Arguing that the Mac OS faces a serious threat from the Linux groundswell on one hand and Windows NT on the other, advocates are petitioning Apple Computer to turn over the source code for the forthcoming Mac OS X (which stands for Version 10) to the developer community at large as open source.
"Open source" is the practice of distributing software with its underlying source code, as with the Linux Unix variant and Apache Web server so developers can make additions to the core product.
Developers late in July drafted and delivered a proposal to Apple to release the Mach 3.0 and BSD 4.4 Unix kernels and Driver Kit of Mac OS X as an open-source project.
Apple officials received the proposal, said a company representative, but they had no comment.
The chief technology officer of one of Apple's key software partners cautioned that the issue should not sidetrack the upgrade.