Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Feb 2010 16:25 UTC
General Development While the iPad can certainly be debated as a product, people on the internet are discussing not the product, but the shift devices like the iPhone and iPad represent: a shift away from a computer being accessible to it being something closed and impenetrable. Is this a future we want for ourselves?
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Member since:

True, I thought I included a bit about the freedom to make one's own car uncertifiable. Even so, we don't have laws that say mechanically uninclined people can't hack at there car. Instead, we have DMCA being used to lock the car owner into closed vender services. Researchers can't legally reverse engineer the meaning of car computer codes without running fowl of the DMCA. Wouldn't standardizing or publishing the return codes improve things? Is there some justification for gouging mechanics for specialized tools, computer consoles and code lists? Should a diesel Smart Car purchased in Canada be unservicable all over the US? This is somehow improving vehicle technology?

If we were all using the same engines and the same computers in all of our cars, then there'd be no problem. But since all the car companies are in competition with each other, I'd EXPECT them to have differing computer control codes and routines in order to keep the competition from knowing their trade secrets.

And as for your Diesel Smart: since there are NO diesel Smart cars sold in the United States, why would you expect to get service on a vehicle that the dealers haven't been trained on and may not have the equipment for?

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:

Good God! GM will discover that Ox38B means Honda's oil light is on. The competition; they know everything now!

I couldn't resist.. but seriously:

I think that's a false sense of security.

The codes are available and the devices to read them out of the car computer are also available. They're simply sold at a prohibitive price. This is what threatens local mechanics without the big budget. GM, however, would have no problems getting hands on the codes and reader if they desired. That would be the end of the competitive advantage from the computer code secret sauce.

Standardizing computer codes may not be possible due to differences in engines but codes can be published. If GM is waiting for Honda's computer code publishing, it's not GM's competition; at best, it's a generation behind. We're not even talking about handing over the source code; just the codes read through the sensor tool. Also, if some geeks in a hobby shack can reverse the codes and understand what they are saying; hasn't GM a lot more budget if they chose to release a Handa car checker tool? (obcd, odcb.. something like that isn't it?)

This comes very close to the usual "but if we release the code, you'll see our secrets" crap about drivers or "FOSS is less secure because we can see the code" drivel. AMD published ATI's driver interface specs and delivers open source drivers now I believe. Nvidia keeps the driver source hidden but they could just as easily put the secret sauce crap on the board in a flash chip allowing the driver and interface specs to become public. Claiming that publishing computer codes for cars will be the end of competition. It's actually even less compelling than computer hardware or software given that a new car model takes longer to spit out of development and fabrication. My video card may only last me a few years but I'm sure not going consider a car purchase every few years.

The end result is still a chilling effect on non-company mechanics, less competition within the car support market and higher costs for the car owner.

This being the result of a dubious law meant to prop up poor business models by manipulating the market rather than allowing good business models that adapt to market changes.

One of the regulars along with the host have discussed the topic frequently on Off The Hook. The hosts issue is the diesel SMART that can't be serviced in the US due to US mechanics not accepting the gouging for for the code keys and reader. The regular's issue is DMCA blocking valid geek projects and un-blessed mechanics by locking the customer into a vendor specific supply chain. I wish she'd done a talk I could post a link to because she knows a heck of a lot more about the issue than I.

Reply Parent Score: 3