A leading contributor to the Darwin project, the open source core of Mac OS X, has been banned from contributing and had his Apple Developer Connection membership revoked because he's only 15.
Finlay Dobbie, self confessed "Mac evangelist" and UK based contributor to the Mac OS X development project, may only be 15, but he knows his stuff.
He was responsible for helping track down the notorious 'PPP hang bug' in the OS and had been nominated to become an official "Darwin Committer", the title given to external engineers who contribute to Darwin.
But while going through this process Apple noticed his age.
"I jumped at the chance to become one of these select few. Everybody was very happy and encouraging, until they asked my age," said Dobbie.
When Apple found out he was under 18, he was not only prevented from contributing to the open source project himself, but Apple also cancelled his Developer Connection membership which gave him download access to the source code on the grounds that "all members must be 18 years or over in order to participate in our programs. By law any person under the age of 18 can not legally agree to the Non-Disclosure Agreement necessary for enrollment in our programs."
"I can see where they're coming from, but they didn't tell me anything about it," said Dobbie. "Why do I need an NDA to download the OS X development tools and view old technical information about Mac OS X? And why was no alternative recommended?"
"I get the impression that not only is Apple doing its best to discourage under 18's from contributing to Darwin, they're also hell-bent on discouraging them from developing for their platform at all," he said.
"I'm really annoyed at Apple's attitude. All the cloak-and-dagger nonsense surrounding Darwin is just too much. Instead of encouraging and welcoming me, Apple has repeatedly pushed me away."
"If things stay as they are, I can't see it becoming much of a success," he added. "I suspect that open source programmers will take one look at Darwin, and then go off to Linux or one of the BSD variants, where the history is based on actually being open, rather than closed as Apple traditionally has been," he said.
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