Summary: Google harbours Wikileaks where Apple indiscriminately decides that anything from Wikileaks is not acceptable and thus bans the application
Linux has become popular in part owing to the accompanying philosophy it inherits from GNU. If this was not a factor to be taken into account by users, then it sure did make a difference to many developers. Google shares some of Torvalds’ philosophies when it comes to software development (freedom demoted in favour of technical merit) and Torvalds has an Android phone. There is nothing too wrong with that. A few weeks/months ago Steve Jobs smeared Android by suggesting that Android was not really open and Jobs received a lot of backlash for this unject insinuation. The head of Android compared Jobs to North Korea's dead leader (Kim Il-sung). As we showed earlier today in this post about Apple's Wikileaks censorship, Jobs is an abusive individual whose company regularly abuses power even to censor political dissent. Examples of this go even years back, e.g. software with humourous critique of George Bush.
Unusually enough, Reuters came up with this opinionated peace that implicitly names Google’s Linux-based phones platform as supporter of free speech/transparency whereas Apple is the opposite (many comments on this article, some from Apple apologists, as expected). From the opening:
Apple Inc has joined a growing number of U.S. companies that have severed ties with WikiLeaks, removing an application from its online store that gave users access to the controversial website’s content.
But Google Inc, which operates the second-largest online mobile applications store, has kept more than half a dozen apps available on its Android Marketplace that make it easier to access the confidential U.S. government documents WikiLeaks had released on its site.
It was very recently that Google said in its Android blog that rooting of one’s phone is acceptable and even encouraged as an option. There’s nothing to dislike about that. Apple is the opposite.
Apple, which famously used “1984″ to daemonise IBM, is now itself acting like Big Brother not just by silencing Wikileaks “Despite No Charges Or Trial” but also by censoring an application which criticises Steve Jobs the “1984″ way. To quote CNET:
Apple hasn’t always been entirely transparent about its app approval procedures. It has admitted that there have been some slight snafus. However, the company’s explanation for this app’s removal seemed quite clear (which doesn’t necessarily mean it is, to some minds, justified).
“We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,” an Apple spokesperson told CNET.
Over at Groklaw, Pamela Jones who has been defensive of Apple for a long time, writes: “So, here’s a question. Since minority views are what the First Amendment protects, if most of the world ends up on smart phones instead of computers, if the ruler’s edge is whether large groups get upset, how will they ever speak? This is getting serious.”
Techrights commends Groklaw for no longer posting items that defend Apple (it was different earlier this year) and it commends Google for showing that despite great success with Android it remains committed to at least some level of freedom. It would have been worse if the proprietary-but-Linux-based WebOS, for example, gained momentum like Google did. We are eager to see what MeeGo brings despite its management being on the iffy side. █