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Frequently Asked Questions



How can I learn more about Darwin?

What resources are available?

How can I contribute?

Tell me more about the licensing aspects

Questions about my APSL registration account

If there are other areas you would like to see covered in this FAQ, send an email to


Q. What is open source?

Open source is a term for the historical development model used by the Internet community to facilitate distributed development of complex, high-quality software. The basic principle is to involve as many people as possible in writing and debugging code, by publishing the source code and encouraging the formation of a large community of developers who will submit modifications and enhancements. Community efforts such as BSD, Linux, Sendmail, Apache, and Perl embody the spirit and power of the open source model.

Q. What are the open projects at Apple?

Major projects include Darwin, the core operating system of Mac OS X, and the Streaming Server which runs on a wide variety of platforms. The list of open projects is available here.

Q. Why is Apple opening up its source?

We believe the open source model is the most effective form of development for certain types of software. By pooling expertise with the open source development community, we expect to improve the quality, performance and feature set of our software.

Secondly, we realize many developers enjoy working with open source software, and we want to provide them the opportunity to use that kind of environment while delivering solutions for Apple customers.

How can I learn more about Darwin?

A collection of information resources is available for the Darwin project.


Apple Open Source resources

Mailing lists: Mailing lists for Apple's open source projects

Check out the source code

Darwin Developers: These are people who regularly contribute quality code in various projects

Account Assistance: In case of lost passwords For general admin help

Related Apple resources

Mac OS X: Overview and information on Mac OS X

Mac OS X Help: Community-supported discussion board (click on the Discussion link)

Project Builder (PB): Apple's integrated development environment for Mac OS X

Developer web site: Developer resources and more

Bug Tracking

There are two bug tracking systems available:
We recommend using as the main repository for bug reports on Apple open source projects. With, anyone can create a bug report, and see the entire list of bugs created by the community. In addition to Apple open source projects, also maintains community-sponsored projects pertaining to the Apple platform. In this way, makes it easy to get the latest information across a wide range of open source projects pertaining to Apple.

ADC BugReporter
The ADC BugReporter page will allow you to create a bug report that goes directly into Apple's internal bug tracking system. However, only you and the people within Apple will be able to see a bug report that you create. The ADC BugReporter system requires an ADC login (which is free). The main benefit of the ADC BugReporter system for open source bug reports is that people within Apple will tend to see the report faster than if it is only submitted on

Q: How do I submit a bug report? bug page -- recommended for all open source project bug reports

ADC Bug Reporting -- recommended for high-priority bug reports affecting released Apple products

Q: How do I see existing bug reports for Apple open source projects?

Bug reports at may be viewed here.

Bug reports that you filed via the ADC BugReporter page may be viewed here.

I want to fix a bug. What should I do?

The best thing is to check the latest status in the bug report. If it looks like there is no recent activity, you may want to check the appropriate mailing list(s) for recent discussion, and post that you intend to work on the bug.

Source patches may be submitted via and/or the Submission Modification form.

How can I contribute?

A good first step is to pick a project that interests you, and read its FAQ. If you don't have much experience in the particular technology area, and want to learn about it, the FAQ should have some pointers to background materials to help you get started.

The mailings lists are a good place to interact with other developers on the project. Before asking questions on the mailing lists, it's always a good idea to check the archives to see what (if anything) was previously said on a topic. Archives may be found on Apple's site and Rob Braun's site. Rob's site is very nice in that it allows for searching by keyword.

Areas where you can contribute include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing source patches (bug fixes or other) or new functionality
  • Providing documentation. See the Documentation project.
  • Filing bugs for problems that you find
  • Updating bugs with more information to help people close in on a solution
  • Answering questions on the mailing lists (provided the answer is correct and relevant!)
  • Porting applications and utilities to run on Darwin
  • Installing the software and using it. This is the best way to find an area where you'll want to contribute.

About the Apple Public Source License

Q. How can I license the source code? What can I do with it?

Please refer to the Apple Public Source License (APSL), currently Version 2.0, which governs your use of the source code and details what you can and cannot do with it. Please read it carefully before downloading and using the source code because by doing so you're signifying that you agree to be bound by the terms of the APSL.

Q. How did you come up with the Apple Public Source License (APSL)?

First, we studied several of the open and community source models that currently exist, including the Free Software Foundation's General Public License (GPL), BSD license, Apache license, Netscape and Mozilla Public Licenses, and Sun's Community Source License. Drawing from those examples, we drafted the APSL in an effort to promote open source development of our software while at the same time allowing Apple to reasonably protect our intellectual property and meet our business goals. We are grateful for the many community members who put significant time and effort into helping us revise the APSL to create version 2.0.

Q: Will the APSL govern all code that Apple decides to open source? If I agree to the APSL for one technology, does it mean that I automatically get rights to others?

No. While it is Apple's intent that the APSL will govern the majority of our open source projects, there are cases where individual project require different rights and obligations that are specific to that particular technology. You should read the accompanying APSL or other license that accompanies each such technology before downloading and using it.

Q. Do I have to sign something to get the source code?

No, but your use of the code is governed by the APSL. You don't have to sign the APSL, but you are legally bound by the APSL if you download or use any of the source code in any way.

Q. Do I have to pay to use the source code?

No. The original source code is provided by Apple at no charge, provided that you comply with all the terms of the APSL.

Q. Do I have to make my modifications available?

If you "deploy" your modifications -- any use or distribution other than for internal research and development or for personal use, as defined in the APSL --you must make source code of your modifications publicly available under the terms of the APSL. Please see Section 2 of the APSL for details.

Q: When I make my modifications available, or if Apple or others use my modifications, do I get paid?

No. Any modifications you make available benefit the developer community at large.

Q: Are there restrictions on the international use of the source code?

Yes. If you are unable to comply with certain portions of the APSL regarding conditions of use and grantback rights, you may not participate or use the source code. Please refer to the APSL for details.

Questions about my APSL registration account

Q: I completed the APSL registration a long time ago and have been happily using my ID and password for months. Today I tried to download an update and found that neither the web server or CVS server would allow access to me. Is there a problem on your end?

A: On Tuesday July 29, 2003, the registration process was upgraded to use your Apple ID. This is the same Apple ID you use for the Apple Developer Connection, the Knowledge Base, the Apple Store, the iTunes Music Store, or your .Mac account. This requires those who were previously registered to re-register with their Apple ID. If you don't already have an Apple ID, please obtain one at by clicking the "New Account" button.

Also, access to the CVS repository has been updated.

Q: I can't remember my password. What can I do?

A: Visit to retrieve your Apple ID password.

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