Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Aug 2009 22:23 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source When Windows Vista was launched, the Free Software Foundation started its BadVista campaign, which was aimed at informing users about what the FSF considered user-restrictive features in Vista. Luckily for the FSF, Vista didn't really need a bad-mouthing campaign to fail. Now that Windows 7 is receiving a lot of positive press, the FSF dusted off the BadVista drum, and gave it a fresh coat of paint.
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RE[7]: Why?
by JeffS on Thu 27th Aug 2009 22:30 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Why?"
Member since:

"Which restrictions are you talking about? The inability to see the source? Do you get upset when you buy a can of Coke and are unable to see the recipe on the can?"

I'll give you a perfect, real life example:

When I bought my iPod, I wanted to get a bunch of the songs off my very extensive CD collection onto my new iPod. So I spent a bunch of time, I mean, a lot of time, ripping many of my CDs to HD, and then importing into iTune, then syncing to my iPod. Fine and dandy.

Later on, however, that machine (on which I had ripped the CDs) had it's CPU burn out.

So I replaced the computer with my current Dell Inspiron (with Vista and Ubuntu).

But I had spent all that time ripping my CDs onto HD, and wanted those songs on my new machine, without having to spend all that time ripping again.

No worries - those songs were on my iPod. Just hook up my iPod, and download the songs onto the new HD. The songs are, after all, just files, being stored on what is essentially a USB storage device.

Bzzzzzzt!!! Nope. Apple put in restrictions on doing that. The files on the iPod are encrypted, and locked in, and don't allow downloading from the iPod onto another machine that is not the original machine from which the songs were originally uploaded.

But, goddammit, they're my songs, from my legally purchased CD collection. I just wanted to save the hassle of having to rip all those CDs again.

But nope, Apple doesn't give a rats ass about customer convenience. They want you to be locked into one machine, and into their hardware, and their file format.

Yes,yes, I know I could've just ghosted the old HD (which is an expense and inconvenience unto itself). Yes, yes, I know I could have bought third party software that unlocks the encrypted files and allows you to download from the iPod (another expense).

The point is, I should not have had to do that sh!t. Again, they're my songs from my CD collection, loaded onto what is essentially a USB storage device.

I was furious.

Yes, I know. I don't have to buy an iPod. But in this case, I had no idea it had such a ridiculous restriction. If I had known, I never would have bought an iPod.

Rest assured, it's my last iPod.

I'll be looking at iRiver, Creative Zen, or Sansa Fuze for my next mp3 player purchase - and I'll be looking very carefully at any restrictions those products might have.

But there in lies the rub. The proprietary software put in an artificial restriction, and greatly inconvenienced me, for the sole purpose of locking me into their wares.

This would never, ever, in a million years, happen with FOSS. With FOSS, there is zero incentive to try to pull that kind of crap on users.

But in the end, it's often a matter of compromises or trade-offs. The iPod is a really slick device, and has a really nice interface.

And the nice interface, polish, completeness, and ease of use, you see with the iPod software, often comes up a bit short with FOSS.

Edited 2009-08-27 22:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Why?
by telns on Fri 28th Aug 2009 16:50 in reply to "RE[7]: Why?"
telns Member since:

I've used Creative, SanDisk, and iPod Touches all quite a bit. No doubt the iPod is the slickest hardware and most versatile. I've always liked the Creative Labs players for music though. I have one that is over 5y old and still going strong.

It isn't so much about proprietary formats and software. The firmware/OS on my Creative Labs is proprietary. The key is what they do with it. I take my WMA files (proprietary format) and copy them over to my proprietary OS player. I can copy them back over, load them on other computers, whatever I'd like. The WMA format doesn't restrict me, as MS provides all the APIs and ready-made tools necessary to easily decode to PCM/WAV and from there I can go to any format I wish.

My point is that it isn't the nature of being closed-source or being proprietary that restricts use and makes things generally inconvenient; it is all in the actual choices each of these companies make.

It isn't so simple as OSS == good; CS == bad.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[9]: Why?
by JeffS on Fri 28th Aug 2009 16:58 in reply to "RE[8]: Why?"
JeffS Member since:

Good post, and you provided useful information to me for when I buy my next MP3 player.

You're right - it does matter how the proprietary software vendor applies their wares, in terms of restrictions, that matters.

Reply Parent Score: 2