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Frodo's Ghost | Just because your product uses Open Standards does not mean that it is an Open System
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Just because your product uses Open Standards does not mean that it is an Open System

Usually I am not one to complain about software companies and their fights for supremacy in each others markets. But I do feel the need to write about my thoughts on Apple, their decisions and modus operandi.

I grew up firmly in the camp of ‘Wanting a Mac’. For the past seven years I have plotted, schemed and devised paths for me to obtain a Mac, and when they all failed I used money to get one, and it has been nice to have around and use as a part-time machine.

Since I purchased it I have had problems with some standard PC features being locked out, especially when developing and backing up my data.

Closed Systems

In April 2010 Steve Jobs wrote this article :: Thoughts on Flash :: wherein he discusses the fact that the iPhone, iPad and iPod platforms are “open systems”.

Just because your product uses open standards does not mean that it is an open system.

Developers who own an Apple computer can download a specific suite of software to write programs. Those programs then have to pass Apple’s standards to be released to the world. Once these programs agree with the Apple Standards they can be made available to users. These users need to be running an Apple specific program to download the Apple released application, that can only run on an Apple made device.

No part of that process is open.

And on delivery of media, the propriety files are downloaded to a computer that can be displayed on a specific device. These files cannot be used on any other systems, thus meaning if a company chooses to release their own copyright into the world, it is releasing it to an isolated device and cannot be used on other systems.

That is not open.

Further still jailbreaking an iPhone will/can void your warranty Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Illegal, so even on a device that you purchase and own is not yours – in the sense that you cannot do what you want to with your own personal device.

Not open.

It could be understood, as Mr. Jobs points out in the Thoughts on Flash missive, that this type of control is to ensure a solid platform:

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.

But in closing down the system, a system that is becoming more popular, is only serving to hinder progress. If everything has to be agreed to by Apple, it becomes a system that is limited by the Apple specs and technology and the minds of developers are limited by what they have to work with. This is not open. And this is in no way facilitating technological grown within their platform encouraged by other users.

Apple claim this to be open. I can not see any way in which is it open. A nice little isolated bubble of making money and pointing those who wish to make money through their system to use ONLY their products.

All the while they are doing this a large crowd is cheering the revolution they are bringing. I am just not quite sure they are our savior in the digital world. They, very well, may be our destruction.

  • Steve Jobs said in that article:

    “Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open.”

    So I guess he would agree with you? Apple’s Quicktime browser plugin is not exactly open either though.

    April 30, 2010 at 8:14 am
  • He may agree. The parts that gets me is this quote ::

    “Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true.”

    They’re both wrong.

    April 30, 2010 at 10:22 am
  • […] Just because your product uses Open Standards does not mean that it is an Open System […]

    May 7, 2010 at 6:10 am

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