraries and API calls to the operating system *do*?

*Every* program you write for a computer relies on an ever-increasing foundation of *third party code*. Every half-decent C++ coder will be familiar with the Boost libraries. Every C programmer has probably used sprintf() and never once considered adding a thank-you to the creators of the C Standard Library in their own application's credits.

This is not news. This is just groundless, utterly unfounded Apple-bashing. If you give work away, why the hell are you acting all surprised when other people take advantage of it?

There's nothing special about open source. It's been around a bloody sight longer than the FSF and Stallman. It sure as hell isn't a concept exclusive to the FSF, nor is a GPL mandatory. Deal with it.

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Grenade

re : groundless, utterly unfounded Apple-bashing

and what's wrong with that?

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Mommy!

"...groundless, utterly unfounded Apple-bashing."

Sorry man, but when you stick your lower lip out like that and stomp your foot you just make me laugh. It's OK, we didn't say your iPad couldn't join the tea party with Miss Mopsy and Mister Bun.

Seriously though, the library includes in C++ are slightly different than snagging a chunk of code like a rat going after a crumb. Apple may be following the letter of the law with the acknowledgement, but at least in this forum there are a few of us that think a more proactive polite tip of the hat might have been more appropriate...perchance?

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Stop

Hang on! Has anyone asked Arc90 how *they* feel about it?

After all, it is *their* code! To address the “apple-bashing” issue, look at who authored this missive. He's obviously entitled to his opinions, as is everyone else, but the article is fact-lite and altogether based on knee-jerk reaction. As for the notion that “...at least in this forum there are a few of us that think a more proactive polite tip of the hat might have been more appropriate...perchance?”. Before suggesting Apple should be chastised for their opprobrious behaviour (whilst I appreciate that you are not exactly calling for that course of action, the author and several other posters essentially are), perhaps the thoughts of the developers at Arc90 should actually be sought; “This is nice. Readability is in the acknowledgements in Safari 5.” (http://twitter.com/chrisdary/status/15672452287). Seems that this moral outrage is, as usual, misplaced (at best) by folks who have no immediate involvement with the project, who, for whatever reason, want to wag their ignorant finger vitriolocally in the direction of Apple/Google/Microsoft/other (delete as appropiate). For those that feel the urge to downvote this, think about why. You aren't downvoting someone “defending” Apple, who have not actually done any wrong or behaved in any way inappropriately; rather you are defending a journalist not fully researching his article, but hey, I accept that not everyone will share my view.

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