What might end Apple's open source pass

What might end Apple's open source pass

Summary: What surprises me is the silence of the music industry. If this breaks that silence, then we will have a turning point. My guess is they no longer love their Cupertino overlords. Time to show it.


from iPod to iWaste, from Bodine High School, PennsylvaniaApple has replaced Microsoft as the chief foe of open source. (Picture from a student assignment sheet at Bodine High School in Pennsylvania.)

This was in part a matter of necessity. Apple had to put DRM on its iPod or it would get nothing to sell. It had to become a big advocate of the DMCA to keep its suppliers.

But now those suppliers have learned the only real beneficiary of DRM technology was Apple. It cemented their monopoly and control over the suppliers. Some are rebelling, in small ways.

Apple has embraced those moves, yet it continues to use the DMCA as a cudgel, aiming to kill open source competitors with claims of copyright violation.

Will the Electronic Frontier Foundation's latest slam of Apple, over its attempt to kill a BluWiki thread with a DMCA order, mark a turning point?

For those unfamiliar with the story, Apple began "protecting" its iTunesDB file (necessary for syncing) with a checksum hash in September 2007. This kept people from using other music programs like Winamp and Songbird, alongside iPod files.

The hash was quickly hacked. Apple created another. When a BluWiki group called iPodHash arose to find a workaround, Apple slapped BluWiki with a DMCA takedown.

Get it? Apple had a near-monopoly on music players over a year ago, and is now using encryption and the DMCA to make competition a crime.

It does not surprise me that those in the open source movement, or the free Internet movement, would protest Apple's actions.

What surprises me is the silence of the music industry. If this breaks that silence, then we will have a turning point. My guess is they no longer love their Cupertino overlords. Time to show it.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Open Source

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  • First "free and open" music industry will win

    I reckon. I've seen numerous software development opportunities for companies that are being free and liberal with music, just like FOSS but with notes and instruments.

    Interesting times. The end of sick unabated controlling greed. I'm proud to be just a little part of it.

    One day, we'll laugh in the face of landlords who own more houses that they can live in, but not in my time I suspect.

    **** 'em. **** the greedy.
    • I agree completely

      but as long as we live in a profit based global economy, we
      are screwed and greed seems to be a major motivator for
      this kind of system.

      Have you heard of the the Venus Project, which promotes a
      resource based economy? Very compelling. Imagine
      building products to promote the betterment of mankind
      as opposed to turning a big profit.

      There are companies that try to offer a balance and
      perhaps this is the best we can hope for right now.
      • Amazing point of view

        "but as long as we live in a profit based global economy,
        we are screwed and greed seems to be a major motivator
        for this kind of system. "

        Off topic, but you raise an important issue--and you seem
        to have had an unfortunate economic education.

        Profit is the earnings on investment that make it possible
        to create companies, small and large--which provide jobs
        (for you and me) and the goods and services that
        consumers (you and me) want or need. If consumers don't
        think the products provide "betterment" they won't buy
        them and the company has to change or it will lose money
        and go out of business--ending those jobs.

        Now, if you choose to invest your money (and/or time) for
        no return, that's great, noble, compelling, etc., but it sure
        won't pay your bills, which is why the thriving economies
        of the world are profit based.

        BTW, the difference in socialist economies is that the
        government thinks they know better than their citizens
        how to allocate investment and reward individuals. You do
        understand that governments have no money except what
        they forcibly take from citizens (you and me) in taxes,
        right? If not, I strongly suggest you read a basic Econ text.
    • Help me understand

      "One day, we'll laugh in the face of landlords who own
      more houses that they can live in, but not in my time I
      suspect. **** 'em. **** the greedy."

      Obviously off topic, but you raise some questions.

      You believe that anyone who chooses to invest their
      money and time in rental properties is automatically
      greedy and you wish to **** 'em, right?

      What exactly makes that business less honorable than
      whatever it is you do, or any of us do? Granted, there
      probably are greedy landlords, as there are greedy
      software developers, IT technicians, etc., but your blanket
      condemnation seems totally unwarranted.
      • It's fr0thy

        don't waste your time
  • Why Oh Why?

    Do you continue to flog this (complete bs) erroneous point
    of view? Again DRM is a requirement imposed by the
    record labels...get it? No DRM no selly music. Apple has
    encouraged and welcomed the labels that no longer
    require DRM for their music, EPIC for instance and sell it
    without. Recently Warner, Universal, and Sony BMG have
    been offering DRM free music in iTunes. Apple's offerings
    are as open source as they can be and still be in business.

    Strange you never mention these facts.

    Now if you want to talk about the DRM iTunes uses, to
    protect the music companies interest, that is a different
    story. It may even be built on a open source DRM schema,
    but only allows you to buy music through iTunes and not
    other online stores. This protects Apple's intellectual
    property represented in the iTunes ecosystem.

    Because of it's popularity, rightly deserved in my opinion,
    may be a monopoly in that sense, but hardly prevents
    others from offering the same kind of services, which
    many do. This is completely legitimate and promotes
    competition in hardware, software and music retail.

    Unlike a monopoly that uses it's monopoly to prevent
    competition thus perpetuating it's existence regardless of
    value or quality.
    • So Vista DRM is totally cool now?

      [i]Again DRM is a requirement imposed by the
      record labels...get it? No DRM no selly music.[/i]

      Glad to hear that you approve of Vista's support for Intel's HDCP DRM. Oh wait, let me guess, that's different, right? :)
      • What is Different?

        Apple is illegaly prevent you from enjoying your overpriced Ipod.

        APple use illegal DRM to prevent you d/L music from your low quality Ipod to your computer.

        Apple is the whorst case of monopoly and ilegal business model since the down of man.

        The only thing Apple is good at is selling hype,. That is why the Ipod is such a good seller even if it as been proven at every single revision to be of extrem low quality and way over priced.

        Apple business practice are so bad that it is surprising that they are actually permited to continue to operate in the open and STEAL money from low IQ human sheep who think that owning a Apple product make them cool.
        • Nice opinion.

          That's all it is.
        • Wrong

          Not sure what country you are from, but Apple's practices
          and business model are certainly not illegal in the US or
          any country in which they do business--or they would be
          charged with a crime.

          In our legal system, it is NOT illegal to have a monopoly; it
          IS illegal to use a monopoly to unfairly harm consumers
          that have no alternatives. In the MP3 world, as in the
          "entertainment download and play" world, consumers have
          many, many options so Apple does not, by definition, have
          a monopoly.

          If you happen to believe there are better quality and lower
          priced options, you should take advantage of them, but
          clearly millions and millions of Apple customers do not
          agree with you. Get over it.
      • Different in only one respect.

        [b]Glad to hear that you approve of Vista's support for Intel's HDCP DRM. Oh wait, let me guess, that's different, right? [/b]

        It is different only in the agency demanding the DRM be implemented. In the case of Apple's DRM - it's on the behest of the RIAA whilst the the DRM you mention as part of Vista is by order of the MPAA.

        Either way, if you want content that can be played on your computer (Apple or Windows - doesn't matter a bit which), for the moment we're all stuck having to put up with DRM.

        You want to watch a movie on a Blu-Ray disc on your HDTV by way of your Home Theater PC and an HDMI connection? Fine. You need to put up with the DRM.

        Yeah.. I suppose Microsoft could have pulled an Apple and NOT supported HD DVD or Blu-Ray - but then there would have been a LOT of whining about when they were going to support those formats.

        Until the content overlords (RIAA and MPAA) go away or take some meds that make their rampant (and possibly justified) paranoia, DRM will be an unfortunate fact of life.
    • No, completely wrong on this point.

      The DB was NOT about protecting music, it actually has nothing to do with the DRM, it was, is and will be the way Apple enforces only the clients they approve of to access the iPod.

      DRM, who really cares, if you are stupid enough to willingly purchase DRM infected content too bad so sad when Apple hoses you. if you don't (didn't in the case of MaybePlays) know what DRM infected content is, well, you only had one kick at the can to rip customers off, hence the DRM free offerings. All that aside, the hash DB has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with DRMed content.

      • Exactly (NT)

    • Exactly

      The music industry is now attacking Apple's hold on the market by allowing competitors to sell non-DRM music of higher quality, while preventing Apple from doing so. The only thing holding iPod users to iTunes is convenience. Why not get better quality, non-DRM music for less at Amazon? Apple is fighting for the right to sell this music.

      At the same time, I have never bought an MP3. Quality is too awful. My 160GB iPod is full of high quality non-DRM music burned from CD's. The fact is that most iPods are filled with music from this source.
  • RE: What might end Apple's open source pass

    Couldn't have said it better.
  • RE: What might end Apple's open source pass

    Dana .. You miss the point. Apple is not the content owner, but content supplier. content owners are universal, sony bmg ..etc. Apple has a excellent supply chain and provides superior experience consumers. its like having the same brand in walmart and Nordstorm. you pay for the experience being in walmart or Nordstorm. its a choice consumer choose and they pay for it. Why are you encouraging others to steal the contents from the apple's supply chain where they have invested lot of money and effort to create it. if others want to stay in business, let them create the same or superior supply chain and experience instead of hijacking from itunes. Nobody is stopping them from getting the content from the music industry and if they create something better than apple, consumers will buy from them. Stop advocating hijacking in the name of open source
  • More whining...

    Not that I'm advocating Apple, but really, why the heck
    should they open up their ITunes DB files? It's their product,
    and they obviously want people to use it alongside their other
    products. It's called business and turning a profit. I'm all for
    community based open source, but when an actual company
    makes a choice regarding their products, you have a choice
    as well: use it or don't use it. Or I guess, option 3, which is
    whine and moan and wish they would sacrifice profit to make
    you happy and comfortable.
    • The problem is systemic

      Linux has never been anything but a "me too" operating system from it's very beginnings, so it's no surprise that they whine when they find something that they can't play copycat on.
    • I agree, what will they force companies to do next?

      [url=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070405-eu-may-force-microsoft-to-license-server-protocols-for-free.html] Next thing you know, they'll be forcing companies to open up their proprietary network communications protocols! Crazy! [/url]
    • LOL, they didn't whine.

      They just re-hack it so that Linux users can use it again. Last two times it took 24 hours and 11 hours for Linux users to be able to use their legally purchased hardware. As for the story, complaining, well, the more people KNOW about Apple's draconian practices, the more informed they can be about making hardware choices.

      It is because of Apple's draconian ways, almost fascist control freak policies that I absolutely refuse to purchase Apple anything and always recommend against it. This is all in spite of any technology they produce.

      Seriously, they are making MS look benign.