updated 11:30 am EST, Fri January 25, 2008
Apple circumvents DTrace
Some open source developers are upset with Apple for "undermining" a key piece of open source software called DTrace in Mac OS X. Apple's introduction of a feature that allows programs like iTunes to disable tracing as well as other debugging tools is causing serious problems for open source developers, effectively rendering useless other parts of DTrace in unanticipated ways -- such as causing unrelated probes to fail while anti-tracing flags are running.
DTrace is a tracing framework that got its start at Sun Microsystems, and was later released as open source as part of OpenSolaris. The software allows developers to tune as well as troubleshoot applications and the operating system itself, according to Macworld UK.
Apple's implementation of DTrace breaks some of the utility's functionality and is "antithetical to the notion of systemic tracing, antithetical to the goals of DTrace, and antithetical to the spirit of open source," according to Adam Leventhal, one of DTrace's original developers.
"They're not just crippling DTrace in the way they intended, but also in ways that are, in some ways, more pervasive," Leventhal wrote in his blog. "It's annoying that Apple decided to disallow tracing for applications that choose to opt out, and it's a fairly serious issue, but the bigger issue is that in doing so they've broken DTrace."