Summary: The king of showmanship remembered, but with a factual look at his achievements, not hype
STEVE JOBS was a very successful capitalist. He helped create a company that made a lot money.
Sure, the iPhone 4S is a sign of stagnation and more of Apple’s usual delusion, deception, media hype, and reality distortion field, but Steve himself did a very good job after he had rejoined Apple. By the word “good” we mean effective, profitable. See my thoughts on Apple (video) and why the company was in fact unethical. Whether it was Jobs’ decision to make those final decisions is not an issue we ought to go into because there is too much uncertainty there. Only people deep inside the company can shed light on these issues. We have some wiki pages about Apple to provide some more background information on some of these issues.
Apple’s outrageous software patents have not gone away along with Mr. Jobs. A day after his death we read that “Steve Jobs Patents OS X Dock Day Before his Death”. To quote: “A search at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) site reveals 312 issued Apple patents where Jobs was one of the listed inventors; 269 of these of these were design patents, which cover ornamental design aspects of some device. (A search leaving Apple out found 317 patents issues to Jobs, implying he also filed a few patent applications in the years he was not at Apple.) There appear to be dozens more pending patent applications filed in Jobs’ name, as well.”
Those were not innovations. Those were design monopolies. Many of those are not deserved due to prior art and generality. We saw these in the courtroom. Apple needed to doctor evidence (lie) to fool judges.
Richard Stallman’s comment on Steve Jobs’ death is polite and direct. He wrote in his political blog that “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.
“As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die – not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.
“Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.” [source]
Stallman summed it up quite well. Steve Jobs’ legacy was also mentioned by Jamie Love, who noted that:
Jobs was willing to build his newer products on free open source software and then use proprietary extensions and standards and patent litigation to marginalize free software. He was quite good at turning the operating system and applications into a store to buy things from Apple.
Over at Slated.org we found much harsher words about Jobs, including the following observations:
But no, it wasn’t Gandhi, nor indeed anyone of even the slightest nobility. It was a patent extortionist with an apparent objection to altruism, called Steve Jobs. Even El Presidente fawned over this selfish racketeer, like he was the new messiah, or something…
According to the CIA World Factbook, 160,521 people die every day. Steve Jobs was just one of them.
I bet very few of the other 160,520 people who died that day ever made sinister threats to ‘go after’ an altruistic software project like Theora, or ran around suing everyone for making ‘rounded rectangles’ and ‘green phone icons’. I bet they also donated a helluva lot more to charity than Jobs too, given that he apparently had some kind of objection to it, which is sort of like having an objection to love and compassion. Or how about the time Jobs bribed the police to act like they were his private security agency, to kick down the front door to a journalist’s home, seize his property and interrogate him like a criminal, just because of some crap iGadget accidentally lost by an Apple employee, after that journalist had already voluntarily contacted Apple and returned it to them?
So given the sort of monster Steve Jobs was, witnessing the spectacle of everyone from Joe Blogs to El Presidente gushing over him, like a bunch of schoolgirls at a rock concert, is absolutely sickening.
As for being a ‘visionary’ … the only ‘vision’ Jobs ever had was the one he nicked from Xerox PARC. From that point forward he made a career out of shamelessly stealing others’ ideas, shoehorning them into shiny but otherwise dysfunctional and DRM-infested toys, then branding an Apple logo on them (ironically also nicked, from the Beatles). And then to add insult to plagiarism, Jobs fraudulently stamped his ‘IP’ seal on those ‘shamelessly stolen’ ideas, then embarked on a hypocritical and vicious rampage of litigation. How’s that for gratitude? Add that to the litany of virtues Jobs didn’t subscribe to.
Paula Rooney chose another approach by doing PR for Mr. Jobs, essentially openwashing him. Her colleague did something similar. In a more respectful post from SJVN and from Muktware we find an openwashed Jobs whose relationship with FOSS is at least being described as “complicated”. To quote:
For whatever reason, Apple holds its secrets in a death grip. When new products are rolled out, developers are threatened with being removed from the program if they leak any information. Obviously, this seems over the top when you’re used to open source development and the collaboration that comes along with it.
Mr. Jobs was using patent monopolies to manipulate this market, so here at Techrights we stopped being apathetic towards Apple some time last year (after Apple had filed a lawsuit against HTC). Here is what Mr. Pogson wrote about the disinformation we keep seeing in the media:
I am being inundated with wild claims of fans of Steve Jobs about how wonderful he was. The facts are a different patchwork:
* He invented the PC – Nope. Not even close. I still have a working PC from 1980. The Macintosh did not emerge until 1984.
* He invented the GUI – Nope. Not even close. He got the idea from Xerox who got it from … I was using crude GUIs in the 1970s and they were old then.
* He inspires inventors – Nope. Many inventive people don’t even bother because some bully like Apple will sue them for inventing something.
And about the attack on Android he wrote:
The issues of patents is a house of cards soon to fall under its own weight. Samsung and Apple are in a mutually assured destruction battle and the same will happen to all the players unless patents are kicked out of software.
People die every day. Over a hundred thousand of them. Even a celebrity dies every day, but we are not seeing press releases from the White House issues for each one of them. What troubles us is that the death of a person not only became a media feeding frenzy (they are trying to monetise this death) but also an opportunity for revisionism because nobody is willing to say negative things about a person who has just died. Here at Techrights we care about what’s true, not just what’s PC (politically correct). Jobs and Apple — like Gates and Microsoft — were copiers of other people’s great ideas. They admitted this. So let’s not give more credit than deserved just because of a tragic and undeserved death. █