Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th May 2013 16:59 UTC
Apple At the D11 conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook once again took the stage to be interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. While most of the interview can be replicated by picking and reading 10 random Apple fanblog stories - there were still a number of very interesting things that warrant some closer scrutiny.
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RE[4]: Missing Steve Jobs
by darknexus on Thu 30th May 2013 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Missing Steve Jobs"
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I guess that's why he decided not to make Webkit open source ;)

He didn't decide to do that out of the goodness of his heart. Webkit was originally a fork of KHtml, which was and still is licensed under the lgpl. IANAL, but to my understanding, this means that while non-gpl programs can link to a library licensed this way, one cannot hold back source code modifications and still comply with the lgpl. This meant, simply, that in a country such as the US where licenses are enforceable, Apple had no choice but to continue Webkit as an open source project. To do otherwise would have been a violation of the lgpl.
Of course, at that time it was in Apple's best interest to be as open as possible. They were the under dog and, on top of that, trying to work their way up from being damn near dead. As far as general purpose computers go, they're still the underdog and notice that OS X is still as open as it ever was. Contrast this with iOS, where Jobs showed just what he does when his company's on top and allowed his control-freak nature to show. On one hand this kept product quality high, on the other hand it meant a number of artificial limitations. I'm glad to see a possible weakening of some of the more pointless controls, while at the same time I hope the high product quality continues. I want to be able to tweak my iDevices without jailbreaking (custom keyboards, change my default browser, etc), on the other hand I do still want apps to remain sandboxed so as not to corrupt system-wide libraries (saw that on Android once with a Google Maps update, took forever to trace what had happened and fix the entire location stack). Here's hoping for a healthy balance, and I'll raise a glass to that.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Missing Steve Jobs
by Tony Swash on Fri 31st May 2013 10:54 in reply to "RE[4]: Missing Steve Jobs"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"I guess that's why he decided not to make Webkit open source ;)

He didn't decide to do that out of the goodness of his heart. Webkit was originally a fork of KHtml, which was and still is licensed under the lgpl. IANAL, but to my understanding, this means that while non-gpl programs can link to a library licensed this way, one cannot hold back source code modifications and still comply with the lgpl. This meant, simply, that in a country such as the US where licenses are enforceable, Apple had no choice but to continue Webkit as an open source project. To do otherwise would have been a violation of the lgpl.
Of course, at that time it was in Apple's best interest to be as open as possible. They were the under dog and, on top of that, trying to work their way up from being damn near dead. As far as general purpose computers go, they're still the underdog and notice that OS X is still as open as it ever was. Contrast this with iOS, where Jobs showed just what he does when his company's on top and allowed his control-freak nature to show. On one hand this kept product quality high, on the other hand it meant a number of artificial limitations. I'm glad to see a possible weakening of some of the more pointless controls, while at the same time I hope the high product quality continues. I want to be able to tweak my iDevices without jailbreaking (custom keyboards, change my default browser, etc), on the other hand I do still want apps to remain sandboxed so as not to corrupt system-wide libraries (saw that on Android once with a Google Maps update, took forever to trace what had happened and fix the entire location stack). Here's hoping for a healthy balance, and I'll raise a glass to that.
"


I think you are using a clumsy stereotype to try to simply thinking about complex stuff and a complex technology company. The real world is never so cut and dried.

Apple didn't have to use KHtml or any open source solution for it's web browser. It chose to because it suited them to go open source. Apple do not have an ideology of openness or closeness, they have an ideology of good design, maximising the quality of user experience and making profits doing so.

One of the most overwhelmingly negative features of the the PC for the vast mass of ordinary computers users was the terrible fear of malware, virus and security breaches. This was not an irrational fear. When the iOS model was first designed it was possible to start again from scratch and build a curated model where the stuff that people loaded on their devices was vetted and was thus safe to install. The result of the curated model was not the reduction of choice or freedom but an explosion of choice and freedom.

People were now free to buy cheap and safe software and know that they were almost certainly safe. The result was a vast explosion of software consumption and software production, an explosion of choice. It is almost certainly true that the average iOS device owner buys and uses far more software than they did in the old unregulated PC software markets.

Designing, setting up, managing a regulatory structure for what is now a vast software ecosystem is not easy and runs into problems and issues sometimes but who wants to return to the insecurity of the old PC ecosystem, and what would be the advantage to the end user of doing so?

Especially when you get stuff like thus:

http://www.electronista.com/articles/13/05/30/trojan.horse.attacks....

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[6]: Missing Steve Jobs
by darknexus on Fri 31st May 2013 14:26 in reply to "RE[5]: Missing Steve Jobs"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I think you are using a clumsy stereotype to try to simply thinking about complex stuff and a complex technology company. The real world is never so cut and dried.

I didn't imply anywhere that this was cut and dried. They didn't have to use KHtml, but they did. When doing that, they must comply with the license or run the risk of legal consequences. That part, since they are a US company and in the US, is very much cut and dried.

Apple didn't have to use KHtml or any open source solution for it's web browser. It chose to because it suited them to go open source.

More specifically, it suited them to use a web engine that had already been developed and that performed well, that was open source so they could tweak it. It saved them a lot of ground work, and meant they didn't have to license a web engine from others (i.e. pay some money for one). I see nothing wrong with that personally, but the fact that they adopted an engine that had to be kept open source was purely incidental. Had Khtml been BSD licensed, Webkit most likely would not be open source today. It is that simple.
Apple do not have an ideology of openness or closeness, they have an ideology of good design, maximising the quality of user experience and making profits doing so.

Jesus, how much do you get paid to market here? Apple does not have a philosophy in any case, the people who run it do. Jobs *did* very much have a philosophy of control, though not open or closed in the way you mean. He wished to control what you did, how you did it, and if he could have he'd have controlled when you did it and probably where as well. This is not healthy for the users, and can make things tedious to the point of insanity. Want to run a download in the background? Too bad. Do you like Atomic browser better than Safari? Well, too bad, you can't change your default. If Apple were still only dealing with iPhones, I could understand this to an extent but they have repeatedly tried to push the iPad as a general purpose computer replacement. Getting files on and off the device is more tedious than it needs to be, and you can't even back up your iTunes content without a computer (kind of funny that, considering the iPad's supposed to be the average Joe's computer replacement). This is why I'm hoping to see a relaxation of the controls without feeling that they need to be removed altogether. If it's about the users, and about user experience, then let the users at least choose parts of it and make it easy for the users to get their documents where they need to go when they need to go there.
One of the most overwhelmingly negative features of the the PC for the vast mass of ordinary computers users was the terrible fear of malware, virus and security breaches.

Quite the opposite, though I agree with your point in spirit. The problem is that the average users have *no* fear of viruses and malware until they get them, so they do not even attempt to be careful.
This was not an irrational fear. When the iOS model was first designed it was possible to start again from scratch and build a curated model where the stuff that people loaded on their devices was vetted and was thus safe to install.

Tell that to the people who got this:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/07/first-ios-malware-found/
It does make the removal and detection of Malware easier, so long as the app reviewers remain honest and do their duty. However, it is not and will never be perfect, so trying to imply that it is is dishonest at best and downright lies at worst.
The result of the curated model was not the reduction of choice or freedom but an explosion of choice and freedom.

I do not believe we're speaking the same language. Of course it results in a loss of choice and freedom. Whether it is a significant loss is a matter of perspective, but from an objective stance, every time there is a gate keeper of any kind, anywhere, choice is lost. That is, after all, the point of curating the ecosystem is it not?
People were now free to buy cheap and safe software and know that they were almost certainly safe. The result was a vast explosion of software consumption and software production, an explosion of choice.

Not really. Only an explosion of choice in fields that Apple permits. I still can't, say, design an application's UI on my iDevice. I cannot write a web browser and include a better Javascript engine in it. On top of this, what do I as a developer get for this privilege? The requirement that I must pay $99 annually, even if my apps are scott free with no ads. Sure, I can pick which fart or flashlight app I want, but I can't always find *any* app I want for a given task because Apple does not permit it. This is not an increase in choice by any definition of the English language. Perhaps you do not speak English natively, and that would explain some things.
It is almost certainly true that the average iOS device owner buys and uses far more software than they did in the old unregulated PC software markets.

Facts, not conjecture. Prove it or shut it. It's likely true that the average iOS device owner uses and buys more apps than previous *smart phone* owners, but computers? You're either a shill or completely insane to think that iOS in six years can match the amount and use of software that computers have had for going on three decades. Yes, the app store makes finding the statistics easy for you, but that only proves how much the app store is used. It proves nothing about the unregulated software markets precisely because they are unregulated, but I think it's damn safe to say that computers have had more software, and such software has been used far more, over the decades as opposed to a few years.
Designing, setting up, managing a regulatory structure for what is now a vast software ecosystem is not easy and runs into problems and issues sometimes but who wants to return to the insecurity of the old PC ecosystem, and what would be the advantage to the end user of doing so?

Ah, a point on which we do agree. Problem is, end users aren't the only people around and if Apple continues to suggest that devices like the iPad are computer replacements they're going to have to come to that realization eventually. End users are fine but, you do realize, someone does have to design the software for those users to actually use. I think what we're seeing now is the first step in that realization, and I welcome it.

Two can play the link game, see above.

Edited 2013-05-31 14:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Apple didn't have to use KHtml or any open source solution for it's web browser. It chose to because it suited them to go open source.


Bull. It was their only realistic option for fixing an immediate, embarrassing problem: OS X needed a browser that wasn't a pathetic joke when compared to mature browsers on other platforms (FFS even Linux had better browsers). Other than using KHtml or Gecko, what else were they going to do? License Trident? While that would have been truly hilarious, there's no way that Job's massive ego would have EVER allowed it.

Or maybe Apple could have taken several years and spent millions of dollars to develop their own rendering engine from scratch? Because that approach worked out SO well for them with Taligent...

Apple do not have an ideology of openness or closeness, they have an ideology of good design, maximising the quality of user experience and making profits doing so.


In other words, Apple are the masters of using slick presentation to convince people to pay more money for less utility. Can't argue with you there.

Reply Parent Score: 2