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334 comments

Amusing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34862560)

This is amusing in light of the lack of freedom and censorship that is rampant on Wikipedia. Maybe someone should clean their own house first? BTW, don't you have another fund raiser to whore yourself out to anyway?

yeah. (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863464)

i still use wikipedia to great extent. the fact that one of your edits have been shunned does not make it a less valid source. take your whining elsewhere. the complaint wales puts forth is valid and important. you may choose not to use wikipedia. but if a few corporations close the internet as we know it, as their fenced gardens, all of your freedom goes away.

learn to sort your priorities.

Re:Amusing... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863844)

Let me guess. You tried to "correct" something and people who knew better than you thankfully reversed it?

Ugh (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862580)

I’m personally not a fan of the whole “app” thing. Feels like we are going backwards.

You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

OS integration and a few features like GPS and multi-touch are one justification, and there are certainly cases where it does make sense to have a specialized client vice a web app to view content from the web, however I think a lot of it has to do with money.

You can’t sell a subscription to a website (unless you’ve got some really damn good content), but you can sell a little app that pulls data off your website and displays it in a different manner.

We had a shitty but effective standard going here.. and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

Re:Ugh (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862734)

We had a shitty but effective standard going here.. and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

Give a little more time for HTML5 to become common, and you'll see whole sites popping up to provide web-delivered "Apps" which cache and remain local via HTML5. People are still getting a handle on it. There's loads of apps which are so simple they can be replaced in this way.

Hopefully as HTML continues to add in features, more and more of the lame apps will disappear and be replaced. But apps offer persistence; you don't have to reload them every time you want to use them. Again, you can offer this through HTML5, but developers don't know or aren't interested (yet!) in replacing their apps with non-App versions because they like to get paid. Someone will eventually do it just for giggles, though. And many of the apps are already available on this basis, but usually not cached.

You can’t sell a subscription to a website (unless you’ve got some really damn good content), but you can sell a little app that pulls data off your website and displays it in a different manner.

And if it adds substantial value then it will be used. And if it doesn't then someone else will come along and offer a website that works without your app and eat your lunch.

Re:Ugh (5, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862810)

But apps offer persistence; you don't have to reload them every time you want to use them.

One thing most apps also offer that the web browser doesn't is they work when you don't have internet access.

Re:Ugh (2)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862936)

Most apps that I find useful rely on having an internet connection. Games might be the only exception.

Re:Ugh (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863774)

Games might be the only exception.

Many apps require an internet connection at some point, but they can use cached/downloaded in ways web apps can't. For instance, my Marvel Comics app will hold up to 1 GB of data (set in user prefs), which an app that loads in Mobile Safari can't.

Re:Ugh (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862962)

As much as I loath html5 (XHTML2 forever!), it has features that allow it to cache itself and be used offline if the browser implements the spec correctly.

Re:Ugh (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863106)

One thing most apps also offer that the web browser doesn't is they work when you don't have internet access.

One thing that the web offers is a chance for you to do some research to find out if what you are saying makes any sense before you submit a comment to slashdot.

Re:Ugh (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863420)

Isn't that what HTML5 local storage is for?

Re:Ugh (1)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863206)

I don't think it's the apps though. It's the App Store. Got an iphone-droid-pad-ultra-X? Great! Visit the associated App Store and buy some apps! Oh, uh, no, as a matter of fact there isn't any other way to load a program onto the device. Apple / your carrier / whoever will always have a noose around it's neck. Nobody is going to eat their lunch b/c the device is locked down.

Re:Ugh (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863536)

Apple / your carrier / whoever will always have a noose around it's neck. Nobody is going to eat their lunch b/c the device is locked down.

That's a lot of nonsense. There is a credible alternative to iWhatever, it's called Android, and it is legion. Even the most locked-down Android devices are eventually hacked wide open and you can install your own APKs, and many of them come with this functionality open to begin with. If there were no alternative to iFanboyism then you would have a point.

Re:Ugh (0)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863582)

I can install anything I want on my Android phone without having to root it. Your criticism is more applicable to Apple devices, which do require rooting if you want to install "unapproved" software.

Re:Ugh (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863782)

My droid has lots of apps from outside the market. ScummVM is one. I also don't run a carrier or vendor OS on it. What you speak of is only a problem for some phones and some users.

Re:Ugh (2)

awyeah (70462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863480)

Lots of sites did the whole "app-in-browser" thing when the iPhone first came out, because you couldn't download applications to it. And a lot of them were pretty damn good because the browser lets you do things that really make them feel very close to applications running natively. They're a little laggy and don't have quite the same feel to them, but very close.

This includes things nice GUI effects (things sliding around, the screen "flipping" to go to the settings page, etc).

I'm hoping that the offline stuff gets off the ground.

Re:Ugh (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862788)

"Specialized viewer mentality" has always been there.

Sony loves it. They only put DVD players in the PS2 because they were part of the consortium that owned the patents. They put Blu-Ray in the PS3 because... they own the patents. They used their proprietary memory card tech in the PSP and PS3 because... you guess it... they own the patents. In the early days of MP3 players, they were trying to shove minidisc and ATRAC down everyone's throats because, guess what... THEY OWNED THE PATENTS.

We now have Amazon Kindle Store, B&N Nook Store, etc because everyone wants to try to lock their customer into their devices. Want to switch to Kindle? Ok, but you can't take all the Nook books you bought with you (without cracking the DRM, being accused of "piracy", etc etc).

Every corporation loves the idea of the specialized viewer because it locks the customer in to their store. Every consumer with a brain hates the idea, but has nowhere else to turn to except "piracy."

Re:Ugh (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863364)

You also missed the PS1 using CDs because... they owned the patents.

They put Blu-Ray in the PS3 because... they own the patents.

They were part of a consortium in this one, too... they just happened to be the ringleader.

As such, we all know they put Blu-Ray in the PS3 to help the format take off.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863418)

At the same time the iPad can run Nook and Kindle apps, the Kindle app is on a ton of platforms, so it's really a fight between the apps running on a ton of platforms, and the platforms running a ton of apps. The real problem lies with the iBooks on the iPad or the Kindle on the Kindle, that's where you really get locked in.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863604)

Every corporation loves the idea of the specialized viewer because it locks the customer in to their store. Every consumer with a brain hates the idea, but has nowhere else to turn to except "piracy."

There are degrees of "specialized viewer" though. IMAP clients are "specialized viewers" (compared to, say, running a web browser to connect to a webmail service) but don't lock people into anyone. These can be good things.

We'll know that a particular App Store has finally matured and become usable, when the specialized viewer apps are advertised as being for protocols or accessing types of services, rather than specific services themselves. A "yelp app" is a dumb thing that the user has to be crazy to use and is only going to benefit yelp; a "find restaurants" app that geo-queries various business directory databases (I don't just mean Google's, heh) is a different matter. A "Netflix app" or "Hulu app" for viewing movies from one service is dumb; a "MythTV app" for talking mythttv protocol to any mythtv backend, though, isn't dumb.

From what I've seen of Apple's store, they're not ready yet. That place is hell, and since Apple's devices herd the users into this immature store, those devices aren't ready yet.

The basic idea of downloading apps from a repository instead of just running a web browser, though, doesn't suck. Unlike Apple's, for example, Debian's app store is ready to use now and doesn't have any downsides at all. So you've just got to find a device that is ready to use that store (AFAIK the N900 is the only mobile phone on the market right now that does that), or some other store that has reached that level of taking the users' side over rival interests.

Re:Ugh (2)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863690)

We now have Amazon Kindle Store, B&N Nook Store, etc because everyone wants to try to lock their customer into their devices.

It seems pretty clear Amazona and BN want to sell you ebooks more than lock you into their devices, or they wouldn't offer reader apps for iOS and Android.

Re:Ugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863736)

Every consumer with a brain hates the idea

Thanks for your condescension, but I actually like some specialized viewers. Why? Because I like things that are made to use a given device to its best. Even without apps, sites introduced specialized versions of their content for mobile phones -- not just to reduce the data size per page, but to make it pages suitable to the smaller screen by eliminating (or minimizing) less-important information that took up either significant data or significant screen space. Good specialized viewers simply take that one step further when it's beneficial; to treat content on on a device with multitouch on 9" screen in the exact same manner as content on a device with keypad-only inputs and a 2.5" screen is in many cases going to make the experience worse for users of one or both devices.

I disdain patents and DRM as much as the next guy, but you sound blinded by rage against them. Specialized viewers can exist with or without patents or DRM, and their value is separate from the value of patents or DRM.

Re:Ugh (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863764)

They used their proprietary memory card tech in the PSP and PS3 because

PSP, PS1 and PS2, yes. PS3, no. The PS3 can use any USB storage device.

The Xbox 360 limits you to a certain memory limit if you try plugging in a general storage device, and only works fully with MS approved peripherals.

Don't think the Wii can really use external storage at all. Maybe for GameCube games.

Every company tries to push their own stuff sure, but I think it's more important how easy they make it to also use other formats more than whether they include their own format or not. Having said that, I just bought a Kindle and am not too worried about Amazon going out of business anytime soon. If they do then I should still be able to convert and load eBooks onto it somehow, or can just get whatever more modern reader is available by then. Hopefully all eBook distributors will soon settle on ePub or another standard anyway.

Re:Ugh (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862840)

Most devices will allow (with permission) use of the GPS and other local features through the browser, which would add some horsepower to your thoughts. But the reason I like apps on my smartphones is I want to use the browser for browsing.

The good news is there are some wonderful multi-platform tools like Appcelerator, Phonegap (this one pushes to the browser for now though), Rhomobile, DragonRad, that allow the developer to write once and compile many.

You're right about the revenue model. Good for developers/entrepreneurs, not as good for the consumer. I totally agree with the mentality of offering an ad-supported and potentially less featureful app for free, with a low price on the full ad-free version.

Re:Ugh (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862856)

Ack, and forgot to add a device and a webapp (see Evernote for example) to me is the best of all worlds.

Re:Ugh (2)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863038)

and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

On the other hand, since we're going this direction and the users like it, that means there is a widespread problem with the traditional way of thinking and marketing software.

Re:Ugh (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863180)

and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

On the other hand, since we're going this direction and the users like it, that means there is a widespread problem with the traditional way of thinking and marketing software.

It's worth mentioning that Ubuntu offers an "App Store" sort of experience for Free and free software downloads through the Software Center, and that users cite the ease of software management in modern Linux distributions (which substantially predates Ubuntu) as one of the features that they find indispensable. It certainly beats the hell out of having update processes running on my machine from Oracle, DVDFab, Adobe, Microsoft, et cetera. To me, this is just the world cashing in on what the nerds figured out.

Re:Ugh (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863344)

You're right, but on the other hand Ubuntu will run on almost any hardware. Can you say that about any "app"?

Re:Ugh (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863408)

You're right, but on the other hand Ubuntu will run on almost any hardware. Can you say that about any "app"?

Android on x86 is getting better all the time, and it's only a matter of time before it is credible. So sure, Android apps will run pretty much anywhere soon enough.

Re:Ugh (1)

stoanhart (876182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863318)

The problem is simply that HTML isn't good enough yet.

Two apps that I use in lieu of their mobile website equivalents are "Reddit is fun" and "XDA developers" on Android. The user experience is simply dramatically better than the web versions can create. Simply the ability to long-click/right-click on items to bring up a context menu, the ability to bring up a global context menu via the menu keys, the ability to search the current content via the search key, and the ability to more quickly and easily collapse comment threads or scroll quickly without having to wait for more AJAX requests and HTML rendering is completely worth it. Even though Android's browser is based on Chrome, it's still much slower than a native app.

Re:Ugh (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863336)

I'm personally not a fan of the whole "app" thing. Feels like we are going backwards.

You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

I'd like to think that the whole app thing is a short-term phenomenon that will die out.

Why the specialized apps versus web pages? I haven't taken a look at the traffic but I would suspect that it takes less bandwidth to populate the data in an app that's running natively on a handheld than it does to fill a web browser. You have to feed it not just the data but the design info on every page load. Reading message boards on an iphone is ok but highly interactive stuff like a facebook runs more smoothly with the app versus doing it in safari.

I look back at the early webmail examples and they were dreadful. The early hotmail was an exercise in tedium and I asked why anybody would want to use that over a nice, native mail client. Fast-forward to today and something like gmail is a breeze to use and offline mail applications seem archaic in comparison. As another comparison, my very first experience with electronic banking involved a proprietary application installed from floppies that required dialup access to the main bank. And this was right at the cusp of the internet becoming big-time. It was a tremendous pain in the ass to use and proper internet banking with nothing more than a mainstream browser was a whole new world of practicality and convenience.

I think there's plenty of room for apps that really need to be apps, things that are really programs. But stuff that should really just be a webpage should be done in web pages. I think it's just a matter of the technology maturing a little more. Early hotmail sucked, current gmail is great. In another five years we'll see people extolling the virtues of the next twist on html5 that will save us from the horror of the customized app store. And then someone will talk about the era of the thin-client finally being at hand.

Of course, there's also the school of thought that says the app store concept is a way of putting the toothpaste back in the tube, trying to lock things down so corporations can go back to making money hand over claw. We'll see.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863754)

You have to feed it not just the data but the design info on every page load.

That's what caching is for, and a properly optimised mobile web cache will be almost as fast as the native app in the end user's perception. Of course the real issue is nobody uses them, they serve up hundreds of kilobytes of CSS, JavaScript and images and the lack of consistency in some sites means assets aren't re-used as cleverly as they should be, but these are issues with the content, not the platform - if the developers of those sites can be bothered to make an "app", they should take the same care about providing the choice of a mobile optimised version of their site.

Re:Ugh (3, Insightful)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863412)

I’m personally not a fan of the whole “app” thing. Feels like we are going backwards.

And I was thinking we were finally moving forwards. One of the best features of Ubuntu in my mind is the repository system (which I would consider the prototypical "app store"). I need an application? Click the easy button on my desktop, get a nice sortable list of programs, click one, and it nicely installs. Unclick the box, it uninstalls.

The one thing that iPod/Pad/Phone/Widgets are missing is the built-in ability to install outside the store - but jailbreaking has become so terribly trivial that it's hardly an obstacle anymore (i.e. if you really need to get an off-brand app onto your device, you're already savvy enough to know how.)

Re:Ugh (-1, Troll)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863598)

I was confused for a minute. Then I realized you really meant the *Debian* repository system which was adopted by Ubuntu. Learn your history, sonny.

Re:Ugh (5, Insightful)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863590)

The basic issue at hand is that the majority of people don't have time for anything more than "it just works." What they want is appliance computing, and that's what App stores enable. This is the reason Apple has had so much success lately, and why they won't ever be loved by Slashdot. Personally, I'm happy to roll my own OpenBSD kernels for my media server and firewall at home, but when it comes to my phone I'll take Steve Jobs' walled garden. I don't have the time for anything else, and I really need my phone to "just work".

True general-purpose computing exists on the desktop and will continue to do so - but the consequences of that model will be continued security issues far in excess of the walled garden's, compatibility issues due to a functionally infinite number of hardware configurations to support, and abandonment by any developers unwilling to tolerate piracy/off-label usage of their applications [some might say 'good riddance' to the latter, but there's an awful lot of money and talent in that pool that will be spent making the walled gardens more attractive].

As far as the open source and freedom-to-code communities go, they can either approach this with ineffectual wailing and gnashing of teeth, or they can resolve to make this work for them. How? By building compelling services that are free-as-in-speech on general-purpose computers, and charging nominal fees for viewers targeting closed platforms, the proceeds from which are used to fund further development. I suspect we're about to witness a period of brutal natural selection in which the greater software ecosystem culls out those who refuse to embrace and leverage the new environment.

We'll find out, either way.
--Ryv

Re:Ugh (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863634)

You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

I agree, but I am hopeful, because apps are almost certainly a transitory phase.

There's been a lot of innovation in wireless handhelds in the last few years. There was a valid need to "break the mould" and explore new ways of doing things. Standardization comes later, once things settle down. As new UI idioms settle in, developers will notice increasing redundancy in all the apps and start developing standards that capture the commonality. In the end, just as how the web matured for PCs, you won't have to contend with a dozen slight variations on readers or players (or whatever end up being the killer apps), and there will be a way for most content producers to just focus on their content and not have to program applications. That said, it won't be a return to what the web circa 2007, either, it will be something that incorporates the best innovations of the apps.

Re:Ugh (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863842)

You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

The problem only really exists if there is exclusivity and that exclusivity is enforced. The problem in the beginning that these special viewers and clients were required to view various data. For example AOL client was required to get access to AOL's community. What users really wanted was the Internet not just AOL's version of it.

Take wikipedia for example. You can use Wikiamo app to view wikipedia articles on the iPhone. However it is not required. You can use a web browser to view wikipedia. The difference is the app is better optimized on a mobile device with no keyboard and mouse. If wikipedia enforced exlusivity with an app they created, then they are creating the problem that Jimmy Wales describes.

In some cases, exclusivity is neccessary from a business standpoint. Want to access SalesForce? Do you trust SalesForce exlusive app to access their exclusive data or do you want to trust a 3rd party app (assuming SalesForce allows 3rd parties to access their data)?

Do you know what else is a threat? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34862594)

The thieving lizard jew bankers.

Sure, like the one on the iPad (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862606)

But not like the one on Android, since you can still install apks from other sources, or use third party app stores.

The only problem with app stores is when it is inordinately difficult to install software from another source. People have been buying stuff from non-recommended sources since time immemorial to upgrade anything and everything.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (5, Insightful)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862656)

Mod parent up! It's all in the implementation. A central point is only a problem when it's the ONLY source, and there are no viable alternatives, like the iPhone App Store.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (3, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862928)

Problem for who? I'm not trolling, but seriously ask yourself what exactly is the problem? Is it a problem for people are for the most part completely computer illiterate and just want to get a few games on their device? I don't think so. I've watched my mom and my stepfather try to figure out how to set up their iPhone and iPod with iTunes and it was a challenge for them. iTunes may be bloated and slow, but one thing it is is easy. There is no way they would be able to manage with an Android device. The iPhone app store is locked down. If that is a problem for you, then don't use it. I can assure you that it's not a problem for a large number of people.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863382)

People who want something that has been banned by the controls of the App Store whatever it might be for a particular platform. I think it's great to have an App Store, for exactly the reason you mentioned, I think it's a bad idea to have it be the ONLY source for applications for your device. I put my money where my mouth is, and got a G2, instead of an iPhone. I've also got an iPod touch, which was a gift, and I seldom use it now that I have the G2.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863836)

Agreed - I have no issue with making things easy for those who are wary of technology, my only worry is when it comes at the cost of limiting the device for everyone else. If you make the user jump through some trivial complexity hoops to install a rival package manager, it's not like the average user will fall into it by mistake (and you can always have a big fat reset option somewhere so the phone vendor isn't stuck supporting this stuff). I know there's the option of jailbreaking the device, but really you shouldn't need to, the whole "making things easier" thing is just an excuse (since, for a subset of users, they're making things more difficult). I'm broadly in favour of anything that means I don't spend all my family reunions doing tech support, but don't take our geek toys away in the process!

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863558)

I've watched my mom and my stepfather try to figure out how to set up their iPhone and iPod with iTunes and it was a challenge for them. iTunes may be bloated and slow, but one thing it is is easy.

Aren't these statements contradictory? Even assuming Apple has the perfect UI, they could add support to install external applications with absolutely no changes to their App Store interface. Just make it so that you can click a package link in the web browser.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863742)

The iPhone app store is locked down. If that is a problem for you, then don't use it.

If the App Store Only" mentality of locked down devices persists, eventually there won't be something else to choose so that we "don't [have to] use it."

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862940)

Steve Jobs has no place in his company for allowing any external influence one upon anything related to design and user experience. Not even the user. This means he will control everything. Where you stand on the spectrum of freedom vs walled garden will determine whether you go all-in on Apple products or not.

Wikipedia does not hold control of every detail this tightly. They encourage outsiders to influence everything about the site and it's content. Same thing with Android. You can do anything you want to your device with no fear of reprisal from Google. Not so with Apple. Make Jobs mad and you'll wake up to your new iBrick.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863602)

Steve Jobs has no place in his company for allowing any external influence one upon anything related to design and user experience. Not even the user. This means he will control everything. Where you stand on the spectrum of freedom vs walled garden will determine whether you go all-in on Apple products or not.

Well, I'll tell you why I'm using Apple products - they worked with the least amount of futzing. My wife went through a few mp3 players, and just the basic matter of moving songs to/from the device ranged from annoying to hellish - it was sad when it was easier to copy/paste the files directly to the drive than to navigate the half-baked interface that Sony was pushing a few years back.

I plug in my iPod, it works. Yeah, iTunes isn't the sleekish program around - but it works. It keeps my files where they're supposed to be, and it keeps my devices updated the way I want them to be without manually screwing around for an hour.

Yeah, Steve gets weird about some things, but you can't deny that the polish and ease-of-use comes as a result.

Wikipedia does not hold control of every detail this tightly. They encourage outsiders to influence everything about the site and it's content. Same thing with Android. You can do anything you want to your device with no fear of reprisal from Google. Not so with Apple. Make Jobs mad and you'll wake up to your new iBrick.

I'm not sure if wikipedia is as open as advertised (at least, I hear a heckuva lot more horror stories than happy ones - my favorite being the guy who can't fix a simple factual error on his own bio page because he's "not an objective source". He then has to give an interview with a local paper (about the fact he can't change it), and then can make the change, referring to the interview he himself gave.) But to be honest, I don't have time to deal with the politics over there, so I decline to care.

Android stuff looks cool, but I honestly don't have the time these days to tweak my gizmos anymore (kids, wife, etc.). I haven't even needed to jailbreak the 'pod yet, because... I haven't run into something I needed to do and couldn't yet. (If I do, I'll happily break it.) I haven't seen any Jobs-brigades breaking down doors yet, so I don't think Steve cares as much as you think he does if you jailbreak.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (2)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862764)

Agree that easy unofficial sourcing of apps is important.

That said, I think the rise of "apps" as a term for pay-to-play web page is still a problem. Nearly all the Apps out there are just web pages that do things on small screens and can access some system resources like the GPS. The whole paradigm is bullshit, even without the Apple nannys running the App Store(TM). I use the World Wide Web. I LIKE the World Wide Web. Quit fucking with it.

My mother keeps asking me if her favorite websites are going to start charging for access. I tell her, uh, sort of.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863476)

That said, I think the rise of "apps" as a term for pay-to-play web page is still a problem.

I guess I don't see what the problem is. You know where the app comes from. You can compare the experience of the site to reviews of the app before purchase.

Nearly all the Apps out there are just web pages that do things on small screens and can access some system resources like the GPS.

Well, what I want is an easier way to permit certain websites to access specific hardware on my devices, so that we don't need apps to do these things... but it doesn't exist. Well, there may be a plugin or something, but ideally it would be something I don't have to install... mostly so that I can develop apps that use the same functionality, and other people can install them without needing to add something.

I use the World Wide Web. I LIKE the World Wide Web. Quit fucking with it.

They really aren't. There have actually been applications which do little or nothing more than wrap around web pages for a long, long time; web pages have also repeatedly been used to add functionality to applications, most commonly update functionality or embedded news pages. This is not a problem because the act of creating such a thing does not itself affect a website in any way. You need only add content. Someone taking content away when they add an app isn't a problem with an app store, but with that someone.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863478)

Actually, I believe that the Android app store would be acceptable even if you couldn't get apps from other sources.

The Android app store is governed by a set of written rules, like a constitution. These rules are pretty much as you would expect: they give Google some legal protections and they allow Google to block apps that would objectively harm consumers, e.g. apps that break the law or that have malware. Google has never engaged in the sort of arbitrary blocking and abuse of power that Apple has.

Sometimes people write about the Google Market as if were a wild west, without rules. In fact, it is like a constitutional democracy with written rules that limit the state's powers.

So, the problem is not app stores in general. It is the Apple style of App Store that is the problem.

Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863672)

Sometimes people write about the Google Market as if were a wild west, without rules. In fact, it is like a constitutional democracy with written rules that limit the state's powers.

That's still restrictive to the user. Every constitutional democracy places nonsensical restrictions on what the members can do sooner or later as a way of making money for the elite and/or self-perpetuating. These restrictions tend to follow you around the world, too. And the USA does not recognize any right to terminate your citizenship; like any abusive parent, it feels you owe it something for bringing you into the world, when in truth the opposite is true. Just as your parents owe you an upbringing in exchange for your birth (this is encoded in law, but it is also a basic principle of successful civilization — we don't take it very seriously today, and perhaps that is why ours is going in the toilet) your nation owes you certain rights for your existence. The rights supposedly guaranteed in our constitution are denied to many people every day. The principles upon which this nation are supposedly founded (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness) are crapped directly upon every day. The problem is the lack of alternatives. You are legally prohibited from seeking them.

Weird Article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34862648)

Article format: "Jimbo says app stores are bad. By the way, Wikipedia."

It talks about app stores for the first two paragraphs, and then the rest of the article is about Wikipedia, PhDs, and markup code. It's an interesting point, but I wish they'd talk more about it. Then again, /. commenters will take care of that.

Doomed to Failure anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34862654)

Not worried about it. The walled garden is only superficially popular while it's the only game in town.

Re:Doomed to Failure anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863278)

Wait a minute. I thought Android was the market leader??

Reality check regarding Apple. (2)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862658)

Apple is a publicly traded company and as such here's what's important to them.....

Making money for their stockholders.

That means sucking you into a proprietary app system. That means sweatshops for iPods and doing things like heading down the dangerous path of closing off the Darwin source for development so that OSS geeks can't find a way to make OS X work on commodity boxes.

Apple is going to do what is best in their corporate interest.
Surprised? Don't be. It's business

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862704)

That means sweatshops for iPods

The same sweatshops making your beloved Android phones as well.

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862874)

Tsk tsk. Google good, Apple bad. By the way you've been given a free (mandatory) trip to the /. re-education center.

Apple pays Foxconn extra to pay their workers more so they don't commit suicide, so the conditions at Foxconn when working on Apple must be that much worse then when working on Google parts.

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862930)

He was responding to the mention of Apple products in the OPs description. Get over it.

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (1)

ego centrik (1971902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863682)

_ he not mentioned Android with one word. The story is about Apple "App Store" philosophy + its consequences.

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (2)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862888)

news flash

Google has shareholders too.

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863146)

He didn't even mention Google...

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863798)

exactly my point

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862988)

Those same sweatshops make almost every electronic device you use. They make your garbage disposal, your TV, the gizmos in you car, your clothes, light bulbs, etc, etc. Singling out Apple for being a public company that uses "sweatshops" is a non starter as an argument.

Re:Reality check regarding Apple. (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863394)

Actually, the gizmos in my car weren't made in sweatshops, they were all made in 1990-91 in US and Canadian Union shops by UAW workers with final assembly in Oshawa Ontario.

Low mile old truck for the win.

Tablets? (1)

slag02 (1359687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862662)

As we move toward tablets with full functioning web browsers that will display anything you throw at it, then you will see the end of the app store era. But what do I know?

Re:Tablets? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862728)

As we move toward tablets with full functioning web browsers that will display anything you throw at it, then you will see the end of the app store era.

This would require standardized JavaScript APIs for every input device on the hardware, including multitouch and any built-in camera, accelerometer, and GPS. It would also require a kickass JavaScript JIT engine, WebGL, and full support for HTML5 offline features (CACHE MANIFEST and localStorage). As far as I know, current tablets aren't entirely there yet.

Re:Tablets? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862870)

I have thought for some time that the reason Apple is so against Flash isn't entirely due to it's processor-using battery-sucky ways - though those are serious flaws. It's also because Flash is a competitor for the app store. A lot of those apps are little flash games (think Angry Birds, for a well-known example) - exactly the type of thing that could be written in flash, and has been. There are thousands, tens of thousands of Flash games available. I know: I work at a school, blocking them all.

Re:Tablets? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863000)

You might have an argument there if there weren't free apps in the app store. 30% of 0 is what again?

Re:Tablets? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863124)

You mean like Safari?

vender lockin and lockdown is bad also free apps (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862678)

vender lock-in and lock down is bad also people who make free apps should not have to pay $99 year just to have you app in the store.

There needs to be more then just 1 app store and there needs to be a way to load apps with out the any store as well being able to code apps with out paying big fees and or having to buy a high cost dev kit.

$99 annual fee (2)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863080)

"people who make free apps should not have to pay"

Just because the app is free, doesn't mean that Apple has no costs associated with hosting the app on the download server, verifying the app doesn't have viruses/etc, and bandwidth to allow customers to download the app.

Now, I'm no Apple fanboy - I own an Android phone, because I don't like the level of control that Apple exercises over their products after sale, but I also recognize that having a small annual fee for hosting the app is not unreasonable. On the other hand, what is unreasonable is that you can't host the app yourself, or with some other service.

Wikipedia is "free" but they just raised something like $10 Million to fund their operations this year. If you are offering a 'free' app that other people find useful, you should have no problem getting $99 in donations to pay the annual hosting fee. That is an absolutely paltry sum, in the big picture. But, you should also have other hosting options, which Apple does not allow.

Re:$99 annual fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863508)

Well, look at nintendo's argument for their virtual console: "you can't get the game from anywhere to install and play on your wii, so we're going to charge you to sell it through our store. We have bandwidth and hardware expenses as well as labor to manage all that. Now, we'll only release 3 games a week, so as to not flood the market with crap games. This also helps YOU out because with being 1 of 3 games to choose from, people are likely to buy your game because of forced exposure instead of coming across it in the 1000's of games from the existing catalog. Oh, and we're charging anywhere from 5-15 for games that might be over 20 years old!"

When the wii was still the revolution, many were excited with the simple idea of playing all of your nintendo games on 1 system! Many still have all of their systems and games. But now we have a few new problems, why do we have to pay for a game we already own? Also, is the value of a 20 year old game really 5-15 bucks? And the worst, why release 3 games at a time? That made a lot of people frustrated! I ended up never buying a game because the cost isn't worth it (to me).

I don't know how much apple or nintendo make off of their sales of software, but it has to be enough to keep that business model afloat. If it wasn't, it'd be gone by now right? But the real question is, how much is needed to run that model, and how much is profit? Because they're making money off of their consumers and the developers.

One of the things i really enjoy about android is that I am able to make programs for it for free & get it on my phone for free! Sure, I'm not selling them but who wants world cup soccer team flags and slogans on their phone for a price? But that only limits me to selling them & the additional exposure from the android market. I'm free to publish the programs on my website for free or cost. But we can't say the same for apple or nintendo (legally). And it wouldn't be Ghetto any other way, because the entire point of GhettoBSD is to use whatever free junk you can get your hands on to make cool things happen (servers, software etc).

EXCLUSIVE App Stores are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34862738)

App stores aren't the problem, exclusive app stores are. Remember the song line "I sold my soul to the company store"? That's what these things are.

Re:EXCLUSIVE App Stores are the problem (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863444)

Remember what that song is about, coal mining, where people lived in company housing and had to buy from the company store so that by working they became more in debt to the mining company.

No matter what you think about the Apple App Store, Apple isn't forcing anyone to buy food and clothes from them, live in Apple owned houses and become in debt to the Apple company.

I thought we had something special, Jimmy. (5, Funny)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862742)

All those hours spent gazing fondly at your picture at the top of every Wikipedia page. Installing the Jimmy Wales extension for Chromium, so I could see you everywhere. Knowing that you were looking just at me...

You have betrayed me, Jimmy, with your false generalization of software distribution systems. Words cannot express the anger and shame I feel.

I want my $2.50 back.

Re:I thought we had something special, Jimmy. (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862950)

eh, hes probably just pissed off that app stores make it easier to not have to spend money on wikipedia donations and he doesn't like the competition.

Re:I thought we had something special, Jimmy. (1)

greghodg (1453715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863668)

Shouldn't this guy ought to be a little more concerned with those Swedish sexual assault charges?

Apple's core problem (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862800)

Don't download just any app, don't change the OS, don't share your books or music with anyone, and NEVER develop unauthorized software or be ready to be remotely disabled!

If you don't like it, buy something else!!!

Re:Apple's core problem (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863138)

Mean ol' Apple and their proprietary Apple Audio Codec. Having to have apps approved before not just ad-hoc distribution but during development as well is just plain evil. Or all in your head. Personally, I'm going with the latter.

It's basically the same as the *nix repositories.. (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862836)

Granted maybe not in Apple's case since you can't install anything on your own, and I think that's the way they are going to go on the desktop as well -- totally closed off and everything 100% through the App store for desktop and mobile.

Windows won't go that route on the desktop, though they will on the mobile device.

Android is going to take a bit of a hit with the iPhone coming to Verizon, so we'll see how they change their tune to stay competitive.

Re:It's basically the same as the *nix repositorie (1)

qinjuehang (1195139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34862872)

There exists PPAs and Overlays, but you can't open a private "App Store" for OS X

Re:It's basically the same as the *nix repositorie (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863152)

Sure you can. You just can't integrate it into Software Update.

ZBitch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34862910)

o'bvio0s that there

Own vs rent (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863064)

I think we need a law establishing the clear difference between own vs. rent. Own = single payment (or limited set of payments) ahead of time, no need to return property, free right to mod, upgrade, download anything to it. No cancellation fees allowed. They can charge to ship out (and charge shipping to return if broken and being replaced). No signature required Rent = a set of equal payments (no set up/start up/initiation fee) each good for a specified amount of time, property must be returned WITH ZERO SHIPPING COST (it is their property, they have to pay to ship it both ways - build it into the rent), zero rights to mod/upgrade/download anything. Cancellation fees allowed, but not to exceed remaining months. hand written signature expressely required for a rental agreement - and also for any extensions of the agreement. Services can be begun without the signature on a monthly usage, but no cancellation fee or contract is considered active without the signature. Electronic signatures not allowed unless an independent third party tracks said signature. (Sort of like In addition, they need to clearly state what is being sold vs what is being rented. You would be allowed to sell a product and then rent a service to it, but which is what needs to be clearly shown.

Re:Own vs rent (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863284)

I think we need a law establishing the clear difference between own vs. rent. Own = single payment (or limited set of payments) ahead of time, no need to return property, free right to mod, upgrade, download anything to it. No cancellation fees allowed. They can charge to ship out (and charge shipping to return if broken and being replaced). No signature required Rent = a set of equal payments (no set up/start up/initiation fee) each good for a specified amount of time, property must be returned WITH ZERO SHIPPING COST (it is their property, they have to pay to ship it both ways - build it into the rent), zero rights to mod/upgrade/download anything.

We could solve this with labeling requirements. I don't agree with the shipping cost thing, but the costs must be specified up front (or at least responsibility assigned.) I personally believe that the government should limit its influence on MOST markets to labeling requirements, though I am not in favor of reducing environmental restrictions. Unfortunately, the government uses its influence on labeling requirements to support evil as well as to do good. For example, they're permitting an artificial sweetener made by Monsanto to be sold as USDA Organic and in foods labeled as such, and let's not forget the government forcing people to put a label on dairy products which are labeled as not including rBGH stating that the USDA has not found any substantive difference in rBGH and non-rBGH milk, even though the opposite is true. So really, there is no way to fix the problem without taking our government back from evil corporations. (I don't believe all corporations are evil, but by their actions shall you know them, and Monsanto is pure, concentrated evil. Anyone who works for them is doing evil, period, the end.)

Re:Own vs rent (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863386)

Think about the model you just proposed. Would you be foolish enough to invest all your money in such a business model? If you did, you'd be hamstringing yourself from the start. Your competition would annihilate you.

Now, if you're talking about forcing your idea on other people, that's just the little totalitarian dictator that's in all of us talking.

Think about models that engage human nature, not models that force and repress it into designated patterns.

Your phone is not the internet (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863082)

As long as the browser works, I don't see how the app store model has any impact on "internet freedom".

Re:Your phone is not the internet (3, Insightful)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863452)

As long as the browser works, I don't see how the app store model has any impact on "internet freedom".

Don't discount the impact of the masses. If all the kids and Grandma switch primarily to using apps on their phone, then it is not unreasonable to think the web would begin to stagnate and languish. Certainly people could continue to operate web sites, but the significance might be greatly diminished. Gopher [wikipedia.org] is still around.

Back in the 1990s I remember that people used to cry that corporations wanted the internet to be "tv with a 'buy now' button". The app model seems to be much more in that direction.

It's Always Apple (2)

CyberLife (63954) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863140)

Seems like it's always the App Store which gets all the credit for being bad for society. Why don't we ever hear about the PlayStation Store, or the Xbox Marketplace, or the Wii's Shop Channel? These also sell screened, platform-specific software, some of which you cannot get any other way. Oh, but they're just games, right?

Re:It's Always Apple (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863730)

You'll hear the same arguments against other locked down systems from me, but then again, I am admittedly in a minority.

marketing marketing marketing... (1)

boxxa (925862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863216)

i agree that app stores do bring a new level of control and threaten the openness of devices however it does provide a larger distribution center for smaller developers. the ability to use another app store or source is a huge plus which is what android seems to have going for them. Cydia brought this to the iPhone but it will be nice to see the ability to turn on other app store abilities like you can on android.

RTFA : it is NOT about App Store (mostly) (1)

atchijov (527688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863300)

This is typical "bight - and - switch". Start with controversial statement to get eye-balls and then switch to self-promotion. Statement about App Store (which he completely fail to explain/justify) occupy barely 15% of the article, rest is promotional stuff about Wikipedia. On top of this, any article which claims that most of "net-neutrality" debate focused on "hypothetical" issues makes me highly suspicious in regards to author real intent.

Depends... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863306)

"App Stores" are quite arguably a good thing. I know that I say a few words of thanks every time I type 'sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade' and everything automagically pulls from the repositories and does its thing. It absolutely curb-stomps the experience of a zillion separate updaters, obsolete library versions, and so forth.

On the other hand, an implementation where my apt-sources are cryptographically signed, and the BIOS refuses to boot if the list has been modified, would be a dark day indeed. That, to my mind, is the actual threat.

Although they haven't been called "app stores" in the past, package management systems kick ass, and are generally far superior in user experience to just grabbing random stuff off the internet and installing it. However, any entity who would restrict you exclusively to their own package management system fancies themselves your master and will soon be your rent-collecting landlord.

Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863404)

Sorry Jimmy, sorry. We won't do it again.

Bollocks as they say (1)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863656)

>>According to Wales — who was quick to stress he was speaking in a purely personal capacity — set-ups such as the iTunes App Store can act as a “chokepoint that is very dangerous.” He said such it was time to ask if the model was “a threat to a diverse and open ecosystem” and made the argument that “we own [a] device, and we should control it."

In other words, he has a problem with the iTunes stores and Apple lockdown, versus the idea of monetizing and controlling content like this in general as his business is making money on the for-profit Wikia content sites. As someone said above, what exactly is an app store but a GUI front end for a site like like Sourceforge or a Linux repository, where people can install programs without having to jump through technological hoops?

My wife has an Ubuntu netbook that she uses for writing and browsing and mail only, but if I suggested that she apt-get or sudo or any other nonsense she'd whack me upside the head, point at the screen, and ask me to do whatever it is I thought needed doing. That's probably 95% of everyone in the world, right there. There is no chokepoint unless the hardware vendors do dumb things like the news that Microsoft locked out app installs yesterday on Windows Mobile 7 unless you subscribe to their tools.

App stores are no more evil than the business decisions of the vendors controlling the hardware that connect to them. Sort of like computers, cars, guns, and so on.

Shut up and code (1)

OpinionatedDude (1323007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863680)

Seriously tired of all the rambling about freedom here. Have any of those who incessantly babble on about how some capitalist is "taking away their freedom" ever actually thought through the lack of logic in their statement? As if you have some god-given right to set policy within a sphere or activity that grew out of someone else's creative efforts. If you don't like Apple's walled garden, then stick your shovel in some different dirt! Nobody is forcing you to buy anything from Apple. Enough of this silly "I want something exactly like what that guy invented, but I want complete control over it!" Grow up. Apple's only relevance is that they put together a system of 'stuff' that a good many people like. You can buy in, or you can stay out. You can't come in and tell Steve how to run it. Invent your own. In the unlikely event that a few people like it and decide to buy into yours...I probably will abstain. Ain't freedom grand?

Wales is the new Woz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34863684)

Except I don't think Woz would say anything negative about Apple...

How about Xbox360 and Wii? Does he think the same? (1)

MrJones (4691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863688)

What does he think about the Xbox360 and the Wii bussiness model? Does he think the same ?

Re:How about Xbox360 and Wii? Does he think the sa (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34863804)

I can't speak for him, but I certainly think it is bad. These sorts of restricted and locked down computers (yes, we are talking about computers, even if they are dressed differently) are a bad thing for society. Now, as for the impact on the open web, I suppose one could argue that video game systems are not drawing efforts away from websites (nobody is talking publishing newspapers exclusively on video game consoles, last I checked), but the broader effect on society (e.g. dividing people, keeping free software out) is largely the same.
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