[kwlug-disc] peoples' thoughts on apple, adobe and flash?

Andrew Kohlsmith (mailing lists account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Fri Apr 30 22:23:24 EDT 2010


On Friday 30 April 2010 09:36:03 pm Raul Suarez wrote:
> Oops. I think that you'll have to take the kool-aid antidote

Heh. I'm actually about as far from an Apple fanboy as you can get. I just 
know good design when I see it.

> Before the device is sold, he has all the right to decide what goes on the
>  device. To offer that seamless initial experience.
> After the device is sold, it is no longer HIS. If the user decides to add a
>  crappy app with a crappy interface it's his problem.

I disagree, but only in the sense that Apple has every right to dictate what 
they want to sell through the App Store. They can dictate whatever terms they 
want. If you don't like it, you don't have to use it.

Where I very strongly and steadfastly agree with you, however, is that the 
little device tucked away in my back pocket is *MINE*. Where I agree with you 
is in that if I don't want to play in his walled garden, I shouldn't be 
prevented from building my own. I don't even want a pointy-clicky interface to 
select my walled garden, I just don't want to be locked out from creating my 
own.

If I want to put write an app and use it on the device, I should be able to do 
so without mucking about with bootloader exploits and playing the endless cat-
and-mouse game that we currently are involved in. If I want to put Android on 
it, I should have that ability, through technically straightforward means. If 
I want to write my own OS and throw it on there, I feel that the specifications 
and schematics and datasheets should be mine for the reading. If I want to 
take it to the US or to Romania and use a native SIM, I should have that 
right.

... Oops, that's a different rant. :-)

Anyway -- my point was that Apple has the right to design the device any way 
they want. They can dictate APIs or user interfaces or screwy proprietary 
connector formats... anything they want.

The second, however, that I give Apple my money and take their product, That 
baby's mine to use however I want. If I don't want the App Store, I shouldn't 
have to use it. If I want to develop my own apps for it, I should have that 
right. It's mine, and Apple does not have a right to profit from me.

In fact, I bet if the specifications were open and I had a technically 
straightforward way of putting my own crap on it that Apple would still have a 
wildly popular device. The vast majority of people aren't me. They want the 
App Store. They want a easy to use and "safe" device. Enabling me to put my 
own stuff on it won't impact them in any way shape or form.

The problem with this utopia of course lies in the lawyers and the endless 
customer support hassle it would create. If there were a nice way that Apple 
could bow out of their support obligations if non-Apple-signed software were 
installed, this problem would vanish. If I discover a software bug and it 
still exists when I factory-restore and install ONLY App Store apps, I have a 
case for support. But if I have any unsigned/untrusted code on the device, 
they have zero responsibility to support me, much like tainted mode in the 
Linux kernel.

I'm sure that a lot of this whole locking down, outside of revenue stream 
protection, is nightmare avoidance. I believe, though, that revenue stream 
protection is the major driving factor.

Now there's also the argument that open schematics and so on would make knock-
offs easier to make. Perhaps somewhat, but there are already devices of similar 
function (and much poorer quality, both hardware and software) which are 
around even without the schematics and documentation. The second the iPad came 
out, there were identical twin knockoffs (save for the USB ports instead of 
Apple dock connector.) available. A TPM layer in the processor would be a good 
thing to prevent their software from running on clone hardware. (I like TPM 
when it's used properly and not to screw the end-user.) 

Personally think IP law should have teeth, and have teeth strong enough for 
international enforcement so that a company like Apple COULD feel free to 
design whatever they liked without fear of knockoff hardware running their 
software. What I disagree with is in the way IP law is currently written and 
enforced. I think that Fair Use (Fair Dealings in Canada) should trump IP law, 
and noncommercial use of technology (and media) should be as protected as free 
speech and the right to practice religion without persecution.

... That, however, is an entirely other rant, again. :-)

> I really have an issue with people say "he can do whatever he wants with
>  HIS device".

Perhaps let me elaborate a little then: Apple's right to enforce their walled 
garden is not in question; it's their garden! However the idea that they have 
a right to prevent me from using my own software on my own device is 
fundamentally wrong. I should be able to choose to play in Apple's playground 
with the device they designed, but I shouldn't be restricted to it. It is, 
after all, MY device. I paid for it. I own it.

Nobody sends lawyers out if I buy an iPhone and use it to level a table, it 
only seems to be a problem when I want to use it in a way that threatens their 
perceived right to a profit.

-A.




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