updated 08:45 pm EDT, Thu October 27, 2011
ALAC now open to modify and use
Apple in a gesture to the community started up the Apple Lossless Audio Codec project to open-source its lone proprietary audio standard. Its change lets developers implement and modify the format for both encoding and playback. Codes also get an example app that can read or write audio to Core Audio and WAV, along with a "magic cookie" to use when making M4A and MP4 clips.
ALAC is licensed under an Apache 2.0 license and lets users freely share their creations as long as they include credit and pass on the license. Developers do have the right to submit content with a request that the licensor takes certain terms into account.
The loosened access keeps up an at times downplayed open component to Apple's work. Although it's often characterized as closed on mobile devices, Apple has been comparatively open on the desktop and bases Mac OS X itself on Darwin, an open-source kernel derived from FreeBSD. Safari's base web engine, WebKit, originally came from the community and is open-sourced to be used in Google's Android and Chrome browsers as well as those from Nokia, RIM, and others.
Apple has yet to fulfill a promise to open up its FaceTime format for two-way video chat. [via Daring Fireball]