Should open source hate Apple?

Should open source hate Apple?

Summary: Apple may want the control over users and markets that Microsoft has enjoyed this decade, but it doesn't have that control, nor is it likely to achieve it.



Apple is not the dominant computing platform.

It's true that Apple is just as proprietary a company as Microsoft. Some might say more so. But there is a big difference between competing with proprietary products and holding a monopoly with them which you use to keep open source down.

There is a reason that history records a case called U.S. vs. Microsoft. Microsoft has both a monopoly and a proven record of using its power to keep open source from gaining a foothold.

Apple, meanwhile, has just a 10% share of the operating system market. Sure, if they had more they might be dangerous, just like if I looked like Antonio Banderas I might be a movie star.

Microsoft did not really change its tune after the court case wound down.

  • Microsoft subsidizes the channel so every PC in the store runs Windows, even netbooks where that's more trouble than it's worth.
  • Sharepoint is designed specifically to extend its monopoly.
  • Remember the OOXML standards battle, where Microsoft corrupted the standards process itself to maintain control of the applications market?
  • The Novell deal, in which Linux vendors admit that 2+2=5 so Microsoft won't assert non-existent  patent claims against them, still gets me mad every time I think about it.

Now it's true that Apple supports Digital Rights Management (DRM), and limits what users can do. The Free Software Foundation is dead set against DRM. But this was the industry's price for even letting Apple offer  a product like the iPod.

The music industry's reaction led to Apple offering to forego DRM and may be the biggest victory open source won in this decade.

Or take the iPhone. Sure it's designed to enforce AT&T's control of bits, and in so doing enforce Apple's control of what you do with the device. But it's the Apple-AT&T relationship that is objectionable. The handset market is increasingly competitive.

The whole idea that the Free Software Foundation should go against Apple rather than Microsoft, then, is a straw man. Apple may want the control over users and markets that Microsoft has enjoyed this decade, but it doesn't have that control, nor is it likely to achieve it.

Topics: Security, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Open Source

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  • Apple Doesn't Have Control?

    Apple created an entirely closed marketplace for music through iTunes and the iPod that no other product has successfully done! The point that one device was more than 60-70% of the market kills innovation, let alone that it was laced with DRM for years and still is at this point.

    Saying that Microsoft is the whole problem is a joke to be quite honest. Apple has a strangle hold over it's minority that Microsoft could only imagine to have over it's majority. The largest point to be made is that Microsoft provided a solid, working base that allowed programmers to create something for Windows 95 that could potentially work even in XP, let alone 7 in a wild chance.
    • Ditto

      I know of many close friends who have jobs that pay a living wage because of Microsoft. I doubt many of the developers for the Apple Apps Store can do that.
    • The irony is

      The irony is that true, iTunes rules, the DRM they used in music and still do in video are demands made not from Apple. So the irony is that Apple gets this control by agreeing to the demands of the content providers.

      The enemy here is not Apple.
      • Large amount of iTunes Music is DRM free.

        I agree for those exact reasons.

        Funny how soon people forget what it was like before. The only way to
        download music fairly was to steal powerful the record
        companies were, how they overcharged, how you couldn't buy just the
        song you wanted without buying the whole album. Apple changed the
        business in favor of us. They made it possible for all these other
        companies to start up.

        They are doing the same for the cell phone business where the telcos
        once called the shots. They are giving us the best experience
        imaginable on a phone, they are getting us better service and data

        Yet, some people just need to have a boogieman to demonize in order
        to feel justified in their general attitude of entitlement and
        dissatisfaction. Damp Basement Syndrome, I think I'll call it.

      • RE: Should open source hate Apple?

        Sure its designed to enforce AT&Ts control of bits, and in so doing enforce Apples control of what you do with the device. But its the Apple-AT&T relationship that is objectionable. The handset market is increasingly competitive.<a href=""><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
  • Hate is a strong word

    I do not hate Apple or MS. I strongly disagree with their proprietary methods, and I hate it when they use those proprietary methods to lock in customers and developers. I will say this though, as of late MS has been using proprietary lock-ins less than they have been (though it will never entirely stop) and Apple has been doing it more than ever.

    MS has never gone to the extent the iPhone App Store has been going lately, which is to open the platform to third party developers, then prevent all iPhone users from using apps from outside the App Store, then going as far as to prevent developers from selling their wares on the App Store for various unexplained reasons.
    Michael Kelly
  • Ha? What?

    Dana, I am not sure what your intentions are with this article, however I am willing to bet you intended to stir up the hornets nest with this one...

    Lets get this straight your first paragraph states

    "It?s true that Apple is just as proprietary a company as Microsoft. Some might say more so."

    yet you go on to profess how Microsoft use their position of strength and "monopoly" to keep open source down..

    Ok so please answer these questions:

    1. Apple has a monopoly on personal music players, do they use that to "tie" in their customers and prevent competition, and drive their other businesses?

    2. Apple are fast attempting to develop a monopoly in the smartphone market for which they will be locking in their customers. Is this ok?

    3. Apple has the most proprietory PC platform on the planet. Would you agree? Does this not lock in their customers?

    4. Are you saying that Microsoft specifically target open source products ahead of paid for competitors? Companies such as Oracle, VMWARE, IBM, etc etc, ar you saying that MS would rather their products be used before open source?

    5. Do you honestly think Microsoft are unique in their approach to competitors?

    Anyone can develop any piece of software or hardware to run on, or run a Microsoft platform and compete directly against a Microsoft product.. For god sake, that is why Microsoft's products are dominant in the market!!!! Any one can make a buck, and many have and continue to do so.

    Your example of SharePoint is another nonsensical argument.. SharePoint is just the collation of SQL, IIS and .Net which leverages the skills and investment already in the market place, hence why it's growing fast. People are free to choose another product from IBM, or SUN, or whatever...Do you think those are any less proprietory??

    Open source shouldn't hate Microsoft or Apple, neither are good for open source, both want to turn a dollar and increase share... thinking anthing else is just fantasy.

    How about just making great software

    • Answers to your questions

      1. Apple has won a majority of the music player market by competing in a free market. There were other MP3 players before the iPod, and there are many now. You can always buy a Zune HD. And, while I have many iPods, including a full 160 gig Classic, I have never bought a song from iTunes. Some monopoly.

      2. As of Q3 09, Apple had a 13.3% market share in the smartphone market. If they can get to a monopoly, it will only be if people really prefer their products. No fear of that for now.

      3. Apple has such a proprietory PC platform that it is the only one where you can run nearly all current OS's at the same time. From Linux to Unix, Windows to OS X, and many others. They all run on a Mac. Try that on your white box.

      4. Microsoft targets anybody that they think might be competition. They are totally paranoid because they have no innovation. So, whether it is browsers, or virtual machines, search engines, or cloud computing, whenever they see somebody else with a new idea they jump in to try and block the market.

      5. No. Microsoft are not unique in anything they do.
      • You haven't answered a single question

        Not a single one..

        Apple is a closed shop always has been, always will.

        Point 3 is laughable.... If you knew anything you wouldn't be talking. Tell me what the architecture of a Mac? x86 right... Well my friend, that is no different to your average white box...

        In fact the only reason Macs can now run those OS's is because Apple were forced to change from PowerPC...

        Trying running Mac OS on a HP, Dell, IBM or white box and see what happens.. Nope sorry Apple doesn't allow it..

        Closed shop, closed mind
        • At the same time...

          Apple is pursuing an entirely different business model with their sales
          of OS X. The view OS X as an extension of the hardware. In doing that
          they are able to focus development on adding new features rather
          than testing driver combinations to insure stability. I don't consider
          that anti-competitive, as if you don't want to use OS X on the mac
          hardware, use something else. It's not going to prohibit you from
          using Apple software.

          Apple has gone to great lengths to insure that their products are
          interoperable with Windows. iTunes has run on Windows for some
          time. Safari and MobileMe both have Windows versions available.
          Microsoft has Office on OS X and their Remote Desktop client. They
          STOPPED DEVELOPING IE for OS X, and it no longer runs. They provide
          no support for the Zune on Mac platforms.

          Sure, when you buy an ipod you're forced (officially anyway) to use
          iTunes, but at least you can run itunes on other platforms.

          You've also (conveniently) forgotten to mention that Apple has been a
          champion of countless open standards (CalDAV, now CardDAV, XMPP,
          IEEE 1394, hell even USB), and has released entire projects back to the
          open source community.
          • Right

            point taken... but my point all along is that Apple is no better, or worse than MS and just like you say in your first paragraph, people are also free to choose non MS software if the wish..

            I would argue however that Apple actually prohibit people using their OS, where as MS don't. Why can't Apple say right, you can run it, but at your own risk? Why stop people developing drivers, etc for Mac OS if they choose? I would also say that what Apple do with their bundling of OS, Browser, APPs, etc is no different, probably worse, than what MS try to do with IE, WMP, etc...

            Anyway, my orginal post was directed at the author who made some assertions that the open source community should hate MS and not Apple.. simply because apple is not very big and therefore their impact is small.. Which I think is total rubbish and typical slanted anti MS crap.

            Br fair and rationale to all... or at least come out and say you're not so people know where you stand.
      • MS Outside the Box?

        I agree with this author: Microsoft quit thinking outside the box a long, long time ago and even their strong marketing arms are weakening it seems. There was a time I would have fought tooth & nail for them in those early days but they've lost their vision, their stamina, their ability to be unique in any way. And it puts Microsoft, well, outside the great box they used to be in. Many are beginning to notice the outside looking in pall on their faces finally.
        Bill G gave us the affordable desktop and the laptop, a gigantic task in itself, but like so many before him, he and his followers couldn't keep in a straight line.
    • Right, its about making great software

      and everybody can do a better job--even the Linux folks.

      How come most people--who already own a PC--don't switch to Linux?

      How come they either get another windows machine or switch to Mac?

      The Linux people say that it runs great on low end equipment--so how come people dont just install Linux?

      Rather, they spend more time shopping computer prices instead of grabbing a distro and loading Linux.

      Why is this?
      • Because when you mention the word "Linux" to most people...

        the look of cluelessness runs across their faces. Linux is the great unknown for most people out there. That's why.
        Wintel BSOD
        • So when will LINUX start advertising?

          Or is that Microsoft's fault too?

          I guess "free" just wont sell the product.

          • Or a monopolized ecosystem...

            where Linux versions of popular software don't exist, due in large part to the certain pre-loading of a certain OS by OEM's at the point of sale. Hence, little to no commercial ecosystem to support it.
            Wintel BSOD
          • Then start your own company and sell it

            If Linux is so great how come someone like Red Hat doesnt invest in selling Linux laptops?

            I guess it is easier to complain rather than do something.
          • Got millions to loan me?

            Need plenty of venture capital.

            Otherwise, get real & cut the red herring bs...
            Wintel BSOD
          • notnice: still complaining

            and not doing anything. If you wanted to do something besides complain, you would find the money.
          • Yes, still complaining

            And if you don't like it, feel free to buzz off somewhere else...
            Wintel BSOD