back to article Stallman: Did I say Jobs was evil? I meant really evil

As if Richard Stallman's first pot shot at Steve Jobs didn't cause enough outrage, the founder of the Free Software Foundation has decided to clarify his stance – with some more criticism. Apple products digitally handcuff their users, Stallman observes. And the fact that they are pretty just makes it worse. According to the …

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Devil

I agree

I certainly agree. He was evil, and it should be clear for all to see..

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I don't agree

On the basis that his micromanagement seems to have stemmed from a genuine personal belief that end-to-end control makes better products rather than a lust for profits, I don't agree that Jobs was evil. That's even though I accept that the walled garden locks consumers in and that monopolies are very bad for the consumer. And I'm not arguing that he was necessarily right, merely that his motivations don't justify 'evil'.

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Well I don't...

Not a very common name that we share so to avoid confusion among people that know me: I don't think Steve Jobs was evil. That doesn't mean that I think he was Jesus or deserves another crappy version of Candle In The Wind to be written about him either.

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Stallman? Evil? I've have totally gone with overbearing bore with an overly well developed sense of his own self importance and an underdeveloped sense of the real world, but "evil" seems a bit strong to me - I'm willing to ascribe things to stupidity and await actual proof of intent before reaching for the "evil" branding iron.

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"personal belief that end-to-end control makes better products rather than a lust for profits"

So getting paid for working is evil, but attempting to con people into paying for restricted hardware isn't.

Uh, gotcha I guess.

/Oh wait, no, you make no sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Those who perform the biggest evils often have no idea of the scale of their evil.

It might be negligence or ineptness of their actions, but it's still evil however you roll and smoke it.

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@Bullseyed

That's such a trivial straw man argument that I have to wonder about your motives in citing it.

I argued that Jobs' actions were predicated on his belief that he was creating better products as a result.

You use the word 'con' which imports an idea of deception, i.e. you state that my argument is that Jobs was consciously trying to trick people into buying worse hardware.

The conclusion that you've deliberately misstated me is impossible to avoid and it's difficult to believe that the upvotes you've received come from anyone objective.

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Flame

As usual El Reg commits terminalogical inexactitudes

In this post RMS *does not* say that Jobs was "evil".

El Reg are hyping up what RMS actually said in order to stir the shit.

"In my first posting about Steve Jobs, I misquoted Mayor Washington's words. According to this radio program, his exact words were:

When he says that he would hope that I would have all the good qualities of past mayors, there are no good qualities of past mayors to be had. None. None. None. None.

I did not mourn at the bier of the late mayor. I regret anyone dying. I have no regrets about him leaving.

I remembered two sentences ("I regret...leaving.") of what Washington said, but got the words wrong. The error did not alter the meaning, but accuracy requires this correction.

Overall, Washington's statement was harsher than mine. He criticized Mayor Daley as a person; I criticized Jobs' public activity. My feelings about Jobs as a person are not strong, since I barely knew him. The important thing about Jobs is what he directed Apple to do to those who are still living: to make general-purpose computers with digital handcuffs more controlling and unjust than ever before. He designed them to refuse even to let users install their own choice of applications — and installing free (freedom-respecting) applications is entirely forbidden. He even tried to make it illegal to install software not approved by Apple.

Jobs saw how to make these computers stylish and smooth. That would normally be positive, but not in this case, since it has the paradoxical effect of making their controlling nature seem acceptable.

Jobs' death inspired a flood of articles lauding him for these very devices. That further increases their potential for harm, which is why now more than ever we must focus attention on it. We must not let secondary considerations about Apple or Jobs distract us from this threat until we have thwarted it.

Jobs also made it a personal crusade to attack Android with software patents. In practice, Android is not entirely free software, but it is a big step closer compared with the iPhone. If Apple's guns hit Android, they could wipe out all possibility of free software portable devices that are attractive to use. Jobs' final legacy may be the patent disaster we have warned about for 20 years. "

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Anonymous Coward

Rather than just for profit.....

... which made apple the richest company in the US.....

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Anonymous Coward

Google pretends to be the modern day Robin Hood that is stealing intellectual property from companies in technologically rich west and giving it to companies in poorer Asian countries. It has already wrecked companies like Nokia, RIM, Palm and Motorola and propped up Samsung, HTC, Huawei and ZTE. In this way it appeals to the globalist socialist fanatics as an entity that is redistributing wealth to poor. Truth is that Google that has no experience and expertise in operating system technology. Sun, Apple and Microsoft have about 4 decades of experience in developing os. There was no way Google could build this much expertise on its own, It was smart enough to know that the only way it can protect its advertising monopoly and revenue is by having a dominant operating system of its own. Since it did not have the capabilities to build, it poached employees from Sun, Apple, and stole their technology and  handed it over free to asian handset vendors. This way it thought it will be protected against litigation while allowing it to extend its monopoly in web services.

Besides this farce the other lie being propagated is that Andriod is an open source movement, intended to empower the powerless individual developers, while the sad reality is that it has killed the mobile open source movements like linux and java, by stealing their code and credit, underming their rules and thus destroying their ecosystem.  This koolaid is so intoxicating that it has created a cult of dimwits who will swear that google can do no evil. They will never ask google to open source its search engine software. Imagine if yahoo poaches google employees and open sources it's search engine technology, would google still claim that software should not be protected by intellectual property rights.  But then hypocrisy is the currency narcissists use to deal with dim wits

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Windows

Enough already about Mr.Jobs!

I think there's a big misunderstanding being generated here. While the article speaks about the things Mr. Jobs (or his company) /did/ (making locked down phones, attacking competitors, etc.) the overall statement seems to be personally directed at him (maybe while not even being meant that way).

I think the whole thing is bollocks and this statement is only made because of the recent events. Nothing more, nothing else.

"A personal crusade to attack Android". On the other hand Microsoft is also cashing in BIG TIME with patents reflecting Android. Evil? Dunno, I don't think its ethical (IMO the whole US patent system is a stupid joke, and lousy in general) but its what US companies do. Why single out Apple while the rest also aren't free of blame? Mr.Jobs evil? Or Mr. Jobs determined to run his company in a way which is common (or 'commonly accepted') in the US ?

"Jobs death inspired a flood of articles lauding him for these very devices". Agreed. But can you blame Mr. Jobs for that? Give me a fscking break here. Its how the world works. Someone dies and people start talking about him and the stuff he did. Even when big criminals die a lot of people will still continue with only talking positively about him/her. Welcome to society!

This isn't about Steve Jobs, its about Apple. Yes, Mr. Jobs has a big responsibility and influence in all that considering that he was the owner, but there were more people involved besides Jobs.

I don't think its fair to put the blame entirely on Steve Jobs, I think its close to cheap propaganda which in this time maybe even close to slander (taking the recent events in consideration; Mr. Jobs is no long around to share his mind on it all).

If you want to put the blame somewhere; blame Apple. IMO its time to leave Steve Jobs alone, enough already.

For the record; I'm no Apple user and quite frankly I don't have any desire to ever becoming one. But having said that I don't think its fair to continue to start talking about someone who can no longer talk back.

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Anonymous Coward

LOL

It's the Windows PCs that only run Windows. Remember that. Well, you could hack them to run Mac, but that's a short term thing. Only the Macs run it all. Who is the shacked one? Not the Mac user. We can access all your files. You have no idea what to do with a Mac file. No software for it since none of your 'computer companies' even BOTHER with software.

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WTF?

"Richard Stallman's speaking tour rider...."

I'm now trying to work out whether that's genuine and extremely sad, or just one of the most awesome piss-takes of all time......

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It's real.

Here are the piss takes though: http://thestallmandialogues.com/

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Thumb Up

Who has the better beard?

Stallman or Alan Moore?

Only one way to find out.... FIGHT!

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WTF?

Stallman in Conference

Here is what to expect when you go see Stallman speaking.

I warn you now, don't watch it if your about to have lunch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I25UeVXrEHQ

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Alien

Re the Better Beard

Alan Moore would win, obviously. He has Glycon on his side.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AEnVgVDd8m0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA8#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://somethingpositive.net/sp02132008.shtml

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Gimp

iPhans

Nice word.

Disagree in general with the post, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Tragic

Seems that dementia is destroying a man who has some good work and ideas behind him.

It seems as if he never used an Apple "general purpose computer", like most of the anti-macs who will respond to this article, or he could have found the full UNIX, the Apple web sites full of free, GNU and other software, Macports and countless more. He may even have discovered his own software running rather well and the standard, installed stuff, such as PHP, Ruby, Python, LAMP ....

Perhaps he is upset that it is so easy to get at and augment or reduce. Some "technical" types do object to the hoi polloi having easy access.

Perhaps, secretly, he has got shares in cheap hardware manufacturers and resents the rather long life and increasing presence of Apple gear.

Still, consolation: it is his free choice, with many alternatives, whatever the hardware and softwaer he feels he needs. Or is that the problem? We should all be buying cheap hardware and installing patchily supported, "free" software of his choosing so that he can write learned replies to normal people needing help and advice.

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FAIL

Go back and read the article

He was talking about phones...

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Anonymous Coward

Read it again then...

He is talking about computers too.

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FAIL

He is quite clearly referring to mobile devices here, or more bluntly, iOS! Doesn't really matter what goes on in OSX with regard to his statements.

Fact is, iOS is locked down hard!

You can only use approved software (no Flash).

You can only use approved programs (App Store approvals).

You can only install software from one place (App Store).

You can only use approved file formats (no .flac etc).

You can only sync through one means (iTunes).

Etc.

These are the points he is getting at. He also says Apple are making it worse by suing 'competitors' who are trying to offer choice on a similar mobile platform, further destroying "choice".

You may or may not agree with his principles. You may or may not believe Apple is unique in these sorts of actions. You can NOT however dispute the issues he is raising as they are plain facts!

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Anonymous Coward

Watch out!

Fanboi gonna blow!

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They are facts. The question is whether they are important?

Twenty years ago I'd have argued yes. Ten years ago I would probably have argued yes. Now I'm not so sure. The majority of users now are consumers of web content. To them the important thing is does it work reliably? Can I access the content I want? Is it easy to use?

I understand Stallman. I even understand the people on here that support his view. I put it to you that you aren't the target audience of these devices. That you are so wrapped up in technology that you are unable to see what ordinary people want.

Looking at a more traditional industry look at cars. Thirty years ago everything was mechanical. The flow of fuel into the engine was controlled by a carb, or maybe twin carbs. The mechanics were reasonably simple. Maintenance was something that the average person could do if they wanted to. These days everything is computer controlled. Ignition systems and fuel injection aren't something that the average person can service. Does this matter? Only the true pistonheads think so. The rest of us just want to use it to get from A to B. Like it or not computing is going the same way.

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"They are facts. The question is whether they are important?"

Yes. Absolutely. They are and always will be.

". The majority of users now are consumers of web content. To them the important thing is does it work reliably? Can I access the content I want? Is it easy to use?"

That may be what the average consumer cares about, but it doesn't change the fact that being able to use their device as they choose is important. Just because the majority wants something shiny and isn't ever going to tinker with it doesn't mean that the ability to tinker is unimportant.

Let's look at some other things that are true by your argument. Most people wouldn't be affected if the use of a five button mouse were suddenly removed from Windows, so that woludn't be important. Most people wouldn't be affected if Windows were the only OS available, so let's just do away with all the others. Most people wouldn't be affected if international calls were suddenly impossible, so lets do away with that capability (maybe to help curb terrorism). Most people don't have any secrets that would be harmful to them if the government knew about them, so we don't really need laws restricting the government's ability to listen in on our phone calls.

See where that kind of thinking leads?

"Only the true pistonheads think so."

So very, very wrong. No one who knows me would EVER classify me as a piston head. A couple of them actually cringe when they see me in an auto parts store by myself. Even so I sorely resent being forced to pay a mechanic to fix a problem that I should be able to fix by myself just because some idiot decided that my car needs to be computer controlled. Very few people I know would disagree with that sentiment.

The computer in cars added little of value. They just make for more complexity and more things that can go wrong. It's the same thing with the lockdown on mobile devices: little or no real added value for the consumer, but lots of things are taken out of the user's hands for no good reason.

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Facepalm

Think about the business practice Apple is using.

What makes your statement Truly sad is you seem to have no concept of the controlled environment Apple has created. Try loading anything onto an IOS product WITHOUT iTunes or going through apple. You can't. Apple HAS created a closed environment that many don't realize and that's the concern. Many are blind to the fact that Apple has 100% control over you and the vendors who want access to you as a consumer. NO ONE can sell anything through Itunes without APPLE getting ~30%.

Microsoft gets sued for its integrated web-browser, but NEVER prevented its users from downloading and using another. I'm still in disbelief how Apple has still not been sued for the locked down environment it commands over people who seem blinded by flashy fashion focused shells. I don't deny the simplicity....but I will NEVER give my freedom of choice away as all Apple IOS users have.

Their computers are INTEL driven computers in a fashionable shell, but people pay twice the cost of similar spec'd PC. Why? Because their lacking knowledge and quickly focus on the shiny distraction. The old adage is still true....A fool and his money are quickly parted.

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Stop

I'm sorry, but you are so wrong Mike

RMS's philosophy is much wider than the ability to let you run your own applications on your phone.

It is about control by governments, it is about monitoring your every day activities without your knowledge, restriction of progress of the IT movement in general through restrictive practices espoused by Apple (and other IT corporates, granted).

These issues are *MORE* important than ever before and they will continue to be bigger and bigger factors.

What has changed is the current generations's laissez faire attitude to it. Our generation is much more savvy and suspicious and rightly so.

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lol OTOH

look at politics

Joe Stalin is father of the nation beloved by all

the people dont need to be hassled by pesky elections to demonstrate their love.

Uncle Joe knows whats best for them.

and besides, running a super power is so complex, the poor dears dont have either the information or the processing capacity to make informed decisions

Let uncle Joe do all the thinking for you.

yeah, ok i kinda godwined myself there, but ffs.

you argument seems to run;

choice requires information,

sheeple are uniformed and dumb,

ergo it's good they have no choice.

fuck em!, now they are hooked on the shiny shiny, lets make the fuckers do a bit of work.

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The facts matter because using the patent war to keep competing products off the market hurts all of us as consumers. Do you think ALL of the new features in iOS5 or the iPhone 4S would be present if it wasn't for competition. As repeatedly pointed out Apple didn't actually come up with everything first and those competitors have come up with new ideas and pushed the development that even those that choose to be in the walled garden benefit from.

Further one of the things that infurates me about Apple's business practices is their insistance that I cannot do what I want with a product I bought from them. Not that Apple is the only one guilty of this (glares at Sony). I believe once I buy a product it is mine to do with as I please, with the full understanding that if I break something it may not be covered under warranty etc. I believe this should be the way with licenses as well with the understandable constraint that I get one copy/use and cannot create additional copies and distribute, but as far as all the different restrictions on OEM licenses and the such I do believe it is worth using these types of facts to fight for the rights of consumers. Just because many don't care to exercise these rights themselves does not mean we should support or ignore those that would try and remove these rights. On this side of the pond many don't exercise their right to vote, but I do not think anyone that pursues removing those rights from them should be supported.

And to address the seemingly requisite automobile comparison. Yes, only a few people fret about not being able to tinker with their vehicle. But I don't see a major patent wars over things like push button starters, or hybrid gas/electric power trains, or insert many features commonly found across brands of vehicle. Should the first company that built a car that you just pushed a button to start be able to sue all those that have it now? Should they be able to get a patent on it? Those of us that don't think they should also think these facts are important concerning the mobile computing/phone industry.

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Anonymous Coward

He quoted

"general-purpose computers with digital handcuffs more controlling and unjust than ever before" from Steve Jobs, out of context, with no caveat that he (Stallman) was talking just about the consumer devices when he quoted "general-purpose computers".

I'm waiting for him to rip into Nokia,, Microsoft, car computers, GPS computers and all the other "closed" consumer devices.

I wonder, did Apple refuse him a job once? Did Apple ever claim its consumer devices were "open"? If Android is so open, why do people "jail-break" it?

Does it matter? The new Nokias look rather good. I think we can all be grateful that Apple have stimulated such extraordinary improvements in design and usefulness of mobiles. Perhaps Stallman's gripe is that he did not have the ideas himself.

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Megaphone

Tragic?

I don't understand technical folks who understand what libre source is all about who apparently distance themselves further from the standard-beared whenever he uses another opportunity attempt to get the world to listen and understand. Are such technical folks unable to resist the MSM push to deify Jobs and so agree with the MSM that RMS has gone (further?) off the deep end? I think it more likely they in reality don't get what libre source is all about after all and why that is so globally important.

On the other hand, RMS seems to have no truck with vendors of "appliances" (including IBM's mainframe master control components, the HMC and SE) who maintain they need not distribute the libre source running on their appliances. If that legal loophole is not properly addressed soon, then every gizmo that can run libre source licensed code will become an "appliance" all the way up to IBM zSeries Parallel Sysplex clusters running z[GNU]Linux. Then, MS will win its campaign to force OEMs to force their customers to run only MS OSes. Lastly, libre source will become illegal under DMCA enhancements subsequently propagated to every sovereign nation.

But maybe enough people can make it plain to the rest of the planet why this would be a Really Bad Thing.

Nah. Up with Jobs. Down with RMS. Meh.

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Headmaster

@GotThumbs

Microsoft gets sued for its integrated web-browser, but NEVER prevented its users from downloading and using another. I'm still in disbelief how Apple has still not been sued for the locked down environment it commands over people who seem blinded by flashy fashion focused shells. I don't deny the simplicity....but I will NEVER give my freedom of choice away as all Apple IOS users have.

-----

The all important difference between Microsoft and Apple is that Apple has never abused a monopoly position.

It may have abused its customer base, who knows... (I don't care).

The fact is they do not have a monopoly in _any_ area. The have a commanding position in smartphones, certainly and an even more commanding one in portable music players.

These are not monopolies though, and never have been.

The fact that they have effective competition means that customers have a real choice. Once that is in place, the monopoly regulators don't really care what a company does to its customers.

There's an interesting discussion to be had about what 'freedom' is. It is certainly not absolute, eg, I am not free to randomly beat people up.

So, there are degrees of what we call freedom, with a corresponding compromises in what we are permitted to do.

iOS users have traded the ability to do certain things for the advantages of the platform. Its is not something I would do, but I certainly don't think its a ridiculous position to hold.

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N2

Yes but

Its a telephone, if you dont like it, dont buy it.

Theres enough information out there on the internet to enable most people to make an educated choice without having to listen to some self proclaimed weird beard prophet.

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Flame

there are other browsers for iOS and OS X, what the hell are you talking about?... I'm not blinded either, my experience with android was just that it was total garbage after 3 years of dealing with it. If it werent such an awful insecure buggy bloated java infested heap I might love it, until then I'll take almost anything else. ICS might win me back from what I've seen.

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Actually they do have a monopoly. You can't run non-apple-approved software on an iOS device. They often simply ban software from iTunes if it competes with their own offerings. How is that not abusing a monopoly?

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WTF?

when they grow large enough to be called a monopoly we can discuss that. until then what they do is entirely legal and perhaps even justifiable. There is certainly competition out there to choose from so to call it a monopoly is completely ridiculous. If they start dominating over 90% of the market, then we can talk monopolies with their current practice.

by the same coin nothing stops you from circumventing that, or running something else if you hate it so, but its not a monopoly yet.

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Trollface

@graham

Ahem.

They have a monopoly on ios devices, which is to say, no monopoly at all.

Buy another smartphone! (As indeed you have)

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Anonymous Coward

Crapple

Stupid people deserve computers they can understand. Luckily Apple users are too damn dumb to realize their computers aren't allowed to do anything.

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Unlike others, Mick, I agree with you. To most people, including me, phones are tools and are there to get stuff done, the same way cars are used to get one from A to B.

The majority of people who use iPhones are happy with them because of the number of apps and ease of use. Uninstalling apps on the iPhone is easy, on the android it's a whole different level.

Just because techies don't like the closed system, doesn't mean it's not suited for the average consumer. Users are idiots, stopping them from installing malicious apps by having barriers is better than them being free and injuring themselves; you, as a company, are going to be blamed for letting that happen and that'll affect your image. If someone don't like the closed system then jailbreak the iPhone. Though Apple did want to make that illegal, that's a different matter---one I never liked.

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Bod

"Actually they do have a monopoly. You can't run non-apple-approved software on an iOS device. They often simply ban software from iTunes if it competes with their own offerings. How is that not abusing a monopoly?"

And that is exactly the analogy with Microsoft. They were hit hard for having a monopoly on their own software, specifically their browser. Their OS, their browser that ships with it. It was harming competition. Why are Apple treated entirely differently for being far more restrictive and anti-competitive in what is a similar monopoly? An ecosystem monopoly basically.

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Thumb Down

No, it's a mobile device

@N2

"Its a telephone, if you dont like it, dont buy it."

No it isn't, I can't install Angry Birds on my landline phone.

About the last thing anyone does on a smartphone is make a phonecall in the traditional sense. Not saying they don't make calls, but updating your Facebook page, reading your Twitter stream and uploading photos is not making a call.

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Devil

@ David Dawson

The point is that Apple is also trying to sue their competitors into oblivion so you won't be able to buy another smartphone.

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Megaphone

Whining that you can't run "any app you like" on your iThing is like complaining that you can't watch movies on your radio.

It's a consumer device. It's not *sold* as a general-purpose computer. It's a device for playing games, for surfing the web, watching TV, storing and listening to audio, e-mailing, and lots of other applications of varying levels of interactivity.

And that's all it was ever supposed to be. It makes no bones about its limitations. To criticise it for not running Flash is like criticising a fridge because it doesn't have a built-in microwave.

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I little unfair

to compare jailbreaking an iOS device with rooting an android one.

For a start most people don't need to root their android device. If you for example wish to install a random program you found on the internet (or wrote yourself) on iOS you have to jailbreak, whilst on Android... erm there's a little checkbox you have to click in settings.

Should you actually wish/need to root, Android makes it very easy (well OK, depends on the manufacturer, but). Take as an example the Nexus one "fastboot-windows oem unlock"... and it's unlocked.

Compare how iOS and Android behave once rooted - iOS does everything in it's power to make a rooted phone annoying (OOps, my phone needs a reboot - where's my laptop gone?). Android - I get a warning glyph on boot.

Once you've rooted, where do I get my root-requiring apps? iOS - cydia or similar non official repositories. Android...erm just search for 'root' in google's app store.

OK, going on a bit here, but my intention was just to point out that rooting an android is just like removing the training wheels from a bike. As long as you can seemingly prove to your phone you want them off, it'll let you.

There are obviously some exceptions where phone manufacturers have deliberately made it hard to root in the past, but going forward they seem to be coming around to the idea (e.g. HTC promising to allow root on their new phones/ROMs).

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Regarding Autos

Actually, the company that invented the push button start did get a patent on it.

It's just that the automobile industry is much more grown up about it and is generally willing to, for a reasonable fee, allow other car manufacturers to do the exact same thing.

Software companies as a whole, however, are like a bunch of children. They don't share unless forced to and have decided to use patents as a legal means of extortion.

The main issue is simply that the manufacture of automobiles is extremely expensive. It takes a lot of capital to just get started. Which means car companies know their competitors. Therefore they are much more willing to "work together" by cross licensing tech that benefits everyone.

Software on the other hand can be done for next to nothing. Which means that there might be 1000 people who come up with the same thing you do and the ONLY protection you get is via a patent.

However, at the end of the day I wish software patents didn't exist. Level the damn field for everyone.

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Go

The iOS is locked down. I can walk away anytime, or jailbreak it.

Flash does decrease the battery life, and is unstable.

Look where unapproved programs have landed Android.

The other points ? Yeah, I can live with those too.

Are the competitors stealing? That's what Apple says. That's up to the courts.

I used to tweak PCs, hell, it's nessesary to keep windows running. Nowadays I want the stuff to work for me, not against me.

If Bethesda ports their softs over to Macintosh, I'll delete windows for the foreseeable future.

YMMV.

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Anonymous Coward

Evil?

Maybe. But Macs run Emacs. On the other hand, a portable music player with a command line interface is probably not gonna catch on.

Still - I admire Stallman and Jobs. They both got stuff done

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Linux

Apple deserves the flac it gets

> a portable music player with a command line interface is probably not gonna catch on.

Yes but one that "just works" and plays anything you happen to have on hand just might.

It's a shame that St. Jobs didn't allow his product to do this and actively attacked competitors that were willing to take up the slack.

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