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Have Walled Gardens Killed the Personal Computer?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-the-one-I'm-using dept.

Censorship 848

theodp writes "Harvard Law School Prof Jonathan Zittrain explains in The Personal Computer is Dead why you should be afraid — very afraid — of the snowballing replicability of the App Store Model. 'If we allow ourselves to be lulled into satisfaction with walled gardens,' warns Zittrain, 'we'll miss out on innovations to which the gardeners object, and we'll set ourselves up for censorship of code and content that was previously impossible. We need some angry nerds.' Searchblog's John Battelle, who's also solidly in the tear-down-this-walled-garden camp, adds: 'I'm not a nerd, quite, but I'm sure angry.'"

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Frameworks (1, Offtopic)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257060)

Same argument can be made about frameworks.

Re:Frameworks (5, Insightful)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257082)

You're still free to use any other framework or do your own. Hell, if we make that argument then Linux would be walled garden too. But in both cases you are still free to do what you want, if you want. In true walled garden (like iOS) you are not.

Re:Frameworks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257314)

If I just really don't like black people or latino people and I just want to be around other whites because I think it will be a more prosperous society with less crime and less poverty and more education .. where would I go? What's the whitest nation around? I am guessing this will be someplace cold and that's okay. Maybe some of the northeastern european nations?

Re:Frameworks (5, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257390)

Not really. I don't need to jailbreak my PC to run software created with a different framework, nor do I have trouble running different apps created with different frameworks at the same time.

Angry Nerds (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257062)

No way, Angry Nerds will not be in the App Store!

Re:Angry Nerds (5, Funny)

amnesia_tc (1983602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257242)

Angry Words from Angry Nerds.

So what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257070)

I haven't RTFA, but the instant question is: So what?

As long as a device solves a problem to the user, that's what the device should restrain itself to do.. General use PCs have proven to become virus/worms/problem infested in the hands of "normal" users..

There will always be general use pc's for those who are willing and have to skills to handle them responsibly..

I for one welcome this new era when tech support nightmares get reduced to a minimum..

Re:So what? (1)

mede (115508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257078)

I haven't RTFA, but the instant question is: So what?

As long as a device solves a problem to the user, that's what the device should restrain itself to do.. General use PCs have proven to become virus/worms/problem infested in the hands of "normal" users..

There will always be general use pc's for those who are willing and have to skills to handle them responsibly..

I for one welcome this new era when tech support nightmares get reduced to a minimum..

+1

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257170)

Getting out of the cave a few times a week to hunt is enough to sustain myself. My cave and my stone weapons solve a problem to me, so why care about anything else? If ain't broken, don't fix it.

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

drx (123393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257254)

And today people think that you're a hacker if you look at Google's second search result page.
This shouldn't have happened.

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257176)

> General use PCs have proven to become virus/worms/problem infested in the hands of "normal" users..

This. Normal users have lived with the crapware infested mess that is "general PCs" for years, and they HATE IT. They want something better, and walled gardens are that thing. That's why the PC is on the road to becoming a niche platform. PC sales are *declining* in the US, Canada, and Western Europe.

More and more my friends, mostly younger people 18-25, aren't bothering to replace their PCs when they die. They find that a combination of an iPad, iPhone, and a PS3 meets all their needs much better than the "jack of all trades, master of none" PC did. The iPhone is always with them, so they are always connected. The iPad is with them in classes and at home, sometimes elsewhere. The PS3 for gaming of course, to avoid the annoying mess that is PC gaming.

The post-PC world is coming, and it's because people WANT it. Because PCs are too complex for most people to want to deal with, and a range of consumer-friendly devices meets their needs better. That's where the market is being driven, and for good reason.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257246)

It's okay give it a few years and your walled gardens will be infested as well.

Re:So what? (1)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257320)

Mod parent up.

"Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? It is the sound of... inevitability."

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257344)

The PS3 for gaming of course, to avoid the annoying mess that is PC gaming.

Let me know when the Humble Bundles come to the PS3.

Re:So what? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257388)

... because that's what Joe Fratboy wants to play. Humble bundles.

Get real. Outside a tiny niche audience, this doesn't matter one bit. People want Angry Birds, which runs on their iPhone. They want Farmville, which runs in a browser on their tablet. Their other gaming needs are met by the PS3.

But as for Humble Bundles driving hardware purchases? Get real. They aren't a factor. AT ALL. Probably not one person in a thousand has even heard of the thing. Don't confuse a few slashdot nerds with the real world.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257384)

What do they write with?

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257180)

There will always be general use pc's for those who are willing and have to skills to handle them responsibly..

Sorry, but this is Slashdot, where we have to see the world in absolutes. Despite antitrust and consumer protection laws, soon *every* device will be made by [Apple|Google|Microsoft] and the entire world will be subject to that company's terrible machinations. Everyone who purchases one of those companies' products is immanentizing this monoculture eschaton, thus we are justified in hating these people for their part in curtailing our future personal freedoms.

Also, all restaurants will be Taco Bell.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257318)

Also, all restaurants will be Taco Bell.

Well, at least we'll be getting food at reasonable prices.

Re:So what? (4, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257350)

But how do the three shells work?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257402)

And the runs daily

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257182)

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary ease of use, deserve neither liberty nor ease of use.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257190)

Typical snotty IT attitude.

You think you're better than your users. Without users no one needs you.

Re:So what? (1)

JPLR (1404551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257310)

Why posting as AC? This attitude toward users and needs seems to me very healthy. And it may have much more in your reflection that is visible on the surface, such as the reference to IT instead to PC. IT may be dying as a mass industry that users never found very satisfying. I doubt that PC will ever die at least because we need PC for spreadshhets, word processors and industrial computing appliance.

Re:So what? (4, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257202)

There will always be general use pc's for those who are willing and have to skills to handle them responsibly..

And who gets them, and at what price? I refer you to the days of yore, when getting a development machine for a video game console cost a prohibitive amount of money. Even today, if you're not developing for the incredibly limited scope of "hey gaiz I ripped off another old 2D video game and put the clone on XBLive" games, you're going to have to shell out a pretty penny to MS to develop actual Xbox360 console titles. And you don't even want to KNOW what it costs to get a single dev unit for the PS3.

I for one welcome this new era when tech support nightmares get reduced to a minimum..

Except that the walled garden DOESN'T reduce tech support nightmares. What it really does is make it so that when someone really, really needs to get under the hood - be it the local sysadmin, or the home user - to fix something, they CAN'T and the only option, ever, is a factory wipe and your savegames/files/etc are toast. Don't believe me? Count up the number of people you know who have had to "factory reset" or replace a phone handset; that's the walled garden in action.

What the walled garden does, is DRM. The ability for the manufacturer to engage in illegal collusion and extortion with the MafiAA and other content cartels to say "your content is only available for our device IF you pay us the extortion fee to register and IF you don't do anything that we or our MafiAA partners don't want you to do, like compete with their products."

Here's an example: Apple killed Lexcycle's "Stanza" e-reader, which had USB syncing abilities and other features that had become very popular. Why? Because they have sweetheart deals with Barnes & Noble and Amazon to feature the Nook and Kindle apps instead.

Re:So what? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257356)

Also since the days of yore (1980s?), there have been general use PCs. My first one was the Commodore 64, released in 1982. By today's standards a piece of crap, but it was clearly a machine that was open to programming by the user.

Today, we have the IBM compatibles with Linux, and even Windows allows the user to run applications of his choice. Game consoles are explicitly not general purpose machines, and even before Sony killed the Linux option on the PS3, it was of limited interest for, say, office use.

In the future, I expect that either the x86 PC will remain entrenched, or a new general use platform will emerge. Maybe Android on tablets without locked boot loaders.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257380)

Here's an example: Apple killed Lexcycle's "Stanza" e-reader, which had USB syncing abilities and other features that had become very popular. Why? Because they have sweetheart deals with Barnes & Noble and Amazon to feature the Nook and Kindle apps instead.

Stanza wasn't killed by Apple -- Amazon bought Lexcycle and killed Stanza. Why would they want to continue supporting a competing product to their Kindle franchise? As far as "sweetheart deals" for the Kindle & Nook Apps are concerned, Kindle and Nook are pretty much cost centers for Apple since they're distributed for free and all the content purchases bypass the App store. Don't forget that Apple has iBooks as well.

Your argument for collusion seems stretched to say the least. Of course Apple is looking for lock-in, but app based DRM really has little bearing here. Just take a look at how easy it is to break FairPlay. Content DRM is another story, but I can take my Kindle content and largely view it on my iPad, Mac, PC, iPhone, Android and it's fine. Granted they've added some features for their own Fire, but that's still new and it remains to be seen if those features are not added to the other viewers or not.

rob.

Re:So what? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257394)

If by "killed," you mean, "is still available and actively updated..." Stanza App [apple.com]

Couldn't agree more (2)

goldcd (587052) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257308)

Nobody's killing 'Open Computing' - just there are now some very nice walled gardens, if you prefer it this way.
Provides a nice, safe, stable starting point for a lot of people who were previously scared shitless of technology (if the iphone didn't exist, do you think they'd all be using Android?). If they're happy, they stay there, if they eventually find it limiting, they can move on.
As the recent recipient of "Microsoft called me, asked me to load teamviewer, I left them on my laptop for 2 hours, uninstalled AVG for them as it was 'conflicting' and oh paypalled them £75" call from an elderly late-joiner to the world of IT - I think some people should be locked into walled gardens for their own good.

Re:So what? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257386)

Yep. Why should anybody have to own/administer a complex machine when all they want is to connect and consume.

Well duh. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257074)

This is why we have free software and open source software.

So that we're not bound by the whims of some business model.

Re:Well duh. (0)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257098)

This is why we have free software and open source software.

So that we're not bound by the whims of some business model.

Unfortunately, some of the "free" software authors don't allow you to get the free software from an app store of a company they don't like.

Re:Well duh. (5, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257208)

Free and open source does not mean that the author has to offer the software on the platform of your choice. In the case of open source it does mean that you can take and redistribute the software yourself.

If the TOS of the platform (for instance Apple's) get in the way, that is the fault of the platform.

In short, if you want free software, avoid un-free platforms ;-)

Re:Well duh. (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257224)

In many cases some free software licenses conflict with the terms of app stores. For instance, Pidgin can't be ported to the iPhone [pidgin.im] for this (and other) reasons.

I don't know of any authors who refused to publish their apps to an app store because of issues not related to licensing. Do you know of any?

Re:Well duh. (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257250)

They do... what?

Certain free software distributors (not authors) try to discourage you from using non-free software in different ways. You might disagree with their agenda or the way they approach the problem, but they are certainly not discouraging you from using things because they don't like someone. They have certain standards, you might disagree with them, but they are not discriminatory towards any entity based on personal feelings. They also have legal troubles in distributing such software, and technological troubles when the source code is missing, which makes anything they do not comparable to what you said. In fact, what you said is so not true that I'm not sure what you're even talking about.

Re:Well duh. (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257284)

Sorry, reading comprehension fail. I misunderstood what GP meant.

But, again, the same thing stands. Free software developers had a choice of a license, had a choice of distribution terms, they are equal to everyone and these terms are most often in pursuit of fulfilling a good idea. They are encouraging the idea that they believe in, not entities they like or dislike. If they clash with the terms of an app store accidentally, it's not only the developer's fault, neither it is a result of their dislike. And if the terms of the app store are too restrictive maybe it's even a good thing.

Having a vision about how the world should be is not the same as having a favourite football team. Even if your vision has shortcomings.

Re:Well duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257410)

Which is why things like CarrierIQ weren't found on the free and open Android platform. Oh wait.

At least it's never locked down by carriers or manufacturers so this problem is easy to fix. Oh wait.

Last I checked... (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257084)

Last I checked, walled gardens were not legally forced by any major government (as far as I know), so you'll never be forced to use one. As long as we have open-source software, we'll never be forced to use walled gardens.

Re:Last I checked... (4, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257108)

There's Secure Boot for that.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257134)

That's fine until all users disappear from your platform and you have an ever-shrinking market. How would you like it if Unix/Linux suddenly went down to 10 users? Would developing software for the platform still be as rewarding for you?

Re:Last I checked... (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257256)

That's fine until all users disappear from your platform and you have an ever-shrinking market. How would you like it if Unix/Linux suddenly went down to 10 users? Would developing software for the platform still be as rewarding for you?

Pretty much. Every project I've ever worked on was because I wanted to make the project better and share the benefits with everyone; the whole point of FOSS, last I checked...

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257342)

Well that word you used - 'everyone', would lose all its meaning with just 10 users no? How about 3 people? I guess that's why I am a Windows user/developer. To have your user base, feedback, and often earnings, multiplied by 10 or 100 compared to other platforms is just too important to ignore. Not to say I don't have idealistic visions for a better OS eventually, but then my heart is set more on Haiku, rather than Linux for a few reasons.

Re:Last I checked... (4, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257150)

Market power can be just as limiting as government power. If nobody's making anything else because the walled gardeners have sewn up the market, what are you going to do?

Re:Last I checked... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257370)

So market 'limiting' choices is a problem for the users who buy 'market limiting' systems?

I am not one of them, but maybe the majority of the users decided that this is what they need for the moment - 'walled gardens'? If this is their decision, they have to live with it.

If there is still a sizable enough user base of those, who like I prefer to do their computing on traditional PCs, then there will be PCs.

The only real barriers to entry are created by the government, everything else is just an opportunity.

There is always a tradeoff (4, Insightful)

ThinkingThinker (2015202) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257086)

With Apple, you get a walled garden where Apple controls what apps are allowed. The apps are high quality but developer control is lost. With Android, it's the "wild wild west" where anything you want to create can get sold. And it shows. I see the new apps each day for Android and most of it is pure trash. Honestly, how many bikini apps need to get released each day? The upshot here is that anyone can create anything and sell it for Android. There is always a tradeoff.

Re:There is always a tradeoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257128)

"Honestly, how many bikini apps need to get released each day?"

As many as possible?

Re:There is always a tradeoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257162)

Yes, With IOS you get the highest quality fart apps.

Re:There is always a tradeoff (2)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257166)

You don't need to have a walled garden to have an official app store though. You could just as easily have an app store with the same requirements as the current Apple one, but also allow the installation of software from elsewhere if the user wants it.

Re:There is always a tradeoff (3, Interesting)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257244)

... Apple controls what apps are allowed. The apps are high quality .... I see the [sic] new apps each day for Android and most of it [sic] is pure trash. Honestly, how many bikini apps need to get released each day?

It's not that much better in Apple's app store. If you read the reviews for some apps, people complain about crashes, slowness, etc.

Also, while I don't know about bikini apps specifically, for any given type of app, there are sometimes hundreds in the app store. There are hundreds of tip calculators, RSS readers, and transportation apps just to name a few. While many may work, they're often poorly designed and/or have terrible UIs.

I really think Apple should be stricter. For example, I'd love to see Apple reduce the 5-star rating system to just 4 stars and de-list apps whose rating falls to and remains at 1 star for 30 days. That would force developers to make better apps and responsive to users culling the ton of crap apps from the store.

Appstores are stupid (4, Insightful)

tiffany352 (2485630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257088)

I prefer repositories. You can't really be walled in, because you can just add some other repo in and have all those packages too. It's not like it's so hard to navigate either, it's just that most package manager frontends remain very technical, maybe excepting the ubuntu software centre(?).

Re:Appstores are stupid (2, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257184)

Apple could have done this with the Mac store, and didn't. They could have allowed non-app store installs like Android, and didn't. The only reason not to do repositories or allow non-walled garden applications is greed. Sounds like Windows 8 is going the walled garden route as well, and this is the problem. It becomes more acceptable, and has to get pretty crippled compared to the competition (AOL) before the general public starts to care.

Re:Appstores are stupid (2, Funny)

tiffany352 (2485630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257358)

Maybe we'll see the Rise of Linux. :D

I'm happy with the walled garden (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257094)

I'm developing an innovative synthesis program for the iPad. I wouldn't be doing this without the walled garden. I'm happy with the distributions system, the quality control rules, and the closed development environment. If the system cuts down on piracy a bit, that's also a plus.

Walls can easily be broken. The jailbreaking community is alive and well. So as far as I'm concerned, it's the best of both worlds and the op ed is a lot of FUD.

Innovation is like life (4, Insightful)

TheTruthIs (2499862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257096)

It always finds a way.

Ego-centric much? (1, Troll)

gottspeed (2060872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257102)

So this egg-head whose allowed apple to set up shop in his temporal lobe thinks he speaks for the millions of people world-wide that use computers for things other than maps, songs, and making fart or chainsaw noises? This is cheesecake for self absorbed children.

Hypocrits (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257120)

Linux Grub is obsfucated. I predict bad karma.

God is just. That's all you need to know. Angry people usually cannot see their own guilt. If bad shit happend to you, you deserved it. Simple as that.

God says...
C:\LoseThos\www.losethos.com\text\2CITIES.TXT

would be easier for the weakest poltroon
that lives, to erase himself from existence, than to erase one letter
of his name or crimes from the knitted register of Madame Defarge."

There was a murmur of confidence and approval, and then the man who
hungered, asked: "Is this rustic to be sent back soon? I hope so.
He is very simple; is he not a little dangerous?"

"He knows nothing," said Defarge; "at least nothing more than would
easily elevate himself to a gallows of the same height. I charge m

Simple solution (2, Insightful)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257130)

Simple solution: don't buy Apple.

(I honestly don't even know if I'm trolling with this statement or not anymore)

Re:Simple solution (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257236)

Sadly, I don't think it actually matters anymore.

Removing root access (3, Interesting)

mattbee (17533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257132)

I think Apple is going to remove root access [matthewblo.ch] from the Mac in one or two more OS X updates, and you'll only be able to retain your root access by paying the small annual developer fee. It makes sense to cement their revenue stream from a platform that's still gaining users; the only question is when they can afford to throw the gauntlet down to Microsoft & Adobe.

Re:Removing root access (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257198)

Root has never been enabled by default on any OS X that I've known of.

Re:Removing root access (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257240)

Actually root is enabled. What's worse, security-wise Apple are a bunch of fucktards: the "root" password is set to the password of whatever the initial user enters on setup, and is never changed again unless you do it by command line.

In other words: when you set the PC up for grandma, and she says "well I'll just use the name of the dog", she just set her own login AND the root login password to "spot."

Presto, hackable Mac. Trivially so. The only thing preventing it right now is that Apple is still low enough market share that nobody deliberately targets them. Chances are, half the OSX ecosystem has a blank root password right now.

Re:Removing root access (3, Informative)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257328)

really [apple.com] ?

Re:Removing root access (0)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257274)

Root has never been enabled by default on any OS X that I've known of.

I've never needed to log in as root: sudo works just fine.

Re:Removing root access (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257220)

This can be managed by choosing OSX versions, and being careful of how you update. Stay with Leopard - it is very compatible with hackintoshing, too. Or even Snow Leopard. Just stay away from Lion and later.

The major reason why apple store is public enemy i (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257138)

this term in their tos :

They can't license their work as Free Software, because those license terms conflict with Apple's.

such ecosystems can legally and single handedly kill free software.

the consumer has changed (5, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257144)

The PC is not dead its just that common end users are driving up the shut-up-and-take-my-money model. the PC will end up being left to the geeks again which is probably the same small percentage of people (compared to the entire pc market space right now) it was back in the late 80s. the only reason common end users bought pcs was to get on the internet. they have other ways to do that now without having to learn anything. internet access has acheived the easiness of the VCR and thats what most people want who are not geeks.

Re:the consumer has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257210)

Well put, but I would like to add that from most of us here, a developer perspective, the complexity of the PC will not go away. We need the vast capabilities of a PC to make these tailored hardware devices for consumers.

Re:the consumer has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257218)

the only reason common end users bought pcs was to get on the internet.

That and office applications.

the PC will end up being left to the geeks again which is probably the same small percentage of people (...) it was back in the late 80s.

It sounds like you missed the early 80s, when almost everybody asked me 'what are you going to do with a computer?". Or the late 70s for that matter, when only people who knew about electronics were into computers.

Anyway, returning to the FUN computers were in the 70s and 80s sounds like a WIN to me.

Re:the consumer has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257278)

OTOH I have enjoyed the mass market rock-bottom prices for PC hardware lately, don't know if that will continue.

Re:the consumer has changed (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257336)

The PC isn't dead... but it's dying the death of a thousand cuts.

The internet, trusted computing (DRM) and locked down devices has allowed Apple a degree of control that most corporations would dampen their knickers over. With Intel being a kingpin in this Orwellian wet dream - back in the late 90s... I heard an Intel engineer giving a speech about how the next frontier in security was about keeping owners from controlling their own devices - aka TPMs) - with the support of governments and content companies. All the pieces are dropping into place.

It's a perfect storm of control, surveillance and profit. And you can thank Apple for blazing the trail.

In another couple of years we'll be looking back the Microsoft Windows PC era with fondness. Remember when you could....

It's more like... (4, Funny)

Literaphile (927079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257154)

Have walled gardens killed everyone's ability to come up with new metaphors for closed systems?

Re:It's more like... (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257298)

I like to refer to them as "paying for your own lube".

Re:It's more like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257316)

Pig pen or sheep fence also work.

Re:It's more like... (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257354)

I believe 'gated communities' (also known as: "condomínio fechado" or "barrios privados") is still available.. And when Apple becomes president of the US (it is almost 35 years old), it will just be refereed to as 'nation/state'.

Interesting Thing About Walls... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257160)

The interesting thing about walls is that there's always people who are happy to help tear them down. That's why the jailbreak community exists in IOS land.

Microsoft will be bundling an app store in Windows 8. We'll see how open they stay. I can't see how they could wall off W8, businesses would simply not upgrade, which would kill the franchise...

a few arguments (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257168)

- "open gardens" have caused far more trouble then the enemies of walled gardens care to admit. And i'm not talking about trojans, virii, rootkits or whatever. Just the HUGE mess they allowed to be made in terms of API and backwards compatibility. Fuck that shit. If walled gardens can keep things "just working", well there is a BIG pro argument you're ignoring.
- web apps are still around. I don't think apple will kill mobile safari any time soon. So there. Here's your open garden you can play in and make a big fucking mess off. Now leave the people who want to GetThingsDone alone please with your whining. Go play and shut up.
- hack your fucking phone if you really want to break things and bother tons of people with software that relies on dependencies that are no longer supported. But then don't start complaining how apple broke your app.
- DONT BUY IT. If you're having such a monumental issue with walled gardens, stop buying stuff from them. But oohhhh shiny steam app... must buy... and all those achievements... ohhh... must have... and those hats... groovy... and the whole fucking world needs to see my status update. But facebook sucks ! That's right. It sucks and still you want to have it. For free.

goddamd kids...

Hi choir! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257172)

Did you like the sermon?
</worst case of preaching to the choir I've seen in a while>

Walled Gardens taking credit for everything now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257174)

The majority of people now needs "Walled Gardens" to hate Personal Computers like they always did?

Damn... that is like.. news... probably..

Nerds sold out (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257194)

They all made a deal with the Devil. They all hated Microsoft so very, very much that they stopped caring exactly how they beat Microsoft. They only cared that they beat Microsoft.

Many of Apple's practices are far worst than Microsoft ever dreamed of being. Many things Apple has gotten away with would have been slammed down by courts had Microsoft made the same move. Sometimes I think Slashdot is stuck in the 90s with their MS borg pictures for MS stories and a normal corporate logo for Apple stories.

All walled gardens fail (1, Informative)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257196)

Look at how many software walled gardens have failed: IBM, DEC, SGI, and AOL, to name a few. If Microsoft ever had a walled garden (more likely poorly fenced), it is failing. Apple's garden walls, no matter how thick or high they are built, will eventually fail.

TFA is baseless paranoia and speculation.

Re:All walled gardens fail (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257230)

It took a long time for some of those to fall. It takes a long time before things get bad enough to affect the 'average' user, and the walls are much shinier these days.

Re:All walled gardens fail (1)

amnesia_tc (1983602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257292)

Yeah, but Apple's walls are made out of a solid block of aluminum!

Re:All walled gardens fail (4, Interesting)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257300)

SGI? You're blaming the people who took their closed 3D programming language, and made it public and available to all as OpenGL, for being a walled garden??

Re:All walled gardens fail (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257378)

Look at how many software walled gardens have failed: IBM, DEC, SGI, and AOL, to name a few. If Microsoft ever had a walled garden (more likely poorly fenced), it is failing. Apple's garden walls, no matter how thick or high they are built, will eventually fail.

TFA is baseless paranoia and speculation.

Apple may be different because it is not a computer company anymore. Its walled garden is about building a system that delivers a seamless content experience across multiple platforms and devices - be it a phone, TV, tablet, or PC. Eventually the platform will extend to automobiles and other places people use content.

Apple's walled garden lets them control the apps so that they don't break things; something of great value to most users. By having a consistent, secure environment they can bring content providers to the table.

Will they succeed? Who knows? They are coming up against some pretty strong competitors in cable/ISP and content space who'll want to keep the lions share f the profits; so brace for a fight. The again, they have a pretty compelling vision for how to control and deliver content.

Of course, Steve is probably telling God "Your human interface design sucks. Your creations suck" and convincing him to do a complete reboot with v2.0...

Google shills (-1, Flamebait)

etresoft (698962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257200)

Zittrain and the rest of the Berkman Center [harvard.edu] are just shills for Google. The FSF [fsf.org] isn't far behind. Open source should be about programmers freely sharing knowledge, not about controlling people.

No, but s/w pricing has (2)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257214)

It's not the Walled Gardens per se, it's the fact that apps for iPad typically cost anything from $1 to $5. Just contrast that w/ what a PC software title costs, and you have your answer. Sure, it's convenient to just get things from the app store and have them automatically install in seconds, but even aside from the ease of use is the fact that most applications & games, when not free, typically cost less than a visit to Burger King or Wendys. If they were priced like $30, $100, $200, etc, people would balk @ buying them, no matter how easy they are to download & install.

While PCs should by no means adapt tablet UXs, even though Metro, Gnome3 & Unity may be forced on users, they could certainly use a Walled Garden approach of clicking an App Store (or a Windows or Android equivalent), picking the titles they want, pay peanuts for it, and get it downloaded on their systems. In fact, it would be even better for Linux PCs than Windows. And if an app is huge that it's not feasable to download it like that, it should be an orderable option along w/ a PC - things like Office, Quicken and so on. Do that, and laptops may after all hold their own against tablets.

Too many personal computers (4, Insightful)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257258)

Think about the phrase "personal computer."

How many people do you know who really need a completely general-purpose computer that they own and control personally?

How many "PCs" are actually nodes in a centrally controlled system, and not "personal" at all?

Because of the economics of making "PCs," we have the illusion that hundreds of millions of people buy and use "personal computers" each year. In reality, a minority, possibly a small minority, of those people actually take advantage of anything those "PCs" do that would require personal control over a general-purpose computer.

This is the reason mobile devices that are not quite "personal computers" are rightly popular. They serve the actual need. Hopefully, it will be possible to use mobile devices as if they were personal computers, so that the potential of personal computers can be applied to a networked, mobile world.

Steam will not fit in to any of todays OS app stor (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257262)

stores and there is a lot of stuff on that side.

Re:Steam will not fit in to any of todays OS app s (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257382)

steam is an apps store for video games. it also is getting into console market.

Natural evolution (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257268)

First computers were effectively designed, built, programmed and used by their end-users.

Then specialized companies designed & built computers, and users would write all the software for it.

Then mass-produced computers came along (often with some sort of OS built in), and users would write & share software for it.

Then masses of software would be available, and most users would just use pre-written software, on pre-built computers. Leaving perhaps system configuration / maintenance as extra tasks.

And now software repositories, appstores, and companies like Apple make that so easy that most users feel comfortable to hand off even system maintenance to a 3rd party. Basically: reducing most computers to an appliance, something that's just used (and not programmed, built, modified, or maintained). This is called progress. Which (at least for most users) is a good thing.

Of course there will always be some % of folks that prefer to do things their own way, mod the hardware, write their own programs, etc. Apple helping to make that impossible? Don't think so. Apple helping to reduce options for that? In the long term: quite possible (which is a reason you won't see me spending much money on Apple hw). YMMV...

They want to make it's like the phone company rent (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257270)

They want to make it's like the phone company where you have to rent or pay fees to use stuff that you own.

Most people don't want to "compute" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257276)

The vast majority of people don't want a "computer". They want a convenient device to play games, listen to music, look at photos, read email and browse the web. Having to understand and deal with firewalls, anti-spyware, operating system updates and security is not something they care about. And these people are the main customers, so this is the way the market will go.

To use a car analogy, most people would prefer a car which they got in and travelled from A to B, without having to know anything about oil levels, brake pads, shock absorbers or what a cam shaft is for. Petrolheads would say "But you can have so much fun by tinkering with the engine!", to which the majority of car drivers would reply "But I don't care about any of that, I just want to get to my destination. Give me a zero-maintenance car please."

thanks to the peanut gallery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257296)

One again, some Harvard yuppie intellectual impresses their narrow insight from their yuppie campus life on the global cosmos of technology. As if gamers would give up their quad-core 64-bit monoliths with pre-loaded polygon GPU power sucking video cards, for a tiny yuppie IPad or Honeycomb plaque. Considering the wide popularity of WOW and PC versions of games like Battlefield, I don't think there's a danger for a snowball affect of the app store model (At least not from anyone who is cognizant of technology other than Apple). App stores comprise only one aspect of a computer users' lifestyle. What is the population of gamers, compared to iPad/Tablet owners? For those that are both, how many would give up their computer at home, their workstation at work, their server in the cage, for only their mobile device? Though portable computing is gaining popularity, there will always be a need for a heftier box at home that will allow you to drive your digital home, crunch that code, make that source, or blast that bad guy. Until my tablet can immerse me in a virtual 3-dimensional world, with hovering CLI consoles, and visual representation of my programmatic objects, I really don't think his opinion is valid.

Web applications to the rescue (once again) (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257302)

Just like the web made Windows obsolete by offering a true cross-platform application layer, web apps are also not effected by the restrictive nature of walled-off app stores.

These are the reasons why web apps are important. You may laugh at the technical limits of the web, but at least nobody can prevent anyone from using it.

No, we haven't (0)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257306)

Sure, sites like Maczot are at times offering apps that appear in the App Store (or even bounce people to the app store) but as long as merchants have options (however good or bad) like PayPal and others independent developers are free to not use walled gardens. Will it reduce the amount available? I'm sure it will (at least until enough people get pissed off and move toward whatever less-restrictive, third-party option opens and offers an alternative) but it won't kill it.

All of this has happened before (3, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257322)

All of this will happen again.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, online services were walled gardens. There were of course minor exceptions - BBSes who all exchanged information with each other via FidoNet. But the big names were CompuServe, GEnie, MSN, and (what would eventually become the 900 lb gorilla) America Online. They had their day, until the Internet tore down those walls. Today, all those services are pretty much gone. MSN is no longer a subscription service. AOL is still hanging on, mostly due to monthly service revenue from old people who don't know that they can get their Internet without having to pay AOL.

I think what happens is that when a new type of service/product is created, the initial creators and early copycats end up with most of the market share. Then they try setting up walls to protect their gardens and preserve their market share. Eventually an open alternative comes along which works better and/or is as easy to use, and the walls fall. Arguably, something similar happened in the 1970s/1980s with computer operating systems. Each computer maker had their own OS with its own ecosphere and apps. Eventually, MS-DOS ended up winning the market not because it was the best, but because it (and the PC platform it ran on) was open.

I suppose it's possible that, eventually, some company could "get it right" and preserve their walled garden in perpetuity. I'd argue Facebook is much closer to this than Apple.* But based on history, the safe bet is against any company managing to pull this off. Eventually something bigger and better comes along which consigns the original giant to a niche, if not irrelevance. *(Google is open enough that they allow you to extract the data stored in their services - their walls rather porous.)

The one market where I haven't seen this happening is gaming consoles. But I think that's because the nature of game compatibility/hardware and the refresh cycle forces the entire industry to "reboot" every few years. First it was Atari, then Nintendo, then Sony, and currently it's split between Nintendo (Wii) and Microsoft (Xbox). The amount of time between these reboots is short enough that an open platform can't develop. But the reboots also mean that each company has to start over from scratch every few years to maintain dominance.

office / other pro apps will not fit (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257364)

1. the price of the apps makes the 30% cut a real killer.

2. the app stores are not setup up for 1 app not a group of 4-5+ apps.

3. At least MS plans to be better at this lack of / lock down of plug in's (photo shop has lot's of them some even are paid ones)

4. Limits on opening data files used by other apps in pro work flows this is needed to get work done.

5. lack of being able to save files owned by other users and admin / systems files (in apples store apps can't even ask with a password pop up)

and so on.

People who make adult games should sue (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257372)

as the app stores are braking the law by locking them out.

Still Alive! (2, Interesting)

captjc (453680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257376)

As long as there is a need for performance computing, tinkering, people who build their own systems, and old-school hacking, there will be the PC. The PC has survived everything thrown at it so far and will survive well into the future. The article seems to mostly be whining about Apple turning OS X into another iDevice. If Apple is the problem, don't use Apple's products. Use a Windows machine or a Linux box. I hear tell that BSD is still alive and kicking. Solaris still has a community as well. There are other less used platforms that be switched to as well.

The problem is not that the PC is dying, the problem is that it is becoming a niche. Most people just want to check Facebook, email, and play some crappy games. They are not writing papers, presentation, or programs. They do not use SPICE, MATLAB, MAPLE, GCC, or any other in the other long list of programs and tools that many of us take for granted. A smart phone or a tablet is good enough.

For those of us who do have to do any type of creative work, the PC will still be needed. Even if Microsoft decided to take the route of Apple's locked down operating systems, there are and will be alternatives. There are dozens of hackers who do nothing but try to port Linux and BSD to other platforms just because they can. There are also people who love jail-braking these devices for the same reason. It might evolve to smaller form factors in the future but the PC will be around for a long time. As long as there is a need for power computing, PC's will live.

No relevant examples in TFA (2)

agilpwc (2368450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38257392)

The author makes his article sound like it is about innovation, but all his examples of "innovation" that have been excluded from the garden are related to Free Speech (like bashing homosexuals). There is nothing innovative about that, it's been around for a couple thousand years.

Yet another Apple shill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38257416)

Nothing is dead. Maybe if he had done some real work instead of tapping on colorful clickables and writing stupid blog texts, he'd notice that it's impossible to do any actual work on one of those gadgets with their walled gardens.
Also, the whole concept of the "app store" is
1. just a crappy remake of the package management systems the Unix/Linux world has known for decades, with the key change being
2. that they brought the deliberate "intellectual property" lie into it, by falsely calling it a "store", when you can't buy anything there, but just get to make contracts to not pass on information (software) that you receive, so they can continue their fraudulent model of asking money infinite times for the same work they did only once.

The whole thing is part of a tiny subset organized crime (that is actually smaller than the real Mafia!), and will die with it. Even if I have to stab it to death with my own hands and a spoon! (Why a spoon? Because it hurts more!)

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