updated 09:35 am EDT, Tue May 10, 2011
Company may have bowed to public pressure
Fulfilling earlier obligations, Apple has finally released source code for iOS 4.3.3. The firmware contains several open-source components, notably ones related to the WebKit rendering engine used in Safari and third-party browsers such as Chrome. Items of concern are covered under the Lesser General Public License, or LGPL.
Under the terms of the LGPL parties are obligated to release binaries and source code simultaneously. Until now, though, Apple had been negligent in publishing the source code for iOS 4.3, which launched exactly two months ago. Apple has not provided any official explanation for the delay, and neither has it responded to complaints from developers.
The timing of the release may suggest that Apple only issued it under pressure. News of the missing code broke across several websites yesterday, possibly forcing Apple's hand. The company has normally been considered good about meeting open-source demands; it did however wait six months to post the open-source components of iOS 4.1, which may suggest that Apple has adopted a policy of doing nothing until enough complaints come in.