Apple's User Control Device

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ajbrehm, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

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    #1
    When the iPhone SDK was released and the world found out the terms under which a user was allowed to run applications on _his_ phone, Apple told us that the restrictions were necessary to avoid malware to run on the phone.

    That made some sense, I suppose.

    Then the iPod Touch employed the same mechanism because it was essentially the same device. Point taken.

    But what's the excuse for locking down the iPad? Why the heck does Apple sell a device that users cannot themselves control. Why the distrust? Why are Apple customers second-class human beings who cannot be trusted with property rights?

    I am a stupid Mac customer and happily buy anything Steve Jobs tells me to buy. Over the last 10 years I have bought:

    Power Mac G4/450 DP
    iBook G3/600
    iMac G5/1.6
    iMac Core 2/2.16
    MacBook Core 2/2.0
    iPhone (original)
    Mac Pro Octocore/2.26

    (Add the odd iPod Shuffle.)

    But now I am done.

    What happened to Mac fans? When ten years ago it looked as Microsoft were trying to control users, there was an outrage among Mac users and we were glad that Apple gave us the freedom that Windows users (allegedly) wouldn't have.

    And now we are willing to take THIS? We are actually willing to buy a computer than can only run software sold by/via Apple and which we cannot use in whatever way we want?

    If everyone who wants an iPad would simply refrain from buying one for three months, Apple would have to give in and allow us to use the device for whatever purpose we want, INCLUDING the purposes Apple wants to allow and which I am sure many of the more different-thinking Mac fans will claim are enough.

    I will do this. I won't buy an iPad until Apple give in and remove the restrictions. I know the majority of different-thinking Mac users will not join me. But if the world ends up with computers controlled not by their owners but by Apple or other corporations, I don't want to be among those who most enthusiastically supported the path towards such a brave new world.

    If Apple think they cannot trust their users with property rights, I think Apple users shouldn't trust Apple with their money.

    If Apple continue down this path, my next big computer will be a Xeon-based Sun workstations. And Apple will be delegated to supplying perhaps a Mac mini or a laptop.

    Dissappointed,
     
  2. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #2
    See the thread on Old World vs New World Computing.

    This is a device aimed at the masses. It must work at all times. Give users too much control and those that "think" they are computer geniuses will break and destabilise it then blame Apple for it "sucking".

    This is not a geek power toy, it is a lifestyle device.

    Edit:
    I should qualify that by saying that it is a lifestyle device by intent but will, no doubt, extend into the geek power toy market once all us geeks get our heads out of our arses, buy one, and start seeing just what can be done with what is a fairly open canvas.
     
  3. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    It is also a user control device.

    If the GUI was locked down but a command line was available freely, via SSH and a terminal application that the user has to compile himself, I would agree that the lock-down is useful for keeping non-geeks away.

    But there are very few people who "think" they are computer geniuses AND can compile their own applications.

    That's the point. It is NOT a fairly open canvas. It's a canvas that is already painted on and that we can buy but not use except with paints sold to use by the canvas maker whenever he feels like it.

    You want to draw a red duck? You can't. And many fans of our canvas maker will tell you that green ducks are sufficient for all your needs.
     
  4. master-ceo macrumors 65816

    master-ceo

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    #4
    :lol:


    They are a dying breed. Getting older and lazier.
    New Jack (let me do it for you) Computing is taking over.
     
  5. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Yes, I think you are probably right.

    Over are the times when any user could become a developer. Now we have a strict border between users, too stupid to be allowed to do anything with their computers that Apple doesn't approve of, and the developers, registered with Apple and also not trusted to do what they want with their computers.
     
  6. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I'm confused. If you are a geek, and sound as though you are interested in development, then why don't you sign up for the developer program and get to "painting". That is what I meant by open canvas.

    ..or by "compiling applications" did you just mean knowing how to type ./configure, make, make install on someone else's code into a terminal? If that's it then perhaps you fall into the "thinks" they are a computer genius after all...

    By the way I mean no offence by the above comment, just to be clear.
     
  7. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Look at these past threads at MacRumors when vendor-controlled users were still seen as unhappy creatures;

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=90082&page=2

    The Passport system has become pretty much a failure for it's ambitions for the same reasons Paladium made a great splash with the public. Too much info held by a company people feel subconciously have too much control over their computing experience.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=27112

    I curious in M$'s future plans with Longhorn and Paladium. I would like to know, or find relevant websites so I can write an expoze on Windows V. Mac OS for my school paper. I would like to show where they've been, and where they are going. I especally interested it the "security" "features" that M$ is adding to Windows over the next 3-5 years, and Mac OS's Future.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=27437

    I have also flirted with the idea of switching to mac. But also ended upgraded to windows based pc.

    But i read this article which scared the hell out of me

    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html

    Is microsoft trying to take over the world

    I thought i already signed all my rights away with window XP, and other microsoft products.

    If this article is right, Microsoft is not satisfied with my rights, they want my soul. Anyway read George Orwell "1984"

    Not to knowledgable about this stuff, but if this article is true, there is now way i am giving microsoft, that much power. I think me and other users to move to apple


    And note this clever answer:

    Don't confuse Apple with the counterculture. I'm that if Jobs had the opportunity to implement such a thing, he would do so in a heartbeat.

    And this is what the discussion was about:

    The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) is an alliance of Microsoft, Intel, IBM, HP and AMD which promotes a standard for a `more secure' PC. Their definition of `security' is controversial; machines built according to their specification will be more trustworthy from the point of view of software vendors and the content industry, but will be less trustworthy from the point of view of their owners. In effect, the TCG specification will transfer the ultimate control of your PC from you to whoever wrote the software it happens to be running.

    So the question remains; do we, Mac users, still dislike "Trusted Computing" and the loss of control over our computers, or do we dislike it when Microsoft does it but dismiss it as acceptable (or even a good thing) when his Jobsness does it?
     
  8. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Ok I'm confused again. Are we discussing the "closed" nature of the iPhone OS or DRM?
     
  9. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I am in the developer program and have already written iPhone apps for my own use (but useless for other people and not very polished either, hence not in the store).

    So I can use the canvas to paint a green duck, if you will. But I cannot paint the red duck, i.e. make the iPhone/iPad do what I want.

    I want an SSH server to run on my iPhone/iPad and I want a VNC server. This is currently not possible without breaking into the device.

    For a mobile phone, it is acceptable. For the iPad it is not.



    So what? I should be allowed to make my own mistakes with my own property. It's a sub-1000 buck computer, not a car or anything that can hurt other people.

    Anyone who even knows what a compiler is and that ./configure has something to do with it (assuming one uses make) is competent enough to know that they can mess up their computer with that. They should be allowed to do it.


    I am certainly no code wizard but probably competent enough to be annoyed by artificial limits imposed on my property.

    http://leaukiprog.blogspot.com/

    http://web.mac.com/ajbrehm/Home/Software.html

    For example, I want to be able to install Mono (Novell's implementation of the Microsoft .NET framework) on the iPad and I want Novell to be able to port Mono to the iPad.

    Apple's current restrictions make that impossible. (Yes I know about MonoTouch. But MonoTouch is a linker and compiler that creates native ARM binaries from C# code. I want to run actual .NET code like I can on open-to-the-computer-owner systems like Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.)
     
  10. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I thought it was clear that we are discussing digital restriction management as present on the iPhone and iPad.

    Where does the "or" come in? There is no choice between DRM and the iPhone/iPad. There is only the iPhone/iPad with DRM.

    Programs that run on the iPhone or iPad have to be digitally signed and approved by Apple. That is DRM.
     
  11. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #11
    So let me get this straight. You are saying that quality control on a device targeted at the mass market is somehow an affront to that market?

    I suppose my point is that maybe the iPad is not for you. Perhaps something like the Modbook is more for you?
     
  12. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    If you want to get this straight, why don't you ask me to confirm whether I really said the words I said.

    I certainly didn't say anything about "quality control". Nice choice of words though... DRM "Digital Rights Management" is apparently not something people want to hear any more, hence it becomes "quality control".

    You should be in marketing.

    And yes, DRM was and remains an affront to the market.

    (Quality control is not. But renaming DRM to "quality control" is not enough. Apple should replace DRM with quality control. Then perhaps iWeb would finally work with right-to-left languages.)

    Yes, that was my point too.

    But my point was also that DRM is ultimately bad for everyone.

    And if everyone boycotted the iPad just for three months, Apple would likely give in to avoid a publicity disaster and then the non-geeks would get their iPad they can use in controlled circumstances (because Apple would not have to remove the DRM, just make it optional) and the geeks would get the iPad they can control themselves. Everyone would be happy.

    But many people will likely decide that sitting on their butt for three months for the sake of a better world for everyone and more happiness for others is not worth it.
     
  13. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    My bicycle is a lifestyle device and not a geek power toy.

    But I can still do with it whatever I want.

    There is no definition of "lifestyle device" that strictly demands that the lifestyle it enables must be controlled by somebody else.
     
  14. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Car.
     
  15. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #15
    I don't think most people consider this a "computer".

    I think they consider this a "device", like they do their TiVo, Kindle, Magellan GPS, [Nintendo DS, Play Station Portable] none of which are really "open platforms" like their "computers" are, even though the hardware and OS for all of those devices is capable of doing more than it ships with.
     
  16. bossxii macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I think we both know the above statement for you maybe true, as you want to create programs for yourself. Then their are 100's that will be creating malicious code to crash/disable the platform just because they can. I'll be the first to admit I hate DRM and it's restriction to keep me from using say a movie on any device I wish, or using it with whatever hardware I wish. That however doesn't change the fact that I would be just as likely to install an app that looked harmless and have my iPhone/iPad infected, locked down and disabled because Apple all the sudden gave every developer with $299 complete access to it's OS.

    Just as the Nexus One had the "bank hacking/info gathering app" up and downloading to unsuspecting users within 72 hours of launch. Lucky for Google they caught it, given the sheer number of apps sent to Apple there is no way they could police and keep the public from this type of malicious attack without seriously bogging down the already slow process of app approval. The general public has proven to Apple it cannot open the door to this type of "open" standard. Good, bad or otherwise the hacker community wanting open source everything is the very same community that has companies locking down their devices to protect the general population having zero clue as to how this all works.
     
  17. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Then use the DRM-"protected" version of the device. What's the big deal?

    I am not saying that allowing only Apple-verified programs access to locked devices is a bad idea. But I am saying that it should be up to the owner of the device to decide whether he wants to participate in the spiel.

    So you are saying that Apple's DRM doesn't work anyway because they cannot find malware in the store anyway?


    Who exactly is that community who want to open source everything and is responsible for having companies locking down their devices???

    If that were true, why would Apple sell a BSD-based OS at all? Do you really think the developers of BSD are not only potential criminals but also the reason that Apple locks down the device?

    No, the reason Apple locks down the device has to do with power. If it was about protecting the user, the lockdown could be optional.

    Do you really think people who know how to configure shhd are more likely to get malware on their computer than those that don't?
     
  18. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Thanks bossxii for saying in 2 paragraphs what I have been trying to get at from the start.
     
  19. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Get a different car.

    Most cars can be used in whatever way the owner chooses.
     
  20. WytRaven macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Ireland has no road rules? Remind me never to go there.
     
  21. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #21
    This debate is as old as the iPhone is, at this point. The locked down nature provides a guarantee of security, which is nice. It will, more or less, just work, which is what most people want. I'm definitely in the prosumer/geek category, but I spend so much time WORKING on computers at work, for family, whatever, that when I go home I just want my systems to work. It's the primary reason I am a Mac user. The iPad (and iPhone and touch) is taking that to another level.

    I agree, though, that Apple should allow for more access to the device. They should continue to give away the SDK, but also provide a free way to compile unsigned binaries. They should let people drag those unsigned binaries into iTunes and install them on their iPhone/Pod/Pad's. They should require that you "unlock" the device in a settings menu, first however, and also prompt you every time you install an unsigned app that what you are doing is potentially dangerous and that you should be sure you trust the source of the application.

    This would open up some doors for piracy, but there are methods they could use to minimize that, and even so it would be no more pirate friendly than OSX already is; less so because of the relative ease and instant availability of apps for the iDevices.

    This would be the ideal compromise, in my opinion. It seem unlikely that Apple will do this however, as they have little or no reason to. Unless an outside entity forces their hand - anti-competition laws, or a very successful newcomer to the market would be the most likely scenarios that would push Apple to do something like that.

    All of that said, as a code writing, computer fixing, database administrating, IT professional - I still want once. It's a functional device that I feel confident will just work without me having to fight with it.
     
  22. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Doesn't matter if they consider it a washing machine. It should still allow its owner to do what they like with it.

    The TiVo, at least the original version, is very open. It was a common subject in the PowerPC Linux community back then. (I was still using PowerPC Linux at the time.)

    The Linux source code for TiVo can be found here:

    http://www.tivo.com/linux/index.html

    The Kindle probably suffers from the same problems as the iPad. I don't know the Magellan GPS but would claim that it falls into the same scheme as the iPhone: too dangerous to allow malware.

    The Nintendo DS is very open and I have an SD card with Linux for mine. No "jailbreaking" needed to get Linux to run and most of the built-in hardware, including wireless network, works.

    The PlayStation 3 (like the PlayStation 2 before it and until the Slim model) specifically supports the installation of Linux, blessed by Sony. Sony even sells the parts with a Linux distribution. I even thought about getting one. The DRM applies only to the use of the machine as a game console, not to using it for something else.

    I have a Wii. It can run Linux. Nintendo are aware of this and warn that a Wii system update might break the Linux boot loader AND give instructions on how to fix the loader.

    If you think that the iPad ought to fall into that category (and remember that I am fine with strict DRM on phones and navigation appliances), we are in agreement.

    But the problem is the iPad clearly doesn't fall into this category.

    If Apple sold the iPad with the same closedness, if you will, as the Nintendo DS or PlayStation 3 are sold, I'd buy one immediately.

    The Nintendo DS and PS3 allow the user to

    1. play games within the DRM framework
    2. ignore the DRM and run their own software if they please
    3. not be bothered by the vendor for doing so (Nintendo)
    4. be supported by the vendor while doing so (Sony)

    Even Microsoft allow Xbox owners a way to use the Xbox for whatever they want: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_XNA

    If Apple did any of these things, preferably follow in Sony's footsteps, I'd be happy with the iPad.
     
  23. ajbrehm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Exactly. That would be doable and it would satisfy two of the three groups, those who want to do what they want with their property, those who don't, but not those who don't want anybody to do what they want with their property. But frankly, I don't like the third group. The second group are fine.



    My sentiments exactly.

    But a three-month boycott could do it. Jobs doesn't want the iPad to look like a marketing disaster. I am sure he'd rather give people some control over their property than lose his image of eternal hero of tech marketing.

    I want one too. But if I can do something for a better world and for myself simply by not spending 500 bucks, I'll do it.

    It is rare that there is an opportunity to do the right thing that not only doesn't require much work or money but even saves me a bundle.
     
  24. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #24
    A boycott of any length would be useless. You have to realize that the vast, vast majority of people are in your second group. They just don't care about such things. Even if everyone who wanted to be able to install arbitrary code refused to buy the iPad it would put sales off by, what, maybe 5 or 10%... less likely. It's a useless gesture, imo. The most effective thing to do would be create apps which Apple refuses to put into the App Store and then get as much press for that as possible, and maybe try to turn some of your group 2 users to group 1 users.
     
  25. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #25
    I don't necessarily disagree.

    You stated "We are actually willing to buy a computer than can only run software sold by/via Apple and which we cannot use in whatever way we want?".

    My point was simply that I think the average person isn't going to consider the iPad to be a "computer" as much as they'd consider it to be a "device". And the market is full of successful locked-down/controlled "devices", so yes, I'd say that people are "actually willing" to buy the iPad in its current condition. That's all.
     

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