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Locked-Down Tablets Endanger FLOSS For End Users

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the debian-friendliness-as-coal-mine-canary dept.

Operating Systems 242

itwbennett writes "If you buy into the idea that tablets (and ultrabooks, and smartphones) in the enterprise are nothing more than glorified thin clients, then Microsoft's Surface presentation seemed more flashback than future. And if you're a fan of free software, the announcement might also have struck fear in your heart. While Microsoft has never locked out apps based on license, it's not impossible that they might chose a more locked-down Apple-esque approach for Surface, writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'And that could put free software for end users very much at risk.'"

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Really? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385379)

A post for some anti-Microsoft tinfoil hat? Must be a slow news day.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385543)

A post for some anti-Microsoft tinfoil hat? Must be a slow news day.

Indeed.

But you know, it's Microsoft's product, they can build it however they want - you're not obligated to buy it.

On the other hand, if you DO buy it, nothing should stop you from at least trying to unlock it and load some other OS... You *do* own the hardware, but MS can design, build, and load it however they damn well feel like...

Re:Really? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385803)

Problem being, today the relative minority enjoy the hardware out there primarily designed to run MS software but also can run Linux due to the way things historically panned out.

If tomorrow the 95% of hardwer designed to run MS is tilted to run MS *exclusively*, the minority no longer has a significant, affordable market to buy in.

Re:Really? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385941)

Isn't that the price of freedom?

It ain't free.

Re:Really? (4, Informative)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385965)

Why would this happen? Today there are two players in the market that are well ahead of MS, and seem to be standing strong where MS is trying to break in. One of these players encourages a lot of free and open apps, and has plenty of hardware industry support as well as an original enabler of the entire platform with possibly deeper pockets than microsoft.

I would not expect a former monopoly holder on last decades technology who is well behind in the current fields to be able to re-assert itself into the same position as it had enjoyed previously.

Re:Really? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386801)

My concern being does this bleed over to the desktop and laptop market in time. Like it or not, MS dominates that particular space.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386699)

Problem being, today the relative minority enjoy the hardware out there primarily designed to run MS software but also can run Linux due to the way things historically panned out.

If tomorrow the 95% of hardwer designed to run MS is tilted to run MS *exclusively*, the minority no longer has a significant, affordable market to buy in.

It is true that people who demand niche OSes (Linux, BSD) will no longer be able to use the same hardware as commodity OSes (Windows). Without the economies of scale that commodity hardware has, niche OS users will have to pay more for hardware. That seems fair. Why do you think others should be forced to use hardware that meets you specifications, if that is not what they choose?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386935)

Meanwhile, back in reality, 95% of tablet hardware is locked-down to run Linux exclusively, excluding the real minority of NetBSD users. Why do Google and Linux oppress software freedom?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385881)

Exactly, Microsoft can build whatever they want however they want and their branding should serve as fair warning to all who are wanting to have *ownership* of the devices they purchase, unless they are looking for a challenge to get it.

I know from experience when I see a Microsoft label it means buyer beware.

Sony v. Hotz (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385947)

they can build it however they want - you're not obligated to buy it.

Say I want a video game console on which I can run homemade video games. Should I get a Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony console? They're all locked down.

nothing should stop you from at least trying to unlock it and load some other OS

Nothing should stop people, but copyright law does stop people. Sony v. Hotz.

Re:Sony v. Hotz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386889)

they can build it however they want - you're not obligated to buy it.

Say I want a video game console on which I can run homemade video games. Should I get a Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony console? They're all locked down.

Then you should buy none of them. Build your own, or wait for a company to create one.

The world does not have an obligation to provide you with exactly what you want. Plenty of companies would, if you were willing to pay for it.

Re:Really? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386265)

what would be the point?you can buy a brand X chineese android tablet and hack away all you want
soon you will be able to buy brand x x86 tablets and hack away

why buy an apple, MS or other locked down device meant for people not like yourself just to complain?

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386283)

But you know, it's Microsoft's product, they can build it however they want - you're not obligated to buy it. [..] You *do* own the hardware, but MS can design, build, and load it however they damn well feel like...

Yawn, it's the old "it's a free market and it's their product and you're not obliged to buy it so you have no right to criticise " response that keeps popping up on Slashdot, either from the mouths of fanboys or from those who (incorrectly) think this is how a free market works.

Let's me be clear- the first (non-italicised part) is valid and reasonable. The problem is when the above types assume that the "no right to criticise" bit follows too. That part is either stated explicitly or implied (as in the above case, since the comment was posted in the context of being a response to criticism of MS's behaviour (*)). Either way, it's wrong.

Yes... yes, they're entitled to do what they like (within reason). And similarly, people are morally entitled to criticise things about that they disagree with. See, it cuts both ways. I'm quite entitled to criticise a company and their products, services and/or practices, regardless of whether I have the intention of buying them or not. The company isn't obligated to sell it, after all.

The implication otherwise is that anyone who doesn't buy a given product in a free market isn't entitled to have an opinion on it. See that car model you know is lousy- and can explain why to your neighbour or other forum members who are thinking about buying one? You should shut up about that because it's a free market and they can design it lousy if they want and you don't have to buy it. Matter of fact, logically the implication applies equally to those who did buy it- since they didn't *have* to. The engine fell out of your brand new Chery QQ after 1500 miles? You weren't obligated to buy it, so you have no right to whine.

In short, no, that's not how it works.

(*) Yes, let's remember that MS themselves haven't actually done this yet- only that someone is speculating that they *might*.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386353)

Why Microsoft would do that!!! Why locking down!? Apple did it, and where did that take them? Apple must be doing something wrong, or right? Let's ask the /. crowd! They always know why Apple is good and MS is not... even doing the same things.

Agreed (1)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386755)

Though, I don't recall there being any rules which state that products not designed for Windows or iOS having to be locks down.

I figure that the UEFI BIOS for ARM is open source, Linux is open source... Shouldn't be so hard to produce a non-Windows or Apple tablet. I just don't see any problem with Microsoft and even other vendors locking the devices they make. Why not just buy something else?

Oops... Forgot.. Slashdot... People here intentionally buy locked down devices do they can bitch about their lack of freedom

FUDD (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385399)

They may also make it such that it calls you mean names...

Re:FUDD (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385545)

+1. I was aboout to post the same thing. This is a BLOG that is filled with nothing but speculation to induce fear, uncertainty, and doubt about what Microsoft MIGHT do to lock-out devices. It was a waste of my time to read. 1/10 stars.

The final paragraph should have been the /. summary: "Free software won't completely go away, of course. There's too much back-end functionality in too many IT sectors for that to ever happen. But with the rise of thin clients and the app store gateways, end users may have a harder time finding and installing free software for their personal or business use."

Re:FUDD (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385657)

doubt about what Microsoft MIGHT do to lock-out devices.

Might do? You mean like mandate 3rd parties enforce UEFI Secure Boot to ensure nothing can modify the boot process? You knock out malware and alternative operating systems (arguably malware from Microsoft's perspective) in one blow.

Free software won't completely go away, of course. There's too much back-end functionality in too many IT sectors for that to ever happen.

No, but you'll be pushed down the path of buying a multi-thousand dollar server of some sort.

But with the rise of thin clients and the app store gateways, end users may have a harder time finding and installing free software for their personal or business use.

Which is precisely what Microsoft and Apple would prefer. No access to Free Software because your platform vendor has decided for you what software you will and will not be able to use. And those decisions will be made exclusively to their own benefit.

Re:FUDD (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385753)

Might do? You mean like mandate 3rd parties enforce UEFI Secure Boot to ensure nothing can modify the boot process? You knock out malware and alternative operating systems (arguably malware from Microsoft's perspective) in one blow.

One of two things will happen if MS does this: 1) it will have no effect because they are such a tiny player in the tablet market and trying to lock out Android/ etc will have no impact on the availability of Android tablets (not necessarily unlocked, but that is up to the manufacturers) or 2) MS will get their ass sued off for anti-trust in about 5 seconds if they try things like "you have to sell only locked tablets to get OEM prices for x86 Windows." I'm not particularly worried: MS just doesn't have the clout in that region to influence tablets, and if they try to exploit their non-tablet clout they will find themselves in a world of hurt legally.

Antitrust hurt from whom? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386021)

if they try to exploit their non-tablet clout they will find themselves in a world of hurt legally

With the US DOJ being rendered toothless by the right wing and the EU allegedly about to break up over debt crises, from whom will this hurt come?

Re:Antitrust hurt from whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386877)

Some of us "right wing"ers, like Eric Raymond, might disagree with being equated with big biz types - Free Enterprise is not necessarily the same as Big Enterprise.

Re:FUDD (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386033)

I think you need to expand 2:
2a: Microsoft is sued.
2b: Microsoft stalls
2c: Microsoft appeals.
2d: After ten years, the legal action is finally over. Microsoft is fined for tens of millions of dollars. But by this point their control has allowed them to eradicate all competitors and make many billions of dollars in additional profit. Net winner: Microsoft. We've seen it before.

Re:FUDD (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386551)

By going to route of contracting their own devices microsoft runs the risk of making enemies of all of their former downstream partners. If they're enemies windows is going to get smacked down even trying to enter the tablet space, and if microsoft only really makes a lead in device (like the Google nexus line) then you just don't buy the Microsoft locked down product and buy the 3rd party manufacturer one that isn't.

In the end I think there is a market for dumbed down, locked down devices. Especially because a lot of people are bewildered by their computers (watch BBC or CNN news anchors ever try and talk about technology and you realize that people have no fucking clue what's going on). Some people need to be protected from themselves, and more to the point want to be anyway. That market is basically where apple lives, and they own that market right now. I have no idea if microsoft trying to get into that market is a good idea or not, but there's probably a good case for their to be a least some windows devices consumers can buy that fit into that category.

Re:FUDD (1)

_pi-away (308135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385971)

Indeed, I'm amazed this got accepted.

I also like this part:

"They also share another disturbing trait: they are could be very closed devices."

Indeed that is a disturbing sentence.

Re:FUDD (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385693)

They are bringing back Microsoft BOB?

Re:FUDD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386371)

...or throws chairs.

Lock Out (4, Insightful)

Grudge2012 (2662391) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385405)

It's not Apple locking out GPL, its the GPL locking out the App Store.

Re:Lock Out (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385511)

....right, because when you ban giving away the source code to software, it's the license's fault? Go back to being dead, Steve.

Re:Lock Out (4, Informative)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385591)

Apple doesn't ban giving out the source code. I've downloaded the source to numerous iOS apps in Apple's store.

Re:Lock Out (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385703)

Under the GPL, Apple become the party burdened with ensuring the license is fulfilled, as they are the distributor - so yes, the license is to blame. There is no scope in the GPL for Apple to be anything other than the distributor, there is no allowance for an agent model, or a silent party (who holds no liability) acting as an enabler between the recipient and the originator.

And as this wasn't even duscussed during GPL v3 talks, yes it is a problem with the license - a deliberate one. The FSF and Gnu want to put entities like Apple into this position.

Re:Lock Out (3, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385907)

Not even that. The problem is that some copyright holders of GPL licensed software _claimed_ that having software based on their code was against the GPL license, and threatened to sue Apple. Whether that claim is true or not is up for debate, but clearly these people didn't _want_ their code on the App Store, and the _threat_ of being sued was enough for Apple to remove the software.

If the copyright holders agree that their GPL licensed software may be distributed through the App Store then there is no problem.

And in practice, when GPL licensed software appears on the App Store, anyone can get the source code (you can even include it in the application package), you can make the application available to anyone else who wants it by telling them where to download it, you can create derived works. It's exactly the opposite of the Tivo situation where you had code that followed the letter of the GPL but violated the spirit - on the App Store, you can in practice do all the things that GPL is supposed to allow you, even if the letter of the GPL license isn't followed.

Installation Information (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386061)

you can make the application available to anyone else who wants it by telling them where to download it

How does that satisfy the requirement for "Installation Information" (GPLv3) or "scripts used to control [...] installation of the executable" (GPLv2)? One still has to buy a $649 Mac and a $396 certificate (assuming four-year service life of an iOS device) to install it.

Re:Installation Information (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386409)

That is a completely bogus argument. When the FSF was founded, you needed a $10,000 Unix workstation to use GCC.

Re:Lock Out (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385913)

That's a really interesting point. It's comparable to holding UPS liable for the contents of a box they transport. Or like holding AT&T responsible for what gets sent over the Internet. Oops, there's that slippery slope again. Seriously, there should be a GPL agent model, so there could be "clearing house" entities (like, say, CNET) who could distribute FOSS without being part of the "make available" liability chain.

Re:Lock Out (2)

Teckla (630646) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386107)

Seriously, there should be a GPL agent model

Or just skip all the GPL drama entirely and use code based on BSD, MIT, Apache, etc., licenses instead.

Re:Lock Out (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386313)

In other words, you're fine with a platform tyrant banning certain types of software and certain licenses simply because they can.

The GPL came first. If the Apple store is incompatible with the GPL, then it is Apple that made it that way. It's not the fault of the FSF that some jerks 20 years later decided to be fascists.

The fact that you're happy about the situation does you no credit.

Re:Lock Out (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386355)

The fact that the GPL would need specific accommodation makes it the incompatible party, regardless of what came first, second or last.

Re:Lock Out (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386453)

Only an asshole could think that Apple not making source available is somehow to be taken as a huge negative thing that is morally wrong. Unless Google Play is different, it's quite possible that any GPL'd app is also illegal. Does Google Play include the source for such apps?

Re:Lock Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386359)

But, but the GPL is the Snooki of free software licenses!

Re:Lock Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386747)

But Apple's app store is more analogous to shop rather than a delivery company, so your analogy doesn't hold.

It wouldn't really be much work for Apple to host a repository with the source code to fulfil the distributor's part of the GPL.

Re:Lock Out (3, Interesting)

jschottm (317343) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386643)

I've bought plenty of GPL software through retailers who didn't have to supply me with the source code.

"Your license to each App Store Product is subject to the Licensed Application End User License Agreement set forth below, and you agree that such terms will apply unless the App Store Product is covered by a valid end user license agreement entered into between you and the licensor of that App Store Product (the "Application Provider"), in which case the Application Providerâ(TM)s end user license agreement will apply to that App Store Product ... You acknowledge that: you are acquiring the license to each Third-Party Product from the Application Provider"

Even if your argument was true, all they'd have to do is provide the ability to download the source code (which they get to charge for).

Re:Lock Out (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385849)

And when did this happen? Oh you're referring to VLC where some of developers objected to it being placed in the App Store by someone else. The developers objected to Apple putting DRM on the code (which they put on all apps) which goes against GPL. So Apple removed it. How dare Apple respect copyright by following the wishes of the copyright holders!

Re:Lock Out (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385697)

No, it's a mutual incompatibility between the App Store and the GPL. Apple chose to make it this way.

The App Store (and by extension, Apple's walled garden) is decisively anti-end user freedom. The GPL is totally pro-end user freedom. But since Apple controls the store, the only way to legitimately get GPL software on there is to own all the copyrights to the code, strip the GPL (because it will be replaced with Apple's onerous terms,) and post it. Users can then go figure out how to make use of the GPL code with a platform that is outright hostile to them.

Re:Lock Out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386125)

The GPL is totally pro-end user freedom.

Nonsense. Like the MAFIAA the GPL wants all the power to be in the hands of the _CREATOR_ of the copyrighted work. The _CREATOR_ not the user decides what the user can and can't do in terms of distribution.

If I am a user and I want to modify GPL software and make a product, I can't without being forced by the creator to release my new source code, even if I only took 10% of the GPL code and added 90% of my own. It is most definitely anti-user.

The BSD is the best license when it comes to freedoms. Go spew your FSF propaganda somewhere else.

Re:Lock Out (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386209)

Nonsense. Like the MAFIAA the GPL wants all the power to be in the hands of the _CREATOR_ of the copyrighted work. The _CREATOR_ not the user decides what the user can and can't do in terms of distribution.

If I am a user and I want to modify GPL software and make a product, I can't without being forced by the creator to release my new source code, even if I only took 10% of the GPL code and added 90% of my own. It is most definitely anti-user.

Uh, the _USER_ doesn't have to do anything. It's the people who want to take others work and make money off it without giving anything back who have to hand out their source code to the _USER_ so the _USER_ then has full control over what they do with their software. It's intensely pro-_USER_, just anti people like you who want to lock up other people's work for their own profit.

Re:Lock Out (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386499)

There is nothing at all stopping you from

A) Including your own license. Apple's does not apply in this scenario.
B) Including the source for your app and making it available via iTunes.

The sticking point would be the DRM that prevents redistribution of the binary.

Re:Lock Out (1, Insightful)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385847)

I think the iOS $0.99 per sale model is better in the long run than the "Free as in GPL" model. At least making a $0.70 per sale can defray some of the development costs. Writing an tablet app, not charging anything for it, and giving away the source code seems to me like shooting yourself in the foot--unless you're part of the small minority of coders who don't need to earn a living.

Re:Lock Out (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385955)

Count how much freely available software there is out there, with source code.

That's at least how many programmers there are who will write software and give away the source code (since many free software products have multiple contributors). While it might not be a majority of programmers, it's anything but a small number.

Re:Lock Out (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386645)

On Sourceforge.net there are fewer than 400 iOS projects (I had a hard time finding the exact number)... compare that to the 500,000 apps in the App store that are not open source. Yes, there are plenty of open source projects.. just not that many in the iOS space.

No, it's Apple (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385867)

There is nothing inherent to the repository / app store model that is incompatible with the GPL. It's Apple's policies that are incompatible with the GPL, whic was a deliberate decision on the part of Apple to maintain their power over users.

Re:No, it's Apple (1)

0ld_d0g (923931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386187)

It's Apple's policies that are incompatible with the GPL, whic was a deliberate decision on the part of Apple to maintain their power over users.

Sorry.. could you point out what those are? I just read the app store policy and cant find any mention of 'source code' or GPL.

Re:Lock Out (2)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386029)

+1 informative.

Do apple ban redistribution of sourcecode? No. VLC for iPhone's source code was available for download. (before VLC was pulled on request of one of the authors of VLC)
Do apple ban redistribution of the binary? Any iphone is free to copy from your iphone backups, and to send to whoever wants it....not that the recipient would be able to do much with it!
Do apple ban the use of using other peoples sourcecode in your own project?. Of course not

What apple do, is prevent installation of anything, that hasn't come from the Appstore. This is the so called walled garden!. To be honest, I dont mind a walled garden, as I would rather not have a device that can be infected with Adware/Trojans/Viruses!.

Re:Lock Out (-1, Troll)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386241)

+1 informative.

Does Apple ban redistribution of source code? No. VLC for iPhone's source code was available for download, before VLC was pulled on request of one of the authors.
Does Apple ban redistribution of the binary? Any iPhone is free to copy your iPhone backups, and send them to whoever wants them.... not that the recipient would be able to do much with them!
Does Apple ban the use of other people's source code in your own project? Of course not.

FMOTGFY (Fixed Most Of That Grammar For You)

Safe to assume English is not your primary language? Please let that be a yes...

What Apple does is prevent installation of anything that doesn't come from the Appstore. This is the so called "walled garden!" To be honest, I don't mind a walled garden, as I would rather not have a device that can be infected with Adware/Trojans/Viruses!.

Aww, there's still someone out there who thinks Apple products are immune to malware! How quaint!

Re:Lock Out (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386741)

Im dyslexic, you insensitive clod!

x86 Version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385407)

What about the x86 version where you can install whatever random .exe you want?

Re:x86 Version? (1)

arbulus (1095967) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386791)

This is the bit I don't understand. What makes ARM so inherrently different that it must be locked down? Why is MSFT pushing lockdown on ARM, with both software installation and UEFI restrictions? Why is it any different than x86/64?

It's not, in any way at all. MSFT is creating a false dichotmy so consumers will continue to think of ARM and other mobile devices as appliances that you have no control over, instead of the general purpose computers that they actually are. The last thing Apple and MSFT want is consumers realizing that tablets and smartphones are just as much computers as your desktop and laptop. They want people to see mobile devices differently so they can control them.

CRAP ARTICLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385409)

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP?

it's not required (0)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385443)

> 'And that could put free software for end users very much at risk.'

*if* you choose to buy the netbook (it's not really a tablet) that Microsoft has rebranded "surface". At this time I don't see any reason to do that. The people who jump in pretty much deserve whatever they get.

Re:it's not required (0)

jschmitz (607083) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385479)

since they are only going to sell like 11 of these total I am not very worried about it

Re:it's not required (0)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385823)

+500000 to this... Every time microsoft announces something "new" hardware wise that isn't revolved around the XBox brand... it fails... and fails hard... I'm not worried at all what microsoft does, or sells, or develops cause all of their past attempts have been garbage. XBox 360 + peripherals (Kinect) are the only good things coming from the hardware division as of late... Their software division and pc/tablet/notebook/ultrabook divisions are pure and utter retardation (opinion of course)...

Re:it's not required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385915)

Prove that it is not a tablet. It looks about like a wide screen iPad (although with a less esthetically pleasing look, mostly due to having the useful ports and all). It doesn't require the keyboard to operate. Sounds like a tablet to me.

Re:it's not required (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386099)

Well, the OS may be able to be run without a keyboard.

But MSFT's examples in Office & Lightroom *required* a keyboard to demo.

Re:it's not required (0)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386171)

> Prove that it is not a tablet.

Trivial. Primary reason: It has an attached keyboard.

If anyone felt the need to continue, one might also say: The *reason* it has an attached keyboard, is that it runs Windows, which is a KVM-based operating system which recently in its life has had a few touch screen gestures wedged in. The OS is most definitely not a tablet OS, and Microsoft knows this, hence the keyboard, and I'm willing to bet, some kind of pointing device. They're attempting to redefine "tablet" as a netbook with a touch screen. And as with anything Microsoft does, there will be people who buy into it.

dude i fucking farted (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385469)

god damn chicken korma again

That's the plan (1)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385491)

"And that could put free software for end users very much at risk"... all the more reason for Apple and Microsoft to want it.

Android tablets are still open-source (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385519)

... Except for the color Nook tablets, curse them!

Or perhaps it creates a market opportunity (2)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385527)

Let microsoft control software on their own hardware. There will be hardware vendors to fill the void, and I'm guessing that hardware will run something open source.

WebOS is already out there. Android too. And for generic computing, you have Linux, BSD, etc.

Nothing to be afraid of here. It's an opportunity. Perhaps those who want 'cheap hardware' will now be forced to finally look at the better OSs. It disgusts me that I work for a government contract, managing unix servers, where we waste so much money, time, and effort shovelling this unusable crap on our desktops.

The other shoe dropping? (0)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385553)

While we mainly-Microsoft devs were scratching out head at the "guidance" from MS to drop WPF, Silverlight, .Net, etc., and instead plan on coding everything in HTML5 and Javascript, wondering why they would proceed along what seemed to be a massive self-limiting move, now there seems there may be an unmentioned rationale...

What else does HTML5 offer? It's easily sandboxed and thus compatible with an enforced channel, a la Apple's App Store and their push to eliminate uncontrolled functionality possible via Flash.

Microsoft, say it isn't so.

Re:The other shoe dropping? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385747)

MS never even hinted they were dropping .Net, that's been rather successful FUD by certain other parties.

Whitelist of web sites (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386117)

What else does HTML5 offer? It's easily sandboxed and thus compatible with an enforced channel

I don't see how the public will buy a device marketed for accessing web sites yet incapable of accessing web sites that the manufacturer has not whitelisted. It's not "Internet Explorer" if it specifically blocks the owner of a device from Exploring a given valid-HTML5 web site on the Internet. Or are you talking about using an origin whitelist to control access to new HTML5 features such as the Media Capture API, the File API, the application cache, and local storage?

Re:Whitelist of web sites (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386607)

I'm not thinking of whitelists at all, rather the nature of a "sandbox" environment like the JVM. Through Java, for example, you are limited to a subset of the computer's functionality--that which the sandbox design allows for. Your API and local storage examples are the type of thing at issue for me. In effect, what the sandbox "allows for" can ultimately be whatever the company controlling the platform says it will be.

Basically, I don't want a Windows that is "a device marketed for accessing web sites"--I want a computer that is fully accessible to whatever code I want to run on the platform, and equally-so for any an all developers out there, including open-source ones. While there can be an argument that a controlled channel and sandboxed runtime environment can increase the security of the system relative to malware and such, and so actually be of tangible benefit to the user, I suspect that the primary rationale would be to get a "cut" of the sales of every application written, as in the Apple App Store and Xbox Marketplace. Microsoft certainly would have reason to look at Apple and Android and see a profitable model there, I just hope that at least with some subset of their platforms, MS remains an exception to the trend.

Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385555)

I guess it's a good thing I don't buy into that stupid, stupid idea.

No Promble! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385561)

trugeeks don't brush or use FLOSS anyway!

Fearmongering (4, Insightful)

mattr (78516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385573)

tl;dr: "they are could be closed devices"

This typo is a good summary of the article.
Perfectly good vocalizing about the death of open systems.. except that it hasn't happened yet has it. Wake me up after the product launch.

waste of time (2)

Tmann72 (2473512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385593)

Correct me if I'm wrong but only the Windows RT platform is app store locked whereas the Windows 8 Pro is not app locked. Also, aren't they making both an ARM Windows RT Surface and a x86 Windows 8 Pro Surface? If my memory is accurate then wouldn't that suggest that this entire article is stupid and a waste of time? Just buy the correct version. Problem solved.

Re:waste of time (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385665)

Metro is 100% locked, regardless of CPU architecture. Microsoft wants all future development to take place using Metro, and it isn't hard to see why.

Re:waste of time (1)

Tmann72 (2473512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385743)

App store being locked and Metro being locked are two very different things. They aren't even remotely the same thing.

Re:waste of time (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385809)

They're both locked.

* Metro software cannot be acquired from any source but the Microsoft Store.
* Software cannot enter the Microsoft Store unless it is Metro.

Microsoft has Metro locked up from both ends, just like iOS.

They aren't even remotely the same thing.

Correct. I have long said that Google should be as anal as Apple with respect to vetting software that enters their store, and that'd be perfectly fine so long as the handsets don't enforce the store as a sole source.

Re:waste of time (1)

Tmann72 (2473512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386009)

This is only true for Windows RT. Not for Windows 8 pro. I could be wrong, but everything I'm seeing online seems to agree. Windows RT = ARM architecture where apps can only be acquired through the App store, and all apps in the app store are Metro. Windows 8 Pro = x86 where I can write my own programs and they can be either desktop or metro and I can freely give them to friends or as web downloads like traditional windows.

Re:waste of time (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386065)

I could be wrong, but everything I'm seeing online seems to agree.

Only for Win32 software. Metro apps are inside a walled garden [arstechnica.com] and much like iOS, local "side loading" is only allowed for developers. No distribution of software to others is possible outside the store (unless you wanna ensure your software is only ever used by developers.)

Windows RT is restricted by Win32 being completely unavailable to anyone but Microsoft.

Require all users to sign up as developers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386173)

For Metro apps, why can't a developer use the workaround of requiring all users to sign up as developers? If Microsoft were to announce plans to require users of Visual Studio Express to pay for a certificate, that would defeat the purpose of Visual Studio Express.

Re:Require all users to sign up as developers (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386939)

Not everyone shoud need to be a developer just to avoid a store. Ramming a store down people's throat benefits only the store owner.

Re:waste of time (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386213)

This is only true for Windows RT. Not for Windows 8 pro. I could be wrong, but everything I'm seeing online seems to agree. Windows RT = ARM architecture where apps can only be acquired through the App store, and all apps in the app store are Metro. Windows 8 Pro = x86 where I can write my own programs and they can be either desktop or metro and I can freely give them to friends or as web downloads like traditional windows.

Everything I've seen indicates that, even on x86, Metro apps can only be installed through the app store (although I've seen notes -- ironically, in an article about new ChromeOS management facilities -- that MS intends to provide enterprise management tools that will allow enterprise users to load in-house Metro apps outside of the Microsoft Store, but those would be licensed separately from the desktop OS, not something that most Windows users will have access to and be able to freely use.

Pro affordable? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386193)

Just buy the correct version.

Except I don't think members of the general public will be able to afford the correct version. What MSRP do you expect for each of the two configurations?

ZOMG M$ might be like Apple :O (2)

kurthr (30155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385605)

Speculation and fear mongering... Google could be more like FB. Slashdot could be more like reddit.

In particular, M$ is touting their enormous number of programs that run on Win8 (even if not in the Metro tiles).

There are enough bad things that might happen with some actual substance, why not worry about those.

Re:ZOMG M$ might be like Apple :O (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386387)

Slashdot could be more like reddit.

we can only hope

Just the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385647)

MS is in serious decline. This is just another step in the wrong direction and another nail in MS's coffin. MS is going the way IBM was 30 years ago. Since MS plans to produce its own hardware, there will be a push back by PC makers to seek alteratives to Windows. Linux now has a pretty good desktop (KDE) and Is ready to start taking some market share. Cloud Apps make the transision to the Linux Desktop easier since Cloud Apps don't run on Desktop/Laptop machines. This removes the advantage MS had with App domination over other OSs. If I can run Office and other windows business apps on the cloud, why do I need MS on the Desktop anymore?

meh.. whatever (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385675)

I don't see Microsoft doing particularly well with any product directly marketed to consumers except windows. Even then, the real selling point is primarily based on the monopoly (nothing else will run my games etc...). I think this is likely to be a blip just like windows phone was.

I know exactly the legal text they would use. (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385735)

If you look at some of the MS SDK licenses, redsitributables and similar things, you often find a clause refering to 'identified software' - here's an example, taken from the ASF/WMA/WMF specification license (http://read.pudn.com/downloads3/sourcecode/multimedia/9891/ASF%20Specification%20v.1.0/ASF%20Specification%20v.1.0.doc, abridged for clarity):

"2 (g) ...your license rights to the Specification are conditioned upon your (a) not distributing the Implementation in conjunction with Identified Software (as defined below); (b) not using Identified Software (e.g. tools) to develop the Implementation; and (c) not distributing the Implementation under license terms which would make the Implementation Identified Software. ... Identified Software includes, without limitation, any software that requires as a condition of use, modification and/or distribution of such software that other software distributed with such software (x) be disclosed or distributed in source code form; (y) be licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or (z) be redistributable at no charge"

The details vary between different licenses.. The most restrictive, those on things like the ASF specification that I used as an example, prohibit even using 'Identified Software' at any stage in the development process.

Translated roughly from legalese, this means that if your software is open source or even if you allow users to redistribute it, you aren't even allowed to put it on the same CD as a microsoft redistributable. If you use one of the affected SDKs or licensed specifications that takes the most restrictive variation then you are not only prohibited from releasing your source, or allowing others to redistribute your software, but you can't so much as use vim or emacs to edit your code or GCC to compile it. I also find almost the same clause in things like the Windows XP Embedded EULA, so if you make a product which depends upon XP Embedded then you are not able to open-source the application software that you wrote to run on it.

If Microsoft were to go full-on Evil Empire once again, this is exactly the clause they would probably adapt. All they'd need to do is pass a policy that no 'Identified Software' be permitted in the marketplace. A trivial legal change, and it would easily and effectively not merely bar open source software from the market (And thus Windows RT entirely, as well as use of the metro interface), but possibly even prohibit any Windows dev hoping for commercial success or any accessibility to the ARM mobile users from even utilising open-source development tools.

FLOSS? (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385857)

My dentist is going to be pissed.

That's the whole point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385875)

I think that lock-down is the direction in which they're moving all Windows, to cash in as Apple has.

OH NOES !! THE SKY MAY BE FALLING AGAIN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385929)

How are we ever going to survive ?? How can we floss if we got no teeth ??

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386149)

If Microsoft wants to lock down THEIR device, it is entirely up to them, just like it is for Apple and their devices.

There are plenty of open tablets out there. Go get them and scrub them from the default OSes.

Better yet, stop whining since as soon as it comes out it will be cracked open in seconds since it is Microsoft Security we are speaking about here.

Re:So what? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386363)

...except it is no longer THEIR device once they sell it to ME.

Anti-Microsoft Flame Douche (3, Informative)

MrWin2kMan (918702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386183)

This article is obviously written by someone who hasn't bothered to take a look at Metro development on Windows Phone. Having a locked-down environment does not prevent anyone from placing free apps in the Marketplace nor providing the source code. Marketplace, like iTunes, does have some control of what can get published, as all apps have to meet established criteria. Tell me, do we really need to tout 500,000 apps, when 100,000 have some sort of flatulence sound as their reason for being? Not having Chrome or Firefox or Opera on Windows Phone bothers me not a bit. The environment is web-based, and the evermore slight variations in the way the different browsers present the display can wreak havoc on the user experience. Microsoft is right to control this. The fact that API's are not available to allow an alternative browser to function on Windows Phone/Windows RT as it would on a full Windows 7/Windows 8 client probably points more to the relative youth of the OS. For once, Microsoft is taking direct control over its future, and following in the footsteps of the beloved Jobs. Windows RT tablets will directly compete with the iPad, and offer pretty much the same user experience. If you want something more robust, use Windows 8. If you want to write more robust applications and provide you sourcecode, write for Windows 8. It will be a much larger audience anyway.

Mmmmm, unfounded speculation... (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386235)

While Microsoft has never locked out apps based on license, it's not impossible that they might chose a more locked-down Apple-esque approach for Surface

It's not impossible that they'll kick a puppy for every copy of Windows 8 sold, either. Won't someone please think of the puppies?

Re:Mmmmm, unfounded speculation... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386415)

It's funny you should mention puppies.

The whole torturing of puppies thing has been done before.

Edison could be viewed as inspiration of Gates and he engaged in an interesting big of FUD against Tesla that included electrocuting puppies.

Microsofts and Oranges (2)

belgianguy (1954708) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386285)

If it's not completely obvious by now, Microsoft is imitating Apple to a T, from the verticalization of their platform (in-house hardware + software) to the hip dictator face of their new product line (Sinofski). Their complete reversal on user freedom and customization is also a sign of the changes in Redmond.

If you view it from a corporate perspective, why should they pass on making extra dollars on App Market subscriptions, cashing 30% of each downloaded app and be able to reject apps that could compete with their own in-house variants? Why would they let you use VLC if they could pocket $5 for an upgrade to your Windows Media Player?

Although I deem it unlikely that free/OSS software won't be available at all to the platform, I do expect that these programs will be limited to the less-than-ideal sandbox mode, without access to the system APIs, all under the guise of (revenue) security. In which case the in-house variants will always (miraculously!) outperform any third-party options, creating a tilted playing field.

Right... (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386557)

Because there aren't any free Apps on either Itunes or Play now.

good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386659)

if they lock it down , i put 10$ on the opensource community for an unlock and a unsecure rom within 90 days

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