Friday, January 4, 2019

Mojave’s rsync From the Days of Tiger

Florian Dejako:

macOS Mojave from today still includes rsync 2.6.9 from 12 years ago. rsync 3.1.3 from 2018 is available with numerous improvements.

I guess this is probably a licensing issue, since rsync uses the GPL 3. But what is Apple’s long-term plan here? Continuing to ship progressively more out-of-date Unix tools? Is there no way a company with its resources could resolve the patents issue, if that is in fact the sticking point? Or find a technical solution?

Sivan Michaeli-Roimi:

The GPLv3 contains an explicit patent license, according to which people who license a program under the GPL license both copyrights as well as patents to the extent that this is necessary to use the code licensed by them. A comprehensive patent license is not thereby granted. Furthermore, the new patent clause attempts to protect the user from the consequences of agreements between patent owners and licensees of the GPL that only benefit some of the licensees (corresponding to the Microsoft/Novell deal). The licensees are required to ensure that every user enjoys such advantages (patent license or release from claims), or that no one can profit from them.

Previously: An Aging Collection of Unix Tools.

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For things I care about, I use MacPorts to install newer versions. That includes bash, rsync, and a bunch of other tools. I have little expectation that Apple cares about this stuff enough to do anything about it, which is sad, but at least there's a workaround.

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