Bonum Certa Men Certa

If You Care About Freedom, Don't Support Apple

DRM trap
Picture contributed by twitter



"IF you want freedom don't follow Linus Torvalds," Stallman was sort of quoted as arguing in a rather sensationalist headline from an IDG interview a year and a half ago. But Torvalds is hardly the problem at all. His views may not be as 'strong' as Stallman's, but Torvalds is not the enemy.



Ideally, as Stallman might put it, we must not remain "helpless and divided" because imposition of such constraints is the condition on which crowd control is hinged, where one dissenter is un/able to attract followers and turn consensus upside down. In pursuing morality, it's important to collaborate with those who do not view freedom as hostile. The Linux Foundation and the OSI, for example, are not adverse to Freedom, they just emphasise it less.

“Steve was daemonising freedom at the time, turning it into an argument of cost.”It therefore becomes important to identify the real ferocious forces which disseminate tools that separate people. They restrict collaboration/sharing and in some circumstances stir up infighting [1, 2, 3].

So who are these people or forces which compare collaboration to evilness? In reference to "Linux" (meaning GNU/Linux in this context), Steve Ballmer once said that "it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free." Steve was daemonising freedom at the time, turning it into an argument of cost. Another Steve, Steve Wozniak, was claimed to have slammed Free software last year. A third Steve, Steve Jobs, has never shown much affinity for Free software either, with the exception of use (BSD) where freedom is defined differently. In fact, iPhone engineers wanted to pick Linux for the iPhone but it was Jobs who resisted it* and intercepted the idea because Linux is free as in Freedom (GPL) -- the same licence that Gates insists "we disagree with".

Further to this post from two days ago and the many supportive references, it is essential to remember that Apple is now ruining Linux-based gadgets using patents. In regards to Apple's behaviour in general, opines one blogger:

These moves suggest to me that Apples fears competition, and I'm wondering why.


Another writer, Sam Varghese, remarked about "The ugly side of Apple."

Apple Computer has a beautiful side to its operations. That's the side which comes out with some of the sexiest design in the tech world, the side which crafts those breathtaking interfaces, the side which gives you those applications that a five-year-old finds easy to master in the course of a morning's exploration.

[...]

The argument runs thus: if I'm doing something that doesn't cut into my profits, I must be doing the right thing.

But even Apple should realise that people will ultimately come to the conclusion that golden handcuffs are also a means of restricting choice.


The author refers to a couple of new examples where Apple takes away not only its own customers' freedom; it harms the freedoms of others too, casting them "irrelevant".

A month ago we explained how Apple had helped Microsoft's OOXML and looking at some newer evidence, as stated in one of the comments about Apple's office suite, "Whereas the OpenDocument standards are well-documented, xml-based, platform-independent and reasonably mature. So, I'm not sure why Apple wants to reinvent the wheel with their own proprietary document formats (though I have a theory, see below). [...] My personal theory is that Microsoft slipped some kind of document-format stipulation into a contract with Apple, forbidding them from using or promoting OpenDocument. (If you've done any reading on the kinds of behind-the-scenes shenanigans Microsoft has pulled over the years, this will sound very plausible.) This would also explain Apple's otherwise inexplicable support for OOXML during its ISO standardization debacle (where no doubt a lot of other behind-the-scenes shenanigans were going on)."

Remember ThinkFree? ___ * This is a revelation that came through the grapevine about a year ago.

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