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 …
If my phone wasn't controlled by Apple it would be by the first Linux dick having a chance to have his shit installed on my "free and open" phone. It looks like from a consumer point of view, the only freedom the Linux dicks care about is theirs. In fact, they want their shit to dominate. Domination doesn't quite get on with "real" freedom and choice, does it?
"If my phone wasn't controlled by Apple"
Did you ever considered possibility that your phone might be controlled by you instead of by somebody else?
Comic Book Guy
Can anyone else read Stallman's speaking rider without reverting to the voice of the Simpson's Comic Book Guy after a sentence or two?
I don't think it can be done.
Stallman is an arse.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."
Jobs and Stallman both insist(ed) people Do The Right Thing, but with diametrically opposed ideas of what TRT was. The Perlers have got it right - there's more than one way to do it.
She's a bit needy isn't she?
If it were anyone other than rms?
Is the message wrong, or is it just because it's rms, who is an idealist, bringing the message that draws all the harshness?
They're *both* wrong. Non-free software can be ethical, providing you have a choice in what it does and how it is used. Unfortunately, Apple takes this one step further and produces non-free *devices*. Tell me truthfully, who owns your iPhone? Apple? Your service provider? If you've answered "me!" then you haven't thought about the principle of ownership. How can you own something when its software dictates to you?
What is owned is you, by the device. Continue along this slippery slope at your peril.
I'm a Mac User (I confess)
I don't care if it has digital handcuffs, it does all I want it to do, and I don't have time to piss around with it to make it do other things anyway.
It is pretty, had to be, so the Wife Acceptance Factor was high enough for me to be able to leave it around the house without getting shouted at.
My fridge is just a fridge, I bought it knowing it just keeps things cold, I'm not going to get annoyed or outraged that I have been prevented turning it into an effing toaster.
Some people just want to use things the way they come out of the box. If that makes me stupid in your eyes, great, I'll live.
Flame away :-)
You use the product as an appliance and that's OK for many people.
It is refreshing to read an honest response instead of the foaming at the mouth fanboi rants.
Great to Hear It
Actually, I think it's great that you know what you want and buy accordingly. Actually takes you out of the usual crowd who just follow what everyone else is doing without thinking about it.
I don't want to take the pretty-and-guaranteed-working option away from those who want it and like it. What I'm worried about Apple doing, though, is taking away MY super-customizable-unrestricted-access option via their me-too preasure on other players in the market and current pattent trolling behavior.
And that is...
The Jobsian 'vision' was all about turning complex computing technology into aspirational brightly-coloured shiny happy-home appliances.
An iPod is a music appliance. And iPhone is a communication appliance with some app-iness thrown in. A Mac is a computing appliance. (And as OS X gets more and more crayon-ish, it's getting more appliancey by the day.)
Add a bit of stylish industrial design as a wrapper and some keynote ra-ra and marketing mystique, and that's all you need to know about Apple's success.
The lock-in only offends geeks who like to tinker. But realistically, what percentage of the population wants to customize a hoover or a toaster?
Stallman still thinks it's 1970, and the only people who matter are people who code for fun.
But realistically, libre/free/whatever only works when it becomes an appliance itself.
Wordpress is a brilliant blogging appliance.
Linux on the desktop is - not an appliance., It's a tool for people who enjoy playing with tools and tinkering.
Stallman fundamentally doesn't get two things:
1. Most people just want IT that more or less works.
2. Non-hackers are just as locked out of open source as they are out of closed source products.
So where's the freedom? If he'd spent more time promoting a consistent, reliable and satisfying experience for ordinary non-geek users, he'd be easier to take seriously.
But that's never interested him. His 'freedom' is only for people almost exactly like him.
When that excludes at least 90% of IT users, it's not real freedom at all.
"My fridge is just a fridge, I bought it knowing it just keeps things cold, I'm not going to get annoyed or outraged that I have been prevented turning it into an effing toaster."
But I bet you will be if your fridge will only allow you to put stuff bought from Tesco in it.
Stallman is just as bad
As he's just as fanatical.
Theres a time and place for open; and a time and place for closed. Phones are better closed to ensure their critical functionality (Calls; texts; internet access) isn't compromised. Normal Desktop PCs are better open as they're supposed to be do anything machines.
"He designed them to refuse even to let users install their own choice of applications — and installing free (freedom-respecting) applications is entirely forbidden," wrote Stallman.
He obviously never used a Mac then...
You can download just about anything and install it.
Had me confused, too. An arse, and a fibber.
App store for desktop and signed binaries. Wake up.
RE: For now
What are you on about?
Stallman Clueless as Usual
Richard doesn't like people to have great devices unencumbered by technical glitches. His whole premise is computing devices should be complex, poorly made, so to retain his finger hold on the 1980's.
Sorry Richard, Apple users have moved up to a higher plane of existence...
Right, but too little, too late
While open sourcers were not looking (as they were obsessed with MSFT) SJ robbed (as usual) their pockets (BSD, gcc, khtml, cups to name a few).
MSFT now looks like a non profit NGO compared to AAPL.
Did you stop to check
if Apple had contributed back to those projects?
WebKit (you know, the thing that drives the Android browser and Google Chrome among others) is an Apple sponsored KHTML fork.
CUPS they liked so much that they bought the source of the original developer's company and hired him to maintain it.
GCC they contribute to, but don't like much, hence their sponsorship of the CLANG compiler and LLVM which has a much faster incremental compile time, works better in a multi-threaded environment and can be integrated inside of a development environment, rather than having to shell out to a separate process.
BSD? OS-X isn't actually BSD. It uses BSD user apps, but the Mach kernel. Anybody who wants it can download the source (look up XNU sometime).
Apple have nothing against open source, providing it doesn't encroach on their IP. They've even got a rather large page listing OS projects they're involved it.
Apple isn't Evil. Jobs wasn't Evil. FACEBOOK IS WHERE THE EVIL IS.
Great stuff. If the FSF ever goes titsup, Stallman can at least get a job writing Microsoft EULAs.
The more interresting question is...
Why is there even a discussion about this? Both sides seem to believe that they are right by logic. Of course you can always consider the other group to be full of idiots, but isn't that to simple?
I'm personally on the pro-Stallman front here. I acknowledge that he takes on an extreme view, however compared to what Apple used to do in the past, even Macs are severely limited by software.
I hate to say it.
Stallman at times seems close to a raving lunatic.
But on this he is talking sense.
Just another guy wanting to blame others for his own blindness
It seems that nowadays, when most things are failing, anything that is successful (especially globally) is the butt for ire and demonisation. Stallman is just another tired old guy who cannot stand to see the small guy succeed and can only shower his bile and envy on those that contradict his obsessive and weary 'rationalistic' ideals. They can't admit their beliefs are wrong, so they look for the 'devil' as an excuse. You'd think witch-hunting was a thing of the past, but then, guys like him are stuck in the past where you are either god or the devil with no greys in between. Get thee behind me Satan-oops--StallMan!
Actually met Stallman....
He has been living off speaking fees by saying all manner of challenging things. At one time he was recommending we purchase air conditioners and copy machines before wasting money on computers in the classroom.
He makes it all seem very reasonable and you only have questions long after he has cashed the honorarium.
The key thing to remember is that REAL handcuffs are NOT voluntary and that they are backed with the threat of state-sponsored legalized violence.
If you don't like the restrictions that Apple outline in their EULAs don't buy their products! Gee! You are free the whole time! Who da thunk it?
Just need to wake up the Apple disciples still grieving a GREAT SALESMAN/CONMAN
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.
Where are they then?
Show us these similarly spec'd PCs that are half the price. They don't exist. Either they have cut corners (so the spec ISN'T the same) or their price isn't much different. In some cases the Mac is cheaper (Air vs Ultrabooks as a case in point).
Microsoft got into trouble not because they included an integrated web browser, but because they forced OEMs to ship Windows machines with only that browser. Apple has no OEM clients to force their browser on, and users are free to download third party browsers from the App store. Many are even free.
You get to choose the corner
> Show us these similarly spec'd PCs that are half the price.
> They don't exist. Either they have cut corners
Well that's the rub. If you buy a PC, you get to decide what corners you want cut. If you buy and Apple, you simply have no choice. You either take what the corporate overlord wants to sell you or you do without completely.
Sucks if you've got any investment in iTunes content with DRM or expensive proprietary apps.
With a PC, I can pick my tradeoffs and spend 1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4 the price.
It's ultimately the same spare parts made by other companies with production outsourced to China.
missing the point
The problem isn't really that iOS is not customisable or proprietary, there is nothing wrong with apple choosing to make it impossible to alter their devices. The problem lies with the fact that they also restrict any interaction with their devices. You are only allowed to use software supplied by apple to sync with it or even access it for that matter. You are only allowed to purchase applications from one apple controlled source. If you want to make a physical connection you have to use one apple patented connector. All media is vetted by apple and if they don't like it you can't have it. A world that was designed around Job's dream would even make the staunchest of Stalinist's weep with joy, where there would only be one company, one way of thinking, one way of using and one way of living. A world where If you don't like it or it doesn't work then you are wrong.
Stallman is starting to sound like a batshit insane Ayotollah. Jobs wasn't The Messiah, sure; he was possible a very naughty boy, in some ways. But he valued good design, which is a big plus for us mere mortals, and those wall-gardens (or gated communities?) help keep the riff raff out and the ecosystem under control. Probably, anathema to engineering tinker bells but most definitely not evil.
Ordinary people just want their shit to work. I've seen what some unfettered engineers can produce and sometimes it isn't pretty. But, hey, they can go play with Android.
I think one thing that bothers a lot of people here is the new idea that Apple fanboys have been pushing to support their Messiah 2.0 platform. That idea is the notion that you need to have the computing equivalent of 1984 in order to have a secure system. This is an idea that Apple itself and the fanboys didn't push until relatively recently. Once their glorious leader declared the new direction they all decided to ignore the previous propaganda en masse in favor of the new propaganda.
The idea that open systems can't be secured or made easy is nonsense. Apple's own products disproved that. There is nothing necessary or useful about Apple's current approach.
It simply seems to suit Apple as the new Microsoft.
About this article...
If I may say, I liked Gavin Clarke's original article better. It reported on Stallman's comments and the subsequent reaction, and then moved on to actually provide some substantial background and analisys of the issues it touched on.
By contrast, this article is nothing more than a selection of quotes, largely out of context, apparently chosen for no other reason than to have a laugh at Stallman's expense.
The last paragraph, picking out his "requests" (which they are not) for tea and Pepsi, out of a fairly standard 1161-line info pack... well, I found that totally unprofessional and uncalled for. Has News Corp. bought El Reg or something?
I should say, I have neither sympathy nor animosity towards Stallman or anyone else mentioned in this story, and neither am I of a mind to defend anyone's comments, particularly as I believe they might indeed have been tactless and superficial. All I'm saying is that I expect more from El Reg. I quite like the outrageous over-the-topness of some articles here, as long as they provide some substance along with the entertainment. Sadly, I don't think this article has provided either.
Thank you for listening, and I apologise for the verbiage.
If he always brings his own tea, why does he spend a paragraph blithering on about which kinds he likes?
I respect Stallman, really I do, but on this, he's just gone too far.
For goodness sake, the bulk of the population of this planet can't even afford and iPhone, let alone an iMac or iPad - there's *far* more pressing matters at hand.
Amongst those of us fortunate to be able to afford these devices, probably 99% of them don't know who Stallman is, don't care about Apple's "walled garden" approach and simply want a device which works for them.
That leaves a tiny fraction of the world population - and I mean really tiny - who would have an educated opinion on this. Out of that tiny fraction, there will be a percentage who will agree with Stallman and that won't.
So ultimately, whatever Stallman says on the issue of Apple and Jobs doesn't amount to anything at all - it won't so much fall on deaf ears, as not even be noticed - a pin dropping in an empty room.
Really, he should focus his efforts on more productive endeavours - like making better foss. Nobody likes a negative bitching session, Stallman, move on, this horse has been flogged.
Control freak? Yes.
An apple a day
Despite Apple trying to project a friendly image to the end user, as opposed to the evil MS monster, I'm relieved MS got there first. Can you imagine a world without MS, one where Apple rules the PC market?
Every PC would be an Apple, all software approved by Apple, no home build PC's, no variety, no choice, and most likely an internet so heavily restricted by the Church of Jobs sites like El Reg would not exist (can you imagine Apple allowing this level of heresy?). As bad as it is being reliant on MS for the worlds operating system, it would be far worse under the magic Apple
forget rms and gpl
Can anyone explain why the beloved Siri isn't available for iphone 4g?
What Stallman needs to realise is Apple or any other company just give customers what they want. Its the customers that should realise the consiquences of their choices.
Openness is just another feature, it is not a wildly wanted feature, hence it is not included in many major software packages.
The reason it is not a wildy wanted feature is possibly more to do with peoples understanding of what chosing a closed system means. Stallman should be putting his efforts into educating the users rather than the suppliers. I personly think the answer is open file formats and data storage, but this is becoming less relivent with cloud based computing and storage as we stand less chance of being able to transfure data from one service to another (see google/facebook data exchange issues).
I am a fan of Linux and android, however even after undertanding the consiquences of all the facts i still recomended an Ipad for my wife as it was the most suitable choice for her needs.
I read 3 pages of comments about fascism, evil, profit, greed and open-source and there wasn't one comment about America being murderous, evil, greedy and the like.
What is El Reg and it's band of small minded lurkers coming to?
waa waa whaaaa
crybabies ! Look, i don't like OS-X or ios either , and for the same reasons: it's closed and a guilded cage. You can't fidget with it. But face it : in terms of friendlyness and easy to use ... nothing comes close. So yeah i have an iphone too. My PC's are all self built and i dabble in linux a bit too. Crying that iphone and mac kill 'free stuff' is just bullshit. If people wanna buy that, let them.
Besides there is nothing that prevents the open source community or Stallman himself to come up with a more attractive and even easier to use platform, do some killer marketing , build some really slick hardware, put it in a nice box and sell bajillions of it. But that means getting up and DOING something. Trying to sell a polished version of emacs isn't going to work... that's not what the big mass of people want. Same for loopey looney or whatever latest ubuntu is called these days or 'ice cream sandwich' or whatver droid is called.
Yeah i have a droid tablet ( actually i got two : one with 2.whatever and one with 3.1) and they are mediocre user experiences at best... ( no i don't have an ipad.. can't comment on that )
The droids lock up , scrolling isn't smooth and battery life is total and utter crap. The damn thing doesn't even have something simple like a spell checker. come on people... it's 2011... where is all this killer 'make-your-life-easy' stuff that we have been promised since the 80's.
The main problem with linux / android is that it is waaaay to fragmented. There are so main builds and strains , almost none that are comaptible with each other, you have to fidget with it to get it working right.
If someone were to make 1 system with 1 hardware spec and really tune the hell out of it, preinstall it , polish the user interface and make some programs for it that are actually feature complete and work right, you could do the same as Apple. But right now : it is a hobbyist / tinkerer platform that is no where near ripe to unleash to the unwashed masses.
Don;t get me wrong , it is great to play and tinker with the system , but that is NOT what the big masses want. They want to snap a few pictures, effortless correct them and send them too fabesook or flitter or grandma. They don't need to grep -r ls -l tar or all that other stuff...
As for emacs .... meh .. it's 2011. wysiwyg with spell checker is what i want... preferrably with imbedding of images, tables and more. And if it's to write code : give me a full blown ide with built in debugging , autocomplete and realtime code checking a-la visual studio.
Re: As for emacs ....
...and what about if you're having to do remote administration over a 4800 baud satlink, as some of us do? Or you are blind, or a fast touch-typist whose productivity increases by not having to reach for the mouse?
I do not particularly like emacs. In fact, I gave up trying to learn it over 15 years ago and stuck to vi[m] (or sometimes pico) ever since, but a) there is a market for emacs nevertheless, and b) I do think you provide the wrong kind of arguments against it.
The world should revolve around people
who edit text files over a 4.8K satellite link? Somewhat of an outlier there don't you think?
EMACS wasn't even very good as a mainframe terminal editor, take a look at IBMs LPEX or PMED on the old PRIME minis.
"hating" on emacs
This "hating" on emacs quite nicely highlights the "fanboy" problem.
Not everyone is the same sort of extra from an Apple SuperBowl ad. Some of us "think different" and have different requirements. Some of those requirements might be quite techical, or simply being able to recieve large numbers of text messages and not go insane cleaning them up afterwards.
Apple has a totalitarian approach. If they only abused their own customers it would be fine. However, they also insist on limiting everyone else's choices. They aren't just some hippies keeping to themselves in their own commune. They are more like a notorious band of fascist invaders.
You should be at liberty to use the right tool for the job.
some of us..
so because a very few need to edit text over a 4800 baud link the whole worlds needs to locked to stoneage technology ? not good....
If, in todays age, you still use a 4800 baud link over satphone : find a new employer that can afford better links. Modern satphones are way faster than that !
I daily use a hex editor to poke around in rommable code or disk sectors... should we resolve that all keyboards only have 0..9 and a to F and mandate people to access their harddisk file system on track/sector/head level ?
Point is : apple makes stuff for the masses. And apparently the masses like it. That is, until something easier to use / more attractive/ more features/ comes along.
No Free Apps??
"He designed them to refuse even to let users install their own choice of applications — and installing free (freedom-respecting) applications is entirely forbidden," wrote Stallman.
Gee, I could have sworn I had OpenOffice on my MacBook. Maybe Stallman was right and I just imagined it. This tosser is a decade or more past being relevant.
Fourteen people committed suicide at a factory making Apple products. Did Steve Jobs care? NO! One person failed in their attempt and ended up in hospital, paralysed from the waist down, with organ damage.
All Jobs cared about was money. He NEVER once spoke out against corporations and how they steal the labour and lives of others - sweatshops DO NOT develop economies because the workers never earn enough to stimulate domestic demand - basic economics! All rich countries developed using PROTECTIONISM, not by opening up their economies to exploitation by foreign corporations.
Google without quotation marks "multinationalmonitor Bad Samaritans: How Rich Country “Help” Hurts the Developing World" for an interview with a professor of economics at Cambridge University.
Search youtube for
"IMF & World Bank are weapons of war , by John Pilger"
"John Pilger - The New rulers of The World"
Poverty is the biggest cause of child prostitution.
Did Steve Jobs help fund any organization that opposes the right-wing, corporate-controlled mass media outlets? No! There's so much he could have done, but he did none of it.
I expect plenty of thumbs down because it's just not "cool" anymore to give a damn, such is the nightmare world people like Jobs have helped bring about.
We're human resources, factors of production, and we buy products - that's all there is to life now.
Ahem, last time I looked, pretty much all CEMs and OEMs operated out of Asia. So don't go laying the blame at Jobs' feet. If you use a consumer electronics device of any sort then you, the consumer, are as much a contributor to global poverty and poor working conditions as the next person. Scapegoating one organisation just makes the accuser sound like a hypocrite.
@Armando123, just like someone brainwashed with corporate propaganda: your taxes go towards subsidizing corporations. Vodafone refused to pay £6 BILLION it owed this country in taxes - the so-called coalition government said, keep it, it's yours! Google's worldwide effective tax rate is 2.3% - it shifts all its UK profits through an Irish subsidiary to avoid UK tax. Tax avoidance is legal; tax evasion is not.
What about the politicians (the trend started with Thatcher) making the financial sector 30% of this country's GDP, making us dependent on gambling and increasing house prices for our wealth? We run a constant trade deficit, because manufacturing was never considered a very important prop to the economy - hence, we are always borrowing. And with sky-high house prices, we're borrowing even more - houses should be sold at cost.
The reality is the world has FINITE RESOURCES - you can't have constant, incessant economic growth without stealing from other nations, and then, eventually, from your own nation, which is exactly what is happening now. Corporate globalization and privatization is about just that. The US privatized health system costs up to twice as much, yet it's what we're slowly getting. In the 1990s, the Conservatives said there was no new money for the railways, so they had to be privatized. After privatization, the Tories MORE THAN TRIPLED public subsidies to the railways, only now the money went to private companies who awarded their CEOs fat bonuses for accepting welfare. Those subsidies remained at that high level all through "New Labour's" decade in power, even as railway firms laid off staff and increased ticket prices.
In the past, most excess profits were re-invested in businesses to create growth - now, thanks to a globalized financial system, most of the money is shifted from country to country in search of a quick profit.
You moan about taxes, but not about exploiting "Third World" labour so you can have cheap goods - well, not so cheap after the corporations have hiked the price, on branded clothes, on the iPhone, etc., etc.
If you think giving corporations everything they want and having everything privatized is going to make things cheaper, you're sorely mistaken.
I agree with Richard Stallman
Sounds spot on. I can't believe it when I see supposedly I.T. professionals brandishing iPhones.
Apple is so incompatible with the aims of I.T. in general (the free moving of information, freedom of speech and freedom of choice).
My current phone is a Nokia E72 but with Nokia giving up on Symbian and partnering with Microsoft, that only leaves me with a semi-evil Android phone (maybe from HTC) but take that away and then what's my choice?
I'm beginning to think that there is a big business opportunity for a company to make a truly Open Source phone. I'm sure that any company that does that, will grow quickly and that is the only way to combat those who would enslave us to expensive proprietary software (along with all the privacy concerns that brings with it as well).
A truly Open Source phone
Meaning http://www.openmoko.org/ ?
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