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

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

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  • 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?

  • 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.
  • by nathana ( 2525 ) * <> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:50PM (#42195861) Homepage

    I'm not sure why you say "they aren't doing MORE than what everyone else in the industry is doing." They were one of the (if *not* THE) first to come up with a general computing platform that has a digital distribution mechanism for client apps full of DRM *that happens to be the only way to install third-party software on the platform*. By Apple's mandate, there is no sanctioned sideloading of apps. And jailbreaking/rooting doesn't count because that's simply people exploiting security holes in the system that Apple constructed to keep non-App Store apps off the platform.

    Sure, everybody else is doing it now, but Apple pioneered that trend. The others followed suit after they saw the success of their platform.

    Even if you want to develop a little utility of your own to run on your own device and not sell or distribute to anyone else, you *still* have to pay Apple $99/year for the privilege of loading *your own* software on *your own* device.

    -- Nathan

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:50PM (#42195871)

    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 propaganda.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:51PM (#42195885) Homepage Journal

    I get the impression he hates on Apple because it's popular to hate on them in particular

    RMS doing something becuse it's popular? Huh? Are we discussing the same RMS?

    the real problem with the "Just run Linux" solution is that non-Computer Science people want to do things like answer e-mail, write correspondence, and buy software from the store that has a nice, easy installer

    When will this lie end? Modern distros are far more useable than Windows, and possibly Apples as well (I wouldn't know). The only thing you got right was the "buy software" part. You don't buy software with Linux, you download it from the distro's repository. It takes one click and no reboots.

    Since I am not drinking the Apple hate-eraid, I imagine I will be modded into oblivion.

    Apple fans get mod points, too, as seen by your "+3 interesting" comment that's almost 100% incorrect.

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:04PM (#42196085)
    And a certificate from Apple or Jailbreaking your phone (which they try to make harder and even illegal as time goes).
  • by morcego ( 260031 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:12PM (#42196187)

    Wait; I thought /. was controlled by Apple fanboys who down-modded anything that criticised Apple (or didn't criticise Micro$oft).

    So which is it?

    It kinda is/was. The problem is, Apple pulled so much shit, that even fanboys are pissed at them.

  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Informative)

    by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:31PM (#42196441)
    most GNU/Linux distros do this pretty well compared to windows update.

    in addition, most modern package managers sign packages with gpg, and include the keys in the install ISO, which is further signed with gpg, and hashed.

    and windows fanbois have no clue what they are talking about.

System checkpoint complete.