Apple thanks open-source contributors

For everyone who’s been living under a rock for the past few years, Apple browser – Safari – is based on the KHTML rendering engine and KJS JavaScript engine from KDE. Apple copied them to create their own open source project: Webkit, which attracted some open-source developers that contributed to webkit projects and to products that are based on them – Apple’s Safari most notably, but 3rd party MacOSX web browsers are using it as well, and also Nokia’s Series 60 3rd edition web browser (And its really nice that Nokia credits both Webkit and KDE).

Now Apple is trying to give back to the community by rewarding top Webkit contributors with Macbook Pro laptops.

While being really nice and all (I know I’d love to have a Macbooc Proc 😉 ), I find it a bit of a problem that Apple is marking up some of the contributors to its open-source projects for material compensation and not others.

Its a given that Apple’s Safari ows much more of its existance to Stephan Kulow and George Staikos from KHTML then to any single Webkit contributor – and I think that KHTML core developers deserve some Macbooks as well, but we can go on and on – what about Darwin (which has seen a much larger open-source community) ?

Contrary to some Slashdot commentors, I don’t think that Apple should give out Macbooks or other financial rewards for everyone in any of the open source projects that contributed to their products (upto and including glibc developers ?), but they could probably show some (material or otherwise) appreiciation to the open-source community in general.. ahmm.. I don’t know.. how about open-sourcing Cocoa ?

P.S.
While we are on the subject of browsers, I also liked this: First vulnerability for Internet Explorer 7 (which is still in beta). What I liked about it is the suggested workaround 🙂

8 Responses to “Apple thanks open-source contributors”

  1. Eran:

    Workaround this. How come intelligent people, or at least I think they are (How does Boojie hold up?), still refuse to see the benefits of using an alternative browser to Xploder? I’m not saying “USE FIREFOX, OR ELSE!” but almost anything is better than Exploder.

  2. Darin Adler:

    George Staikos is one of the 12 contributors I mentioned.

  3. John Tokash » Rewarding Open Source Developers - How can we help?:

    […] I did a few quick searches to see who else is doing this kind of thing (large companies rewarding open source dev) – it’s happened before, but not often enough. Sansblog talks about why that is (probably). It’s hard to reward a group of people without upsetting the people who were passed over. […]

  4. Guss:

    Oh. I didn’t see a list of contributors that were acknowledged by Apple and I foolishly assumed that only people who contributed directly to Webkit were included. I was using George Staikos as an example for KHTML developers that were not directly contributing to Webkit.

    If Apple also rewarded KHTML developers then I have no qualms with them 🙂

    Basically I’m saying that its nice and all that Apple is giving physical rewards to some of its developers, but it also raises some issues which need to be thought about.

  5. אמא:

    עודד למה אתה כלכך פסימי אתה יכול לעשות הרבה דברים כמו שאלעד כתב לך רק תחליט קח עצמך בידים אל תעבוד כל כך הרבה וקשה והכל יראה אחרת צריך עוד כמה דברים חוץ מלאכול לעבוד ולישון

  6. Guss:

    כן, אבל זו העונה להיות פסימי 🙂

  7. melgross:

    Gus, there ARE no issues that have to be thought about here.

    I doubt that any of htese people are up in arms about recieving these gifts.

    Also, Apple can choose whomever they think has contributed the most to the project. You may find a political fault in that, but I don’t.

    If this spurs more development, so much the better.

  8. Guss:

    I think the issue here is not about spurring more development, its about chilling development in areas Apple does not find useful for their product range.

    I had never thought that the people who receive gifts should reject them, but I’m worried about two things:

    a) Will developers who did not receive gifts get disenchanted with the FL/OSS development model ? I’m not sure how Apple decided who gets gifts, but if it was about some numerical quantity – such as number of commits – then I’m sure the person in the 13th place, maybe just a few commits short of a Macbook Pro would feel a bit down for it.

    b) Would OSS developers who work on non-Apple benefiting projects stop working on said projects and flock to Apple funded OSS software ?

    I’m not saying that Apple should stop giving back monetary compensation to the community – I just think that in every good deed there is the potential for a negative backlash and that Apple can also give back to the community in a way that does not benefit only a select number of people, but the Mac OS-X FL/OSS community in general, or the Darwin community in general, or possibly even the entire FL/OSS community in general.

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