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I don't see people reacting as harshly if it was someone like Jack Valenti that RMS said some unkind posthumous words about. Steve Jobs did embody the lock down of computing. I'd say Valenti and Jobs belong to the same category of protecting the consumer from perceived evil through benevolent restriction.

I haven't seen anyone claiming Stallman is wrong. Just that he was a jerk about the death of a revered CEO who gets worshiped as a tech prophet. Jobs oversaw some great advances in the consumer computing market. That does not make him immune to criticism and especially not immune to true criticism.


I haven't seen anyone claiming Stallman is wrong.

I claim Stallman is wrong. To the extent that people may have lost freedom along one axis, they gained it along others. And these other axis most people consider far more important.

Everything in life has tradeoffs, and most people recognize that. Stallman doesn't with respect to this one particular axis (a warped view of SW freedom).

A tradeoff we've been accepting since the dawn of civilization, in a way. It's a bit like living in a city as opposed to surviving in the wilderness. Yes, there are laws to abide to and limits to what you can do if you live in a city, but on the flipside you don't have to fear being mauled by a bear. I wish Apple allowed users more freedom with the idevice and iOS itself, but as far as the App Store goes, I'm pretty happy at not having to worry about malware and such crap.

What freedoms are gained from using Apple devices? Freedom to purchase things from Apple's app store? Freedom to install iTunes?

Do you equate freedom with empowerment? I do agree that Apple's devices have empowered people. But freedom and empowerment are not the same thing. You have more freedom to modify and adapt a post-it note than you do an iPhone.

The freedom issue is whether people have control over the machines they invite into their lives. Especially recently, Apple's devices force you into an (arguably exploitative) dependency.

Apple devices give you freedom to not care about your device.

And your distinction between freedom and empowerment is a false one in the real world. Freedom is generally about empowerment. Apple devices give you the power to exercise your freedom -- except along this narrow axis that you and Stallman seem to care so much about.

So why can't they give you freedom to root your own device or sideload your own apps. The 'safe garden' is still there for those who want it, and those who want more could do that of their own accord as well. Apple are unnecessarily restrictive.

I'm really not sure how any freedoms are won or lost by the existence of Apple devices. Buy an Apple device or don't buy an Apple device... who cares?

Except it is not really a tradeoff situation here. There is no reason why you couldn't have freedom in what you put on your computer and freedom from porn and viri (I think that was Job's argument) at the same time.

"Steve Jobs did embody the lock down of computing"?

Really? To a hacker, perhaps, but to most people he made computing accessible, giving them tools that they'd never have had no matter how "open" otherwise.

Computers, MP3 players, and smartphones would still exist without Steve Jobs. Although probably with a cheaper/uglier case, more complicated SW, and less marketing and design-induced love.

I get the feeling without Steve Jobs, devices that allow Stevie Wonder (see the video in my other comment) or my mother to actually use all those things wouldn't be mainstream. He cared about everyone being able use the technology. It isn't the cases that make Apple products great, it is the carefully thought out uses that generate amazings designs.

Stallman's comments remind me a bit of Malcom X's comments regarding JFK's death. The lesson is the same, you're going to anger and alienate a lot of people unless you keep your tone respectful when criticizing a recently deceased beloved public figure.

"Steve Jobs did embody the lock down of computing"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2Tkj8SIHMU at about 4:30 mark

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