back to article Stallman: Jobs exerted 'malign influence' on computing

Veteran free software firebrand Richard Stallman has upset the apple cart by speaking out against the international canonisation of Steve Jobs Citing 1980s Chicago Mayor Harold Washington talking about a one-time rival, GPL licence author Richard Stallman reckons while he's not glad Jobs is dead, he is glad Jobs is gone. …


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  1. Turtle


    i would bet any sum of money that he get more heat about this than he's gotten for his views on pedophilia.

    Much, much more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately, you're right.

      The iTards are going to come down on full force against him. I might not like some of his hard stances, but he's spot on with these comments!

    2. Daniel 4

      Well, let's see....

      a) Totally crass comment which has been repeated and spewed across the web.

      b) Views on pedophilia that most people don't even know about, because they only get quoted and bandied about in VERY geeky circles.

      Yeah, I'd say he's going to take more heat for this (choice a) without a doubt. But I'm not at all certain it's about the comment, rather, more about the number of people who have heard it.


      P.S. - Fair disclosure: I dislike Stallman, but that long pre-dated Steve Job's death, and all this incident has really done is add "ill-mannered" to my list of negative qualities the man displays in abundance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    +1 to Mr Stallman

    1. Matthew 25

      Shouldn't that be Stallman++

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nah, you want to see the result of your own vote so it should be ++Stallman

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Finally, someone not afraid to speak out...

    Stallman is 100% correct on this. Jobs created a very huge walled garden, where idiots are tempted in to spend money and have to hand it all back at the gate if they ever want to leave..

    It's the reason why people keep iPhones, they spent a crap-load of money on apps that don't work on anything but Apple products.

    It's also the reason why anyone with a brain will steer clear and stick to Android. You buy your content once, and it works on your current devices, it also works on your devices next year, regardless of who makes them.... (aside Apple of course).

    1. Silverburn
      Thumb Down

      Oh please...

      Slate Apple all you like, but don't pretend Android is the perfect product. It's not. It's flawed, just as IOS is flawed, just as WinMob is flawed, etc etc.

      What you *should* have said is "anyone with a brain will do their research, then weigh the pro's and con's before deciding on their device". Otherwise you just come across as a rabid fandroid, no better and no more credible than the fanbois.

      1. Craigness

        Slate Android all you like...

        ...but don't pretend he pretended it is the perfect product.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      I don't see how Apple is any different to Microsoft?

      Proprietary complex office file formats and lots of lock in there.

      What about Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft games consoles? We all know they're computers that could do more but you can only run the software they have licenced and approved.

      The world simply isn't interested in free open source software on the desktop. The market share is simply minuscule. Less than 5% and closer to 1% probably.

      Stallman can bleat on about it all he wants. Just like socialists can dream of an end to evil big businesses and have a 4 day week with huge pensions.

    3. Silverburn

      Oh please...part 2

      And what's this crap about content lock in?

      It's funny but all my books and audio are DRM free and in 'standard' formats, and both are playable on both Android and IOS. I *didn't* have to buy them from itunes/kindle etc either. Which mean everyone doesn't either.

      How do I know? Because I use both devices.

      1. LyingMan

        Not many people understand the DRM lock-in of iTunes purchases. Especially most of the non-tech people who buy into iOS eco system.

        Apps, you can play games / use apps and then grow out of them. Serious apps give you a way of migrating data from iOS to elsewhere if they are cross platform. But progress in games cannot be migrated as far as I know. (I completed all levels in angry birds and got the golden eggs in iphone 3 GS but now have a android and am stuck on a earlier level and not have enough time to play and move on!)

        But media - songs and video, I know of a number of people who bought from iTunes as it was 'very convenient' and 'cheap' and now are not even able to think about moving from iphone even though they like big screens and Android tablets. Just media.. and not able to move out. That is the biggest walled garden and if not what else it is?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Android is a walled garden

      You buy your apps on android and if your lucky they will work on your next android phone but they wont work on any non Google OS phone.

      1. Craigness

        @Android is a walled garden

        I'm not sure you understand what a computer is.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Errm no,

        You buy an App, you can can use it on all your device you have registered to your account, and it's not locked to a single hardware manufacturer, so as long as it runs Android (which everything note-worthy does these days), it's not in any walled garden any more than buying Microsoft Office For Windows means you are tied to only using it on Windows.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: Errm no,

          Unless you use an Android Fire. Until Amazon reverses its policy, users will only be able to install apps that they purchased from the Amazon App Store - Android apps acquired by other means will not be able to be used with the Fire, unless it's hacked.

          1. Darren Barratt

            and it will be.

            Given the price point for the Fire and the fact it's using android means it's going to be jail broken before most people even see one in the flesh!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @ and it will be.

              Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that the user isn't free to instal what they like, how they like out of the box.

        2. Daniel 4

          @Barry Shitpeas

          "so as long as it runs Android (which everything note-worthy does these days)"

          Not trying to defend the original poster (who seemed a little confused), but this response is... well... in context... stupid. After all, we're talking on a forum about an article that covered Apple products far more than Android. Do you think those iPhones just disappeared in the time between when the article was written and you wrote your post? What about RIM's infamous crackberry? Or even the winmo phones? (Ok, I'm giggling at that one too, but it technically still counts.)

          Sorry, Android has NOT completely eliminated all other phone platforms, no matter what you may think. Taken off like a rocket, yes. Eliminated the competition? Not even close.


      3. windowlicky

        Android apps also work on Meego and WebOS

      4. kissingthecarpet

        They won't work if you don't have a phone, either, funnily enough.

        I take it you aren't a very 'techy' person.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      For Geeks Only

      He may be correct but he doesn't speak for the vast majority of Apple users. Most users do not care about the 'walled garden'. They only care about their devices working properly.

      1. MacGyver

        I was a user that cared about their "'walled garden",

        I loved my 2nd Gen iPod, and bought my daughter a iTouch because of it. I tried using iTunes, but found it slow and buggy, so we used Winamp on both (which was great), then one day, Winamp stopped working with my daughters iTouch. After looking around, I found out why, it was because, for no good reason, Apple decided to encrypt the database on her iTouch (without asking), and therefore it would no longer work with Winamp or any other non-Apple product.

        That was the moment I stopped buying Apple's crap, and vowed never again to buy another Apple product. I had purchased something, and they decided to removed functionality from it after the fact without my permission. There was no reason to start encrypting it, it worked fine before, they just wanted to "lock" me into using their substandard iTunes, and that was wrong.

        Apple does this sort of thing on all their products, from proprietary connectors, to OSes that look for a non-needed TPM chip, to encrypted databases, and ending in a App store that only Apple can add Apps to, but expect the rest of the world to write apps for, and then hope Apple will let it in (Skype). Don't forget about how "unstable" they claim Flash to be, I'm sure it has nothing to do with people being able to use web-based apps instead of their App store. ;)

        I use android now, and yes their open Marketplace might let me pull down the occasional malware, but at least I have choices, and if I want to install an app that lets me read and write to MY phone over wifi, I can.

        1. Not_The_Droids


          I bought my daughter a charger and an A/V cable for her iPod Touch - both non-Apple variants. With the charger, she gets an annoying message on her Touch, and the A/V cable doesn't work at all with the newer firmware. Like you, I'm done with Apple products. I'm not paying $50 for an A/V cable so we can watch videos from her iPod on the big screen. $5 I would, yes, $50, no.

          My Archos 43 (Android) is quite promiscuous, it'll take and work with any old plug. It's not picky at all.

  4. Alan Bourke

    Paranoid much ?

    According to Wikipedia:

    "Also, Stallman avoids use of a key card to enter the building where his office is. Such a system would track doors entered and times."

    Stick to writing software.

    1. MD Rackham

      Here, I fixed that for you

      Stick to <strike>writing</strike> copying software.

      Stallman has made a career of copying other's work in the name of "creative" freedom, usually subsidized by the people he was complaining about (DEC, Sun, Microsoft). The man's never had an original thought; no wonder he feels threatened by Jobs.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here, I fixed that for you

        "The man's never had an original thought"

        Erm, well what about the concept of a free software movement?

        I don't know of anyone else that was thinking seriously about this idea at the time.

    2. Ilgaz


      The purpose of keycard and wirelessly trackable, more convinient RFID enabled nametags is -exactly- that. To track people, to group them, make statistics and in some cases, help a computer program decide who to fire.

      In what kind of fantasy land you live? Really think "good bosses" thought it was inconvinient for workers to carry keys?

  5. Nerd

    Gun to Head

    Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to buy an iMac.

    1. Neill Mitchell

      The old "Nobody is forcing to you buy Apple" bollocks

      That old argument always pops up straight away.

      1) The problem is most people are ignorant. They do not realise that they are getting locked in to the walled garden. Does the sales staff in John Lewis explain the long term consequences of storing and buying all your media in iTunes before they flog you an iMac? Of course not.

      2) Apple often changes the rules AFTER you've bought your shiny iWhatever. Usually very cynically after they've sold a couple of million of whatever it is (changing the rules on how you are allowed to buy epublications 6 months after launching the iPad, for example). So whilst they don't hold a gun to your head when you purchase your shiny plastic, they sure as hell do later on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Check your facts

        @Neill Mitchell : "Does the sales staff in John Lewis explain the long term consequences of storing and buying all your media in iTunes before they flog you an iMac?"

        I have a large media collection on my Macs - music and video - and only a fraction of it was purchased through iTunes. And only a handful of my films are stored in iTunes. You can purchase, store, and enjoy media any way you like on a Mac - there's a vast array of software out there. iTunes is strictly option.

        I'd save the rants for the movie industry - that's a walled garden if ever I saw one. I've had many instances where a friend overseas sent me a DVD as a birthday or Christmas present, and I can't watch it (wrong region). Handbrake can't always cope with them either. And don't get me started on how they are trying to lock down the playback of movies on devices... or the way they seem to wrangle laws for copyright infringement with harsher penalties than violent crime... or the way you're forced to endure a "you're probably a thief" tirade when all you wanted to do was watch the film you just bought...

      2. Frank Bough


        "1) The problem is most people are ignorant." demonstrate this beautifully.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          and YOU

          Prove your ignorance beyond any doubt, thank you!

        2. Neill Mitchell


          @Ralph 5

          Yes, there are other music programs available on the Mac, but come on, iTunes is what everyone uses and you know it. You may use it to store your free music, but that is not its purpose. Apple didn't invest so much time and effort on iTunes because they want to ensure you enjoy your free media, it's a sales portal. So my argument stands, if you buy media you are locked in and Apple can change the rules at any time.

          @Frank Bough.

          Well reasoned argument you got going there.

          @AC. You are confusing DRM with proprietary software. If I have my bought all my music in iTunes and I decide I don't want to go the touchscreen route after my classic iPod, can I plug in my Creative Labs device and iTunes work with it? No, I'm stuffed.

          The stunt Apple has pulled with the publishers is indefensible. I can't believe Apple die hards can even try to defend what they did. What do you think happens when you squeeze the publishers? They pass the cost on. So who is the loser here? It's you.

          What makes you think I'm a fandroid? I'm a fan of true multi platform. Over the last 15 years or so I've owned Windows PC's, Linux PC's,Pocket PC's, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Maemo, Archos, Sony eReaders, Android and even iPods. I can play all my music on all of these devices and read my eBooks on everything except the iPod. How have I achieved this? By avoiding proprietary software and platforms.

          1. Daniel 4

            My tech-addled Grandma won't use iTumes for music, what's the point here?

            "Yes, there are other music programs available on the Mac, but come on, iTunes is what everyone uses and you know it. You may use it to store your free music, but that is not its purpose. Apple didn't invest so much time and effort on iTunes because they want to ensure you enjoy your free media, it's a sales portal. So my argument stands, if you buy media you are locked in and Apple can change the rules at any time."

            Wrong, wrong, wrong. (Maybe if I say it three times someone will actually listen.) I know people who are as geeky as they come and people who are just getting comfortable enough with their computer to put their credit card number in over "the big bad internet." Not ONE person I know has bought music from iTunes in years. Amazon seems to be the place of choice for a lot of my less techie friends, but it doesn't really matter - even 60+ year old grandmas know enough that they want "EM-PEE-THREES." If some of the people I'm thinking of are this aware, I have a hard time believing that this hasn't crossed a cultural line.


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Got proof for that? Nah didn't think so.

        1) who buys an iMac to use itunes when it's a free download? the only people asking for DRM are the record companies but it's more fun to blame apple.

        2) What! They bring in a way to buy eBooks then change it as publishers complain, at no time making it harder.

        Seems like just the normal ravings of a fandroid, devoid of fact but full of friction.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Gun to Head

      "Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to buy an iMac."

      Strike that and change it for

      "Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to snort cocaine."

      Do it for 6 months, then try to lay off the coke.

      1. Daniel 4

        @AC 07:26 - Computers are hard drugs now?

        Really? You think 6 months with a mac is like 6 months on a highly addictive drug? Do yourself a favor. Get out, find a soup kitchen. Talk to a social worker about volunteering with recovering drug addicts. Maybe just spend a few lunches with a real junkie.

        In other words, get some perspective on the world. You DESPERATELY need it.


      2. Paul 77

        Apple and openness...

        I'm mostly into Linux, but I have scrounged an old PowerMac G5 and it is a beautifully put together piece of hardware - both inside and out.

        That said I'm dismayed about the Apple app store Police, and will almost certainly not buy another iPod because (as others have already said) managing it is all but impossible without iTunes. This is a shame really. I do believe Apple could still succeed, as a company, purely on the design of its products, if they started using open standards. Please note: this doesn't mean they have to *support* use of iPods/iPhones/iPads under Linux, but they could at least make it possible by either using an existing open communication protocol, or documenting the protocols they use.

        And yes, I know... Not strictly on topic. I'll stop waffling and leave now.

    3. Steven Roper

      Re: Gun to Head

      No, but Apple are holding a gun to my head to try force me to buy an iPhone. What I want is a Galaxy Tab but I can't get one because Apple have paid off some judge to have it banned from sale in Australia. So those bastards are most certainly holding a metaphoric gun to people's heads by systematically exterminating the competition. Which is why Apple products and software do not come onto my property.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Have any of you guys actually bought any music from iTunes recently? I normally shop around for music downloads and purchase from the cheapest place. So I have tracks from most download stores, including iTunes, Amazon, etc.

        No music I have purchased from iTunes in the last three years has had DRM. I have been able to play the tracks on Linux, Mac and Windows without problems. I've also been able to convert them to MP3 for use on my crappy old Creative MP3 player without any restriction. I am in no way locked into using a Mac/iPod/iPhone to play my music just because I purchased some of it via iTunes. OK, I can't plug my Creative into iTunes and sync, but why the hell would I want to, or even think that would work?

        It's the record companies that force DRM into music, so saying that it is part of Apple's 'walled garden' lock-in is disingenuous. It's the same for the movie industry, it's them demanding DRM.

        The app lock-in is different though, and I'm sure it's a way that Apple do gain a lot of repeat business. However, I don't think most people are as 'ignorant' as you think. It's only us techy types that see the iPhone as a computer that is capable of more than we are being allowed to do with it. Your average non-techy person sees it as a consumer device that does or doesn't do what they want it to do, and have very little expectations beyond that. When I point out to my non-technical friends that they're stuck with Apple forever as the apps they purchased won't work on anything else, they just say "of course they won't, my XBox 360 games won't work on a Wii either!". It's been the same since the earliest home computers, and I think people understand that if you purchase a game or app for one device it will not work on something running a different OS.

        The app lock-in is no different than Commodore, Spectrum or Amstrad back in the day, and it's exactly the same as the current situation with PS3, XBox and Wii, even down to the locked down hardware and license fees payable if you wish to produce/publish content on the system. To your average punter an iDevice is a consumer device, not a computer that they own and are being locked out of. When it stops doing what they want it to do they will buy something else, the same as when everyone stopped buying Sega when something better came out.

        If Apple locked down the Mac the way they have the iPhone then we would all have something to shout about. It would be removing rights we used to have. But complaining about locking down a device that was never meant to be an open platform, and was always designed from its very first day as a closed consumer device is ridiculous. We all have minds of our own, so if you want an open phone platform, don't buy an iOS device because it is not one. Don't complain that it isn't one either, just pick something that is (best of luck finding that as Android certainly isn't!).

  6. Select * From Handle

    Job's has gone but

    unfortunatly he has left behind his Genius staff, which at the weekend when i contacted them about purchases missing on my iTunes account.

    They sent me about ten different links to Disney, Universal and other film production company's.

    Saying that i should take it up with them as they are the content providers!

    To which i pointed out that i had purchased the films through iTunes and that they are providing me with the content and that i wasn't about 2 email universal saying (hey their in lar lar land my purchases on itunes have disappeared! its your fault! GRRRRRR! )

    Genius's i think not...

    1. Ben Tasker

      If they give you any more shit

      Point out that the Sale of Goods Act makes them responsible (Apple) and that they therefore need to deal with it.

      Given how stubborn Apple can be, still wouldn't hold your breath!

  7. Piers

    > The open-source movement can only challenge this by

    > coming up with compelling ideas that count rather than

    > polemics.

    And maybe a way of making a sustainable ROI might also help -

    the creators of content tend to be a bit keen on that bit, one way

    or another.

    1. Matt2012


      99.99999999..% of the population on the planet make income from services. (Ie. their labour). Making money from restrictive licensing and monopolistic patents is ignoring the reality of the digital age.

      The future of most content consumption and software usage is going to be tied to online services. Open source is perfectly suited to this upcoming model. Its the old media monopolies and bloated proprietary desktop software vendors that are refusing to stare reality in the face.

  8. Pete Spicer

    I used to have a lot of respect for Stallman, for his enthusiasm in the early days for making open source viable, but lately I'm beginning to tire of his attitude.

    Yes, walled gardens are bad if you're closed minded enough to say that anything that isn't absolutely-and-truly-completely-irrevocably-open is inherently bad. (Remember, this is the guy who critiqued OpenBSD for having *links* to non open projects in their repository, as apparently that's endorsement for not using absolutely open software.) In any case, this is really an attack on walled gardens, per se, but on the notion that some software can't be free; Stallman would be perfectly happy for every piece of software to be free and developers all to be hippies like him. (Case in point: the GPL of which he is so fond allows for charging for work. Except that after the first copy is sold, it can be freely redistributed legally, which would put a lot of developers out of business.)

    What Stallman forgets is that the rest of us have to live in the real world. We don't all live in his cloud of idealism. If I need a piece of software to do a job, I'm faced with a) writing it myself, or assuming such options exist, b) finding an open source tool to do it for me, or c) buying a tool to do it.

    That's me. I'm able to have all three options for a lot of things. But there's plenty of times that only b) or c) are options for me, for things I can't write myself without vast, vast amounts of effort. I couldn't, for example, sit and write a DVD burning package. There are open source ones and there are paid ones, which is cool.

    Here's the point though: most people who live in the real world do not actually care about the idealism of free/open source software. They want a tool that gets the job done, with the least fuss possible. Makes no odds to me whether I use a F/OSS DVD burner package or a paid one - as long as it does the job.

    Now, most F/OSS tools I've seen haven't yet reached the ease of use and approachability that the paid counterparts have. I'm one of the people who has the time and resources to play around and try and make things work, but plenty of people don't have the time, resources or flat out skill to do it, and will quite happily pay for something to do it for them.

    Jobs understood that. Gates understands that. Stallman... not so smart.

    1. Nick Thompson

      "Case in point: the GPL of which he is so fond allows for charging for work. Except that after the first copy is sold, it can be freely redistributed legally, which would put a lot of developers out of business"

      I was starting to wonder if I was the only one to notice this. The GPL licence even has the audacity to specifically claim it does not mean "free as in beer" and that you are encouraged to charge for your software. Utter crap. There is a reason why the documentation for commercial open source software (which does not have a "sugar daddy" sponsor at least) is often utter shite, it's so that they can legally (by the GPL) sting you for support costs as it's the only way of getting money back. See the ridiculous state of affairs where some companies are obfuscating their updates as others try to supply support in their place. Completely unsustainable.

      A horribly misleading licence with disasterous consequences for the quality of software using it.

      1. sgtrock

        So far off from the truth it isn't even wrong.

        "There is a reason why the documentation for commercial open source software (which does not have a "sugar daddy" sponsor at least) is often utter shite, it's so that they can legally (by the GPL) sting you for support costs as it's the only way of getting money back. See the ridiculous state of affairs where some companies are obfuscating their updates as others try to supply support in their place. Completely unsustainable.

        A horribly misleading licence with disasterous consequences for the quality of software using it."

        Tell that to Red Hat. IBM. Amazon. Wall Street. Google. The U.S. DoD. The people running more than 91% of the world's top 500 supercomputers. Weta Digital. The London Stock Exchange.

        Taken a look around your house lately for any new electronic gadgets? Bought a WiFi router? New TV? A car? Odds approach unity that you've got software licensed under the GPL in your house right now and just don't know it.

        (Facepalm due to the cluelessness of the preceding poster.)

        1. Nick Thompson

          sgtrock: Well done for *completely* missing my point.

          "Taken a look around your house lately for any new electronic gadgets"

          They made their money selling me the DEVICE not the software. Therefore software licencing is irrelevant.

          "Tell that to Red Hat. IBM. Amazon. Wall Street. Google..."

          Did you miss my point about sugar daddy sponsors? It was even in the bit you quoted. Also well done for mentioning Rat Hat who are a prime example of a company which has had to start obfuscating their updates to prevent third parties taking their support revenue, a direct result of using the GPL.

          As an aside, why does an OS need a support contract anyway? Neither myself nor the company I work for has ever needed to contact MS for support with Windows, why should someone pay for support from Red Hat? The very fact people are paying third parties indicates that it is *nothing* to do with supporting the cost of maintaining the OS and presumably to do with (possibly unnecessary?) complexity of the product.

          Robert Long:

          Thanks for the personal insults. Grow up.

          Let me try and explain this.

          Writing software is expensive, computer programmers are highly skilled and command relatively high pay. Any software being written outside of their own time needs to be paid for in some way.

          If the software isn't of use to a massive company like google, IBM etc then you're very unlikely to get anyone to sponsor it, smaller companies, and particulaly public sector organisations simply do not have that sort of money, therefore you'll need to get a smaller amount of money from a much larger number of people/organisations.

          You can do this in two ways, sell it, or charge for support (or a combination). The former is pretty much ruled out by the way the GPL works (even if they deny it), therefore your only way to get money is to charge for support (the number of people who will simply donate is negligable). This has several implications:

          a) Your end users must see your product as actually requiring support, and be happy with this. If people do not need support generally they will not pay for it (it's hard enough getting some people to pay for a commercial product as it is!).

          b) This support revenue will need to cover the initial development cost and the ongoing development costs. This generally means that someone else will be able to provide support (especially since the source code is available) at a fraction of the price. Most of your customers aren't likely to think long term enough as to what the consequences are of you going out of business.

          The general result is that you have to design your product to *require* support, even if it shouldn't really, and still anyone can set up a company and screw you over by providing your support cheaper. If you disagree then I suspect you have a much higher opinion of people's decency than I do (of course, according to the GPL they aren't even doing anything wrong!).

          Consider the example of an AAA computer game with a multi-million pound budget. If that has to be released under the GPL (assuming games consoles supported it) how many people do you think would pay the company for support? They would download it and play it for free perfectly legally. The company would go bust and no one would ever write a high budget game again.

          The point is that the GPL is *not* suitable for most commercial software but it tries to make out it is, and cretins like Stallman and the FSF are trying to force it on everyone by claiming anyone not using it is evil.

          As a side note: I've no problem with source code being 'open' to people that have actually paid for the product for them to read, update, fork or whatever they want to, so long as anyone that uses that code (or things derived from it) has purchased a legitmate copy of the original from the company that *spent the money developing it*.

          The fact is, if you were right you would find that most commercial software (talking business software, consumer software such as game etc) is under the GPL. It isn't.

          1. Miek

            "Neither myself nor the company I work for has ever needed to contact MS for support with Windows"

            I have and it really really sucks!

          2. Jeremy Allison

            Nick Thompson wrote:

            "Thanks for the personal insults. Grow up."

            and then followed it up with:

            "and cretins like Stallman and the FSF are trying to force it on everyone"

            Pot, have a seat over here next to kettle :-).

            Thanks !

        2. FrankAlphaXII

          FOSS in the US DoD

          What software is free that the US Department of Defense uses? Im not trolling, Im asking an honest question here.

          Please enlighten me, Im very interested in this and Im not an idiot nor am I ignorant, I just wasn't in the Signal Corps who manages all of our IT infrastructure. I spent most of my late teens and twenties in the Regular Army in the Intelligence and Security Command and I think I can count the instances of FOSS use on one hand, they were almost all classified, and I dont really consider classified software "free" since it cant be legally distributed. I mean legally under the GPL it *could*, but you'd be going to United States Disciplinary Barracks Leavenworth with the quickness.

          They use IIS for Web, they use exchange for their email servers outside of AKO/DKO which is Java, they use Windows for most non-JWICS/NSANET Desktops and for the vast majority of their servers (again, non-JWICS/NSANET because they require a "Trusted Environment". Windows isnt considered trusted because Suite A Crypto doesn't play nice with it).

          The only real heavy FOSS use that I know about is what we call Flask and the wider world refers to as SELinux on a very small number of file servers, as well as the computers that are set up for the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System and the National Security Agency Network. DISA uses Cisco Routers, and the SATCOM systems that all branches use are proprietary OS based, which may be Linux but Im not really sure, Harris and Motorola make them. I worked on the Intelligence side but I did have to know how to fix alot of this stuff when it broke because almost noone enlists as a Communications Security Repairer anymore.

          I do know that the Air Force uses Java for almost everything, and the Navy's damned close in that regard, but the Department itsself including NSA/CSS and DISA as well as the Army is a very proprietary environment.

          1. gerryg







            1. FrankAlphaXII
              Thumb Up


              Thanks for the links. I really appreciate it Sir/Ma'am. I like to know what we're up to because AKO/DKO, Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online (our web portal) really sucks at informing anyone of anything.

              Also, just so you know NSA/CSS calls SELinux "Flask" or "Fluke" depending on environment. I'm former MI, and I used to work for a brigade that pretty much IS the CSS part (Along with the Naval Security Group and a very small part of the Air Force ISR Agency) of the NSA/CSS.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The Air Force's computer security honestly scares the fuck out of me. I spent a couple of weeks doing penetration testing at a research lab after the AF got its ass kicked at the war games competition while ago, and it was deplorable. Plus they use Java, which I greatly dislike.

            Ada is the language ideally used by the alphabet soup, but I've never been required to design anything in it, and I honestly wouldn't be involved as much if I had to learn yet another language just to make them happy. NSA works with Linux a fair amount, although it has in-house distros that are specialised behind all hope in hell of ever seeing light of day in the public.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I was starting to wonder if I was the only one to notice this. "

        No, and you're not the only one dumb enough to think it matters either. The world is awash with people using software they haven't paid for, and it ain't all GPL.

        People actually mainly pay for software for two reasons (other than fear of legal action): they want support and they want to get new versions when they come out.

        The GPL makes no difference to these two key items: pay for GPL software and you will normally expect support and that the money will help create new versions and improvements. No different from any other software.

        "There is a reason why the documentation for commercial open source software (which does not have a "sugar daddy" sponsor at least) is often utter shite" Because software documentation is almost always utter shite. Have you read the manual that comes with MS Office? Why waste paper and ink on it, let alone money? Every serious user gets a third-party manual, and the vast majority of mature GPL projects are likewise supported, indeed are generally better supported because the writers of the manuals have full access to not only the code but often to the programmers without any difficulty involving "commercial confidentiality".

        By and large, Free Software has had a bigger and more significant effect on the world of computing than anything Jobs did, with Microsoft a close second due, ironically, to Gate's total opposition to the potential of software being utilized by poor people. Those two poles form the axis around which the world of computing hardware and software revolves; Jobs sat in the middle and lifted/stole ideas which he then polished and branded and booby-trapped with lock-ins for the easily bought, but he never brought anything actually new to the table.

        "A horribly misleading licence with disasterous consequences for the quality of software using it."

        You are a fool and deserve all you get.

      3. Adrian Midgley 1
        Thumb Down

        No. You can pay for services, or not

        your choice.

        And the reason the documentation is poor is that you didn't write it.

        Almost entirely neither did I, but I'm not complaining.

      4. This is my handle


        I'll take perl documentation over power-shell's any day. MySQL's over Sybase's or Oracle's flagship db too. Do a "man ps" in Linux and comare it to "help tasklist" in the MS command shell. (Don't even get me started on the futility of clicking "Help .... (anything other than About)" in nearly all Windows products; I couldn't figure out how to get much helpful Help the few times I've used Apple products either; their approach seems to be like the pricing of their products at the Apple store: if you have to ask, you shouldn't be there.

        It is really discouraging though how quickly these flame wars degenerate into ad hominem hissy fits. Jobs was an innovator, I don't see that as a debatable issue, frankly. Also a capitalist. His company has been anti-competitive at times and (as you can conclude from the above), I'm not fond of their products, personally, but that would not cause me to "speak ill of the dead" as so many seem to feel compelled to do. Stallman, OTOH, is very much alive. He's obsessive, and narrow-minded, and doesn't seem like the kind of guy you'd want to go have a pint with. Still, his contribution to Open Source Software cannot be denied.

        "Can't we all just get along?"

    2. sisk

      Stallman's smart enough, probably on par with Gates and Jobs. The problem is that he's more narrowly focused in his intelligence. That and he believes that proprietary software is inherently evil.

      To be fair a lot of companies that sell proprietary software have exploitive business practices and Apple's one of the worst. That kind of thing is what helped form his opinion of proprietary software. Stallman goes too far the other direction in my opinion with his view that all software should be free. As far as I'm concerned there is a place for both FOSS and proprietary software.

    3. lurker

      "Here's the point though: most people who live in the real world do not actually care about the idealism of free/open source software."

      Very true, however it's important that some people do care about these things, and that is something RMS does very well. Basically he's being a dick so that we don't have to.

      Benjamin Franklin said "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." - and you could easily substitute 'convenience' or 'usability' for 'security' in that sentence. The benefits of free and open software are not as immediately obvious as those of a convenient and well-designed user-interface - but that's not to say that they are not, in the long term, of greater importance.

    4. TheOtherHobbbes

      The irony is...

      that GPL and OpenSource are a different walled garden.

      Instead of being delimited by cash, they're limited by programming skill. The effect is the same - ordinary users are forced to operate software in the way that certain programmers think they should.

      Saying "But you can program the system to...' is useless given that - well - oddly enough, most people aren't programmers, and don't want to (or can't) learn about languages, repositories and dependencies just so they can add some original features to their (say...) media player.

      And then there are the licensing and distribution issues associated with GPL.

      So the control freakery seems roughly equally distributed.

      Jobs scored points over Stallman by creating technology ordinary people want to use. Stallman and Open Source have never understood why this is important. Geek cred is *not* user appeal.

      OS has scored is in projects with obvious user benefits - like Wordpress and Joomla (etc) which have become de facto standards for many web projects.

      But OS on the desktop has been a history of fail, precisely because OS projects become all about bull geeks noodling around coding useless features because they want something to do, with little thought for the needs of non-geek users.

      1. Adrian Midgley 1

        Almost everything is wrong, including

        that that doesn't demonstrate irony.

        My incompetence at programming does not constitute your control.

        And there is no wall around the garden of FLOSS.

    5. Ilgaz

      Thanks to people like that, oss exists.

      Forger/Ignore who rms is and look to his CV with the perfect universities, excellent recommendations, published work used by other legendary developers (includlng the ms/apple elite) and highly prestigious labs.

      Also try to imagine what kind of connections with such credentials would have. His linkedin page would be fun.

      A person like that, instead of swimming in money, having multimillion dollar home, a car fleet and lost track of share options still wonders around and try to stop the ignorant being abused.

      I have never shared his views and IMHO they are way beyond today's half human/half animalistic scheme of things but I just can't accept bunch of lifeless people who achieved nothing in life or would do very evil things for money act like he is some sort of freak.

      1. Daniel 4

        Re: Thanks to people like that, oss exists.


        The problem is, thanks to people like RMS, many OSS projects have occasionally come close to dying, too. Case in point: GPLv3. All I can say is thank goodness Linus Trovalds put his foot down on that one; I personally know at least one company that absolutely would have migrated from linux to another platform. Put bluntly, RMS spends far more time hurting his case than helping it.


    6. Naughtyhorse


      They want a tool that gets the job done, with the least fuss possible.

      like for example Mussolini making the trains run on time.....

      (try to engage brain prior to putting mouth in gear)

      1. Sean Baggaley 1

        Perhaps you should check your facts.

        Mussolini did NOT "make the trains run on time". Far from it.

        (And, yes, before you open your ignorant gob once again: I _am_ Italian.)

        1. hplasm


          I thought Italians were cultured and polite.

        2. Naughtyhorse

          my ignorant gob is well aware of the facts and said greasy wop did in fact male 1 train run on time - and the rest is history


    7. openminded

      if you bought it you own it

      if you pay for a piece of software, you have the right to view and modify the source code.

      but why are people willing to pay for software and yet give up this right!!!

      1. Matthew 25

        Because you only buy a license to use it. If you read the ELUA thats all you got. oh and if by the way it fails to work or junks all your data that's just too bad.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        @openminded - Read the license

        You've not 'bought' commercial software. Not ever unless it is an IP purchase.

        What you've purchased is a license to use a copy of the software, and your custodianship of your copy is only allowed if you stay inside the terms and conditions of the license.

        You agreed to this when you opened or installed the software. You gave the right away yourself, as long as it does not conflict with the law where you live.

        And why should paying for the use of software entitle you to see the source code? Does buying a toaster entitle you to the complete spec's and blueprints for said device, or purchasing a CD entitle you to the sheet music for the songs?

      3. Miek

        Because end user do not own the software, they lease it from the manufacturer.

      4. The Commenter formally known as Matt

        in most cases you don't have this right, so you can't give it up.

        Wanting something you don't have is not the same as giving up something you do have.

      5. Adam Johnston


        'if you pay for a piece of software, you have the right to view and modify the source code.'

        Feel free to hack away at the binary to your hearts content, but why do you feel are entitled to the source code any more than you are entitled to the engineering schematics or CAD files that were used to build the computer your software runs on?

        You are of course free design your own computer from scratch, just as you are free to write your own software.

      6. Charles 9

        Because that's not in the terms of the copyright.

        You pay for a piece of the software. That let you use the piece of software. But you don't know how it's built just as you don't get the blueprints for the motorcar you drive.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    interesting choice of words

    "Jobs' success at hypnotizing millions of people into a perverse love for the walled garden"

    I don't like walled gardens, neither do I like monopolies. I have these opinions because I think both these things do more harm than good. However, what is not obvious to me is that the rest of humanity falls into one of exactly two categories:

    people that agree exactly with me


    people who have been "hypnotized" or otherwise fooled into thinking that a walled garden is ok.

    There could also be a body of people who say to themselves "I know it's a walled garden and so there are restrictions to my freedoms but that's OK because I'll consciously sacrifice these freedoms in order to gain other benefits whose value to me personally outweigh the disadvantages".

    The idea that only the foolish, stupid or uninformed would settle for a walled garden is patronizing in the extreme. Unfortunately it is the stance taken by those who see themselves as taking a moral and principled position; it is as if their opinions set them above those that don't happen to agree with them. Liberal and libertarian? Absolutely not.

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mr Humble?

      I just love the idea that anyone who doesn't agree with him is a fool.

      Small minded doesn't even begin to come close to describing it does it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Mr Humble?

        Not sure if your comments are directed at me. If so, try rereading my post. If you still think that I said that anyone who does not agree with me is a fool then you need help with your comprehension skills.

      2. Daniel 4

        Humility is for those who don't know tthat hey are right

        When I see someone come out of a bar, jump on their bike, stick a light cigarette in their mouth (yay ashes in the eyes!), and take off down the road without a helmet, I assure you - I don't agree with his decisions; I do consider him a fool, and make no apologizes about it.


  10. Anonymous Coward

    What Jobs did is give people what they like to see.

    Clear options and ease of use. That's because they understand, test, and research user interactions. And some people are daft enough to pay ludicrously over the odds for the feeling of having their needs respected.

    What 99.99999% of open source projects give us is what the author wants to see, and screw you if you don't like it; write your own and give that away for free you ungrateful loser. They will _never_ get the point of a user interface; they will _never_ 'get' the idea that other people view things differently to them; and they will _never_ value a UI specialist on the team.

    While Linux commands are still based on nerdy Unix in-jokes and Open Office menus put common features in the most obscure and contradictory branches of the convoluted menu system then there will always be a Microsoft and there will always be an Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "convoluted menu system"

      Because MS Office always has the most frequently used options in a logical place?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How Rude!

      > What 99.99999% of open source projects give us is what the author wants to see, and screw you if you don't like it; write your own and give that away for free you ungrateful loser. They will _never_ get the point of a user interface; they will _never_ 'get' the idea that other people view things differently to them; and they will _never_ value a UI specialist on the team.

      What an incredibly offensive thing to say. It may be true that some open source is not user-friendly. I've seen more commercial software like this than I could possibly remember.

      Your comparison is like saying "poor have no morals", "rich never steal", etc. The nature of the work (open source or commercial) is not correlated to the "user-friendliness".

      You're saying that the only good programmer is the one that requires money to code. You are saying that a passionate programmer wanting to give something to the world out of love couldn't possibly have an appreciation of the beneficiaries of his work.

      You should be slapped and slapped and slapped again. And then forbidden from technology.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It may be true that some open source is not user-friendly".

        - Congratulations! You have achieved mastery in the skill: 'Understatement'. I will grant you that a few, like Apache, get it right and rightly dominate their field. But nothing else comes close to the ease of use, support, and downright popularity of that project, and that's borne out by it's 'market' share.

        "I've seen more commercial software like this than I could possibly remember."

        - And that is why it fails, too.

        "You're saying that the only good programmer is the one that requires money to code".

        - Nope. I'm saying that market forces feed back into development cycles to push them towards what the market will appreciate. Open-source projects lack the hard feedback of the ROI and struggle to compensate.

        "You are saying that a passionate programmer wanting to give something to the world out of love couldn't possibly have an appreciation of the beneficiaries of his work".

        - No, I'm saying they could, they may even try, but they invariably fail to do so. The programmer is often far too involved to make objective decisions; the more 'passionate' they are about the project the worse they will be at taking an objective view of it. And then they'll be the last to admit they need someone else's opinion. Working under a director or producer provides that guidance, but few of those buggers worth their salt will do it for free.

        And you refer to your users as 'beneficiaries'? Apple would be proud...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > You're saying that the only good programmer is the one that requires money to code.

        Er, the only _professional_ programmer is one who is paid to code. I'm guessing a good percentage of people round here are professional programmers of one stripe or another. What was that Dr Johnson said about blockheads and those who write for money?

    3. Windrose

      What Jobs' engineers did ...

      "Clear options and ease of use"

      Ah, no. Not really. What Jobs - or rather the engineers working for him - did was give users "if you do things our way, they are easy". They did NOT give them "what you want to do? It's easy in our system!"

      Flexibility is NOT a buzzword applicable to the iPhone or iPad (yes, yes. I do own both. You don't want to know what I have to do to play my ripped CDs.)

      1. Colin Wilson 2

        Ripped CDs

        "You don't want to know what I have to do to play my ripped CDs."

        Let me guess...

        1. Import them into iTunes.

        2. Synchronize with your iPhone

        1. Windrose

          Alas, no

          Well, not directly. It's a bit tricky, and require a bit of work. I can either jailbreak - which voids warranty and sends my accountants spinning - and use something like ZodPlay.

          Alternatively I can convert to ALAC. Noo ... too much work to keep two sets of files. Then there is the purchase-app-to-play-for-me option, with for instance GoldenEar.

          And, finally, it appears I can use the iTunes 'file sharing' function to actually add the files. Not tested this yet. With the trickery I need to do it's actually easier just synchronizing the files directly to my Nokia, and play.

          What is EASY depends on what you want to DO. The iDevices are easy to use as long as you do only what the engineers behind them think is worth doing.

          1. alphaxion

            well, if you're running windows as your OS then its as simple as installing itunes agent and configuring the sync. Works fine for my galaxy s2 and itunes and basically lets you sync a playlist (smart or dumb one) to the drive letter you configured earlier. Just need your device to support mass storage mode.

            The only reason I havent cut ties with itunes yet is because of the large numbers of podcast feeds I have. Will eventually migrate them off tho, then I'll have to find a non-itunes based manager and sync app.

          2. Daniel 4

            "Well, not directly. It's a bit tricky, and require a bit of work. I can either jailbreak - which voids warranty and sends my accountants spinning - and use something like ZodPlay."

            Do you still have Applecare on at least one of those? Because I don't have a single purchased piece of media from Apple in my collection, and all I had to do was just what the poster above said:

            1) Import

            1b) (Optional) Select songs to sync if your collection is too large to fit on your iThing.

            2) Sync

            If you're still having problems, you may want to confirm that your collection isn't bigger than the free space on your phone - if it is, then you'll have to actually go through and select individual albums/artists/songs/playlists for syncing, but that's the only tricky part - and usually only comes up if you have an old iThing with very little storage.

            Honestly, I've used several different phones, but syncing an iPhone is one thing I've never had any problems with. The Apple drones exist for a reason, if you're still covered, make them help you.


            1. Windrose

              ALL you had to do?

              "Because I don't have a single purchased piece of media from Apple in my collection, and all I had to do was just what the poster above said"

              I've not got any purchased media either. But, honestly, tell me how "all" you had to do was "import", "sync", and play your FLAC files?

  11. The BigYin


    ...In an article about Stallman you refer to "Linux desktops".

    Or was it deliberate?

  12. Chris Fox

    Compelling ideas

    Talking of "compelling ideas that count": how about the idea of open, free to use, platform neutral protocols that are the foundation of the Web? And what about the open source and free software on which the Internet was largely built? And small stuff, like Apache, MySQL and PHP etc. Do these not count? Perhaps ironically, without them, the parasitic services of iTunes and Facebook could never have been so successful. It is surely right to challenge those whose corporate ideas are to close everything off and return to a Compuserve-like world, if only to allow free and fair competition.

  13. Jonathan White
    Thumb Down

    I don't really have an opinion about Stallman's views on OSS vs Proprietary but my opinion on his statement is this : you don't win friends by criticising someone a day or two after they've died from cancer. That's just... uncouth. There's an discussion to be had about the software models we use, but to phrase it as personal criticism for someone who hadn't even been buried at that point... that's not great. Not great at all. It makes him look like a fanatic, which is exactly what the OSS community has been trying to get away from for years.

    Far from getting OSS out into the mainstream and bringing the necessary knowledge to the fore, all he's done is reinforce the general population's opinion that people who care about this stuff are maladjusted neckbeards with the social skills of a camel.

    Whether you think Jobs was the second coming or a modern day robber baron, you don't help your cause by this kind of thing. Stallman may not care (apparently, he cares about very little other than advancing his own agenda and ego) but he's just made the lives of a lot of people who look up to him that little bit harder and more unpleasant.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      completely agree

      it's almost as if the crass insensitivity is deliberate - being contentious is a good way to attract publicity and "any publicity is good publicity". It /is/ counter productive though, as you point out. I also have a sneaking suspicion that being a contrarian is habit forming; as is neck-beardism too, probably.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What are you on?

        > it's almost as if the crass insensitivity is deliberate

        Like the front-page newspaper stories of indulgent glorification are not just as offensive?

    2. Steven Roper

      Maladjusted neckbeards with the social skills of a camel

      I just spat my curry over my keyboard and monitor as I read that line, thanks for that. I'll be putting that line aside for later use in conversation, if you don't mind!

  14. Tim Walker


    I didn't realise until relatively recently, that one of Apple's gifts to the Linux community, is CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System). Yes, the same suite which powers Mac OS X's printing subsystem, has also become the current de facto standard printing-handling software on many, if not most, Linux distros.

    Any thoughts on this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple didn't write it - they bought it in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cups

      Yeah, my thought is that CUPS predates OSX, nor is Apple the original developer of it.

      In fact it was only made OSX's printing system in OSX 10.2. Apple bought the CUPS source code in 2007, hence why it's now referred to as the owner of CUPS.

    3. Santa from Exeter


      CUPS was in Linux loooong before Apple nicked the BSD kernel to build Mac OS X. Apple simply bought the code and now touts itself as the 'developer' because they employed the real developer of the software.

    4. Ru


      CUPS isn't an Apple gift. It was developed and open sourced some time before Apple chose to use it in OSX. Since then, Apple purchased the project from the original developers. Whether the project has remained open source for purely altrustic reasons, or because of license obligations isn't entirely clear to me ;-)

      You'd be better off looking at the work Apple have contributed to LLVM and Clang. Its a little more esoteric and non-consumer oriented than CUPS, but it is pretty interesting and useful nonetheless. Seems like they've also done a better job here working with open source devs than they did with Webkit/KHTML.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Jeremy Sanders


      CUPS was in Linux before it was Mac OS X. Apple bought the company producing CUPS after CUPS became the standard Linux printing software.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, yes

        But Apple hired Matthew Sweet and bought the code.

        1. FrankAlphaXII

          Wasn't CUPS developed by AT&T when they owned the IP to Unix back in the 80's?

          Because I know the Timekeeping program that AT&T uses, ELVIS, is Unix based and had to have better printing capability to keep the Payroll and HR people at the Death Star happy. I mean it wouldnt surprise me if AT&T had an outside developer make it but its use in Unix predates even Linux AFAIK.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why yes

      I think you have proven your ignorance quite effectively.

      1. ThomH

        An objective observer might say...

        ... it's good that where Apple have benefitted from open source software, they've ultimately given back to the community.

        A cynic might add that while it is objectively a good thing to have happened, it's likely Apple acted through legal obligation.

        Only a partisan would go so far as to claim misdoing. And, in one case above, to just start making things up about the FreeBSD kernel.

        That all being said, Stallman is making a value judgment about the overall balance of Apple's business position in recent years. So CUPS, WebKit, Mach, LLVM/Clang, OpenCL, etc are already factored into his conclusion. Apple's contributions to those projects don't 'disprove' him per se.

        My take is that I don't agree with him because I think his world view is too simplistic. For example, if you look at what Apple's stance on Flash has done to the market overall, it's probably been positive. I don't suggest Apple had altruism in mind, simply that their acts have been to the community's benefit, possibly even despite their intentions. But Stallman doesn't seem able to distinguish between intent and effect. I also agree with the poster above that speaking out now, in these terms, is likely to be more of a hindrance than a benefit to his cause.

    8. Anonymous Coward

      my thought is that you have been brainwashed by the "Apple Truth", which is a common condition, where Apple still tell their users a version of the truth and they believe it without question.

      I think the last occurrence of the "Apple Truth" was only yesterday where Apple released some horseshit PR about selling 1m iPhone4s in the first 24hours of sale, clearly they know there is no way of verifying this, so they can claim whatever they want, and if it spurs other people on sheep-like "well it must be great, Apple said so, where do I get mine", nobody will even question those numbers down the road.....

      1. Tim Walker

        That's a bit uncalled for...

        With all due respect, Barry: it was an honest mistake on my part. I saw the Apple trademark/copyright note on the CUPS admin pages, and (naively?) took it at its word. I haven't had time to delve into the details of CUPS' history, but now I've received a good solid downvoting on here, I think I ought to...

        And by the way: I am not the kind of "Apple Kool-Aid drinker" you imply. Yes, I own one Mac, but I have never bought anything via iTunes (and hope I never will), and have avoided buying any iProducts precisely because of the "walled garden"/iTunes dependency issue.

        I'll hold my hands up and admit where I've FAILed on the research front (as here), but I don't think I deserved being painted as some zombified Apple fanboi for it...

        1. Ben Holmes

          @Tim Walker

          I think Tim, that Barry has just admirably highlighted one of the reasons why people haven't taken to F/OSS in a big way - it's the obnoxiously childlike, rabid bastardism of the few that discourage people asking the reasonable questions, getting the sensible answers, and more importantly getting to know this new 'Linux' thing better.

          Be reasonable people. The man made a simple mistake. Yes, correct him by all means, but don't get all smug and superior about it.

          1. ThomH

            @Ben: I'm not even sure it was the mistake people are making out

            CUPS was first released in 1999. It was incorporated into OS X in 2002, at which point Apple's contributions started. In 2007 Apple hired the main developer and purchased the code, yet the contributions continue.

            So Apple have been contributing for 75% of its public life. They've owned it for 33% but have continued to publish.

            The GPL, and all other licences, affect what you can do with code you acquire under that licence. As a general rule, they don't bind the original author. Since Apple bought the code, they've acquired it other than under GPL and aren't required to continue to keep it open source. It's almost certain they don't own the whole thing (as it's very likely that at least one third party contributed something under the GPL and didn't subsequently sell that to Apple), but they've continued to release what they own which is most probably a very significant portion.

            So the conclusion that Apple sponsor CUPS, and own a portion of it that they release even though they don't have to is correct and is in their favour. Any assertion that because Apple bought it or because it already existed they haven't contributed anything is just plain false on the facts.

            Of course, it's still a question of an overall assessment. If I found out that Stalin was always very good at gardening I wouldn't therefore conclude that he was a really nice guy.

    9. Tim Walker


      ...that'll teach me to do a bit more homework - honest mistake. Sorry, all.

  15. Colin Millar

    The lesser of three evils?

    Most evil - Hardware company

    Not quite so evil - Software company

    Least evil - Advertising company

    Yep - I can see how the history of the whole C20 leads to that conclusion - for open source crusaders. Stallmans sense free proclamations and advertising have a lot in common - they both pretend to be profound whilst on examination actually say nothing of substance.


    A man without an Apple

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    closed hardware

    Without the closed software the closed apple hardware would never have taken off.

    And that's what the industry needed, we are no longer limited by the hardware the same way we were 10 years ago. If i can provide an airline pilot an Ipda to cut down on paperwork, a bin collector one to mark down problems with collection and a politician another to take notes then having a common hardware base makes it possible to share everything amongst them.

    You can replace a shop till and every single purchaser of your app will have indentical hardware and software to run your shop till app on, and the card reader dongle will work the same and the Wifi will work the same and the support will be the same and the dock will be the same.

    Imagine doing that with an Android phone, or using a windows 7 laptop, a complete nightmare.

    1. CollyWolly
      Thumb Down


      Apple doesn't do that....

    2. Naughtyhorse

      why would i want my bin man writing to an airline pilot about missed collections?

      You can replace a shop till and every single purchaser of your app will have indentical hardware and software to run your shop till app on, and the card reader dongle will work the same and the Wifi will work the same and the support will be the same and the dock will be the same.

      read 1984 please

    3. Craigness


      The industry provided things like that before the "Ipda" came out, so you're obviously wrong.

      People have been writing software for PCs for decades, despite there being no lockdown on the hardware side. People develop for Android phones today even though there are differences in the hardware. It's not a nightmare because your software interacts with an operating systtem, not with the hardware itself. There are also tools which help you design for and test different configurations, and you can always specify minimum system requirements for your pilot's Android tablet if you want.

      if (!GPS) { message("Call yourself a pilot?"); }

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I always find it somewhat confusing that many who are inclined towards open source still warm to Apple despite it being a much more toxic company that Microsoft in this respect.

    At least with Microsoft, there was genuine hardware choice and an open market forcing down prices - and the software never mandated that you could only sell applications via Microsoft's own channel, for which you'd pay them 30% as well as letting them decide what can and cannot be sold.

    Bill Gates had people by the throat, but no one loved him for it. Steve Jobs had them by the balls, and they worshipped the guy. Say what you like, but that's true genius.

    1. Quxy

      @Why are FOSSers inclined toward Apple?

      Simple -- it's because OSX works.

      I may feel guilty when I sit down in front of a Mac, but at least it's easy to make the machine do what I want -- unlike Windows, which inevitably sends me into a frustrated fit of rage after half an hour of unsuccessfully trying to get it to stably perform what should be the simplest tasks...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Ever tried changing recursive permissions on OSX without resorting to obscure shell commands? For a company that prides itself on user interfaces, I'm always astonished by how much in MacOSX you either can't do, or have to resort to the shell to do.

        Windows has never been perfect, but the philosophy has always been that everything has to be feasible in the user interface without resorting to the shell. That has unfortunately left the shell as a second class citizen, but it does make for a better experience for non-technical users. One of the biggest differences between Windows and both OSX and Linux is that the former has always gone down the route of doing everything in the GUI and let the shell suffer; whereas the latter OSs have gone down the route of doing everything in the Shell and let the GUI suffer. Where Apple got a march on Linux is that they fixed a whole bunch of the holes in the GUI, but it is still weak and, in my opinion, a little Fisher Price.

        You, the consumer, can make your choice. I certainly see reasons why people would want all 3 options. If you will excuse the stereotyping: the techie likes doing things via the shell and wants as much flexibility to configure as possible, they pick Linux; the artist likes to have something that looks simple, but has no desire to change anything complex, they pick OSX; the rest pick Windows because it is configurable enough and simple enough. The middle ground will never get huge acclaim, but it tends to dominate the sales.

        1. Quxy

          @resorting to shell

          And 'resorting to the shell' is bad because...?

          1. TeeCee Gold badge
            Thumb Down

            Resorting to the shell is not bad. Each to his own and all that.

            *Having* to resort to the shell in a GUI OS, 'cos some clueless wazzock forgot to provide that functionality in the GUI, is a right fucking pig's ear.

      2. Craigness

        "frustrated fit of rage"

        Why are mac users such cretins when it comes to windows? What exactly is it you're trying to do and how are you trying to do it? I've not managed to destabilise a windows machine in at least the last 5 years.

        I've positioned my taskbar at the top of the screen and media player sometimes opens underneath it. Apart from that, windows 7 is as smooth as warm ice. And it was 20% of the price of the mac equivalent.

        I suspect all of the love of apple and the hate of windows has been cleverly conditioned into fashion-conscious technobuffoons, so that they can't operate anything which is not a white or black rectangle. Advertising doesn't work on me and in the real world windows wins.

        1. Quxy

          @Love of Apple?

          Erm... As should have been clear from the icon, I'm a *NIX user, not a Mac fanboi. The two previous comments simply confirm my hunches about Windows UI design decisions.

        2. Sean Baggaley 1

          "Why are mac users such cretins when it comes to windows? "

          Did you not read the post to which you've replied to? He was a Windows user _first_. Only later did he move to OS X.

          "I've not managed to destabilise a windows machine in at least the last 5 years."

          Neither have I. My main problem with Windows is its incessant interruptions. I'll be happily writing away, "in the zone", as it were, when suddenly my window is shoved rudely into the background and up pops a little box in the corner informing me that Windows "must restart" in 10 minutes.

          Unfortunately, as I was writing at the time, the odds were often pretty high that I'd be about to hit either Enter, or the space bar. As often as not, I'll therefore select one of the two buttons without intending to. That is _terrible_ UI design, and extremely f*cking annoying.

          Furthermore, Microsoft isn't even the worst culprit. I lost count of the number of popups and warnings from the so-called "security" software I'd had to plaster over the bloody machine. (My PCs were shared with other members of the family back then.)

          All these interruptions and intrusions on my work took their toll. I was literally being thrown out of my workflow, losing my train of thought, and having to _waste my own time_ re-reading what I wrote to kickstart my brain again. And I've almost always worked as a freelancer, so my own time is bloody expensive.

          OS X's GUI does not throw focus around so wantonly. It's not perfect—the way the multiple desktops flick about in Lion took some getting used to—but it's still better than Windows 7, which I have in a Boot Camp partition.

          Simply put: OS X is generally easier to work with for me and many others. I can still use sudo and chown like the rest of 'em, but I _prefer_ not to: my memory works best with spatial cues, not verbal ones. GUIs simply make more sense for me.

          As for the "fashion-conscious technobuffoons" insult: I regret to inform you that I've written published games in assembly language, and have never, EVER, been accused of being "fashion-conscious".

          EVERY Apple product I own, I've bought because it offered the best value for money *at the time of purchase* (1). Show me a _direct_ competitor to the new 13" Macbook Air, complete with the same resolution display, and that Thunderbolt port (which, incidentally, was co-created by Intel, so it's not just an Apple invention). You can't, can you? Because nobody's making anything like it. Ditto for Apple's new 27" display, with its Thunderbolt port and built-in breakout box supporting USB 2 and Firewire. That's an IPS display that's _way_ higher resolution than the usual grotty tat from Acer. Not even Dell's 27" display can match it on price. Ditto for their iMacs.

          And I bought my iPhone 4 because it was _cheaper_ than the HTC and LG Android devices sitting right next to it in the shop. Fashion and faddery had sod all to do with it. I can't say I've regretted my purchases either; all the Apple kit I've owned has provided sterling service and some of the old stuff is still going strong, despite one of them—an iPod touch—having been used as a baby rattle! I'm happy to pay a bit extra for good design and good service.

          (1) Granted, by the time a specific Apple product is approaching the end of its (typically year-long) shelf life, the value for money point is often not there any more as competitors will have finally caught up, but few people upgrade more than once a year, and most usually leave it for 2-3 years or more, according to need. My aunt still plays her match-3 games on a 7-year-old Sony running Windows XP. Only now is she asking me for advice on its replacement.

          1. Craigness

            @Sean Baggaley 1

            I did read the post "to which I've replied to". I'll quote it below so that you can read it too. I didn't read past the first 2 paragraphs of yours.


            @Why are FOSSers inclined toward Apple?

            Simple -- it's because OSX works.

            I may feel guilty when I sit down in front of a Mac, but at least it's easy to make the machine do what I want -- unlike Windows, which inevitably sends me into a frustrated fit of rage after half an hour of unsuccessfully trying to get it to stably perform what should be the simplest tasks...

  18. jai

    snore off Stallman

    Some of us like it inside our walled garden. Walled gardens allow for protection against the elements, so it looks nicer, and neater, and the weeds get routinely pruned. We don't get foxes coming along at night and eating the chickens, and there's a nice gazeebo affair in the middle, where you can enjoy a cuppa tea without getting rained on or the wind whipping away your cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches (crustless, cut in triangles, obviously).

    Just because it doesn't fit into your weed-induced-hippie-utopia vision of the perfect world doesn't give you the right to knock down our walls and trample over the gerberas and drink our kool-aid and pinch the chicken drumsticks off the bbq, you bloody oik!

    1. PJI

      me too

      Most "free" software is a pain in the neck to install, not as portable or universally installable as many imagine. I have experienced hundreds of such pieces of badly designed, poor interface software (and some really rather good items too) on VMS, Primos, heaven knows how many varieties of UNIX and Linux/GNU.

      Actually, oddly, OSX has proved to be the easiest for "free" software, either from Apple, GNU or Mac Ports. BSD with ports is the next. What is more, OSX comes with much of the really useful stuff installed, e.g. Apache, PHP, Perl, Python, gcc, X and much more. I do have to download gpg, costs about two minutes, real pain.

      I used to think Linux was all right, till I got fed up with newer releases needing more and more fiddling to make them work on my old hardware, the size increasing fast with every upgrade, every release being a beta. Commercial Redhat and SUSE were all right; but then, we had a team of our own supporters to test it, make sure that things worked and we were fairly limited in how we used it and I, being an engineer and paid for my time, was happy enough to work around the bad links to MS Exchange, rotten calendar management and half-baked "office" software (I hear that has become almost office-capable at last). Of course, the secretaries had MS Windows.

      Then I got a Mac laptop (cheap from a student who had won it and needed the cash more than the machine) and suddenly, Linux seemed just pointless - all that hassle and still not as good. For my X yearnings, I quickly got X and twm configured and even KDM working (abandoned KDM and Gnome and the like: OS X provides a more reliable, quick and useful interface for those times when more convenient than command line).

      As for consumer devices, mobiles: I like walled gardens. I do not want my mobile crippled by a virus or some app that spends all its time 'phoning home or eats all the memory. Walled gardens are delightful oases in which, even in a bracing English climate, one can grow peaches, grapes and apricots against a sunny, sheltered wall; in which the noise of traffic and people is kept out or at least muted; in which I can sun bathe, naked or not, chat to friends and family in privacy and security, have, for a few moments, freedom to be me.

      Stallman and his ilk are privileged twirps who have no idea how people outside their little scrapyards live and work, nor how they have to pay for it. Clearly, their way is not "a better mousetrap" or the competition, whether Nokia, Apple, MS, IBM, Cray or whoever would all have gone or never started long ago. Interesting that much of the successful "free" software is supported through the good graces of commercial sponsors providing staff, machines and money e.g. MySQL, OpenOfice, much of Linux (go on, I bet you thought Google, Redhat and Canonical were charities peopled by volunteers in their spare time)

      1. Stupidscript
        Thumb Down


        So ... you fuddled around with Linux, continually trying newer and newer versions on your old hardware until you became fed up trying to cram all of that newness onto your old gear.

        Then you got a BRAND NEW APPLE, and Linux never looked so bad?

        How come you didn't get a BRAND NEW WHATEVER and install Linux onto it, just to see if your problems have been caused by your refusal to entertain the idea that BRAND NEW gear might work slightly better than your old, decaying hardware? You do realize that hardware breaks down, after awhile, and that new gear is constantly being improved and updated, don't you?

        Your experiment proves nothing except that you prefer brand new gear over old gear.

        Your argument is like saying, "I hated broccoli for years because it was never prepared correctly, and then someone served me some ice cream and it was head and shoulders better than broccoli, so that means that broccoli sucks and ice cream is good." Nonsensical, at best.

        1. JanMeijer

          Been there, done that, got the t-shirts, moved on

          I tried nearly all on the desktop over the last 13 years. Various versions of Windows, NetBSD, FreeBSD, various Linux distros. Never on hardware older then 2.5 years. Windows? Usually works, also with the new thingamajig you just bought and plugged in. At least audio with skype worked flawlessly. Linux? There was and is always something that needs some days of fiddling. I grew especially tired of the audio not working out of the box with Skype.

          1 year ago I converted. Mac. It gives me what I need for my job. A gui layer that Just Works. Not perfect, but it works. And when I need more? Unix underneath with all my favourite goodies, partly delivered by Apple, rest delivered by mac ports.

          Open source fundamentalism is all nice, but at the end of the day it has to *work* and allow me to Get On With It. I like to use my tools, not be my tool's tool.

          And that's where many open source projects go wrong. "Then you just fix this, do that, twist and turn here". Right. Or I could go skiing rather then working out how to pottytrain my desktop.

          Apple does that, making sure the tool doesn't get in your way, most of the time. Open source desktop products should get their act together. Tormenting people out of their spare time doesn't entice the masses.

          1. ThomH

            OS X has its own precedents though

            Dial the clock back to 1999 and look at Apple then. The difficulty is remaining relevant and providing a computer that can attract developers and do anything useful while Windows has 95% of the market and desktop applications are much more relevant than now. So Apple did the smart thing to stay alive: they embraced the open source community, combined what they perceived to be the best parts of the then competing platforms and the one they'd bought (ie, UNIX underneath, NextStep as the basis for the UI and for applications, get Microsoft on board to supply Office and Internet Explorer), published quickly and updated often.

            That set the precedent from which OS X can't easily retreat. It's build in a certain technological way and it'd be neither easy or particularly desirable to start swapping major underlying parts in and out now. It's a much better idea to continue to build upwards.

            Conversely, skip forward to 2007 for the iPhone and you've got a company swimming in iPod money and more able to dictate terms. So they ban Flash, close off as much as possible and a year later when they start doing apps they insist on being the single source and — for a while — being the only company that can even supply development tools.

            So Stallman's judgment of the company is probably better measured against the iOS experience, which is Apple at its most confident doing everything it thinks is right, than then OS X experience, which is derived from Apple trying to remain relevant and to attract users.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Been there, done that, got the t-shirts, moved on

            "Open source fundamentalism is all nice, but at the end of the day it has to *work* and allow me to Get On With It."

            Fundamentalism? Sheesh! Open source works pretty well for me, and if I need more of it, it's an interaction with the package manager away most of the time. None of this "It's so easy, I just click Next lots of times on some wizard - it's like being a power-user but without the fat!" nonsense, but stuff that actually gets out of the way.

            "I like to use my tools, not be my tool's tool."

            Or just a tool? The various free desktop projects may have gone off in bizarre directions, but those of us who don't crave the "latest shiny" manage to get work done without "pottytraining" anything.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        "Interesting that much of the successful "free" software is supported through the good graces of commercial sponsors"

        There is nothing inherently wrong with making money from software.

        This is a common misconception. Even RS does not have a problem with making money from GPL software. If programmers can spend a lot of time working on software because they are being paid for it, then it stands to reason that it will be better and more comprehensive than that done in the spare time of amateurs.

        You know most people make money from doing things for you the customer. I and others just think those same rules should apply to everyone. Software is the means to the end, not the end itself.

    2. Windrose

      Indeed true - but ...

      "We don't get foxes coming along at night and eating the chickens, and there's a nice gazeebo affair in the middle, where you can enjoy a cuppa tea without getting rained on or the wind whipping away your cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches"

      Very true. Except you can only get tea from the Dimbula district of Sri Lanka, and people will laugh at you if you meekly ask for a cup of Rooibus or - perish the thought - a Longjing.

      If this is fine with you, GOOD! Just don't flood the airwaves with propaganda that it is fine for EVERYONE.

  19. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    First rule of good manners

    Speak only good about the passed away or do not speak at all.

    Granted, that rule does not apply where manners are overriden by morals and law. From my perspective that is not the case.

    1. Benedict


      I agree, and I might add Hitler was a fine young gentleman!


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My diagnosis

    Stallman suffers from a severe case of assburgers (as South Park would put it)

    Hope he gets paid in kind when he dies, by way of a shot of blinded criticism and ignorance of his other contributions.

  21. CD 1

    "Some now think Jobs created the tablet, but it was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in November 2002 who talked of a new era of mobile computing with the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition."

    Some now think Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates created the tablet in 2002, but it was Tom Diamond in the 1950's that demonstrated the Styalator electronic tablet with pen for computer input and software for recognition of handwritten text in real-time, followed by many other released products and concepts up to 2002, including Apple's Knowledge Navigator, which, in 1987, featured a tablet computer with numerous advanced capabilities.

    1. /dev/null

      And not forgetting...

      GO Corporation, who developed pen-based tablet computers and OSs from 1987 onwards, without any great commercial success (in part thanks to Mr Bill). At least Jerry Kaplan got a good book out of it ("Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure").

  22. scannall

    I have to disagree here. Apple produces computers that people can use without being a computer geek. Open source, while having a sort of 'nerd hip cool' to it, just isn't that useful to the vast majority of people. You know, the people who just want to use the damn thing. Not spend hours fussing with it to get something done.

    I have Ubuntu on one of my machines, Windows 7 and OS X on a couple more. The Ubuntu machine is fun, but when I am in a hurry and need to get work done it is my last choice. By trying to cram 'Geek Heaven' software and OS on people you are locking out a huge segment of society from a useful and valuable tool.

    The people for whom Linux et al is useful already have it. People have voted with their wallet, and have chosen to pay for something that works and is useful instead of the free option that really isn't as good.

    1. JimC

      Open Source is very useful to the vast majority of people *provided someone who knows what they are doing is running it*.

      But then, like we used to say, "Any idiot can manage a Windows server and by the look of things one is probably managing this one..."

    2. Windrose

      WITHOUT being a computer geek?

      "Apple produces computers that people can use without being a computer geek."

      Bollocks to that. Apple produce devices which can be used if all you want is what their designers also want.

      Give my mother-in-law an easy-to-use iPhone? Not without ALSO giving her a COMPUTER. Play FLAC, 'cause that's what I rip my CDs to for high-quality sound? Oh, heck; it's a damn minefield to get them playing on the iPad.

      Have you TRIED installing free apps on your i-Box? I did - it took more geek knowledge that it does to configure Apache ... but, oddly enough, once learned both are easy enough.

      My desktop computers have been running Linux since 1993. My window manager is ctwm, and it is much hated by everyone I know. But: there is nothing quite like my setup for the things I WANT TO DO!

      IF Apple's devices do what you want, fine. Great. Most bodacious. If, for ANY reason at all, you want to do something OTHER than what they've designed into them - no matter if you are a geek or not (ref. m-i-law above) - it ain't very user friendly any more.

      And herein lay the problem: Steve Jobs was an excellent marketeer. He did his job with great competence. He also managed to sell so many people on walled-in devices that it may just have impact OUTSIDE of the people who actually find them useful.

      As long as your definition of "user" is the same as Apple's, everything is rosy red. Please try to accept that not everyone agree with that philosophy.

      "Open source, while having a sort of 'nerd hip cool' to it, just isn't that useful to the vast majority of people."

      Heh. Right. The vast majority of people using the 'net might be inclined to disagree with you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Let me set out my credentials first. For a desktop OS I hate Linux and tend to use Windows. I tried using Linux at various points in my life and it didn't work for me.

        The funny thing is though, I wholeheartedly agree with your post. Everything you said. The most key thing being that Apple computers are absolutely fantastic if you want to do exactly what Apple decided you should be allowed to do. I made a comment earlier about recursive permissions. There are many other examples: putting files onto your iDevice without using iTunes; moving iTunes installation from one machine to another; playing FLAC (as you mention); going to a Flash website; trying to run DTrace on a kernal function; the list goes on.

        Incidentally, whilst I don't like Linux as a desktop OS, I love it for other things. At work I code for 3 different operating systems: Windows, Linux and Solaris. At home I have linux running on a tonne of devices, including my servers and my entire Squeezebox setup.

        1. Windrose


          "For a desktop OS I hate Linux and tend to use Windows. I tried using Linux at various points in my life and it didn't work for me"

          Excellent - without a trace of sarcasm. If Windows - or, for that matter, Mac - works for you, go for it. Neither give me anything but grief (I plugged a separate monitor into my Windows laptop today. No matter how much I designate the laptop screen the 'primary', and no matter how much Windows actually agree, it STILL opens new windows on the separate monitor. Plus 2-5 empty windows. I have no idea why).

          Hence I'm using Linux for my desktop - ctwm, for reference.

          What I critique is, as you correctly point out, is the conception of Mac - or Windows - as somehow more "user friendly" than anything else. It all - absolutely all - depends on how you define 'user'; on what you want to do, and how.

          Would be nice if we could all agree that one's mileage may vary.

  23. Chazmon

    I never used to have a problem with the whole walled garden approach until two recent occurances.

    The first was a presentation at a conference singing the praises of iTunes U. Can it be searched from the web? No. Does it attract many views? No (not when compared to youtube equivalents). The only positive benifit seemed to be the insubstancial 'Apple polish' and the small chance of being featured. I was most dissapointed when my institution anounced the release of their own effort.

    The second was the most damning. I was writing a piece on the use of smartphones in education and wanted to cite a couple of iPhone apps due to their excellence and inovation. Could I? No. The best I could do was to cite a second rate website which reviews them.

    I dont own a portable music player so I was quite happy to leave each to their own but with everyone running towards these walled gardens they are starting to worry me.

    1. Justin Clements


      You can link to stuff on the iTunes store. How do you think all the software developers link to their apps on the store from their own website?

      1. Craigness

        Eh Heh?

        It's true, but where's the download link?

        Here's one for an app, which apparently "is a hack mirror app that copies your important information to steal." I thought that was impossible in the jailed garden! Anyway, there's still no download button.

        In the Android market you click Install in your browser, confirm, then your phone automatically downloads and installs the app. Didn't Apple copy the cloud already (in a magical and inventive way, with inspiring design running right through the product)?

        I think what Berners-Lee was criticising was the way that you can only link to a download by taking your webpage reader outside the web. A well designed, web-centric, non-controlling solution would be like what google does with apps or amazon with songs: link to the web and let all classes of web user get the content they want in the same place without the prerequisite of non-standardised software. Spotify does something similar: you follow a link to someone's playlist which they want you to see and find that Spotify doesn't want you to see it, unless you let them see your email address etc.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't like Apple, but Steve Jobs deserves his praise

    I am a Linux devoted Android toting, get the picture.

    But remember that Android had to be good to try to beat the usability and looks of the iphone OS (Positive influence). The same influence applies across the actually has started to make improvements in recent years as they lost share to apple. It is pretty much known that the usability, looks etc was a direct influence from Steve.

    Finally, yes Apple users like to sit in their walled garden/jail....but in fairness a lot of the Apple crowd like the brand name and styling...

    Monkey with the brand name banana gets all the cred...and we're all monkeys at heart.

  25. launcap Silver badge

    Walled Gardens?

    If he thinks Apple invented walled wardens then he's on crack - what about Compuserve? AOL? MSN? Or even BBS dial-up in the (rally) bad old days?

    Methinks the thing he most objects to is that the Apple walled garden is popular - because (as said above) the majority of people don't what complexity, don't want to have to recompile and (most especially) want simplicity delivered in a consistent and well-analysed way.

    RS needs to realise that the vast majority of people don't share his libertarian, utopian dream. They just want to be able to download music, apps and films in an easy fashion. Or as the Romans used to say "panem et circenses"

    1. Craigness


      If you think he thinks Apple invented walled gardens then you're on crack.

      From the article: "Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool"

    2. Zippy the Pinhead


      AOL did have a walled garden approach to Internet Access however CompuServe gave you true internet access. and this was even after AOL bought it. Ever click on the internet button? If you did it launched IE. No sites or content were blocked.

      1. JonHendry

        Not at first

        "however CompuServe gave you true internet access."

        Not for the first however-many years it existed, before the web.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Walled Gardens?

      "If he thinks Apple invented walled wardens then he's on crack - what about Compuserve? AOL? MSN? Or even BBS dial-up in the (rally) bad old days?"

      What about Apple eWorld? Ah, right: you probably weren't paying attention at the time, so it can't have happened, obviously.

      You may not like the likes of Stallman "harshing your mellow", but even if you don't agree with the guy, at least he is there to remind people of history. Useful when the cool kids of today feel that they have nothing to learn and are inventing everything themselves.

  26. me n u

    I'm glad he's gone

    I agree with Stallman. His points about Jobs/Apple are the major reasons I despise Apple, at least as much as Sir Billy Bob/M$. While I believe Jobs is a nicer person than Billy Bob, both are ruthless business barons. Both capitalize on the ideas and work of others.

    I'd have to flip a coin to decide which of these two I detest the most-it's a dead tie.

    BTW, I have never used iTunes, iPad or iAnythingElse, and never will. I do not swear allegiance to anything or anybody: not BillyBob, Stevie, Stallman, Schmidt. No one means no one!

    1. 1Rafayal
      Paris Hilton

      How exactly do you run a business without capitalising on the work of others? I am confused, do businesses have a magic tree that fruits business ideas? Or do they simply rely on their stock of Unicorns to provide unlimited wishes to generate new business ideas etc?

    2. 1Rafayal

      How exactly do you run a business without capitalising on the work of others? I am confused, do businesses have a magic tree that fruits business ideas? Or do they simply rely on their stock of Unicorns to provide unlimited wishes to generate new business ideas etc?

  27. JDX Gold badge

    Stallman's borderline deranged

    Serious tinfoil hat loon. Some of his principles are well and good, but where he goes with them is stupid. Not to mention that the moment he starts describing non-OSS as "evil"...

    Not sure if her does more harm or good to OSS' cause these days. Seems to be edging more and more to become a Westboro-style caricature of himself.

    1. JonHendry


      Stallman is dancing on the razor's edge of becoming one of the muttering homeless people in Cambridge.

    2. sisk

      He always kind of reminded me more of Moses or John the Baptist than FP, what with his oft-unkept beard and his persistant zealotry.

      For all that, though, I like the man. I don't agree with a lot of his ideas but at least he's trying to help people in what he believes is the best way he can.

  28. s. pam Silver badge

    RMS is hallucinating again

    RMS quit being relevant when all the various UNIX vendors quit suing each other. His delusional statements are ridiculous in a free market. In his world, he'd prefer we all drop our trousers, bend over frontwards and open up to all and sundry.

    I'm an Apple customer but not someone who will blindly defend 1 Infinite Loop but RMS just wanted to get his name on a carcass.

  29. Stephen Channell

    Kinda missing the point

    Apple may have created a cult around Steve Jobs, but people had the choice to go into the walled garden that was created to meet the demands of the Movie/Music business, who are still obsessed with DRM protection.

    The ‘sins’ of a cult invariable arise though the corruption of the faceless courtesans. Without the deity, the walled garden will slowly little-by-little turn into something that only serves the courtesans and their stock-options.

    Sometime after his last will and testament is read, I expect Richard Stallman to lament what Steve Jobs could have given to the world but didn’t

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would suggest to Mr Stallman

    Instead of spending his time writing about how the world would be better without Steve Jobs, he should actually go out and create such a world, one as successful - but free.

    Truly free (not semi-"free") devices and software that the whole public wants to use (no I don't mean compilers for techs)

    Surely if his idea of freedom is that good he'll have no problem in building and promoting it.

    Go on Mr Stallman, prove SJ wrong.

  31. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So what did Steve Jobs *give* to the world?

    Obvious answer. Nothing.

    You *paid* his company to *sell* it to you.

    Now that Mac's run on intel processors the *only* actual difference between the guts of a PC and a Mac is the software. I'd suggest pretty much everything else is "styling." And we know how hard Apple's lawyers come down on *anyone* copying that.

    So what is the premium for buying an Apple PC these days?

    BTW Apple fanbois, you ought to note who *owns* a large chunk of Apple.

    Did someone say "Microsoft"? Correct.

    Any of you thinking Mr J was fighting the borg were somewhat mistaken. He was helping fund them.

    Incidentally software operating through a Hardware Abstraction Layer to allow it to be moved across different processors has been around at least since the early 1990's, when IBM AS400's transitioned from a proprietary CISC to PowerPC architecture, usually resulting a 2 minute start in properly compiled custom apps (for the *first* run, all succeeding runs started with their normal start times).

    Good machine, nice environment. People suggested at the time IBM should license the software like MS did. They did not. Better margins with closed hardware/software boxes.

    Who uses it now?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About the article...

    "Open source has had a complicated relationship with Jobs and Apple. Thanks to Microsoft's stumble on Windows Vista, Mac has surged as a developer platform."


    The reason Mac's have had a surge is that if you want to play in the iPhone App world that is the only platform you could use.

    Everyone who uses and develops for Windows just avoided Vista as much as possible, skipping over it to Win7.

  33. Justin Clements

    Stallman misses the point

    Apple pissed off many of the crappy developers because developers were held to a higher standard and couldn't release any old crap onto the iPhone. "It's a walled garden, our apps are being vetted, and we have to pay $99 a year to Apple, woe is me".

    Here we go, thumbs down please!

  34. Frank Bough

    Fix required.

    "Without external access, users of these online services must go through Apple's own software, which is tied to its own hardware – the iPhone and iPad."

    The sense of this is incorrect, it should be written thus:

    "Without external access, users of these online services must go through Apple's own software, to which is tied its own hardware – the iPhone and iPad."

    iTunes and the iTMS were never tied to the iPod, rather it's the other way round. Anyone using MacOS or Windows can use iTunes and the iTMS.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least get it right!

    "The open-source movement can only challenge this by coming up with compelling ideas that count rather than polemics."

    Stallman isn't part of the open source movement as it defines itself, but rather the Free Software movement, so coming out with the tired "Where's the code, Richard?" and "Why can't you people in your bazaar deliver?" misses the mark pretty widely. Clue: RMS is all about advocating the famous "four freedoms", which are an especially compelling idea in this era of locked-down devices and "walled gardens".

    But while "I want my shiny!" remains the mantra of the average consumer, they won't understand these notions, even buying the same stuff over and over when their device fails, their account is blocked, the iStore goes down or gets rebranded, they buy another shiny gadget, the content industry switches format (and so on), thinking that such poor treatment is simply a normal and natural part of modern life.

    What is particularly sad is that many people even go as far as identifying with the corporations who gladly fleece them repeatedly, using such tired labels as "hippie" to distance themselves from anyone who bothers to think about things for even a moment, as if their favourite vendor is watching and such childish jeering will ingratiate themselves with their "patron" who would supposedly behave in such a way himself. Except that he's in his nice car or on his yacht and doesn't actually care about the average fanboy, or course.

    1. JonHendry

      Four freedoms?

      Freedom from soap

      Freedom from water

      Freedom from fitness

      Freedom from tact

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Having met RMS...

        ..."Freedom from tact" is quite correct. But then spending your life dealing with idiots (and I do count myself as an idiot) is probably a bit wearing.

        "Freedom from fitness" is also correct. RMS should take better care of himself.

        "Freedom from soap/water" are wrong, he's not from Glasgow. :-)

        The are things about F/OSS that do my box in (some of the documentation is impenetrable or overly technical for the neophyte, but that just means they need help in cleaning it up). However, there are more benefits than downsides. Here are some:

        1) I can log a bug easily. Every time I have tried to log a bug in proprietary software (and I have found some major ones) it has been a royal PITA. I have had to jump through hoops, find the "appointed person", find the contract details, blah, blah blah. F/OSS? Create an account, check and see if it's there already, raise (or add a comment). Job done.

        2) I can fix it. If it's in a language I can read, I can sometimes figure out what's wrong and patch it. Or I can find the code fix on-line and patch it. As a programmer, this should not be surprising but I cannot fix the proprietary software (even if I decompile their code and track it to the break, I can't touch it).

        3) I can find someone to fix it. Sometimes I can't fix the issue for whatever reason, but I can find someone who can. If the project itself is too busy, I can just hire whoever the hell I want to scratch my itch.

        4) I can learn from it.

        Obligatory car analogy: I cannot fix my car, this is down to a lack of skills/time/tools. But I can take my care to ANY COMPETENT PERSON and they can. This does not void my warranty or anything. I can even buy pattern parts if I want. IT should be the same. Freedom in the car market hasn't ruined anything.

        And one final point. Why the bleeping-bleep do you have to take the front wheel of or disassemble half the bloody engine to change a headlight bulb? This should be a one-handed job. ONE-HANDED! Basic repairs at the road-side performed by a lay-person should be part of type approval.

      2. PassiveSmoking

        Freedom from the age of concent

    2. JimC

      A 5th Freedom...

      There is, however, a 5th freedom which Stallman has never really grokked which is far more important for a lot of people. And that's the freedom to get on with your life without worrying about how the damn technology is working.

      Might not do for you, won't do for me, but its important to a lot of people...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I would have thought a better fifth Freedom (Freedom 4 in rms speak) would be the freedom to chose whether to be constrained by the other freedoms or not.

        I have no problem with rms' freedoms, it is just I don't agree that they should be forced on all and sundry just because rms decides he is right. Kind of summarised as you are free to chose anything you want, as long as you chose the option I want you to chose.

        I am legally constrained from touching random ladies polite parts (by law, ASBO and restraining order, unfortunately). However I cannot (and should not) be punished for touching parts of a consenting lady who consents to said lady-part touchings.

        Surely the freedom of choice is a much more important freedom than the ones rms peddles?

  36. Martin Usher


    He's right on the money. What's disturbing about the canoization of Jobs is that Apple's marketing machine seems to be able to use Job's untimely death to push their products.

    What Jobs did which does deserve praise is that he took the 'bleedin' obvious' and made it corporate police. Somehow the suits always manage to screw up things -- they very nearly took down Apple itself -- because they think that the user should adapt to their product rather than their products adapting to the user. Jobs's success isn't technical innovation but understanding that what users want is just stuff that works.

    You only have to compare an iPad with a tablet running XP for Tablets to get the idea. There's also MP3 players; simple things but its amazing how many different ways companies like Creative could screw their design up.

    1. diego
      Thumb Up

      That's right...

      and it only goes to show one of Job's greatest accomplishments, the MOST DIFFICULT PART of software/product development: getting customer requirements right. If you've ever developed any customer-facing software, you know what I'm talking about.

  37. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Not only do I agree with Mr Srallman, I salute him for having the guts to say what he thought. There are far too few people like this. Also, just because people don't like his opinion doesn't make it any less valid (or more valid come to that).

    So he doesn't dress it up to be kind. So what? At least you are in no doubt at all as to what he *really* thinks - unlike so many people.

    Finally, I've noticed that many of his concerns either have turned into unpleasant facts or seem to be close to it. Maybe that's what the media wonks (in particular) don't want us to hear.

  38. EWI
    Thumb Down


    "And like the chief of any other such company, he used the products his company produced plus a healthy does of hardball to give consumers what he thought they wanted"

    Jobs famously didn't care tuppence for what users wanted, unlike the everything-to-all-men PC cloners.

    "His business model was built on closed hardware and software, and when Jobs championed the open web, he did so in a way that reinforced Apple's control over its share of the internet – as was done during Jobs' boosting of HTML5 over Adobe's Flash."

    Right. Black is white, and an open standard like HTML5 is somehow evil in comparison to closed, proprietary Flash.

    Well, don, El Reg...

    1. Windrose

      Please indeed.

      "Right. Black is white, and an open standard like HTML5 is somehow evil in comparison to closed, proprietary Flash."

      Have you looked at the process with which the 'open standard' HTML5 is developed lately? The WG's leading people don't give a tuppence either - whops, that's Google, Apple, ...

  39. Elwood Downey

    Sorry Stallman, results beat ideology.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    "The Apple Network"

    Where Microsoft failed ("The Microsoft Network") Apple succeded, and is going to create a de-facto "Apple Network" where it controls the contents.

    Apple understood what poisoned apple it has to use to lure users into its network (the users' own ego), while MS did try with its size only.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are they?

      So is that why they took on development of a standards-based Webkit and make web browsing so central in the tablet experience?

  41. Jean-Luc

    Good ol' Stallman

    Always "le mot juste" to make himself look reasonable and worth listening to.

  42. JimC

    There's probably meat for one of those jokes...

    Heaven is where Jobs does the inspiration and Stallman does the coding

    Hell is where Stallman does the inspiration and Jobs does the coding

    feel free to add others - Microsoft doing the bug fixing perhaps, or Larry Ellison setting the pricing...

  43. Mark 108

    >> BTW Apple fanbois, you ought to note who *owns* a large chunk of Apple.

    >> Did someone say "Microsoft"? Correct.

    You need to check your facts.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's funny . . . I was just renegotiating a vendor contract with a large, three-initial corporation (no, the other one), whose business model amounts to nickel-and-dime charges for every little feature (granted, where the nickels and dimes are in fives and tens of thousands of dollars), and I thought, if we'd gone free/open source with this solution, we'd have a number of different, roughly-compatible options. Instead, we're stuck with TIC and their lock-in, unless we want to bring in a forklift.

    Stallman's genius was (and is) in recognizing the price we pay for closed software (and closed vendor solutions in general). Apple is a relatively tiny part of that problem overall, but they certainly manifest the worst qualities of it and in the most public way. I'm glad that Stallman has the balls to stand up in public in a timely manner and highlight the dangers of the Apple approach.

  45. Rab Sssss

    Just because he is dead does not mean someones opinion should only include "good things".

    1. PassiveSmoking

      It also doesn't give you free reign to be an arsehole.

  46. Robert E A Harvey

    Some of Stallman's achievements have been very important, world changing, liberating.

    But he can be a complete arse sometimes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone at least has the courage to tell it like it IS. Stallman is a guy I need to look up, I like him.

  47. Alan Denman

    A Disgo 6000 for that binman.

    Why shove most of your money under Apple's ever growing mattress?

  48. Charles Manning

    Get real RMS

    Perhaps Apple is a walled garden and Jobs was a dickhead but at least they/he got stuff done.

    If RMS had his way we'd all be using Hurd... or to be more precise, waiting to use Hurd because it is still not a practical solution after years of posturing.

    Sure RMS has added quite a lot of value to software development, but so have others. Just attacking others because they don't drink your flavour KoolAid is not productive.

    For the record, I am an OSS developer, but I have also worked for Apple and other closed source shops.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      >>they/he got stuff done.




      I hear some of those will run on OSX..

      >>Sure RMS has added quite a lot of value to software development,

      Without GNU OSX basically wouldn't exist.

      >Just attacking others because they don't drink your flavour KoolAid

      There are plenty of people that have done more for computing than Jobs did;

      Chuck Peddle

      Robert H. Dennard

      etc etc

      RMS' main point is while Jobs may have been an amazing salesman selling computers to the middle class he did very little to advance computing or technology. To quote Jack Tramiel he "made computers for the classes". His passing is sad for his family but it isn't a great loss for the rest of us. Jobs' passing is certainly not the end of consumer-grade family-friendly computing. I'm sure Stephen Fry etc will feel like things will never be the same again.. but I'm pretty sure things will continue as they did before; Massive R&D departments at Intel, Samsung etc making real discoveries and someone else will come combine them into a shiny product and claim to have thought of the whole thing while taking a shit.

    2. FrankAlphaXII

      Y'know, I was just about to say something about Hurd

      Have you ever tried to use it? Its atrocious. It makes Windows 3.1 seem like a dream. I managed to Kernel Panic Hurd in 12 seconds once. With a very simple attack that no other Kernel would panic or crash under, not even Amiga.

      I really wish someone with some sense, like Linus or even Bill Gates, would tell Stallman to shut the fuck up and show some damn respect, Steve Jobs just died for Krishnassake.

      I use Linux, I use Windows. I dont use OS X because I dont like hardware lock in, otherwise I like the idea that there is a Unix desktop which actually works without having to be constantly fucked with like Linux. I didnt really admire Steve Jobs because he just seemed like a guy who could read the market and then be a dick about it, but I respected him for his insight, and not begrudgingly like I respect Larry Ellison.

      But then again respect in the GNU community isnt exactly their strong point.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        >>I managed to Kernel Panic Hurd in 12 seconds once.

        Has anyone said that Hurd is production ready? No one is forcing you to use it either..

        >> not even Amiga.

        Evidence that you know nothing about what you're talking about. Amiga OS has no memory protection. You don't need an "exploit" to crash the system.

        >> tell Stallman to shut the fuck up and show some damn respect,

        How about you shut the fuck up and show some respect? Stallman has done more for mankind than you could ever hope to.

  49. Dana W

    Who cares?

    Another fat old geek crying over his Unix terminal because computers don't make him "special" anymore. Another person who thinks fascism means doing something HE hates.

    Too damn bad. maybe if his glorious "free software" movement made computers and devices non technical people actually wanted to USE it might be different.

    Steve Jobs gave computers to people who are NOT like us. He gave computing to everyone in ways the Microsoft only dreamed about.

    In the 1920's Stallman would have complained about manufactured radios because people didn't build their own anymore. I've said it before and I'll say it again, home computing is not about US! "If you are here reading this you know who I mean by us" Not anymore anyway, and it never will be again. Its about the home user, the person who cannot toss a box together, the person who cannot install an OS, and often does not even know what an OS is. The person who wants to use the computer the way they use the TV. They are not remotely interested in HOW it works, simply that it does. And if having to learn how it works is required to use it they will shop elsewhere. they don't care if its "open" they don't know what open means.

    And people like Stallman are NOT going to be the ones to give them what they want. People who are computer competent don't see end user requirements. He will never understand why Apple sells, and sells, and sells. Because they don't understand the relationship the general public has with their computers. Computing is a big enough part of their lives that they can't imagine that to 90% of the world its not a machine, its the mystery box that puts them online.

    How many of you can put a transmission in your car? How many of you know how your fuel injectors work? You buy cars with less repairablity and upgradeabilty than any Mac, and if someone asked most of you if you knew how to work on your car you would turn your nose up and say "I take it in, I haven't time for that". I do my own car repair, and I see drivers who don't know how their car works the same way many of you see Mac users.

    But not one in 100 of you would consider buying a car you had to service or repair yourself, a car that needed virtually daily service, but you can't see why people feel the same way about their computers.

    These people, the non geek people are the market, and the more of them there are the more marginalized we are going to be. We are not where the money is anymore, and the people in charge don't care at all about what you want. They care about the sustainable market. In 1985 that was us, now it's your neighbor, the one who wants you to fix his PC six times a month. They are the future and they have no interest in the freedom to do anything they want, on a computer they do not know how to use or understand.

    And that is the Secret of "Bad Ol Steve" and the Multi-Billion dollar Apple machine. No real malevolence, no evil planning, just making a simple thing simpler so the normal people can use it. That's all.

    1. This is my handle

      Point taken, but...

      "But not one in 100 of you would consider buying a car you had to service or repair yourself, a car that needed virtually daily service,..."

      Have you driven a Ford lately?

  50. Goat Jam

    Gates slipped because his company targeted the enterprise instead of the consumer

    Utter tosh.

    Gates slipped because Windows Tablets sucked major balls. Even the corporate types who bought in to the idea ended up just flipping the screen around and using their tablet solely as a notebook.

    1. PassiveSmoking

      He just stuffed an operating system build for the desktop onto a tablet and hoped for the best. The Windows XP/Vista tablets were utterly horrible to use. Apple didn't invent the tablet, but they realised that tablets need a tablet operating system, as in an operating system built from the ground up to interface with the user through a touch screen, not a desktop operating system with multitouch bolted on.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        "He just stuffed an operating system build for the desktop onto a tablet and hoped for the best."

        So pretty much like they tried this the last time.

  51. openminded

    what its all about

    a lot of us are missing the point.


    because something "just works" doesn't mean you should give up this right. as software users, we should demand these rights

    these companies have brainwashed us into thinking its not our right to view and modify the source of software we pay for or use.

    1. Eddie Edwards

      Or perhaps Stallman has brainwashed you into believing his insane dribblings on this subject. There is no "right" to view source code; it's something people have invented because it's what they want, but no one has a right to get whatever they want. There are countless legitimate reasons why you can't have the source code. You may as well say that as drinkers of Coca Cola we have a right to the recipe. Utter tosh. If you prefer to see source code, say that, and vote with your wallet by all means, but don't pretend that it's some moral issue around "rights".

    2. scannall

      And how would the software company provide support for their software in this case? You screw it up, and they have to fix it? Or just not provide support to anyone?

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Stallmann misses the point. You don't buy the rights to the software, it doesn't become your property. You buy a licence to run it.

      If I rent a car for the week I wouldn't expect to be allowed to change the stereo or the wheels.

  52. Majid

    More choice != more freedom

    Look up "The paradox of choice" on youtube by Barry Schwartz.

    I think Steve Jobs has watched that, and Stallman probably didn't.

    Do you really think that an OS where you can choose loads of filesystems, desktopmanagers, distributions in all kinds of weird combinations will bring more freedom? Or will all these choices just bring paralysis..?

    The problem with programmers is, they always want to make systems that suits them (with thousands of wild options to toggle on and off), but they forget to take into account that the majority of users are not programmers.

    Steve Jobs got that fact straight. Although maybe restricting to programmers, Apples products are usable for users, its does not make sense to create a program (or os) that is handy for programmers but just wildly confusing for the people you are really writing it for.

    Ps. and no, I don't own any Apple soft- or hardware. But that's just because I find it too expensive for what they offer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More choice != more freedom

      "Do you really think that an OS where you can choose loads of filesystems, desktopmanagers, distributions in all kinds of weird combinations will bring more freedom?"

      And how many people using an open source platform are actively choosing their desktop environment, let alone their filesystems? About 1-2% of the community? Maybe a bit more if they're tinkerers and feel like exercising some of that choice.

      But oh no, we're all switching out our desktops and distributions once a week and reformatting the disk to try out the latest filesystems, while listening to ambient techno and hanging out with guys called Lars and Gunther! Yay for the Linux is for the über-hacker set myth, brought to you by lazy BBC journalists trying to flash some technocred.

      Keep telling yourself, "It must be so, I heard it on television!" Sheesh!

  53. Richard Dudley

    Good ol' fashioned cynicism

    Stallman's seeing nothing but his own negative perceptual slant here. Walled gardens are to computing as water wings are to swimming. People too timid to go out to play in the big open jungle are encouraged to have fun at the shallow end which Jobs has provided for them. In time, they'll gain confidence then maybe Stallman will collect a new disciple.

  54. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    The old man is mostly right

    As always.

  55. PassiveSmoking
    Thumb Down

    When the Vista debacle was in full swing I was in the market for a new laptop. I wasn't going to touch Vista with a barge pole so the choice was basically between a laptop running a Linux distro or a Macbook running the newly released Leopard.

    I do think Linux is a nice system, has a lot going for it and is infinitely tinkerable.

    I got the Macbook, and 4 years later still use it on a daily basis.

    Why? Simple. Linux is for geeks. Mac OS is for people who do work on their computers. I use my computer to do stuff, not so I can sit in front of it all day and just fiddle with it for its own sake. The ability to tinker with Linux is a big plus in the right circumstances, but for most people it just gets in the way of using the computer. Worse than this, if you're looking for software there's little choice on Linux, just what's available in the open source community plus a small handful of bones that the commercial software houses have chosen to throw the Linux community. There's not even any guarantee that you can use your video card or networking hardware with Linux because there might be no drivers due to copyright/patents/trade secrets. Mac OS can run Adobe Suite, including Photoshop. Linux can't.

    As for freedom of choice, what's the point of it when your only choice is some piece of software that's a pale imitation of the commercial package it's a copy of with a screwy interface and dependant on someone who's developing and supporting it as a hobby? GIMP is no Photoshop. OpenOffice is no Microsoft Office.

    Stallman, meanwhile, just makes himself look more ridiculous every day. His anti-anything-but-GPL, pro-kiddy-fiddling stance just makes him look like a seriously screwed up individual. If you want people using Linux you have to give them a compelling reason other than religious dogma. You also need to stop attacking people who are trying to give people that reason. Shuttleworth has done more to get Linux into the public conciousness than you ever have, and all you do is attack him.

    Whatever your opinions on walled gardens (I'm personally against them as far as proper computers go, but for a mobile device I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks), trying to draw attention to them by launching an attack on someone no longer in a position to defend himself is also a pretty unpleasant and unethical way to behave.

    I'd suggest, Mr. Stallman, that you take a long hard look at yourself before accusing others of immoral behaviour again.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      "There's not even any guarantee that you can use your video card or networking hardware with Linux because there might be no drivers due to copyright/patents/trade secrets."

      This is just not true anymore. GNU/Linux has come a long,long way in the last few years. Even Wine is out of beta.

      Of course, there's also the huge fact that if you bought a machine with GNU/Linux pre-installed *everything* would work fine as it *always* does when you buy pre-installed software. This is why comparing Windows & Linux is apples & oranges, unless you also install Windows on a clean PC(*without* being given the driver discs). Ever tried doing that? I'd say it was a lot harder than Linux to get Windows working properly sometimes, if you just try to install it on a random wiped PC.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think its show just how far along the autistic spectrum RMS is, for him to come out with such a crass statement at this time. Walled gardens may seem evil if you are a software engineer, but the hard fact is that the other 99% of the population would prefer a finished product that Just Works, rather than a pile of source code to spend endless hours of fun messing around with. This is why Apple sell a lot of gear.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leave jobs alone

    Open source or gpl software just suck. While some worked and do good job but majority luck functionalities and installing and administrating is overhead. Luck of good friendly GUI and 'community support' is enough to out people off completely.

    1. PassiveSmoking

      I guess you should ditch the open source spell-checker then.

  58. A. Lewis

    Attention-seeking trolling from a raving paranoid.

    I'm no apple fanboi. I own a macbook, though I bought it cheap, repaired it and now it runs linux (I can't afford a new mac but I do like their build quality!) I own an ipod, because it happens to the best best music player in my (admittedly not vast) experience.

    But this kind of apple-bashing that you see so often smacks of nerd jealousy of the cool kids. It's like someone standing outside a party shouting "you're not experiencing freedom when you're cooped up indoors!" They're completely missing the point.

    Yes, the apple environment is locked-in. Yes it restricts technical 'freedom'. But it also offers a great computing experience. How many of the mac owners that Stallman is trying to 'defend' really care if their computer has restrictive licensing built-in? So long as it works, so long as they can get on the web, listen to music, download photos from their cameras etc. Why should they worry? Is it really impacting on their freedom if they can do everything they want to with their computer? I don't like the iphone personally because I find its interface very limited, but a lot of people don't care about such things and just want a smartphone that works and is easy to use. Who am I, or who is Stallman, to say they are wrong?

    People like Stallman are too bogged down with the technical side of things, with the minutiae of 'what people should be able to do' that he doesn't realise that most people don't care about doing these things. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, knew all about what the average user wants, and how to give them a good experience; and he built a company around products focused on user experience.

  59. Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty

    What a berk

    Please tell me Mr Stallman, where are the hurd powered smart phones then......and indeed the hurd.

  60. ScottAS2

    Stallman misses the mark again

    Much as I like the idea of free software, I think Stallman has completely missed the point here - as he usually does. Users, in general, don't give a rat's arse about how free/open their software (or music, videos, books etc.) are; they care about convenience: you take it out the box, and it just does what you bought it to do.

    That - rather than some sort of magic hypnosis - is why Apple have been such a success. Ordinary people are quite happy to give up their freedoms (since they don't care about them anyway) because Apple products provide this convenience (although I'm not going to claim that they're the only - or even best - products at doing this). iTunes is not popular because lots of people took leave of their senses and decided they wanted to become bound by DRM; it's a success because it let them get music, quickly, conveniently, and at a reasonable price - and the DRM, lack of ability to link from the web, etc. didn't significantly obstruct that.

    The real shame here, however, is that the ability to provide convenience and ease of use is not something Apple - or even proprietary software - have a monopoly on. If Stallman really wanted to help free software, he should be spending his time trying to encourage those writing it to improve their products to a point where they can provide similar convenience to end-users, rather than moaning about how awful and unfair it is that proprietary software and walled gardens are popular. If that was done, the walled gardens would quickly wither and die.

  61. Eddie Edwards

    Personally I'm waiting for Stallman's malign influence to end.

  62. Flossie


    "Eric Raymond has stepped in to defend his open-source colleague"

    I suspect that RMS would dispute the "open-source colleague" bit, since he hates the term open source and refuses to be associated with it in any way.

    Personally, I agree with RMS that the walled garden that Apple has created is a really bad thing.

    My primary problem here isn't with the proprietary/closed nature of the software, it's that fact that if I use an iPhone/iPad I can only obtain my software through Apple (who choose what is and is not allowed) and as a developer I can only sell through Apple and have to accept their terms. This is highly anti-competitive and i'm amazed that the anti-trust people haven't shut this down.

    If I buy a car I can choose where to have it serviced and buy spare parts or accessories. Some actions may invalidate the warranty, but I can still choose to perform those actions if I want to because it is MY car. If your car refused to start because you had installed a new radio from a third party dealer, how would you feel? Would you accept this? I don't think anybody would and yet millions seem to accept this kind of behaviour from Apple without a single thought.

    1. Downside

      "If your car refused to start because you had installed a new radio from a third party dealer, how would you feel?"

      That the radio was poorly designed.. assuming that my car wasn't an unreliable POS.

      I've had flakey Fords, (1980's Escort, anyone?), Vauxhalls that broke with no warning, Peaugots that would stop mid-driving, Renaults that fell apart.

      Now I have an Audi, it only visits Audi dealers and it's a wonderful fault-free experience. I have an iPhone too. Same story.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    This thread is hilarious

    Come on guys, don't you all have some kind of real life to lead ?

  64. Windrose

    Fascinating discussion

    From what I can read, I'm rather tempted to suggest we team up to un-free, wall in, and charge for BIND - and see how many "OSS doesn't give people what they want!" 'tards stick around.

    Might be refreshing.

    1. Charles Manning

      It isn't binary

      Taking the wholly open vs wholly closed view of the world is extreme and pointless.

      There is a lot of great open source software out there just as there is a lot of great closed source software out there.

      Equally, there are some people who want the source so that they can dabble and others who want a "just works" experience.

  65. fork23

    I understand that Mr Stallman is still pissed off because linux is not prefixed by gnu, but it's over. He was right, but it's over.

    What I'd like to see is a "famous" ...AS/400-iSeries (or whatever!!!) guy come out and argue that Mr no-manners has exerted 'vitriolic influence' on computing!!! Because as we all know the whole computing paradigm should be RPG/ABAP/-screen based!!!!

    It would be a hilarious dogfight to watch!!!

    **Yes I know you can run C# under Mono at a Suse LPAR on i and this interfacing a federated Oracle running of course on a ws2008 communicating with a...... but C# ??? ...ooops Mr Stall-mann hates that as well!!!

  66. John Latham

    Missing of points

    From what I recall of his writings and talks, Stallman doesn't "miss the point" about the importance of utility. He just rates freedom higher than utility, or perhaps sees freedom as an enabler of utility in the long term.

    Perhaps it's too early to do any final analysis of RMS's dire warnings about the consequences of ignoring our freedoms, but the current patent wars over smartphone/tablet technology don't bode well.

    We now have a situation where it's OK to develop new technologies provided that it doesn't annoy any mega-corporations. Haven't we all done well?

    If I was looking for a messiah I'd pick RMS over Jobs any day. He makes me feel guilty just for turning on a PC running non-free software, and that's got to be pretty close to some sort of original-sin-for-atheists.

  67. QdK

    Yes, WTF people?

    Why do you seem to think Jobs thought up this walled garden approach?

    Game consoles had it first you know. I want to play my PS3 title on an Xbox. Can't be done. WTF Sony?! Why no emulation Microsoft? Let alone trying to make my toaster play Pacman...

    The 'walled garden' approach has both good and bad sides, just as the 'everything goes' model Android uses has up- and downsides. But for all you people who scream they want CHOICE, it baffles me that you apparently don't see you already have it: use Android if you want to run just about anything (made for Android, I must add, since that's not entirely clear to all of you, apparently). Use an iPhone if you have no problem with a walled garden. I have yet to meet anyone who stays with a certain platform because of nonsense like save games or whatnot. Most useful apps have export features.

    Why root for a monoculture?? No good will come of it.

    Lastly, I'd love someone to explain how to properly worship Apple. I've asked around, but none of the fanboys seem to know. I suspect the reason is I have yet to transcend to the inner Jobsian circle. However, I really want to do something to please the iGods but I'm hesitant to make up my own rituals; what if they're blasphemous for some reason? Don't want to risk that. Anyone?

  68. Gil Grissum


    I'm not going to debate the good or evil of Apple or Steve Jobs. What I will tell you is that in the past, I've used Windows Mobile and Palm OS and had satisfying user experiences. I've used Blackberry and had the worst user experience of my life. But the second worst user experience I've had was Gingerbread on the HTC EVO. Having had that experience over the last year, the only alternative left to me to get a user experience that meets my needs, is the iPhone 4S on my carrier (SPRINT).

    Apple may do this or that right or wrong, but the one thing that Steve Jobs can definitely be applauded for is creating a good user experience on his products. THIS is the secret to why they sell by the truck loads. It isn't hypnotism, or "drinking the Koolaid", or any form of mind control, or the desire to have a "fashion accessory". If the things didn't just work and the user experience wasn't satisfying, people would not stand in line at stores to by them. No one is standing in line to buy any android products because Android doesn't "just work" in a fluid and easy manner that invokes positive emotions or "satisfaction". This is why Android Tablets aren't selling, while truck loads of iPads are. All the wiz band hardware specs in the world can't make up for a dissatisfying user experience. Having had that on Android, I can't see wasting money on another Android phone that I'd have to live with for two years before my next upgrade, but I can see living with an iPhone 4S for two years because the user experience is the point of it and that user experience is head and shoulders above anything that Google and it's OEM partners have produced so far, for the simple fact that Google isn't paying any attention to user experience. Google hasn't looked at Android and examined the user experience. This is proven by the laggy, buggy OS that Gingerbread is. I'm not willing to invest any time or money in a new iteration of the same buggy, laggy, unresponsive platform on new wiz bang hardware. I need a phone that just works. I'm a musician and most of the apps I need aren't even available on Android. The versions that are have less features and totally suck.

    No one SHOULD be able to link to songs from iTunes. Musicians have need to earn money from their songs without having to worry about them getting stolen. Musicians shouldn't have to worry about illegal file sharing. No one has a right to steal songs. They should be protected. And the moment I get my songs into iTunes and they start selling, I'll be happy about iTunes not being open and others being able to link to and steal my songs.

    The big bad Open Source Android Platform sells a lot of phones do to numbers. More Asian manufacturers building and selling more styles of phones. All that "variety" has created fragmentation which just makes it more difficult for Android to really grow and develop. That may not be a bad thing. The life sucking abyss that Android is, is something I quite simply can do without. I cannot wait to get an iPhone 4S and put this EVO in a drawer, from which it will never emerge.

  69. Goat


    Stallman is misguided, no one is a prisoner of Apple.

    If their products sucked and people felt their walled garden was unfair then people would not buy their product simples. Apples products are consumer lead and for them to have a majority of the market means the majority of people are happy with what apple are doing.

    On another note If Google had a market majority then im sure people would be flaming them for not being as open as they should be, their position currently is to fragmented and out of control to be a threat to Apple and its going to take a rethink and some kind of lock down or tie in with the hand set producers to make it a better platform, again im sure they'll get flamed for that if it where to happen =(

    Finally if they do come out with a worthy product it will be reflected in their sales! Until then leave the apple bashing alone!

  70. Neo Luddite

    Irony (and utility) is lost on Apple haters

    Please, before you flame, know this: I totally and utterly expect nothing less. You will be confirming my suspicions, and granting the accuracy of my assertions. So do it, please.

    Apple produces products that address the actual needs, skills and knowledge of users, not IT professionals, developers, hackers or the jaded IT press corps. It has always been a "closed" system, because that allowed it to offer clearly understood and consistent experiences to its users. For that, these users trade a freedom they could never experience (the freedom of coding, if you will), for a freedom they use every day (the freedom of effectively using a variety of technologies). To suggest that Apple is killing innovation is utterly specious nonsense. The established number of Mac users is less than 10% of Windows users even today. Mac addicts who drool at anything Apple without understanding half the features are annoying, to be sure, but they are far less annoying than the DOS 5.1 addicts still trying to assert that their coding freedom counts for more than actual utility by the vast majority of users who will never understand how their machines work, but still want to use them effectively.

    Back in 1987, and 1992, and 1997, you folks were the same lot who cheerfully beat your breasts about Apple's impending doom, and how they produced cute "toys" rather than real machines. This while your messiah, Bill G, was doing whatever possible to create a Windows experience that emulated the Mac as closely as possible. Today it does pretty much that, but with less efficiency and more crashes. Now you can't simply write off Apple, so instead you've moved on to bad-mouthing their (incredibly successful) products, and even slagging Steve Jobs while his body's not quite cold.

    Look yourselves in the mirror and ask: who's really part of a cult?

    1. Windrose

      Flame you? Nooo.

      Oh, no. Wouldn't dream of it. I WOULD like to point out one, sad, mistake.

      "Apple produces products that address the actual needs, skills and knowledge of users"

      Only if the user is tech-savvy, or have tech-savvy friends/family. Sorry. Giving my mum-in-law an iPhone is pointless since she doesn't have, and wouldn't be able to handle, a Mac/PC on which to ACTIVATE THE BLOODY THING!

      Phew. So she got a Nokia. Into which there was a SIM inserted. Which she could use the moment it was powered on. So, please: do not repeat the myth that Apple produce products that address the needs of users UNLESS you also define users as "geeks".

      It makes my stomach hurt - with laughter - when I see someone show a pic of their 6-month-old offspring playing with an iPhone, after knowing the things they've already done to make it work ... and then they call ME a zealot for referring to it as an 'iToy'?

  71. Anonymous Coward

    Mod me down now... but...

    after 199 comments, hardly worth noticing ... here we go ...

    Mr. Stallman, you have *massively* gone down in my estimation as a forward thinking person, or rather, someone who can see from many different sides.

    We're dealing with *humans* here, human nature, human emotion. We're not dealing with saints, we're not dealing with some kind of unreachable utopia.

    Damn, I could wax lyrical for hours on why your opinions are clouded by hippy idealism, but as potential post 200 and something, nobody will read it anyway.

    See, I *agree* with much of what you stand for, but I also *agree* with some of the steps Apple have taken over the years - horses for courses, nothing is perfect and I'm *positive* that without the kind of commercial intervention Apple and other companies have made in the area of computing, personal computers wouldn't exist. I wouldn't be typing this now on my Mac.

    That's it in a nutshell - if we followed your methodolgy to the letter, the only people with access to computers would be universities, governments and big business.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Staleman is a troll in open source clothing

    Subject says it all, move along nothing to see here.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Troll? No. Watchdog? Certainly.

      I'm sorry, but some things need to be said, dead iconic leader* or not. Letting Java in the sole hands of Sun was bad, and the likes of you dissed Stallman for saying so at the time. Look at what's happening now.

      Someone has to stand up for free software. If it wasn't for the like of Stallman, OSS wouldn't exist anymore, which means that, among other things, the web would be a collection of side-by-side closed networks unable to talk to each other. Heck, the very Internet wouldn't exist anymore to begin with.

      Your router would only accept the machines running the OS from the same vendor (winmodem anyone?) etc...

      He might sound like a prick sometimes, but he is (one of) the reason(s) why the home users still have some degree of freedom/choice when it comes to them computahz.

      * I was in Bethesda, MD, USA this week-end. There was an altar, complete with ex-votos and piles of flowers, in front of the Apple Store. I kid you not.

  73. Stevie


    Stallman is a git.

    That's what happens to you when too many people hang on your every word.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    Foot in mouth?

    Stallman saying he's glad Jobs is gone. Lots of cheers of Apple haters. But probably not the best way to promote free software.

  75. All names Taken

    Tsk! Who's a silly Richard now?

    Oh yeh dood!

    Didn't he see that promotional video El Reg kindly provided of a circa 1980's NeXT computer doing all manners of wonderful stuff.

    And do do that stuff safely needs a safe or safer environment n'est pas?

  76. Flashy Red

    QdK, wrote:

    Lastly, I'd love someone to explain how to properly worship Apple. I've asked around, but none of the fanboys seem to know. I suspect the reason is I have yet to transcend to the inner Jobsian circle. However, I really want to do something to please the iGods but I'm hesitant to make up my own rituals; what if they're blasphemous for some reason? Don't want to risk that. Anyone?


    Look, here's the thing: most programmers, engineers and successful marketing sorts are arrogant narcissists whose emotional well-being involves keeping you totally dependent upon them. So, whether it's Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, the bearded High Priest of Open Source or one of his spotty acolytes, you're screwed any way you care to look at it.

    Pick your poison; let others pick theirs. That's the only freedom you have.


    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      >Pick your poison; let others pick theirs. That's the only freedom you have

      I don't completely disagree with the fist sentence. However, one neat thing with the GPL is that you are sure that you can assess what exactly the "poison" is and does. It ensures that you will always be able to modify the formula to suit your current poison needs, too. Reinventing the wheel over and over is a waste of time, and that's what happens with closed-source software*. The GPL might not be good if your aim is to take over the world, but it does wonders for the propagation of ideas, the general quality of code, and The Progress. 20 years ago you could have argued that open-source is not a sustainable model, it leads to developper starvation, scorbut, the plague, cancer (hey that last one was actually used! Yay!). But these days, it's getting harder: I don't think Red Hat employees are in in danger of starving. Google heard of that "scorbut" thing so they provide the employees with free fresh fruit. In case, you know, they get hungry between the free meals.

      More locally, I'm pretty sure that on your dayly commute you meet several "ties" who actually work for small open-source-based companies. Some might drive a BMW, too. The pigs.

      *that's assuming said wheel is not covered by an over-reaching, generic patent covering hypothetical use of a reasoning process to begin with, all in the name of protecting the programmers even though they see only a negligible fraction of the money their work generate, much less than what the shareholders get, but let's not talk software patents, my cardiologist expressly forbade it,"CC0066 is not a valid skin complexion" he said, I say bollocks, and ain't that sentence a bit too long to be easily understandable?

      Yes it is. Hence, I am right.


      from faces.elreg import grin as grin

      grin( )

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sad but True

    Jobs did not create anything particularly new and novel-- not like, say, a Xerox PARC. Jobs put together technology that was well known and what people wanted (and very importantly, WORKED), and that sold. He was able to assemble the manufacturing infrastructure to do this, which is non-trivial and I don't think people quite appreciate that.

    Android producers are too splintered, and although several companies spew forth hardware the net effect is disappointing. This is not helped by simpering reviewers who ooh and aah over shiny new hardware and ignore how fast the hardware/firmware ensemble becomes decrepit in a mere few months while people are locked into 24 month contracts.

    The sad truth is that the walled gardens work and get the job done, while orphan sort of open Android flavors generally degrade and cease proper functioning all too quickly. This is the true failing of Jobs-aping competition, and Stallman et al seem to fail to realize this. This is something Stallman, particularly, ought to know after Torvalds got the glory built on Stallman's code base.

  78. Brendan Sullivan

    Gates invented the Tablet?

    What about the IBM ThinkPad? The Model 2521, later branded as the Thinkpad 700T when the Thinkpad name was extended to the whole range of portable computers instead of the one device. That was released in October 1992, a full decade before the cited XP Tablet experiment (which was a horrific experience). Granted the tech has progressed significantly since then (tablets are carrying multi-core gigahertz mobile optimized processors instead of 20MHz 486 desktop processors and the storage options are much larger (16+ GB inbuilt flash storage instead of the original 10MB PCMCIA cards) and weight and size has dropped considerably. But the only real change has been the Human-Machine interface changing from stylus driven to full-on touch interfacing. My Asus TF101 (or my friends and cow-orkers iPads) have the same basic features, capabilities and purpose.

  79. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The thing about walled gardens.

    They have *no* doors.

    You can't leave them.

    Something you might like to step into one of them, *however* nicely designed they are.

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