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Wozniak Calls For Open Apple

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the open-up dept.

Apple 330

aesoteric writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has voiced a renewed desire to see the company open its architecture to the masses, allowing savvy users to expand and add to their products at will. However, Wozniak qualified his desire for a more open Apple by arguing that openness should not impinge on the quality of the products themselves. He also sees any change of heart on openness as a challenge when Apple continues to rake in huge cash with its current model."

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330 comments

No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39994887)

Unfortunately, part of the effect of the Steve Jobs reality distortion field was to basically write Woz out of Apple history almost completely. If you listen to many
Apple employees and fans, you would think that Jobs created Apple single-handedly, perhaps with divine powers. There is very little respect (or even acknowledgement) at Apple for Woz or his contributions in the early days. In fact, very little respect is afforded there to the engineering of Apple products in general, versus their design and marketing. So, though it would be nice to think that Woz's voice might have some impact on Apple, he's probably even less likely to be listened to at Apple HQ than some random man-on-the-street.

Woz's story makes a lot of Apple die-hards very uncomfortable (particularly the bits about Jobs screwing him over). And the standard response seems to be just pretending that he doesn't exist, and ignoring him. It's sad and unfair. But that's the way it is.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39994959)

Screwing him over? I think he's pretty rich, I love the rich old hippies asking other people to give up their piece of the pie for more openness. If it wasn't for Jobs, this guy would have never been anything, oh wait he did loves games right?

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995025)

And without Woz Jobs wouldn't have had anything either. No Woz = No Apple 1

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Insightful)

rigelglen (2562525) | about 2 years ago | (#39995083)

Without Woz, Jobs would have been nothing and Apple would have been a failure. Jobs isn't a god, of course he was an innovator, maybe a genius, but everyone makes you believe that Jobs came up with EVERYTHING, the User Interface, Design, EVERYTHING. This isn't the case, even Jobs admitted it, he said "It's the talented people at Apple that make the difference" or something like that.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | about 2 years ago | (#39995211)

Jobs wasn't an innovator. He came up with a few UI tricks using engineering advances that other people did the hard physics for.

What Jobs was was a marketer, and a good one.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (3, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#39995291)

Jobs created first, a market segment, and that was "A PC for the rest of us". (Not to mention really swallowing up the mp3 player market with their device, and now pretty much owning music distribution.)

I don't think Apple meant to take over the PC/mobile computing industries. It just turned out that most people were ready for something that will get out of their way and "just work". They were more successful than they ever would have imagined, by producing devices that just work and let people use computers/tablets for what they want without having to spend so much time on it.

There's nothing wrong with this. If you don't like Apple's ecosystem, you can go the Windows our Linux route. They just found a niche that didn't turn out to be a niche.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (0, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#39995495)

No. Jobs was a snake oil salesman and you are just trying to repeat his sales pitches.

Chances are it was an outside agencies that wrote the sales pitch and that Jobs can't even really take credit for that either.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (3, Informative)

luke923 (778953) | about 2 years ago | (#39996055)

Chances are it was an outside agencies that wrote the sales pitch and that Jobs can't even really take credit for that either.

According to his most recent bio, that would be Regis McKenna.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#39995499)

Jobs' innovation was trying to keep things as simple as possible. Go read up on the dev meetings regarding the Itunes Burn Cd functionality and how Steve came in and simplified the whole thing. Steve was a master at KISS.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#39996089)

Jobs was a perfectionist and one that just happened to know what people wanted. He had his misses (the Cube) but rumor had it that the iPhone wasn't going public until it was 'perfect'. It just wasn't the big things, it was the small stuff like how a font looked in WYSIWYG or even rectangles with rounded corners [folklore.org].

Bill fired up his demo and it quickly filled the Lisa screen with randomly-sized ovals, faster than you thought was possible. But something was bothering Steve Jobs. "Well, circles and ovals are good, but how about drawing rectangles with rounded corners? Can we do that now, too?"

"No, there's no way to do that. In fact it would be really hard to do, and I don't think we really need it". I think Bill was a little miffed that Steve wasn't raving over the fast ovals and still wanted more.

Steve suddenly got more intense. "Rectangles with rounded corners are everywhere! Just look around this room!". And sure enough, there were lots of them, like the whiteboard and some of the desks and tables. Then he pointed out the window. "And look outside, there's even more, practically everywhere you look!". He even persuaded Bill to take a quick walk around the block with him, pointing out every rectangle with rounded corners that he could find.

To 90% of the other CEOs out there they would have called it good and moved on. Steve HAD to have the rounded rectangles. And this is one thing I don't mind about OS X. The defaults are such that they actually look good. I recently moved to MATE as my window manager but configuring it is frustrating more than anything. I don't like the choice. I just want to be told what the options are and deal with those and then use my computer to work rather than work on configuring my computer.

* If you want to read up on some stores of either Steve from the early years folklore.org [folklore.org] has some great ones.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (2, Interesting)

bartoku (922448) | about 2 years ago | (#39995875)

Without Woz, Jobs would have been nothing and Apple would have been a failure.

I am no Apple fan, but I do respect Jobs and I am not convinced he ever "needed" Woz.

Woz is great, very smart guy, but without him Jobs simply would have found someone else.

This isn't the case, even Jobs admitted it, he said "It's the talented people at Apple that make the difference" or something like that.

This was Jobs gift, he had an eye for such talent, in Woz and the others he used, I mean hired.

Like it or not the mentality that Jobs had set him up for success.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#39996207)

The chances of Jobs finding someone else of Woz's caliber, who would also put up with him, are probably not very good. Could he have found someone else to fill the roll of Woz? Definitely. I doubt the person would have been nearly as good.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Insightful)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#39996273)

You are misguided.

Without Jobs, Woz would not had chance to show his invention to the money guys, and Apple would not had ever existed.

Without Woz, Jobs would not had chance to show a invention to the money guys, and Apple would not had ever existed.

Make no mistake - Jobs owns Woz as Woz own Jobs.

Jobs was not a rich guy looking for a clever inventor. He was lucky to be friends with Woz, as probably no other guy would risk his life this way with him, as Woz did.

We can argue forever about who is the father and who is the mother of Apple Computer.

But it's just silly trying go argue if Apple would exist without one of them: the answer is a sound "NO".

Jobs would have found someone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39996201)

Without Woz, Jobs would have been nothing and Apple would have been a failure. Jobs isn't a god, of course he was an innovator, maybe a genius, but everyone makes you believe that Jobs came up with EVERYTHING, the User Interface, Design, EVERYTHING. This isn't the case, even Jobs admitted it, he said "It's the talented people at Apple that make the difference" or something like that.

Without Woz, Jobs would have found another engineer to do his bidding, sooner or later. Woz was just the first; he was the right guy at the right time. That time passed, both Steves moved on.

Jobs did his most impressive business-building decades after Woz had left Apple. He did his second-best business-building at Pixar, where Woz never even worked.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Interesting)

htnmmo (1454573) | about 2 years ago | (#39995273)

Found some interesting quotes from Wozniak [jimmyr.com] related to apple and jobs.

He gave up a lot of his wealth, and even potential wealth to spend more time doing things he thought were more rewarding in other ways. So when he asks people to give up their share of the pie it's not a do as I say not as I do thing.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#39995465)

Steve Jobs ACTIVELY screwed him on a business deal in the VERY early days of Apple. Jobs said they got paid X for a job they were to split the fee on, but really they got X + Y. Steve kept his half of X and all of Y.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Informative)

BackwardPawn (1356049) | about 2 years ago | (#39996287)

It was when Atari was making a home version of Breakout and Jobs oversold his ability to create the product. Atari offered Jobs $750, plus a bonus for each chip Jobs could eliminate from the cartridge (by efficient programming). Jobs turn to Woz and told him they'd split the fee. Woz stayed up four nights programming breakout and did such an awesome job that Atari ended up paying Jobs $5,000. He paid Woz his $375 and kept the rest.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39996067)

Without Woz Jobs would have been nothing and Apple wouldn't have existed.

Without Jobs Woz's computers would have a different logo.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#39996227)

Yes, but without Jobs, Woz's company may not have gotten the marketing and market share needed to progress.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (1, Insightful)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#39995105)

There are far fewer people like Steve Woz out there than there are Steve Jobs. Therefore Woz > Jobs.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (4, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | about 2 years ago | (#39995523)

There are far fewer people like Jeffery Dahmer out there than there are Steve Wozniak. Therefore, Dahmer > Woz.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995679)

Nonsense. Brilliant engineers are often buried in the R&D labs of companies and universities. If it weren't for Jobs then Woz would've been buried in the basement of HP. It takes a true genius to not only aggregate those individuals but also shape their work so that they produce something revolutionary. Another individual like that was Enzo Ferrari... not an engineer but he was the final say on all decisions.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (0, Troll)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#39995133)

"In fact, very little respect is afforded there to the engineering of Apple products in general, versus their design and marketing."

That's because frankly none is deserved since the second coming of Apple. From discolouring Macbooks as the result of heat, to Magsafe fire hazard power adapters, to stupidly easily scratched iPod nanos, to cracking iPhone screens due to the construction being too tight such that when the batteries expand as they sometimes did the screen cracked, through to a phone antenna that had a fundamental design flaw. Even on the software there are many pretty awful examples - iTunes being the most obvious, Safari on Windows being perhaps the worst peice of software I've ever had the misfortune to use when it first came out.

For all the things Apple does right, quality hardware engineering just isn't it. There's simply been no end of defects in Apple products for no reason other than focussing just that bit too much on form over function. Their ideas are good, their products look excellent, and their interfaces are a wonder to use, but quality of engineering - both hardware and software - is pretty shocking for a company with so many resources. It's not that they're alone in this, look at Microsoft's RROD problem with the XBox for example, but I'd argue it's definitely Apple's weakest area with most room for improvement.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 2 years ago | (#39995399)

That's because you misjudge what people mean by "design" -- Apple's goal is to make products that make you say "wow" rather than (necessarily) products that stay with in spec and achieve six nines of uptime, keep working after you accidentally sit on them, or never break or spontaneously combust in normal usage. And it's pretty much always been that way. The failure rate of the power supplies in "mirror door" PowerMac G4s was something preposterous like 50%, but they sure were pretty.

It's way more important to Apple that people think it's cool than that it actually works; if something doesn't work, you fix that in the next generation (and then have entirely different problems).

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (2)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 2 years ago | (#39995759)

I think you're in an inverse reality distortion field there. I know many photography and video professionals who take their MacBooks with them wherever they go, edit in the field, have taken them round the world etc. etc., and have nothing but good things to say about Apple. It's true that they've had their fair share of issues, but part of it is the very narrow range of products they have on the market at any one time (compared to say Dell, HP and Lenovo) - usually they only have one product hitting a particular market sector, so when there's a problem it's well-known very quickly. All computer equipment has its issues, but for all the years I've been buying technology, the only equipment that I trust to carry everywhere are my MacBook Pro, iPhone, and Canon EOS 10D camera. Everything else I've ever owned has fallen apart very quickly, even from reputable manufacturers.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (1)

luke923 (778953) | about 2 years ago | (#39996187)

"In fact, very little respect is afforded there to the engineering of Apple products in general, versus their design and marketing."

That's because frankly none is deserved since the second coming of Apple.

That's the point, isn't it? Apple chose design and form over function and engineering sensibilities since its "second coming," which led to the litany of flaws you mentioned. The problems you mentioned aren't the result of Apple's inability to recruit and retain top engineering talent, but the problems do stem from Apple's willingness to release a product with technical problems just for the sake of aesthetics instead of going with a less sexy design so that they don't have to sacrifice quality.

Cause and effect, my friend -- it seems you have it reversed.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39995163)

While Woz was certainly not the recipient of terribly fair treatment, I suspect that there is a second reason why he was removed from the picture comparatively early:

The success of the early Apple designs (the II particularly) rested in no small part on assorted deep-hack chip count and cost reduction measures, the sort of thing that Woz is reputed to be very good indeed at. It did lead to somewhat arcane and tightly interlinked designs; but this was back when reducing the chip count in your floppy drive was still Serious Savings or having Woz go up the mountain and descend bearing the design for ADB made your peripheral interconnects genuinely better than the other guy's. In Apple's later models, they just kept moving closer and closer to commodity circuits wrapped in nice industrial design and a friendly software layer.

Obviously, somebody still has to design their logic boards; but that hasn't really been Apple's competitive edge in ages. Jobs occupied a larger-than-life seat on the pantheon; but the members immediately behind him in public awareness and clout were the industrial design guru and the supply chain/manufacturing guy. Board-level engineering elegance appears to have been swamped by volume savings on commodity silicon some time ago.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995611)

Apple really spawned twice. The first incarnation had Woz's help and indeed he helped to establish the brand.
The second incarnation was all Jobs.
But to say engineering is not their competitive edge ignores that, like that famous political cry, "It's the system, stupid" that makes Apple soar. Ergonomic design is pushing the envelope, hardware design is constantly improving, and software is written to be easily accessible and controllable, and the Apple now controls the supply chain rather than the other way around.

Apple is as perfect a manufacturing machine as there is today. Don't diss it, emulate it!

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (5, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 years ago | (#39995173)

Wow, I've read many accounts of Apple's founding and Woz is always prominent, we've all read fanboys but I've never seen one claim Woz didn't contribute, I've never seen anyone minimize his contribution and I've never read any equivocation on his treatment at the hands of Jobs. You sir have erected a straw man; I think you'd be challenged to find a single link or quote from Jobs himself along these lines.

There is the simple fact that he left, and that he, by his own admission, had no idea how to make money off his inventions, and would have been happy working the day shift at HP and make a little money running Apple as a mail-order schematic business. To say that he was an engineers genius and critical to Apple's first success is true, but it's also true he had no idea of the potential for the business, he was by all accounts an awful salesman, and at the time he really didn't have any ambition beyond building a slightly cooler IMSAI clone.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (2, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#39995327)

Indeed. Job's contribution to Apple was a corporate mindset, marketing, and ultimately the selfish controlling "closed" nature of every product it brought to market. The difference between the two men can be distilled down to one crucial personality trait: respect. Wozniak has respect for Apple's customers that Jobs never did. Jobs treated Apple customers like cattle, to be guided through narrow constricting chutes and confined in little cages, all while milking them of every last ounce.

No one buys Apple because they have to (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#39996261)

Jobs treated Apple customers like cattle, to be guided through narrow constricting chutes and confined in little cages, all while milking them of every last ounce.

I think it's hysterical that you think no one who uses Apple products is bright enough to make an informed decision about them. Do you really think there are no Apple users who aren't acutely aware of the alternative products available to them? Seriously? You think no one has heard of Windows or Linux or Kindle or Android? No one is trapped by Apple.

People use Apple products because they want to, not because they have to. Almost no one actually requires a Mac and the majority of computers sold are made by other vendors. You can do virtually all the same tasks perfectly well on a Windows and/or Linux machine. There are respectable quality competing products for the iPod, iPhone and iPad, widely available to anyone who wants them, often at lower price points and sometimes with features missing from Apple products or with compelling design features of their own. And yet millions still buy Apple products and have for many years now. This does not happen by accident or by marketing and Apple certainly does not (even today) have the market power to force people into buying their products.

(And before anyone starts, Apple customers are not mostly status seeking hipsters either. Nobody sells that many units over that many years on image alone. If the products sucked they wouldn't sell for long no matter how good a salesman Steve Jobs was.)

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995367)

Any worthy Apple fan knows how the company was founded. Accepting the now-majority fans who came onboard post-ipod, most true apple devotees' appreciation of Woz approaches divine worship. We are also all very aware of Woz and Jobs' differences, and what led to Woz leaving. Lets not forget, Jobs left too.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#39995441)

I was with you right up until you got to 'all they think about is marketing and design to the detriment of engineering.'

Woz is a moron when it comes to business (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995477)

If it weren't for Jobs then Woz would still be working at HP

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (0)

lipanitech (2620815) | about 2 years ago | (#39995793)

Jobs claimed to have never cared about money or about being cultured. He never wanted to share his ideas with anyone and he never gave up any of his stock. Woz gave away a lot of his stock in Apple to guys he felt deserved it. Woz was also involved with the free information movement and SOPA. But unfortuanlty I think he has always been looked down at for a while. Truth is Woz was the brains be hind Apple Jobs had nothing without Woz tech savyness.

Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (1)

geoffball (1195685) | about 2 years ago | (#39995851)

Apple employees and fans, you would think that Jobs created Apple single-handedly, perhaps with divine powers.

Jobs did create Apple single-handedly. He used Woz's hands.

Good luck with all that (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about 2 years ago | (#39994925)

This will never happen. They've built their current empire by tightening control. They are not going to turn a 180..

Yeah, I'm tired of the propeller/command key. (5, Funny)

jcburns (639377) | about 2 years ago | (#39994937)

....let's just go back to that Open Apple key instead. That's what Woz said, right?

Gillette Razor Model? (3, Interesting)

rullywowr (1831632) | about 2 years ago | (#39995003)

I suppose the notion of Apple becoming more open to modifiers, tinkerers, hardware/software enthusiasts, and lowly programmers would be akin to Gillette giving away the plans and patents to its razor cartridges.

Re:Gillette Razor Model? (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 2 years ago | (#39995359)

It is hard to tell the guy backing up the dump trucks full of cash into his drive way that he's doing it wrong. If you're ideas are better, why aren't you backing the dump trucks of cash up into your driveway.

Re:Gillette Razor Model? (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#39996279)

That begs the question that "balance sheets are the best scorecards".

I understand that is the conventional wisdom; anyone who questions that is generally viewed as some kind of heretic, hippy, or anarchist.

Question the premise and you allow points of view like Woz's, or Stallman's, or anyone who argues for more social responsibility and ecological awareness. But demand that every answer results in "MAKE MOAR MONEYS" and we wind up with shiny traps, tragically-abused commons, and proprietary ownership of almost anything that was once public domain.

So, yeah, society definitely needs to outgrow the "Wealth is proof of correctness" mindset.

Can't have it both ways (2, Insightful)

Aggrav8d (683620) | about 2 years ago | (#39995027)

"However, Wozniak qualified his desire for a more open Apple by arguing that openness should not impinge on the quality of the products themselves"

The moment it is opened to others it will turn into the same mess that Windows has. Keeping the hardware closed makes development & support manageable. There's a reason nobody listens. This idea is dumb.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Analog Penguin (550933) | about 2 years ago | (#39995159)

Opening the hardware is one thing, but Woz was also talking about software. Allowing more third-party access to Apple's "calendar world, their contact world" would hardly increase support complexity, but it would sure make it harder to leave the Apple ecosystem.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39995167)

Yeah, it's great that Apple's tight lock and key has given it 90% marketshare over the last decade or two while Microsoft caters to a 10-15% niche because of their crappy mess... oh, wait...

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | about 2 years ago | (#39995493)

Your sarcasm (like most sarcasm) is confusing. Apple market share IS enormous and they're doing great. What are you trying to say?

Re:Can't have it both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995511)

Well, if you said profitshare you'd be closer to accurate.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39995267)

Except that you're under the assumption that he means to put iOS on other hardware. I suspect he means "stop being assholes about people who want to put arbitrary software on their devices" instead.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | about 2 years ago | (#39995507)

No, I meant "don't let people be assholes and install whatever they want or modify their hardware however they like." Or maybe "Let them, but instantly void their warranty. Don't put up with that shit." Apple has no interest in adding iOS to other devices unless they design said devices. Goes right back to the manageable support issue.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39996179)

I meant "don't let people be assholes and install whatever they want or modify their hardware however they like."

Wait, so an end-user doing that makes the end-user an asshole, but the vendor preventing that doesn't? What does that make the vendor, a patron saint?

Or maybe "Let them, but instantly void their warranty. Don't put up with that shit."

Refuse software support until they revert to stock I could understand. Voiding the warranty as a whole is just spiteful.

Apple has no interest in adding iOS to other devices unless they design said devices

And I don't think anyone has suggested they should.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | about 2 years ago | (#39996307)

> Wait, so an end-user doing that makes the end-user an asshole, but the vendor preventing that doesn't? What does that make the vendor, a patron saint? I didn't say anything about what it makes the vendor. Why do you jump to conclusions?

> Refuse software support until they revert to stock I could understand. Voiding the warranty as a whole is just spiteful.
Sure, refuse support. Then when they fumble the original stuff back in, offer support again in spite of whatever damage they've caused. You're very generous with other people's time & money.

>>> Except that you're under the assumption that he means to put iOS on other hardware.
>> Apple has no interest in adding iOS to other devices unless they design said devices
> And I don't think anyone has suggested they should.
You did, when you assumed I was making an assumption. Which I wasn't.

Censorship (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39995285)

Apple's lock down lost any claim to credibility when they started censoring political cartoons. This is about control and ultimately cash flow, not quality.

Re:Censorship (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | about 2 years ago | (#39995517)

How is quality not a cash flow issue? Good products sell better.
Credibility with who? You? So what?

Re:Censorship (1)

_8553454222834292266 (2576047) | about 2 years ago | (#39996257)

Their censorship and control make the product worse, but possibly increase cash flow.

Good product sell better

If your definition of "good" is based only on sales...

Re:Can't have it both ways (1, Insightful)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#39995525)

The moment it is opened to others it will turn into the same mess that Windows has.

The Windows mess has little to do with hardware variability, and everything with poor design and poor implementation. And that's a result of how Microsoft is a bunch of competing internal fiefdoms, all of which are looking out for their own best interest, rather than a great user experience (a Microsoft breakup would have been the best thing that could have happened to them).

Technically, Apple could easily release OS X for PCs, and simply require PC makers to make compatible hardware with no (or only approved) drivers. PC makers would fall all over themselves to comply. The reason Apple doesn't do that is because it would destroy the mystique that they have and erode the obscene profit margins on their hardware.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 2 years ago | (#39995965)

Apple could easily release OS X for PCs, and simply require PC makers to make compatible hardware

Apple is NOT a software company! Apple tried this once before and nearly destroyed themselves.
Personally I believe one of the main reasons that Apple stuff (mostly) works as advertized is because they don't have to deal with 1000 different video cards, 50 different sound cards, 100 different motherboards... Etc.

Re:Can't have it both ways (1)

kebes (861706) | about 2 years ago | (#39995531)

I disagree. Yes, there are tensions between openness/hackability/configurability/variability and stability/manageability/simplicity. However, the existence of certain tradeoffs doesn't mean that Apple couldn't make a more open product in some ways without hampering their much-vaunted quality.

One way to think about this question to analyze whether a given open/non-open decision is motivated by quality or by money. A great many of the design decisions that are being made are not in the pursuit of a perfect product, but are part of a business strategy (lock-in, planned obsolescence, upselling of other products, DRM, etc.). I'm not just talking about Apple, this is true very generally. Examples:
- Having a single set of hardware to support does indeed make software less bloated and more reliable. That's fair. Preventing users from installing new hardware (at their own risk) would not be fair.
- Similarly, having a restricted set of software that will be officially supported is fine. Preventing any 'unauthorized' software from running on a device a user has purchased is not okay. The solution is to simply provide a checkbox that says "Allow 3rd party sources (I understand this comes with risks)" which is what Android does but iOS does not.
- Removing seldom-used and complex configuration options from a product is a good way to make it simpler and more user-friendly. But you can easily promote openness without making the product worse by leaving configuration options available but less obvious (e.g. accessed via commandline flags or a text config file).
- Building a product in a non-user-servicable way (no screws, only adhesives, etc.) might be necessary if you're trying to make a product extremely thin and slick.
- Conversely, using non-standard screws, or using adhesives/etc. where screws would have been just as good, is merely a way to extract money from customers (forcing them to pay for servicing or buy new devices rather than fix old hardware).
- Using bizarre, non-standard, and obfuscated file formats or directory/data-structures can in some cases be necessary in order to achieve a goal (e.g. performance). However in most cases it's actually used to lock-in the user (prevent user from directly accessing data, prevent third-party tools from working). E.g. the way that iPods appear to store the music files and metadata is extremely complex, at least last time I checked (all files are renamed, so you can't simply copy files to-and-from the device). The correct solution is to use open formats. In cases where you absolutely can't use an established standard, the right thing to do is to release all your internal docs so that others can easily build upon it or extend it.

To summarize: yes, there are cases where making a product more 'open' will decrease its quality in other ways. But, actually, there are many examples where you can leave the option for openness/interoperability without affecting the as-sold quality of the product. (Worries about 'users breaking their devices and thus harming our image' do not persuade; the user owns the device and ultimately we're talking about experience users and third-party developers.) So, we should at least demand that companies make their products open in all those 'low-hanging-fruit' cases. We can then argue in more detail about fringe cases where there is really a openness/quality tradeoff.

Good luck with that (0, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39995045)

If Woz hadn't made himself the Judas of Apple fanboy mythology before, this should do the trick.

Re:Good luck with that (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#39995145)

Woz? Judas? I'm not sure I follow the comparison.

Mr. Wozniak didn't betray Apple. Apple was growing in a different direction than the kind of environment where he was continuing to feel useful. His options of remaining with Apple were apparently to either continue being an engineer at Apple where he didn't feel he was contributing much, since Apple had well over a hundred engineeers at that point, or to move into a management position, but he did not want to move into management because he liked being an engineer. The only thing he felt he could reasonably do, while being true to his own following, was to resign.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39995227)

It doesn't make much sense to me either but Apple fanboys sure don't like him. He's basically repeating what the FLOSS crowd has been saying for years.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 2 years ago | (#39995431)

Where is this criticism for Woz? I haven't been on slashdot as long as some but haven't really run across anyone dissing him. If anything, people still hold him up for his cool tech tricks he used in Apple/AppleII.

Re:Good luck with that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995595)

You're an idiot. But with a nickname like that, it's already apparent.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 2 years ago | (#39996025)

I have never seen anyone express anything but ultimate respect for the man.
Apple fanboys might ignore him, or not even know who is is, but I have never heard anyone put him down.

The man wears a nixie tube watch... How could anyone not respect that?

Apple clones? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39995069)

Did they already try this in the 90s by selling the Apple Mac form factor, standards to other manufacturers? It didn't really work out well for them.

Re:Apple clones? (4, Insightful)

phillymjs (234426) | about 2 years ago | (#39995275)

It didn't work out well then because the Mac was Apple's primary source of revenue. Not so anymore.

Specifically, what happened back then was that the cloners were supposed to take the low end of the market that Apple didn't want. Instead, at least one of them went balls-to-the-wall and made some machines that were faster than Apple's fastest. They began to hit Apple right in the bottom line, which is why almost immediately upon his return Jobs used a contract loophole to kill the clone program.

Personally, I would love to see Apple open up for at least some things. I can understand to a degree that they don't want consumers running OS X on non-Apple hardware, but since they don't sell enterprise-class servers anymore I think they should officially allow, certify, and fully support installation and virtualization of OS X Server on at least a limited selection of non-Apple hardware.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 2 years ago | (#39995821)

I think this will happen, further down the line. I think they will eventually release a 'server only' OSX that doesn't come with iLife and costs in the medium hundreds, so that there's little advantage to buying a third party machine for personal and small business use (because of the cost of the software) whilst encouraging medium-size audio, photography and video businesses to stick with Apple/OSX/iOS as a platform.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | about 2 years ago | (#39996185)

At the time, I think that Apple was not prepared to become a pure software company. If they had continued down that road, and the clone makers would have forced the issue, they would have been going head-to-head against Microsoft as a desktop OS vendor. I think Jobs was just not ready to do that, but I think Apple could have usurped widows as the standard consumer desktop. I think they want to remain the big fish in a small pond.

We have an X-serve at work. Trust me when I say that Apple has NEVER made enterprise class servers. There simply is no technical excuse for Apple to not license OSX server to run as a virtual machine on non-apple hardware. VMWare and Parallels are ready to do it. I saw a reply from Parallels customer service where they essentially said that they had the technology working to allow direct installs of OSX on non-Apple hardware. But, they won't release it because that would violate their agreements and upset Apple. Again, I don't think Apple wants to be in the big server market. This is really frustrating for me because I end up having to rig up solutions because Apple won't sell me the software or servers I need from them

Re:Apple clones? (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39995317)

They do not need to go that far. They can just drop the "only software we approved" system, end the censorship, and let people control their computers.

Re:Apple clones? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#39995565)

People get confused with the various ways that you can define "open".

Apple has lowered everyone's expectations so you're no longer talking about open access to source code. Now the problem is that you can't even install the binaries of your own choosing.

This is much more restrictive than any other general computing platform ever. It's more restrictive than Microsoft and it's more restrictive than the old Apple.

Something like Plex becomes "rogue software".

Re:Apple clones? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39995653)

This is much more restrictive than any other general computing platform ever

I am not sure that is true; consider how bad things were before PCs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_computing [wikipedia.org]

At least you do not have to pay Apple by the month to use an iPad.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39996209)

Apple has to be paid for -any- 3rd party software. They just shifted the cost on to the developers. I imagine they'll shift even more to the cloud in the future, at which point you'll pay by the month or your device will be crippled.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#39996191)

It's more restrictive than Microsoft

Don't worry, Microsoft is not one to be left behind. In fact, this has been a long time goal of Microsoft.

They're getting into the lock-down pool with Metro, the WinRT API, and Windows RT.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#39995619)

Why should they?

There are already other options to do that.

They make more money than anyone else - revenues and profits.

They control their destiny rather than relying on someone else.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39995847)

It is a matter of what is best for the rest of society. Computers are basically the most important communication tool in industrialized nations, and we have every right to expect that our computers will do what we want them to do -- without first having to ask permission from the person who made the computer. Apple has already shown that they are willing to use their power over the app store to engage in political censorship. How can we have a free society if our ability to communicate can be hampered?

Sure, it is "not so bad" -- it is not as if iProducts will filter your web results, though there is nothing stopping Apple from doing such a thing -- but it is an attack on free expression. Just because there are other options out there does not mean that Apple should not be criticized; they are extremely powerful as a corporation and they are a market leader.

Re:Apple clones? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#39996091)

How many businesses do what is best for the rest of society?

Do other market leaders act like that, such as Microsoft? IBM? Oracle? PeopleSoft? VMware? Dell? Lenovo?

On a tangent, since when do you get to decide what is best for the rest of society?

I can run any code I want on my Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39996051)

If you're talking specifically about the iOS, that's a different matter. Apple has been able to foster a very healthy ecosystem of programs on tablet and phone with the walled-garden method; while I'd rather see something more open, the problem Android has had both on the carrier end (with carriers endlessly crippling / crapping the OS), on the developer end (with a serious revenue model problem), and on the malware end (malware on my phone is the worst possible place for it IMHO) shows that they've put some serious thought into this.

Yeah, they do have serious censorship problems, not only with disallowing mature content but with the arbitrariness of their decision making. This is an area I suspect they DIDN'T think through adequately before diving in. I do get annoyed that I can't tether my phone, but you've got to take into account the carriers, who are the worst sort of monopolists; they're still skinning us for text messaging, after all. But Apple's business tactics, for all that I disapprove of them, have created a thriving market where there was virtually nothing before, and cracked open the "tricorder era" in a way no other maker, not Blackberry, not Google, not Nokia, was about to do.

This just in! (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#39995101)

Steve Wozniak is now open for employment.

Re:This just in! (3, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | about 2 years ago | (#39995205)

I'm sure he's always open to another round of Segway polo, or buying a new cell phone to add to his collection, or hanging out with school kids and doing his best attempt at an inspiring lecture (he's not great at it, but everybody loves him anyway because he is a permanent duke of geekdom), or maybe just going home and rolling around in a big pile of cash.

He's definitely not looking for employment.

Never gonna happen (0, Flamebait)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#39995191)

Mod me redundant I know...

I wonder if Woz is hoping to get called to "save Apple" after they start screwing Apple up with their "MBA" thinking. Isn't that what screwed Apple up the last time? Got rid of Jobs, Apple went to hell, brought back Jobs and Apple came back double. We've all made the prediction that Apple will go to hell again without Jobs... it may take the "iPad 7" before people begin to realize what's wrong with Apple, but Woz isn't going to be invited to save Apple. Why not? Woz is way too different and he's not the "god" Jobs was. Also, Woz is a geek... his stuff appeals to people with "gadget love." Jobs was all about the new shiny things. Those new shinies are what made trillions for Apple.

That said, what would a new Apple "Under Woz" be like? I can imagine a lot of things. It would turn Apple desktops and laptops into Linux machines... or BSD machines. It would sell its OS for generic PCs. Something good or interesting might well come of it...who knows... I doubt we'll ever know. The MBAs knew they were wrong when they pushed Jobs out. They had to admit it when they called him back. But they have forgotten about all of that and they were never wrong and they always knew what they were doing and still do. Woz doesn't know what he's doing, I'm sure they will believe and they will never give him a chance to show what he can do.

If they ask me, they should hire some sort of coach for Woz, slim him down to fit into a turtle neck, and practice demonstrating new shiny things. He isn't Steve Jobs, but they need SOME kind of Steve to keep going. They're going to go downhill pretty fast otherwise.

Re:Never gonna happen (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39995491)

I could imagine an Apple under Woz turning out much the same way as the Bell Labs story: Lots of world-changing technology, very little profit.

Jobs and Woz needed each other to make Apple a reality. Jobs needed Woz to have really cool products to sell early on - without Woz, he either would have ended up yet another commune-dwelling hippie, or maybe yet another marketing jerk in a suit (like That Guy [theinfosphere.org] in Futurama). Woz needed Jobs to go independent and sell his stuff on a mass scale - without Jobs, he'd probably be happily designing stuff for HP or some other big firm and playing with hardware tinkering and open-source software in his spare time.

not gonna happen (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 2 years ago | (#39995245)

He also sees any change of heart on openness as a challenge when Apple continues to rake in huge cash with its current model.

This....this is why it won't be happening for the foreseeable future.

Cut the Apple Open! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995377)

Lets cut the apple open!

Re:Cut the Apple Open! (1)

belthize (990217) | about 2 years ago | (#39995469)

Better not, you'll find a disturbing number of internet worms and find it's rotten to the core.

why does he bother? (0, Troll)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#39995395)

Apple is what it is: pretty design, a lot of marketing b.s., decent engineering, a hand-picked choice of other people's best technologies, and obscene profit margins on products sold to yuppies. Opening Apple up would destroy both the mystique and the profit margins.

Re:why does he bother? (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | about 2 years ago | (#39995609)

Woz knows that making some controversial statements from time to time keeps him from falling into obscurity. He doesn't seriously expect that Apple will follow his advice.

Jobs is marketing, Woz is engineering (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#39995503)

And that's pretty much the problem. As much as I hate it and as much as I think it's terribly, terribly wrong, what made Apple big is marketing, not engineering. And that's not trying to bash Apple, it's what you can easily see when you follow Apple's history. It was a niche product while they relied on engineering. It was a great product, well engineered, with a lot of technical innovations. As soon as they moved towards design and gadgets, in other words, as soon as they went for flashy and gimmicky instead of technical innovation, people started flocking to them.

Woz, as much as I agree with you, I'd sad to say that this would be a bad move for Apple. It would certainly endear Apple again to engineers, but financially it would not be beneficial.

Re:Jobs is marketing, Woz is engineering (4, Informative)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 2 years ago | (#39995863)

I disagree. The original iPod was an engineering feat. I know all the technology was already available, but that's the point of engineering - to do something clever and slick that works really, really well, by seeing and understanding what other people have missed. Same for the original iMac - it was a design and engineering triumph, totally iconic. The marketing was there too, but both are needed. See the Commodore Amiga for an example of great engineering and crummy marketing - and also the desire to maintain backwards compatibility holding back what could have been an amazing line of computers.

how much more open could apple get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995577)

Seriously... The mac's can all run several OSes: Windows, and several flavors of *nix, They run on standard hardware with standard chipsets.

iOS devices don't, but why would you care? You're buying the device as a vertical platform. If you wanted an iPhone "without so much Apple in it" then just buy a Samsung device.

Woz gets his kicks doing "cool" things, and he was really great at it. The problem is, "cool things" on their own won't let you make it or even survive in the computer business any more. It hasn't been that way since the early 90's.
Apple as a brand is all about promoting "quality" and "reliability" over power and flexibility.
Would you be willing to trade that for more openness?

Though I think there is a subtle point where some of this can be achieved. OS X is slowly losing some of its flexibility with its *nix foundation and this is disappointing from a tinkerer's perspective. I would like to see that come back a bit.

VMWare (1)

Mente (219525) | about 2 years ago | (#39995587)

I'd settle for being able to install OS X on VMWare without hosting the VMWare hypervisor on a Mac Server 3.1 which they haven't made since Jan 2011. Yes, I understand that its possible, but not without violating EULAs of both VMWare and Apple.

I'd love to be able to run OS X in my VDI cluster.

The real motive... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995597)

Woz wants Apple to open up so that OSX can make a difference where Linux failed. OSX is the best OS out there today with no doubt. The Apple "Tax" is stopping many from seeing all the virtues of OSX and Woz wants to change that. It's that simple.

Re:The real motive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39995891)

Woz wants Apple to open up so that OSX can make a difference where Linux failed. OSX is the best OS out there today with no doubt. The Apple "Tax" is stopping many from seeing all the virtues of OSX and Woz wants to change that. It's that simple.

Linux failed because its openness gives too many choices to people who don't want that choice. Apple's success is due to building things that just work, and that means not letting third parties change them in subtile ways normal users don't understand. If you don't want a closed system, don't buy one.

Re:The real motive... (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39995981)

where Linux failed

Where is that? We have a free/libre operating system that is useful and secure, which supports modern features and which is widely used. GNU/Linux showed the world that you can have a good operating system without proprietary licensing.

OSX is the best OS out there today with no doubt

I will raise some doubts about that. I need an OS that is not going to try to thwart me when I debug programs:

https://blogs.oracle.com/ahl/entry/mac_os_x_and_the [oracle.com]

I also need an OS that will not refuse to run on hardware that was not produced by Apple.

Sure, there is room for improvement with GNU/Linux; that is not a result of deliberate efforts to prevent users from doing what they want to do.

Umm...No... (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about 2 years ago | (#39995757)

and forego the billions of dollars it makes by having closed systems. I'm not a fan of apple, but as a business, keeping your products so tightly intertwined is the best thing you can do to continually sell products and accessories.

If you go to an open architecture, the only way you make money is from licensing, and manufactures in china will completely ignore this and screw you over.

There is a company that does that has been doing this very well for decades, Microsoft any one?

Has Woz ever succeeded on his own? No. (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | about 2 years ago | (#39995865)

Woz is pretty much a failure as a business owner. Yes, he's an engineering titan, a legend even, but why he should be taken seriously in a domain where he has an awful track record is beyond me.

Kinda like the Greek government asking Mario Batalli for financial advice...

Re:Has Woz ever succeeded on his own? No. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#39996005)

Because it'd be an amazing feat of engineering.

If they can prove that Google's really wrong about open and the tradeoffs you have to make with open with regards to security and ecosystem, it'd be so damned cool.

Of course warp drives are cool too, but I don't see that happening either.

Go away Woz. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39996237)

Wozniak hasn't done anything useful in 30 years. I'm getting tired of hearing him run his mouth. Who cares.

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