Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DRM Iphone Microsoft Apple Technology Your Rights Online

Richard Stallman: 'Apple Has Tightest Digital Handcuffs In History' 515

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-applications-for-digital-houdini dept.
jrepin points out a discussion with Richard Stallman in which he talks about how the Free Software movement is faring in light of companies that have been successful in the long term with very different principles, like Microsoft and Apple. Stallman had this to say: "I would say the free software movement has gone about half the distance it has to travel. We managed to make a mass community but we still have a long way to go to liberate computer users. Those companies are very powerful. They are cleverly finding new ways to take control over users. ... The most widely used non-free programs have malicious features – and I’m talking about specific, known malicious features. ... There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones. Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more. When people don’t know about this issue they choose based on immediate convenience and nothing else. And therefore they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Richard Stallman: 'Apple Has Tightest Digital Handcuffs In History'

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:29PM (#42195545)

    ...if they stop you from eating the scabs on your feet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:33PM (#42195601)

      YES YES YES YES YES.

      I'm sorry, but after watching Stallman eat his own foot-candy *while giving a presentation*, I can no longer take *anything* he says seriously.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I25UeVXrEHQ

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dahamma (304068)

        Wow, that video started making me nauseous - and THEN I saw what you were talking about! Best comment: "Stallman only obtains his food from open sores."

        Still - don't take someone's opinion less seriously because they are physically disgusting. Take them less seriously because they are pompous, arrogant, and have no interest in listening to anyone else's point of view on a subject.

        Though to be honest, I actually mostly agree with his comments on Apple's "handcuffs", at least. Though I don't think telling

        • It's not just physically disgusting, it's borderline insane. The entire point of taking someone like RMS's opinion is based on the assumption that he's more informed than the average person, has dedicated more thought to it, and has come to rational conclusions.

          I have always had serious trouble with the "rational" part of that in regards to Stallman, and the foot-eating thing only reinforces that. Basic disagreements with his philosophy (in particular the extremist elements of it, the basic idea that software should be free I agree with but we live in a concrete world and our philosophical models aren't perfect so you need to be flexible) aside, I have a real problem delegating any thought at all to someone so unaware or uncaring of social norms.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:44PM (#42198295)

      I'm not a psychiatrist, but I know other people with similar eating disorders and he may well have Pica. [wikipedia.org] Dismissing his ideas because of that is not unlike picking on the socially awkard kid who is also a genius.

      If RMS were "normal" he wouldn't have had the insight and persistence that earned him universal recognition as the father of the Free software movement and a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. If the price he pays for the genius is a little socially inappropriate behavior when he's stressed and it doesn't hurt anyone, then what's really the problem here? Sounds more like a convenient red herring than anything else.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tyrione (134248)

        I'm not a psychiatrist, but I know other people with similar eating disorders and he may well have Pica. [wikipedia.org] Dismissing his ideas because of that is not unlike picking on the socially awkard kid who is also a genius.

        If RMS were "normal" he wouldn't have had the insight and persistence that earned him universal recognition as the father of the Free software movement and a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. If the price he pays for the genius is a little socially inappropriate behavior when he's stressed and it doesn't hurt anyone, then what's really the problem here? Sounds more like a convenient red herring than anything else.

        Then Einstein must have been a moron or an idiot for not indulging in deplorable hygiene habits. After all, his genius certainly should have afforded him blowing himself in public with how abnormal his insights on Physics have been. Your argument portrays you as an enabler of his repulsive traits because you think the guy is brilliant and his social value far exceeds his personal social habits. Here is a clue: He's not. He's a guy with a Bachelor's degree in Physics. Helping to write a James Gosling free v

  • Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:33PM (#42195593)

    Most people don't really care about being free. They'd rather be safe and feel secure even if it's only an illusion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most people don't really care about being free. They'd rather be safe and feel secure even if it's only an illusion.

      The malware I clean up day after day is not an illusion. Freedom isn't free. It requires constant vigilance. The freedom to tinker has no value to me, and the cost in my time is absurd. I would have to be an idiot not to use a locked down device.

      • Re:Freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bjwest (14070) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:14PM (#42196217)

        The malware I clean up day after day is not an illusion. Freedom isn't free. It requires constant vigilance. The freedom to tinker has no value to me, and the cost in my time is absurd. I would have to be an idiot not to use a locked down device.

        And this malware you speak of is on which platform? Is it an open or closed platform? I've been using Linux for well over 15 years, and I've never, NEVER had a virus or malware on my system. I've also been using an Android phone since the original Droid which has also never had malware or a virus on it.

        Perhaps its because, as they say, Linux isn't mainstream enough to become a target, but I don't think so. I think it'd due to the openness and community support of the code. No one is trying to hide the security flaws - anyone can look though the code - so they get found and fixed quickly.

        There are malware on the Android platform (no more so than on ios or win moble/8/whatever it's called this week), but it's relatively new and not as polished as the rest of the Linux distros. Also a lot of venders add custom, proprietary code. Just don't click on every link you see and you'll be fine.

        • Re:Freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot@noSpam.lepertheory.net> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:00PM (#42196881) Homepage

          I've been using Linux for well over 15 years, and I've never, NEVER had a virus or malware on my system. I've also been using an Android phone since the original Droid which has also never had malware or a virus on it.

          That you know of.

          • by bjwest (14070)

            I've been using Linux for well over 15 years, and I've never, NEVER had a virus or malware on my system. I've also been using an Android phone since the original Droid which has also never had malware or a virus on it.

            That you know of.

            I will concede to this. Although I don't regularly scan my computers, I do keep an eye on the net traffic. Unless the malware is piggybacking itself on my regular data, nothing seems amiss. There is no traffic other than the periodic email check during my down time, and I've not noticed any data going out on any strange ports.

            You have peeked my curiosity, however. I may just go find a good Linux scanner and check things out. I have two partitions I keep swapping installs back and forth on, so I have my

        • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Interesting)

          by postbigbang (761081) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:05PM (#42196969)

          I use Linux, and I used to agree with some of your platitudes, but not any more.

          Although you believe that the community isn't trying to hide the flaws, most users didn't compile squat on their machines. They didn't look at the code, and although some are indeed coders, there are now millions of lines of code that change *a lot*. There's the kernel, in many revisions, and there are apps and distro families that change/mutate frequently and not very many people look at the code before they compile it and go Oh! There's a problem there! They may look at best, as a forensic exercise, long after they downloaded a replacement app, but that's about it.

          Yes, there are wonderful kernel contributors and many fantastic FOSS sites and apps and distros. Only a handful of organizations try and keep it together-- at all.

          "Found and fixed quickly" is largely a myth. Some communities really work hard towards fixing bugs, but there are many platforms and combinations needed to emulate problems. Coders move on, communities split, fork, or just die of boredom. There are no guarantees in either commercial or FOSS software.

          And having been hacked hard twice, I can tell you that you can be rooted in moments, your machine hijacked, and unavailable to a user session no matter what OS you use. With a big enough hammer, you can break *anything*. The smugness is unwarranted.

          • by bjwest (14070)

            I'm not talking about normal bugs, and I guarantee you the kernel and all core programs are scrutinized to all ends by people looking for vulnerabilities (both malicious and those looking to fix/report them). I don't download and run/compile code from just anywhere, nor do I click on just anything I receive in email or any old link on a web page, and I do take precautions like noscript and addblock on the web. I'm not saying Linux is invulnerable, but it is a hell of a lot harder to get into than the most

      • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Arker (91948) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @09:26PM (#42199195) Homepage

        And this brings us right back to the crux of it - freedom may not be free, but neither is your 'locked down device' ever going to be secure. We dont make secure devices anymore, we havent for years, the lockdown isnt to prevent software that YOU consider malicious, only to prevent software that the manufacturer (who generally doesnt even consider you a customer) considers malicious, regardless of your opinion. The manufacturer always leaves ways for themselves to get in, they are just locking YOU out. The malware makers then come along and find and exploit the doors the manufacturer left, so these systems wind up being LESS secure than Free systems.

        Freedom to tinker isnt only important to the tinkerer - it's important to 'consumers' in general, because todays tinkerer is tomorrows competitor in the marketplace offering something the customer wanted - or alternatively not offering it, because that freedom was taken away and they never had a chance.

      • Sorry, exchanging a possibility to be infected by malware in a badly maintained open system to the certainty of living full of malwares built in by the manufacturing company is indeed stupidity no matter how much you value your time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vikingpower (768921)
      Even if I fully agree with Stallman, I agree with you, too. The 2 opinions do not exclude eachother. Where are my f*****g modpoints ?
    • Most people don't really care about being free. They'd rather be safe and feel secure even if it's only an illusion.

      Its not true in the slightest; everybody want freedom and privacy, admittedly most do not realise either how much they have given up, or have not noticed it being taken away...and have not sacrificed these things anything as astute as security [that does not make sense anyway ] they have done it for old fashioned *convenience*.

      It only the massive marketing campaign by Apple/Microsoft that they fuck you over for your own good. Its not good you being fucked. I find it offensive that you repeat there insane pr

      • by gutnor (872759)

        everybody want freedom and privacy

        Yeah, that explains twitter and facebook.

        But yes that is true that people want freedom and privacy. However, as computer specialist we are a bit how of touch with the real world meaning of that. Most people are happy to share minute details of their life to anybody interested to hear them. But they want privacy from the people that would use that information in a negative way, or more precisely, they want to be protected from the people that would not follow the "social contract". A bit like how people we

    • by killfixx (148785) * on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:20PM (#42196299) Journal

      Wrong. Just patently wrong. People care about safety after a host of different attributes, such as: convenience, sex appeal, price, social status, etc...

      People don't buy Apple products because they're safe, but because they fit into one of the above mentioned categories. Who would purposely purchase shackles when presented with a "shackle-free" alternative, ninety-nine percent of the (American?) population.*

      My favorite science teacher in school told me this, "Life is lazy". Everything wants to do the least amount of work possible. Why would people be any different. I'm not excusing this behavior, just illuminating the cause. Like I tell my students, "If you strive to fit in, you're aiming for the bottom. Be better."

      Now, if you had said, "Most people don't really care about being free. They'd rather do the "popular" thing", then I would be inclined to agree with you.

      We (people in general) have become "fat and happy" and don't want to be hassled with the responsibility of making our own decisions. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke

      "Do not go gentle into that good night" -Dylan Thomas

      All great minds have railed against the "popular opinion". Why? Because as a people, humans are notoriously unreliable at making good decisions. As individuals, we have made magnificent strides in science, art, literature, etc...

      Please, consciously decide against the tyranny of corporate control. They will never have your best interests at heart.

      *I can only speak from an American point of view.

      • by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:29PM (#42196411)
        I think it starts in school when the administration ostracises and persecutes people for acting diffrently and encourages "saftey in numbers" and the herd mentality.

        We then justify anyone outside the norm might be potentially dangerous and we'd have no idea so we let authority figures sort it out, and they tell us who is dangerous and what is the proper thing to do about it, and inform us when they've done so.

        They'd made it clear that challenging the status quo makes you just as much a target as anything else.

        The ability to change the status quo and innovate is reserved for leaders, and those in high standng., who we admire and worship for their flagrant disregard for set standards, and ability to walk away unscathed from what would cost us everything. To change the slightest things, we'd need their OK, given the full credit for our ideas, and be thankful we merely be allowed to exist.
        • by killfixx (148785) *

          That's a fair point. We're taught to comply our entire lives, until we get into "upper" management. Then we're expected to go for aggressiveness training to make us better leaders. WTF?!

          I teach my students to be different, to think differently. I encourage the left-field ideas. How else can we grow? How else can we learn?

          Without crazy, off-the-wall thinkers we would be nowhere and we would be terribly bored. :)

      • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:32PM (#42196453)

        People care about safety after a host of different attributes, such as: convenience, sex appeal, price, social status, etc...

        Well, the TSA sure as hell isn't convenient, and it wastes our tax dollars, at that.

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:42PM (#42196581) Journal

        You're half right. It's not about avoiding making decisions. It's about being afraid of making a dangerous decision without realizing it. Folks like you and me understand computers. We understand how our actions affect our experience. Most folks don't. And they don't want to. They don't want to think about whether opening that attachment will actually run some app on their machine that installs a keylogger and sends their credit card login information to a server in Croatia. They want their device to work for them, not against them, and as you yourself put it, they are notoriously unreliable at making good decisions about what is or is not a safe action. So for them, the only way to have a modicum of safety and comfort is to have less freedom.

        What corporate control does is creates a responsible party that at least ostensibly should be able to make more informed decisions about what is and is not safe than your average non-programmer. This is not saying that it should not be possible for people who know what they are doing and truly understand the risks to get out from under that corporate control—it can be useful, even necessary at times—but rather that systems should be designed in such a way that it is really, really freaking obvious when you stray outside those lines. If you don't have to work at it, then straying outside those bounds becomes second nature, and people begin to take it for granted that what they're doing is safe even when it really isn't.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chrontius (654879)

        On the subject of phones, my free choice is what OpenMoko and nothing else? What's wrong with this picture? Let me count the ways.

        • Not available in America. I must order from:
          • Spain
          • India
          • Belgium
          • Germany
          • France
          • Switzerland
          • Netherlands
        • Not available subsidized; costs 300 euro.
        • Expensive - over $1000 when upgraded, and still generation-gapped.
          • Subsidizing a handset is part of my cell bill, whether I replace my phone or not.
        • Not feature complete
          • Have they got calling working yet?
          • No camera. To get a 1.
    • Most people don't really care about being free. They'd rather be safe and feel secure even if it's only an illusion.

      That is not true. People are great at discerning reality from illusion, and do not feel "more comfortable" with illusion as protection - many dislike the TSA for example.

      But something that is really going wrong in this discussion is that many seem to be thinking "freedom" equals "privacy", or that privacy has anything to do with freedom. The truth is that while people like and enjoy freedom

  • . . . and in other news, the sky is still blue and Moore's Law continues to be a marketing ploy.

  • by nathana (2525) * <nathan@anderson-net.com> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:36PM (#42195631) Homepage

    Perhaps this is Richard Stallman already answering my Ask Slashdot question?

    https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3278789&cid=42118329 [slashdot.org]

    Given what I've been through recently with Apple on my iPhone (http://www.anderson-net.com/~nathan/apple-broke-my-phone), and also recent stories such as this one (http://www.telecoms.com/54319/apple-vetting-operators-on-lte-network-performance/), I'd have to say, "yup."

    -- Nathan

  • Apple Spyware?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by the_B0fh (208483) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:36PM (#42195639) Homepage

    WTF? If anything it was shown that the silly monitoring application had the spyware pieces *DISABLED* on iPhones whereas Android phone sellers had it enabled. Google's original bits did not have it, since Google have their own way of tracking users :)

    So how I am supposed to take Stallman seriously?

    • by nathana (2525) *

      Pretty sure he's referring to this:

      http://blog.chpwn.com/post/13572216737 [chpwn.com]

      -- Nathan

      • Re:Apple Spyware?! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_B0fh (208483) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:44PM (#42195739) Homepage

        As was I. CarrierIQ, as implemented on iOS, *DID NOT* have the spyware pieces enabled. If there was no spyware, how can you justify calling it spying?

        Remember, at its core, CarrierIQ is simply a monitoring solution. That you can turn it into spyware means that someone was doing stupid things.

  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:38PM (#42195669) Homepage
    "And therefore they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect." Or, perhaps, they judged what they want and what they are giving up and chose something of their own accord because they don't care about the same things in their computing experience that RMS does. Crazy, I know.
    • by fredprado (2569351) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:52PM (#42195895)
      Mostly because they can't see what waits them in the end of the road if they keep on this path. RMS has a very good point. Most users would abhor, if they could see a bit ahead, the dystopia companies like Apple and MS want to create where they have absolute control over what we can or cannot do with the devices we buy. If they don't it is mostly because of ignorance.
      • by euxneks (516538)

        have absolute control over what we can or cannot do with the devices we buy

        I don't think this will happen - another company can swoop in and take the market share of disgruntled users if there are any. The only reason I can see people having to use a device they don't want to use is if they are *mandated* to do so - there's a reason Apple has been so successful in the phone market, and it's not because they have an iron grip on the users' testes.

  • PR genius (Score:3, Informative)

    by paiute (550198) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:41PM (#42195711)
    I am as much for free and open software as the next nerd, but having its spokesman say about potential users that "they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect...." is extremely counterproductive. He is admitting that free software is inconvenient, that it isn't going to be supported by your workplace or school, and - what? What the heck is the "network effect"?
    • Re:PR genius (Score:5, Informative)

      by pr0nbot (313417) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:49PM (#42195851)
      The network effect is where you need to use (random example) Skype because everyone else you need to talk to uses Skype, and Skype is not built on open standards in a way which would allow you to use an alternative.
    • He is just saying that convenient features, and peer and institutions pressure force people into non open standards. He didn't say a thing about all convenient features being exclusive to closed source. Currently Apple has inferior products, with far less convenient features than the competition and still it sells as if it was good, due to it being fashionable and a symbol of status. MS products have mostly infuriating features, but people are used to them and learning new things is inconvenient to many.
    • Re:PR genius (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:01PM (#42196031) Homepage

      And yet, he's absolutely honest and correct. Any marketing spin would be slightly dishonest and manipulative, and he won't stand for that.

      Humans are biased to our own detriment. We'll take immediate payoff (the "convenient features") over a bigger long-term benefit (Linux's flexibility). We'll trust recommendations ("pressure") from authorities as being absolute, rather than re-evaluating solutions to find what's best for us. When surrounded by others doing something, we'll assume that we must do the same (allowing the "network effect [wikipedia.org]")

      Humans just suck. Not saying that outright is being nice.

  • Liberate users? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I was going to write something sardonic until I read his wiki entry for "personal life."
    He reminds me of a LARPer, but instead of being invested in fantasy quests, he's obsessed about privacy.

    Don't get me wrong, I worry about privacy, but he just takes it to a whole different level. Personally, I worry about diet and exercise, something he doesn't seem to prioritize. But, to each his own.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:50PM (#42195869) Journal
    People, especially the current generation, have been indoctrinated to the concept that "privacy" is an outmoded concept, and in some cases that a lack of privacy is the normal, natural order of things. This, of course, is wrong and needs to be corrected before the problems with corporations and governments can be corrected. As always, the free flow of information and education of the masses leads to what's best for people.
  • by rbprbp (2731083) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:08PM (#42196123) Homepage
    "And therefore they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect."


    Convenient features, such as stuff actually working well and doing what it's supposed to without needing tinkering. Pressure from institutions and network effect, aka '90% of my peers use the same software, it works well for our needs and it would be a major undertaking for them to migrate just to satisfy my whims'.
  • Car (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ckhorne (940312) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:16PM (#42196253)

    I wonder what kind of car Stallman drives. Seriously. Does he update the firmware controlling the engine timing and fuel injectors?

    What's that? The car manufacturers have digitally handcuffed him so that he can't go mucking around with things? Oh - it must be a safety issue. OK, well, surely he can update the firmware for other things in his car, such as the radio display?

    People aren't hearded in to giving up their freedoms. There are certain freedoms that those people just don't *need* to begin with. My mother, who has an iPhone, isn't handcuffed - if anything, the device liberates her into using technology that she wouldn't otherwise use in in the modern world.

    There are products across the spectrum that address the balance between usable and the freedom to do whatever you'd like. Just because manufacturers lock down their devices doesn't mean there's not a suitable audience that doesn't benefit...

    • Re:Car (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:36PM (#42196511)

      People aren't hearded in to giving up their freedoms.

      Sure they are. All the companies with power have to do is push tech in a certain direction and ensure that what options are made available serve their purposes. Most people will go along without asking any questions, in many cases because they don't know what questions to ask.

      There are certain freedoms that those people just don't *need* to begin with.

      Says who? I'm sure a justification can be made to suggest you don't *need* any freedom you have.

      My mother, who has an iPhone, isn't handcuffed - if anything, the device liberates her into using technology that she wouldn't otherwise use in in the modern world.

      That she doesn't venture far enough to reach the fence doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Suggesting that the fence must exist for it to be usable for her is an unfounded argument so, please, don't go there as so many do.

      There are products across the spectrum that address the balance between usable and the freedom to do whatever you'd like.

      Not really. All I've seen is an increase in lock down. More restrictions, not fewer.

      Just because manufacturers lock down their devices doesn't mean there's not a suitable audience that doesn't benefit.

      Lock down that puts the end-user perpetually on the outside of the security model is never intended to benefit the audience except may be as an unintentional side effect.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lhunath (1280798)

      When your mother buys a printer and AirPrint happens to not work with it, she might ask you or anyone tech-knowledgable to make it work for her.

      Since the iPhone has locked you out of doing anything that isn't Apple-certified, your only reply to her will be, buy a new printer. This time, make sure it has AirPrint support on the label.

      If the iPhone hadn't been locked down (eg. it's jailbroken), you could easily install additional printer drivers or support.

      Yes, buying an iPhone is giving up the freedom to ma

      • When your mother buys a printer and AirPrint happens to not work with it, she might ask you or anyone tech-knowledgable to make it work for her.

        Since the iPhone has locked you out of doing anything that isn't Apple-certified, your only reply to her will be, buy a new printer. This time, make sure it has AirPrint support on the label.

        And if you weren't "locked out", you would write a new printer driver? In your spare time?

        Much more effective is to go with her back to the store, get a refund for the printer, and buy one that is AirPrint compatible.

    • Re:Car (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @11:51PM (#42200311) Homepage

      I wonder what kind of car Stallman drives. Seriously. Does he update the firmware controlling the engine timing and fuel injectors?

      Say what you will of Stallman, but the guy eats his dog food. He uses non-free software/hardware/etc when free alternatives are not available, but he is VERY tolerant of inconvenience when it will allow him to substitute something free. He is largely free of proprietary software, and I'm sure he's gotten quite far on the hardware front. I'm sure when he buys a new car that the sorts of things you mention are considerations for him, and if riding in the rain on a moped would get him closer to an all-FOSS world he'd probably do it.

      He also writes software, though I suspect not as much as he used to. So, he isn't just demanding that others write his software for him.

      Does he represent an extreme? Sure. However, he is actually reasonably practical about his beliefs. He doesn't insist on swimming across the Atlantic because all the planes and ships have proprietary ECUs.

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:44PM (#42196605) Homepage

    Apple might as well have resurrected Compuserve and all the lock-in that it had; one only needs to look at their platforms and their un-free nature.

    No wonder they want to go with ARM, since it provides an environment that locks the user to a few "approved" uses as well as having a platform that is equally as obscured as current Apple gear.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:03PM (#42196923) Homepage
    iOS is certainly more tied down than OS X but It's certainly not like phones were open before and he should be grateful Apple removed their DRM from their music and open sourced their coded to make sure he could play his media everywhere. But most importantly, I'll take the walled garden over the mess that is the play store which effectively makes me a slave to anti-virus/malware software instead of Apple.

    Stallman is a good guy to have around (despite the fact he borders on crazy) but if he think iOS is so bad he's more than welcome to come up with a better alternative. Google hasn't so the opportunity is there.
  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:07PM (#42196993)

    Wether you're for or against things like copyrights, or the fact that it's been twisted and corrupted way beyond the original goal, you need to acknowledge that there's two kinds of files. The ones you create and the ones you buy. This means there is a difference between your property vs the property of other people.

    As far as your own files are concerned, in my opinion Apple is not a bad guy, far from it.

    Apple supports a lot of formats, some of them licensed and others completely open:
    - Screen captures are in 32-bit PNG
    - iCal supports regular .ical files
    - Mail supports regular pop3 accounts
    - Address Book supports vCard files
    - iTunes supports AIFF, WAV, MP3, AAC, MPEG-4 and H.264 and their own proprietary Apple Lossless format
    - Keynote has its own proprietary format but can export to Quicktime, Microsoft PowerPoint, PDF, images in JPEG/PNG/TIFF, Flash, HTML and even a format for iPods.
    - Pages has its own proprietary format but can export to PDF, Microsoft Word, RTF and plain text.
    - Numbers has its own proprietary format but can export to PDF, Microsoft Excel and plain CSV text with three choices of text encoding, one of them being UTF-8.
    - iChat supports AIM, Jabber and Google Talk.
    - Preview supports a shitload of formats [wikipedia.org]
    - Any program that can print can create a PDF file

    Last week I just discovered that you can even Quick Look a Collada file and rotate the object while still in Quick Look mode, for crying out loud.

    Some people will bitch that Apple doesn't support OGG Vorbis or OGG Theora, so let me the 1000th to bitch that such stupid names were bound to fail at grabbing any sensible marketshare. The idiots who thought of those names should be forced to watch this Simpsons episode [wikipedia.org] every day for a year.

    In contrast, Microsoft created BMP at a time when there was already at least 10+ graphic formats available, WAV at a time when there was at least 3+ audio formats available and AVI at a time when there was at least 2+ video formats available.

    If there's someone who's disrupting your abilities to quit their platforms by chaining down your own documents, it's Microsoft a hell of a lot more than it is Apple.

    Media that you paid for, however, is a completely different story. But don't only blame Apple, blame the media companies and remember that there hasn't been DRM on audio files from iTunes for the last five years or so [wikipedia.org]. Just because these people will never understand that you can't lock down bit patterns doesn't mean they won't keep trying.

  • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:12PM (#42197061) Homepage Journal

    ... is that handcuffs do nothing but restrain you. An iPhone restrains you in certain ways but it also enables a whole lot of other things. It's all about trade-offs.

    It's the difference between an actual prison, and a prison where you can eat delicious food, see your friends, travel to some extent, etc etc etc., versus living "free" in the woods.

    Furthermore, they aren't "handcuffs" in that I can get out of them. I might lose some stuff, but then again, I might not -- it all depends on what I'm doing and how. As it happens, there is nothing on my iPhone that I a) care about and b) couldn't easily move to another system. So depending on who you are, they may not be handcuffs at all.

    Finally, it's a continuum. There's a difference between "handcuffs" and "oh well, I guess I can't watch this movie I bought in iTunes anymore because I have an Android phone now." I gain nothing from some pursuit of absolute theoretical perfection. Same thing with security: what do I gain by reading SSL certificates, if I'm going to give my credit card to a 19-year-old in a restaurant to take out of my sight for five minutes the next day? "Those who would trade...", yeah yeah yeah. It is impossible to live a life that is perfect in every way. Have you ever tripped? Well then, why don't you just stare at your feet for every single step you take in all of life? Oh, because the benefits of looking around every hour of every day outweigh tripping on things a couple times a year.

    The bigger problem with cell phones, really, are the odious terms from the telcos, like AT&T selling me a fixed number of bytes and then charging extra depending on what I want to do with them. Or requiring that all smartphones have data plans in the first place, and then making the "entry level" plans more and more expensive each year.

  • Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:33PM (#42197379)

    Just finished reading the comments, thank you all, most insightful in understanding the demographics of /. today: rage comic addicts with a depressingly shallow perspective on free software and that would gladly trade their siblings for the next iShiny and that think that saying inanity like "Well, freedom isn't important if the product is usable" is anything more than a mediocre platitude. Reading Computer Shopper adverts was more challenging that this drivel, "Oh, I don't mind that I don't own the software or even know what they do with my data because it is soooo convenient lol this RMS guy is so out of it!".

    Magnis nomini umbra indeed Slashdot.

  • by JohnG (93975) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:54PM (#42198389)

    You can't liberate people by forcing, or coercing them, into thinking the same way that you do. People who buy closed systems do so of their own free will, for reasons that might be more important to them they are to you. They do it in spite of reasons that may be more important to you than they are to them. True liberty is about respecting the choices of others, and allowing everyone access to a variety of options so that they may choose which is most suitable for them. If you want people to choose your option, make it as attractive to them as the options presented by the people you oppose. Don't blame others for presenting options that you disagree with.

  • by seebs (15766) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:42AM (#42201425) Homepage

    Stallman's not a person I can take seriously when he talks about liberty, for one simple reason:

    He's as much a control freak as the MPAA and RIAA are.

    The GPLv3 is fundamentally in the same category as DRM; it's there to prohibit you from doing things with something that the author doesn't want you to do. The purpose is not to maximize freedom; it's to maximize one very narrow subset of freedoms, while prohibiting whole classes of others. And the more aggressive and draconian terms, coupled with the ever more elaborate attempts to prevent people from violating the spirit of the law, come down to the same thing that's wrong with the DMCA: You cannot make ethics happen by force. All you can do is replace any consideration of the ethics with a focus on the legal limits.

    When I give code away, I give it away. I do not sit around making elaborate rules for how it can be used. I let people make their own calls. That's liberty. Liberty does include the possibility that other people will do things you don't appreciate, such as not choosing to also give things away or give people free reign with their stuff. Okay, fine.

    But once people start making elaborate and complicated legal terms for things, which are designed to try to prevent all sort of things they don't like, and maybe they prevent a few things which coulda been okay but whatever... I don't care whether it's the RIAA or the FSF. It's about control, not liberty, and I don't like it.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

Working...