Why I Run Old System Software

Eric Gallager egall at gwmail.gwu.edu
Sat Sep 1 17:13:58 UTC 2018

On 10/12/14, Chris Jones <jonesc at hep.phy.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> On 12 Oct 2014, at 1:20 am, C.T. <semaphore45 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Apple didn't make the scanner, but when they cut something the software
>> relies upon to work, that's Apple's responsibility.
> Apple did not just cut it with no warning, vendors where given plenty of
> warning via, for instance, the developer previews of OSX 10.7. If the vender
> in question choose to ignore that, and presumably still haven't released a
> new driver, then that is patently not Apple's problem, as the vendor has, by
> intention or just lack of action, chosen to no longer support that device on
> OSX. Thats their chose, not Apple's.
>> Of course it would much easier if there were no patent on Rosetta's
>> technology, where it could have been released as open source.
> Rosetta is(was) far too tightly integrated with the OS for that to ever
> happen, if possible at all. You might as well ask Apple to release the code
> for its entire OS.  Good luck with that one.

Most of the relevant parts that it's integrated with (i.e. the kernel
(XNU) and other low-level parts of the OS) already are open source.
The Rosetta installer package itself only installed a single file,
`/usr/libexec/oah/translate`, which can be run from the command-line
without touching any of the closed-source GUI portions of the OS. Even
simply providing the source for this one executable would be an
improvement over the current situation. Still, you're right though,
the probability of Apple releasing the code for their entire OS has
been dropping in recent years, which brings me to another reason I
have been staying on Snow Leopard: it was the last release of OS X
before Apple started purging all the GPL-ed code from their OS and
really locking it down and restricting their users' freedom. Besides
the subjective experiences that I have had of newer versions of OS X
being more difficult to use freely, I also have data to back up my
experiences: Just look at the number of packages available on
opensource.apple.com throughout the various versions of OS X. Apple
actually makes these relatively easy to count; they provide text files
for each OS release where every line (except the first) is the name of
a package, so in a directory that contains all of these files, one can
do something like this:

$ for pkglist in ./*os-x-*.txt; do wc -l ${pkglist}; done > packagecount.txt

(I'm attaching the file to which I redirected the output.) As the
output shows, the number of open source packages available in OS X
actually peaked with 10.5, but unfortunately I wasn't paying attention
when I upgraded from it... Besides that, one can also do likewise with
the developer tools package lists:

$ for pkglist in ./*developer-tools-*.txt; do wc -l ${pkglist}; done >

(Attaching the output from that one, too). The output from that shows
a similar curve to the packages for the OS: the number of open source
packages shipped with the developer tools peaked around the same time
as the packages for the OS did.
 Anyways, that's just looking at the total number of open source
packages released with the OS; it doesn't even take into account the
licenses of those packages (i.e. it won't show the great GPL purge
that started around when the GPL-3 was released in 2007), so even then
it won't be the full picture.

Well, that's what I had written when I started writing this message;
it's another case of me cleaning out my drafts folder from 4 years ago
by sending the messages rather than deleting them. Sorry if things I
wrote are irrelevant or outdated now.

Eric Gallager
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