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Apple creating new software platform to unify its cloud services, based off Siri’s open-source backend


Apple has started a new big project in its web services division, according to The Information. The report claims Apple has decided to rewrite its cloud services to all fall under one single technology stack using open-source technologies. This will combine Apple’s services like iCloud, Siri, iTunes and more into a unified backend platform.

Apple has seemingly settled on Mesos, the backend infrastructure for Siri, as the core of its new platform which will take years to finish. Apple publicly revealed it had moved Siri to a Mesos stack earlier in the year.

The new stack is based off modern web programming concepts which will enable Apple to more easily deploy and scale these applications. The Information says right now everything is based off different backend technologies which makes integration (something that is becoming more and more essential to technology products) between them cumbersome. The modern base will also make it easier for Apple to roll out new features.

What’s particularly interesting about this change is that Apple will be relying heavily on open-source software. Mesos is released under an Apache license, for instance. However, the report claims Apple has struggled to attract engineering talent with open-source backgrounds due to the company secrecy. Apple doesn’t want to share its code or reveal internal technology details to the outside world. The report also says that Apple is worried that if too much spills out into public knowledge, it will be harder to protect its intellectual property based on open-source infrastructure.

This is the opposite of what attracts open-source developers who want to contribute back into the community publicly to expand their own portfolios of work. This has made recruitment difficult. However, Apple has shown signs of loosening up in recent months. Apple has been embracing its relationship with Mesos and there is hope Apple will break down some of the barriers it has with regard to open source participation.

The fruits of Apple’s new cloud efforts will not be seen for a while. Big changes like this take a long time to complete.


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  1. modeyabsolom - 8 years ago

    This is good news and reignites my faith in Apple that they have a true long term commitment to invest and improve their Cloud services. Which are currently the weakest link in the company’s ecosystem. I just wish this would arrive sooner rather than later, because it’s currently quite crappy!

  2. That headline should read “…based on Siri’s open-source backend” and “…based on modern web programming…” I’m sorry to be the grammar police, but this problem has been ever increasing for awhile now, and it’s a shame that it has made its way into actual publications. So let’s start here: Bases go on the bottom of things. You can build something off of a starting point, but you can’t ‘base’ anything ‘off’ of anything. Something is always ‘based on’ something else. In other words, it has become increasingly popular to use the phrase “based off” or “based off of” when, say, talking about a movie’s relationship to the book of the same name. “Gone Girl the movie was based off the book by Gillian Flynn.” No. No it wasn’t. It was “based on” the book. The book was the base upon which the movie was built. See how nicely that works?

    But more and more people are now saying “based off” which, as you can see, is pretty much the exact opposite of the correct phrase. I’m not the only one who has noticed this, and apparently, it has increased dramatically since the early 2000’s (as the link below shows).…/based-off-versus-based-on

    And it’s not just the author of this article, so don’t think I’m personally attacking you; I’ve heard actual people on the news say this. It’s like a virus that’s spreading! We have to stop it! Forget ISIS and climate change and the Syrian civil war and actual viruses…WE MUST FIGHT BAD GRAMMAR AT ALL COSTS! Or at least try to curb it for the sake of the future of our children(‘s essay scores).

    But seriously, I know “language is fluid” and “times change” and “Americans don’t talk so good” but maybe just this one time, just for this one thing, we can keep it the way it’s been for ages. If it ain’t broke…I mean, if it isn’t broken, then it needn’t be fixed, right?

  3. strawbis - 8 years ago

    This reminds me of the early internet, when programs was free to download, before corporations hired the developers so they could charge for their work! Open Source looks to be next in line to become closed to the public. Apple intends to modify open source material and charge for its use.

    …and yes, the use of the term “based off” almost put me off reading the article too – don’t try to be clever, just say it as it’s supposed to be said when you’re writing an article, if you actually want folk to read it.

  4. It is quite well known that Apple uses open source software and it is in their job postings. They have an entire web site on the subject so I don’t know how more obvious you can be than that.

    • airmanchairman - 8 years ago

      Well said @snoosnoo: Apple code draws heavily from and contributes just as much to Open Source software as diverse as WebKit, Darwin, LLVM, Apache, OpenLDAP, PostgreSQL, OpenSSH, OpenSSL and a multitude more, as the Apple page you linked to so obviously shows.

  5. Chris Clark - 8 years ago

    Haha based on the Siri backend. So Apple wants to guarantee that their cloud solutions never work again. Sounds like a plan.


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.