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EU Plans To Make Apple, Adobe and Others Open Up

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the jaws-of-life dept.

News 389

FlorianMueller writes "After pursuing Microsoft and Intel, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes is now preparing an initiative that could have an even greater impact on the IT industry: a European interoperability law that will affect not only companies found dominant in a market but all 'significant' players. In a recent interview, Mrs. Kroes mentioned Apple. Nokia, RIM and Adobe would be other examples. All significant market players would have to provide access to interfaces and data formats, with pricing constraints considered 'likely' by the commissioner. Her objective: 'Any kind of IT product should be able to communicate with any type of service in the future.' The process may take a few years, but key decisions on the substance of the bill may already be made later this year."

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389 comments

Great News (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759100)

Apple is the single largest abuser of open technology, standards, formats and platforms. To create anything for any of their platforms, you need to use Apple tools, Apple hardware and pay Apple. It's not even technical limits on the hardware, but all artifical barriers created by Apple.

I have no idea why Microsoft always gets yelled at because other third parties don't implement their support fully, but Apple gets a free pass on it.

The great thing about the "Any kind of IT product should be able to communicate with any type of service in the future." is that it can also mean that Apple needs to open iPhone and iPad for third party developers not just via their App Store, but fully without jailbreaking.

This is great news for independent developers or hobbyist.

NOT great news (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759242)

How is Apple an "abuser" of open technology? Their open technology was licensed under the BSD license which explicitly allows the type of stuff Apple is doing. If you don't like it then use the GPL or another license that has copyleft when you license your OSS.

You do realize that you don't have to use Apple products don't you? The main way to open up competition is to kill software patents and weaken copyrights.

When government fucks with free markets, the customer loses, always.

Re:NOT great news (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759308)

I'm stuck in the position with agreeing with the fact that no, Apple isn't abusing FLOSS, and disagreeing with your libertarian nonsense.

You do realize sometimes with the Free Market, the customer's largely not in a leverage point due to inelasticity of most goods? Food, housing, fuel, etc?

Re:NOT great news (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759730)

You're talking about HEAVILY REGULATED goods and services.

I do want either standards to be enforced (not a good first idea, avoidable) or that file/protocol/.. specifications to be open and free by law - seems to be ideal and dismisses the need for standards enforcement. I applaud that, if that's really what they want.

BUT... price controls don't work as advertized. Never did, never will. They distort and hurt everyone except politicians who don't and will never know what they're doing.

Leave Microsoft and the rest alone. Reform patent and copyright law. Watch competition and innovation flourish on its own as you remove its shackles.

FYI, Debian user here.

Re:NOT great news (1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759894)

Yes you're right but at the same time, price-fixing ("pricing constraints") is not going to fix the problem. All it does is create shortages (because businessmen run-away from industries that lose money). See the Soviet Union and the rampant food shortages they had. The EU seems to be copying the same idea for the computer industry, and it won't work any better.

"Former Soviet apparatchiks feel at home in the 'Yevropeyskiy Soyuz' (EU in russian)"
EU MEP Hannan - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl-amBxz-to [youtube.com]

The computer industry is not exactly a free market, but then neither was the videotape or music industry (VHS, CD dominated) and things worked out okay for the consumer. They were not ripped off. Besides computers are becoming more free as Microsoft loses share (dropped below 90%) and alternative companies/browsers are chipping-away at Internet Explorer. Plus the rise of the internet has provided a universal standard by which people communicate and do work.

Consumers have more computer choice now than they had in 1995 or 2000. This sounds like a solution looking for a problem that is already fixed/diappearing.

Re:NOT great news (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759362)

Apart from when the consumer wins.

Re:NOT great news (0)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759496)

Price controls are not going to have the consumer win. What happens under price controls and government mandated products is that choice is reduced, businesses are stifled, and the consumer ultimately loses. It is a win for the consumer much like stealing a TV is a win for the theif. It works for a short while..

Re:NOT great news (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759672)

There is one obvious exception here.

Price discrimination should be certainly banned in certain circumstances. The most obvious example is Windows and Office.

A dominant vendor should not be able to use price discrimination to coerce the rest of the market.

Re:NOT great news (-1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759380)

Doesnt OS/X (and even BSD) use GCC? That certainly isn't licensed under the BSD license.

Yes I realize that they do offer their GCC source code, but you need to have an Apple Developer Connection account to get it. I am not aware of any FREE method of getting such an account. I believe it costs a minimum of $99 per year.

Re:NOT great news (3, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759448)

You can get Xcode for free, including the GCC compiler.

You can get *all* the tools for free, and test on the iPhone simulator without paying a dime. You only need to pay the $99 if you want to deploy your code onto a physical iPhone (and from there, onto the app store).

Developing for OS X iteslf (using the same Xcode) is totally, completely, utterly free and always has been (since at least 10.1 - the dev tools have been distributed with the install CDs, or you can just get them for free off the Apple website).

Re:NOT great news (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759954)

Right, the dev tools are free -- if you own a Mac. The cheapest Mac is a $700 Mac Mini. I would not call that "completely, utterly free" though I suppose it is not as bad as having to buy their hardware *and* pay some fee.

Re:NOT great news (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759498)

http://www.opensource.apple.com/

Doesn't seem to require an account to me, and look, GCC sources for the latest tools, and even the latest OS. Only missing the OSS bits for iOS 4.0 at this point.

Re:NOT great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759782)

The vast majority of those lists are projects that Apple has had absolutely no involvement in. Apple reuses a lot of code from Open Source projects and does contribute back, however, the important parts of iOS and OS X are almost all closed source.

Re:NOT great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759502)

Nope... It's free. You only need to pay the $99 to get a signing certificate.

Re:NOT great news (2, Informative)

Pius II. (525191) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759538)

ADC online accounts are free. The source for their latest gcc can be found here [apple.com] . You don't have to have an account to download it. For some other things on their open source page [apple.com] , you have to login, though. Assuming you were actually interested in developing for OS X, I'd advise you to use clang [llvm.org] instead; gcc sucks bigtime in comparison, and will not be seriously updated by Apple anymore.

Apple is abandoning GCC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759558)

Apple uses an ancient version of GCC, from before it was relicensed to the GPL3.

Re:Apple is abandoning GCC... (2, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759964)

They're in the process of switching to LLVM, so keeping up to date on gcc isn't really necessary any more.

Re:NOT great news (5, Insightful)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759396)

When government fucks with free markets, the customer loses, always.

Well, except in the case of energy regulation, every state that has deregulated has instantly had massive price spikes (or are these good for the consumer?)... and insurance where the companies kick you out as soon as you file claims unless regulated.

The US government usually asks the market players to regulate themselves and hopes that works (think of movie ratings). It is only after the players show they have no interest in a fair market that it gets regulated.

Why is the parent a troll? (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759756)

Why is the parent post modded troll? I'm sorry, but "troll" is not a substitute for "holds an opinion opposite to me".

The parent is entirely factually correct, and is talking about the very heart and idea of OSS: if you release something under the BSD licence, anyone can use it. If you release something under the GPL, anyone can use it as long as they follow the licence. So, when Apple uses BSD and GPL code, somehow it is "abuse"? Come on! You are either for the idea of OSS, or you are against it. You *cannot* be "oh, well, I love OSS, but Apple is not allowed to use any BSD code and get rich off it! That's just not allowed, but other companies can use BSD code since it is open source."

This also doesn't address the benefits the OSS community has seen from Apple. Far from being an "abuser" Apple has contributed an enormous amount to OSS - isn't that one of the benefits of a large entity getting involved in the community: provision of resources? Companies like IBM, Apple, Red Hat, Mozilla Foundation are promoting open source. You can't turn around and say "I don't like Apple, so they are abusing OSS!"

If you really hate them that much, write your own OSS code and release it under a modified BSD licence that permits anyone except Apple to use it.

Re:NOT great news (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759836)

Government fucking with free markets is not as bad as a single company becoming too powerful and gaining the ability to fuck with the market...

If you can lock sufficient numbers of customers in to your proprietary products, such that it is unreasonably costly and/or damaging to switch away then the market is far from free. It is simply controlled by a large company instead of the government. Competition becomes extremely limited in such situations, competitors have an unfair burden of having to reverse engineer proprietary formats and protocols, and are always playing catch up to the market leader. The end result is that it's simply not commercially viable to compete with an entrenched player, so the competition either gives up or moves into niche markets.

It's like playing strategy games, once you're past a certain point your resources outstrip the opposition so badly that barring a colossal screwup on your part, your victory is inevitable.

Re:Great News (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759344)

"...To create anything for any of their platforms, you need to use Apple tools..." I wasn't aware Apple wrote the GCC thanks for enlightening me. I'll let the writers of Code::Blocks and Eclipse know they are owned by Apple as well. It might come as a shock to them.

Re:Great News (-1, Redundant)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759416)

Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. Apple is not. That's why "Microsoft always gets yelled at". Distasteful as you may find Apple's business model, one thing it is not is illegal.

Re:Great News (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759956)

Yet.

I suspect Apple's about to get hit hard with a class action lawsuit (faulty phones)..... followed by a government investigation into Apple's 80% dominance in the MP3 market, and 90% dominance in the online music store business.

Re:Great News (2, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759604)

I make stuff on the Apple platform without using Apple tools, so by "anything" you mean "some things, like iPhone apps".

I make music on my Apple using non-Apple products, burn CDs using non-Apple products (open source even!), browse the web with non-Apple products, write documents with non-Apple products (sometimes even Microsoft products!), write HTML with non-Apple products.

So, unless you include the OS, I do the majority of my content creation on this Apple with non-Apple products. So, your "anything" really is.... nonsense.

(Oh, and even the OS on my other Apple is Ubuntu, so anything I create on there is.... you guessed it, using non-Apple products).

Re:Great News (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32760014)

You seem knowledgeable. Where can I find an Apple Mac video player that can play at double speed, and without distortion? (Like the 2xAV plugin for Windows Player.)

I'm beginning to think buying a Mac was a mistake if I can't find such a simple function for it.

Re:Great News (3, Insightful)

uprise78 (1256084) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759644)

Sometimes I wonder why I even read /. comments. They are so fucking predictable. First off, you don't have to pay Apple anything to make Mac apps (besides owning a Mac and honestly if you don't own and use a Mac you have not business developing for it). There is a paltry $99 per year fee to make iPhone/iPod/iPad apps but no one is forcing you to make iPhone apps. On a side note, you have to pay RIM, Palm and Google money if you want to get in their app stores as well so they must be "open technology abusers" as well. Here is some of Apple's open source code: http://www.opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com] Maybe you should download a few Gigs of source code before you start talking shit about something you don't know about. Apple makes iOS which is based on OS X and puts it on iPhones, iPads and iPods. They took their own OS (which I might add has a large amount of open source code in it and more coming at fairly steady intervals). Read that again, "they took their own OS". The OS they spent years making and invested tons of time/money into. They give every person who owns an OS X license a free copy of their entire development stack: Xcode, Interface Builder, Dashcode, Instruments, Quartz Composer, PackageMaker, FileMerge, etc, etc, etc. They arguable provide the most complete set of frameworks available for any platform (Cocoa/CoreFoundation) to developers. You can build a Mac or iPhone app with GCD (open source). Apple has provided piles of code to the GCD project. You can now build Mac and iPhone apps with LLVM (open source). Apple has provided piles of code to the LLVM project. So, given that information (and taking into account that Apple is a business that needs to make money to survive) why on earth do they need to allow someone to make Mac apps on Linux/Windows? You don't make any fucking sense man. None at all. Have you seen the cost of Microsoft's developer tools recently? And don't bother mentioning the "Express" versions of their software that don't allow commercial products. To sum things up, many readers of /. would like every company on earth to make everything "open and free" no matter what the cost to said company. If a company does not do this, they will get piles of complaints from slashdotters who wouldn't do anything different even if said company did make something "open".

Re:Great News (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759828)

Apple is the single largest abuser of open technology, standards, formats and platforms. To create anything for any of their platforms, you need to use Apple tools, Apple hardware and pay Apple. It's not even technical limits on the hardware, but all artifical barriers created by Apple.

Yes that's why I needed a Mac to use Chrome (Webkit) on my PC. Or that I needed a Mac to run Darwin (BSD). Or to play non-DRMed AACs (MP4 part 7). Oh wait, no, I didn't.

I have no idea why Microsoft always gets yelled at because other third parties don't implement their support fully, but Apple gets a free pass on it.

For the most part, MS creates their own standard and fails to publish it fully. Apple has a tendency to use open standards. If you have a problem and not Apple's implementation then you should take it up with those who wrote the standard.

Re:Great News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759844)

Who cares? Some people actually want their devices to have a curated app store and don't care about being able to install random 3rd party hacker toys. Why is there not room enough in the world for both iPhone and Android? Why don't you go use your Android which is the way you like it, and I'll use my iPhone the way I like it. If everything is the same then what's the point of having choice anyway?

What I'd Like to Know (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759138)

Will the customers of Apple and Microsoft in the USA also benefit from openness and interoperability?

EU rules would also affect the US market (5, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759262)

The EU can't formally legislate on what companies are allowed to do in the US market, but in practical terms, we're talking about a global market for IT products and (especially) Internet-based services. If vendors wanted to apply a different set of openness and interoperability standards in the US than in the EU, they would have to make a lot of efforts to keep the markets separated. They can do it, such as by refusing connections from certain sets of IP addresses, but it would be a major hassle. If many vendors did so, lawmakers in the US would also take a closer look and might consider a similar initiative to benefit customers in their own country.

Concerning Microsoft, the new law isn't even needed for them because they were already subjected to two antitrust proceedings in the EU on the grounds of being found dominant. More importantly, I'm not aware of them treating the US market any differently concerning interoperability with Samba than they treat the EU, even though it was only a European ruling.

The biggest benefit of the envisioned new EU law is that similar rules would also have to be respected by companies who may just not be close enough to a monopolist so that antitrust law can deal with them, but who are powerful enough (such as Apple, Adobe etc.) that it's a problem if they get away with too closed an approach. I don't mean to blame those companies for simply trying to maximize shareholder value or for adhering to certain closed philosophies -- but if antitrust law can't change their behavior, a new instrument is needed.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (4, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759382)

Apple's customers already do.

Apple's formats:

Audio: AAC (open)
Video: H.264 (open)
Mail: .mbox (open)
Address book: vcard (open)
Calendar: ics (open) (and Apple provide open source calendar server and address book servers based on WebDAV)
Office apps: documented XML, similar to Open Office's format (very easy and non-DMCA/non-illegal etc to write a converter, lots of documentation on how the format works, unlike .docx for example)
Screenshot format: png (open)
Networking protocols: NFS, SMB, AFP, Bonjour (Zeroconf), FTP, sFTP
HTML engine: Webkit (open)
Disk drive format: HFS+ (open)
OS core: Darwin, default shell is bash (open).
Printing system: CUPS, postscript, PDF

And while it't not open, Snow Leopard supports Exchange servers out of the box, if you want to play in a Windows environment.

While the Apple experience is very vertically integrated, if you really want to move your data in or out, you can do so very easily. For example, if you decided that you wanted to change all your documents to Open Office formats you could do so. If you no longer wanted to use Mail.app for your email all your messages are in .mbox format and are easily portable to any other system (unlike, for example, Outlook's .pst format).

I know it is heresy to even suggest it on slashdot, but as an Apple user you already enjoy a lot of openness and interoperability on the desktop. All the faff about the iPhone and iPad masks that, it seems.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (-1, Troll)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759544)

So going with Apple is like going to a bar with a very high cover charge and open drink bar. Once you've paid through the nose to get in, it's the same drinks as everywhere else in a fancier glass, but at no charge.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759734)

The Mac has a good degree of openness. However, that doesn't seem to be Apple's strategic direction. The
idea that the "platform of the future" could be something that's entirely under Steve's thumb is probably
an idea that doesn't sit well int he EU. It might have even been the thing that triggered this idea.

Between Adobe and Apple, I could see why EU regulators might want to stop the madness.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759898)

Pretty much yes. But you know ahead of time how much is costs to get in. You're not paying for your drinks to be served in a glass you can only hold in that bar using a special glove, though. You're paying for the atmosphere of the bar.

If I go to a fancy bar where the drinks cost more than they do at the liquor store, I want a particular beer to taste the same as the $2 bottle I can buy on the store and drink at home.

The fact that Apple uses formats that allow interoperability is a *good* thing. It allows me to effortlessly maintain my mixed Apple/Linux environment.

God, it would be terrible if I paid for a Mac, only to be *unable* to share my data with anyone else! Of course I want there to be the same drinks that they serve everywhere else!

Re:What I'd Like to Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759674)

Video: H.264 (open)

Okay, there is no doubt truth to your post, but H.264 is about as open as my butthole.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759916)

Draughty in the bathroom when you go in is it?

H.264 is an open standard. A patented one, but it is by its very definition, open. So is Flash by the way, and GSM, and mp3, and many other open formats.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759840)

screenshot default is .tiff. Which has been around in the print world for a really, really long time.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759978)

Command+Shift+3, I just pressed it. PNG file dropped on desktop.

It's a png default in 10.5 and 10.6. In 10.4 I believe it was PDF briefly (since it just gave you whatever was in the Quartz Composer, since it all works via pdf behind the scenes), and early on in OS X's life it was tiff.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759940)

You're a very persistent Apple apologist, jo_ham.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

paimin (656338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759962)

Now, now, don't go clogging up the Apple-hate wankfest with truth and facts. You'll give them all blueballs.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

daethon (1349241) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759984)

You didn't mention one method in which Apple is still not interoperable, its file system. Have you ever tried to clone a mac hard drive, or extract its data and put it onto another source? Heck, even just formatting a drive that had MacOS X on it isn't a straightforward process.

Re:What I'd Like to Know (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759804)

Will the customers of Apple and Microsoft in the USA also benefit from openness and interoperability?

No idea... but employees at Google will. (sorry couldn't help it)

Hell yeah (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759144)

Neelie Kroes, I love you.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759182)

Because trying to have Microsoft and Intel open up were such successes ...

Does it work the other way around as well? (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759226)

Do the various "services" have to be able to communicate with any kind of "IT product"?

Interoperability goes both ways (2, Insightful)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759326)

Do the various "services" have to be able to communicate with any kind of "IT product"?

I haven't asked the commissioner but even without doing so I have no doubt that she meant this both ways. Interoperability goes both ways. The only problem is that obviously some companies in the industry want it as a one-way street: others have to open up, they stay closed. I can't imagine a piece of legislation would be one-way. Even if some companies tried to lobby for one-way rules, I don't think they'd get very far.

What's more likely is that the rules may only apply to certain segments of the diverse IT market. But again, within the scope of the rules I can't imagine there would be anything other than quid pro quo, give and take on equal terms.

Fucking Commies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759232)

Those fucking commies are at it again. If the people would have asked for interoperability then the market would have provided it.

Excuse me? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759238)

What does that crap even mean? Another politician sticking their nose into something they know little about.

Re:Excuse me? (3, Insightful)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759414)

if you don't know what it means, its probably something that you don't know much about?

Great, so now we need massive antena. (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759252)

So now cell phones will be the size of buildings so that they can support the massive array of antena and dishes so they can comunicate across the full radio spectrum. Still, it will be interesting having a cell phone that supports microwave OC3 communication.

Re:Great, so now we need massive antena. (0, Offtopic)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759440)

Because this is definitely what she's suggesting.

Re:Great, so now we need massive antena. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759768)

It may not be what's she's suggesting, but it's probably the language that she's going to put it in. Language that will likely be perverted for some financial/political gain in the future. The free market has it's issues, and so does regulation. Legalism and regulation opens up an especially bad can of worms when open ended statements are thrown around...so in the case of regulation, we have to be especially cognizant, precise, and diligent with respect to how legal language is deployed for regulating markets...lest we get cronyism, favoritism, protectionism, etc etc etc.

What? (4, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759272)

"Any kind of IT product should be able to communicate with any type of service in the future."

What does that even mean?

Re:What? (1)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759398)

They're just trying to make sure that when Skynet is launched, the GPS in your iPhone can activated so you can be properly located. You know, so they can replace your faulty antenna.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759744)

What it doesn't mean, is the straw man you (and others) are implying. No, this won't require your iPad to communicate with your toaster.

This is about is breaking down the artificial barriers to competition that companies like Apple erect. It is about the cases where Apple goes above and beyond to prevent interoperability where it would otherwise be trivial.

Re:What? (1)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32760012)

"Any kind of IT product should be able to communicate with any type of service in the future."

What does that even mean?

It means they either don't know what they are talking about or want wording sufficiently vague that they can make any demand they feel like. Probably a little of both in my opinion actually.

Frickin' great (4, Insightful)

Sandor at the Zoo (98013) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759276)

When the government starts dictating requirements and the price, we're all screwed.

Re:Frickin' great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759930)

We are not all capitalists at heart, in Europe we tend to think a certain measure of government oversight is a good thing, especially cause we still have something of an actual democracy (at least where i live). You may place your trust in corporations, but I do not trust any entity driven solely by the need to make money. Now of course politicians are largely driven by power, but at least that is heavily regulated and it is basically impossible for any one person or even party to gain any sort of overwhelming power.

It's a balance act really but I welcome any regulation that would require technology to be inter-operable, and it would be criminal negligence to not at least cap the prices on such things. Where would the GPL be without the stipulation to provide the source code for free?

EU and concept of Private Property. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759290)

I find it so interesting that the E.U. constantly appears to have no concept of Private Property.

Re:EU and concept of Private Property. (3, Interesting)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759482)

Non-interopability is holding back mankind's progress and preventing a free market in the provision of IT services. Creating a free market, by preventing artificial barriers to entry or competition, should enable more innovation and cheaper prices.

Re:EU and concept of Private Property. (1)

quadelirus (694946) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759992)

So what, is the law going to dictate the protocol to be used to talk between them all? Is every device going to have to support a custom protocol for every other type of device. Non-interoperability exists in part because making a common language for the least common denominator is not always the best option. Look at Java vs. C++. Java works everywhere but there are some things that are better done in a platform specific way in C++. Also, what if one company wants to innovate in the way a product works, does it have to wait for all the other companies to support its ideas before it is allowed to do so?

This is clearly a train wreck and a pipe dream rolled up into one.

Re:EU and concept of Private Property. (1)

quadelirus (694946) | more than 3 years ago | (#32760016)

By the way, just so we're clear, when I used "language" in the sentence, "common language for the least common denominator is not always the best option," I did not mean computer language, but more protocol. My example of C++/Java just happened to be a computer language.

Re:EU and concept of Private Property. (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759778)

I find it so interesting that Anonymous Coward constantly appears to have no concept of the difference between a government-enforced monopoly and a property right.

Re:EU and concept of Private Property. (1)

spynode (1377809) | more than 3 years ago | (#32760008)

<quote><p>I find it so interesting that the E.U. constantly appears to have no concept of Private Property.</p></quote>

What are you even talking about? They don't want Apple to give themselves to EU as a X-Mas gift. All they want is to their game to be fare and standards open.

Slow Computing (-1, Troll)

wsanders (114993) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759320)

They have their "slow food" movement, now they have their "slow computing" movement.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple App Store (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759330)

I have to admit that the thought of Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple's App Store would be interesting. ;-)

--
Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone. Classic Scientific and HEX functionality plus RPN, fractions, complex numbers, dotted quads, 32/64-bit signed/unsigned bitwise operations, UTF-8, IEEE FP decode, and RGB decode with color preview.

Re:Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple App Stor (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759350)

I have to admit that the thought of Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple's App Store would be interesting. ;-)

Emulation could make it happen, in principle at least.

Re:Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple App Stor (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759430)

I have to admit that the thought of Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple's App Store would be interesting. ;-)

Emulation could make it happen, in principle at least.

I'm not referring to running Adroid, BlackBerry, etc apps on an iPhone. I'm just thinking about the Apple App Store becoming a cross platform store. The users sets a filter for their device and then native apps for their device are shown.

--
Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone. Classic Scientific and HEX functionality plus RPN, fractions, complex numbers, dotted quads, 32/64-bit signed/unsigned bitwise operations, UTF-8, IEEE FP decode, and RGB decode with color preview.

Re:Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple App Stor (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759364)

That's never going to happen. If that is what they mean by interoperability...

Re:Android, Blackberry, etc apps on Apple App Stor (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759484)

So, I assume that if that is the case, the EU will also force Ford to sell Chrysler's cars on their lots, and force Nike to sell Adidas in the Nike store.

Expect proprietary companies to fight viciously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759332)

The two most proprietary companies in the world, Apple & Microsoft will use every underhanded tactic possible to ensure that this never happens.
Apple relies totally on vendor lockin to exist, since they could never c and Microsoft relies totally on vendor lockin to maintain the position of their Windows platform.
If vendor lockin is taken away, both Apple and Microsoft will suffer gradual decline, unless they update their dying business models. Apple will probably survive in the medium term, as a gradually diminishing player in consumer electronics. I can only see a long slow decline for Microsoft.

This doesn't go far enough (-1, Troll)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759346)

The EU should have a definitive say in day to day operations and strategy in ALL large sized IT corporations.
Because EU style bureaucracy is EXACTLY what the IT industry needs.

I for one can't wait for operating systems and applications that are more culturally sensitive, painstakingly non-offensive and record every keystroke and constantly surveil us with built-in webcams and microphones. .. or better yet, how about Apple, MS and all other big name players form a pact to tell the EU to go fuck itself and if the EU starts giving them grief, they limit their product offerings and keep the EU lagging behind the rest of the world.

Re:This doesn't go far enough (2, Insightful)

xororand (860319) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759454)

Can you imagine how much inertia an Apple & MS embargo would bring for FOSS? So yes, proprietary software vendors, get out of the EU ASAP please ;)

iTunes on Linux? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759446)

I'm against DRM in general, but the reality of my situation is that I have a ton of DRM'ed songs and videos bought from iTMS.

I would willingly pay $30 to get a Linux-based player for this content.

I wonder if that could happen under this plan?

Apple can remove DRM from your songs ... (2, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759572)

I'm against DRM in general, but the reality of my situation is that I have a ton of DRM'ed songs and videos bought from iTMS.

I would willingly pay $30 to get a Linux-based player for this content.

I wonder if that could happen under this plan?

My understanding is that the Apple iTunes Store can remove DRM from old 128 kbps purchases if you upgrade them to the 256 kbps versions currently being sold. I don't think Apple is selling songs with DRM any more.

--
Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone. Classic Scientific and HEX functionality plus RPN, fractions, complex numbers, dotted quads, 32/64-bit signed/unsigned bitwise operations, UTF-8, IEEE FP decode, and RGB decode with color preview.

Re:Apple can remove DRM from your songs ... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759876)

I think it doesn't "remove" your old songs. It just loads a non-DRMed version and replaces the old one in your iTunes library. If you search the folders and directories, you will still find it. Or it seemed to me. To the user, it appears that the DRM was removed. I think there are still DRM versions out there as it is up to the copyright holder to agree but very few do anymore.

Re:Apple can remove DRM from your songs ... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759928)

My understanding is that the Apple iTunes Store can remove DRM from old 128 kbps purchases if you upgrade them to the 256 kbps versions currently being sold.

Wow, if that's true, that's wonderful. Do you know if there's a way to tell iTunes that you want to purchase, in one fell swoop, a non-DRM version of every one of the songs for which you only have a DRM'ed version?

Re:Apple can remove DRM from your songs ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759986)

I just tried that. Not possible in the "pirate-haven" Canada. Or at least I'm too dumb to figure it out. iTunes just says "Can't export protected content".

PS. That was my first and last iTunes purchases a number of years ago. Can't "upgrade" or remove DRM with iTunes.

Re:iTunes on Linux? (1)

_Swank (118097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759646)

At least for the songs, you should be pay iTunes (again) to get the songs with DRM removed. I think it's like $.49/song which, if you have a ton of songs, is probably well over $30 but it would mean that you would have a Linux player for that content today.

Re:iTunes on Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759726)

I think the likelihood of a Linux-based player happening is the same as Adobe making Linux-based readers/writers for its CS software formats

No Free Market in the EU? (0, Troll)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759476)

Hey Apple, give us all your code and make it available for Siemens, Philips, Ericsson, et. al.!

We don't want to have to spend our precious Euros on R&D, so hand it over American companies!

Re:No Free Market in the EU? (2, Informative)

ianturton (655126) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759924)

No, more like "I'd like to change GIS systems, can I get my data back, please?" - Currently if you go with the industry leader you are screwed. For example the US Air Force mandates that all it's bases store their maps in a proprietary DCMA protected format (got to love lobbiests) - This means that the US Air Force Academy spent $25 Million in a non compete tender to ESRI each year to licence the software they need to get to their own datasets (https://www.fbo.gov/index?tab=core&s=opportunity&mode=form&id=01da8bda20d8acaa50c7af0bba1f980c&tabmode=list). This is my taxes going down the drain each and every year.

I guess the EU just got fed up with this sort of tax waste and feels that it is preventing others entering the market. Even if I give my software away I can't beat vendor lock in like that.

How about graphics cards? (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759570)

If this ends up being applied to device drivers, it could be great news for the hard working FOSS coders working on drivers for graphics cards and other hardware under Linux and the other open OSes.

Thank you Slashdot Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759592)

Dear Slashdot,
Thank you for helping me improve the SEO of my blog site fosspatents.blogspot.com by posting the article I submitted linking to my site 5 times particularly since the article is a sensational piece of practical nonsense that may (but likely will not) happen in 2012.

--Florian Mueller

It's about time mac os x on any hardware/ midtower (0, Flamebait)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759626)

It's about time mac os x on any hardware/ mid-towers.

apple hardware is over priced and where is the mid-tower the mini is weak for it's price and the mac pro is over top with carp video card for it's price.

The imac need better video and people do not like screen lock in.

Opening up.. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759704)

Forcing companies to open up their proprietary protocols while certainly a step in the right direction, probably isn't enough and will almost certainly be abused...

Consider this, a company brings out product using a proprietary protocol or format...
They are forced to release the documentation, but they do so slowly, once the documentation is out the format is (intentionally) extremely complex and takes a long time for anyone else to get very far in implementing it.. Eventually flaws in the documentation are discovered, reported, and the vendor is forced to correct the documentation...
After months or years, competitors have finally implemented enough of the published documentation to have an interoperable program...
The first company brings out a new version of the product, using a different proprietary protocol or format and deprecates the old version.

Instead, companies should be forced to use standards where they already exist, and ONLY if nothing exists to do what is needed then they should be required to develop a new one, or modify an existing standard, in full view of the community... Such standards should also reuse existing published standards wherever possible.

Force companies to compete on product quality and cost, not through lock-in.

I don't understand the flaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759796)

It would be great to see Apple iStuff open up so that we can put Linux or Android on it, or whatever we want, without breaking the law.

Every day I like Europe more and more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32759800)

Every day, I find more and more reasons to like Europe.

Yeah, they can take a heavy hand with some stuff, but at least their politicians are not yet completely bought and paid for by mega corporations like they are here in The States.

If I could figure out how to do it legally and have a hope a hope of making a living somewhere in Europe I'd expatriate in a New York minute.

I used to be fiscally conservative and socially libertarian, but the state of things in the US has so sickened me that I'm finding European liberalism more and more appealing.

Which companies won't do it? (3, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759806)

I wonder which companies will run the calculations and decide that they will lose more profits opening up than they would by simply leaving the European market. While this sounds nice, companies who do a smaller percentage of business in Europe than they do elsewhere may decide it is worth it to keep their code locked. After all, no one will be able to implement interoperability exclusively in the EU, the US + rest of the world will get it too.

But, will it include (0, Flamebait)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32759832)

ALL the companies? For example,will it include EU companies? Will it include Chinese?

And why stop at IT? Why not continue with other industries that are prevalent in EU? Will all German drug companies be forced to open up how they make their drugs and open their patents/copyrights on them?
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