OpenDarwin RIP

Posted on July 26, 2006

I know this doesn’t apply to me, really, but I was sad to hear about OpenDarwin closing its doors. The site currently lists 3 Core Team members and 143 developers. The stated reason was summarized thusly: “OpenDarwin has become a mere hosting facility for Mac OS X related projects. The original notions of developing the Mac OS X and Darwin sources has not panned out.”

I think this is really sad. OpenDarwin was something I always admired and were I an Apple fan, rathan than a Sun fan, been excited about. I wish I could say that I have followed the project but of course I haven’t. Like many others I was excited about it when it opened and popped my head in from time to time, but obviously a lot has changed since then.

I find the following line from the announcement very telling: “[…] and a lack of interest from the community have all contributed to this.” This is a really valuable lesson. If you don’t use it, you lose it. This gets back to the old talk, talk, talk vs do, do, do. You can get by for a long time just on talk, but at some point that talk dies down and moves elsewhere and your left with the need to do. A handful of people can only drive things for so long. Frankly I think its a really honorable thing for OpenDarwin to close its doors rather than just walk away and leave everyone wondering which all too often happens.

I may not understand the ins and outs of OpenDarwin’s issues, but I think we can all use this as a very valuable reminder that can serve us well in the future.