Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 16th Feb 2012 14:46 UTC
Mac OS X Well, this is a surprise. Several websites have a preview up of Apple's next Mac OS X release - it's called Mountain Lion, and continues the trend of bringing over functionality from iOS to Mac OS X. Lots of cool stuff in here we've all seen before on iPhones and iPads, including one very, very controversial feature: Gatekeeper. Starting with Mac OS X 10.8, Apple's desktop operating system will be restricted to Mac App Store and Apple-signed applications by default (with an opt-out switch), following in Windows 8's footsteps.
Thread beginning with comment 507432
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
howitzer86
Member since:
2008-02-27

The average user could not install and run a Linux box for any length of time without banging their head against the wall in frustration... they don't have the time or desire to mess with it. And it does take more time and effort to configure especially when you really don't know your way around a computer except for the big 5 (web browsing, email, spreadsheets, word processing and presentation)


I'm not too worried about such people really. If they aren't interested enough to figure out how to do this, what makes you think their apathy would somehow turn into interest in a free desktop environment?

The writer says what Apple is doing could create a shortage of hard-core developers. Ok. People like that tend to be fine with installing Linux - even on their first try. People like that are not the same people that you're talking about.

Edited 2012-02-16 15:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

boxy Member since:
2011-06-20

I'm not too worried about such people really. If they aren't interested enough to figure out how to do this, what makes you think their apathy would somehow turn into interest in a free desktop environment?


It's not about a free desktop environment. It's about being able to do whatever you want with hardware and software you already paid for and own. There's no valid reason I shouldn't be able to install something on a general purpose operating system if I want to.

The writer says what Apple is doing could create a shortage of hard-core developers. Ok. People like that tend to be fine with installing Linux - even on their first try. People like that are not the same people that you're talking about.


That's mostly true today. And the author is not arguing otherwise. However, if machines are locked down like this, then the barrier to entry for anyone to get to the point where they would be "fine with installing Linux" would be severely increased. This is especially true on Macs because of the non-conforming UEFI implementation that they use.

There most certainly is a war on general purpose computing. It's not such a stretch to say that in 10 years, every computer will be locked down out of the box and will require reverse engineering to regain absolute control of the hardware. At that point, the activity will probably be a DMCA violation and declared illegal on the grounds that it could 'enable teh dirty pirates' or some other such nonsense.

The thing is, it might need to get to that point before there's any meaningful resistance. I hope not, but most people don't care and won't care until it's too late. I believe that this is the point the article makes.

Reply Parent Score: 10

howitzer86 Member since:
2008-02-27

It's not about a free desktop environment. It's about being able to do whatever you want with hardware and software you already paid for and own. There's no valid reason I shouldn't be able to install something on a general purpose operating system if I want to.


Then don't buy it. Believe it or not we are large enough in number to support a market. If Macs and Windows PCs turn into locked-in boxes that are illegal to tinker with, we simply won't buy them. No one can force us to buy a specific brand of computer, and our demand will shift to a vendor who will cater to our needs.

if machines are locked down like this, then the barrier to entry for anyone to get to the point where they would be "fine with installing Linux" would be severely increased. This is especially true on Macs because of the non-conforming UEFI implementation that they use.


Again, if it's not the product for you, don't buy it. Buy the right product that will fit your needs. If one doesn't exist, make it! There is a market!

System 76 for instance, appears to be doing just fine even before this scenario has completed. There will be more like it, likely supported by the Linux vendors.

At that point, the activity will probably be a DMCA violation and declared illegal on the grounds that it could 'enable teh dirty pirates' or some other such nonsense.


I'll agree to you on that. Every year the government has to pass an exemption on the DMCA clause that would make jail breaking cell-phones a crime. To bring the DMCA to the computer, all a vendor has to do is declare that the purpose of their lock-down is to prevent piracy. Automatically, the act of breaking the lock allows piracy. The act it self won't be policed, but the information showing a user how to commit it will be. People could go to prison for showing a user how to circumvent a locked down EFI implementation.

It may be more trouble then it's worth to jail break a locked down PC (I assume by this point it may not even be called a PC, but something else, and resemble an Apple TV in form and function).

This will promote the creation of a 'new' market dominated by vendors like System 76, catering to geeks and tinkerers such as ourselves.

The thing is, it might need to get to that point before there's any meaningful resistance. I hope not, but most people don't care and won't care until it's too late. I believe that this is the point the article makes.


Meaningful resistance in this case is the act of 'voting with your feet'. But instead of moving your feet, you'll be moving your money to another vendor that produces the product that you want to have.

Reply Parent Score: 1

CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

The writer says what Apple is doing could create a shortage of hard-core developers. Ok. People like that tend to be fine with installing Linux - even on their first try. People like that are not the same people that you're talking about.


You still can install Linux on these machines. If the trend to lock computers around a single supplier/overlord continues, you will not be able to do so without plenty of black magic in a near future.

It is easy to jailbreak a device when you have plenty of general purpose computers lying out there, capable to interface at low level with every other hardware piece in existence.

But when in the future all computers sold are actually locked down "appliances", without a single low level toolkit, without being able to plug any hardware created without the consent of the supplier, without even physical ports to interface with anything else (all in the name of good design, of course, at least is how they will sell this "feature")... well, things will become quite bleach.

You will end up with a generation that looks their computers like our own generation looks their TVs. This will result in a massive reduction in the interest in computers by potential people (that will proceed to some other professional path), and a slow down in innovation.

Worse, since these "appliances" will be black boxes, they will be massive privacy killers and a powerful tool for authoritarian regimes to keep their sheep under control. After all, if you control what a computer can do, you also control what their users can see.

Edited 2012-02-16 16:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

howitzer86 Member since:
2008-02-27

If the trend to lock computers around a single supplier/overlord continues, you will not be able to do so without plenty of black magic in a near future.


The geek computer market is large enough to support itself. Geeks created the PC market, and there was a time when there was no other type of user. Because of this, the trend doesn't mean anything. We geeks know what we want. For a long time our needs and the needs of the average consumer more or less lined up. We liked the ability of a PC to do anything we told it to, and consumers liked how a PC could fit into multiple roles.

If our needs are diverging, so will our products. We'll still have our System 76, our Boxx, and new brands that come out to cater to the needs of users who want to continue to do whatever they want with their PCs. The consumers can continue on their path without affecting us. So you like Apple? Tough, they don't cater to you. Find someone else. You and the rest of the geeks are your own trend, not the victim of a single amorphous hive mind.

But when in the future all computers sold are actually locked down "appliances", without a single low level toolkit, without being able to plug any hardware created without the consent of the supplier, without even physical ports to interface with anything else (all in the name of good design, of course, at least is how they will sell this "feature")... well, things will become quite bleach.


No they won't. You'll buy a product that has all those things that you need, because you have your own market. Who do you think things like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino are made for? The market is there already - it's just suppressed by the availability of general purpose PCs from vendors who mostly cater other types of people. When these PC vendors forget about us, our geek market will flourish.

You will end up with a generation that looks their computers like our own generation looks their TVs. This will result in a massive reduction in the interest in computers by potential people (that will proceed to some other professional path), and a slow down in innovation.


Maybe... though I take the selfish view of that and think of that positively. If true, the world will still never stop needing geeks. We'll be in higher demand, they'll pay us more, and they'll have more for us to do. Computers will no longer be a trendy field, and I think that's just fine.

Worse, since these "appliances" will be black boxes, they will be massive privacy killers and a powerful tool for authoritarian regimes to keep their sheep under control. After all, if you control what a computer can do, you also control what their users can see.


This implies other problems that Apple and Microsoft has nothing to do with.

Reply Parent Score: 1