Monday, October 10, 2011

Not everyone liked Steve Jobs

Free software guru Richard M. Stallman writes:
Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die - not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.

Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.
Some people may assume that Stallman just doesn't like Apple selling proprietary software. But it goes much deeper than that. He does not like:
  1. Digital rights management. While Amazon and others sold digital music that could be played on any device, Apple built its music empire on the concept that music should have special DRM restrictions that prevent playing the music on non-Apple devices.
  2. Anti-consumer-choice. Other computers can be bought with whatever ports, peripherals, and options that the consumer wants. Jobs has always stood for forcing these choices on the user.
  3. Privatizing the web. Instead of the world wide web being open to everyone with a browser, Jobs has worked to make his devices require special apps to view popular web sites, and to restrict apps to what Apple approves.
  4. Crippled gadgets. Other smartphones and tablet computers allow the user to run whatever applications he wants. The Iphone and Ipad are unique in that they can only run apps from the Apple store.
Jobs was certainly a marketing genius, but Android phones consistently outsell Apple phones, and they do not have Apple's limitations.

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