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Apple Businesses

Woz on Open Source, DRM 170

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the when-the-man-talks dept.
destinyland writes "Steve Wozniak just weighed in on DRM, saying "it doesn't make much sense if these things are going to have DRM forever." In this great new interview, he complains that even now, only six songs on his iTunes playlist are DRM-free. He applauds the Open Source Movement, saying "it's very honorable and it's very good for the customers." He's even considering publishing the hand-written code for the Apple II as a manuscript. He's also surprisingly non-commital about the iPhone. ("Will word of mouth kill it or make it a hit? Who knows?") He also talks about his favorite pranks, and reveals that "the Secret Service read me my Miranda rights once.""
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Woz on Open Source, DRM

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  • Respect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serapth (643581) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:38AM (#19743497)
    Woz has this special ability, he is universally liked and respected. Apple fans worship him, while PC fans still respect him. Look at all the other big names in the industry, like Gates, Jobs, Ellison, Torvalds, Schwartz, etc... and there is always something you can find to dislike them for. Not Woz though, nobody dislikes him.

    Its too bad he isnt more actively involved in the industry these days. Then again, thats probrably a good part of why he is so liked!
  • by MontyApollo (849862) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:19AM (#19743849)
    >>...If you don't think DRM "makes sense", why on earth have you bought so much DRM-d content and so little DRM-free content?

    Because he's a billionaire...

    And Apple only sold DRM music until recently.

    "Doesn't make sense" is different than "strongly opposed to." Like I said he is a billionaire, and he probably has lot of other stuff on his mind (like more pranks, apparently.) Just because you think something is a bad idea doesn't mean you equate it to Satan. People have different priorities in their life.

  • by rbanffy (584143) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:39AM (#19744027) Homepage Journal
    Saying that without Stallman we would not have Free Software is like stating that, without Columbus, we would not have discovered the Americas. It would happen, perhaps later, perhaps in a little bit different way.

    But it would have happened.

    Not to say I don't respect RMS deeply for his contributions. As it stands, he was the driving force behind it.
  • by Tony (765) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:40AM (#19744039) Journal
    Sorry, market cap is an indication of the ability to sell stuff, not the ability to produce good products. In an ideal world, they'd be one and the same, but in an ideal world, communism would work. We don't live in an ideal world, so neither is true.

    As far as what Woz contributed: well, first and foremost, he created a floppy drive that could fit in a space smaller than carry-on luggage. In fact, it was smaller than a toaster. And he was able to sell it for less than $1000. You can trace the start of the home computer revolution to his Apple ][ and the small, cheap floppy drive.

    I would say Woz was about 10 times more responsible for the computer revolution than Bill Gates, or Microsoft. Gates was a more vicious businessman, and willing to exploit others, even fuck others over; and so his company has a larger market cap.

    As far as Gates writing stuff, he was never that great. If you look at the impressive stuff done by Microsoft, Paul Allen was responsible for the heavy lifting up through MS-DOS 3.0. (After he discovered that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were trying to figure out how to get his shares back should he die of his cancer, he left. See what I mean about fucking others over?)

    As far as jumping into philanthropy, Wozniak has been all about philanthropy since day 1. Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married. Until then, he kept getting slammed in the press for being a stingy fucker. After it started affecting his image, he started giving money away, often in the form of, get this, Microsoft software. So, he gets to improve his image, and spread the disease at the same time.

    Wozniak is ten times the man, and ten times the geek, that Gates is. Gates is more comparable to Jobs than Woz. Paul Allen was more the Woz equivalent for Microsoft.

    Woz is easy to respect, as he not only was one of the primary forces to kick off the home computer revolution, but he's a nice guy. A bit strange, but nice.

    Neither Gates nor Woz is really relevant any more. But Woz was and is the better geek, and the better man.
  • by soliptic (665417) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:09AM (#19744279) Journal

    Because he's a billionaire...
    Does not compute; doesn't answer the question at all. That explains how he can buy a lot of <anything>, but not why.

    Being a billionaire, he could have bought 97,000 jellyfish-shaped strawberry cheesecakes, but he (presumably) didn't, so "being able to buy something" clearly doesn't in itself explain why he/anyone DID buy something.

    And Apple only sold DRM music until recently.
    Again, completely specious argument I'm afraid, as Apple are not the only vendors of music.

    "Doesn't make sense" is different than "strongly opposed to." Like I said he is a billionaire, and he probably has lot of other stuff on his mind (like more pranks, apparently.) Just because you think something is a bad idea doesn't mean you equate it to Satan. People have different priorities in their life
    On the other hand this is an absolutely fair point. I must admit his 'anti-DRM' remark was so extremely vague/weak it's a stretch to start contrasting it against his behaviour. In fairness that rant was more of an "in general" thing, not so much aimed at him specifically (he just gave me the topical 'hook' to rant off), and more based on seeing/hearing people do this in general.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:13AM (#19744309)
    People love music and they WILL buy it in whatever form the artists contracts to contain the audio. It's the right of HE who own the material to put in whatever form they want. Usually this is the most sales worthy, but if the pirating of intellectual property through DL of copyrighted material continues with no curve I think it's going to have a very negative effect on artists.

    I think it will polarize the music community to some degree, creating a HUGE market for one hit wonders and very small market for the actual cutting edge musician who's sound is unlikely to be realized at first.

    Being a computer nerd and musician I think you can see there IS a legit need to at least control music piracy. Usually when one cannot enforce a law the last resort will be to rely on education, but in this case I just don't see the population quickly realize that DL all their music instead of buying it is in fact a long road to steal profits from the entire music industry and perhaps ultimately taking money from the arts.

    I for one think while liberal arts may be directly useless in many cases, indirectly it shapes out culture and makes us better people. The instant delivery of media, especially free media, has the advantage of expanding the listeners minds FOR NOW, but what is there really is a negative impact on artists from people stealing their works. In a much bigger picture it could help contribute to the downward spiral that is American culture. American and the industrialized countries at least should be paying for MOST of their music. It's just not that expensive and the profits do without a doubt perpetuate the music industry.

    While they can adapt their models somewhat and profit less from CDs and more from merchandise and concerts, that's still a negative effect.

    So while slashdotters hate DRM, is it because it's make free music harder to get or simply because a few people wind up getting ripped off and losing their songs. I bet it a little bit of both, which means, the world needs a better DRM. One that is fair and effective because stealing content HAS to have some negative effect on our artists. Our people might get smarter or more cultured though information theft, but what happens in 100 years when the numbers of truly passionate artists decline even more.

    You cannot deny that the vast majority of great works are made be an tiny fraction of the people. So the effect of discouraging their production through theft could be much greater than you might at first assume. It IS a problem people and while DRM wasn't the answer I don't think making media easy to steal is a reasonable solution either, which happens to be the case currently. Google videos compromise is MUCH more realistic but it still winds up censoring a ton of material production companies can pull massive amounts of content whenever their contracts expire.

    How can people be truly inspired to create art if we have no realistic means to stop everyone from not paying for their product. I mean being a pure artists who cares not about profit is great, but MOST artists BY FAR are just doing their jobs.

    Perhaps the easiest solution is for the media companies to buyout the P2p providers and make money through advertising and having their client run on your PC. For that matter the client could run P2P DL free music legally and also use your extra CPU cycles for whatever profitable endeavor the companies can think of. Plus perhaps move the bar up a little and get us to a more lossless audio standard. Give away the majority of music perhaps (since they can't stop piracy) and charge for the newest songs.

    I think they also need a national organization to manage things such as DVD encryption standards because the companies waste years arguing over specs and by the time their content actually hits the market the encryption is already cracked. Rather than this media control process be controlled by individual companies it should be done be one centralized non-profit organization. They would be the ones to decide what
  • Re:Respect (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:20AM (#19744389)
    From the original post:

    Look at all the other big names in the industry, like Gates, Jobs, Ellison, Torvalds, Schwartz, etc... and there is always something you can find to dislike them for.
    Proving once again that people on slashdot cannot even read a post they reply to, yet alone RTFA.
  • Woz is the man. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:46AM (#19744631)
    Whether you're an Apple fan or not, Wozniak is just a great hearted and life filled individual. Wish we had more people like him in this field or world for the matter, it would be a better world.
  • by Afecks (899057) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:47AM (#19744635)

    but in an ideal world, communism would work

    In an ideal world we wouldn't need communism, because it would be ideal. If you're going to dream, dream big.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:57AM (#19744739) Homepage Journal

    I don't think the Open Source Movement has much contribute to the fight against DRM.
    Existing as the antithesis of DRM is the biggest contribution imaginable.
    They don't fight DRM, they make the alternative.
  • You're off on the wrong foot right from the start in that article. You write "It's the right of HE who own the material to put in whatever form they want." which is true, but it's got nothing to do with copyright, or DRM, or anything else.

    Copyright is fundamentally very simple. It's the right to make a copy.

    In practice that's pretty complex, because... what's a copy? If you decide to get really technical, when you read a book or listen to a song, you're making a copy of it. It's low fidelity, unless you've got an unlikely good memory, but by your logic an artist should have the right to sue you if you hum the time or recite the story in public. Oh, I'm sure that you wouldn't go that far... but it's where the logic leads.

    Copyright law is complex because copyright law is mostly about defining EXACTLY what a copy is. And when a copy is subject to copyright. There's been licenses on software that are based on the theory that you're making a copy of the software when you install it on your computer, but there's nothing about copyright restrictions preventing you from making a temporary copy of the images in a video when you play it on your TV. Unless you do it in a public place... then it's a performance. And you're allowed to make a personal copy of a movie off your TV if it was broadcast, which is a kind of public performance though your playing it isn't, or even if it's on a DVD... but not if you're playing it from a rented DVD, whether it's a public performance or not, and not if you're seeing it in a movie, which is another kind of public performance.

    So, first off, while an artist has a right to use whatever format they want, that doesn't mean you don't have the right to make a recording in another format... for your own use. Apple got attacked for their "RIP, MIX, BURN" advertising campaign... but it turns out that in the US it's legal to "RIP, MIX, BURN". And it's legal to do that even if the music was DRMed to begin with.

    So that's the second thing. The main reason for DRM is to try and create new rights. The DMCA is a really useful tool, because it makes it illegal to use "technical means" to bypass DRM. So while the law doesn't say that an artist has the right to prevent you from making a personal copy of an HD DVD, they're *creating* that right by gluing together bits of the law. This kind of thing happens all the time, the law says one thing, someone comes up with a way to make it mean something else, and sometimes the law gets changed to say that the other thing is really in there, or it gets changed to say the other thing was an unintended side effect and it's really OK to eat peanuts on church after all.

    This kind of thing also ends up making the definition of a "copy" trickier.

    And people aren't stupid. They look at the way things work, and they look at DRM, and they go "you know, you're treating your fans like shit". So they either treat the artists like shit in return, or they decide they don't like the music enough to put up with being treated like shit. So there's actually competition, and market forces, and all that America and Apple Pie stuff, and what it does it makes DRM into something that provides an advantage for the artists who don't use it. Particularly the ones who aren't selling that well, yet... so they put stuff out that's not restricted, and people discover it, and they go "hey, this is good stuff", and they go "hey, this guy is cool", and they buy his stuff. And there's guys who've made it this way.

    And these artists aren't signing with EMI. So EMI's not getting their cut, so this gives EMI a reason to go DRM-free... maybe they can sign a few of the hot new internet artists who'd otherwise be going through CDbaby and eMusic and getting earplay through last.fm. Because, you know, the Internet isn't going away.

    I hate the "Napster clones". I think Napster should have been slapped down HARD, right off, because their whole business model was deliberately about setting up cutouts so they could get a cut of copyright violati
  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @03:06PM (#19746765) Journal

    Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married.

    Actually, Gates didn't get into philanthropy until after he got married and Microsoft got indicted for illegal trade practices.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2007 @03:30AM (#19751751)

    Gates isn't giving his money away. A very small portion of his wealth (proportionally much smaller than other's charitable donations) are going to the Gates Foundation

    So he is giving it away - just less of a proportion than you'd like, but more absolute value than you could ever dream of affording.

    And 95% of the Gates Foundation is in investments for companies making more money.

    This is standard operating practice for foundations: make profit-making investments, cream off profit, donate. Successful businessmen tend to be good at knowing how to invest, so it stands to reason they'll use this skill here too; you're just arguing strategy - you could save 100 lives today or 1000 lives over a period of n years.

    Most of the wealth in the Gates Foundation comes from Warren Buffet, who was once the world's richest man.

    Given your implied criticism for the Gates Foundation, why would Buffet donate so much of his wealth to it? Either he has the same aims as the Foundation, or he is stupid and doesn't see how the Foundation works. And I don't think he's stupid. But given that the money's gone to the same place (a greater proportion of wealth, indeed), what's valid criticism of Gates for the Foundation's operations is now valid criticism of Buffet for propping it up. Maybe Buffet thinks that Gates has incredible skill at managing money - in this case, for charitable purposes - and that's as important as donating the money itself.

    He lives here in Omaha, NE and is a very frugal, simple man who from time to time can even be seen mowing his own lawn.

    From the blue-collar 20-something in his first home to the tin-pot dictator, every man seems to enjoy mowing his lawn from time to time. This is no more a insightful than saying "and sometimes I even see him play tennis". I recall the home of a billionaire living in a tax exile in Switzerland, who used to employ my mother; their cat was wandering all over the kitchen counter and creating a mess, enjoying the feline-god-given freedom of any other cat. It doesn't matter how many full-time cat carers/housekeepers they could have afforded, it was fun to let nature be, and then put things back in order.

    His kids aren't pampered rich kids who ever assumed they would inherit anything.

    "Rely on the fact that" and "assume" are two different things. If a billionaire donates 90% of his wealth and leaves the rest for his kids, the latter still have an incredible windfall coming. Anyway, having rich parents (and this is my feeling about my own circumstances, though we're not quite talking Buffet scale!) is, from the point of view of their wealth, not an excuse to be lazy, but a blessing that should the need arise for some emergency, I am not going to be left with nowhere to turn. Which in turn allows me, the offspring, to be more bold than I could otherwise - which means I can be more useful to society than if risk-taking had the serious potential to leave me destitute.

    Gates repeatedly said for years he did not believe in charity and refused to donate much of anything.

    He may have been considering a strategy for later on in life that he didn't wish to reveal. He may have simply had some sort of relevation in the '90s. The fact that he was being open about not doing something while not doing it counts in his favour.

    If every middle class family man with a pool and an SUV was poked for not donating that portion of his wealth to the local soup kitchen, if every geek bought the one model down or stayed away from the iPhone so that the $500 he saves could go toward preventing blindness in 40 children, then they could all attack Gates for not having donated all his money today and yesterday with a magic retroactive wand. But if you prod people hard enough, they tend also to express that they "don't believe in ch

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