FSF: easy targets

The Free Software Foundaion is now asking their drones to go into Apple Retail Stores and book up appointments at the Genius Bars to ask the hapless support staff about Apple’s software policies. This will, of course, have the effect of depriving real customers with real issues of their support. This, the harassment of consumers … Continue reading “FSF: easy targets”

The Free Software Foundaion is now asking their drones to go into Apple Retail Stores and book up appointments at the Genius Bars to ask the hapless support staff about Apple’s software policies.

This will, of course, have the effect of depriving real customers with real issues of their support.

This, the harassment of consumers and retail employees is what they call their “Apple Challenge“. Everyone should say thanks to the FSF for attempting to make your day that little bit more annoying.

It could be worse. You could be forced to use Linux or Windows all day.

They’re more concerned with the headline-producing iPhone (which has a 10% market share in Smartphones and about 1% of all mobile phones) rather than looking at some of the real potential bugbears out there. Google. Yahoo. Microsoft. Amazon. Facebook.

Some of their suggestions are just stupid.

Why do all developers have to submit their applications to Apple before they can be loaded onto an iPhone?

Two reasons. The first ain’t working too well but it’s the concept of quality control. Even so a load of crap apps have appeared on the AppStore but there’s also the burden of trust. They might want to make sure that no-one sneaks VoIP features into an app which might permit free telephone calls over the 3G network – something which goes against the T&C with AT&T. They might want to ensure that there’s no malware in there (because, guess what, all software developers are not kindly beareded benefactors).

Jobs is the largest individual shareholder at Disney, and he could insist that its films be DRM-free.

Largest individual shareholder does not mean that he has absolute control over the board. Apple sells DRM-free content but they charge more for the privilege. If you don’t like it, buy DRM-free content from Amazon or whomever. We also have to recall the complete failure of the FSF in the DeCSS case and the fact that they have ignored Microsoft, Rhapsody, Napster back in the day – why? Because there was no headline to grab.

Why doesn’t Jobs like Ogg Vorbis/Theora or FLAC? Possibly because Apple’s own video and audio development people believe they have engineered better file formats using open licensable codecs. And when the important decisions were being made, Ogg wasn’t around.

How can users be sure that the GPS cannot be used to track their position, without their permission?

Our society is actually built upon trust. We trust that our policemen will catch the bad guys. We trust our politicians not to force us into unnecessary conflicts or to place themselves in positions where they benefit to our cost. Some people deserve our trust, some don’t. When a corporation I trust says that it will not track me when I switch off their software, then I believe them. When an organisation devoted to software Freedom spends it’s time chasing headlines in contradiction of the facts, then my trust of that organisation fails.

In the United States, the Register of Copyrights has ruled that consumers have the right to unlock their phones and switch to a different carrier. How does Apple plan to remedy this discrepancy?

Back in the day, innovators were permitted to protect their inventions using patents. Writers had copyright. Traders used trade marks. These days patents in software are seen as evil and any protection of innovation is seen as a restriction of the narrow freedoms permitted by the Free Software Foundation. The problem I have with patents, copyrights, trademarks etc is entirely to do with their duration. Having a copyright extend beyond a writers years is fine – but moves to make it several generations is in extremis.

The Register of Copyrights does allow end users to unlock their phones in the U.S. It provided a DMCA exemption specifically for this. However, it did not protect the creation and distribution of tools for this purpose. An end user is free to unlock their own phone just the same way that you’re free to dismantle your car. But if you break it, it’s your own fault.

You know what you’re buying when you buy it. It’s a working phone, with new innovations appearing, with fabulous performance, great software and, you know what, it makes telephone calls too. But it’s not an open source device. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Buy a FreeRunner. I hear it can do texts AND make calls now.

0 thoughts on “FSF: easy targets”

  1. I’m Matt Lee, campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation.

    We have asked people to go to Apple stores and show Apple’s staff their opposition to Apple’s DRM. Describing this with terms such as “denial of service” and “disruption” is untrue.

    When people go one by one to a store and tell the staff what they think, that’s not an attack. When Apple implements DRM, when Apple deactivates unlocked iPhones, that’s an attack.

    “Voting with your feet” means individually rejecting DRM. Of course you should do that, but acting collectively is stronger than acting individually. The movie companies organize, the record companies organize, and a large company such as Apple is lots of people who are organized to achieve an aim which in this case is unjust.

    To overcome them, we must organize too. It would be a shame if DRM prevails because we artificially limited ourselves to individual action in response to a well-planned attack on our freedom.

    So if you recognize DRM as a threat to your freedom, please participate in this and other protests. If even 5 protestors visit a store in a day, the protest will be a success there, but we cannot take that much participation for granted.

  2. I didn’t actually use the term ‘Denial of Service’ but this is exactly what it is. Shame on you and whomever concocted this hairbrained scheme.

    The general public hasn’t heard of the FSF. Now they will, and in exactly the wrong tone. Instead of thinking that you’re freeing them from the shackles of an oppressor, they’ll hate you for it.

    Utter stupidity.

  3. Hey Matt, you’re full of it. You were encouraging people to book MULTIPLE Genius Bar appointments. And what exactly will this accomplish, hm? Geniuses have zero control over policy, and when Grandma can’t get her laptop fixed because some neckbeard is at the Genius bar asking questions that the AVERAGE CONSUMER DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT, what do you think is going to happen? The FSF loses even more standing in the public eye. You don’t like Apple’s DRM? I have a perfect solution: DON’T BUY THEIR PRODUCTS! It’s that simple! You talk about fighting DRM, but it’s obvious that you’re pretty clueless about how the real world works, because this will have zero impact. You think Jobs will cave or even care about this kind of “pressure”? You’re utterly clueless.

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