by Andrew Brett WatsonPublished in Apple
Here is one cool thing about Apple you didn’t know about (but should).
If you use computers or smartphones in your life, then your quality of life has been improved simply by the existence of Apple Inc. Even if you don’t use Apple products because they consistently set the bar for quality electronic devices many have had to copy or push hard to innovate in order to compete. You the consumer benefits. Sure, the same could be said about Fords influence on the motorcar, so I'm not saying that you should be forever in their debt, just be aware that there are ways the company has positively impacted your life in the past which perhaps you didn’t know about.
That’s all very well, but people don’t care much for the history of technology, so here is something that Apple is doing right now that I think you should know about. Before I start out, I wish to add that one could make the same list about any one of the tech titans like Google or Microsoft (and perhaps I will!), but I just want to provide some additional perspective to people who so they might be more aware how Apple is improving their life TODAY.
Did you know that Apple is a major contributor (or even creator) of hundreds of widely adopted open source projects. Put simply, open source is where people allow access to the code of a computer program for free with the condition that any improvements any other party makes are then also made available in the same fashion. This way large groups of people can put together the most amazingly useful software and make it free. Open source programmers are one of societies unsung heroes. I thank and salute ANY individual involved in open source projects for how they improve our lives and I think people should know about them. Apple is also big contributor.
One of the best examples of how Apple's open source initiatives have is WebKit If you browse the internet on an Amazon Kindle, Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, or tablet with webOS or use one of the major browsers like Chrome you are using webkit (UPDATE: Up to version 27 and on iOS). Video gamers too might be interested to learn that webkit is used in the Playstation browser and for Valves popular Steam client.
It should also be mentioned that WebKit project was started within Apple by Don Melton on 25 June 2001 as a fork of KHTML and KJS, so the fact that Apple used other open source code to get the project running may be why it remains open source. Regardless of how Apple started the project, it is now the most widely used web browser engine around today. It's free, it's open source, it's on the products YOU use and it's made by Apple. Other developers now include, KDE, Nokia, Google, RIM, Palm, Samsung.
For a list of the HUNDREDS of additional open source technologies like the amazing bonjour service which help computers running a number of operating systems to connect to a network with ZERO configuration, go here (seriously, go there and scroll down): http://www.apple.com/opensource/
From the Apple website:
Apple believes that using Open Source methodology makes Mac OS X a more robust, secure operating system, as its core components have been subjected to the crucible of peer review for decades. Any problems found with this software can be immediately identified and fixed by Apple and the Open Source community.
Learn more about Open Source development at http://developer.apple.com/opensource/