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Should Apple Open Source the iPhone?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the would-sure-to-have-to-have-all-that-money dept.

Portables (Apple) 379

An anonymous reader writes "Given the OpeniBoot project is just a breath away from getting Android onto the iPhone, maybe Apple should consider opening up the platform. This post has five reasons, but I think there are far more. Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years."

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Nobody cares. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064605)

See title.

Re:Nobody cares. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065001)

oh god yes. there's a new kid in town, he's much cooler, and doesn't whine when you compete with or circumvent his business model. his name is android, and there's already 4 phones slated for release early next year that ship with android. /me waits for htc touch pro to get official android support.

and what's the deal with the list? is /. turning into digg?

Re:Nobody cares. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065045)

Who cares? The same fuckwits who run out and buy a Mac and then install and run only Linux on it.

Re:Nobody cares. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065219)

>is /. turning into digg?
Sadly, yes. The Idle experiment has been creeping onto the rest of the site. See - the new meta-moderation system, the new index (optional beta for now, but how long until we have no chioce?), and the new ~ pages. It's no surprise that story selection is following suit.

It seems like Taco and co. are forgetting that a lot of us still come here precisely because it's not digg.

Re:Nobody cares. (4, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065599)

The awesome thing is that Apple's one phone is going to sell more than all the Android phones combined.

Joe User doesn't care about open source. He cares about his phone being 'cool.'

And I care about being able to only have one device instead of 3.

Re:Nobody cares. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065253)

I love it... the first post is modded "redundant"

Re:Nobody cares. (2, Insightful)

bob_herrick (784633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065625)

I thought exactly the same thing. The only explanation I can come up with is that the moderator felt, probably with some justification, that anyone just looking at the post would say the same thing.

Oh no! Success (5, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064607)

Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

The largest software producer on the planet? Perish the thought! That would be TERRIBLE!

Anyway, I don't like the iPhone either but let's face it, some people are zebras and others would just as soon kill you as open a pack of gum.

Re:Oh no! Success (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064901)

Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

The largest software producer on the planet? Perish the thought! That would be TERRIBLE!

Anyway, I don't like the iPhone either but let's face it, some people are zebras and others would just as soon kill you as open a pack of gum.

Let's read that again: "today's Microsoft in seven years.".

Again, "today's Microsoft in seven years."

Are you sure that Microsoft WILL BE "The largest software producer on the planet" in 7 years? Looking after the whole Vista fiasco, the netbook war and how it seems that MS is starting to see more competence on OS market day to day... you sure that he'll still be the 1st ine in 7 years?

You heard it here first: 2015 is the year of Linux in the Desktop... if the LHC didn't destroy the universe in 2012.

Re:Oh no! Success (4, Interesting)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064961)

It's poorly worded. I read it as, "In seven years, Apple might find itself in the position of Microsoft today [in 2008]."

Microsoft's market share is going down, but the grandparent meant to point out that Microsoft of 2008 has just under 90% of the market. Apple should be so lucky.

Re:Oh no! Success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065129)

Mea culpa, disregard the grandparent post.

Re:Oh no! Success (2, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064933)

WITH open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's IBM. (looks at PC). Nope not an IBM and soon Iphone/Macintosh will not be apple if they go down this road.

Well as an Apple stockholder (4, Insightful)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065233)

I prefer Apple's performance [yahoo.com] over the last 15 years over Microsoft's [yahoo.com] . Even at 50% of its all-time high, Apple is still trading at 25 times what I paid for it, and runs the most profitable retail business per square foot in America.

Compare: The glory days of MSFT are over. It is no longer a growth company. That stock made a lot of early adopters rich, but MS is a victim of its own monopoly. Where do they go from here, other than forcing needless OS upgrades down XP users' throats?

Re:Well as an Apple stockholder (5, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065435)

I prefer Apple's performance over Linux. I have been using Linux for more than 10 years, and I still think it's not nearly ready for the desktop. Many commercial systems or programs still outperform their open source compatitors by far. Give me a phone that works, not one that I have to tinker with for a long time to get something simple working.

Re:Oh no! Success (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065285)

in other words they'll have too much money to care what customers think about their products because the products sell themselves... (waits for trolls)

What company wouldn't want enough cash on hand to be able to NOT SELL STUFF for a whole year? (of course what kinds of products would they make?)

Re:Oh no! Success (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065383)

I have to admit I had a similar response. There are so utterly few open source projects that succeed in any large financial way, apple are a company that wants to make money, and the iPhone is one of the biggest gadget successes in the last 5 years - their iPod is one of the others.

This post seems to say Apple should dump surefire success and go for something risky and likely to flush all their efforts into the toilet. Goodluckwiththat indeed.

Re:Oh no! Success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065573)

Zebras? Gum? What????

There is one final obstacle: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064613)

The open-sourcing of the iPhone will not happen under Steve Jobs' rule, which is why the rest of the company is quietly waiting for Steve Jobs to pass away due to complications from the AIDS he received at a meth-fueled gay sex party 10 years ago.

Re:There is one final obstacle: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064853)

o cmon, that was funny

Re:There is one final obstacle: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064929)

Only to a moron.

Re:There is one final obstacle: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064943)

[citation needed]

Microsoft in 7 years? (5, Insightful)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064621)

"Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years."

You say that as if it were a bad thing. I'm guessing that despite the recent drop to 89% marketshare MS is feeling just fine.

I'm not saying OSS would be a bad move for Apple or the iPhone, but to say that if they aren't careful they might end up completely dominating the market and rolling around in mountains of cash isn't going to get your point across to most people.

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (2, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064843)

I'm not saying OSS would be a bad move for Apple or the iPhone, but to say that if they aren't careful they might end up completely dominating the market and rolling around in mountains of cash isn't going to get your point across to most people.

Oh NOES!!! Teh moneeeez!!!!

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064953)

Yeah, I can't imagine what is going through the submitters head. Are they saying that if they go open source they will never be successful? Sounds like a good reason to drop OSS

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065235)

Agreed, but for different reasons.

Apple won't be Microsoft ever, because unlike Microsoft Apple actually uses open standards. Sometimes they help to develop them, but even when that's not they case they haven't hesitated to use them. Microsoft has a history of releasing competing technologies, then leverage their large market share to drive open standards into the ground. When they try to play the open standards game it has to be their standard, and the rest of the world is expected to conform. OOXML anyone?

The iPhone is open enough to attract developers and closed enough to provide a consistent user experience that, so far, the market seems happy with. They don't need to open source mobile OS X to continue to be successful.

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (0)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065271)

I'm guessing that despite the recent drop to 89% marketshare MS is feeling just fine.

Think so? A recent story about their market share compared to the previous month since January changed by:

  • 2008-02: +.08%
  • 2008-03: -.01%
  • 2008-04: +.07%
  • 2008-05: -.51%
  • 2008-06: -.24%
  • 2008-07: +.13%
  • 2008-08: -.36%
  • 2008-09: -.37%
  • 2008-10: +.17%
  • 2008-11: -.84%

Notice that it keeps ratcheting downward - gain a little, lose a lot. Gain a little, lose a lot. Also note that (as of this writing), their stock is down 44% from its 52-week peak.

If MS is feeling just fine, then they are idiots. As I do not believe they are idiots, I do not think they're happy with current trends.

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (5, Informative)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065433)

Number abuse! 2 minute minor!

Seriously. Talking about their stock price right now is an extremely dishonest way to look at it, and saying they are "ratcheting downward" seems to be totally ignoring the size of the rate.

They've lost... 1.9 points from their marketshare in the last 10 months (oh, the horrors!) and are down *only* 44% from their 52-week high. SPY is down 41% from their 52-week high. FCX (to pick a random stock) is down 82% from their 52 week high. Citigroup is down 77% and Apple is down 48%.

Given the rest of the market, MSFT is doing just fine right now.

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065553)

Not that I disagree with your comment, but show me a stock that's NOT down 44% from its 52 week high.

Re:Microsoft in 7 years? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065655)

Lots of people have WMT [yahoo.com] (-13%) in their 401k.

those who dont learn from history (2, Interesting)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064645)

are doomed to repeat it

one would think apple would have learned from their past mistake of a less closed platform overtaking them and nearly sending the company down the drain

Re:those who dont learn from history (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064733)

Did people ever need a license to sell Macintosh software beyond paying for a copy of MPW or what-have-you? I don't think so. This is going to be a new and excitingly different lesson that Apple learns.

They did... (5, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064819)

one would think apple would have learned from their past mistake of a less closed platform overtaking them and nearly sending the company down the drain

Apple went down the drain more from the clones. Look, Apple's whole thing is about the entire consumer experience from store to computer hardware to boot. It always has been and hopefully always will be. To say that Apple should just be like Microsoft, is kinda crazy. Apple doesn't have the money to compete with Microsoft or Dell and so the real brand differentiator is that they have an entirely different business model.

mod parent up... business model is key (5, Insightful)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064881)

Different business models entirely--Apple learned their lesson in the late nineties by finally stopping its efforts to be like the big boys. By focusing on a niche market and slowly expanding it is perhaps akin to Southwestern Airlines vs. American

Re:They did... (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065251)

Apple went down the drain more from the clones. Look, Apple's whole thing is about the entire consumer experience from store to computer hardware to boot.

So are you saying the clones had a better customer experience? Because it looks to me as though if a company can be damaged by clones, then the reason for that is that most of the people who use its products just want the product itself, and don't give a damn about the "consumer experience" or the trendy white stores.

Re:They did... (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065499)

The Mac clones gave people pretty much the identical experience to using a Mac. In fact, most clones used very slightly modified Apple motherboards, and required a strenuous testing process to be legally sold. The problem is that they undercut Apple's prices without making the market for Macs any bigger. Also, this was in the days of Mac OS 7.6, before Steve Jobs' return, before the iMac, before Apple really figured out the whole lifestyle thing despite numerous attempts.

Re:those who dont learn from history (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065241)

one would think apple would have learned from their past mistake of a less closed platform overtaking them and nearly sending the company down the drain

Huh? If anything, the original IBM PC was more closed than the Apple II...

Re:those who dont learn from history (5, Funny)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065343)

And those who do learn from history go mad while watching the same shit happen over and over again.

Will never happen (4, Insightful)

m4g02 (541882) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064651)

Apple don't let you develop for the iPhone freely; it has to be done under their conditions and with their approval, asking the OS to be open sourced is foolish and it will never happen, Apple has shown what does it thinks about developer freedom.

More likely they will try to find a way to prohibit Android from being installed.

Re:Will never happen (2, Informative)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064957)

OP is not asking if the OS should be open-sourced. They're asking if the platform should be open for development.

Two vastly different things.

Re:Will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065415)

Sort of the way that MS open sourced the development of, say, the XBox or the Zune?

Re:Will never happen (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065483)

Sort of the way that MS open sourced the development of, say, the XBox or the Zune?

Oh, hi, Troll. I didn't see you there! Come in! Come in!

Stay and chat!

Why the Bleep should they? (5, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064657)

A huge part of the reason why people buy the iPhone is the unified user experience. Yes, I'd like a platform that I don't have to pay $100 to develop on...

But my mother doesn't care. she wants a smartphone that "Just Works": its easy to use, with lots of apps.

Apple has provided a great unified user experience on the iPhone, and thats the secret. Its a smartphone my MOTHER can use.

Opening up the platform wouldn't help.
   

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064763)

Well they are talking about attracting developers in the long run. Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed? It's just good business and we've seen it work. Besides, even your mother would benefit from more developers being attracted to the iPhone. I don't see how it could hurt so long as the major carriers still control the pipeline from the hardware vendor to the consumer.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (5, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064821)

From a developer standpoint, the iPhone is actually damn good.

The dev kit is $0, and a signing key/registration is $100. So the barrier to entry is very VERY low.

And the app store is a godsend. A distribution system where the distributor gets a flat 30% and thats it? And already has a micropayment infrastructure? Thats unheard-of nice.

If you can make a $10 app that sells to just 10,000 people, thats $70K gross revenue to you as a small developer.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065031)

30% seems like a lot to me.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (4, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065355)

Really? For a complete selling infrastructure including payment processing?

Kagi charges like 16%*, and that's just for payment processing -- you still have to do your own distribution and installation. I'm not saying 30% is cheap, but it's hardly unreasonable.

* Kagi has flat fees, percentage fees, and both flat and percentage credit-card fees, so the exact amount varies from order to order. Given a $10 credit-card order it comes out to about 16%.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065041)

The dev kit is $0, and a signing key/registration is $100. So the barrier to entry is very VERY low.

The dev kit only runs on Intel systems running OS X. Other systems also have free development kits that run on a greater variety of systems, and they don't even require you to pay any money to the smartphone vendor to get permission to run your own code on your own phone. Nor do they prohibit you from using third-party compilers, interpreters, etc.

And since other vendors don't exclusively control the software distribution method for their devices, you can write whatever you want without fear of it being rejected.

The iPhone is only a godsend if you want to do what Apple wants you to do.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065633)

The codesigner only runs on Intel. Xcode and the rest of the iPhone sym (at least v 2.0 ) ran on PPC if you made the effort to install it.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

soniCron88 (870042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065067)

If you can make a $10 app that sells to just 10,000 people...

There's no "just" about selling 10,000 units of anything...

Requires a Mac computer (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065105)

The dev kit is $0

And not compatible with the Windows or Linux operating system installed on the Lenovo-compatible PC on your desk, nor is it compatible with Macs from before the Intel transition. You'll probably need to spend $599 for a Mac mini, $30 for a KVM switch, $15 for a USB keyboard or mouse to replace the PS/2 one you may still be using, and I'll say $56 for shipping and sales tax. So its $700 unless you already own a recent Mac.

And even then, Apple reserves the right to reject any app for any reason.

Re:Requires a Mac computer (3, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065509)

Plus you'll probably want an iPhone, which is not cheap.

But compare that to other perfectly successful mobile platforms like Windows Mobile, which requires that you buy a Lenovo-compatible PC, MS Windows, and MS Visual Studio. Even assuming you get a cheap CPU bundled with Windows it wouldn't be hard to get to $700. Plus the phone of course. And for Windows Mobile code signing is $300+ per app.

I'm not saying cheaper wouldn't be better, but people are already making good money selling apps that are way more expensive to develop.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (0)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065211)

The dev kit is $0, and a signing key/registration is $100. So the barrier to entry is very VERY low.

There's more to it than just money, you know. Have you ever tried to build and distributed an iPhone app? I have. It is hard. Hard to the tune of many, many hours of wasted developer time struggling to get the menagerie of certificates, profiles, and crypto keys to all cooperate. At typical rates this will amount to thousands of dollars of lost time.

If you can make a $10 app that sells to just 10,000 people, thats $70K gross revenue to you as a small developer.

And if I could just grow $10 tomatoes that sell to just 10,000 people, that's $100K gross revenue to me as a small farmer. Hey look, when I pull numbers out of my ass, anything is possible!

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065395)

That's quite a feat! You shove a gerbil up your ass and pull out numbers. You should sell that trick to David Blaine for his next tv special (where he'll starve himself of publicity for a full week).

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (2, Interesting)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065575)

Developers are already being squeezed by the App store shifting towards .99Â apps. Good breakdown on developing for the iPhone here [cnn.com] .

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (4, Interesting)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064995)

Well they are talking about attracting developers in the long run. Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed?

Which ever one has the most users that they can sell their product to so they can make the most money possible.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065005)

Which one is more appealing to a software company? An open platform that exposes itself to the world, or one that is closed?

A high barrier to entry is always more attractive to smart developers who are willing to pay whatever price and jump through whatever hoops to get over the barrier, and keep the riffraff out.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065119)

The iPhone app store currently recently hit 10,000 apps and 300 million downloads. How is your open platform app store doing?

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065525)

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I don't think Apple is that interested in attracting developers. They're interested in selling more iPhones (as someone else has noted, a large user base will attract developers). The method Apple has decided to use is to sell a product that a large number of people can use easily. From that perspective, open sourcing the iPhone would be a disaster for them.

Developers also need to be aware that what is best for them may not necessarily be best for their customers. How about a car analogy - you don't design a car for the mechanics, but for the people driving the car. It's nice to make it easier (cheaper) to work on, but only as a it results in more people driving the car (cheaper, easier maintenance).

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064973)

Do me a favor, and don't capitalize "just works"

Unless you put a (TM) after it. Thanks.

Re:Why the Bleep should they? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065515)

I don't think you're really addressing any important issues here. Apple could open source the iPhone software completely, and even allow people to install software on their own phones freely, without sacrificing the unified user experience. New phones would still come with Apple's default distribution of software, and you'd have to go mucking with internals to get it to break.

For example, when I buy a Mac, Apple is effectively controlling the user experience. I can install whatever applications I like, and even wipe the hard drive entirely and install Linux or Windows. None of that interferes with the experience Apple is able to provide, but it merely provides me the freedom to do what I like with my computer. If I don't want to install another OS then I don't have to. If I don't know how to install the new OS, I'm not going to do it by accident.

There are a couple other reasons why Apple might want to control the iPhone:

  • Security. Only allowing whitelisted apps makes it much harder for virus/malware writers to spread things.
  • They may have some kind of a deal with AT&T that forbids it. AT&T may be worried about the health of their network, or perhaps protecting their own revenue stream.
  • Apple may be concerned that people will be less forgiving of things breaking on their phone than on their computer. The idea may have been a way to allow them to QA applications a little.
  • Money. By controlling distribution, Apple gets a cut of everyone's profits.
  • Apple leans toward control-freakishness, and may just be unwilling to relinquish control on new product lines until they figure out what direction they want things to take.
  • Apple definitely isn't going to want to open source their entire iPhone OS for the same reasons they don't open source their entire Desktop OS. There's a whole separate list of reasons why they do that, but everything that applies on the desktop applies on the phone too.

My guess is it's some combination of those reasons, though they might not all be factors, and there might be other reasons too.

On the other hand, there would also certainly be benefits to open sourcing their whole OS or at least providing full access to install your own programs on your iPhone. For one thing, you'd increase satisfaction among some customers (myself included-- I own an iPhone). Second, you'd attract more developers, and ultimately 3rd party apps are going to help the iPhone's popularity immensely.

Good points? (3, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064701)

  • It Will Solidify Apple's Dominance
  • If They Don't, Someone Else Will

How are those good points?

Apple has a history of pulling bait and switch tactics, often being more locked down than Microsoft is in many areas etc.

Look what you can do with a TiVo, that's supposively running on OpenSource software, you can't run your own software on the TiVo usually because it checks if the kernel running etc. is signed by a specific key.

I bet they wished they would... (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064711)

"Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years."

I bet Steve Jobs wishes he were in the same position as a company that has a 90% desktop market share and sold 18 million smartphones in a year, an increase of 42.9% oevr the previous year. [arstechnica.com]

Re:I bet they wished they would... (0)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064893)

Hokum.
MS isn't selling the phones, they're supplying the OS. Desktop market share is under 90% now, as you almost certainly know (as an MS troll), and is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Steve Jobs' position isn't based on sales or market share. It's based on the $ he gets from Apple, and the amount of ego stroking he can get in on any given day. Given his cult-like following, salary (is it still $1?), bonuses, stock options, and his tendency to illegally backdate those stock options, I'd say it's pretty obvious that he couldn't be in a better position.

Re:I bet they wished they would... (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065405)

Which is what Apple fans need to REALLY worry about, the "cult of Steve" that has been built up around Steve Jobs. So many of the consumers, media, bloggers and day traders have so built up the "cult of Steve" bit that if Steve Jobs gets hit by a truck tomorrow and dies their stock dies with him. Just look at how the stock dove when the "Steve is dying" rumor hit a few months back? If I was on the board at Apple I would be pushing Steve to make sure his #2 man was very visible and making as much noise in the press as possible to negate the "cult of Steve" effect. Otherwise when Steve buys the farm they better damned well hope they can bring back the Woz just to keep the mythology going.

I know what will get Apple to open up their phone! (3, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064731)

A loser blogging from "Wahoo's Fish Tacos" who contents "They're Gonna Have to Eventually," and decides put it to a vote: "all those in favor of an open source direction for the iPhone, leave a comment that starts with "+1." All those who think the iPhone should stay buttoned up, leave a comment starting with "-1."

This will be at least as effective as an online petition!

With 90% market share? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064735)

Where Microsoft is now.. 90% market share?

Briar Patch (3, Informative)

drerwk (695572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064745)

AAPL cap $86 Billion
GOOG cap $97 Billion
MSFT cap $182 Billion

Sounds good to me. I hope AAPL has twice the value of the rest of the pack.

iPhone open source tool chain... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064751)

Should Apple Open Source the iPhone? The answer is threefold:

1. We must consider that if hackers mark off the natural paths that official developer programs later pave over and make safe for the less adventurous and smart companies know this, then Apple should - and will - pay attention to their hackers. (Google Maps is a great case in point. It became the mapping platform of choice because, rather than shutting down the early mashup hackers, it quickly figured how to pour fuel on the fire that they'd started.) Despite the official disapproval, Apple knows that the hacker interest in the iPhone is a great boost to their program and their goals. (Witness the fact that the Apple store in Cambridge MA allowed Rob Malda to suck his own cock and to present on iPhone development in a meeting at the store with cum dripping from his jaws.)

2. The open API has a great deal of overlap with the official API. So getting up and running with the open toolchain will help developers get a head start. But it's also more powerful than the official toolchain, and will let developers continue to push Apple in interesting new directions.

3. The demand is there. We should never kid ourselves on this. The number of slots in the official API program is far smaller than the apparent demand. We published the book, and it sold out immediately, indicating that we were right. Information about the official API as soon as the Apple NDA is lifted should be published, but for now, the iPhone is one of the most important new platforms in the market today, and one that developers should be exploring as deeply (and as soon) as possible.

sm2704

A stupid question (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064773)

First, they simply won't. The question is little more than theoretical and we all know how that goes.

And secondly, they'll end up like Microsoft? Do you mean they'll end up with 85%+ of the market share? How is that a loss?

I know OSS is real popular around here but let's face facts, MS and Apple have a combined 98% of the marketshare in their primary markets and tons of side markets that are doing well. Give us a real reason they want to be in alignment with the other 2% of the market.

I know, most folks here have a real love for the open source way but when it comes down to making a dollar off it the ratio of wins to loses is pretty sad. Given all the advantages of open source it's hard to understand why it never really got a bigger foothold and now it seems to be little more than that... a foothold that those involved are trying to keep in fear from falling off the mountain altogether.

Re:A stupid question (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065641)

Given all the advantages of open source it's hard to understand why it never really got a bigger foothold and now it seems to be little more than that... a foothold that those involved are trying to keep in fear from falling off the mountain altogether.

Is this a purposeful troll? Linux hasn't done all that well on the desktop, but open source in general has been wildly successful. Open source operating systems are widely used on servers. Firefox has become a very popular browser and continues to grow, Safari is the number 3 browser, and lots of people use some kind of open source applications or tools on a daily basis. Even Apple's OS is largely based on an open source project.

And on top of all that, Linux is starting to do well on the desktop. Those little netbooks are becoming popular, and Novell just announced recently that their sales are way up (I assume at least some of that is desktop Linux).

Same position? (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064807)

Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

How is Apple's iPhone position anything like MS? In both mobile phones and computers, MS sells their OS software to OEM hardware manufacturers. Some of the problems of MS have come because they have had to support a myriad of devices. Apple sells their hardware with their OS. If anything, with open source, Apple to be like MS in seven years.

Retarded (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064809)

Why would Apple open source their phone?
They already have the attention of the masses, and every phone is compared to the iPhone.

Every company is trying to come up with a handset to compete with it. The managers meet with the project leaders and the first question they ask is undoubtedly "does it have a touch screen?". Every Android-based phone is referred to as a "gPhone".

Why would Apple change their ways?
They are selling overpriced, underpowered, late-featured, shiny, UI-focused, locked-down, restrictive products. It's working out great for them.

Re:Retarded (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065309)

"underpowered"

CPU or battery?

"late-featured"

What features is it missing?

"UI-focused"

Uh.. that's a bad thing? for a smartphone?

What are you comparing it to, anyway? In he US market there's what, like three phones with multitouch interfaces?

Re:Retarded (-1, Flamebait)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065431)

underpowered: CPU and battery. the OP was right.
late-featured: Where's the wheel to go with the touchscreen
UI focused: useless point.

Note, on the above, the G1 happens to fit the whole power and feature aspects for now. Guess that tells you something: apple is the same as its always been: crap that people lovingly shove down their throats.

Seven years of profitability they won't give up (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064823)

...at which time Apple will either abandon that particular market, or jump on the open source band wagon while Apple fans pat themselves on the back for being flexible and forward thinking. Why would they give up 7 years worth of profit and reverse current trends. Apple have continually tried to close off their hardware. Look at the latest generation of iPods which attempt to prevent users from loading alternate firmware. In any case who knows what will change in 7 years. It'd take them all of 3-6 months to open source if they choose to do so at a later date. For right now I don't see it happening.

Karma be damned. Apple is just not a nice company. I got screwed over in the 1980s when Apple decided to stop selling their software in department stores. My parents had just bought me an overpriced Apple IIe and here I was, a kid who would have to spend hours getting to the nearest Apple dealer to buy software.

People talk about how Apple changed when Steve Jobs came back but I don't see much change. It seems to me that Apple have always been more about marketing and hype than about empowering their users. If you believe the hype everything they do is stylish, bugs are rare, rare events, and the hardware is so reliable that if you have a problem you must be misusing it. The reality I have experienced has been very different.

Re:Seven years of profitability they won't give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064997)

a kid who would have to spend hours getting to the nearest Apple dealer to buy software.

Where were you when Cat-Fur came out? j/k

Re:Seven years of profitability they won't give up (2, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065153)

People talk about how Apple changed when Steve Jobs came back but I don't see much change.

C'mon, let's be fair here. They did change, and they did get a hell of a lot better.

It seems to me that Apple have always been more about marketing and hype than about empowering their users.

That has nothing to do with whether or not you create good products, which I will admit some of Apple's are. Can you use a Zune or a Sansa MP3 player instead of an iPod? Sure you can. Can you use a normal cell phone instead of an iPhone? Of course. That doesn't mean that the iPod and iPhone (or OS X or whatever) are not good products, whether they're hyped or not. Look past the hype and make up your own mind.

If you believe the hype everything they do is stylish, bugs are rare, rare events, and the hardware is so reliable that if you have a problem you must be misusing it. The reality I have experienced has been very different.

That's just the deranged fanboys fapping it up. It's no different than the perception that Windows is some sort of existential nightmare and Linux is perfect and has no problem. It's all in the context. Everybody cheers their platform on.

Nah. (5, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064869)

No, I think they should keep it as is, or maybe even lock it up even tighter.

Umm, what were you expecting Slashdotters to say?

Two things (1)

bravecanadian (638315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064895)

1) Darwin is already open source as we all know.

2) Apple would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be in the position that Microsoft is in today. Billions of net profit every year.

Oh yeah, that'll really help (4, Insightful)

jht (5006) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064897)

After all, Apple is having so much trouble selling iPhones and attracting a developer community that open-sourcing the iPhone is the only way to survive... Wait, what? Apple already has the top-selling smartphone? They already have a huge developer community and thousands of applications in less than six months of having this OS on the market? They've all but killed Palm, made a huge dent in Microsoft's Windows Mobile business, and forced RIM to come out with a poorly-regarded "me too" touchscreen phone while eating market share?

Well, I guess that's how poorly things are going for Apple with a closed design. There's lots of valid reasons why Apple might be well-served to open up more of their iPhone code, but it's not like the current strategy has exactly failed miserably. Right now iPhone is in a pretty enviable place from a development point of view. Apple is early in the 2.0 cycle, and hasn't even implemented all the promised features for developers yet (like central push notification and true turn-by-turn GPS capabilities), and they still have a massive base of developers who are leveraging their Cocoa code and methods to produce iPhone software.

Not to mention that touch in general is a full-fledged platform for Apple. Not just phones, but iPods and likely other devices. Build for the platform and you run on all the devices (unlike, say, RIM's multiple platforms). And they have teh sexy as well in their hardware and UI designs, so there's consumer appeal (compared to, say, the skins manufacturers have had to overlay on Windows Mobile to make it less hostile to users).

There's always going to be people who want to tweak their phone, or run Linux on it because it has a CPU and RAM. But the mass market doesn't give a darn if iPhones are open or closed. They don't care if Android is open, either. They just care that the devices are cool and useful, and that there's plenty of nice software to run that's easy to get. iPhone is leading in that race now, and as long as they're all that, nobody important gives a darn otherwise.

This part's pretty funny (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064907)

You know, BusinessWeek asked me about Apple potentially open sourcing the iPhone over a year ago. Since then: nothing out of Apple, despite mounting pressure from projects like Android that are vying for Appleâ(TM)s throne.

They might be vying for Apple's throne someday. Right now? They're vying for scraps outside the royal kitchen.

(plus one InQformative) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064935)

are a pathet1c ggodbye...she had

Open source not needed (3, Interesting)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065021)

I don't care about open source, just give me relatively open platform like OS X. I don't mind if the underlying OS is closed source so long as the dev tools, APIs, and application installation are all open. As long as I know that I can release my application to be installed on other iPhones without going through iTunes (or dev tools), that's all I'm really asking for. I think iTunes still provides a great way to sell and distribute applications, but there's no way I'm developing for a platform where a company can decide on a whim whether or not I can distribute my application.

The development and the iron-clad ties to AT&T are the two reasons I didn't get an iPhone, and this is coming from a huge Mac fanboy. The rest of my family got iPhones, and it's definitely a great phone.

Open Systems needed (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065167)

Before Open Source, before the GNU Manifesto, there was "Open Systems". Systems built around open APIs, interfaces, and protocols. UNIX was really the big push for Open Systems. If your software used the UNIX APIs, it would run on hardware from just about anyone, with less work than you might expect to do porting it from one release of an operating system to the next. Thanks to efforts like the SOftware Tools VOS, and emulation platforms like Eunice and Phoenix, it would even run on other operating systems like VMS.

It's nice that the iPhone is based on an Open Systems OS, but until you can write software to open APIs to run on it without jumping through hoops it doesn't really matter that much whether the kernel is Darwin, Linux, or Windows PE. THe iPhone is really irrelevant to open source and open systems, and it's a really expensive way to get a bare phone to run Linux on.

You're right, Open Source isn't needed, Open Systems are.

Re:Open source not needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065601)

But the underlying OS is Open Source. Darwin.
It's the Presentation Layer etc that is closed.
According to some people it's a simple job to hack Gnome or KDE to look and act like Aqua so you could have a totally Open Source MacOS if you wanted.
Now, why isn't someone offering a kit based on Darwin/KDE/Gnome?

What kind of "threat" is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065039)

Okay, so some developers are saying,

"Either open up the iPhone so we can develop software for it... or we'll turn around and develop software for it anyway!"

Anybody else see why this "threat" is, er, um, what's the word... oh, yeah -- dumb?

Unless you can convince Apple that it's to both THEIR advantage and the general public's to open up the iPhone's dev tools, it's not going to happen, no matter what a relatively small number of developers (who constitute probably 0.001 percent of the total iPhone user base) say.

(Note to all software developers, from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious: the overwhelming majority of software applications on planet earth won't be used by people who are programmers, so the inherent coolness of your Killer App, open-source or otherwise, may not be appreciated as much as you might think.)

Should Apple Open Source the iPhone? (4, Funny)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065115)

Yes. They should also make it 100% based on Java.

Over-exaggeration of the month. (1)

Rendoggle (1378357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065131)

Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

Doubt it. No-one (non-technical) cares at all about whether a product is open-source; they care about having something that works. And the iPhone works very well. Microsoft seems to be doing quite well anyway, despite open-source.

OpeniBoot project is just a breath away from getting Android onto the iPhone [...]

Doesn't look like it to me from that video.

Source available (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065173)

Some source for the iPhone is available, but it is a little behind in the release schedule:

http://www.opensource.apple.com/darwinsource/ [apple.com]

Okay its probably not all there, but at least its something.

Uh, and Apple doesn't want that? (1)

BaronHethorSamedi (970820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065177)

Without open source, Apple will find itself in the same position as today's Microsoft in seven years.

I think it's clear enough by now that Steve Jobs salivates when he thinks about this. Does anyone still think that Apple is any less greedily proprietary than Microsoft? Or that, had their positions been reversed in the early years, Apple would have behaved differently from its competitor?

wtf sort of a post is this .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065217)

slashdot is going down the shitter .... any ignorant monkey can post content now :/

WTF? (1)

FuturShoc1k (1265058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065239)

This OSS iPhone argument seems patently absurd to me. Look, I subscribe to many of the pro-OSS philosophies as much as the next geek. But insisting that Apple should open source the iPhone is like telling NASA to serve free peanuts on its shuttle flights lest the space program fail. Does anyone honestly believe this would be any better an approach for Apple than the one they're currently pursuing? Yeah, making hardware people want to buy running software people want to use and having more money than god is *so* over-rated.

No No No (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065279)

THIRTY FREAKING YEARS and you guys just don't get it. Apple sells hardware. Without the proprietary OSes, Apple's hard ware is no differnt from other hardware. Open Sourcing the OS is JUST PLAIN STUPID if you are trying to profit from your business.

What then would happen to the movies and music? (2, Insightful)

CatOne (655161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065281)

The iPhone can play DRM'd movies. Yes, DRM and encryption and the like give the Stallman set fits, but it's certainly a key bit of functionality for the phone that would go away if it were open sourced, right?

I just don't really see more benefits to Apple, especially when if the iPhone were open sourced would make it easier to add the stuff to Linux or other competing devices, no? Of course that would _never_ happen, code being snagged and all :-/

Short Answer: No. (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065371)

Apple is reaping millions from the unwashed masses and unbathed developers. They are becoming rich on the sweat of others while lifting no finger of our own. Their profit margins are at an all-time high. As long as the iPhone remains a unified piece of technology under the control of one boss, it will remain a cohesive product. Upon becoming OSS, it runs the risk of zealots branching off versions purely for the sake of stroking their egos. Stevie is the only allowed stroke the ego when it comes to Apple crap.

I don't think it matters (1)

donkeyqong (939403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065421)

I read down through the comments to see if anyone was going to mention this, but surprisingly, no one did. As long as there is an open source alternative it doesn't matter. It seems to me there is a lot of blathering about this and that need to be open source when there are either already open source projects that exist to fill the niche. All the blathering is about is tearing down something that was built closed source. Basically, whining about what ISN'T available to fiddle with. Apple has chosen well a whole lot over the last decade. Even in cases where they got it wrong (DRM) they worked with the industry leaders until concession was made.

Won't Happen (1)

Slash.Poop (1088395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065517)

Not sure if you noticed but Apple is CLOSED.
Has been and will continue to be as long as Jobs is steering the ship.

Jobs'd

yeah making money is so bourgeois (1)

deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065561)

Damn - if only they fiire Jobs 7 years ago and put this guy in charge of Apple, what fantastic products the consumers could have benefitted from - the year of the Linux today? Hmmm... would Google provide Android and maps for free if it wasn't the WWWs' biggest ad money maker? Should Google also open source their search engine, in-house Linux built, and proprietary cluster infrastructure technology too?

Question: what business are you in? (1, Redundant)

wumingzi (67100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065591)

Several people have pointed out variations on this, but we'll try again:

Apple sells hardware. To a certain extent, they sell content. I don't know how much the App Store or iTunes makes for them. Maybe a substantial amount. Hardware is their cash cow. Open source the software, and both pillars of their model are lost.

Microsoft sells software. That's self-evident.

OSS companies are generally in the business of selling professional services. i.e., we'll give you the operating system. We will sell you what amounts to a support contract for a small fee per workstation. If you want to integrate it, or make it do clever things, we have people who do that by the hour for a reasonable fee. If you're giving away software running on servers in the back room of a large company, there's good money to be made using that model. If you're selling $200 iPhones? ehhhh, not so much.

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