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CUPS Purchased By Apple Inc.

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the carry-on-printing-as-before dept.

Printer 465

Rick Richardson writes to note a posting on cups.org that reveals that Apple, which in 2002 first licensed CUPS for printing in OS X, purchased the source code last February and hired its main developer, Michael R. Sweet. Sweet writes: "CUPS will still be released under the existing GPL2/LGPL2 licensing terms, and I will continue to develop and support CUPS at Apple." There are no comments on the post. What exactly did Apple purchase? It was and is an open source project. Trademarks aren't mentioned.

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RMS Proffing (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837609)

Apple did a hostile takeover of CUPS. In general apple paid for the primary developer to give up his rights to the code and sell it to Apple Computer. As he was the primary developer he had rights to license his code it in multiple ways as he saw fit. So with Apple buying it allows them to RMS Proof the GPL Code to insure that CUPS can have a license that works with Apple. So right now apple decided to keep it GPL2/LGPL2 but if they like they could take out the bits from the other programmers if they don't agree and make their own version under a different license if it Apple likes to. Where without the purchase the Application may have been swapped to GPL3 which may not be compatible with Apples Business. So apple bought the rights from the Primary Developers so they own rights to the large parts of the code. It too companies a long time to even consider GPL code with the threat of GPL3 companies are back tracking and going more priority. So Pay the GPL developers for their rights to their code and IP is like buying stock in a company. The more Programmers Share you have in the code then the more control you have over it. I bet we can see more of this in the future as the GPL3 starts showing its ugly teeth.

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837721)

Keep in mind Apple uses GCC.

Re:RMS Proffing (5, Insightful)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837815)

It uses GCC, but they hate it, or better yet, they hate that they have to use a product under the GPL. Steve Jobs tried to get special rights from the FSF to use GCC in NextStep, and the FSF said no, never. So, NeXT used GCC - the runtime part of Objective-C was proprietary though - and had to share the Objective-C support. I have little doubts that Apple will try to use/make another compiler as soon as they can so they can avoid having to share their changes.

Re:RMS Proffing (5, Informative)

vslashg (209560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838199)

I have little doubts that Apple will try to use/make another compiler as soon as they can so they can avoid having to share their changes.
Indeed, Apple is active in the LLVM [llvm.org] project, a non-copyleft optimizing compiler backend. Currently, to make any real-world use of it, you have to use GCC as the frontend, but Apple is working on that problem, too [osnews.com] .

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838269)

Indeed, I was aware of that. What I'm not expecting at all is that if Apple actually manages to do it they will share it with, for example, the BSD's (which would love to have a non-GPL compiler themselves).

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

shawnce (146129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838305)

I have little doubts that Apple will try to use/make another compiler as soon as they can so they can avoid having to share their changes.

You may want to look at LLVM [llvm.org] and in particular clang (pdf) [llvm.org] for an ideal on what Apple may have in the works. The later is found on the May 25, 2007 LLVM Developers' Meeting Proceedings [llvm.org] page.

Re:RMS Proffing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837741)

Apple did a hostile takeover of CUPS. In general apple paid for the primary developer to give up his rights to the code and sell it to Apple Computer.

So, where does the "hostility" come in?

Re:RMS Proffing (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837987)

Well an Open Source Product and a Public Traded Company actually have a lot in common. Each Programer is like a share holder in the application the more code you write in it the more you have in stake of the direction of the program. So say you made a GNU application and you wanted to duel license it you will need to make sure all the programmers agree that you can deul license it because it is their code as well. If a couple of minor ones don't agree you take out their code and put in something else from a programmer who does agree. In public traded companies if a company or person want to aquire an other publicly traded company but the other company doesn't want to sell then all the company needs to do is buy the majority of the shares 50.0001% then they defaulty own the company. So for an open source project if say 1/2 of the code is written by one programmer then you buy the rights of his code from him then you own the project.

Re:RMS Proffing (4, Insightful)

shawnce (146129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838149)

This is however different for two main reasons...

1) The individual that sold the rights to the code to Apple had full rights to all of the source code even if some of it had been contributed by others (he required this).

2) If (1) wasn't true then that individual couldn't sell the rights to code he himself didn't have the rights to and given the use of the GPL then Apple would have to remove the use of all code that they didn't purchase if they desired to do any type of relicensing, etc.

In other words Apple couldn't get the whole thing by just buying out a simple majority of the stake holders. So this in reality is rather different then a hostile take over in the traditional meaning of the term.

Re:RMS Proffing (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837747)

As he was the primary developer he had rights to license his code it in multiple ways as he saw fit.

Actually, the primary developer does not have that right. The reason why CUPS has that right is because they required that the copyright to code modifications be transferred to Easy Software Products before the modification will be accepted into the main branch.

Re:RMS Proffing (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837979)

So your saying that the primary developer did have that right because all the copyrights where transfered to the primary developer. A practice started and encouraged by the FSF by the way.

All in all this is probably just a GPLv2/GPLv3 worry. Apple uses CUPS for it's printing setup. As long as the project stays GPL v2 it will only benefit from having someone who can push printers to a standard printer, thus making printing even better in Linux, and the BSD's.

Re:RMS Proffing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838077)

A practice started and encouraged by the FSF by the way.

What does that have to do with anything? Or are you just spreading some vague FUD?

Re:RMS Proffing (1, Interesting)

niiler (716140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837759)

I predict a fork. Much as some folks are always worried about KDE being beholden to TrollTech (which has been very friendly to the Open Source movement so far), people should be worried about Apple which has already closed off a portion of the code from redistribution. Yes Apple did the smart move from a business viewpoint, but if it should ever consider itself a foe of Linux operating systems, it could pull the rug out from modern printing support (I'm not talking about crusty old lpd) and leave a number of distros high and dry.

Also, am I the only one who finds a July 11, 2007 announcement about something that happened in February 2007 a little bit strange?

Re:RMS Proffing (3, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837907)

it seems that apple bought CUPS and changed the licence so that people could create proprietary derivatives on MacOS legally.

Apple has not put themselves into a position of power over the FLOSS community with this move, as a GPL3 fork could be started at the drop of a hat, from whatever the last compatible release was.

But apple wouldn't much care to see that happen as they would get no code contributed back to their CUPS, so the way I see it, either Apple will take their little concession and tread very carefully and CUPS will carry an as is, or Apple will start throwing their weight around a fork will be made, leaving apple to maintain their own code. A third option is that Apple will tread gently, but RMS will kick up a stink about the whole thing in principle (think java trap) and possibly a fork starts.

Re:RMS Proffing (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838235)

My guess is that Apple has been doing the vast majority of the work on CUPS anyway for the past few months, so they aren't really concerned about a fork. Just like konquerer, the open source community can do what it needs to do and Apple will work with them and contribute to them, but they have to make sure their own interests are covered first. It seems to make a lot of sense, and everyone gets what they need from it.

Re:RMS Proffing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838243)

but RMS will kick up a stink about the whole thing in principle

FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD

Re:RMS Proffing (-1, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838299)

it seems that apple bought CUPS and changed the licence so that people could create proprietary derivatives on MacOS legally.
You don't seem to understand how copyright works. The GPLv2 does not remove rights from the copyright holder which meant Michael R Sweet could have licensed CUPS under another license in addition to GPL.

Apple bought it to ensure that it remained GPL2 as GPL3 is considered dangerous.

Legally, I suppose it would be within your right to create a fork under GPL2 but ethically and morally it would be stealing since the original copyright holder (Michael R Sweet) was the main contributor and any other patch contributors assigned rights to him before they were included in the repository. You would basically be carrying out a coupe and violating the spirit of the license if not the letter of it by taking something none of you owned and creating a fork of it. I don't think you would be allowed to license it under the GPL3 without the copyright holders permission since only the copyright holder can change license terms.

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

Shulai (34423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838373)

That's the problem. After reading the headline I went straight to a CUPS' license file, and found it didn't have the "GPL2 or later" clause (still it already has an "Apple can" clause). That's a distro bundled 1.1.23 version from more than a year ago.
So I wonder if there ever was a GPL3 compatible version, and how old such version is.

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838101)

Yes Apple did the smart move from a business viewpoint, but if it should ever consider itself a foe of Linux operating systems, it could pull the rug out from modern printing support (I'm not talking about crusty old lpd) and leave a number of distros high and dry.
Are you sure? My interpretation is that once something is under GPL, it is there forever. We have CUPS. Apple may now have ANOTHER COPY of CUPS that looks the same, but under a different license.

Apple can decide to fork the project and work only on their own proprietary version of CUPS. That means that the Linux community will be solely responsible for updating/maintaining the open-source version, while Apple has the responsibility of updating/maintaining their proprietary version.

So, AFAIK, they cannot take CUPS back. They can just stop helping to maintain it.

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838319)

Are you sure? My interpretation is that once something is under GPL, it is there forever. We have CUPS. Apple may now have ANOTHER COPY of CUPS that looks the same, but under a different license.

You received CUPS under the GPLv2 license. Apple receives CUPS under a proprietary license. It's the same thing, just the licensing terms agreed to are different. It's just like how MySQL is available via the GPL and available via other licenses as well. Except that Apple now owns the copyrights to CUPS and isn't licensing it to others under a non-GPL license, just to themselves. The project isn't forked.

Anyway, you can go fork CUPS yourself if you want and GPLv3 it, but then it will be more difficult for the primary developer (Apple) and you to collaborate on any changes.

Re:RMS Proffing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837775)

Oh oh. The fact that people out there doen't like GPL 3 means all the information must be moderated down!! A lot of people and companies were happy with GPL2, People dislike GPL3 for a lot of reasons including hiprocy of saying TiVo use is bad while IBM is good. Taking more rights from the developer, and going into the tetorry on what a gpl program can and cant do. I know the GPL3 was intended to get rid of the evils that happened with the abuse of GPL2 but if you fight to hard against evil then you become evil yourself. Stop Modding down any post that doesn't like GPL3 or RMS views. If you don't agree with the post don't moderate it. it is that simple.

Re:RMS Proffing (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837817)

Dude chill. I got a first post they probably modded it down mostly to keep it from staying on the top. For more thoughtful answers. My Karma is good enough not to worry about stuff like that. While I agree that GPL 3 may do more harm then good for Open Source in general it is not worth trolling about GPL3 espectially for the fact that it was never mentioned in the story. GPL 3 was only my guess on what would cause this actions. Other peoples post about Trademarks seems to make more sence to me.

What size? (-1, Offtopic)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837877)

What, like a 'c' cup?

Or bigger?

Is this like those biker babes who air brush their jubblies and walk round topless at burningman? Some sort of automated cup printer. Have they gone hi-tech?

Confused.

monk.e.boy

Isn't this wat the GNU project does? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837891)

I find it funny that RMS is mentioned in TFA.
Isn't this (assigning copyright to somebody else) exactly what contributions to GNU projects are required to do?

so you're saying... (5, Funny)

sych (526355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837929)

that this all comes down to RMS and some printer drivers... again? :)

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838069)

Apple did a hostile takeover of CUPS. In general apple paid for the primary developer to give up his rights to the code and sell it to Apple Computer.

Just to nitpick, they are no longer known as Apple Computer, they are just Apple now. This reflects their shift away from computers and into the consumer electronics market.

Re:RMS Proffing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838301)

Apple did a hostile takeover of CUPS.

They didn't. CUPS is still GPL, and all are free to copy, modify and distribute it in any way they like as long as it's still under the GPL license. Not only that, but Apple is now PAYING the guy to continue develop CUPS, and the developer says he will continue to release new GPL versions. What Apple essentially did was buy a non-GPL license. I thought this was EXACTLY one of the great things about OSS. Developers and companies alike get options. Don't like the FREE GPL? OK, then pay up. Everyone benefits. GPL version is still around. Apple did the Right Thing (tm). They purchased, rather than blatantly rip off the code, which seems to happen every day.

Re:RMS Proffing (5, Insightful)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838345)

In what way was it hostile? Apple offered to pay the primary developer for his rights. He agreed.

You may not like Apple bought the rights or you may not like that the developer "sold out", but unless Apple applied some type of pressure that was neither written about nor implied by TFA, how was the transaction hostile?

Re:RMS Proffing (1)

clodney (778910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838381)

Given that the developer willingly sold, calling it a hostile takeover seems a stretch.

Is Apple showing its hostility by attempting to drown him in dollar bills?

Trademarks Mentioned Here (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837613)

http://www.cups.org/articles.php?L180+I0+TFAQ+M10+ P1+Q [cups.org]

Apple Inc. has trademarked the Common UNIX Printing System, CUPS, and CUPS logo. These names and logos may be used freely in any direct port or binary distribution of CUPS. To use them in derivative products, please contract Apple Inc. for written permission. Our intention is to protect the value of these trademarks and ensure that any derivative product meets the same high-quality standards as the original.

Re:Trademarks Mentioned Here (1)

serano (544693) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838417)

To use them in derivative products, please contract Apple Inc. for written permission.

I don't understand some of this legally. Wouldn't a fork of the code be derivative? If Apple decided to take CUPS in a direction the majority of the community disagreed with, could they stop a fork from happening by not giving written permission?

tasty (1)

silgaun (1029852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837617)

mmmm....I like fruit cups

Keeping Up With the Jones' (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837625)

CUPS Purchased By Apple Inc.
In a blind attempt to compete, Microsoft has announced they have purchased MUGS [mugheaven.com] .

What exactly did Apple purchase?
Well, Microsoft doesn't know and Microsoft doesn't care ... gentlemen, the race to be the ultimate provider of a liquid serving technology has begun.

Re:Keeping Up With the Jones' (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838091)

Well, I drink straight from the spigot [marginalhacks.com]

Re:Keeping Up With the Jones' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838341)

Well, Microsoft doesn't know and Microsoft doesn't care ... gentlemen, the race to be the ultimate provider of a liquid serving technology has begun.

So they can squirt things at me?

More appropriate tag... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837629)

I'm surprised this didn't get the Sweet! tag.

GPL License Exceptions (2, Informative)

raffe (28595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837647)

If you look in the faq [cups.org] you find pretty interesting stuff. For example some addtions to the license:

Software that is developed by any person or entity for an Apple Operating System ("Apple OS-Developed Software"), including but not limited to Apple and third party printer drivers, filters, and backends for an Apple Operating System, that is linked to the CUPS imaging library or based on any sample filters or backends provided with CUPS shall not be considered to be a derivative work or collective work based on the CUPS program and is exempt from the mandatory source code release clauses of the GNU GPL. You may therefore distribute linked combinations of the CUPS imaging library with Apple OS-Developed Software without releasing the source code of the Apple OS-Developed Software. You may also use sample filters and backends provided with CUPS to develop Apple OS-Developed Software without releasing the source code of the Apple OS-Developed Software.
If he owns the code and sold it to apple he could do this but if not not he needs to get the approval of all that contributed code to change the license like this.

Re:GPL License Exceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837809)

Looks like it's time to fork to keep this software free.

Re:GPL License Exceptions (5, Informative)

hysterion (231229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837959)

You may therefore distribute linked combinations of the CUPS imaging library with Apple OS-Developed Software without releasing the source code of the Apple OS-Developed Software.
Note, this exception has been there for the last 5 years:

http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/05/msg00 033.html [debian.org]

Re:GPL License Exceptions (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837969)

but if not not he needs to get the approval of all that contributed code to change the license like this


Easy Software Products required that the copyright to contributed code be assigned to ESP before it would be accepted in the main distribution. So, yes, they can do this.

Pay attention, Apple fanbois -- Apple doesn't give one rat's ass about software freedom -- either the ideas of 'open source' or the ideas of 'free software'. Free/Open Source Software is just used by Apple as a way to outsource development -- for free (as in beer). This proves it. They bought CUPS and hired Michael Sweet just to ensure that they don't have to open-source any portion of Mac OS X that's not already open source.

Re:GPL License Exceptions (3, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838165)

Please explain how Apple owning CUPS is "less free" than Easy Software Products owning CUPS.

Re:GPL License Exceptions (4, Insightful)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838219)

How you doin', Socrates?

Free/Open Source Software is just used by Apple as a way to outsource development -- for free (as in beer). This proves it.
And how does it prove it?

They bought CUPS and hired Michael Sweet just to ensure that they don't have to open-source any portion of Mac OS X that's not already open source.
Oh. Okay.

So. Apple buying the rights to CUPS and hiring its lead developer is proof that Apple uses open-sourced software for zero-cost development?

The only thing you're missing is "Soviet Russia."

Re:GPL License Exceptions (1)

hysterion (231229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838265)

Free/Open Source Software is just used by Apple as a way to outsource development -- for free (as in beer). This proves it. They bought CUPS and hired Michael Sweet
What kind of logic equates "bought and hired" to "for free"?

In related news, Apple hardware is widely being used as a way to outsource manufacturing -- for free (as in beer). Want proof? One million people just bought iPhones and subscribed to AT&T...

Time for GNU alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838023)

I predict that within one year we will see either a fork or a completely new print management project being hosted by GNU. Forking has the advantage of a large existing code base, but doesn't give the FSF the copy right to amend the license to GPLv3; so my money is on GNU starting a new project.

Re:GPL License Exceptions (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838047)

As stated by others, contributors do not retain copyright of code contributed to CUPS.

What's transferred (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837649)

What exactly did Apple purchase?

It says right there in the post. "Apple Inc. acquired ownership the CUPS source code." So they are now the copyright holder rather than Michael Sweet. This allows them to provide the code under other licenses, and does not bind Apple's use of the code. To prevent issues with contributions interfering with this, they hired Mr. Sweet to maintain the source code, thus making it a work-for-hire arrangement.

Open Source projects are usually encumbered from this sort of aquisition because of the large number of contributors. In the case of CUPS, it was originally developed by Sweet's company: Easy Software Products. Since he had a company set up around it, it's likely that he ensured that any accepted contributions were provided with special rights to his company.

Trademarks aren't mentioned.

According to the USPTO, the trademark registration for "Common UNIX Printing System" has expired. I was unable to find a registration for "CUPS". Thus my guess is that the unregistered trademark will follow the code as that is simply its name. It *is* Common Unix Printing System. So unless they change the name now (which it doesn't sound like they will) Apple will probably own the mark as well.

Re:What's transferred (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837703)

Someone already beat me on the trademark FAQ explicitly stating that Apple now owns the marks, so I'll add this bit [cups.org] to back up my claim of special rights on contributions:

To contribute code to the base CUPS distribution, please contact us via email at cups-info at cups dot org. Because we also provide CUPS under a binary distribution license, we will require that all ownership of the code be transferred to Easy Software Products, or that Easy Software Products be granted unlimited distribution rights to the code, possibly via payment of a fee to the contributor.


Hope that settles it. :)

Re:What's transferred (1)

DrMindWarp (663427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837743)

Just to point out that at the bottom of the notice is written; "CUPS, the Common UNIX Printing System, and the CUPS logo are the trademark property of Apple Inc.".

Re:What's transferred (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837787)

Nice catch! I seems the rest of us have learned to tune out the fine print. ;-)

Non-English Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837803)

"Apple Inc. acquired ownership the CUPS source code."
I can't parse those last two noun phrases. I guess this sentence doesn't indicate anything. Perhaps it means that Apple Inc. acquired ownership ... but it doesn't say of what. It just goes on with the CUPS source code ... and trails off there. Frankly, how can you put this on the front page of Slashdot when the few sentences that are there aren't even in clear plain English.

I'd still like to hear what Apple acquired ownership of.

Re:What's transferred (1)

f0dder (570496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838127)

Next to be trademarked APOPS, Apple Proprietary OSX Printing System.

CUPS web interface not up to par (5, Funny)

qqaz (33114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837667)

Clearly, Apple didn't like CUPS' poop-brown web interface. Their only option was to buy it and make it white/blue/brushed aluminum.

Re:CUPS web interface not up to par (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838105)

Even Eric Raymond has said of the years that the cups printer interface needed a lot of user friendly type of work. Apple may just do that. As I said earlier as long as it stays GPL Apple can push the project in what ever directoin they like and it will only benefit Linux and BSD's.

Re:CUPS web interface not up to par (4, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838255)

In fact the CUPS on OS X is so flawlessly working that nobody has clue they have "CUPS" or ever visited the famous 127.0.0.1:631 on their browser. I bet most would be surprised to see that page.

I think now Apple in control, they may make it same way on Linux that only actual system admins would care about the CUPS interface and end users may have a similar feeling on Linux/FreeBSD.

CUPS must be also used at large corporate Windows based hosts or anywhere that actually have a real postscript printer. I mean of course there must be a actual printing server running its Professional edition.

This may really prove good for Linux and FreeBSD. Look how they made a Mach/NeXT/FreeBSD hybrid (OS X) usable.

Re:CUPS web interface not up to par (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838351)

Clearly, Apple didn't like CUPS' poop-brown web interface. Their only option was to buy it and make it white/blue/brushed aluminum.

Ah ha ha!! That is the funniest thing I've read on slashdot! Wish I had some mod points!! That just cracked me up!! :)

"What exactly did Apple purchase?" (5, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837675)

"What exactly did Apple purchase? It was and is an open source project. Trademarks aren't mentioned. "

Perhaps, oh, the source code? Just like it says?

Under the GPL, the author does NOT give up his rights to do whatever the hell he wants with the code, including sell it. The GPL simply grants others the right to copy and distribute the code, subject to certain limitations.

Now Apple owns the copyright to the code. They can take it closed, relicense it, dual license it, or use it for ass paper. But the stuff already release under the GPL remains there. Why is any of this so hard to understand?

Re:"What exactly did Apple purchase?" (0, Flamebait)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837693)

Look at who your talking to /. isn't known for it's smarts, or even comprehension of ideas (and who can forget.. spelling).

Re:"What exactly did Apple purchase?" (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837701)

Why is any of this so hard to understand?
Too many drugs during the 60's

Re:"What exactly did Apple purchase?" (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838207)

Too many drugs during the 60's

I got stoned in the 80's, you insensitive clod!

Re:"What exactly did Apple purchase?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837709)

Then what's the whole point of a general PUBLIC license? You might as well call it freeware as in free to use only.

Wrong (0)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838197)

>>Now Apple owns the copyright to the code. They can take it closed, relicense it, dual license it

Once something is GPL2, it stays GPL2. You can not take it back, even if you own the copyright. And any code you add, is also GPL2.

If Apple entirely re-writes the CUPS system, then Apple can do whatever they want with the licensing.

Re:Wrong (1)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838355)

Once something is GPL2, it stays GPL2. You can not take it back, even if you own the copyright. And any code you add, is also GPL2.

No, you're fundamentally misunderstanding both the GPL and how copyright law works. The copyright holder cannot stop anyone who already received a GPL copy from exercising the freedoms granted by the GPL, but the copyright holder is not in any way obligated to continue offering the software to new licensees. The copyright holder is also perfectly free to begin offering a dual-licensing scheme at any point, or to begin offering the software only under a completely different license: offering something once under the GPL, when you are the copyright holder, does not abdicate your right to later change your mind and offer it under a different license instead, or to stop offering it at all. Others who've received GPL copies can continue to modify and distribute per the GPL, but again there is nothing in the GPL which requires the copyright holder to continue offering new licensees the option of the GPL.

If Apple entirely re-writes the CUPS system, then Apple can do whatever they want with the licensing.

No, they don't have to rewrite anything. From what I gather, CUPS has always required assignment of copyright from contributors (much like software maintained by the FSF), which means Apple holds the copyright to all of the CUPS code free and clear. And the GPL does not place any restrictions on the copyright holder which would forbid Apple from switching the licensing scheme.

Open source != Public Domain (2, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837687)

Just because it's licensed under GPL, doesn't mean that there is no copyrights that can't be sold.
What probably happened is that mr. Sweet (the main developer) sold his copyrighted code to Apple. Any bits of code in the open source project which wasn't build by the main developer is still the sole property of those individuals.
What this means is that Apple can use mr. Sweet's code any way it pleases, without having to adhere to the GPL (just as mr. Sweet could do; it was his copyright). What Apple CANNOT do is use any CUPS source which was NOT created by mr. Sweet and use it outside the restrictions of GPL.
In theory; if nobody but mr. Sweet contributed any code to CUPS, Apple could effectively fork the code and start a non GPL branch.

Re:Open source != Public Domain (5, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837917)

Except that Sweet required that copyrights for all code be transferred to his company.

Re:Open source != Public Domain (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838005)

If Sweet indeed owns the copyrights to all the code, he can certainly sell them to Apple. At this point Apple can relicense future versions of CUPS.

This is to me the downside of using open source code in one of your projects - at any time your ability to use future versions with their bug fixes, security fixes, etc. may go away.

Re:Open source != Public Domain (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838113)

This is to me the downside of using open source code in one of your projects - at any time your ability to use future versions with their bug fixes, security fixes, etc. may go away.

What is the legality of forks based on code prior to the purchase date?

They purchased control. (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837691)

Apple now controls this project, its direction, and what it will support. They don't "own" it in the conventional (pre-GPLv3) sense, but they own control of what it will do and from that, what will work with it and what it will not support. A very smart move on their part, because as long as we're a capitalist system, we need to have some control over IP that makes it exclusive enough that we can sell it.

Re:They purchased control. (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838201)

If the company that created CUPS required contributors to sign over their copyright just like the FSF does, then Apple really does own CUPS now.

They bought the copyrights (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837705)

What exactly did Apple purchase? It was and is an open source project.

Yes, but the GPL is still based on copyright law, the code is still covered by copyright, and the copyright is still assigned to someone.

It sounds like Apple bought the copyright for all lines of text written by Michael Sweet, so they can no relicense those lines in any way they choose (provided, of course, that other lines owned by other people are rewritten by Apple). They could decide to close the source, for example, preventing the release of future versions outside of their OS. This doesn't sound likely, though, and regardless the older GPL versions would still be around and could be forked.

The reason? (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837719)

In the faq there are certain extra rights (on top of gpl) that are granted to developers on Apple OSes, so maybe that's why they did it. Here's a little extract:

Software that is developed by any person or entity for an Apple Operating System ("Apple OS-Developed Software"), including but not limited to Apple and third party printer drivers, filters, and backends for an Apple Operating System, that is linked to the CUPS imaging library or based on any sample filters or backends provided with CUPS shall not be considered to be a derivative work or collective work based on the CUPS program and is exempt from the mandatory source code release clauses of the GNU GPL.

Full text here [cups.org] .

Re:The reason? (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837887)

Sounds a lot like the LGPL to me... but IANAL.

Maybe their server will work now. (3, Interesting)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837725)

The CUPS implementation in OS X server was such a total piece of shit, prone to lockups and meltdowns, that we have all of the Macs on our campus printing through a Debian box instead. Hopefully this will allow Apple to handle the sort of printer sharing that _every other NOS on earth_ has done for the last three decades.

It's pretty bad when you're fucking something that simple up to a degree even Netware can't manage.

--saint

Re:Maybe their server will work now. (0, Troll)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838057)

I haven't had those kind of problems, but I am still amazed that my LaserJet 2100 isn't supported in PostScript mode. I can use it in non-post script mode (PCL 6). I can use it as "generic postscript printer". But I have never been able to find how to make it work as it should. It prints fine, it's just slower this way when printing graphics heavy stuff.

But then again setting up a network printer in OS X is trivial compared to the lunacy you have to go through on XP.

GPLv2 license does not convey copyright ownership (3, Insightful)

xtaski (457801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837727)

The GPLv2 (or LGPL) licenses do not convey copyright ownership. Even though anyone in the world is free to use/redistribute/modify/rename/etc, the source code copyright ownership is still retained by the developer that contributed the code. Some organizations require copyright assignment of code contributed into the base where the contributing developers give up their ownership of the code they created and assign their copyright to the project (or in some cases, a commercial organization). Once the developer assigns copyright over, the project/commercial organization can do whatever they want with it - including relicensing it under a completely different, closed, commercial license. I doubt however, that Apple will make any devious use of CUPS as the GPL versions are still available and could simply fork continuing with GPL. Copyright ownership does, however, make it easy for Apple to do what it wants with CUPS integration into Mac OS X without ever having to worry about the GPL license.

I for one ... (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837757)

welcome an Apple-sponsored CUPS UI overhaul.

Let's face it ... CUPS is a bit cumbersome and counterintuitive.

Re:I for one ... (1)

bugg (65930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838217)

I take it you've never set up printing with lpd?

I recently made the switch from lpr to cups, and man, a world of difference.

Apple purchased two things (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837773)

1) The developer and his skill. My guess is they want it worked on and expanded. Much easier to get that done when you are paying a guy to do it full time. There's only so much you can do for a hobby.

2) The ability to use the code under other licenses. If Apple now owns the source and the developer, they can use (and license) the code under a non-GPL license if they wish. Somewhat similar to QT.

No big deal (1, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837799)

Basically, they're just paying the developer to work on it full time. Whereas before the dev. had to rely on licensing CUPS to other companies and sub-contracting for work, now he is paid by apple.

As long as the project stays GPL this really isn't any different than how RedHat / IBM / Oracle etc. pay some kernel developers full time.

The only thing is Apple can also now make changes to cups that only they can use.

Re:No big deal (4, Informative)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837875)

Nope. From the FAQ: (emphasis added by me)

CUPS was written by Michael R Sweet, an owner of Easy Software Products. In February of 2007 Apple Inc. hired Michael and acquired ownership the CUPS source code. While Michael is primarily working on non-CUPS projects, he will continue to develop and support CUPS, which is still being released under the existing GPL2/LGPL2 licensing terms.

Re:No big deal (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838221)

While Michael is primarily working on non-CUPS projects, he will continue to develop and support CUPS
He and all the other developers were probably pulled onto the iPhone project so they could get it out the door. CUPS, like the rest of Leopard, was put on the backburner for a while and thusly delayed until October. Odds are good he's back on CUPS by now.

Personally I'm hoping for CUPS to become AppleScriptable. In Tiger the only way to create new printers via script is through GUI scripting [applescript.net] , which is ugly, slow, and prone to failure. Even giving us the ability in Leopard to create printers using "defaults write" would be better than what we have now.

Re:No big deal (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837949)

Basically, they're just paying the developer to work on it full time.

Exactly. As usual, the story headline has no real relationship to the reality of the story.

CUPS Purchased By Apple Inc.
No, no they didn't. They hired the lead developer of CUPS.

Re:No big deal (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838063)

You might want to reread the article. It says specifically that Apple "acquired ownership [of] the CUPS source code and hired me (Michael R Sweet), the creator of CUPS." (Emphasis added.)

The bottom of the page says, "All other content is copyright 2007 by Apple Inc. CUPS, the Common UNIX Printing System, and the CUPS logo are the trademark property of Apple Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners."

It seems to me that Apple does indeed own the CUPS software.

Re:No big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838137)

Ermm...

Article #475: CUPS Purchased by Apple Inc.
Created at 14:49 Jul 11, 2007 by mike
In February of 2007, Apple Inc. acquired ownership the CUPS source code and hired me (Michael R Sweet), the creator of CUPS.
CUPS will still be released under the existing GPL2/LGPL2 licensing terms, and I will continue to develop and support CUPS at Apple.
Answers to questions about the change of ownership can be found on the frequently asked questions page.

Common UNIX Printing System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837847)

I'd assume that it's not gonna be that common anymore in a few years.

WHAT THE HOLY FUCK? (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837883)

If Microsoft did something like this there'd be a geek jihad.

I'm sure linux printing support will just leap and bound ahead now.

Re:WHAT THE HOLY FUCK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19838117)

Yes. it will. In much the same way that HTML rendering in Linux "leapt and bounded ahead" when Apple improved khtml for integration into Webkit.

Ingrate.

Re:WHAT THE HOLY FUCK? (2, Insightful)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838343)

If Microsoft did something like this there'd be a geek jihad.

Well, sure. The difference being that apple has a *NIX OS, and are using the software. Their intent seems to be to continue to use the software. Also, they haven't been actively trying to kill open source competition through FUD, lobbying (ODF!), and other means.

Microsoft, on the other hand, HAS been doing these things.

Now, I'm sure Apple won't release substantial improvements under the GPL - they'll probably close it up. This isn't a good thing for open source. But the deal seems straightforward. Whenever Microsoft gets involved in anything "open", you have to look very carefully for hidden agendas, because of a long history of shenanigans. That's what gets people upset.

Does GPL define handling of contributed code? (0, Redundant)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837927)

It seems that Apple bought the code and now control the license to the CUPS source code, giving them control of the direction (of at least that fork) and protection from licensing changes that hurt them.

But, a question for this situation, and many others in the Open Source community is: "What about the code contributed by other people to the project?"

Does the GPL define how this is handled? E.G. does the original author retain full copyright over the codebase and the contributor is in effect donating code to him? Or, does the copyright fragment, and each individual owns the copyright to the pieces they created?

Or, is this not covered by the GPL, and is negotiated among the contributors?

Re:Does GPL define handling of contributed code? (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838041)

Well, I'm not sure if CUPS has large ammounts of third-party code, but in general each contributor reatings copyright of his contributions (non-negligible contributions, this is a grey area but two lines of code aren't considered enough, while something more complex is). This is the reason for the copyright assignements in behalf of the FSF in GNU projects. I'm not sure if CUPS required the same. If it didn't a change in licence will have to have the consent of the contributors or have their contributions removed. This is my understanding of it anyway.

Re:Does GPL define handling of contributed code? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838397)

Licensing of patches depends on the project. Normally copyright of code always remains with the author so copyright on the contributed code would lie with the contributor, not the CUPS author. Some projects, though, require assignment of copyright to the project before they'll accept submissions (the FSF's GNU toolset is the most well-known example) specifically to insure that the project retains complete control over licensing. I'm not sure which route CUPS took, but if they didn't require copyright assignment then they wouldn't have the right to change the license terms for any contributed code and would have to go to the actual authors to get permission for any changes.

Is it in danger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19837931)

If Apple decides to relicense CUPS in the future, can they apply this license change to past CUPS releases? Or is a particular software release released under a GPL license under it forever. and effectively out of their control?

CUPS on a laptop???? (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837981)

I realize that CUPS is useful for large networks, but does it have to be installed by default on every Linux distro. Then there are the FreeBSD ports that insist on bringing it in as a dependancy. I use APSFILTER and delete CUPS asap.

Network printing (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19837995)

Well, hopefully they can make printing via a network Just Work now. The hours I spent getting my MBP to print via my fathers XP machine on his Canon IP4000...

Re:Network printing (1)

Baumi (148744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838335)

Well, hopefully they can make printing via a network Just Work now. The hours I spent getting my MBP to print via my fathers XP machine on his Canon IP4000...
Interesting: I've never had any problems connecting my iBook G4 to network printers, no matter whether they were hosted on Macs, Linux or Windows. Looks like either you were unlucky or I've been lucky so far.

Guess that's why it's so hard to rely on anecdotal evidence one way or the other.

Apple's History with "Open Source" (2, Insightful)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838263)

is troublesome.

Apple has never been portrayed as a good corporate citizen when it comes to GPL projects. The GPL code will become the red-headed step child of whatever Apple wants to do with it. For example, integrating colorsync or letting the gui die from benign neglect as Apple adds code that breaks the gui.

I'd like to hear from some people who work on Konqueror how much Apple is contributing. Based on my limited experience with Apple, I'd estimate they throw useless code over the wall surrounding Cupertino HQ every once in a while. I seem to recall they changed the license on some of their previously Free code a while ago too.

They are Free to do both, but I think their actions in these situations show they are just as hostile to Free/Open computer systems as Microsoft.

Nice! (1)

tigeba (208671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838313)

Maybe there is hope for someday getting my printer to work in OSX!

Naming Convention: (2, Funny)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838347)

So will they call it iCUPS? :)

I think this is could be good (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838399)

CUPS's could do with the investment and work, it's in Apple's interest this is done. As long as it's all done in a generic unix way, everyone wins. Apple probably bought it mostly to stop someone else buying it. Just protecting themselves.

This COULD be a good thing (0, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19838413)

First, I assume that Apple is doing this to be able to add their own closed code. I do not think that they are worried about GPLv3.

Second, Apple will almost certainly throw a small staff at this. That means greatly speeded up development. Third, we will almost certainly see true EASY set-up.

What is the bad part? Apple has shown in the past that when they have to share directly with OSS, they do not do a good job. In particular, I am thinking of how the khtml has gone. It has actually reflected poorly on Apple. So, hopefully, apple is looking to take FULL control of this project AND keep it working everywhere. If so, this could be a feather in their cap. If not, it will make a NUMBER of OSS groups re-consider working with apple. Ever.
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