02.27.12

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Apple’s Lawsuits Against Free Software Show Hypocrisy

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

Summary: More evidence that Apple’s work on the hypePhone (iPhone) is a case of ripoff, by Apple’s own double standards

IN THE EYES of the Free software movement, sharing enhances the pace of innovation and contributes to cultural wealth. Ideas are everywhere and we should stop being overly possessive when it comes to the infinitely shareable. It is therefore natural to discourage artificial limitations and this new article speaks about two of them: patents and copyrights (even though Open Source does rely on copyrights):

The concept of protecting ideas and innovation by legal means dates back to antiquity. But many of our existing laws are under strain, their suitability and ultimate purpose called into question.

Here, Anton Hughes discusses collaboration and considers the role of the open-source movement in a world still governed largely by copyright and patents.

Open source began in the late 1970s and early 80s as a way of preserving the sharing ethos upon which early computer science was built. Since then it has grown well beyond its original scope, and now underscores the creation of many creative works.

It is an inaccurate statement. Open Source began much later and even the GNU project is under 30 years old. Despite the article’s inaccuracies, it does get across the main message about sharing. “Everything is a Remix” recently made the case against patents and it mocked Apple for its lawsuits against Android. “If Android is a ‘stolen product,’ then so was the iPhone,” says this new headline. To quote:

In a sense, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” It’s hard to imagine how Google could have prevented some iPhone innovations from seeping into Android design. The iPhone was the talk of Silicon Valley in 2007 and 2008. It would have been practically impossible for the Android development team to avoid learning about iPhone features. Once Google’s engineers were exposed to the concepts Apple pioneered, they couldn’t help but be influenced by them.

But if Google is guilty of using Apple’s ideas, Apple is equally guilty. Many researchers and companies invented technologies that predate the iPhone but made it possible. As Microsoft’s Buxton points out, Wayne Westerman (the multitouch researcher who sold his startup and became an Apple employee in 2005) cited the work of numerous early multitouch researchers in his 1999 PhD thesis. The iPhone incorporated key innovations pioneered by Bob Boie, IBM, Jazzmutant, Jeff Han, and others.

Apple’s products are themselves claimed to be patent infringing, but the reality of patents as a whole does not bother Apple. The company is built upon fantasy and delusion.

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4 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    February 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Gravatar

    Apple is not *against* open source software – they use it in heavily in all of their products: OS X, iOS, the iPhone, the iPad, etc.

    The idea they have a war against OSS is like saying they have a way against themselves.

    Roy: your knowledge of these things you write about is abysmal – how can you not know Apple uses so much OSS? And even with that they do not write / maintain, they include more and get more OSS into the hands of more desktop users than *any* desktop Linux distro. Seen in that way: they are better for OSS than any desktop Linux distro (though they also use their own proprietary software – software you think they owe you, so you hate them… and, because of their success, you – in your own words – “envy” them).

    Let go of your envy and work to make desktop Linux better… help it to catch up. Desktop Linux has become much better over the last few years… there is a chance it will actually be competitive and you can actually advocate desktop Linux and focus on something positive and not just attack those products you know are better suited for most people.

  2. walterbyrd said,

    February 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Gravatar

    “Apple is not *against* open source software – they use it in heavily in all of their products: OS X, iOS, the iPhone, the iPad, etc.”

    And scox viciously attacked Linux, even though scox was a Linux vendor themselves. Scox loved Linux, as long as scox could claim to own it.

    Sun tried to do the same thing, and so did Novell. Like scox, those companies claimed that only their versions of Linux was legal.

    Apple clearly feels threatened by Android, and has filed a flood of scox-scam like lawsuits; in an effort to keep Apple competitors off the market.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “The bottom line is that Apple’s current performance isn’t sustainable. The losses the carriers are presently eating on the iPhone are going to get squeezed out one way or another, almost certainly re-manifesting as significantly higher unit prices to the consumer. This, of course, will increase Android’s competitive advantage.” http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4128

    Michael Reply:

    “The bottom line is that Apple’s current performance isn’t sustainable. The losses the carriers are presently eating on the iPhone are going to get squeezed out one way or another, almost certainly re-manifesting as significantly higher unit prices to the consumer. This, of course, will increase Android’s competitive advantage.” http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4128“

    Oh, I think there is no doubt that unless Apple does something the carriers will start pushing lower end, lower quality devices if they think that will help them earn more money. As it is now, there are a large number of the lower quality Android devices (and some higher end ones) and they are very commonly seen in the market. Still, in terms of profits for companies and – more importantly – satisfaction for users, Apple still holds a large advantage. Comsumers do not care if AT&T is not making as much money from one device as from another, they care about what pleases them most and what offers them the best value. Still, advertising works and AT&T and others may very well try to push the idea that the also-ran is as good as the "real" product… and Google might get a better handle on the significant issues of fracturing and reactive malware work as opposed to Apple’s model of being pro-active.

    Interesting times ahead and I wish both well – as long as both do not directly plagairize from each other. Unlike Roy, I openly oppose plagairism, even though I admit there is a fine line between plagairism and being inspired from each other.

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