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FSF Response To Steve Jobs's Letter 572

Posted by kdawson
from the pot-meet-kettle dept.
boilednut writes "Steve Jobs's recent missive on the deficiencies of Adobe's Flash is still reverberating around the Internet. In this editorial, John Sullivan of the Free Software Foundation responds, arguing that Apple is presenting users with a false choice between Adobe's proprietary software and Apple's walled garden."
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FSF Response To Steve Jobs's Letter

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  • by walshy007 (906710) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:22PM (#32060308)

    Letting the users decide is the best option, what's that? the users can't decide because of apple, of course they can, they aren't forced to buy the product. Their own stupid fault if they buy something so locked down and don't like it.

    As far as stallman is concerned, it is still another choice, just one that doesn't make sense from the freedom perspective.

  • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:25PM (#32060324)

    I think that what many people are missing is that what Apple is offering is a proprietary implementation of open standards, vs a proprietary implementation of a closed standard. If Apple finds a problem in Safari, it can fix it. If it finds a problem with Flash, it can't. An iPhone owner who doesn't like Apple's implementations of HTML5 or IMAP can get a different smart phone. If he doesn't like Adobe's implementation of Flash, he's hosed.

  • Wasted argument (Score:1, Insightful)

    by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:31PM (#32060364) Homepage Journal

    Yet if the FSF can't put out something mainstream people want to use, this entire argument is worthless. Besides, it's just a cycle. Open - > closed -> open -> closed. Just think pre-web ineternet, compuserve, WWW, and now App Store or Facebook.

    People don't see 'free' as good because if it's a bitch to use they're going to ignore it. It's gotten significantly better in the last decade but in general term it's still a PITA to use.

  • Why not .... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crumbz (41803) <<remove_spam>jus ... o spam>gmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:34PM (#32060372) Homepage

    ... Let the market decide? If people value walled gardens over open source or vice versatile, then let users vote with their dollars ornEuros or whatever?

  • by dr2chase (653338) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:35PM (#32060374) Homepage
    I mean, really. The free software guys care about something that is irrelevant to most of Apple's customers, and vice-versa. What's the point?
  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:37PM (#32060388) Homepage Journal

    If you had read the next paragraph as well, you would probably have held your idiotic comment as well:

    If he had said anything about why user freedom on the Web is important, his hypocrisy would have been explicit. In a nutshell, he says, "Don't use Adobe's proprietary platform to engage with information on the Web. Use Apple's." He doesn't want users to freely wander and creatively explore the Web or their own computers; he wants them to move from the fenced-off "Freedom Zone" based in San Jose to the one based in Cupertino

    Jobs doesn't say why open standards are good, because then it would be obvious that that the "freedom" Jobs offers just isn't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:42PM (#32060418)

    The FSF is hijacking this debate for their own cause. In fact, the choice is between open standard (html5) or Adobe's format. Another choice you have to make is Apple walled garden vs open platforms (FSF).

    Everyone is just trying to get publicity from this. The funny thing is that IF Apple would open up AND accept Flash everyone would go back at bitching about Flash.

  • Re:Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oztiks (921504) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:43PM (#32060424)

    He doesnt care that you should care, or not.

    Flash apps circumvent the app store, you can make a website app through flash for free (such as a game) and Jobs doesn't get to enforce his Apple Tax.

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:44PM (#32060426) Journal

    That's stupid. If a user doesn't like Adobe's implementation of Flash, he can choose not to Flash. At the moment the user has less choice, not more.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:47PM (#32060446) Homepage

    Apple wants me to be dependent on Apple.

    I would rather not be dependent on Apple. I would rather not be dependent on Adobe either. However, I would like to be able to choose for myself.

    At least Microsoft allows me the freedom to be "tasteless".

    This is "why I shouldn't buy an iPad". This is also why "no one else should buy an iPad".

    No one should actually buy into the idea that Jobs is some sort of nice-guy-hippie. He just wants people to buy into his brand of vendorlock.

  • by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:48PM (#32060456)

    I mean, really. The free software guys care about something that is irrelevant to most of Apple's customers, and vice-versa. What's the point?

    The point is Jobs presented a false argument for Apple's refusal to allow Flash on iPads.

  • Typical con (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:49PM (#32060464) Homepage
    This is pretty typical for a confidence man or a salesman - he doesn't ask "do you want my product or not" but rather, "do you want the green one, or the blue one?" The trick is accepting the false premise in the first place. As soon as you try to follow the red queen as it jumps around from left, right, and center, the con man has you.
  • It is a choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cbreak (1575875) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:50PM (#32060468)

    Apple is presenting users with a false choice between Adobe's proprietary software and Apple's walled garden.

    It is a real choice, but there are obviously more options to chose from than the enumerated two.

  • by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:51PM (#32060478)

    What's that supposed to mean? Apple's approach conflicts with the FSF's philosophy, so they're telling people why. Users are obviously still let decide; advising people one way or the other doesn't change that.

    And it's not like the FSF is meddling in other people's business, because the question of what standards are commonly supported/used is relevant to everyone who wants to use a computer.

  • by cbreak (1575875) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:58PM (#32060522)
    There is a big difference between a proprietary software and a proprietary format. If the format is open, you can chose which software to use to view it. Just look at Office and it's format: It is a massive factor in the dominance of the software. But Internet Explorer is a proprietary software rendering an open format, you can easily pick or even implement yourself a different reader. That's why there is a competition in the browser space, much more than in that for office software.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:59PM (#32060524) Homepage

    The FSF isn't hijacking it. It is correctly framing the discussion. HTML5 isn't going to do anything to replace the bulk of Flash web content out there. Most of that is already replaced with "apps".

    That's the single most annoying thing about the iPhone/iPad. It takes a common protocol and a common interface that works the same across multiple diverse operating systems and takes us back to the 80s and 90s where every little thing like Google Maps would be a seperate single-platform-only probably windos-only proprietary application.

    HTML5 is infact just a red herring.

    HTML5 isn't going to replace Flash. Proprietary Apple apps are. Proprietary Apple apps already do.

    I can choose between a platform that's more closed than a Nintendo and proprietary apps to match, or another proprietary standard that at least lets me pick the OS of my choice.

    Jobs is all about the vendorlock. His populist rantings are just a smokescreen.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:01PM (#32060536)

    For example:

    A free Web needs free software. You cannot have a free Web if your access to the software you use to engage the Web is limited to an arbitrary number of computers, or if you are not allowed to conduct business on the Web using the software, or if you are forbidden from asking someone to develop additional features you need.

    The web is a separate entity to the client software that accesses it. If somebody accesses the "free web" with a proprietary client, that doesn't make the web any less free or open. The "free web" is dependent on open standards, not the open source nature of browsers. As long as open source browsers exist, I don't see what the FSF's problem is, users still have a choice.

  • Re:Why not .... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbreak (1575875) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:04PM (#32060550)
    Many parts of apple's API are not proprietary: Look at OpenAL, OpenGL, OpenCL. Others are proprietary (Cocoa/Core).
    Between a flash app and an apple app, both apps are closed. They run on one closed system. But at least apple's closed systems is partially open... (I heard that flash was apparently also opened a bit recently... but I haven't seen any result from that yet)
  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:05PM (#32060560) Homepage

    Steve Job's isn't a tech visionary, he's a *salesman*! That's all you need to know.

  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:12PM (#32060622)

    This is also why "no one else should buy an iPad".

    It's why you shouldn't buy an iPad, sure, but to be fair, being dependant on Apple is one of the things that makes this device appeal to me. Simple reason being, I've seen Apple products time and time again trump their competitors in terms of usability, and that's the one thing that matters to me.

    I buy it knowing full well it's locked down like fort knox, but it's their control over the thing that makes it as easy to use as possible.

    It's not for everyone, I know.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:17PM (#32060638)

    At least Microsoft allows me the freedom to be "tasteless".

    But if you choose Microsoft Windows, you are also dependent on Microsoft. How is this any different? How can Microsoft be considered open, when their products are utterly proprietary?

    No one should actually buy into the idea that Jobs is some sort of nice-guy-hippie. He just wants people to buy into his brand of vendorlock.

    Yet, you believe that Microsoft is somehow about freedom and not vendor lock-in. A very strange belief.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:20PM (#32060654) Homepage Journal

    Its news for me because Apple got an operating system for free (BSD and Mach underlie OSX) because of those free software guys.

  • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:24PM (#32060674)

    Jobs doesn't say why open standards are good, because then it would be obvious that that the "freedom" Jobs offers just isn't.

    Except Jobs isn't offering "freedom". He never really argued that in the essay.

    Job's argument was that with open web standards, if he/Apple/or_it's_customers are unhappy with the browsing experience, Apple can throw money at it and make a better browser. But if they hate flash on the iPhone, there is NOTHING apple can do to improve it. In essence, Apple has been selling a seamless user experience. It has never been selling freedom and often times you trade in some freedom for convenience. That is Apple's market and his argument.

    I own one of the last generation of PPC notebooks Apple made. It's true, it has a slow 1.67GHz G4 processor. But at it's speed it should offer somewhat decent flash, but nearly all video's are choppy for it. I never got a satisfactory answer. Apple points to Adobe saying they code a crappy implementation. Adobe points to Apple talking about not having accent to libraries they need. All I know is flash is ultra slow.

    Frankly, while I think Apple is crummy on things sometimes, I know the Internet is also one giant waambulance too. If Apple wanted a super closed off garden, it's not going to get that with HTML5 anyway. I also think flash sucks, so I'd rather have it die as well.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:27PM (#32060684)

    Personally, I don't want root access to my phone. I'm happy to give up full freedom on my phone in exchange for it NEVER failing to do what I need it to do.

    That's a false choice.

    This is ripe for a car analogy actually. You can pop the hood, swap in OEM parts, and tinker to your hearts content, and accept the consequences. Or you can leave it alone, and have it serviced exclusively by factory trained technicians in factory authorized dealers.

    The point is, most people leave their engines unmodified (and receive the security of the factory stock maintained engine), but EVERYONE has the freedom to pop the hood.

    Why exactly do you think you need to give up that freedom?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:29PM (#32060698)

    The people aren't being informed of the CHOICE though. They aren't told about DRM. They aren't told about the problems of proprietary software. Even when they are they aren't given a choice. Companies lock them into it. Other users that need to exchange files with each other have forced yet others into making the same bad choices of using the same vendors products. No choice here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:29PM (#32060702)

    Letting the users decide is the best option, what's that? the users can't decide because of apple, of course they can, they aren't forced to buy the product. Their own stupid fault if they buy something so locked down and don't like it.

    As far as stallman is concerned, it is still another choice, just one that doesn't make sense from the freedom perspective.

    And that's Stallman's problem. His ideal phone boots a GNU/HURD kernel and comes with nothing but a copy of emacs and the specifications of the hardware. From there, he expects people to write their own media library, implementing codecs from scratch.

    He is perplexed as to why anybody would choose to pay for Apple's platform and accept the restrictions imposed by it.

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:32PM (#32060714)

    I doubt that the developers of BSD would consider themselves "free software guys" in the FSF sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:36PM (#32060748)

    Steve Jobs has one reason and one reason only for disallowing Flash on his platforms: If flash could be run in the browser, the entire app market would fall apart--the same useless apps would be available for free on the internet. Apple wouldn't make any more from the app store. Anything else Stevo says about Flash is complete BS and misdirection. /story

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:39PM (#32060762) Homepage Journal

    This was the bit of pure luck which got Apple off the ground. If Jobs and Woz had been even five years older Jobs would have laid all these NDAs and contracts and such onto Woz and he would have bailed out of the partnership in disgust.

    And Apple wouldn't have happened. It needed the tech guy and the marketing guy to be young and immature enough not to hate each other.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:40PM (#32060774)

    Users don't have the choice to get support for Theora video on Apple's iWhatever platform, for instance.

    And Mozilla users don't get the option of H.264 on their platform. So, why no outrage at Mozila and Firefox?

    o if "the free web" wants to support Apple, "the free web" needs to support the proprietary h.264

    And yet Firefox supports the proprietary Flash plugins. Outside of certain sites, the web isn't particularly "free."

    If not, either Apple's customers have been denied access to the free web, or free software support of the free web is impossible, which makes the free web remarkably unfree.

    Many of Apple's customers are denied access to certain web elements because of the lack of Flash support. But there is full support for the "free" web if your definition of that web is open standards. But video formats are an entirely different kettle of fish. HTML doesn't define video formats, much as it doesn't define image formats. It's a tangential argument.

    What I really don't get is why there is so much outrage over H.264, but nobody is complaining about FOSS browsers supporting Flash.

  • by maxume (22995) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:44PM (#32060796)

    No, it's like people are complaining that their refrigerator can't keep chicken cold, it only works with beef.

  • by hitmark (640295) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:50PM (#32060830) Journal

    funny thing is, if flash has access to a api for talking to the hardware decoder, its video playback drain is probably no worse then a html5 stream. This as in either case the rest of the interface is done in software anyways.

    Jobs is basically using the flash issue to pull a smoke and mirrors on the larger issue, the choice of codec for html5.

  • by Cronock (1709244) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:56PM (#32060864)

    Steve Job's isn't a tech visionary, he's a *salesman*! That's all you need to know.

    A salesman that has an uncanny sense of knowing where the market is going, the flexibility to quickly adapt and be there right on time, and a company behind him that churns out products that continue to be top notch in satisfaction year after year.

  • Thoughts on Horses (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:19PM (#32060984)

    You know who else was a *salesman* who kinda saw the trends early?

    Henry Ford [aefing.com]

  • by xigxag (167441) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:22PM (#32060994)

    Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    If you own a Windows computer, you are free to write, use, sell or give away applications with zero involvement from Microsoft other than your initial purchase.
    If you own an iPod/iPad/iPhone, you are required to interact with Apple to do any of those things.

    You need to use their tools to write an app.
    You need their permission to distribute an app.
    You even need their permission to receive an app.

    That's the difference.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:24PM (#32061014)

    Incorrect. The users have the option of changing the code themselves and buying whatever personal licence they need to use the H.264. Thats the point!

    That's a pretty pathetic point. Mozilla says that they don't want you to use H.264, so the solution is to code it yourself, and buy a license? Not exactly user-friendly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:27PM (#32061026)

    Why exactly do you think you need to give up that freedom?

    Because in this case, the "car" that gives me the freedom to switch parts is kind of crap, and I can't figure out how to get it to do many of things I need. And the freedom itself doesn't offer me anything that I already need or want, nor does it seem like a worth-while tradeoff (for my needs) for the alternative, which is...

    The "car" that doesn't give me this freedom is focused on making the few parts I can choose from work *really* well, and saves me the time of figuring it out myself, and manages to anticipate functionality I didn't know that I would find useful -- in a way that I can easily discover it for myself.

    Granted, this car analogy is described in black and white, whereas in reality, there are shades of gray, but the two options do tend to personify the given descriptions.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:29PM (#32061042)

    Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Are you?

    If you own a Windows computer, you are free to write, use, sell or give away applications with zero involvement from Microsoft other than your initial purchase.

    And, if you own a Mac, you are free to write, sell or give away applications with zero involvement from Apple.

    If you own an iPod/iPad/iPhone, you are required to interact with Apple to do any of those things.

    And if you own a Zune/Kin/Windows 7 Phone you are required to interact with Microsoft to do any of those things.

    So, what's the difference that makes Microsoft more free?

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:39PM (#32061110)

    Jobs doesn't say why open standards are good, because then it would be obvious that that the "freedom" Jobs offers just isn't.

    I think I speak for everyone at Slashdot when I say open standards *are* good, for reasons that don't need to be explained.

    Apple is not being hypocritical here, Apple's platforms do support all of the open standards of the web. Apple doesn't even offer a proprietary standard for the web, other than quicktime, which they are openly and aggressively working to replace with plugin-less HTML5 video.

    If your concern is that they are pushing H.264, then you'd better not run into Adobe's arms, because flash supports it too. I would argue that the video codec discussion is only tangentially related (especially since adobe and apple support the same codec here), and that what's being proposed for HTML5 is the big step forward that we need right now (plus we're limited by mobile, power-efficient hardware decoding -- it sounds to me like we'll have two standards, Google's VP8 for patent freedom, and MPEG LA's H.264 for low power, mobile functionality -- a big improvement overall for the web).

  • by shinobiX (28155) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:46PM (#32061156) Homepage

    actually its more like only allowing you to buy groceries from the place that sold you the refrigerator!

  • by xigxag (167441) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:11AM (#32061266)

    Your original comment specifically brought up "Microsoft Windows" as a direct comparison to the iPad (iPhone OS). My reply was, of course, to that remark, not to these new issues you are raising. However, if you want to move the goalposts to include the companies' strategies as a whole, then fine, in that case I agree with you in principle. Both companies are equally unfree. There's a crucial difference, however. In the market where it is most dominant, the desktop, Microsoft is restricted both by custom and the threat of government retribution from using the kind of strongarm tactics that Apple is getting away with in the market where it is most dominant, mobile "app" sales. Had the DMCA and similar laws existed in the 1970s, Microsoft might be likewise exploiting its dominant position with impunity.

  • by eloki (29152) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:14AM (#32061278)

    He is perplexed as to why anybody would choose to pay for Apple's platform and accept the restrictions imposed by it.

    I don't think he's perplexed. Someone who spends that much time arguing that freedom is the greater good clearly understands that other people are valuing convenience, appearance, ease of use etc. over freedom.

  • Re:Wasted argument (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:31AM (#32061360) Journal

    I know quite a few of them that have automatic updates on, including all my customers. It all "just works". Do you think Aunt Millie could let Ubuntu update without hardware getting broken all over the place? I asked why Ubuntu can't do this basic thing, just update without breaking itself, and I think this comment [slashdot.org] summed up why Ubuntu is fucked up better than I ever could.

    As for Jobs, who doesn't know he is "Mr. Vendor Lockin" by now? Jobs HATES choice, always has, because for him it is all about aesthetics and making everything stylish. Choices just don't fit that mantra, so he don't roll that way. Personally I think it is gonna bite him in the ass with Flash, because while Apple geeks may drool over anything he puts out folks from one side to the other are addicted to those Facebook games like Farmville. I swear Farmville is like catnip to females, and I have sold more new PC and hardware upgrades simple based on "will this make (Farmville, Mafia Wars, that treasure island game) work better? Sold!" so while he may sell to tech geeks in SF/NYC, I don't see them giving them away in fly over states.

    So anyone who think Jobs is still a "rebel" or any of that other crap is deluded. He is a master marketer that is solely interested in devices fitting a style and aesthetic. If that style and aesthetic pleases you, you don't mind the limitations or paying nearly 100% [afterdawn.com] markup? cool free market and all. But let us not pretend old Steve really gives a rat's ass about standards or any of that crap. he wants all his "i" devices to fit his vision of what a device should be and do, and Flash is too cludgy to fit his nice sterile designs, at least in his mind, and since he is the boss out it goes. Period.

    Now it is anyone's guess whether when the old guy dies if they manage to bring in some "little Steve wannabe" that follows the old man's style to the letter, or another Pepsi guy, we'll just have to wait and see.

  • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:43AM (#32061444) Journal

    Part of 'moving on' is making the rest of the world around you aware of the shortcomings of Apple's strategy.

    I mean, there are millions of less tech people out there who rely on us tech types to advise them and help them make the right choices. We have the right to, and are actually responsible to communicate and discuss and raise our objections to what we see as a bad deal.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:08AM (#32061564) Homepage Journal

    No company (including Apple) is obligated or required to design their products to suit the whim, desire, or profit motive of some third party. If Adobe, Xiph, or the FSF doesn't like the way that Apple's products are designed, then they are free to purchase some other company's products or to purchase nothing at all. These simple truths should be obvious to anyone. There's far too many comments from various companies, industry pundits, and posters here that complain about Apple being controlling - because Apple doesn't design their products the way that the commenter wants. Think about this for a moment - who is being controlling here? And just exactly what basis do any of them have for dictating the way that Apple should design their products?

    That includes you, the one with your cursor hovering over the reply button.

    All of this nonsense sounds very much like a bunch of children complaining that they didn't get to blow the whistle when the train left the station. If you don't like company X's products - don't buy them. Buy something you like better or design a better product yourself. Company X isn't forcing you to do anything no matter how you try to claim they are. Those who wished to supply some piece for Company X's new product but were not invited to are welcome to try selling it to someone else; maybe Company X didn't need or want it, or maybe it's junk and they rejected it for that reason. Whatever the reason, those are the breaks. Nothing any wanna-be supplier can say will make their products or company look better or improve their public image one tiny bit.

    And for goodness sakes, try to keep things a bit more civil. Raving doesn't improve the way you're perceived or make your point more valid.

  • by catmistake (814204) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:30AM (#32061656) Journal

    Err...

    This may just be semantics, but it is an 'open standard' what it is not is 'open source'. There is a difference.

    Wrong and wrong. It is "open source" as there exist an open source implementation of it, what its not is an "open standard",

    You are incorrect. H.264 is an open standard. The fact that H.264 is an open standard speaks zero towards, yes, the fact that it has patents. x264 is the open source implementation of H.264, yet it also has patents associated with it.

    as it requires royalties to be implemented legally

    you don't understand what an open standard is... it has nothing to do with whether or not there are patents

    (the open source implementation is illegal in any country that recognizes software patents).

    This is also false. And a little ridiculous.

    Sure, the specification itself is available to be read, but that applies to *all* standards, otherwise they couldn't be called as such. What differentiates an open standard from a closed one is the aspect of the latter of having one entity controlling who gets to implement it and who doesn't, and in h.264's case that's MPEG-LA through its patent portfolio.

    Patent holders just get paid. They don't set standards. The standards are set by those that use the standard (whether they have to license the right to do so or not). You don't understand what an open standard is. It has nothing to do with patents.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:38AM (#32061692) Homepage
    I don't know if Jobs presented a false argument, really. He just presented the Apple viewpoint. It's as if Adobe were saying, "I Like Bananas," and Jobs responded, "We do bananas better, and we let you have oranges and kiwifruit as well!"

    The EFF has come in and said, "Look, people, there's 50000 varieties of edible fruits, vegetables and animals. Make yourself a slingshot a net and a spear and you can have any of them!"

    I didn't see anything in Jobs' statement that indicated that there weren't other ways to skin the cat as well; he simply indicated why Flash wasn't going to be supported. Supporting Flash wouldn't have made the EFF any happier.
  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeadboltX (751907) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:45AM (#32061732)

    Ladies and Gentlemen! Friends and Colleagues! Acquaintances and Strangers alike! You’ve all been duped! Hoodwinked! Bamboozled! What this here computery programy thingy you’ve all been using is closed! Closed! Now let me ask you this! If there’s a door, and you’d like to go through it, is it better if it is open or if it is closed? Why open of course! And how about this fine young lass right next to you sir, imagine it’s Friday night and she’s at your place and you’re ready to go, would you rather her legs be closed or open? You’d be a damn fool to say anything but open! And we all know of those unfortunate situations where a fool mother leaves her infant locked in the car on a hot summer day, and that poor little boy or girl ends up dying from the heat. Now tell me folks, couldn’t this all have been avoided if the window was open, instead of closed? So tell me, why on earth would you want software on your phone that’s closed? Well I’m here to tell you that you need to fear not when it comes to the iPhone because we support technologies that are open! So come on down, and buy what I’m sellin'!

  • by green_abishi (1184225) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:46AM (#32061738)
    Why was this modded insightful? As the originator of the free software movement Stallman simply wants the software people receive on the phone to be "free." See the definition of that here: http://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software [fsf.org] This has nothing to do with the ridiculous notion that people must write any software themselves (though they could if they chose to). For an example that comes closer to the mark, see Android.
  • by dhobbit (152517) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:50AM (#32061754)

    No, it's like people are complaining that they're not allowed to modify their refrigerator to fly them to the moon.

    I've used linux since '94, I've used bsd since 2000, and purchased a Mac because of the bsd unix underpinnings and the ease of use. I own an iPhone and iPad, I've jail broken and unjail broken the iPhone and I'll probably jail break the iPad at least once. But at this point I've seen very little user impact of the restrictions imposed by Apple. Remember people (normal people not nerds) don't care about codecs, html5, flash, or anything of this. They care about farmville, AppStore games, and having to learn as little as possible to get their work done.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:56AM (#32061798) Homepage
    And some subset of users of Apple iProducts 'jailbreak" them. Sounds like they have freedom, too. And Apple has the freedom not to support that activity. Everyone's free. Free not to buy a company's products, free to modify them if they don't need vendor support. Free Free Free!
  • by mbkennel (97636) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:00AM (#32061814)
    Steve:We do not intend to let a security ridden framework on our devices.

    Actually, they're your customer's devices. You get to keep their money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:14AM (#32061856)
    You're an idiot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:15AM (#32061860)

    "Jobs is all about the vendorlock."

    In the iPhone OS vs the world case, yes. But in the html5 vs Flash case it is Adobe who's looking for "vendorlock". Designers are "locked" with Flash if that's the rich media format for the Internet. The Flash format is open now, but still fully controlled by Adobe, no innovation can come from others with it.

    I know people likes to mixed up everything just to prove their points, but in the spirit of the FSF, Steve Job is good here, Adobe is bad. I can enjoy rich html5 on every platform thanks to opensource projetcs like FireFox or WebKit. Flash only works on what Adobe decide to support.

    Now bring on the offtopic rants about h.264 being own by Apple (which is innacurate), the AppStore being locked, the iPhone being closed source, etc.

  • by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:17AM (#32061870)

    Unfortunately, the criticism is pretty self-serving. The FSF is saying how this clearly illustrates their point that free software is the only way to go, but pretends not to notice that their free software doesn't do any good unless they have hardware to run it on. Until there is an equivalent competitor to the iPad that is also open-source friendly (which will literally never happen), then people are just going to have to deal with Apple and Adobe's competition with each other. Apple is trying to protect its own customer base by ensuring they have a good experience on their hardware. I *want* that. Adobe wants to subvert the application development structure of the mobile computing market for their own financial gain, and in doing so, threatens to ruin my day by encouraging the development of second-rate, lowest-common-denominator software that doesn't actually take full advantage of the capabilities of the device and hampers Apple's attempts to upgrade the operating system should Adobe decide that it's not in their best interests to upgrade their software to keep up with Apple's development cycle. They would, in effect, have a say in that development cycle, which would result in a bunch of pissed-off users who blame it on Apple.

    Adobe has a terrible track record in their arrogant disregard for their supposed partners, or even their customers. They are very strongly driven by what they determine to be the most profitable direction to go in at any given moment, and spend the rest of the time smiling and playing lip service as if it was all part of some bigger plan. They have over a decade-long history of burning Apple and specifically in the area of OS development cycles, which has forced their users to refrain from upgrading their operating systems (or even better, forced them to buy all-new hardware), just to cater to Adobe's dictates.

    The FSF may have a philosophical interest in this argument, but even they should acknowledge that the users are the ones who need to be taken care of, and that's exactly what Apple is trying to do. When there is an open-source friendly, comparable product released in the next year or so, then they will have a leg to stand on, but until then, they're offering nothing for something; not exactly a bargain.

  • by eluusive (642298) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:31AM (#32061916)
    Not only that, you don't have to buy an iPhone if you don't want! HOLY SHIT!
  • by Burz (138833) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:40AM (#32061946) Journal

    And that's Stallman's problem. His ideal phone boots a GNU/HURD kernel and comes with nothing but a copy of emacs and the specifications of the hardware.

    No... it would come with printer drivers too.

  • by TehDuffman (987864) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:47AM (#32061982) Journal

    They care about farmville,

    Farmville is flash....

  • Re:And Theora? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:49AM (#32061994)

    The response has been clear, and it's the same response as free software people have given everywhere: "show us your patents". Even the current US legal system is pretty clear about this. If you are aware that your patent is being infringed, you have a duty to come forward to tell the person who is doing that. If you don't; when it comes to damages it is completely obvious that you didn't do your best to minimise the damage caused to yourself and you don't deserve to be paid off.

    What Apple and Microsoft are doing is either a) allowing people to continue doing "damage" by using a patent they don't have the right to when Apple or Microsoft could stop that by clearly stating which patent it is or more likely, b) spreading FUD. In case a) since MS and Apple are the only ones who know what the patents are, they should be liable for the continued "damage" from the use of patents from the point where they decided to speak about the patents without stating which ones.

    Someone should take this up in a court e.g. in Germany where some parts of the legal system still seem to function.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @03:13AM (#32062064)

    And some subset of users of Apple iProducts 'jailbreak" them. Sounds like they have freedom, too.

    Jailbreaking your phone is like buying a car with a locked hood, and a contract not to open it. The fact that you can still take a crowbar to it when you get home and likely not get sued for it is not: 'sounds like they have freedom'.

    Freedom is having the right or privilege to do something. Being able to get away with doing something is not freedom, and relying on being able to get away with something as a substitute for a right/privilege will eventually fail you.

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @03:24AM (#32062098)

    My problem is with how the FSF is implying that Jobs is a hypocrite. It seems that they're more interested in making his thoughts into something that they're not than they are about promoting free software. I like the idea of free software, but the FSF is coming across as your typical zealot, trying to twist people's words to better suit their own agenda. Maybe it's not intentional and they're simply incapable of comprehending that another person's values may be just as valid as their own, even if they conflict. Either way, I'm disappointed that Ars ran with this article rather than going with something less bias.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte@@@drunksnipers...com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @03:56AM (#32062198) Homepage

    I doubt that these people actually realize they are handing in freedom, just like they didn't realize that stricter airport security meant that they needed to hand in freedom in airports and airplanes.

  • by Cronock (1709244) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @05:04AM (#32062402)

    I see a major misunderstanding here between Free(as in speach), free(as in beer), and "open". Apple is promoting "Open". They are still a for-profit company selling closed devices to access an "open" system. They have no shame here, nor should they.

    They make a device to access the web, one non-standard plugin doesn't make the grade for being usable on their hardware so it's not supported. Their options are: 1. Request Adobe fixes their product for mobile devices (10.1, sure we will see with Android being the guinea pig) 2. Apple makes their own workaround (good, but this hack job will probably not good enough or legal). 3. Exclude it as other, more open, standards can fill the void. Apple chose #3. Sorry Adobe, its just business.

    Other companies are captalizing on this, as they should be! They are betting on farmville addicts choosing their (possibly inferior) platform over Apple's because of flash support, so they get some sales from people that wouldn't have chosen them without it.

    Apple has no problem with that, they just want the people that bought their product having a better overall experience, and then buying v2.0 and v3.0, and also telling their friends. We long-time mac users know what it's like to not have everything, but the stuff we do have actually works

  • by CowboyBob500 (580695) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @05:16AM (#32062438) Homepage
    Within the USA, only people with the express permission of the patent holders can implement H.264 legally.

    FTFY

    So you can't implement it in the US without paying a fee? My heart bleeds. For me, it's an open standard and free to use. Companies should just implement H.264 for HTML5 - as its clearly the best tool for the job - and keep a separate branch for US downloads that continue to use Flash as they do now. At least that way it's only the US that gets left behind. It's not impossible, they did it when the US had export restrictions on RSA key length.
  • by mr_matticus (928346) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:17AM (#32062624)

    It's called "false choice" because the limit on the number of choices is artificial

    Yeah, but in this case, it's the same "false choice" as asking someone whether they are traveling by car or taking public transit to a destination 25 miles away.

    It's technically true that someone could bike or run, and some people might even advocate that biking is the "right" approach, but it's thoroughly impractical expectation that cars and public transit should shut down, and everyone should just bike.

    I don't see anything in Jobs' letter that would preclude the use of free and unpatented standards in addition to, or in place of as a personal choice, but the FSF's notion that something like Theora is a practical option to the exclusion of H.264 is completely unrealistic, bordering on deluded.

  • by daveime (1253762) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:44AM (#32063112)

    Being a hypocrite and being a cunt are not mutually exclusive.

     

  • by LaRainette (1739938) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @08:50AM (#32063138)
    WTF are you talking about ? How is iPhone OS an "open" platform as opposed to any of its competitors ? I see how you could try to (dishonestly) convince us that Apple's software is more Open than adobe : that's arguable but why not. What I cannot see is how iPhone OS is an open platform, when you compare it to other similar platform (i.e. mobile OSs) The iPhone OS locks you into the Appstore, which is itself censored by Apple. How is that open ? Symbian, Android, WebOS (RIP), MeeGo, Blackberry OS are all more Open. (Not to mention Symbian and Android are Open-source but that another debate) Jobs is just using the fact that Adobe's software (which is rather closed) doesn't work on the iPhone (which is also a very closed system) to attack adobe but in fact the only thing that we see here is the following : systems have to be open because else we don't have interoperability which is exactly what we get when we take the champions of closed system together : Adobe and Apple. Now I already am hearing morons yelling in the back of the room about how Apple supports Open-source and blahblahblah webkit blahblahblah. Webkit is not an Apple product.It's not developed by Apple. Apple just uses it and by paying very little money has ensured the control over it's development strategy. But don't be fooled Apple and Adobe has very similar approach to the CE business. Both this company use free (as in beer) sotfware to capture an audience and then lock these people into their integrated solution. So yes this article says Jobs is a hypocritical lying piece of crap. Because he is.
  • by NekSnappa (803141) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:11AM (#32063258)

    Your reading comprehension needs some work. Your first sentence shows that you couldn't understand the parent post's first sentence.

    He said that Apple makes a closed device (iPhone) for accessing an open platform (the web). Please learn to read with both your eyes and mind open before typing your next rant.

  • by kirbysuperstar (1198939) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:12AM (#32063592) Homepage
    Actually, you can play Super Mario World on the PS2. It's not legitimate in the least, but it's there and it's possible.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:12AM (#32063596) Homepage Journal

    My problem is with how the FSF is implying that Jobs is a hypocrite.

    Jobs is clearly a hypocrite. [hyperlogos.org] (Link to opinion piece on my website, no ads)

    It seems that they're more interested in making his thoughts into something that they're not than they are about promoting free software.

    It seems to me like they're talking about what his thoughts mean. Jobs is trying to anticompetitively support H.264.

    Either way, I'm disappointed that Ars ran with this article rather than going with something less bias.

    You must be new [t]here.

  • by osgeek (239988) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:03AM (#32063948) Homepage Journal

    Hypocrisy is putting forth a set of philosophical arguments against Flash while performing the exact same business practices that he's decrying.

    Adobe would like to control the user experience through its proprietary application framework (Flash). Apple would like to control the user experience through locked down firmware and their App store.

    Look, I have two iPhones. I love the iPhone. It is mostly what it is because Apple is in control and makes good design decisions. I have friends with Android phones and they're a bit of a mess IMHO. You can definitely see where the lack of a good strong single voice in the design has kept the current implementations from matching the iPhone experience.

    That said, Jobs is being a hypocrite. He's playing a marketing game to give fan boys (ahem... you?) ammo in the Adobe battle for control over the Interwebs. Fair enough. I hope he wins it since I think that Flash sucks. That doesn't mean that I don't think he's being a hypocrite, though.

    Don't let your admiration of Apple or its products cloud your ability to be objective about arguments put before you.

  • But proprietary vendors don't want the competition. Steve Jobs mentioned the MPEG-LA consortium is looking through their patents to see if they can shutdown Ogg Theora before it takes root.

    Ogg Theora has been out there since 2001. If it hasn't taken root by now, it ain't gonna.

  • by burris (122191) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:24AM (#32064080)

    Steve said "We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

    Yet, that is the same situation he imposes on all iDevelopers. That, my friend, is hypocrisy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @05:55AM (#32070406)

    Remember people (normal people not nerds) don't care about codecs, html5, flash, or anything of this. They care about farmville, AppStore games, and having to learn as little as possible to get their work done.

    Normal people don't care about politics, either, about business regulations, environmental standards, diplomacy, and so on.

    What you're advocating is, in essence, the business version of having an absolute monarch (and a ruling upper class) which the peasants don't and shouldn't concern themselves with. If you've got to work on your farm, you'll care about your cow getting sick, not about going to war with Prussia.

    But that didn't really work out so well in practice, did it? We fought for freedom and democracy (the right to participate in the political process!), and for good reasons.

    Doesn't the same thing apply here? Freedom is important, and the fact that the people won't care about it until it's too late doesn't mean a thing.

  • Missing the Point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eyendall (953949) <eyendall@rogers.com> on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:11AM (#32070668)

    Surely whether Apple/Jobs are good or bad, have an agenda, have misbehaved in the past, want to rule the world etc. is irrelevant here; Jobs made some telling points about Flash's shortcomings which rang true to me. Don't shoot the messenger. I use a Mac and Flash is one big pain in the ass for me. I have to use Flashblock or all I see is that damned spinning ball.

    "We are all born ignorant but one has to work hard to remain stupid". Steal this sig.: I did

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