January 27, 2008
I never quite made the transition from the Apple II series to the Mac. Instead, I migrated from my Apple II to a PC. I always thought the PC ecosystem, although deeply flawed, was more naturally analogous to the eclectic third party hardware and software hacker ecosystem that grew up around the semi-open Apple II hardware platform. This, to me, was the most enduring and beloved quality of the early Apple community. The Mac, in contrast, was underwritten and driven by primarily Apple software running on completely locked down Apple hardware. It's almost first party only-- about as close as you can get to a console platform and still call yourself a computer. I guess you'd say I chose Woz over Jobs. The way Jobs ruthlessly crushed the fledgling clone market in 1997 only reinforced this lesson for me.
So let's be completely clear: when you buy a new Mac, you're buying a giant hardware dongle that allows you to run OS X software.
You know, a dongle:
A dongle is a small hardware device that connects to a computer, often to authenticate a piece of software. When the dongle is not present, the software runs in a restricted mode or refuses to run. Dongles are used by some proprietary vendors as a form of copy prevention or digital rights management because it is much harder to copy the dongle than to copy the software it authenticates. Vendors of software protection dongles (and dongle-controlled software) often use terms such as hardware key, hardware token, or security device in their written literature. In day-to-day use however, the jargon word "dongle" is much more commonly used.
There's nothing harder to copy than an entire MacBook. When the dongle-- or, if you prefer, the "Apple Mac"-- is present, OS X and Apple software runs. It's a remarkably pretty, well-designed machine, to be sure. But let's not kid ourselves: it's also one hell of a dongle.
If the above sounds disapproving in tone, perhaps it is. There's something distasteful to me about dongles, no matter how cool they may be. But it's seductive, too. I wonder if the console model that Jobs is aping isn't some temporary evolutionary dead end, but in fact, the model for all future computing. People buy consoles like the Xbox 360 and Wii because they work with a minimum of fuss. Similarly, people buy Apple hardware because of the perfect synergy between the Apple hardware, OS X, iTunes, iLife, iMovie, iPhoto, and countless other software packages expressly designed to run on a closed hardware platform. "It just works." And why wouldn't it? There are no crude, selfish third parties to screw the experience up behind your back. No oddball hardware, no incompatible drivers, no more software which has to deal with a combinatorial explosion of potential configurations. Choosing to run proprietary software and hardware is just that, a choice. If it's working for consumers, who am I to judge?
I find Apple's brand of hardware lock-in particularly egregious. On the other hand, I run Windows, so I'm subject to my own flavor of self imposed software lock-in. Others have made different choices. In
of canaries and coal mines, Mark Pilgrim revisits his choice to abandon Apple's proprietary software model for the world of free software.
18 months later, Apple has sold 4 million crippled phones, billions of crippled songs, and people are predicting that Mac sales are up 40% year over year. And I wouldn't bet against their new movie rental venture either.
So after 18 months, I think we can safely say that no, Cory and I were not "canaries in the coal mine." There are not hordes of fed-up consumers rejecting Apple's vision of cryptographic lock-in. There are not mass graves where people ceremoniously dump their crippled, non-general-purpose computing devices. Outside of Planet Debian and my own personal echo chamber, nobody gives a sh*t about Freedom 0.
You knew this, of course, but I just wanted to let you know that I knew, too.
Maybe I'm a hypocrite. Maybe the issue cuts philosophically deeper than mere dongles. Maybe it's not only about the freedom to run your operating system on whatever hardware you wish, but also the freedom to run whatever software you want for whatever purpose you need, in perpetuity. That's Freedom Zero:
Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program, for any purpose. WordPress gives me that freedom; Movable Type does not. It never really did, but it was free enough so we all looked the other way, myself included. But Movable Type 3.0 changes the rules, and prices me right out of the market. I do not have the freedom to run the program for any purpose; I only have the limited set of freedoms that Six Apart chooses to bestow upon me, and every new version seems to bestow fewer and fewer freedoms. With Movable Type 2.6, I was allowed to run 11 sites. In 3.0, that right will cost me $535.
WordPress is Free Software. Its rules will never change. In the event that the WordPress community disbands and development stops, a new community can form around the orphaned code. It's happened once already. In the extremely unlikely event that every single contributor (including every contributor to the original b2) agrees to relicense the code under a more restrictive license, I can still fork the current GPL-licensed code and start a new community around it. There is always a path forward. There are no dead ends.
Movable Type is a dead end. In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero. All non-Free software is a dead end.
It's compelling rhetoric. As a software developer, there's no denying that open source software is a powerful and transformative force in modern software development.
The console model, and Apple's de-facto first party development model, are about as far as you can get from Mark's freedom zero-- instead, you get zero freedom. You hand the vendor a pile of cash and they allow you to do a handful of specific things with their device, for only so long as they're inclined to do so. It's hardly fair. In fact it's completely unfair; they can legally pull the rug out from under you at any time. But it can still result in some incredibly useful relationships with products that solve very real problems for the user. As Jaron Lanier notes, the iPhone was not a product of freedom zero:
Twenty-five years later, that concern seems to have been justified. Open wisdom-of-crowds software movements have become influential, but they haven't promoted the kind of radical creativity I love most in computer science. If anything, they've been hindrances. Some of the youngest, brightest minds have been trapped in a 1970s intellectual framework because they are hypnotized into accepting old software designs as if they were facts of nature. Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique, shinier than the original, perhaps, but still defined by it.
Before you write me that angry e-mail, please know I'm not anti-open source. I frequently argue for it in various specific projects. But a politically correct dogma holds that open source is automatically the best path to creativity and innovation, and that claim is not borne out by the facts.
Why are so many of the more sophisticated examples of code in the online world-- like the page-rank algorithms in the top search engines or like Adobe's Flash-- the results of proprietary development? Why did the adored iPhone come out of what many regard as the most closed, tyrannically managed software-development shop on Earth? An honest empiricist must conclude that while the open approach has been able to create lovely, polished copies, it hasn't been so good at creating notable originals. Even though the open-source movement has a stinging countercultural rhetoric, it has in practice been a conservative force.
So I'll ask again, since Mark brought it up: why doesn't anyone give a crap about freedom zero?
Posted by Jeff Atwood
Umm.. you fault Apple for being a giant dongle, but praise console games for simplicity. Game Consoles are even bigger dongles than Apple could ever hope for.
That's my point-- they're the same model.
Does freedom zero really matter if what *works* in practical terms is "zero freedom"?
"Umm.. you fault Apple for being a giant dongle, but praise console games for simplicity. Game Consoles are even bigger dongles than Apple could ever hope for. "
You might want to re-read that. I think his point was to compare Apple to console games as big dongles that people accept because they prefer simplicity over freedom of choice.
I will answer your last question:
For most software CEOs:
Thats how they build todays proprietary software market imo.
No-one (by which I mean most folks) cares about freedom zero because freedom zero is the right to run any software, and most people don’t particularly enjoy running new software. Most people aren’t computer enthusiasts, any more than they’re chainsaw enthusiasts or car enthusiasts. They enjoy what they do with their computer (e.g. talking to friends, listening to music), but the thing itself is just a tool.
I’m embarrassingly ill-informed on the subject, but I think there actually is a little dongle—the Mac ROM—inside Macs, that you need in order to run Mac OS X.
And not to get all fanboy-ish, but I don’t think the “legally pull the rug out from under you at any time” quite applies to the Mac, or indeed any hardware. I’ve run Linux on Mac hardware before, and I’d be very surprised if Apple could complain legally about it.
In regards to the 4 million iPhones Apple has sold, a massive percentage of them have been jailbroken (made to work with third-party applications) or unlocked (made to work with other cell networks.) I myself have a jailbroken 1.1.3 iPhone and enjoy using it to read email, web browse, play NES roms, or VNC to my home machine.
But, yes, as I say here (http://www.seretogis.org/2008/01/22/avoiding-the-cult/), OS X is a lovely front-end for a *nix system and that is really the only reason to use it. If Terminal were removed, it would be ridiculously limited and Apple would certainly lose some marketshare. I don't think that locked-down console-esque computers are the wave of the future, and that eventually Apple will learn the hard way that consumers want choices moreso than 100% reliability.
But they could discontinue any piece of software at any time, with no way for it to move forward, I think that was his point.
I think a big part is that people don't envision themselves using their machine 5-10 years down the road. I bought my Xbox for some specific uses, but I'm not expecting to use it forever, and the life cycle of the software for it just never enters the equation.
And yes, closed-source has for the most part created vastly more unique and sophisticated pieces of software, and open source has generally created copies of those. I think a huge piece of that is profit motive, and rightfully so. Which may be why Firefox is such an exemplary piece of open-source sortware, it's drowning in cash.
Anyway, no real answer, I think it just comes down to it- people don't care about the principles so much as they care about just using the machine, and I think that's fine.
There's nothing in this post that isn't correct (though it's worth noting, for the record, that the iTunes Store is actively moving away from DRM, not that it erases past transgressions, of course), *however*, it's also worth noting that many people aren't [themselves] hampered by the fact that what they're dealing with is in some way locked down.
Nobody except people who don't want to pay money for a Mac actually cares that you can't easily run Mac OS X in its entirety on, say, a Dell. (I have several Macs, and two Dells: one runs DragonFlyBSD, the other runs Mac OS X—and it runs Mac OS X really, really badly). People in general, as with games consoles, buy the hardware for what it's capable of—even if “capable” has been artificially limited in some way.
But, this is obvious stuff and I'm rapidly heading away from the point I'm trying to make, and that is that the reason that people don't care about Freedom Zero is that it's not important enough for most people to cause the to sacrifice something which makes their day-to-day life easier. I'm not going to stop using Mac OS X because it's non-free until the alternatives are on a par or better than it. The same applies to search engines, television stations, DVDs, and anything else you care to think of. I—and most people I know—simply do not have the time to fiddle and mess around and put up with sub-standard results purely for the freedoms it buys (which only exist for the majority in terms of the hypothetical). It's no good extolling the virtues of, say, Ubuntu, or Wikia's new search engine, or OpenOffice.org, or *anything else* for that matter, if you can't use them for the things that people need to do.
The reason the iPhone sold well wasn't that it did *everything*; plenty of devices do everything, but the iPhone did the things it did far better—in the eyes of the beholder—than the alternatives. The iPod was the same: the Slashdot story about the announcement of the iPod was pretty typical—“firewire!?”, “it's only HOW big?”, “the UI sucks, you can't do anything”, “but I don't want to use iTunes…”, etc. All perfectly valid criticisms, but none of them remotely important to the people who bought the thing.
The other aspect to it is that the populous at large don't, and haven't ever really cared about Freedom Zero, but SOMEBODY always does. In the long long term, the stuff created to those principles will survive, whilst the Apple and Google and Microsoft products will be blips in history.
@pauldwaite: Not only can they not stop you running Linux on your Mac, but Apple were responsible for porting Linux to the Mac in the first place (MkLinux was a research project co-managed by Apple and what is now the Open Group, and ran Linux on top of pretty much the same Mach Microkernel that sits at the heart of XNU/Darwin/Mac OS X now).
Thank you! I've been feeling this way since the Mac came out. I remember the disappointment when it turned out that the Mac was going to be a proprietary, overpriced and locked-down system. The Apple II, on the other hand, was open hardware and firmware. Still have the original reference manual with complete schematics and boot monitor listing (including Sweet 16!).
Well, there have been some open source successes too (and OS is really what this is all about). You say iPhone, I say Firefox. It's a battle that hasn't been decided yet.
I suspect most people don't care about "freedom zero" because they practice it every day. I've worked and/or played with a fairly large sample set of computer users, and I can safely say that every single one of them has unlicensed software, that they use at least semi-regularly, installed on their computer.
The software industry has created this problem systematically in two ways; we create crappy software (and then expect users to pay for defect fixes!), and we price software out of the reach of most users. When *one* software package costs more than she paid for the entire computer, she has a powerful incentive to "borrow" a friend's copy.
Sadly, the Open Source movement has only fixed one of these problems (the price factor). As you mention above, outside of some special niches, the quality and usability of Open Source is much worse than the proprietary stuff...
By the way, isn't your copyright notice at the bottom of the site out of date ?
Nothing pisses me off more than buying hardware that is locked down. Whats the point of buying a supper blue tooth enabled, wifi enabled, mp3 playing smartphone ... if you cant use any of it?
I love my iPhone because it is hackable. More so than any other phone... it's unix after all. Apple keeps tightening it up though.
Ever wonder why there are no killer compact framework phone apps? Because all the smart phones that would run them are locked down.
I cant wait for a device / phone you can actually write apps for, above board. I want skype on my phone. :P
It's all about selling media. Controlling its distribution and play. Some record labels actually consider it piracy to rip a cd, that you purchased, and play it on an mp3 player. The only reason i buy cds is to rip them and play them on my comp/mp3 player... anyway. Many Verizon phones can play mp3s ... but to get the mp3 on the phone you have to buy a crapply compressed version from V-Case for 2$
Apple is now in the same market. They don't care about making inovative devices, their concern is distributing media.
You know how much money is in selling crappy ring-tones? It's a lot more then selling Mac software, i'm sure.
Open source seems to divide into two major types of projects. The first are very innovative, the sort of thing for which there are no proprietary comparisons. I think these are often open source by chance; there's no reason why they should be one way or the other, other than the interest of whomever got the idea in the first place. The second are the "copiers" -- people who want to find free/open versions of proprietary software. That these should be open source makes inherent sense -- who is going to be able to get a lot of people together to make a clone of Photoshop with a lousy, unintuitive GUI? Who would put up the cash to make a vector drawing program that can't export to file formats usable in most desktop programs? Who would want to make a slow and buggy knock-off of Microsoft Office? These sorts of projects seem much more intelligently to be open source -- it's a neat challenge and the idea of "replacing" the proprietary world seems to motivate a lot of people.
I've been more disappointed with many of the promised open source programs than I have been pleased. They just never seem to live up to the hype or be quite as good as the proprietary ones. Only Firefox comes close, and even it has a lot of things I dislike about it (ugly way of handling forms, very slow at times, and after awhile the continual cry of 'this add-on has an update, want to install it?' makes me, against my will, long for the days when third-party add-ons stopped asking me for permission every time they wanted to do something). Some products, like OpenOffice.org have been downright depressing -- at best it is a slow clone of Microsoft Office, with all of the bad ideas that were originally there. At worst it can't even get to Office's level -- it seems practically impossible to make good-looking charts in OO.org; it's only _mostly_ impossible in Office. And Base seems like way more trouble than its worth -- reproducing all of the unintuitive and difficult-to-use parts about Microsoft Access without providing any of the powerful functionality. It's like the programmers never thought to consult with the potential audience, and instead barreled down the path of emulating a suite software which hadn't changed it's interface for a decade.
I've often thought that the problem with Microsoft is that it is software-development-as-decided-by-a-lot-of-middle-managers, and the problem with open source is that it is software-development-as-decided-by-a-lot-of-programmers. You can't get good results from an all-manager environment, and you can't get good results from an all-programmer environment. There's got to be some sort of hybrid -- I imagine a third market, which exists now but hasn't really opened up, of managers and programmers who take the fruit of open source programming and build intuitive GUIs around it, installers that don't require you to drop into a command line to "sudo" anything, and get rid of feature-clutter that programmers think people "might like" but have no real idea.
Don't get me wrong -- I think open source holds a lot of promise, and I'm in no way throwing my lot in with a purely proprietary model.
Oh, and I use an Intel Mac. Har har har. I like being able to run a fast, good-looking machine that can also quickly drop into a Linux command line and also load up XP in a virtualizer. I've got the best of all worlds, from what I can tell, and if I paid a little more for the benefit, well, that's what the old "academic discount" is for. ;-)
Really Jeff, you don't have to tell us that Apple is one evil proprietary company. We as software developer know, the problem the customers don't and they don't care.
It maybe cool for the Wii or XBox, but I never could understand, why the iPhone could get so successful, without being able to run 3rd Party software on it.
Not even simple J2ME cardgames 'common. It's the one device I'm going to carry around everywhere, let me install the apps I need! Things like Coktail Reciepes, Language Dictionarys, a PDF Reader etc. I used all of this in 2002 on my first Symbian phone and 3rd party apps for mobile devices have been massive since then.
They went a long road to establish standards between different device vendors and now Apple enters the game and throws everything away. And people buy this stuff like theres no tomorow.
Also, nobody seems to care that iPods only work with iTunes. If I buy an overpriced Mp3-Player should'nt it be my choice which software I use? It's not like you cant just plug any other Mp3-Player into an USB-Port and start transfering files.
People always critize Mircosoft for having restricted policies on topics like this, but Apple is even worse and still they maintain their nice clean image.
Freedom Zero is a promise of future gain. It does nothing to solve your current needs, only those which you think you might have in the future.
Consumers don't buy promises. They buy tools to help them with whatever their problems are *now*. Regardless of what you think about Apple, they are solving people's needs right now. And no-one is going to turn off all those devices and stop them doing whatever they are doing now (if we take icky DRM out of the picture for now).
Freedom Zero is a noble aim but it is not the only way, nor is it necessarily even desirable above other models. If enough people have a certain need in the future, then software *will* fill that need. The issue that really hangs over freedom is software patenting, which could stifle efforts to clone software that has since been unsupported.
greg: A large community of hackers/crackers has grown to turn the iPhone into an open platform for third-party applications. Just goog--wikia for it.
There you go, another post that I can totally say is mine.
Please share a picture poster size so I can hang it on the wall. :)
I have a Mac and I do things with it that Apple "allows" me to: use a web browser, e-mail, LaTeX, Perl, Python, RSS reader, listen to music, watch movies. All this with a good UI, no viruses, and with a minimal of hassle. How is there a conflict with what my needs and wants are and what I'm "allowed" to do? I purchased my Mac because it filled my needs.
I do not own an iPod nor an iPhone because neither do what I want. I have not purchased anything from the iTunes Store because I prefer CDs and DVDs.
I admin Linux and Solaris machines at work, and we use them because they do what we need. If they didn't, we wouldn't be using the software in the first place to do the things we do.
While some people do care freedom zero, if software or devices that provides said freedom can't handle the job at hand in an efficient way, what's the point of using it?
There may be open platform mobile phones, but the UI sucks: my mother cannot easy check voicemail. The iPhone's UI doesn't suck, and once the device stabilizes it a bit I'll probably buy her own and flip the SIM card, because she'll finally have a phone that is easy to use.
Software and devices are tools. If the tools don't do the job at hand then providing freedom zero is a moot point. If I can find a tool that gives me freedom zero, great, I'll use it. If not, then other tools will be used.
As far as non-nerds are concerned, they do have Freedom Zero, the freedom to run the program for any purpose.
I can use Safari on my Mac to browse porn sites, terrorist sites, religious sites, business sites, or environmental conservation sites. I can use Pages to create flyers or newsletters for environmental conservation, business, you get the idea.
The notion that somehow Apple (or Microsoft) are restricting your freedom by not giving you the source code strikes the vast majority of people as ridiculous, and I don't blame them at all.
I disagree. I run OS X, but I use open source applications for anything important to avoid tying myself to the platform and because they are free as in beer. Thus I get as much OS X pleasantness as I want, but I am not tied to it in any way. On the other hand, if I choose to go to windows, there is less open source to choose from, so it is fair less capable of allowing me this freedom. So I see windows is being the less free platform.
As a development platform, both platforms appear to be about the same, tying developers to the particular APIs and architecture of each. However, if you are able to use open source APIs, OS X is the winner again.
A while ago a friend of mine came up with the term "flogging the gnu": the insistence on using Free Software (GPL definition) despite there being superior, albeit non-free alternatives and making do without software when there is no free alternative available; some examples: using Gimp rather than Photoshop, only because Photoshop is not Free Software; not using a particular file-format because the codec is distributed in binary-only format.
Why, exactly, should I give a crap about freedom zero?
Freedom zero advocates have done an exceedingly poor marketing job, selling the drill instead of the hole.
Nobody cares, because nobody realizes why they *should* care. Closed-systems salesmen, in sharp contrast, can explain their benefits clearly and convincingly.
It's pretty trivial to understand why open source can't come up with the iPhone - physical things cost money.
Open source can innovate, and has. It can copy, and boy does it. So can a proprietary shop. But software is free. I already have a computer and I have my spare time, I can write mountains of code. I can't get a prototype tiny touchscreen without spending hundreds of dollars or having a promise that I can back it up with sales. And that's hard to do as a hacker on my off-hours. It's very easy to do if you are BigCo.
Note that the only software that truly allows for Freedom 0 is Free Software, and the most complete expression of that freedom in wide usage is the GNU GPL, the only license that protects Freedom 0 by specifically requiring you pass it on to anyone you supply the software to.
We give up our freedoms all the time. I give up my freedom of speech when posting on your blog, knowing you have the power and right to censor what I say. This is fine by me, and if it wasn't I'd just go rant on my own blog where my freedom to say what I want isn't compromised by your whim.
I give up my Freedom 0 when I buy DRM'd songs from the iTunes store, so I make sure that any song I would miss if the store vanished tomorrow, I buy unencumbered. I factor the DRM into the value proposition of buying each song.
I gave up my Freedom 0 when, after six years of Linux as my primary desktop, I switched completely to the Mac. I also know that by following some pretty basic principles of keeping any important data in a neutral format, I can move elsewhere if the cost of my loss of freedom ever gets high enough to impact me negatively. Certainly the move would be annoying, but it's still a lot less annoying on the whole than Linux was on a daily basis.
Most importantly, my choice to give up Freedom 0 does not impinge on anyone else's enjoyment of that freedom. Everybody gets to choose the level of freedom they are (un)comfortable with, and the world gets the benefit of widely available free software AND the innovation that, for now, seems mostly confined to commercial development.
On the main point, I hate to say it, but computing will always move towards the appliance model. What's a web app, after all? For most things, people consider Firefox/IE/Safari the appliance.
I bet I don't have to tell Jeff that the web is just 3270 terminals with a prettier interface.
The Mac is closed compared to open source, but is it really any more closed than Windows? Could you elaborate on why you "find Apple's brand of hardware lock-in particularly egregious".
Console simplicity is one small piece of why consumers buy them. There are lots of simple consoles that have failed. The main reason consumers buy consoles is because they want to play the games that are only available on consoles.
Why do publishers produce games for these closed platforms? In large part, because they are closed.
It's much easier to develop and test on 1-3 platforms than it is on an infinite variety of hardware and software. Also, piracy is much more difficult in the console world. Not to mention that the controls are standardized. It's generally not a good idea to make a game best suited for joysticks on the PC.
Microsoft is sort of addressing that last bit, by basically setting a closed standard, the Xbox 360 controller which "Games for Windows" labeled games are now required to support.
Here's something I have wondered about in terms of consistent philosophies:
I think as programmers, we get tied up into the concept of looking for consistency and elegance, for elements to be simplified and rarefied. Freedom seems to be a fairly noble concept to want - and we see how it could be applied consistently across all of the elements of computing (which, to some degree, both represents and is a large portion of our life). However, the flaw to get caught up in here is that freedom as in beer doesn't really extend that well beyond this really important thing.
We don't really get to pick what governments rule us (which unfortunately is still true in a democracy for the most part). We don't fret over growing and taking care of our own farms and foods. These systems work, for better and worse, outside of our domain. It seems, then, for us to be kneejerk insistent on freedom, because we have already comprised it in so many other areas.
Certainly, I don't mean to say that because we have dropped it in those other areas, that it is any less of a worthwhile pursuit. However, I just want to point out that human behavior is a bit more clear when looked at from more than one angle.
Because nobody cares about running programs.
Client software is dead. Didn't you post about that already?
I wonder if automobile engineers rant about free combustible engines -- the freedom to burn gas, for any purpose.
It maybe cool for the Wii or XBox, but I never could understand, why the iPhone could get so successful, without being able to run 3rd Party software on it.
Then perhaps the success is due in part because the majority of users have no interest in installing 3rd party software. Heck, this even holds true on the desktop; most computer users install MS office and that's it (and *maybe* also iTunes if they're on Windows). Anything beyond that is usually something designed to plug omissions in the operating system itself or that's been installed by a passing computer geek, not user passion or interest (anti-malware, winrar, registry cleaner, Acrobat reader, Firefox, etc).
By the way, is my iTunes bugged ? Because it allows me to simply drag and drop my downloaded mp3s, movies, tv shows, audiobooks and music videos on it. No iStore or DRM needed. I didn't crack it or hack it either.
Your argument doesn't make sense. A Mac is not a dongle, it is a computer. You can run any software you want on it, including Windows and Linux. You can develop and run your own software on OS X. This is not like a video game console at all. The platform is "closed" only in the sense that the operating system Apple ships only runs on their hardware, in limited configurations. If you want to run Mac software, you have to buy an Apple machine.
Vendor lock-in is hardly a new phenomenon. The solution is to adopt open formats and multi-platform software. Open source is even better, assuming you can maintain the software yourself.
Also, you don't need proprietary hardware to implement software restrictions. Software that restricts users and the file formats that support such things are the problem, and they can be implemented on any platform. You shouldn't use them, and most people can already see why they are a very bad idea.
In short, most people who use Macs have not surrendered the right to use their computer as they see fit. If Apple were ever to demand that, you have a perfectly good computer that can run other software. The Mac is a general purpose hardware and software platform. People like it because the basic things work.
The whole issue is a matter of how widely someone defines their problem domain.
Most people's problem domain isn't sufficiently wide enough to include the reasons that you prefer free software. Mostly, people want a solution that works immediately, has good support, and requires no effort on their part.
Free software groups rarely offer a solution that fits this problem domain, because it would involve too much investment of time and perhaps capital on their part, and they're not getting paid for it (hence the "free" part).
People that sell proprietary hardware/software exist entirely to fill the solution domain to this problem domain. Their entire existence is based on giving these people exactly what they want.
What I don't understand is why this concept is so difficult for most people. People do NOT want freedom. Take a look at what tends to happen to democratic societies (and what is happening to ours). The greatest percentage of any sufficiently large society will ALWAYS be willing to give up freedom in exchange for the ability to concentrate on whatever it is that is important to them specifically.
As it currently stands, using completely free software generally in some way makes their life more difficult (whether it's a lack of support, it's more difficult to setup, it's not engineered to as high of a quality standard, whatever). So, why would they do it? Why would you possibly force yourself to do something that makes life more difficult simply because the software is "free"?
I know there are several illegal versions of os x running on standard pc's either through vmware or natively. This shows it probably now can run on any hardware and why not since its based on unix/linux. So apple are just holding it back to make cash on hardware sales.
This is from my point of view a short term approach. If they opened up the os legally to all hardware lots of people would switch.
There are some great features in os x. To me the OS seems a lot cleaner old mac apps are emulated so it is esentially an addition to the base OS for backwards compatability, you don't have the windows situation of massive bloat to support stuff from 20 years ago through main code. Uninstalling programs is logical in the user interface and actually removes all components no windows registry entries left in and empty program folders. Expose the great task switcher. Near 100% reliability. Great media integration and im sure much more I have forgotten to mention. Im not saying everything is perfect or even better than windows but there certainly is good stuff. One thing I can't get used to is the one button mouse.
All they need is a geek user base to develop all those neet apps we are so used to in windows and possibly get .net framework working probably through mono. At this point it will be a serious competitior.
Now I just worry about apple ending up in court just like microsoft for anti-trust or becoming a monopoly especially with the ipod. Lets face it the ipod + itunes thing is already being picked up by the French government how much longer before everyone else picks up on it.
Quality elegance win out over an ugly, infuriating, and unstable OS.
What the heck is this "Mac is locked down" mantra? I can run whatever I want on a Mac. I can use third party devices, no one is beholden to Apple to sign their driver.
It's the reverse that you're griping about: You can't make a Mac out of whatever random motherboard you've got lying around. Apple doesn't pretend to be in the game of supporting every random combination of half-working cruft you bought on discount. Nor should they IMHO. This is half of why Vista is bloated, slow, and late.
But once you *are* running OS X, you can do whatever you want with it. You can run far more open source software, far more easily on OS X (than Windows). And you run into a lot less DRM lockdown than Microsoft is trying to push on the market.
If you want to complain about people taking away your rights to use your machine as you see fit, look at what Microsoft is up to.
You're right about Open Source being an open horizon, and closed source a series of temporary products, but I just think you're a little narrowly focused in your bashing. Apple is certainly no worse than Microsoft, and I would argue, a lot better (Safari is based on an open source toolkit, the kernel level is open, ships with apache, gcc, etc, etc.)
Honestly, I really don't care about freedom-0, it makes no diff to me, I buy tools to solve issues right now, if the tool no longer fills my needs, I either upgrade or buy and alternative (or check open source). What it boils down to, open source without a commercial entity behind it rarely, if ever, rises to an awesome tool, like the commercial applications. (having said that, 7zip does rule and I'm certain other examples exist, but by and large, they are exceptions, not the rule)
I'm not free with freedom zero because, honestly, if everyone stopped developing on Firefox tomorrow, what makes you think I have the time, inclination or ability to maintain or manage the application? So when development stops, it is just as dead as when commercial software stops. Lastly, and my biggest gripe about alleged "free" software is it as JUST as locked down as proprietary - I can't take code from it and use it as I see fit, if it is GPL, it is viral, I can't use it for anything I want to sell (and maintain proprietary code apart from the GPL snippet).
I think a lot of the apathy regarding the issue could be traced to how ubiquitous vendor lock-in is. If you see it everyday in most of the products that you use and love, you won't naturally see it as evil, and even when someone points it out to you there will be some internal resistance to the idea.
I disagree. Apple isn't as evil as you make them out to be.
While you may only be able to run Mac OS X on Apple hardware, you can also run Windows or Linux. I believe Apple's reason for limiting OS X to Macs is more about the desire to produce excellent products than anything else. If Apple had to support OS X on arbitrary 3rd party machines you would lose the simplicity of OS X and end up with Windows or Linux, having to deal with installing driver updates and blah blah blahhhhhh. Simply put, Apple doesn't think anyone else's hardware is worthy of their software. Arrogant, perhaps, but I tend to agree.
Additionally, Apple embraces open source. A large portion of Mac OS X is based on FreeBSD and other open source software; see Darwin (which does run on 3rd party hardware). Safari's rendering engine, WebKit, was originally based on the KHTML engine, and they've made such significant improvements that KHTML is incorporating much of the work done on WebKit back into KHTML.
Since OS X is POSIX compliant It's also nearly trivial to use most software written for Unix/Linux on OS X, they even include X11 for graphical programs.
"People buy consoles like the Xbox 360 and Wii because they work with a minimum of fuss."
No, people buy Wiis and Xboxes simply because they can easily grab games on the internet and run them on the console.
My point is that they buy these ones rather than say PS3s because the ROI is okay if you don't need to pay for games, not because they provide a better user experience.
So I don't think your example is the best you could have chosen here.
Only open source advocates care about freedom 0.
When I talk with proprietary software/hardware users they just *don't* understand what's wrong with being locked up by fortune 500 companies.
Like, "But look at this design ! it can even fit in an enveloppe !"
The hype VS substance battle has been lost ages ago.
I think you have this the wrong way.
With a Mac, you pay more, but you can run _any_ software that you want. Check out Parallels or Boot Camp. You can run Linux and OSS no problem.
What you can't do is run OS X on non-Apple hardware. So complain about how Macs are more expensive if you want, or complain that they won't support non-Apple hardware configurations, but you've answered your own question in writing this post. After you heft over the extra cash, you have the freedom to run ANY software you want.
Macs differ from consoles in one crucial respect -- you can run whatever software you want on a Mac, you're not stuck with Mac-only Cocoa apps. In particular, see MacPorts and Fink. Thus, although I run OS X on a Macbook, the rest of my software ecosystem consists of Firefox, emacs, ssh, bash, latex, octave, Gimp, etc. I bought a Mac because it was the best platform on which to run these apps. Furthermore, I have specifically avoided depending on Mac-only solutions like the Omni apps or defective iTunes AAC's.
I actually respect people who engage in "flogging the gnu".
At least they are practicing what they are preaching.
I can't stand people who steal music with file sharing software and watch downloaded bootlegged movies days before the movies are released in the movie theaters and claim they are doing it based on principle.
They say they oppose the large corporations not properly rewarding the people who help make the content so stealing it is somehow rationalized as an act of virtue.
Give me a break! Those people are stealing what they are stealing because they like it, not to make a statement or support anyone. If they didn't like it, they never would have bothered stealing it in the first place.
People who are "flogging the gnu" and are willing to do without some features as a consequence of choosing that lifestyle really impress me.
I think music, movie and software thieves should look to the "flogging the gnu" crowd as an example of what living with some real integrity looks like.
Personally, I run a mix of proprietary and open source software on a Windows XP laptop. Open source apps like Audacity, jRipper, Firefox, and Juice and proprietary apps like Microsoft Media Player and Microsoft Word.
Knowing the open source crowd is out there busily working away day after day and night after night to provide free software solutions as the need arises makes me feel a little more safe at night, kind of like knowing our soldiers, hospitals and police are out there, ready to help us, 24 hours a day.
You act as if the horrible interface and complete lack of standardization in user experience on windows is the fault of its more "open" hardware platform.
Some of the hardware configuration issues are. The fact that even a random shareware app built for Mac OS using apple's tools is likely to have a more usable interface than most major software for windows is not.
And the only thing a mac locks you out of are:
1) Software written for another operating system (which, btw, every hardware platform does)
2) Replacing your motherboard cheaply.
Everything else is only limited by the different vendor's market research.
I give a crap about freedom zero. It's why I first started using Linux. It's why I use Gimp even though I think Gimp is a piece of shit. It's why I refuse to use Opera for more than a few seconds at a time.
The people why give a crap might by a minority, but it's still a pretty significant group of people.
You are usually right on the money, but I've got to call Bravo Sierra on you today.
Apple consumer electronics products are fairly tightly closed, but Mac/OSX is a fairly open platform. No one is telling me that I have to run iEveryThing apps. Lawyers aren't knocking on my door to check for non-Apple approved software. FireFox and gVim (suck it, emacs users) run perfectly fine. Heck, Apple makes it easy to run open source software by supplying an open port of X11 for the platform. Apple supplies a full suite of open build tools as well, making it easy to do whatever I need to do, including install and run the latest Gnu approved utilities.
And the hardware is pretty open now. There isn't as much variety as the windows ecosystem, but that is not always a minus. I can plug in plenty of USB and FireWire devices. If I need to write a driver for them, I can. I don't need apple to sign it or anything.
The Mac/OSX combo is superior, compared to the Windows platform, in every way but one. Mac/OSX are sold as a combined package. Your choice of platform is certainly more closed than mine overall.
Sorry... I was the 'didn't read the whole thing' guy...
I feel like you answered your own question, Jeff. No one gives a crap about freedom zero because it doesn't innovate. It's the difference between generic store-brand and Name Brandtrade; stuff. It may be basically the same thing, but nobody's ever going to get excited over or make a rush for store-brand goods.
Another reason is that very few people care about the way something is made. Most people *do not care.* They don't care about the politics or the process that brought a piece of software to fruition. Look at Wal-Mart. Nobody walks in there lamenting the poor laborers that made all that stuff. They want a toy for their kid to make him stop crying, and their budget is $1.96. People don't stop the presses when they buy a cup of coffee to ask whether it's Fair Trade coffee or not. People don't care. And they're not going to care unless it becomes a headline issue on CNN. Then they'll care for about two, maybe three weeks, tops.
I've messed around with Linux distro and although many of the new package managers have been improved tremendously over the years (yum, apt-get), it still isn't attractive to the mainstream non-geek users. For them they still see it as a step backwards from simply double clicking on a installer and blindly hitting "next" 5 times and have the software working. Worse if you have to run some shell script to config it. We're geeks, we can spend hours messing around in a terminal, the mainstream users just want something that works.
Freedom 0 is a very noble idea, but too often as Shmork says, software-development-as-decided-by-a-lot-of-programmers simply does not work out because there's no usability testing involved. It's the reason why Apple succeeds. Their end user softwares are extremely intuitive.
Wikipedia says that Movable Type was released under GPL about two months ago.
I happen to be someone who believes in proprietary software development -- even though I actively contribute to open source projects. Why? Because software just doesn't live very long. Yes, my Mac and it's OS X will probably become dead weight in a few years, with the closed architecture totally locking me out. But will I even care in a few years, when I will have already moved on to something else?
The GNU advocates would have me use crappy software because it's free, waiting hopefully for the day when geeks everywhere will suddenly fall in love with that most ungeeky of things: simple usability. I used to think Linux people didn't value their time, after wasting days trying to configure a server with a wretched interface. But then it hit me: dicking around with the OS isn't a waste of time for them; it's the whole point.
When I buy a pen and paper, I'm totally locked in. When the ink runs out, I have to buy more. I can't really modify my pen for any purpose other than writing. The paper decides for me what its texture and shape will be. But by the time I'm really geared up to care, I will have moved on.
Give me functionality over hollow philosophy any day; or give me a philosopher who knows what life is really about.
While by and large I agree with the entire post (I'm one of the few I know that has no real interest in owning an iPhone), there's a whole other axis of "freedom" that isn't being addressed. People have the right to choose what works best for them, even if that means going with a crippled, third-party-resistant apple product. People are free to choose something that is, itself, less free.
It's easy for developers to miss this point (myself included), as we tend to see anything that plugs in as a playground. Those of us who have done mobile development were kicked in the gut when the iPhone didn't have an sdk- It was like being that kid on crutches in the "pied piper" story, who got to see a glimpse of paradise before the door was shut in his face forever.
But not everybody is a developer. For a lot of people, "the freedom of choice" is a lot more like "the burden of decision." They want to turn on the machine, get whatever they need out of it with minimum hassle, and walk away. It doesn't make anyone a sheep (not that you implied that- I'm just emphasizing)- it just means they have different priorities for their time energy. For those people, Windows is workable, Apple is perfect, and Linux would be outright ridiculous:P
What?!!!!!!! You're kidding me! Mac IS NOT a Dongle. You can run Windows on mac. I know MacOS must be installed for the system to work, but THAT COMES WITH THE COMPUTER. There will be no customers who cannot run a brand new mac because they don't have the software. Every apple mac comes with everything that it needs to run. Call it a dongle if you want, but it's an Intel based computer capable of running windows, OSX and a variety of other OS's given you have the drivers. Hell even in OSX you can emulate another system. It is so much more flexible than a dongle.
There is no gaming console by Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony which will run any of eachothers system games. That would be a major advantage. The mac does it. It has eaten its competition so call it a dongle all you want... It does not change the fact that it goes above and beyond every other PC out there....
Windows is like a gasoline pickup built with standalone engine, wheels and cab. Greasy. Powerful. Dirty. Mac is like a honda gasonline-electric hybrid. It will run the alternative option, it will run the standard. But good luck trying to use it's parts on anything else other than the honda.
But I guess I have completely misunderstood your definition of Freedom Zero. I just bought a macbook after years of PC use(since ppc clones were stopped). I feel free as ever. Much more free than any other intel PC i've purchased.
I think what you're really trying to say is that you want to use macosx on a pc legally. and it angers you that you cant.
Yo mommas a dongle.
Theres a few misconceptions I'd like to address, despite the lack of knowledge I have :-)
First, freedom zero is of little real use to a general consumer, because consumers don't really _use_ software. They go to the shop, pick up a piece of software, use for the reason they bought it, and thats it. Freedom zero for these people is only really useful if it didn't quite do what you needed, because you could pay a person to make the changes for you.
Second, freedom zero is of paramount importance for government and large business contracts. The reason for this is clear: Governments have changing needs, and the software they need is complex and unpredictable. The requirements of yesterday are not the same as the requirements of tomorrow, and governments should be able to flex their financial muscle to ensure they get the source as part of the deliverables.
Third, freedom zero is of some importance to students, lecturers and enthusiasts, because being able to examine how an application works is one of the best ways to learn the trade.
Fourth, free software has often innovated in interesting and tangible ways: Apache, Firefox, 3D compositing desktops, and source control are examples of areas where open software is stronger than most closed source relatives.
Not to mention, open source software is just more fun to write. For me, that intellectual hive of people all looking to build the best software is addictive, especially to someone who has spent a great deal of time surround by people purely interested in getting a paycheck.
Finally, I believe the point Jeff is trying to make with the apple mac "dongle", is not that you can do what ever you want to the mac, but that you can't run your mac software on other platforms. A Dongle restricts access to software.
Wow, this post seems to have drawn the Apple fanatics out of the woodwork.
Fact: The Intel Macs wouldn't have the market share they have now if it weren't for the fact that you can use other OSes via BootCamp or Parallels/Fusion. This means that OSX isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to operating systems. And guess what? Apple allows other OSes on their hardware but DOES NOT ALLOW other hardware to run their OS.
OSX doesn't run without a Mac, therefore the Mac is a dongle for OSX. Simple, really.
Joshua, that's what a dongle is. It's a piece of hardware that is necessary for a piece of software to run. The whole point of the article is that if you go to the store and buy a copy of OS X, you can't do anything with it if you don't have Mac hardware, even though you may have a computer that could run it (i.e. has an Intel processor)
I'm not sure why I should give a crap. The only people who lose freedom are those who don't buy the Mac hardware. They don't force anything on anyone.
Complaining about that you are forced to buy a Mac to run OS/X is like complaining that you are forced to buy Windows to run Internet Explorer.
To everyone saying the Mac is not a dongle:
You've got it backwards. It doesn't matter that the Mac can run Windows and Linux. The point is that other manufacturers' computers can't run OS X.
To clarify, the Mac is the dongle to allow you to run Mac OS X. You cannot (particularly feasibly) run Mac OS X on a Dell, for instance. Because you don't have the dongle: the Mac.
emAlso, nobody seems to care that iPods only work with iTunes. If I buy an overpriced Mp3-Player should'nt it be my choice which software I use? It's not like you cant just plug any other Mp3-Player into an USB-Port and start transfering files./em
This is not meant to be some sort of snarky come back, but you can install open source firmware (Rockbox) on your iPod. I mention it because it leads to another reason a lot of people don't care about Freedom 0. I may be working on a closed system, but there are plenty of people working on ways to open it up. Whether it's using Rockbox, jailbreaking the iPhone, playing games with WINE, we can probably break out of our box. It may be a pain in the ass, but dealing with open source software can be a pain in the ass as well. (This is implied in the post, the idea that closed systems work with a "minimum of fuss".)
The first paragraph of the preceding was a quote. Apologies.
Mac is THE ONLY hardware on this planet that offers the freedom to run Mac OS (of course), Windows, Linux their corresponding software! How is that for being restrictive?
The real dongle are proprietary formats. If you use LaTeX, HTML, or other mark-up for writing, you could switch to any computer, os, and editor combination and still access your document. I wish it was as easy to create and edit a proprietary "database." It's possible, but not easy.
I guess the income from the blog ads hasn't been doing so well. Thankfully you can always use the John C. Dvorak method of pageview generation to bump the numbers up.
"...hypnotized into accepting old software designs as if they were facts of nature. Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique..."
Does he realize the OS X /iPhone is BSD unix-based? Jaron Lanier is a left-over talking head from the 90s. What has this guy done? Why is his opinion relevant to anyone?
The fact that some( certainly not all ) proprietary software is so innovative and polished is simple. People are PAID a LOT of money to develop it, and make it the best. And it is successful, because users will pay a LOT of money to have neat stuff. It's called capitalism and market forces.
I think most people using or writing open source software are not doing so to bring down Microsoft or stick it to the man, or other nonsense. They are doing so out of the love of it. Why else would people work for free? There is no hippie/communistic conspiracies, just people creating and sharing stuff.
Seems like this point has already been brought up, but there's no harm in reiterating.
OS X is based on free software. Just, non-copyleft free software. They care about free software insofar as they can use it in their operating system, Apple just doesn't give a damn about passing those freedoms on to its users.
Just because somebody poured a lot of money into one good system, and another bad system was built for free doesn't mean that "all systems built for free are bad."
Really, what matters is not the philosophy but the people behind it and the effort put in. Apple has great people who put in a lot of effort. Other companies have not-so-great people who put in less effort. And some open source projects have brilliant people who put in a lot of effort.
There's plenty of innovation in the open source world. There are definite usability features that GNOME had before Mac OS had them. And although it's kind of primitive at this point, GNOME does have the Online Desktop model that isn't really anywhere else.
Ruby is an open source programming language, and Rails is an open-source product, and those are both pretty innovative.
It has nothing to do with the process, it only has to do with the people.
Apple is selling solutions, sexiness, flair, and a software/hardware platform that is clearly the favorite of many. How it goes about it is, like many other companies' practices, what people find objectionable.
Every day we lose freedoms: in elementary schools, the vaccines our babies must take, Bill of Rights, how much shampoo we can take on an airplane. There is no Freedom 0, except when you turn the machine off.
If the open source people could EVER get it together... Downloaded Ubuntu with great hopes but the installer failed. Why bother?
I guess the last computer I really enjoyed was the Amiga...
People couldn't care less about freedom zero. Only a handful of people really realize what they're bying off the shelves, they're not committed to the crap they buy. It's just crap.
If enough people would give a notion to freedom zero, i'm sure that someone like Apple would be among the first to start producing freedom zero products.
It's all about demand and people are more interested in quick-fix diets that give you the feeling of "it just works" rather than anything that would require them to make an effort for something.
We, people, are suckers for things that just works, even if it comes with the cost of a little bit of freedom. And what comes to freedom zero, there's always a button to switch-off the dongle and go do something else. That's just enough freedom, atleast for me.
Sure I have no freedom to run OSX on anything other than a Mac but I'm fine with that. Why? Because I don't give a crap about OSX. It's just the operating system. All the things I really care about are open source applications which run just fine on OSX. The day they don't will be the day my Mac becomes a paperweight and Steve won't ever see another dollar from me after that.
I have no idea how the apple fanboys find every single pseudo anti-apple post on the web, and manage to put some crazy argument supporting apple's policies.
To most of these the content of the post seem irrelevant, and all that matters seem to be only that someone's saying something that kinda looks anti-apple. (P.S: I am writing this from a windows pc, coz I can't afford a mac, coz I am a loser, coz I am stupid etc.. - just bashing myself and saving the "fanboys" the trouble).
anyway, now that I have vented some of my irritation, I really think that the issue you raise, "lack of freedom 0", is something that is mostly ignored and sidelined and is something that has to be discussed a lot more.
Until Vista, there has always been a commercial alternative (albeit a lousy one) to a locked down like MacOSX. It's been over a year, and I can't get myself to upgrade to Vista (although I got it free with my laptop). What is the alternative for the normal pc user?
"I have no idea how the apple fanboys find every single pseudo anti-apple post on the web"
Well, you see they have stuff that just works. Leaves you with plenty of spare time ;)
I just had to, i'm sorry.
It depends on what you define as "Freedom." The Freedom 0 philosophy is too vague to say people don't care about it, people do, but "freedom" is relative... I don't care if you feel a Mac lets you have Freedom for your purposes, it does for me and mine.
"Any purpose" is just that -- "Any purpose" (relative to the person using it.) For me, I feel I have far more freedom on my Mac than I do my Windows or Linux PC's. Not because of any license agreement or hardware but instead of because what I define as freedom in relation to an OS.
For a lot of people, myself included, that freedom is simplicity and usability. Why should usability not be a part of the "freedom to have or do X." I use a Mac at work and at home because of my personal habits and my uses for a computer OS (I don't give a crap about the hardware, really.) Those personal habits and goals, for the most part, mean keeping the OS the hell out of the way and letting me get things done. I also require a shell. For me Windows doesn't have the former and Cygwin just doesn't cut it for the latter and is a sort of leaky cauldron solution -- I needed something else.
From a Windows PC I moved to Ubuntu when it came out, and life was pretty good, but the UI was a little clunky for my taste so I moved to an Intel based Mac... It solves my problems and that is ultimately what a computer is here do to: make life easier and solve problems -- Not freedom from proprietary devices or licenses.
First and foremost a computer is a tool, one that should work well. Working well is infinitely relative and will forever remain so and so is what people consider "freedom." Freedom is a very hard thing to ultimately and globally define. Some people feel quite free on a Mac (me) others feel very unfree (you.) Everything is relative.
So... can I run my windows on a Whatever Processor? Is Intel Processor hardware dongle for windows?
This post is beyond silly.
your statements are right-on. I was a huge Apple fan in the Apple II days. The Apple II was the prototype for the computer that won the computer revolution...unfortunately for Apple, that company that made the revolutionary computer was IBM. In 1984 Apple gave us the Third Reich of Computers: one computer, one computer company, one fuhrer. The irony of Apple's 1984 ad is staggering. A common theme among Apple fanboys seems to be slavery is freedom - where have I heard that slogan before?
Sounds more like people trying to justify spending too much money or people feeling duped that Apple made them think buying their computer would make them cool, hip, and sexy. The Mac is a dandy kick-butt overpriced machine. The point of your article is totally missed by the Apple fanboys. After reading some of the Apple fanboy comments - I think some of these people need to realize Apple can only dream of having a 10% market share. Apple dominates 3% of the market (although I think it is down to about 2.3% worldwide) - get over yourselves - about 97% of PC-type computer work is done on non-Apple hardware and there are many times more non-Apple PC's that just work than there are Apple machines in existence...this is taking into consideration all the problems in the non-locked-down-non-Apple world). The Mac eats nothing except your money - and for some people, their brains. The only reason OS X doesn't run on any Intel PC is Apple will not let you. If you want to run Unix-type or Windows software you can get more powerful machines for far less money if you buy Non-Apple machines(and the market share for pure Apple software does not rise about the noise level). The irony of Apple market sharing growing because Apple computers run Windows is about staggering as the Apple 1984 ad. I was there - for years Apple told us Windows was crap and now the only reason Apple is viable is Apple runs Windows.
This was a computer philosophy debate and it seems those that buy expensive devices to be hip and cool don't like to operate on the philosophic level - unless Apple creates a commercial that tells them philosophy is cool.
Why choose open source over proprietary when you can always download the crack to the latest versions of proprietary apps?
IMHO, you get the best of both worlds.
open source code is for geeks who never get laid.
What a great post - I agree with you completely!
I think "freedom from complexity" or "freedom from unnecessary headache" is much more important. No?
Dude: Sorry for the negative tone I had previously. But what can you do, you have your needs for the software: You might tell the project in question about your ideas. If they don't care to do that, then you could do it yourself. If you don't have time, interest or skills to do it, then you could pay someone to do it. If you don't have that much extra cash, then you use a (cheap) system where those features are already implemented. It's as simple as that.
I agree, it is as simple as that. My solution was to use software produced by a real company where there is someone actually responsible for making sure it works, and it does.
I have no need for the features you mentioned, so the implementer won't be me. OSS works perfectly for _me_, I really don't care if _you_ will or won't be an OSS user.
This is how it works. No one will be kissing your ass to use any (at least non-commercial) OSS.
I don't expect anyone to kiss my ass, whether I pay for a product or not, but I do expect it to actually work as advertised/expected.
Samuli on January 29, 2008 11:11 AM
"So... can I run my windows on a Whatever Processor? Is Intel Processor hardware dongle for windows? This post is beyond silly."
Speaking of beyond silly - ever heard of AMD?
What was that I was saying about Mac's eating people's brains? Beyond silly - today's lesson: IRONY
Why do Mac-Heads try to pretend it is Apple versus Microsoft? It is Apple versus pretty much the rest of the computer world (which includes many operating systems, many microprocessors, many hardware manufacturers, many different companies and organizations)
Let sum up (from a software engineering perspective):
The Mac runs Mac-only software (nobody cares, the market share is in the noise level. If you want to make money with software do you target 2.3-3% of the market or 100% of the market...since the Mac's now run Windows and other PC operating systems)
The Mac can also work as an overpriced PC with limited options - there is no denying this fact. If you are into overpriced hardware with limited options, no question about it - the Mac is the way to go.
PC's run Linux cheaper and with more options
PC's run Windows cheaper and with more options.
In the modern lexicon PC means pretty much any microcomputer other than Apple.
This is all the information you need to make a selection (from a software industry standpoint)
....and you guys wonder why Apple has a 3% market share.
Apple excels the most at marketing.
You're confusing two concepts here. Yeah, a Mac is akin to a dongle which allows you to run Mac OS X on your PC. However, that has got nothing to do with third-party apps. On Mac OS X, you CAN run any program, for any purpose, even more so than on Windows.
In fact, I run a Mac BECAUSE third-party applications are so much better than on Windows. Where's Windows' Pixelmator? Coda? Quicksilver? Mellel? OmniGraffle? OmniFocus? Hazel? Delicious Library? Acorn? Lineform? SubEthaEdit? Textmate? There is NOTHING standing in the way of third-party apps on Mac OS X. In fact, Apple ships a whole freaking IDE with every copy of OS X.
Where are the small software developers for Windows who give a crap about their UI? Where's Windows' Panic? Delicious Monster? Omni Group?
So it's about data in Apple's own applications? Well, most of Apple's applications write their data in bundles containing plain image, movie and XML files. It would be great if Microsoft were as open.
What you want is the freedom to run Mac OS X on your non-Apple PC. You can't do that, but that has got nothing to do with running third-party applications on Mac OS X. A computer running Mac OS X is nothing like an Xbox. At all.
Don't confuse "I can't run Mac OS X on my PC" with "Apple's hardware is locked down and there are only Apple apps on Macs." They have nothing to do with each other. The first is true, the second just plainly isn't.
Somehow, I don't know what else to do with my Xbox 360 than play games, because that's what I bought it for. Well, maybe I could watch divx's etc without connecting to Live! "to download codecs" every single time. But mainly to play games, and better leave it that way, as long as it works..
My PCs are a whole different story, because I'm a computer enthusiast. I want to do with them anything I like and use/modify/experiment different software as much as I like, without paying hundreds of euros for licences, without using crappy pirated software.
And on top of all that - I *hate* malware.
So, for me, on PCs it's just easier to use open source OSs like Debian/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/you name it - than proprietary operating systems or other proprietary software.
I know what you mean with the Dongle-thing, but somehow I don't think Xbox as a computer (although it is) - For me, it 's just a "thing" that has to start a game when I insert a disc :)
And in the same way, for some people, PC just has to start a solitaire for them. I understand that they don't care a bit about how free their software is, they already paid for everything that's needed to run the solitaire, and usually these people don't even understand the difference between price and freedom.
It's kind of a pity. But I, too, appreciate that no-one is telling me how closed-source, evil crappy my Xbox's OS is, it does what it needs to do :)
"for consumers Apple is the in the lead right now."
That is if you consider 2.3% worldwide market share the lead? Or are you talking about your personal opinion? Fantasy?
What was that I said about Mac's eating people's brains?
All I can say is "wow" - the marketing geniuses at Apple are able to get people to make illogical silly statements - in this category, Apple is absolutely amazing.
"Speaking of beyond silly - ever heard of AMD? "
AMD uses intel instruction set, AMD is an intel processor.
"The Mac runs Mac-only software"
false, The Mac can run Mac-only software. In fact OSX is very good at running open source software and it's the reason I use it.
On the other hand Mac-only software can only run on Mac OS X. It doesn't have to be Apple's hardware but Mac OS X is sold with a licence that says you can only install it if you gave money to Apple for their hardware. Are you complaining about software licences?
"Yup, just like airplanes are dongles to fly through the air."
That would be a good analogy if only airplanes made by one company could fly or only one kind of airplane could fly (of course none of that is true). Speaking of flying - look up - Jeff's point is flying way over your head.
One again, what was that I said about Mac's eating people's brains?
(I could do this all day with the Mac-Heads comments - but this is my last one)
The Mac can also work as an overpriced PC with limited options
what limited options are you talking about?
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I don't think Macs really are locked down all that much. In the last year I have switched all my PCs to Macs of some sort. My life is a lot less hassle now- I don't have to spend hours tracking down drivers or trawling through registry entries or removing viruses (virii?) or reinstalling applications on a constant basis. I still use a Wacom tablet, Logitech keyboard and mouse, Samsung screens and so on, same as I did with the PCs. Initially I thought I'd have problems finding Mac equivalents for the software I used on the PC but I was pleasantly suprised by what's out there. Free software such as Quicksilver has changed the way I use computers. Sure, I hate Itunes and I think the iPhone was one of the most ridiculous debacles in recent history, but the Mac Pro hardware is well worth the money, and OS X is actually well thought out in most parts, and there is a lot less operating system patronisation than you get from Windows.
"AMD uses intel instruction set, AMD is an intel processor."
Close, but no cigar
Funny, AMD is Intel's number one competitor. I don't think Intel thinks AMD is an Intel processor. HINT: AMD has not been a licensed second-source manufacturer for Intel since the K5. Currently x86-64, which supports Intel's x86, and was created by AMD and has been cloned by Intel (using your logic, some Intel chips are actually an AMD chips) Currently you got it backassward - your comment was true about 20 years ago.
Most consumers don't care about Freedom Zero because Zero Freedom programs have giant teams of people dedicated to making Zero Freedom programs easy to use.
open source is automatically the best path to creativity and innovation
Why should it? It's a way to develop software, may it be innovative, trail-blazing and mind-blowing, or "simply" state-of-the-art, or boring bread-and-butter, or even crippled and terrible. OS is not a hindrance either, it's a possibility, to be exploited by (and dependend on) the developers. However, I'd rather see the results of software development being open source, as this reveals a lot more advantages and gains to developers and users, the so-called public, now and in the future - perhap's that's what appeals to most OS developers.
Why are so many of the more sophisticated examples of code in the online world the results of proprietary development?
Why shouldn't they? The examples mentioned have been developed out of a commercial need. No competition here between free and proprietary software, IMHO, just the chance that open source will prevail and used much more widely (and in ways the developers could have never foreseen) when its proprietary counterpart has long been buried or subject to bit rot due to lack of any more commercial interest in it...
I've got the feeling the press has its part here in oversimplifying things in order to get it into peoples heads. And it stuck indeed... :-(
LVD: "The Mac runs Mac-only software"
MacHead: "false, The Mac can run Mac-only software..."
What was that I said about Mac's eating people's brains - read the entire message and observe your error (note: you immediately contradict yourself) I never claimed Mac's could only run Mac-only software.
I too have always loved freedom (as in free software), but I think "freedom 0" is exaggerating. Having used a variety of hardware over twenty years and most of the reasonable operating systems, I think that my MacBook is the best tool I've ever had, thanks to the closed, proprietary development.
And it allows me to have the best of two worlds.
I can trust that those proprietary pieces of software that I deeply love, Photoshop for one, run smoothly. Then again, as an engineer, I can't live without my daily dose of TeX and emacs. The choise of building a modern OS on top of the trusted BSD platform is ingenious.
-- Could you elaborate on why you "find Apple's brand of hardware lock-in particularly egregious".
The Mac itself includes, internally, a chip which is required to run the normal version of the Mac operating system. In a good number of cases, this operating system is the primary reason people purchase Macintosh computers; while there are a good number of people running Boot Camp or the various Virtualization software, the majority of Mac users responding to surveys name system stability as the reason they purchased Macs, citing the operating system rather than the hardware.
Attempting to install OS X on non-Mac hardware, however, is not legally possible. While there are few real issues, the OS X code specifically checks the hardware to make sure it does not install on hardware from other manufacturers.
The result is that you need the hardware to run the software, not because of some inherent aspect of the interaction, but because Apple decided to make things so. This results in (depending on device and production) a fairly expensive "Mac Tax".
The general concept is called vertical expansion or vertical integration in economic terms: one company ownsWhile this is perfectly legal, and under most of the more libertarian business philosophies, perfectly acceptable, it still results in some pretty significant negative results.
For example, you can't legally change hardware manufacturers without changing software, and this typically involves a pretty hefty commitment in terms of time and/or money. If the newest Mac generation of machines have a hardware manufacturer that you can't ethically support, or have board issues, or look like a monkey's behind, you can't change this without needing to convert to another operating system. This significant discourages variation within a field -- Apple has little to no reason to release computers with minor variations in performance, and doing so would probably cost them money rather than produce it, where in the PC world, small variations from one manufacturer and the next are common. For similar reasons, this discourages competition within a field. Supporting AMD-based systems would literally double the cost of QA, without much benefit to Apple.
This vertical integration combined with high barriers to transition is part of the Apple business philosophy. You can't easily transfer from an FairPlay-based system (iTunes) to a Janus-based one, or vice versa, and Apple won't license FairPlay to other players or even sellers. If you go iPod, you give up your purchased music if you try going elsewhere, or commit a few felonies.
There's nothing wrong about this; it's perfectly legal, and people who purchase from Apple know what they're getting into. But it's the sort of thing few other companies could get away with, and it's a particularly galling example of the 'dongle' mindset. Rather than defining inputs and outputs and building an application layer of the OSI model, it insists on absorbing down to layer one.
As for the opening post: the average user doesn't care about Freedom Zero. They don't think about what their next purchase will be after grabbing a piece of hardware. They want their Macbook or Dell or whatever; not to think about what they can do with the hardware when someone else comes up with a cool trick, or when they can move stuff. It really doesn't matter to them for another few years.
Freedom Zero is only important when you can look that far ahead. I use subversion, openSSH, and putty, for example, because I know they'll always work. If [i]anything[/i] changes, I can recompile old code on a new operating system legally, and we'd be up and running soon. It's important to me. To the average user, though, it looks like we're spending a lot of time for relatively little benefit.
I guess it all depends on how you define freedom. If submitting yourself to a giant dongle and getting something that works then that's your view.
Others might think being bound to a system that doesn't work without installing patch ofer patch and modding with hardware and config files to just get working is giving up freedom as well. You're a slave to your system.
Both have pro's and con's, pick your poison.
I drink from both bottles.
I am a patriot, I love my Operating System
Because my Operating System is all I know
I wanna be with my family
People who understand me
I got no place else to go...
I am a patriot...
Anyway, my take in this:
Apple seells hardware that require new software.
Microsoft force you to buy software that needs new hardware.
Pretty much the same if you ask me, but I feel that Apple is more honest, but again I dont know the mac platform very well. But as a microsoft developer since MSDos, I am almost ashamed of using Microsoft technology these days.
Why not just stop bashing about Apple?
I actually thought you could do better than that!
Whether at home or professionally at work, I only care about the problem I'm trying to solve. Sometimes keeping data Free (rather than the systems themselves) is an important part of the problem I'm solving, and when that is the case I care very much about it, but when it isn't on the list I'm not really bothered by it.
I've got plenty to be getting on with just by trying to solve the problems I already have and I'm not keen to add to that list if I can avoid it. Sometimes this point of view makes freedom 0 very important. Sometimes, however, it's completely irrelevant to the issue in front of me.