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Reasons Not to Use Apple (2018) (stallman.org)
338 points by donttrack on Mar 16, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 223 comments

+1 Richard

Sure, he is cherry picking examples, but there are a lot of examples to choose from.

I used mostly Linux at home for about 15 years, then switched to a decade of MacOS. My new laptop is a Linux laptop and I think I will go back to Linux as my main driver.

I am really conflicted about cellphones. I was unhappy with the crap ware preloaded on my Verizon Android phones. I am happier with a Verizon iPhone, as far as not having a lot of junk preinstalled. I am reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism that is making me realize that I need to be more focused in how I spend any screen time.

I really like the iWatch and if/when it becomes possible to use one independently of an iPhone (now my iWatch with a data plan needs the phone for app installation and configuration) I would like to either ditch the phone or mostly keep it turned off.

Still, I differ from Richards opinions in that I think that Apple and Google do have some good privacy policies in place. I feel fairly OK using a personal G Suite account and Apple has a fairly good track record for privacy.

If your Android phone is compatible[0], you might enjoy the result from installing LineageOS on it. If you wish, you can continue to use the Google Play Services package (which is where Google does all the tracking, and is also the only way to get the Play Store). I chose not to and use F-Droid and directly downloaded APKs, which saves me from running any proprietary code that I haven’t vetted carefully.

It also solves the planned obsolescence issue, because my Galaxy S4 is screaming-fast on a version of Android from three years after its last manufacturer update.

[0]: https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/

It is worth noting that adb also allows the user to remove unwanted software in the event his/her device can't be rooted, which is the case of one of my tablet which resisted any attempts so far. I'm not going to get a new one because it sits on a bench 24/7 and is needed for that abomination called Whatsapp some people is forcing me to use, and beyond that it has zero value to me, but the level of crapware preinstalled made it next to unusable, so I welcomed the day I discovered that adb remove can be used also on unrooted devices to delete vendor installed "system" crapware or other unneded stuff. Just search for "adb uninstall"

Thanks for that comment. I still have a Galaxy 4 and last week I pulled it out of the drawer and charged it. I looked at LieageOS but was concerned about the time spent installing it. Also, my Galaxy 4 no longer has a SIM card; do you know what the LineageOS experience would be like WiFi only?

It works fine without cellular. In the hands of someone who can install Linux, it shouldn’t take more than an hour (if you have a not-dialup internet connection).

First, apt install adb heimdall-flash. These are the basic tools for interacting with Samsung phones and Android devices in general from a Linux machine.

From there, follow the instructions I linked below, which basically amounts to getting root and unlocking the boot loader using Heimdall, then flashing TWRP, which is a recovery program, then flashing LineageOS from within TWRP. It’s not hard, but be sure to follow the right set of instructions, because the files for the Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint phones are not compatible.

Assuming you have the Verizon model: https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/jfltevzw/install

Thank you for these instructions! I am going to try later this afternoon after some family stuff.

There is an active community of developers, who are keeping the Galaxy S4 alive by creating optimised versions of LineageOS. It might be easier to consult the guides and resources at XDA. If you feel it is a task you want to undertake - assuming the bootloader is not locked, decide which version you want to install based on the model you own i.e. i9505 or another variant and once you flash custom recovery (TWRP), it a fairly easy process.

You should expect to face some issues initially and will have to go through the forums/comments to trouble-shoot broken features etc., especially if you are picking the latest ROM.


LineageOS has a tendancy to disable or break piles of vital security features very carefully architected by Google security researchers like verified boot. Google also maintains a release process designed to help mitigate supply chain attacks. LineageOS also deviates from AOSP sources enough that it often creates significant time delays before new security patches can be backported if they get backported at all.

Sadly stock Google phones also violate your privacy and the privacy of those around you. Stock Android is not a great solution either.

We can have it both ways! Check out https://github.com/hashbang/os

I haven't really checked out LineageOS before. Just briefly browsing their site gives me a bit of skepticism. It doesn't seem to be very professional. For example, their about page, and one of their most recent blog posts.

I'm definitely looking for an OS to move to from Android. I suspect Librem will have its own flaws, but they inspire more confidence in me than my first impressions of LineageOS from their website.

https://www.lineageos.org/about/ https://www.lineageos.org/An-April-Apology/

They made a mistake with that joke, but it was an outlier. I used Lineage (and Cyanogenmod, its predecessor) for six and a half years straight and never had any reason to doubt its quality. The long-term security updates alone make it one of the best options for keeping your Android device solid.

LineageOS is pretty nice, but it's a bandaid and they dropped a huge amount of older devices from support when they left the CM brand. Hopefully postmarketOS will become more usable in the future, and we'll be able to use that on existing hardware, perhaps in combination with something like Halium when needed to make the proprietary driver blobs usable with a custom, non-AOSP userspace.

The devices they can maintain are constrained by manpower and what they have on hand for testing, but they keep some really old devices going based on popularity. I'm pretty sure the Galaxy S3 still gets the latest. I know the OnePlus One does.

For a non-Apple laptop I am also really liking the Xiaomi Mi Air with Linux.

> I am reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism that is making me realize that I need to be more focused in how I spend any screen time.

To this end I am launching an email service that sends and receives messages once a day. The idea is that with one delivery each day, you don’t need to regulate or discipline yourself as much, and you get a lot more space to think and enjoy your communication. It’s called Pony https://www.pony.gg

I have a few questions and suggestions since I didn't clearly understand what your service does.

1. Does your service create a new email address for the user (something like <emailaddress>@pony.gg), requiring users to update all their contacts with this address so that correspondence gets sent here? Or does it work with existing mailboxes?

2. What is the business model and pricing? I couldn't find any pricing links or any FAQs talking about whether it's free or paid or has free and paid tiers.

3. Please copy some of the content from your About page into your homepage to make it clearer. The homepage should have more information so the potential user knows what it does.

Thank you for your feedback and questions.

1. Yes, each Pony account is a new email address @pony.gg. I think of this as a feature. You start with a brand new space separate from your existing world of instantaneous messaging. Of course you can use it for anything, but the idea behind Pony is it provides a special place for your correspondence, so starting blank and with a fully fledged, separate email account is what made sense to me. There are other services that let you do similar things with existing email providers but that didn’t make sense to me: if you can still get and send mail at any time by circumventing these wrapping services, you need to exercise mental discipline to obtain the sort of experience Pony provides without any cognitive load at all (which is the whole point).

I considered adding a contact import feature but decided to collect feedback first.

2. The business model is TBD, with users being the requisite first step for any business model. But user privacy is paramount and the privacy policy lists all third parties (currently only Google Analytics, and at that, proxied through Pony so you the user do not expose yourself to Google and we get less information as a result). We’re free now and would like to continue offering a free tier in the future without turning our users into the product at the expense of their privacy. That seems possible to me!

3. Improving and expanding the home page. Thank you for this feedback.

Cool idea. I like to ‘go dark’ and not receive emails or phone/text while I am working but I don’t know if I could do once a day email. Nice idea though.

Thank you!

> but I don’t know if I could do once a day email.

Maybe you’d be surprised? There is a notification you can get if you get anything in our daily delivery, so you don’t completely forget about it.

EDIT: in your daily delivery

Cool idea. There’s no contact info on your website... how can people interested in this concept get in touch?

Thank you!

And thanks for asking. Just swapped home pages yesterday and the contact part got dropped. Bringing it back today. In the mean time it’s:

- dminkovsky on twitter

- dmitry@pony.gg

- dminkovsky@gmail.com

> Still, I differ from Richards opinions in that I think that Apple and Google do have some good privacy policies in place.

The problem is there have been a lot of scandals as of late of SV companies violating the trust you place in their 'policies'. A policy only works if it's being adhered to also when it's not convenient.

I have a HomePod, but with the mics disabled, (I just wanted a decent wireless speaker that can stream lossless audio). The problem is there's no hardware cutting off the mics, it's only software and considering there run full iOS, it's one OTA away from violating my privacy, without me ever knowing.

There's been the Alexa stories, the smart TV stories - it's a real prospect.

I think that's a relatively scary prospect with these sort of closed systems, especially as 'smart homes' are becoming smarter.

> I am really conflicted about cellphones. I was unhappy with the crap ware preloaded on my Verizon Android phones. I am happier with a Verizon iPhone, as far as not having a lot of junk preinstalled.

I personally prefer SIM-free Android One smartphones[1], which come without any bloatware and with monthly security updates.

Not only they offer the best price / performance ratio, but they are also easy to keep private by uninstalling / disabling those few apps that come with the device.

[1] https://www.android.com/one/

And then I could install a Verizon SIM card myself? Sounds much better. I am stuck with Verizon because they have the best coverage in the mountains of Central Arizona.

I am not sure how the mobile operators work in the US, but I was able to install a local SIM card in every country I have been to for more than a few days, which saved me hundreds in mobile data fees across the world.

Yes. SIM = freedom.

SIM-free sounds like something you are given in oppressive regimes with one state-controlled telecom actor.

Can’t see why anyone would want it.

> I personally prefer SIM-free

If I can’t insert a SIM card of my choice, how do I choose or switch provider? Is it hard coded to whatever Google prefers?

I’m open to lot of things with phones, but you can take the SIM-slot from my cold, dead hands. That thing is not going.

From the FAQ of the UK-based Carphone Warehouse[1]:

"What is a SIM free phone?

SIM free phones are sold without any SIM card or network attached to them. Normally, people buy the phone and then choose a SIM only deal for their calls and data. All SIM free phones come unlocked, so you can choose whichever network you like.

What are the benefits of buying a SIM free phone?

Normally, people buy a SIM free phone when they want to own the handset outright and take out a SIM only deal. This reduces the cost of a monthly plan as you are only paying the network for your minutes, texts and data allowance. SIM only deals aren’t only less expensive but they can be more flexible, as 1-month rolling contracts and 12-month contracts are common place."

[1] https://www.carphonewarehouse.com/mobiles/sim-free.html

If so the established term is “unlocked” (which is the default), making you free to use whatever SIM/provider you choose.

As such SIM-free is a terrible and confusing name making it sound like they are taking SIM-based freedom away (Kind of like Apple’s headphone jack-free phones).

> If so the established term is “unlocked” (which is the default), making you free to use whatever SIM/provider you choose.

"SIM-free" means "bought without a contract". In my country, even devices with contracts come unlocked, making this term useless.

Tip: turn your iPhone screen to black/white, witness significant reduction in screen addiction.

Tip: uninstall any app with gratuitous notifications on the spot. Move off the main page notifying apps that you can’t uninstall: mail, calls, messages. Check notifications on your schedule [once a day], not on the app developer schedule [three times a minute, yay engagement]

The problem I have with Stallman is that he’s usually right, but he is remarkably horrible at coming across as someone with valid opinions. It is disingenuous to come to the table with clearly cherry-picked evidence, and calling companies and their products with stupid names is just childish. There are a lot of problems with companies, and Stallman is very good at recognizing them, but he’s just pretty bad at getting people to not consider him as somewhat crazy :/

Stallman is very much on one of the far ends of the technological spectrum, with, say, normal people with Android phones and Gmail and a Windows laptop on the other.

I think most people, given enough explanation, would recognize that Stallman and the FSF are 100% correct in their extremism and zealotry - but most aren't able to live without the convenience they've come to know and love.

It's important to have him on his end, so that him and those like him can balance out the other end, and that most people can reasonably fall more towards the middle. Can't have shadows without bright light.

> I think most people, given enough explanation, would recognize that Stallman and the FSF are 100% correct in their extremism and zealotry - but most aren't able to live without the convenience they've come to know and love.

Oh, yes, I'm very much of the opinion that they are right; the only reason I'm not joining them is because my Mac works well ;) I have nothing wrong with their "extremism"–the issue I have is that their attacks come across as childish, especially when they give things stupid names, and often they are pieced together by people who aren't actually experts in what they're complaining about and so they end up with evidence like "$NEWS_WEBSITE says this is bad", when the actual issue is something much more fundamental.

Agreed. It's like when he writes about Facebook and calls people "useds" instead of "users." Many of his opinions could be (or are) compelling and well-defended, but many of them are tangled up with his hostile (and sometimes childish) style of argumentation.

I wish he would tone it down sometimes, for lack of a better phrase. He doesn't have to compromise on his ideology to polish up his essays with less polarizing style. His arguments are already controversial, and he doesn't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with him by insisting on writing this way.

EDIT: Well apparently this is a controversial comment...the score just keeps going up and down.

Once you get over that hurdle, he really is a valuable resource. Like, we all kind of have that problem with him I think, but the guy still earns his seat at the table. In fact, buddy sorta set the table...

I just don’t see him as the type that needs to be publicly polished. Why does he have to be? He’s a character, I like it.

I think he should be publicly polished because him not being so gets in the way of spreading what he has to say, and allows for people to ignore him because he's "that crazy old man that isn't relevant" even though he actually has useful things to say.

I agree that communicating things differently would convince more people, but on the other hand, the man is like he is, and I dislike when people try to mold you to fit their person stereotype, almost like you can't be different from the rest.

I find the stupid names childish, but I don't think the evidence is cherry picked at all. Linking six different examples of Apple bowing to China's censorship isn't cherry picking, it's making the point well. I wish more writers had Stallman's obsession with linking previous material on a topic.

How is giving examples of misbehavior 'cherry-picking'?

They're random news articles that seem like they were the result of searching for "Apple is bad" on your favorite AGPLv3 search engine. They don't actually provide evidence for the real issues (merely hinting at them from a bunch of different angles), and they're don't appear to be very well researched or even necessarily provide details about the issue. In short, it's just spewing random "transgressions" without a coherent argument behind it, when there is totally one that could be made if he put in a bit of effort.

"usually right" and "with clearly cherry-picked evidence" dont come together

> It is disingenuous to come to the table with clearly cherry-picked evidence

It's a bit like women finding reasons not to like a man (or men in general) or vice versa. [1]

It shows (and I don't know the psych term for it) a very rigid 'good or bad' way of thinking. Life in general is a series of tradeoffs and thinking the way Stallman does just leads to unhappiness. And no question when you become that bitter (in that particular way) you are not happy.

[1] Not sure if Stallmen mentioned or not how Apple and Jobs in particular (at least as reported and popular culture) treated those around him. You know what? I don't care at all about that.

Edit: Note he says 'reasons not to use' he doesn't say 'things that I don't like about Apple'. For that matter he doesn't even say 'reasons I don't use Apple' he is clearly implying that he thinks people in general should not use Apple.

He‘s the annoying vegan of free software...

"Annoying vegans" are usually associated with baseless moral grandstanding by their detractors. Someone who meticulously cites their sources and allows those citations to do the arguing for him seems like the exact opposite.

FWIW, it's possible to be both a moral grandstander and meticulously cite sources: for example, consider a vegan who says it's morally wrong to kill animals (which, depending on your worldview, could be baseless), but also cites sources saying that eating meat is a bad choice for the environment (which is easily citable).

No one was making a comment on veganism. I guess an opportunity to grandstand was too hard to pass up.


If this is a personal attack, then I'd say every third sentence from Stallman is a personal attack.

Maybe. But he's not posting here. If he starts posting personal attacks here, we'll ask him to stop as well.

> If you carry a cell phone, it tells Big Brother where you are.

It's worth remembering that if one carries a mobile telephone, and it is not fully powered off, TPC always knows where you are, and the powers that be do not need to go to Apple for that information. A mobile telephone broadcasts to let the world know where it is, and the mobile telephony system only works in the first place if the system knows how to route incoming calls and SMS messages to a person's telephone.

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19215636

> the mobile telephony system only works in the first place if the system knows how to route incoming calls and SMS messages to a person's telephone

Like every other messaging system. Because you know, in order to send a message you need to know where...

Not quite. Ricochet IM[0] is a messaging system based around Tor hidden services. The entire purpose of Tor is the ability to route messages to people without finding out where they are.

[0] https://ricochet.im/

Tor is power hungry and can’t scale for billions of users.

the Dystopian Orwellian Nightmare is even worse than what Stallman is saying here. First of all, one of the most critical top secrets (ab)used by NSA against us in the Snowden cache has been kept secret from us.

in the Wiretap Act of 1968 (Title III), it explicitly defined what is a wiretap and who is authorized to perform them and what the legal procedure is. if you read the Wiretap act in the most literal fashion, you will conclude that Title III applies to any communication device which is connected to a network via a physical wire, such as a landline telephone.


would you like to know what NSA's interpretation is of the Title III? well, you can't, because it's Secret Law. but I'll give you a hint: cell phones don't connect via wires, therefore, Title III does not apply, therefore NSA can just "read the air" any damn way it pleases, and it doesn't have to tell you, nor tell a Judge, nor tell anybody. NSA just does it. NSA records the entire radio spectrum going over the air. technically, it's not a "wire" tap, since there is no wire. the closest i recall this little legal loophole fib almost coming out during the peak of the Snowden leaks was when (traitor neocon) Sentator Wyden was challenging the NSA in open hearings by giving hints that the NSA was spying on the GPS locations of all cell phones in the US. but nothing ever came of it, Wyden never followed through with leaking any documents nor holding a public hearing.

if you have any doubts, just read the NSA AURORAGOLD slide deck:


i don't even know what "IR.21" is, some kind of telco protocol thingy like SS7, but NSA targets it and surveils it on every "Mobile Network Operator" (MNO) on the planet. Slide 10: "We Monitor the Industry." NSA spies on the GSM Association in Switzerland. NSA spies on the entire technical staffs of every "MNO" on Earth.

scroll towards the end of the slides where there is a map "network coverage." the whole fucking world of cell phones is "covered" by NSA surveillance. notice anything funny about the map? the US and most FVEYs countries are orange, meaning 1%-20% wireless "coverage." but Africa, inner Asia, and desolate countries are green, which means over 80%.

gee, that's funny. why would NSA's "wireless collection" be so much higher in countries who are marginal American allies and all of whom are rapidly developing economies which went from pre-industrial agrarian, to skipping over industrial, which means they never built a national phone network of wires, and skipped straight to national wireless networks.

it means NSA basically data rapes wireless. it is infinitely easier for NSA to spy on wireless than wired.

but wait! it gets worse. you may ask yourself "okay, fine, NSA steals the air, but i'm a hacker and by flying spaghetti monster i can come up with a technical counter measure. i will develop my own decentralized system to defeat NSA as the global passive adversary."

a few days or weeks later, after you study Mixnets and Meshnets and Delay Tolerant Networks (DTN) and RFC 5050 and after you start prototyping your own off-grid Internet, you come across this slide from the Snowden leaks:

Moving Data Through Disconnected Networks


you slap yourself in the forehead.

shit. NSA has already covered new forms of sneakernets too. of course they have. undetecable decentralized sneakernets are the perfect method of exfiltrating all of the data which NSA is stealing from everyone else in the world, and doing it using their own private off-grid network is ideal because nobody will notice exabytes of your data being siphoned through your fleet of "smart" e-lighbulbs used as a hop point back to Bluffdale.

those NSA slides about DTNs are from around 2011, and it clearly shows NSA had several DTNs operational. they even had a partner program with NRO to develop "CubeSat" nanosatellites to act as nodes in their global exfiltration DTN. and if we know one thing about NSA it's when they're 10 years ahead of everyone else in inventing new defensive tactics, they also invent the offensive tactics to attack that defense, in order to cripple anyone else who might use the same weapons. so of course NSA already has ways to destroy DTNs, in order to prevent anyone else from gaining an advantage over NSA. remember "NOBUS"? Nobody But Us.

as a final bonus, about halfway through those slides about DTNs, there is a map showing an NSA "mobile wireless testbed."

you HN nerds outta recognize that map. look familiar? see the Lat/Long coords at the bottom. it's the Richmond district in SF. you'd think NSA would be careful to not use US locations as the examples in its surveillance programs, since NSA is not chartered for domestic spying. but you'd be wrong.

'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.

> "We're an empire now [..]"

An exceptionally well written and chilling quote I thought. I looked it up to see what book or potentially movie/series this might be from:

"Karl Rove. American Republican political consultant and policy advisor."

How can creative writers possibly compete with this caliber of actual villain dialogue?

Ah yes, Karl Rove. The Grima Wormtongue of the Bush administration. The man who used "reality based community" as a pejorative, and led the American right towards its current embrace of "post truth" ideology.

1. Apple takes privacy and data safety seriously. It invests a significant amount of engineering effort into keeping user data safe. It doesn't comply with government requests unless forced, after deploying its vast legal means to hold them back.

2. Other consumer electronics devices aren't built in factories that are any different or better than those of Foxconn. While it doesn't absolve Apple from taking some responsibility, RMS should have called for avoiding mobile devices altogether if he's so worried about personnel abuse.

3. Fortunately or not, digital platforms aren't exempt from real world rules and laws. If something is prohibited in some territory, we can't seriously expect foreign companies who do business there to ignore local laws and regulations. Would you be so lenient towards a Chinese company which operates in USA disregarding all intellectual property laws? About a Japanese media company operating in Europe that markets material that would constitute underaged pornography?

4. We need to respect sovereignty and local customs. If there's a lesson to be learnt from the Arab Spring uprisings and their incredibly bloody outcomes is that freedom of information requires a certain societal foundation, and can't be thought of as an absolute universal value. Even the Western world is in a disarray following the information propagation offered by online platforms; to expect a society with much weaker civil institution and foundations to face the same challenges is wrong. Therefore, when Apple is asked to block content in China by the local authorities and complies, it's not any more than respecting the rule of the land.

The alternative to that is that the Chinese would create their own Apple (which they of course do), and that's worse for everyone at the end. It leads to a bisected global economy in the style of the Iron Curtain. I'd much rather have Apple operating in China and constantly pushing against government regulation than see the Chinese setting up their own Apple run by government cronies which would pipe user data right into the agencies of Beijing.

5. That aside, some of Apple's behavior (as illustrated by Spotify lately) is downright predatory, intended to lock Apple users to inferior alternatives. I don't like that one bit. On the balance though, I support Apple's discretion with my dollars, because I feel they are selling to me rather than selling me, and because their devices are great.

1. It does, but do you know what's easier? Not collecting that data unnecessarily in the first place.

2. He does call against mobile devices altogether (see the Cellular Phones section [1]).

3. A company can choose where to conduct business. RMS's opinion is that companies should not conduct business where the laws impose said company to routinely act in ways that are harmful to society.

4. "I know better than them (so I choose what to censor)" and "I do it because otherwise someone else will" are poor defenses from a moral standpoint. RMS is all about morality, not pragmatism. His stance is that bit by bit, slight compromises become landslides.

5. You are free to do as you please, just like RMS is free to disapprove of your support to apple ;)

[1] https://stallman.org/rms-lifestyle.html

What evidence is there that Apple collects data unnecessarily?

I didn't think this was a controversial assertion. Most big techs have been collecting plenty of information that is non-essential for their functions.

For instance, you must have an apple account (that includes your personal details) just to get MacOS security updates. Why is that necessary if you don't intend to buy any software from the store?

> you must have an apple account (that includes your personal details) just to get MacOS security updates

I don't think this is true anymore since they decoupled system updates from the App Store again in Mojave

It's necessary so if anyone ever feel like buying something from the store they don't need to register. It reduces the chance that they will 'bounce' and not buy. It's that simple.

I know that is the reason. I strongly disagree in that qualifying as a necessary thing to do.

If that was accepted as necessary data collection, GDPR wouldn't have made any fuss whatsoever: big techs would keep collecting all the data they wanted because "it is necessary to reduce the chance that we won't earn buckets of money".

> Other consumer electronics devices aren't built in factories that are any different or better than those of Foxconn. While it doesn't absolve Apple from taking some responsibility, RMS should have called for avoiding mobile devices altogether if he's so worried about personnel abuse.

And Apple seems to be the only company to be quite open about this and taking active steps to improve working conditions throughout the entire supply chain.

> Apple takes privacy and data safety seriously.

They might, but for the most valuable company in the world, they had plenty of mishaps recently, from logging APFS encryption password to allowing anyone to log in as root without a password.

The #1 reason not to use Apple is their arrogance toward their users. I don't want them to lie to me about my battery, nor make me choose their music over spotify and engage in other customer-hostile policies to make money.

If it were only that simple, sigh. Google is much worse. Apple at least lip sync's privacy, I suspect when it is to their advantage.

I believe Apple just has no clue as to how to create products any more. How much money are they sitting on and and this is the best they can do?

>I don't want them to lie to me about my battery

You say that, but you most likely do. Even if you absolutely don’t, the vast majority of users still do, even if they don’t know it.

The whole point of software is to at least partly obfuscate what the hardware does, to the benefit of users. Making things easier to use and understand and hiding unnecessary complications is not arrogance towards users, it’s acting in their interest.

I meant the thing about throttling the performance because the battery was old.

Throthled performance might midly annoy some of the users, some of the time. Battery lasting less than 8 hours would enrage everyone very quickly.

Fortunately you can choose Spotify, in fact Apple has distributed thousands of terabytes of Spotify to iOS users for free.

And Apple did not lie about your battery, it kept your phone from spontaneously restarting when your battery declined to a pout where it couldn’t generate adequate voltage for the system. Apple just did a poor job of communicating what iOS was doing to prevent this.

What do you mean by "distributed thousands of terabytes of Spotify to iOS users for free"?

Apple doesn’t charge developers for providing worldwide distribution across hundreds of app stores. They take 30% of paid app revenues (15% of long term subscriptions).

Apple has distributed over 300M downloads of Spotify to iOS users, since Spotify is a free app it hasn’t paid a cent for over 30 Petabytes of bandwidth costs.

>Apple doesn’t charge developers for providing worldwide distribution across hundreds of app stores.

You have to pay every year to be in the appstore.

That's how the internet works ... and Apple is hosting the app only. It doesn't deal with the streaming

I don't have too much knowledge about how the delivery of apps in iOS store works, but I could infer that it is not only hosting files. They need at least to keep multiple versions and delivery the one that fits the proper iOS version of the device. And, based on my experience with delivering desktop apps I think there is much more to that. For example I was just delivering one single app to customers and still I needed to allocate time to infrastructure and versioning and automating some tasks and signing the code and much more.

I imagine that for an iOS store there is more.

The App store is one of Apples most profitable segments.

Let's not act like its philanthropy.

And they don't charge for distribution per se but their cut more than makes up for it.

> Apple doesn’t charge developers for providing worldwide distribution across hundreds of app stores.

Yes they do, publishing on the App Store isn't free. Also, they favor some apps they don't compete with, (Uber), while handicapping others, (Spotify). Hardly fair.

Apple does neither of these things.

>to lie to me about my battery What do you mean by lying?

They removed the API to get the exact battery capacity/charge.

Found at least one error on the list. This claim:

> Apple's mail service silently censors the mail people send.

Is based on this article:


Where one user was unable to send one email via the MobileMe web interface because of an outgoing spam filter. The Mail app worked btw, and was not "censored".

From this Stallman extrapolates censorship of all users who use Apple email.

Give me a break.

Let’s not water down the major issues with a long list of grievances. Apple’s anticompetitive practices are hugely problematic, and it’s the one area in which Apple refuses to budge. That’s where we need to focus, starting with the App Store.

Apple doesn't really spy on users imo. Internally, the privacy team is quite powerful and forces lots of safeguards about how exactly data can be used.

As an outsider, I have absolutely no way to verify what you're saying is true. I'd like to think that they're not spying on me, but I have no evidence about anything they do because Apple is not transparent about anything they do.

Same with Google. Google has privacy teams as well which are

> quite powerful and forces lots of safeguards about how exactly data can be used.

Apple recommends apps based on other apps I've downloaded. So does Google. Apple recommends music based on other music I've played. So does Google. Apple recommends books and movies as well based on similar data. So does Google. Apple keeps track of every placed your Apple devices have been. So does Google. Apple doesn't share this data. Neither does Google.

You seem to be simplifying things a bit too much. Apple doesn’t keep track of where your device has been. Your iPhone knows but it’s not being sent to Apple. Google has been shown to know this data even when you disable as many location services as you can.

Apple knows which is how they can display every devices location on icloud.com including "last known location" which means the location was previously sent to Apple.

That requires you to opt-in to the “Find My iPhone” or “Find My Friends” feature which are explicitly designed to locate the phone.

If you don’t enable those things (which are not automatically enabled) then Apple does not know the location of your phone.

> Apple doesn’t keep track of where your device has been.

The iPhone certainly does keep track of where it has been. There was even a scandal about it a few years back. It may not upload it to Apple's servers yet, but that's only a matter of shifting strategy and a software update away.

Until one day you agree to an update....

Their incentives with regards to data are aligned differently - Apple make most of their revenue from selling hardware to their users, Google make most of their revenue from selling ads to someone different from their users.

Yeah, something I feel people (particularly who aren't in my normal tech-industry sphere) I hear discussing data privacy seem to think is that the data itself is being sold/shared with third parties. To be fair though, the concept of any sense of privacy from a service built on seemingly invading your privacy is a complex one to digest


We've had to ask you several times before to stop breaking the site guidelines in your comments here. If you keep doing this, we're going to have to ban you.

"Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."



I was referring for starters to "HAHAHA stop spreading lies", which is obviously against the guidelines.

Since you don't seem to want to use this site as intended, I've banned the account. If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.

Check Settings.app > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations

It says encrypted and cant be read by Apple, who knows, this data creeps me alone.

It's highly admirable to see a person who's so strong on his convictions and philosophy. And the entire world is better for it even if most people think he's too radical. Some of the terms he uses (as alternative to the real names) may sound silly, but his heart is in the right place.

The problem that I see is (inputs welcome from others on this) there are no mass produced goods (hardware and software) that are also easy to use and secure and private that conform to his requirements (leave alone cheap or being friendly to the environment, to workers, against censorship, and many other factors). It would take quite a bit of effort (to set things up) even for technical people to live as he does.

I could not care less with Apple abiding by national laws of each country (to provide or not provide some app). Wanna do business somewhere, play by their laws, not impose your clout (which for some companies is bigger than some states, hence the "Banana Republic" notion) to have the laws of your preference enforced. (Most Americans are OK with it, because it's usually their companies doing the enforcing. But consider the opposite, you being forced to accept the terms of some other country).

But I dislike their enforced prudery. Unless something is considered illegal (e.g. CP), it should be up to the users to decide. At worse, implement age restrictions when shopping.

I don't think I'd be where I am today if I lived how Stallman lived. He is once again technically correct but I also think he has immense privilege others do not have.

It's almost like he can't change his principles either, because at this point his livelihood depends on it.

Recent examples of why not to use apple:

1. Their new keyboards are terrible, and are buggy. 2. Lack of headphone jack on phones. 3. Vast price increases for relatively little new features. 4. Constant upgrading of the OS which breaks half of the software you use.

And a few good reasons to choose Apple:

My new iPhone XR needs to be charged only once or twice per week.

For development, I get a certified UNIX machine with an excellent user interface, best of both worlds for the vast majority of tasks we need using computers.

Apple makes money off me because I buy their products. I am myself not the product, their hardware is. This has so many natural side effects that benefit users, that it scares me to go in the direction of android.

The iPad is truly a revolutionary best in class device, I’ve not seen anything else that comes anywhere close to its quality for what it does.

> My new iPhone XR needs to be charged only once or twice per week.

It's not the only phone that does that and it's not a new feature. Even with older phones, you can simply get a battery case.

> with an excellent user interface

The user interface is terrible and all the core features are extremely limited with no extensibility whatsoever. Just about every other desktop OS has a better user interface.

> Apple makes money off me because I buy their products. I am myself not the product, their hardware is.

Actually, their iProducts are not even yours after you buy them. If you want to build an app for your own device you have to give Apple $100 every year just to be able to install it. So that puts them into a malignant category of their own.

> The iPad is truly a revolutionary best in class device...

...but only if you think iOS is any good or you don't value your own freedom.

Just to make sure I understand you and your perspective correctly, I'll isolate just your first point: You are saying that there is, in fact, no difference between a phone with a good battery and a different phone with a separate battery you must attach to it?

I believe this line of reasoning also explains your other points satisfactorily.

Incorrect. My first point was that the iPhone XR is not the first phone that only has to be charged once or twice a week.

My second point was that you can also extend the life of any phone with a battery case. And yes, after you install a batter case that uses pass-through charging there's essentially no difference.

> I believe this line of reasoning also explains your other points satisfactorily.

OK and I'll assume that your misreading, your misunderstanding and your incomplete response to my points stem from an intentionally weak interpretation.

> Actually, their iProducts are not even yours after you buy them. If you want to build an app for your own device you have to give Apple $100 every year just to be able to install it. So that puts them into a malignant category of their own.

FYI this has not been true for years.

It is true for all practical purposes. Nobody is going to resign and reinstall their apps weekly.

Unless you pay, the provisioning for that app only last a week!

The new keyboards have been buggy, that's true. They're not buggy anymore afaik.

Personally, I'm not really into Apple but I love the new keyboard, and I use it as my main tool every day. It really bugs me when people make use of personal opinions as facts.

These aren’t really the kind of complaints that Stallman has, though.

Constant upgrading of the operating system improves performance (iOS 12) and security. I’ve nit had any apps break from any of their updates.

You can call out a multitude of things to be mad at Apple for. The question is, what alternatives currently available would do any better on the whole, for what you need?

You demand a phone that has all these services and qualities to it. Or websites or apps that you like. What system have you come up with that provides a viable alternative to what exists? All these social media companies thought they could create a self-policing, open, free place for discussion. Surprise, turns out every country/government wants to put restrictions on these capabilities, in a different flavor. Or people want to be paid for things, while others want them for free.

Almost every one of the things on his list is a result of people, users like you and me, doing things that weren't intended to be done. And they had to come up with rules to take care of. Or are what's needed to reach this many people.

Not saying there aren't things on there that couldn't be changed. (and by the way, some of his examples are 10 years irrelevant)

But you're mad at Apple because it reaches more people, and does so while ignoring these (let's face it, minor) concerns that most people don't care -- at all -- about. Ask any of your friends to identify / name even 2 of these issues?

So go invent something different. See how long it is before you come under similar constraints and start having to make rules that someone, somewhere disagrees with.

The actors in a system are servants of the things we want (or can't resist wanting) them to do.

> The question is, what alternatives currently available would do any better on the whole, for what you need?


(only for preorder, but the devkit already exists and looks fine)

"The question is, what alternatives currently available would do any better on the whole...."

That's been our problem, and remarkably, there's been little concentrated and little continuous discussion, let alone successful remediation, in all of these years.

And so I've had to avoid all of the alternatives ... far from ideal!! I'd sure choose to use a service with much less sophistication, many fewer options, much less 'slick' presentation, but was forthright, dependable, and adequate. Shouldn't that much easier to create, fund, and maintain? And yet ... no show.

WHY? HOW did these terrible practices become thinkable, let alone acceptable? With all the spirit, spunk, and can-do sophistication of the pioneers in our community ... WHY?

Most of the reasons in that list are ideological, not technical. I mean, I like listening to RMS, but prefer my choice of technology to be governed by technical reasons, not by what a company does in China or in Russia. Incidentally, given a choice between an Apple machine and a well-functioning GNU/Linux machine I would pick the latter.

Technology carry its own intrinsic political and ethical weight.

Choosing a tech over another tech for technical reasons and ignoring other aspects is a political choice.

I’m seriously kind of tired of this argument.

We’ve gone from “not choosing is a choice” to “every choice is political”.

I’m sorry but the latter doesn’t immediatly follow from the first.

You can and are totally free to not use a technology or buy from a particular company for political reasons, but that does not mean that others are making a political choice when doing so.

Similarly you should argue that eating meat is a religious choice, since some religions prohibit meat consumption.

I find this kind of reasoning bogus at best.

I understand you don't like it but every choice, every act has a political significance. I believe it doesn't follow that you actively support or promote whatever comes with a choice but the fact remains that choosing a tech only on tech merits or choosing a tech despite who you support by buying it is still a political choice.

That's why I use Firefox and not google chrome even though at some points one is better than the other.

> We’ve gone from “not choosing is a choice” to “every choice is political”.

> I’m sorry but the latter doesn’t immediatly follow from the first.

Nobody said or implied that.

> Similarly you should argue that eating meat is a religious choice, since some religions prohibit meat consumption.

Now that's a bogus reasoning and I don't see why you twist the analogy like that since it loses relevance.

> Now that's a bogus reasoning and I don't see why you twist the analogy like that since it loses relevance.

I am not sure this reasoning is bogus. Let me try to pick up on the analogy and develop it further:

Situation 1: I (hypothetically) am shopping for a laptop. I am used to Unix, dislike Windows, and couldn't get desktop Linux work for me. I am impressed by battery life of the latest Macbook Pro, as well as by its glorious screen, decent sound, and responsive touchpad. After certain deliberation I decide to buy a Macbook Pro. Apple’s corporate track record doesn't even enter into the calculation. And yet, I am told that my choice is political.

Situation 2: You (hypothetically) are about to order a burger. You are hungry and like burgers, and the animal suffering involved in the production of that burger does not even cross your mind. Yet you are told that you have made a moral choice. (Alternatively, you are told that you’ve made a religious choice, because in Jainism meat is not allowed; and obviously you couldn’t care less about Jainism.)

What I, as the previous commentator, find so objectionable is that it shouldn't be said of you that you are making a political choice if you are not involved in an act that you recognize as political. I can’t imagine that it is reasonable to expect of everyone to be constantly engaged in political activity, or to put political considerations before any other. I think it’s quite possible to be vaguely supportive of democracy, freedom, workers’ rights or the rule of law (and thus to be politically on one side of the spectrum), and at the same time not care that a corporation complied with undemocratic demands of an authoritarian regime or used legal loopholes to avoid taxes (and thus is on another side of the political spectrum).

Most. Unpatched security issues and erecting barriers to repair are legitimately annoying technical concerns.

But you're right that's just a couple on a long list.

>well-functioning GNU/Linux machine I would pick the latter.

I love ubuntu server, but cannot do Linux desktop. Maybe you can provide some thoughts-

>Mouse acceleration is not the same as Windows Mouse Acceleration. Too much starcraft... sure... but I could not get my perfect mouse settings.

>Stuff doesnt work. From Netflix needing a weekend worth of googling to work, to other things that required additional commands, things take longer than Windows.

>Things break. I used to say, an Ubuntu Desktop install has 9 lives. Everytime you reboot you spend one of them.

Anyway, would love to go to Linux, but I found the Microsoft Desktop experience better. (and apparently worth 100$)

I bought a laptop from System76 last fall and love it. I have been using Linux since Slackware was first available for download, and I have to say that buying hardware with Linux installed and tuned is great.

I would like to see the same details about google / android and microsoft / windows from the author of this comprehensive list. And his conclusion what to use as an OS considering all.

The author does have a page about Google[0] and Microsoft[1]. He doesn't draw a conclusion in those separate pages but you can see how he uses computers in another page[2].

[0] https://stallman.org/google.html

[1] https://stallman.org/microsoft.html

[2] https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html

These are all linked at the top of his homepage https://stallman.org/

e.g. https://stallman.org/microsoft.html

He has more "what's bad about" various companies (and pay toilets). ;)

Indeed, there's a whole list of them right at the start of the headlined article.

This is only one item of a larger list. As someone whose university buys Apple products (and uses quite some services on the Stallman's list): does HN have any advice for advocating for making the switch?

Let's take Slack as an example: what strategies are there to convince people to make the switch to an alternative product? From the perspective of users (who may not always care about the things RMS cares about), a switch just involves a lot of time and effort.

Any suggestions or hints how to approach this?

> does HN have any advice for advocating for making the switch?

Maybe not precisely that, but https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/university.html

I was going through RMS' site and found the daily notes section. Here[1], on the 14th March entry (Kamala Harris staffing), he links to an article from the onion. Is it intentional? Does he not know onion is a satirical publication?

[1] https://www.stallman.org/archives/2019-jan-apr.html#14_March...

So google then? Haha well let us not forget Apple denied the FBI a backdoor and to unlock an iPhone. Hmm wonder how that would have turned out if it was any other company. Sorry but that spoke massive volumes to me. And when those FBI text leaks came out they were going to harass Tim Apple lmao. But I see a lot of errors & more personal opinions that lacks evidence but ok. But by all mean please if you have more to show please do we all need to know. This Has nothing to do with fanboy either I use both and the comparisons is night & day. Also I'm only interested in censorship in places it shouldn't be. In China that's how it is. Although we disagree that's there way of life and it's just the same as if you were to fly into there country and stay for a few days you'd obey there laws right? Or go in with your country's laws? Pointless to add that imo. So if that is a problem for you. I suggest taking it up with China the ones who call the shots not Apple. Its annoying for that to pushed on someone or something that absolutely has no power over a country. Dumb,Just sayin. I'd prefer that business not to be conducted there. But kinda to late for that when everything says made in China.

How bout that prism 5 privacy phone? Hope it's successful and provides the needs which we all grown accustomed to with all these apps. Over all even tho I dislike there practices and absurd prices. And just putting out there I know my way around the phone then the average because both views are different, I'd rather stick with Apple a hardware company than a software company like google 2 different agendas. And to just be flat out real & honest where can you go? Everything is doing F*ckery everyone decided to wait to damn long to say anything when I know majority of us here knew about it all way back but the sheep heard didn't budge till recently to damn late they grew to powerful and google no longer needs you to have there device or any on you to track you. Plus everyone just welcomes all there products into there home already. If they are gonna farm my data I at least expect it to be handled like it's gold. And they could offer a paid version that we can choose to use that will keep our data off limits since we are paying for it. They still get there money. I personally think if we are paying outta pocket our data is off limits. The isp sells our data so why do we still pay for cable? Sometimes I think a solar flare would be nice and reset everything but I doubt people will learn.

I’d be interested to hear valid alternatives or solutions to the listed problems. For the most part they aren’t unique to Apple.

Well Stallman also hates the internet:

4th line on that page is

What's bad about: Airbnb | Amazon | Amtrak | Ancestry | Apple | Discord | Ebooks | Eventbrite | Evernote | Facebook | Google | Intel | LinkedIn | Lyft | Meetup | Microsoft | Netflix | Patreon | Pay Toilets | Skype | Slack | Spotify | Twitter | Uber | Wendy's |

Airbnb, Amazon, Amtrak, Ancestry, Apple, Discord, Ebooks, Eventbrite, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Intel, LinkedIn, Lyft, Meetup, Microsoft, Netflix, Patreon, Pay Toilets, Skype, Slack, Spotify, Twitter, Uber, Wendy's

...is not the Internet

The Internet is incredibly vast. The idea that these sites comprise the Internet is exactly the sentiment Stallman is intending to combat.

Surprised Spotify's antitrust claims are not mentioned there

Edit: All right so this website is meant to make a library of opposition against big corporations. I understand now


Stallman has been the leading proponent of software freedom for many, many decades. He isn't inherently against big corps, he is against what a lot of big corps do.

Can anyone on HN explain why software freedom could ever be a bad thing?

IE: I only see it as Apple having extreme upfront costs, keeping poor people away from developing.

I have two questions about licenses that require distribution of source code (like GPL & AGPL).

1. Do they limit the freedom of the developer to keep source code private?

2. Do they make it harder to sustain a living wage through the labor of writing software?

I’m fully supportive of “attribution” licenses like MIT, BSD, Apache 2. But, I don’t think Stallman considers those “free software”.

> 1. Do they limit the freedom of the developer to keep source code private?

The (A)GPL aim is to retain the freedom of the user to view, modify, compile, and redistribute their changes. They explicitly limit the freedom of the developer to close their source would that the user has those freedoms.

To use an extreme example that I'm not using as an example for moral equivalence, but as a procedural one: laws against any (e.g. theft, murder, trespassing, &c) limit the abilities of one party for the benefit of another.

Licenses like the MIT and bsd license take the opposite approach: they give the developer the freedom to use the code as they want, including closing it from inspection and modification by the end user.

Both allow someone to be constrained in some way. It's just a matter of who.

> 2. Do they make it harder to sustain a living wage through the labor of writing software?

I mean, RedHat seems to be doing OK? The recent kerfuffle about mongo and elastic search seem to be because they chose more permissive license at the start, and not a copyleft.

So, who knows? Business is hard and no one factor makes or breaks your chances?

> 1. Do they limit the freedom of the developer to keep source code private?

There's a clash between user's and developer's freedoms: if a developer is free to keep the source code private, then said software's users are not free to study, change it, and distribute those changes.

The free software movement prioritizes user's freedoms (the 4 essential freedoms [1]) over developer's freedoms. You seem to do the opposite.

> 2. Do they make it harder to sustain a living wage through the labor of writing software?

Your wording makes it hard to answer the question. If you get paid purely to write software, it doesn't matter if said software is free software or not. If you sell software copies/licenses to pay for your development, then it is objectively harder to earn as much.

[1] https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html

> But, I don’t think Stallman considers those “free software”.

He does, though they arent copyleft.

iOS development costs only $99 a year.

Of course if Spotify is able to win its suit, iOS development will become far more costly, Apple won’t be able to distribute free apps at no charge anymore, like it does for Spotify.

I don't see software freedom as a bad thing, I just disagree with the moralism of the free software philosophy. I don't believe there is an implicit moral dimension to software licensing, it's simply a matter of technical and financial tradeoffs.

Not necessarily just big corporations.


Regarding his argument against paid toilets: can’t this be said about any other basic neccesity? I.e. don’t pay for food, because some people can’t afford it - so food should be free.

What's interesting about stallman is that he is zealous about his philosophy, but like all philosophies, his philosophy is inconsistent when you take it to its logical extremes. (See the paradox of closed source microwaves). Stallman's philosophy is a veneer over utilitarianism and assumption that the computer is a unique construct in society -- software should be libre because libre software provides the most value to the most people due to the 0 marginal cost of software, even if it's less profitable to the creators, and even this claim is not quite true due to the security benefits of closed platforms and the virtuous cycle of profit motive motivating people to work harder to produce more. It makes sense when you consider that Stallman formed his views when he was working at MIT, with his material support from donations from people who made their money not from free software, or who shared such donations with him. The economics of his philosophy are tainted by that foundational flaw.

> but like all philosophies, his philosophy is inconsistent

All philosophies are inconsistent?

> (See the paradox of closed source microwaves)

That's not a paradox. Binary blobs are okay if, and only if, there is no way to update them anyway. This means there is no way for the copyright holder of the software to force a user to cede their software freedom, so the point is moot.

> software should be libre because libre software provides the most value to the most people due to the 0 marginal cost of software

Software should be libre because it allows users to not be beholden to anything but their own interests. Value and cost are very secondary considerations.

> even if it's less profitable to the creators

That's not a criterium.

> due to the security benefits of closed platforms

Citation very much needed.

> Stallman formed his views when he was working at MIT, with his material support from donations

No. He was working, at MIT, you just stated that.

> The economics of his philosophy are tainted by that foundational flaw.

I think you might want to get better acquainted with "his philosophy", the economics of it, before diving head first into an argument based on nothing but ad-hoc analysis of shaky assertions.

I know of no security benefits to closed platforms. I know many people believe one platform that happens to be closed, iOS, is more secure than some other platforms but I've seen no evidence that it's more secure because it's closed. In fact, the platform that's generally considered the least secure, Windows, is also closed.

There was an entire controversy about how hard Apple made it for law enforcement to access iPhones, which indicates security benefits.

Apple’s business model also aligns with user privacy (so far).

It’s also worth considering Apple’s CEO personally values privacy because he had to keep his sexuality a secret his entire life until he reached such a prominent position he felt safe to speak out.

I agree that the strongest evidence is the source code, compiler code, and electronics schematics. However, there are other forms of evidence.

> There was an entire controversy about how hard Apple made it for law enforcement to access iPhones, which indicates security benefits.

It indicates that Apple software is secure, it doesn't indicate that it is secure because it is closed-source. It might be even more secure if it were open source, because then many more people would be looking for vulnerabilities in it.

Good catch. I responded to “no evidence Apple is more secure” and missed the “because it is closed” context.

I think Apple’s products would be more secure if they were more open. I appreciate that the core is open (Darwin, WebKit, Swift, LLVM).

The general argument is that iOS is more secure because Apple strictly controls both the hardware and the software. The two are very tightly integrated in Apple products, which means proprietary software for e.g. segregating userland or interacting with the secure enclave is specialized and well-audited.

The other (perhaps more compelling) argument is that Apple is only able to invest this level of security in its products because of its spectacular profits, which would likely be much lower if iOS were open source.

That's basically the gist of it.

EDIT: To whoeever downvoted this, I'm just relaying the argument.

The Secure Enclave is not well-audited in the traditional sense, as it’s just as proprietary as the rest of the device.

At some level - why not? Getting enough food not to starve shouldn't require having money. That's what food banks, soup kitchens, etc. are about. It doesn't mean luxury food, just like the public toilets are basic.

There are free public restrooms (at least in my country), which are equivalent of the soup kitchens in your example. What he's proposing though is to NEVER pay for the restroom, even if you can afford it - you should always look for free one instead. He hopes that this form of boycott, if it becomes popular enough, will convince toilet owners to not charge for the use. In the food context, it would mean always eating in soup kitchens in the hopes that food producers will give out food for free (or it will be 100% subsidized by government).

The only difference between universal food and universal toilets seems to be the cost - i.e. it would be much more affordable for government to supply free toilets than free food for everyone. In this view his argument makes sense - both the need to eat and the need to pee when in public are fundamental, so if we can take care of at least one of them (toilets), then it's still better than nothing.

Stallman doesn’t propose not paying for the toilet.

From his https://stallman.org/pay-toilets.html :

> I have concluded that the least we can do, to eliminate pay toilets, is to avoid giving them money. Instead of paying them, I go to great lengths to find some other toilet.

> Please join me in rejecting pay toilets firmly.

Not necessarily because the alternative: urinating on public property not designated for that purpose, is illegal.

The difference is that using a toilet has neglible marginal cost.

Something has to pay for a cleaner to clean the piss and shit from the floor, walls and ceiling.

I think youre using toilets wrong.

I'm not using them wrong, but it seems that literally every other person to ever gone a public toilet is using them wrong.

>Pay toilets are nasty

Usually they're pretty nice compared to the free toilets.

Not sure why downvoted, the problem with free toilets is that maintenance/cleaning costs money and often there isn’t enough budgeted for it. Pay toilets at least allow users to fund more frequent cleaning.

What do you mean by library of hate? Stallman may have his quirks, but he's a fantastic positive force for our freedoms, despite his rigid idealism.

Right, hate was not the best word, my bad. Changed it to "opposition" — what I meant was I understand now that the website is a library of what big big corporations abuse.

All of Stallman cites are 5-10 years old.

I think Apple takes privacy more seriously than anyone. They don't need to spy on people to make money, unlike many tech companies.

Content control is different from political censorship. Every company has the right to policy their content and choose their customers. It sucks, but it isn't evil.

Those are pretty old arguments, because Apple does allow Bitcoin related apps now, and has been for many years.

Apple treats developers with respect. And respect is everything for a developer.

Just yesterday, I decided to contribute to an FOSS project that required the use of Apple Music API. Sadly, Apple requires an yearly $100 to create an Apple Developer account. Privacy is all fine, but this is just pure greed.

It's a closed platform. There's nothing wrong with closed platforms, and nothing greedy with comercial products or money making businesses. Unless you live in a communist country, of course.

As a mobile app developer, does the article mean I have to ditch Macs and iPhones?


The last update to Telegram on iOS was two weeks ago. Is the rest of it worth reading if point #1 is wrong?

edit: This last page update was 2018 according to the copyright. The OP didn't put (2018) in the title.

The list is updated continuously. The last element in the censorship section is from December of last year, which is pretty recent.

+1 The truth hurts, but helps.

Wow - regardless of whether one agrees with RMS, alone the fact that this submission has been heavily flagged already (and will thus drop from the frontpage soon) tells you a lot about the power of Apple and their fans here.

HN urgently needs to address the flagging problems, this has been the case for many important but controversial topics recently and leads to a degraded quality of frontpage submissions in my view.

I have not flagged this article, partly because I’m curious to see the debate here. But I’m sure those who have flagged it did so because this article is not objective, this is a very extremist position with a lot of cherry picked arguments that are obviously from a personal bias he has against Apple.

Many of the points he is specifically isolating for Apple are quite true of most of the big tech firms.

RMS is an extremist, openly and unashamedly. He doesn't try to hide it, he tries to argue that his extremist position is the morally correct and long-term best for society though.

> from a personal bias he has against Apple. Many of the points he is specifically isolating for Apple are quite true of most of the big tech firms.

He bashes all big techs for most of those points too. See the links at the top where he complains about Airbnb, Amazon, Amtrak, Ancestry, Apple, Discord, Ebooks, Eventbrite, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Intel, LinkedIn, Lyft, Meetup, Microsoft, Netflix, Patreon, Pay Toilets, Skype, Slack, Spotify, Twitter, Uber and Wendy's.

If there are missing companies there it is probably because he didn't have the time, not because he does't want to complain about something regarding that specific company ;)

So by this standard, is there a computer that I should use, or is all computing in 2019 unethical?

I see he's using a >10yr old Intel CPU, presumably to avoid the Management Engine, so presumably he thinks it's OK to pay money to these companies in certain circumstances?

By RMS's standard, it seems that it is ok to reuse old systems (irrespective of which company built them originally) provided you can use them without binary blobs (irreplaceable built-in no-source firmware is fine though). Quoting his "how I do computing page" [1]:

> I use a Thinkpad T400s computer, which has a free initialization program (libreboot) and a free operating system (Trisquel GNU/Linux). It was not sold that way by Lenovo, however; small businesses buy them used, recondition them, and install the free software. This is one of the computers endorsed by the FSF.

Of course I'm pretty sure he would also approve buying and using any open hardware product [2] (provided it can run using only free software). There are some initiatives popping up in this space, such as:

- The siFive HiFive's [3] (Risc-V based), that can get you a fully open, slow system for $3k (1k for the base board + 2k for the PCIe-and-others expansion board).

- The Talos™ (Power9-based) systems [4], that give you 2019-grade performance at ~2-3x the usual price.

All in all, not a pleasant stance to make, but definitely doable for some folks.

[1] https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_computing_hardware... [3] https://www.sifive.com/boards [4] https://www.raptorcs.com/content/base/products.html

This is the thing that gets me, is that if a piece of hardware has firmware that you can't replace then it is OK to use. But if they add the functionality to replace the firmware, then it all of a sudden is not OK to use that hardware. Or, is it the case that if the firmware is pre-loaded, but replaceable, instead of needing to download the firmware to the board every time you boot, then that would still be acceptable. Not sure where he stands on that last point.

RMS thinks that free hardware is a different matter than free software, on the basis that software is easily copyable but hardware is not.

If a piece of hardware contains unmodifiable software, RMS considers it an "integral part of the hardware". It is no different to him than a cog or any other physical piece in that thing.

In contrast, if said software (firmware) is replaceable, it means that it can be copied at no cost, modified, used on other hardware, etc.. It is a fine line, but I can see some difference.

The thing is, "functionality to replace the firmware" is not an unambiguous positive. A firmware that can be replaced is also a firmware that can be bricked, made less useful by a future update, or even subverted entirely by an intruder. So, RMS would like whoever is placing that firmware in there to tell the user the information they need in order to replace it without bricking the device.

It's a point that causes a lot of confusion.

As soon as a piece of software is replaceable, the one who provides you with the software can use its distribution to make you promise to ignore the four software freedoms.

If a piece of software is not replaceable, that point is moot, since the one who provided you with the software has no sway over you regardless. They have no control over you or the device.

Better rephrase that to indicate that they have no more control over you or the device than the non-replaceable firmware allows, this is definitely not the same as "no control". Non-replaceable firmware can ping home, it can be used to monitor users, it can download arbitrary code and run it, it can listen for some trigger to start messing with your data or downright destroy said data, it can start randomly rebooting systems or non-randomly restart all affected systems at a specific time - which may cause brown- or blackouts depending on the power draw and -supply, etcetera.

> presumably he thinks it's OK to pay money to these companies in certain circumstances

When they're behaving in what he considers an ethical manner, or at least offering some ethically designed products, I think so. He's hoping to help catalyze a revolution of sorts regardless, and AFAIK is still waiting for the hypothetical ideal entity to arrive (which probably isn't going to happen any time soon).

I look at Stallman's lifestyle as a form of performance art at this point. It's more than this, for sure, but that's the best way to describe its immediate impact much of the time. However, we will likely be chewing on the thoughts he has brought forth for generations to come.

He is a bitter and unhappy person. Most likely because he sees others making money in the way that they do vs. how he feels the world should operate.

The fact is though many of the modern day benefits we have as a society came as a result of the less than pure pursuit of money and power.

Yep, definitely true (but his points for other firms like google are directly linked above the article, this I would deny that there is a clear bias).

I have no side in this game (no affiliations to either Google or Apple) but this points about Apple are both true and relevant and thus imo no reason to flag. You can still just ignore the topic.

Flagging just kills the discussion and during recent times this often happened to legit but controversial topics (e.g. OpenAI for-profit announcement was heavily flagged and buried as well).

> Many of the points he is specifically isolating for Apple are quite true of most of the big tech firms.

I am an apple fan myself, but this is not true. He isn’t “singling out” apple. Apple is the subject of this article.

Perhaps there should be other posts about other tech companies, perhaps there already are, it doesn’t matter.

The discussion is the ethical behaviour of companies, and This post is specifically about Apple.

How can you see this has been heavily flagged?

I didn’t flag this, but I don’t see why this nonsense derserves special protection. If the flagging mechanism quickly moves trolls like this off the front page I think it’s working.

I consider it responsible Capitalism to not buy products from Apple, AT&T, BP, etc...

Apple has not been pro consumer or pro developer in my lifetime. They do advertise a lot.

In Apple's case you can go back to the time before the logo changed from a rainbow to a chrome shield. The Apple II manuals were a model of readability, clarity, and personable communication. http://www.classiccmp.org/cini/pdf/Apple/Apple%20II%20Refere... The change when the Mac manuals came out was day-to-night.

It’s unclear what you mean by this, or what you are using as the criteria for being a pro consumer.

Their stance on user privacy, especially with iPhone in comparison to android, is certainly a good example of very pro consumer attitudes.

>It’s unclear what you mean by this,

(did you read the article?)

Proprietary connectors, overpriced hardware, high cost barrier to entry, closed ecosystem.

I much prefer lightning to USB, it’s cheap and easy to become a Mac or iOS developer, and also greatly prefer the security of a closed ecosystem.

And when you use your computer 2,000 hours a year the extra cost of Macs per hour of work is trivial and the benefits are great.

>I much prefer lightning to USB

Cool anecodete

>it’s cheap and easy to become a Mac or iOS developer,

Its the most expensive system to develop for. So you literally lied.


Please keep personal attacks off this site.


The case is strong with this one!

A lot of these really only make sense if you have bought into the libre software ideology.

I tried using linux on the desktop but plugging in monitors to my laptop just failed.

Odd, works just fine for me. What laptop and distro?

Sorry, did Stallman started using a live web browser already?

His positions are extremist and I don't know what's gained by divulging them

Huh? I do not believe he is incorrect about this, but you do, so what is he incorrect about exactly?

A lot of the arguments in this list are very one-sided, and seem to ignore things Apple has done that are directly contrary to the point he’s trying to make.

> Apple practices tax avoidance using loopholes and lobbying.

He’s cherry picking things here that really don’t have anything to do specifically with Apple. Amazon paid zero taxes last year and they had more income than nearly any company in the world. Google is also quite famous for the loopholes it finds. I’m not sure it’s fair to single out Apple specifically for this.

>I’m not sure it’s fair to single out Apple specifically for this.

This article was about Apple, go on the top of the page and you can navigate to other companies complains.

I don't know for a fact, but I'd be willing to bet that Richard Stallman doesn't think you should give Amazon your money either.

I believe Stallman is well known for calling Amazon's Kindle the "Swindle". I assume he has some other derogatory name for Google.

This is called whataboutism. This article is not about Amazon or Google. He likely has a similar opinion about those companies. But this is about Apple and the tax avoidance point is valid. (At least according to https://itep.org/fact-sheet-apple-and-tax-avoidance/ )

I see a lot of people defending the page this way, but to me the problem is that a webpage about ‘what’s wrong with Apple’ implies a list of issues specific to Apple. Most of the issues brought up here belong on a ‘what’s wrong with modern tech companies’ page, since they are issues found throughout the industry.

I disagree with the bullets about banning/censoring apps.

There are ways to install and run software on iOS without using the AppStore. If developers share source code, people are free to compile and install it using Xcode. It’s also possible to run Python programs using Pythonista. Finally, programs can be run as JavaScript in Safari.

Apple definitely controls the AppStore. That makes it less convenient to install programs than on GNU/Linux, but the freedom is still there. And maybe the added steps mean the people who choose to run code via Xcode, Pythonista, or JavaScript are more likely to understand the risks of running that code.

Edit: Posted incomplete comment on the first try. Also wanted to add that I look up to Stallman as a role model and advocate for open source & contributing back to open source.

Are you aware of the limitations of the methods you describe? If yes it is very dishonest to not mention them, if not you should get the details right(find out how can you share an iOS native app you made with your friends)

Does Apple prohibit sending them the source code so that they can compile and load it through Xcode?

I realize that requires a MacOS computer, which costs money, but the “free” in free software principles is about the freedom to share the code, not the price of the code. Free software is allowed to be sold.

Increasingly, it is also possible to run Swift code on Linux without Xcode or MacOS (recognizing the GUI would need to be rewritten).

Are you serious? Does Sony prevent me emailing my friends my game source code? They "JUST" need developer system with expensive proprietary software and developer accounts, certificates and agree to a few EULAs and ToSs but I am not prevented to send them source code.

You don’t need to do that on iOS. Xcode is free with $99/year dev account, you can TestFlight builds to all of your friends, up to 10,000 of them.

Is there a 7 or 30 days limit? I found something about this but I am not sure if I am looking in the right places. So if you know this from your experience can you list all the downsides(don't omit anything that won't affect an app that I would send to someone on Windows,Mac, Android or Linux) ?

Any developer can distribute up to 10,000 people for free through TestFlight with very limited app review. If you add your friends to your developer account there is no review at all.

As an example, here is the source code for Firefox on iOS along with build and install instructions.


This list sounds like it was written by someone who wants to use Apple but needs some justifications not to. I only ever needed one reason to not use Apple products unless I was forced to: They're mostly not good products. The parts that are good are completely obstructed by the bad parts.

For instance, macOS is a stable, supported Unix on slick hardware. That's great! But only at the cost of all the core desktop functionality being complete fucking garbage. The global menu is colossally stupid and it sucks, the Window management sucks, the Finder sucks and the Dock sucks. Everybody knows this except for the people who have made their computing hardware and software choices part of their identity.

That last one was also infamous internally for sucking at the time it came out except in one respect: It marketed well. Oh and that slick hardware that you're being forced to buy is probably outdated before it left the store. Also, you were probably steered directly to the most expensive version of that hardware due to the skimpy lineup that you have to choose from and the lack of upgrade-ability.

Same thing with iOS - you get some great stuff like long battery life and stability, but only at the cost of this little thing we call "freedom" to do what the fuck I want without having to ask my Apple parent.

Seriously - Fuck Apple. They've always been a smug bunch of assholes. If you have to use their products (since they have just enough market share to be annoying) - just buy it used from a non-Apple source. Don't give these assholes your money.

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