Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 29th Sep 2009 22:19 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Well, this is refreshing. While Richard Stallman is a staunch critic of anything closed and non-Free, his ire seems mostly directed towards DRM and Microsoft. However, a lesser known fact is that he often talks about Apple's Mac OS X too in his speeches. During those speeches, he repeatedly claimed Mac OS X contained a backdoor which allowed Apple to forcibly impose software changes upon users. Stallman has now posted a retraction for those claims.
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Comment by Sabon
by Sabon on Wed 30th Sep 2009 15:07 UTC
Member since:

"If Mac OS X does not have a backdoor to forcibly install changes, that does not make it ethical. It has other malicious features, such as Digital Restrictions Management (see What makes those malfeatures possible is that users can't remove them. Mac OS is proprietary software, so the users don't have control over it -- rather, the developer has sole control over the program, and employs it as an instrument of control over the users. So I don't withdraw my condemnation of Mac OS. But I do withdraw the claim that it has a known backdoor."

While this is true or not about Mac OS X not having a back door, and is true about it being proprietary and us not being able to change it, it doesn't make it any worse this way than Linux.

WHAT? It's true. Sure we supposedly could just write the changes we want to Linux and implement them. That is, if we could all program using what most of us feel is cryptic C or C++ and other programming languages.

Computer languages are nerd languages and Linux is a nerd OS and were not and are not made for the general public. So the general public is no better off having the supposed ability to change Linux when for us, it is impossible to do so.

Even if we did ...

Even if we did write our own changes they would still be overwritten by updates to Linux. SURE we could reapply those changes, assuming we had the ability or could find and fund someone with the ability to write them in the first place, but it wouldn't be just about reapplying the changes. The foundations of Linux under which our changes would run changes and it needs to. But, yes I keep saying but, but those changes would disable our ability to apply the changes we made and they would have to be modified, and modified again, and again, and again because we don't have control over what is underneath.

We could then say, I'll never upgrade Linux so that my changes will always work. But then we would never have new technology work with the version of Linux that we use. We wouldn't even be able to buy a new computer. Instead we would have to buy however many computers it would take to last our life time so that when one dies we could replace it with another Ford Model T, which it would be equivalent to compared to new cars.

Using the car analogy, exactly how many people could modify a Model T so that it would have all the changes that we want? Or how many people would be able to take changes they made to a Model T and adapt them to a new car, assuming that feature didn't come around eventually. In this case, it would be our change that would be unique to us so it wouldn't come about by someone else.

So we are screwed either way. It doesn't matter if we use Windows or Mac OS X or Linux or OS/2 (eComStation) or BeOS (Haiku) or ...

So end the end, all that matters is which one offends each one of us the least? For some of us that means Mac OS X and others Windows and others Linux. And we all remain delusional that ours is the best for ... fill in the blanks. We are both right and wrong. Ours is the best and the worst at the same time.

If only we could, "roll our own". It isn't practical though. Not even Linus could. He needed and needs hundreds or thousands of people to help him write Linux and I'm pretty sure it really isn't what he dreamed it would be. It's just better than, "fill in the blanks". At least in his opinion. And for him, it is right and wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Sabon
by TechGeek on Wed 30th Sep 2009 15:46 in reply to "Comment by Sabon"
TechGeek Member since:

You are mislead if you really believe what you wrote. Just because you lack the knowledge to make use of a freedom, doesn't mean that the freedom is useless. I can't change the engine in my car, but I enjoy the freedom that I can take it to a garage and have pretty much whatever mods done that I want. The difference between OSX and Windows and Linux, is that the law prevents you from tinkering with OSX and Windows. Nothing prevents me from tinkering with Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Sabon
by Sabon on Wed 30th Sep 2009 18:11 in reply to "RE: Comment by Sabon"
Sabon Member since:

It doesn't matter what the law allows if I, personally, can't take advantage of it. People like me out number people that can in like millions to 1.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Sabon
by boldingd on Wed 30th Sep 2009 17:02 in reply to "Comment by Sabon"
boldingd Member since:

Because you lack the technical skills to modify software does not mean that others lack the technical skills to modify (and improve) software.

You (probably) owe a lot to many open-source software projects -- projects that are themselves amalgamations of lots of individually small, possibly one-off contributions of many developers. Even if you do not use these projects personally, they are creating competitive markets and spurring innovation, a thing that you do benefit from. Had there been no FreeBSD, there would not be an OS X now; had there not been an OS X, we'd all still be using Windows XP, and there would be no Vista or Win7. Had there been no FireFox, we'd all still be using IE6, and the web would me much different. So just because you, personally, do not have the technical skills to easily mold Open Source programs into what you want them to be, do not assume that you're not any better off for those projects being out there, or for all the effort that other, technically skilled people have been putting into them.

Reply Parent Score: 2