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The Rise Of Open-Source Software

Open source is a method and philosophy for software licensing and distribution designed to encourage use and improvement of software written by volunteers by ensuring that anyone can copy the source code and modify it freely.



Steve Jobs on open source code at Macworld Expo SF 2003

The term "open source" is now more widely used than the earlier term "free software" (promoted by the Free Software Foundation) but has broadly the same meaning - free of distribution restrictions, not necessarily free of charge. There are various open source licenses available, such as the GNU General Public License. Programmers can choose an appropriate license to use when distributing their programs.[1]

Apple's usage of open source[]

On January 7, 2003, CEO Steve Jobs announced at Macworld Expo in San Francisco that Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) was using open source code from the WebKit browser engine in its Safari web browser.[2][3] The company presently utilizes open source methods for the development of portions of its software that it does not protect as trade secrets, such as the XNU kernel of macOS and iOS.[4]


  1. Open source at the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing. 1999-12-29.
  2. Steve Jobs wanted Apple’s browser Safari called “Freedom” by Chris Foresman, Ars Technica. 2012-12-20.
  3. Steve Jobs: an open source pioneer? You bet by Paula Rooney, ZDNet. 2011-10-06.
  4. Apple macOS and iOS XNU kernel source code is now available on GitHub by Vineet Choudhary, Developer Insider. 2017-10-04.

See also[]

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FOLDOC logo This page uses GFDL licensed content from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing.