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Apple Paradox: Closed Culture, Free-Thinking Fans

waderoush (1271548) writes | more than 4 years ago

Apple 1

waderoush (1271548) writes "The secrecy surrounding the expected Apple tablet computer is only the latest example of the company's famously closed and controlling culture. Yet millions of designers, musicians, and other creative professionals love their Apple products, and the Apple brand is almost synonymous with free-thinking creativity. How can a company whose philosophy of information sharing is so at odds with that of most of its customers be so successful? This Xconomy essay explores three possible explanations. 1) Closed innovation, overseen by a guiding genius like Steve Jobs, may be the only way to build such coherent, compelling products. 2) Apple's hardware turns out to be more 'open' than the company intended — Job originally wanted to keep third-party apps off the iPhone, for example. 3) Related to #1: customers are pragmatic about quality, and the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone."
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Does this disprove open-source mantras? (1)

Kanel (1105463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30889580)

Does this question some of the more hand-waving arguments for free open-source software? Specifically that it promotes creativity and production of new software? Or is the argument just more limited than OpenSource-promoters would acknowledge?

That Linux is open-source helps in producing fixes and updates for Linux, like new features in the Kernel, translations of the user interfaces and so on. But does it promote production of say, a game or a wordprocessor running on Linux? I think not. By being closed-source, Apple and Microsoft only looses out on free contributions to their operating system. By being close-mouthed, Apple only stops their ideas from being stolen, they still get a "free" influx of new ideas from their competitors and customers. As long as Apple has a staff big enough to implement the new ideas, they gain little by being open and it changes nothing when it comes to attracting 3rd-party apps.

The strength of Open Source, if it ever felt a need to flex its muscles against Apple, lies in the really big and risky projects, like developing a grid infrastructure or a "cloud" with a flat hierarchy. This is why you found universities and CERN leading the way in building computing grids, even though many companies could, in due time, have reaped enormous benefits from being the first to offer access to a proprietary grid. Today Apple get a share of the profits for any program sold to an Iphone. Wouldn't the next logical step have been to get a share of the profits any time someone _ran_ these programs? (out in the "cloud" that is). Yet that task seems too big for Apple and now everyone and their mother are implementing cloud-architectures.

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