Why wouldn't Apple document performance-boosting APIs?

Apple has cut itself off at the knees. Opening its source would resolve the issue.

Vladimir Vukićević from Mozilla's Firefox team eventually managed to turn Firefox 3 into a speed demon on Mac OS X. But Apple sure didn't help with the process.

Apple may not have been trying to cripple non-Apple applications on Mac OS X, but the fact that it's not open source means that the world is beholden to Apple's whims, as Vlad writes:

I do not think that Apple is in any way trying to purposely "cripple" non-Apple software. I also do not think that undocumented APIs give Safari any kind of "significant performance advantage" (as Firefox 3 should show!).

However, as I said, the undocumented functionality could be useful for Firefox and other apps to implement things in an simpler (and potentially more efficient) manner. I don't think this is malicious, it's just an unfortunate cutting of corners that is way too easy for a company that's not fully open to do.

Apple benefits the better that all applications run on Mac OS X, not just Apple-developed applications. Throttling performance - wittingly or unwittingly - is not in its interest. Open source would resolve the issue in Apple's favor.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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