Since 2014, when Apple launched its new programming language, Swift, as open source, the company has been showing a keen interest in gaining prominence within the free software, although most of its products and projects remain private, closed source.
However, it seems that the mentality of this company is changing and that, little by little, is making new contributions to the world of open source, its last two contributions being the source code of the iOS and macOS kernel, its two main operating systems.
Both the iOS kernel and the macOS kernel are based on XNU, XNU is not UNIX, which, although an open source project, has an Apple Public Source License 2.0 license, a fairly restrictive license in all respects. Although this is an open source operating system, Apple keeps a lot of code for its own use, especially when we talk about iOS, although the kernel is roughly the same as the macOS, we do not know anything about the optimization for ARM processors which is included in the operating system, so far.
Every time Apple releases a new version of its operating systems, later it publishes the source codes directly in its own web so that the developers can accede to it, to review it and to understand how the operating system works.
Taking advantage of the recent release of macOS 10.13 and iOS 11, Apple has published the Kernel of these new operating systems, but with some peculiarities that, at all, was expected to come. The first of these peculiarities is that this time, in addition to the kernel optimized for macOS, Apple has also released the iOS kernel, the version of Darwin XNU optimized for ARM processors.
In addition to this, Apple has also published the source code of its operating system in GitHub, since we can access the source code and also see a complete guide on how to compile and use it.
What does Apple look for with its new moves around OpenSource?
It is not known very well what Apple wants to achieve with this unexpected move, although the first rumors are already circulating on the network. While most likely the company wants to potential application development for iOS and also receive feedback from the OpenSource community to get an idea of how they could improve the operating system.
Rumors are also beginning to surface about a possible launch of macOS for ARM processors, which is why the company has released iOS code and Darwin optimization for the ARM.
What is clear is that, unlike what many claims, even now iOS has an open source, we will not see a Samsung Galaxy S8 with iOS, both because the source code is not going to allow it, Apple has reserved certain parts of the code and, in addition, Darwin’s license will not allow it. Nor we will see a simpler Hackintosh for MacOS 10.13 after this move. What is clear is that this move, in the medium term, will serve to improve Apple products.
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