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Honestly, I don't really care about how good Apple products are or how innovative are. I don't use them, I don't hate them either. It's just not for me. My beef with apple is how they felt entitled to control the devices that apple made but consumers own, making them unhackable.

When I buy something, I own it, period. I should be able to reverse engineer anything on the market, because I obtained the copy.

I don't give a damn about how much Apple have in its bank. Google is fucking rich too. But, if Apple win the mobile war, we are screwed as far as freedom and ownership is concerned.

I very much respect Steve Job for his ability to build a company and innovate, but it doesn't mean that he get to choose the models that damage our freedom in the long run.

I don't really care about how inferior Android is to the Iphone. I use it, and if necessary, I can extend it without permission from Google.

We are hackers. What is it that we do? We hack things and make it better. Apple doesn't want us to modify the phone that we own and make it better. Excuse me?

Does it not concern you that Apple exhibit control freak behaviors regarding iphone? What if it dominate the market and crush all competitors? This is the kind of level that you don't even see in microsoft regarding window operating system.

If android dominate and crush iphone and apple tomorrow, that is fine with me. Somebody can alway polish their own android version and make it like the magical apple products that I hear so much about.

Steve Job was not a hacker.




It's interesting how people attack Apple by championing the freedom to make things, and then continue to attack Apple for the way they make things.

Speaking very broadly, Apple aren't hackers, they're artists. Michaelangelo's intention wasn't to let the Pope knock himself out altering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

And if you really do want to alter an iPhone--well, you can. It's not designed to be easy, but there's no real legal or physical barrier to you doing so. To most cell phone users, Android's openness doesn't mean they have freedom to change the software on their phones--their carriers lock it down for them. It only means that they get a shittier phone, thanks to those very same carriers and their ability to bundle crapware.


Heres to hoping someday we will see mobile phones that are as open as PCs. I await the day when I can legally run emacs and python on my cell phone.


Somebody can alway polish their own android version and make it like the magical apple products that I hear so much about.

I hate the 'apple makes most of the profits' line that gets talked about all the time (even though true), but if what you say is really so easy then why hasn't someone or some company done it?

Things is, it's not easy. This is where techies (myself included) often miss there is something beyond a feature list. How those features are combined into a package becomes more like art than another math problem to solve. And like art, it is very hard to create, but easy to notice when it is done right. From what I have seen to date, Apple gets the art part right much more often than the Android phones.


Art? You mean to compare iPhones and other manufactured consumer gadgets with art masterpieces like Mona Lisa or Mahler's 5th?


Put words in my mouth? Nowhere did I say an iPhone was a masterpiece nor did I say it was comparable to the Mona Lisa (well maybe, its mystique is better than the actual piece) or Mahlers 5th.

But yes, manufactured consumer gadgets can have artistic qualities.


He didn't make that comparison, but even if he did that would be totally irrelevant because the value of what is art changes with person to person, and you've already lost if you try to debate against what someone values as art.


> irrelevant because the value of what is art changes with person to person

Well, this means there is no discussion possible about art.

This is a kind of relativism. Other kind of relativism include moral relativism ("What is good or bad changes with person to person"), and cognitive relativism ("Truth changes with person to person").

Sorry to tell you this, but relativism is sometime dangerous (eg. one could say that, for some people, it is considered "good" to rape old ladies), and often just wrong (you'd have hard time to find someone who would honestly declare that Bach's music or Chinese landscape paintings is really not art).

Apple's products have many impressing qualities, they are beautifully designed, engage their owners a lot, etc. Art do not need to come into the picture.


Actually, absolute truth is just as dangerous (and perhaps even more dangerous) as (non-extreme) relativism. Someone with a relativistic view isn't necessarily passive either, they just try to be more observant, understanding, and compassionate. I never liked how some philosophers force upon people a specific way of thinking if they claim to be have a general belief system.

Someone might consider it good to rape old ladies, and that is their honest belief, doesn't mean I can't call them out on it and try to make them 'believe' otherwise.

I never said that Bach's music isn't art, I just said that Apple's products can be viewed to be art just as much as a painting can be. You can argue if it is as pure, and what value it has in the artistic world but you can't argue if it is or isn't art. Art's way too vague for that kind of stuff.

In my mind, technology is a very powerful side-effect of art, and therefore it can be viewed as art just as much as a painting it.

My other point I was making is that if someone doesn't wish to discuss their values of art, than you've already lost the discussion because anything you say will be taken with a grain of salt. 99% of the discussions that go on in the world aren't of this case, but sometimes they are and I was just saying that we have to be mindful of those cases.


Be careful about generalizing "Android".

The latest open source version of Android was released in December 2010.

Many Android phones cannot be rooted without exploits.


Off topic but too tempting: It is safe to generalize that Android (why the quotes?) is open.

There is continual activity on the Android source tree with updates for most versions of the platform well after December last year. The well publicised exclusion is Honeycomb and we can only speculate why Google kept that one to themselves (incomplete/Kindle Fire depending on your Android hate level).

Even if you insist that Android is not open in the most complete sense, you have to agree it is MORE open than iOS which makes it more appealing to some people.


Forgive me if this is an unfair line of argument, but I've read a number of articles this month about how quickly Android phones become ineligible for an OS upgrade, because so many Android phones mean carriers can push the latest OS only to their most recent phones. Compare that to the closed system of iOS, where only one brand of phone uses the system, yet the 2.5-year-old 3Gs just got the upgrade to iOS 5.

Android is certainly more open than iOS in many aspects, yet that openness does not always lead to freedom for its users.


I will hazard a guess that anyone who cares about the freedoms we are discussing is capable of rooting and installing a custom ROM or researching a purchase to ensure they get a device that is free to do what they want.

Of course, these same users would also be able to jailbreak an iPhone, but does that lock you out of the Apple loop (i.e. App store, Siri, iCloud)? I honestly don't know so that is not a rhetorical question.

Bringing this in a full circle and back to topic, I'm sure Steve Jobs pushy attitude is one of the reasons (perhaps the only reason) iPhone's aren't tainted with carrier garbage and upgrade(less) shenanigans. Just because it worked for him doesn't mean it will work for you.


Jailbreaking doesn't disable other aspects of the iPhone, it strictly enhances, as far as I've been able to tell.


You can jailbreak iphones... Apple won't sue you. Sure their updates might break that jailbreak, but they aren't forcing you to update. They won't sue you for jailbreaking, but they don't have to help you do it either.


In any case, Apple is more hostile to hackers and developers than any other platform I seen in the mobile world.


You haven't been in mobile long then.


Spot on.

There was barely an indie developer scene for mobile before the iphone.


I had worked for a company that spent 1 million dollars to make a J2ME game. It never even came out.


Ooh. Is this a story you can tell? I'd like to hear more about this.


Not much to tell. The cost was because of testing, but by the time the app actually ran, the band wasn't interested anymore and people's interest in handset games was waning.


How did testing end up costing a million dollars? Forgive my naiveté.


Testing and development cost so much because it had to work on 60 phone models and in most cases required rewrites and compiles from device to device.

This is also the reason most efforts on "artist apps" are for iOS. Fragmentation hurts!


What about Sony? Didn't Apple at least hire that iPhone hacker? http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/26/apple-hires-iphone-hacker-n...


> But, if Apple win the mobile war, we are screwed as far as freedom and ownership is concerned.

Sentences like this are why the phrase "mobile war" should be taken away from all of us and placed on the high shelf next to the cookie jar. "Mobile war" is an exciting idea – much more exciting than "competitive mobile marketplace" – and so we like to think in these terms despite how misleading they are.

There is no mobile war. Apple is not out to extinguish Android. Google's not out to extinguish the iPhone. We're talking about a market of how many people, half a billion?, a billion?, billions?, and that many people means that everybody's going to want something different.

Me? I love my iPhone 4. I'm not a code hacker, see. My iPhone is the tool I use to hack the world around me. It gives me a camera (photo/HD video) that I can whip out at any moment. It lets me access my bank on the fly. It's got all the cutting-edge casual games I'm researching as part of my study on games. It lets me write on the fly (poetry, thoughts, essays) and have my writing waiting on my computer when I get back. It's an ambient music generator and a PDF reader that plays public radio and Pandora and, with the new GarageBand, is also my ideal recording device, since I prefer convenience of location to anything else. Now I can put a microphone in a backpack and walk to a park with some friends and record tracks with incredible ease. That, to me, is a hack.

I'm pretty much a huge Apple fan, but I understand people who aren't. Which is why I find lines like

> If android dominate and crush iphone and apple tomorrow, that is fine with me. Somebody can alway polish their own android version and make it like the magical apple products that I hear so much about.

disquieting. You have your Android phone! Why must you wish misfortune on my choice? I know far more Android fans who wish for Apple's demise than I know Apple fans who want Google to go under. Choice is good! And part of that choice is choosing what the focus of your "hacks" are. For me it's not computers, so I can benefit from a closed computer. For you it is computers, and we have open source.

The other disquieting thing about your comment, to me, is that you think Apple's "magic" is simply a matter of polish. As if you just wipe it with a rag for a few months and suddenly it gleams. This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of UI/UX design. Achieving the level of elegance that Apple products frequently (not always) possess requires tremendous focus and talent. What's more, Apple's product polish doesn't just extend to their own software: they have a great history of encouraging top-notch developers to design for them. My favorite applications aren't Apple's apps; things like Notational Velocity, Coda, Sparrow, and Reeder have all made my life significantly simpler, and it's no coincidence that they were all designed by Mac-users for a Mac environment. Which is why even though Microsoft's new mobile OS is itself elegant and beautiful, I still much prefer the iPhone to Windows. It's where all the apps are. Not because Apple was the first to launch an App Store (though that helps), but because Apple encourages the perfectionism and user focus that makes its top applications great.

We can argue the semantics of what counts as hacker within your personal taxonomy all day, but that's useless. Jobs did great things that benefitted a lot of people, myself included.


If you believe the history of mobile phone is like the history of the desktop, then of course, it's a war. It does not matter if there's a half a billion, a billion. At some point, it become a zero sum game.

The choices we have will at some point stop being choices. They will stop to exists and whatever platform wins, get to dictate what rules are we going to play by.

The other disquieting thing about your comment, to me, is that you think Apple's "magic" is simply a matter of polish. As if you just wipe it with a rag for a few months and suddenly it gleams. This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of UI/UX design. Achieving the level of elegance that Apple products frequently (not always) possess requires tremendous focus and talent.

It doesn't mean that you have to dictate, control, censor what apps are allowed in your store, make developers sell their soul to you, and so on. You do not have to be a control freak.


> If you believe the history of mobile phone is like the history of the desktop, then of course, it's a war.

If you believe the history of the mobile phone is like the history of the desktop, then you're a poor student of history. At the very least, saying that the two are the same is far enough from a given that evidence of that situation should be provided.

Also, tip for arguing - the hyperbole of phrases like "make developers sell your soul to you" makes your argument hard to take seriously.


> You have your Android phone! Why must you wish misfortune on my choice?

Because people like this are hypocrites… they want to take your choice away, and scream and fight and claw madly if they don't get their choice.

Mentally, these people are still children. They look at everything (e.g. alll of business) as it if it is a zero-sum game. They take everything personally.

It's hard not to be offended when you think a phone OS is tied intimately to who you are. Sad, but true.


Your are saying grand parent is mentally a children, I don't how this is perceived in your culture, in mine it is not acceptable.


Its childish to label other people as children unless they happen to be children.


In that case it's bad to call someone childish because some of the best features of humans are only apparent for most people when they are children and not adults, but that isn't the point of what was said.

The point was that it is short-sighted of someone to say it would be evil if (say) Apple won the mobile war, but would be good if Google won the mobile war. Competition is a win-win situation for consumers, and a lack of competition only encourages stagnancy, which is one of the greatest evils of the creative world.


Most people in this world are not hackers. Apple is not going to make a product just to cater to a tiny % of the people. Also there are Apps.

No one is forcing anyone to buy any phone. If you want to invent your own smart phone then you are free to do so.


10-15 years ago, a true monopoly was in control of PCs: Microsoft. I couldn't use Linux or Mac at work. I had to use Windows to share documents because I couldn't get onto the network shares to access them. I couldn't access the internet because my ISP required Windows only software to get online.

Microsoft had 'won' and we all lost our freedom to use software that doesn't suck.

Luckily, this was a temporary state. I promise you, if Apple 'wins' the mobile war, their victory will not affect you for long.

Further more, if Android 'wins', we're much more screwed. I've already lived in a world of feature phones controlled by the carriers. I did not like it one bit and I had far less freedom than I do now with my iPhone.


Well, my Android phone and most of the ones I see around are not feature phones, and are not controlled by carriers. Maybe we live in different worlds?


Really? Why should you be able to reverse engineer Apple products? What makes you think you're entitled to the source of this company's products?

None of us should feel entitled to be able to hack and reverse engineer anything! If a cdeveloper or company is nice enough to open source something then that's awesome! If you don't like proprietary software then don't buy it. If you want to hack something, make it from scratch or find an open source base for it.

If I run a software company and I'm making something folks really enjoy and get a lot of use from then I'm entitled to charge for it! They're paying me because I did the hard work to develop a tool they find useful and don't have the time, energy, and often times skill to make themselves. If I let anyone reverse engineer it and see the source then someone like you will go ahead and clone it and now my product is worthless. If I lock my customers into a particular toolset and software environment, the reason is twofold. I want to make some money! And that lock in provides a better experience for my customers. I'm not hiding it and no one is forced to buy my products. But they do because it's the best option for their needs.

Open source is great, free software is almost like a cult. What's so bad about making a profit? Why should programmers give away source free but CocaCola is free to keep their secret recipe?do programmers lack the need for food, shelter, and the money to acquire those things?

And the only war in mobile is between companies. There's also this silly war of ideas between the "open" Android platform and iOS. But the real winner is the consumer. There will always be competition. iOS cannot get 100% market share. So consumers have a choice. If the current choices don't suit certain people who want more "freedom" then you're free to start your own mobile platform and build a business around it. And when that happens I wonder if your current attitude toward wanting everything free will still hold. The only freedom afforded by the FOSS movement is the freedom to work your ass off on a piece of software and subsequently starve for lack of income. The FOSS belief that ALL software should free and open source makes it an extremist view. There is a place for both free and proprietary technology in our world. Most of us have to eat and we don't own a farm to grow our own.

I'm reminded of the naive thinking of a teenager whenever I hear rhetoric like this. This ain't no hippie commune.


> None of us should feel entitled to be able to hack and reverse engineer anything!

Yes we should be.

> I'm reminded of the naive thinking of a teenager whenever I hear rhetoric like this. This ain't no hippie commune.

This isn't a get rich quick commune either.

Alternative viewpoints can and do exist on a community this large, neither you nor the OP speak for all of us.


This isn't a get rich quick commune either. Alternative viewpoints can and do exist on a community this large, neither you nor the OP speak for all of us.

That's the thing. I wasn't against profit at all. We all know that Google is doing android to protecting its bottom line. That doesn't bother me in the slightest.




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