The story behind OS X’s Unix compliant certification
164 comments·January 18, 2022
One thing I've wondered is that since Apple claimed UNIX compatibility for Tiger and earlier without passing the certification, could the lawsuit have still proceeded but seek damages for previous versions of Mac OS X? Imagine damages like "give us a percentage of all revenue made from selling Mac OS X Tiger and earlier".
The article hints at the answer - the Open Group wanted to stay relevant, and certification for OSX was a good way to do that, so they weren't too interested in ruffling Apple's feathers.
Before Macworld NY 2002 the "Sends other UNIX boxes to /dev/null" ad was already running in national magazines.
Doesn't linux stand for "linux is not unix"?
>Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention Freax, a portmanteau of "free", "freak", and "x" (as an allusion to Unix). During the start of his work on the system, he stored the files under the name "Freax" for about half of a year. Torvalds had already considered the name "Linux", but initially dismissed it as too egotistical.
>In order to facilitate development, the files were uploaded to the FTP server (ftp.funet.fi) of FUNET in September 1991. Ari Lemmke at Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), who was one of the volunteer administrators for the FTP server at the time, did not think that "Freax" was a good name. So, he named the project "Linux" on the server without consulting Torvalds. Later, however, Torvalds consented to "Linux".
>To demonstrate how the word "Linux" should be pronounced ([ˈliːnɵks]), Torvalds included an audio guide (audio speaker iconlisten (help·info)) with the kernel source code.
When crossing languages shouldn’t pronunciation change?
GNU is "GNU is Not Unix"; unfortunately, it requires a left-recursive expansion that eventually exhausts the stack and terminates the process.
Me: just casually reading HN.
Also me, to myself: hold our beer we’re going to nerd snipe ourselves and write this as a regex that can’t be flagged as ReDoS.
/G(N)(U) is \1ot \2nix/
Which means the 'G' could have been replaced by _anything_! Same for the first 'P' in PHP Hypertext Preprocessor
I'm pretty sure you are getting confused with the GNU recursive acronym, which was supposed to stand for "GNU's Not Unix".
Could you expand the recursion a few iterations, and see if it makes sense?
To me it's a cheeky backronym-esque observation inspired by GNU. Another one I like is "Windows is not DOS".
There is an embedded OS called Xinu which does stand for “Xinu is not Unix”, and also happens to be Unix spelled backwards.
The MacOS kernel is in fact called XNU, which means what you think.
Ironically, given the thread, XNU stands for “X is not Unix”.
Normally it wouldn’t. But Steve Jobs very publicly threw a camera at someone who crossed him. He had a reputation for long held grudges that fundamentally fractured business relationships (eg IIRC Nvidia being permanently banned from Apple platforms for early announcing something, and similar reaction to integrating ZFS being announced early). Guy was an asshole, but he was an extraordinarily powerful asshole.
Nvidia is difficult to work with because they're as prideful (or more) as Apple. ZFS is hard to license commercially because it means having to negotiate with Oracle, who are evil.
Well, and there were those desoldering GPUs.
At the time it meant working with Sun not Oracle. Further, it didn’t need licensing - DTrace, under the same CDDL license - ships with macOS to this day.
I had a laptop with one of those GPUs. Apple replaced the motherboard. With the same exact thing. It's like if your defective Takata air bag was replaced with... a defective Takata air bag.
Yeah Nvidia is a pain in the ass. But they weren’t banned from Apple platforms for that, as I understand it.
In hindsight I wish I said he was an incredibly effective asshole. Lots of powerful people are assholes. It’s not often they continue to hold much power as a corpse.
Still ten minutes to edit the post.
> IRC Nvidia being permanently banned from Apple platforms for early announcing something
may also be the major issues with their chipset.
Nah Apple has had plenty of hardware issues over the years.
However Jobs was a master presenter and showman, and extremely anal about getting L&F just right (go check the calculator story, or recounting of his preparation for keynotes — you can also see how things broke down as soon as they started bringing in third parties, or after Jobs’ death).
Keeping things under as tight a wrap as possible with extreme OPSEC is one of those things Apple has always done, and it’s entirely unsurprising that Jobs would get very cross about a supplier fucking that up.
 I expect detrimentally so at times, Apple has long been extremely compartmentalised — at least under Jobs; go check the history of the iPhone for flagrant examples of that where you’d just see colleagues disappear into unknown voids and HIG went full SCP
Apple used Nvidia chips for years after the 8600M GT. I think their last use of Nvidia chips was the Kepler generation. Which meant that because a MBP came with a Nvidia 650 or something, you could put a Titan in a Mac Pro which was nice!
It was a lot of he-says she-says with those chips, but as far as I understood it, it mostly came down to Apple using cheap solder. When the Nvidia chips inevitably started to heat up, it caused the solder to come loose which caused the notorious graphics issues. IIRC, there were even reports of people reviving dead or malfunctioning logic boards by doing ye olde "oven trick", which pretty much confirmed that it was an assembly issue, not a manufacturing one.
Because if he didn't make the deadline, Steve Jobs would get on the horn with any company he applied to and tell them how badly he fucked up, just to spite him.
"You'll never work in this town again" was a real threat in Hollywood if you pissed off (or refused to put out for) the wrong producer. Powerful people wield power indiscriminately to discharge fleeting grudges.
Between that and his ":)" response to the Google recruiter getting fired because they were unaware of the collusion going on between Apple and Google, he will go down as one of the worst, most abusive tech barons in history.
I think he has already gone down in tech history, and it wasn't as "one of the worst, most abusive tech barons".
> how badly he fucked up
I don't think it's 'fucking up' to give something a good go but not quite make it, is it?
And why would every company in the industry even listen to a rant from Steve Jobs?
That'd depend on exactly how bad the screwup was but Steve Jobs was notoriously unforgiving if you made a promise and didn't have a good reason for missing it. That might not have been the case here, since they clearly slipped it due to the Intel transition, but if he was in an unforgiving mood or someone else was looking for a scapegoat, remember this example of how closed the community was at the time:
I think the "Steve Jobs" part is just a random assumption from the parent.
More likely he'd have problem being hired at that level simply because he would be associated with a major failed project, Jobs or no Jobs.
Not every company would, but the CEOs of the major tech companies that a guy with Terry's impact would have probably liked to work at? I'd buy it. Those guys talked all the time, and I doubt they were gonna let one hire get in the way of a major corporate relationship.
> I don't think it's 'fucking up' to give something a good go but not quite make it, is it?
If I understand correctly,in this particular situation, fucking up would cost Apple at least $200M--so it had to be a total success for him.
> I don't think it's 'fucking up' to give something a good go but not quite make it, is it?
If the CEO sets a goal for the business, and you 'gave it a good goal' but failed, causing the business to miss its goal, with consequences including lost revenue or lawsuits, in that CEO's eyes you fucked up. The CEO was counting on you to take a letter to Garcia, and though you 'gave it a good go' Garcia never got his letter, so why would that CEO consider you someone to count on again?
> And why would every company in the industry even listen to a rant from Steve Jobs?
Because he built this industry.
It's never been a thing in Silicon Valley. This sounds like someone misunderstanding or inflating the stakes.
I worked at Apple when Steve Jobs was still there and it definitely sounds odd.
I had never heard of project-based profit sharing or being fired and named/shamed for non-delivery. I had personally seen coding mistakes cost tens of millions in lost revenue and the developers were still there and many got promoted.
Surely if he was promised $10 million and Apple didn't pay up there would be grounds for a lawsuit. Especially since that stock would be worth so much more today.
I suspect its the Mike Smith who was a FreeBSD committer and core team member 20-ish years ago.
This?  May be worth its own HN submission. But that mail, 20 years ago reads to me the problem with today's open source aren't that much different to now.
Sounds like he didn't get it: https://www.quora.com/Was-Steve-Jobs-a-better-employer-from-...
I think this may be a more relevant link to the 'I didn't get paid' - and explains a little more of the veiled threats to whomever Simon Patience is from your link.
Apple Vice President Core OS Software (2002–2014)
I mean basically don't trust SV corporate- most have learned this the hard way.
Wow that speaks so bad of apple.
I'm extremely curious about the "untimely death trigger conditions" part at the end...
Oh wow. What a blow. The way I make myself feel better about all the stocks and options I was never offered in my career is by assuming something like that would have happened to me.
Anyone have insight on whether this level of performance incentive compensation was more or less common 20 years ago than now and how to credibly negotiate for them as an employee instead of leaving and contracting on value pricing? I'm afraid the answer is "if you have to ask..." Is it mostly just executives or are high level ICs ever successful here? In the public arena I only really hear about it happening for strategic acquihires and execs.
I have a reasonable amount of respect for Terry's technical competence, but a ... quirk of his personality is that he doesn't really respect the bounds around the truth.
If you know those bounds, you can filter him, but in general reading / listening to Terry is necessarily an active and selective process.
It's fair to say that some of the things he describes in this piece are true; he names some real people, and talks about some things that actually happened, but the tale as presented is more "inspired by" than "faithful to" the truth and many of the details are pure invention.
One thing that is true is that some of the folks he names - and praises - did indeed work extremely hard for much less recognition than they deserved.
Under regular circumstances, you can't just walk in and change another team's header files, nor force them to make a particular change you want to make happen, so normally, it would be very difficult to make changes affecting so many different projects.
It's also true that projects with strict rules about what each individual commit fixes can make it hard to fix a bunch of highly related bugs at once. Patch-based OSS projects can be like this too.
Is that an Apple thing? Because I've definitely worked on large-scale commercial projects where changes to everyone's includes were routine.
What I described is an Apple thing. I would not know practices at other companies. I'm sure there are other ways of organizing work.
Then again, an OS and its associated apps are very large scale indeed, and have grown by necessity over a very long period of time, by a very heterogeneous team. Not sure if your large scale projects had similar concerns.
He admits else where on Quora to having Aspergers. It's been in my experience, and take that with a grain of salt, that those with Aspergers tend to resistant authority when they feel the authority is arbitrary, hurtful or incompetent. It's possible in the past, he was burned by the bureaucracy at Apple.
> that those with Aspergers tend to resistant authority when they feel the authority is arbitrary, hurtful or incompetent.
This seems like neurotypical behavior to me. I'm not sure who wouldn't be resistant to authority in a situation like that.
I find people will go with the flow and basically follow orders. Most people won't shake the boat.
(Though I'd say it's not about Aspergers or not, it's more like an anti-authority personality trait or not, in general).
> It's been in my experience, and take that with a grain of salt, that those with Aspergers tend to resistant authority when they feel the authority is arbitrary, hurtful or incompetent.
Also authority: wouldn't it be great if we could identify this """disorder""" early and eliminate it?? for your benefit of course https://www.thecattlesite.com/articles/4525/genetic-link-bet...
I think it depends on a whole matter of things - like the bug priorities: If someone is not aware of the context of a "minor" bug they may lower the priority, that would be a reasonable response.
Alternatively if there's a team running up on a release they will have many restrictions on any changes going in, including feature work from their own team, let alone some random potentially behavior changing ones.
Many of the processes exist because time has told us bad things happen if they don't: even small projects now generally require a review for minor patches at this point, or require tests even if making tests is hard.
There have been a few times where I have spent longer (sometimes way longer) building the infrastructure to make a test and the test, for a change that took less than a day. In the long run that infrastructure was super useful, but at the time there's a lot of "uuggghh, whyyy". In this particular case it seems that day-to-day slip was considered sufficiently important that they might want to bypass such.
The view from here is that doing anything at big SV tech is way more politics than tech.
I'm quite surprised to see that OpenServer is still on that list, and Solaris isn't...
I think this is less technical and more 'political' / contractual, as it used to be:
> This is to certify that Oracle Corporation has entered into a Trademark License Agreement with X/Open Company Limited in accordance with which the following are registered under the X/Open Brand Program.
An August 2018 tweet:
> We are pleased to announce that Oracle Corporation has achieved certification to the UNIX V7 Product Standard for: Oracle Solaris 11.4 Operating System and later on SPARC-based and X86 based platforms. For more information: http://ow.ly/8fT830lBjfu #UNIX
There's a renewal process:
Oracle did not bother renewing in April 2019:
> Solaris supports SPARC and x86-64 workstations and servers from Oracle and other vendors. Solaris was registered as compliant with UNIX 03 until 29 April 2019.
I think that IBM z/OS is the strangest entry on the list. It’s also notable that Hawaii EulerOS is a Linux distro based on CentOS
Thanks z/OS UNIX System Services.
So Huawei got Unix certification for Linux? If so, that’s a pretty big deal!
It's honestly a little weird that Oracle doesn't see the value in continuing to have Solaris certified, same with Redhat and RHEL, but Apple continue to get macOS certified.
At this point Solaris is a zombie product that's only still on sale to bring in revenue from people who're so committed to the platform they'll buy it no matter what.
The development team was basically disbanded a while back, and the hardware team even further back than that, and any customer who's not going to be put off by that seems fairly unlikely to be put off by the lack of certification.
Extra funny considering that Solaris is built from actual AT&T UNIX™ code and OpenServer was, last I looked, FreeBSD with some patches.
(Or, honestly, sad; RIP Sun.)
Depends on the version of OpenServer. Up to 6 (released in 2005) it was a descendant of Xenix, so plenty of AT&T (well Bell Labs I guess) code still in there probably.
Later on SCO finally died and Xinuos got the trademark, which was reused for a FreeBSD-derived product as well
BJs is indeed referred to as IL7 and the restaurant even had an official-looking “IL7” placard on the rear entrance.
Hate to nit-pick the story at all though, it’s a great. Stories like this floated all around Apple, and I stopped being surprised by them after awhile. That level of focus, drive, and accomplishment by just a handful of engineers was in the company’s bones.
Did IL6 exist at the time? I'm guessing the informal name is just "the building after the ones which actually exist".
> Did IL6 exist at the time?
It did, so I'm guessing it was just a mistake. I recall Pepper Mill/BJ's being referred to as either "R&D 7" or "IL 7".
> I'm guessing the informal name is just "the building after the ones which actually exist".
Concur. I had also always heard of it as “IL7” when I worked in IL1 & 6. An aside, the balcony & gamesroom in IL2 was a nice little escape for an afternoon beverage as well.
I think so?
IL7, I'm guessing typo, or they've escaped for long enough to forget exact details :D
Apple chose the secrecy culture. It's also their problem if their contributions are so secretive that they have a PR problem about not enough OSS contributions.
I suspect this (Apple employees contributing individually) is still often the case. Apple is all over the place on their general attitude towards open source, but they’re notoriously extremely secretive. About almost everything that isn’t in a press release, curated announcement or publication, or required by law. Loudly proclaiming their investment in open source, without some corresponding PR goal, is essentially free tea leaves for people to speculate about What They’re Building In There.
I’m likewise sure there are some handshake agreements between many open source maintainers and Apple-paid contributors to just… not spill those beans.
If you look up thread there’s posts where he indicated he never got the stock he was promised.