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I’m Not a Mac #4–Control Issues: Why Apple Doesn’t Want You to Use Linux

(Photo: “Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find…”)

This post is part of my “I’m Not a Mac” series, chronicling my controversial migration away from Apple Computer after 15 years as a Mac user. Find other entries in the “I’m Not a Mac” series archive.

[Welcome to new readers from Free Software Daily, LinuxToday, Tuxmachines.org, and other places. Thank you for clicking through.]

Boy, what a tempest I discovered when I posted last week about my disillusionment with Apple Computer and my ongoing migration from OS X to the new and well-reviewed Windows 7. Last time I checked in, I had jailbroken my iPhone to install the unofficial Google Voice mobile app. (You can find all my updates in my Migration from Mac OS X post category.) This week I’ve been taking a closer look at Linux–and discovered yet another Apple tentacle wrapped around my right to choose my own OS: iTunes, and Apple’s ongoing refusal to port it to Linux.

I dove into Linux at the suggestion of several commenters who urged me to take a look at the open-source end of the OS world before deciding to go over to the Microsoft “dark side.” Why not? I figured. One-half of my goal is never again to have to pay several hundred extra dollars for specially branded hardware just to run my OS of choice, and the other half is to remove myself from Steve Jobs’ heavy-handed control of the applications I choose to install there.

Now, Linux is to Apple the way that Protestantism is to Catholicism: there’s little secretive mysticism, and lots of free choice. Most surprising to newbies like me, there is no single “official” version of the OS. Instead, dozens of freely available, mostly open-source distributions of the software exist, each aiming to satisfy a different set of users, and most installable on almost any machine.

I started out playing with popular “distros” Ubuntu and Kubuntu, but found both a bit clunky (Ubuntu seemed pretty plain to look at, and Kubuntu’s interface was needlessly confusing.) I like an OS that’s pretty but unobtrusive, and apparently I’m also a “home user tinkerer who likes my multimedia files to play out of the box.” (I took this test to find that out.) So yesterday I started exploring Linux Mint, an OS based on Ubuntu designed to be minimalist yet snazzy.

At first glance, the crisp-looking interface backs up Mint’s slogan, “From freedom came elegance.” I won’t tell you I installed the thing, because the version of Mint I explored (there are others) includes proprietary drivers that conflict with U.S. copyright law. Unlike other OSes, in Linux, programs cost nothing, are downloaded from safe, virus-free central repositories, and work across multiple OS versions.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for hardware compatibility. A browse through the Ubuntu and Mint forums told me that late-model Mac users have had problems getting basic hardware components to work with Linux, including critical things like Wifi cards. The reason? Use of proprietary drivers by Apple that don’t have direct workarounds. It’s the same reason that you can’t play mp3s and DVDs out of the box with most versions of Linux–you have to download and perhaps pay to use the drivers that give you the “right” to access your own media.

Even with the that problem solved in the don’t-use-me-in-the-U.S. version of Linux Mint, there still remains one big hurdle to my ability to consider Linux a potential new OS: iTunes. It’s 2009 and Apple still refuses to port the world’s leading media player and online media distribution channel to Linux. That leaves no native way for Linux users to sync iPods and iPhones.

The Linux user forums suggest that Apple likes it this way. Linux is open source, its users prefer to control their own software and rights decisions. Even without DRM on iTunes Store music any longer, Apple could never hope to control how people chose to use a Linux port of the media player. Thus, no iTunes.

Even worse, although there have been workarounds developed over the years, including running iTunes via Windows virtualization (WINE software) and using third-party apps to at least get music and photos onto the phone manually, in the latest iPhone OS release (3.0+), Apple deliberately altered the phone’s file structure to render it incompatible with Linux workarounds.

These are the same control-freaky shenanigans on the part of Apple that have me wanting to part ways with the company and its computing solutions in the first place. Think about that–Apple thumbing its nose at a community of millions of alternate OS users simply because it can’t control how they use their own computers.

If I wanted to switch to Linux and keep my iPhone, I would either have to also keep a backup computer  running Mac OS X to sync my phone (not an optimal option), delay my switch until Linux developers came up with another workaround…or simply migrate directly to Windows 7, where iTunes already exists. It’s amazing that a decision by Apple might force me directly into the Microsoft camp, bypassing the equally Microsoft-unfriendly, open-source community that, if Apple had any sense, would be seen as an ally in its competition with the Windows world rather than an afterthought.

I guess if you’re leaving the fold, Steve Jobs would rather you stay somewhere he and his company can keep tabs on you (and remotely brick your iPhone for being naughty, if desired.) This recent PC World article [Editor’s Note: link fixed] talks about Apple’s deliberate strategy of locking Mac users into proprietary software and hardware that make it difficult to migrate to another operating system if ever they decided to do so. After all, a highly captive user base means a guaranteed income stream from future iPod and MacBook purchases. The magazine’s top two Apple “gotchas”? iTunes and iPods/iPhones.

Apple’s brand of one-way trip marketing sounds a lot like a cult to me. Or that scary fish from Finding Nemo where you’re attracted to the shining light, only to be devoured upon coming too close the the shadow-shrouded jaws. Perhaps even the bits and bytes version of a roach motel. Yes, I’m that over Cupertino at this point.

Ultimately, I couldn’t care less about iTunes in and of itself. I’ll eventually own an Android phone and there are third-party syncing solutions for Google’s phone platform on all three major OSes. But for right now, I’m annoyed. Apple’s ongoing attempt to control the OS choice of former users by trying to steer them clear of Linux is mean-spirited. Every time I encounter another such element of Apple’s deeply entrenched strategy to control its own users–and apparently, its former users, too–all it does is stiffen my resolve to get the heck off this computing platform once and for all after a decade and a half of use.

And perhaps scrub myself with a robust loofa to get rid of the stench of the Jobs years while I’m at it.

Categories: "I'm Not a Mac" Series

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Michael Thaddeus Doyle

I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.

My Bio | My Conversion | My Family Reunion

Contact: mikedoyleblogger@gmail.com

69 replies

  1. You keep carping on about leaving Apple behind yet you predicate all your options on compatibility with your precious iPhone and iPod. You just don’t make sense.

  2. Well Paul (sorry for misspelling your name initially), note that that was my only criticism of your post. In fact, that was the first of only two comments I ever made in this blog (the second clarifying the first). I said nothing against any of your other points. I just wanted to correct the record. For that, you called me a “fanboi” on Twitter. This is the behavior that inflames these debates and causes people to throw up their hands at “Mac zealots” or whatever type of partisan that everyone decries. You probably got caught up in the heat of the argument. I can understand that. It can happen to all of us. But understand this — I don’t care about Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc. I used them all. Frequently. I survived. And I don’t have any more attachment to them than I do to the program that operates the DVR in my cable box. Don’t question my motives, without better evidence.

  3. Zed, I responded to your latest comment here. You’re right, different strokes for different folks and no company is your close friend. More in my later response.

    Is that last line Linux humor? Like:

    “Make me a sandwich?”

    No.

    “Sudo, make me a sandwich.”

    OK.

  4. From my long history with both Windows and Mac I can say with certainty that Apple is doing nothing new that they have not always done. Neither is Microsoft. Both companies have ALWAYS tried to keep their users in their fold. Both companies have used their software to break competing software on their OSs.

    It’s not criminal, it’s business. Don’t look back at some rosy past of Macintosh without talking to someone burned by the Mac IIFX.

    Or Windows 95 and IE.

    I hope you find your nirvana of open source freedom but I doubt it exists. I use all three platforms and all have their pluses and minuses. I prefer the Mac user experience but that’s just me.

    sudo “what the hell do we need a command line for?”

  5. @Wes
    Yes, after actually reading the paper, I was wrong about Vista SP1+ not booting from EFI. Perhaps I should have not relied on 2 years old information…

    Still doesn’t change my other points, though. Too bad others aren’t as willing to admit to mistakes.

  6. For those playing at home, the very title of the file I linked to above was “Installing Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1 on UEFI Systems”

    I had assumed for all of these years that Vista was the client OS, but maybe I was wrong. Though you can see how I could make that mistake. I’ve been the idiot that’s been running the server OS known as Vista on my laptop for a year or so.

  7. @Wes
    I should have specified Windows client doesn’t boot EFI, just as you probably should have specified that only Server does. Given the nature of the discussion and the fact that unless someone has *very* good reason to do so, pretty much no one runs Server on a laptop. That and Server 08 costs almost as much as a new Mac laptop up front…

  8. I’m glad your moving on from Mac OSX. I’m a Mac user myself, but that doesn’t mean the whole world has to be a Mac. If you haven’t already, give Ubuntu a whirl. I have used it and really like the interface. Unix based, so it’s fairly safe and stable. Good luck with your new OS home!! I’m anxious to hear how you like Windows 7. For the rest of the nutty computer world, Macs and PC’s have to co-exist. Thanks for being bold and taking the courage to share your experiences!

  9. @Yelonde:
    The reason why its hard to boot linux or Windows on a Mac is because Macs use EFI as a bootloader instead of BIOS. Windows doesn’t support booting from EFI at all, and support is still experimental in Linux. Both grub and LILO seem to be suffering from some severe bugs, so there’s a lot of work to do there. Both Boot Camp and the osx86 project enable multiple OS booting by making a virtual BIOS boot partition on top of EFI.

    Early Intel Macs included something called a TPM chip that, if Apple wanted, would prevent anyone from booting a non-OS X operating system. Or Apple could have made OS X look for the TPM chip and refuse to boot without it. Apple not only hasn’t done that, but Macs haven’t shipped with a TPM chip at all. In addition, OS X ships with no encryption or authentication at all. It does look for certain hardware configurations, but that’s mainly because OS X is only licensed to run on Macs of a certain vintage (like how Snow Leopard won’t run on a PPC machine).

    Mike and others are complaining because Apple doesn’t provide linux drivers for Mac hardware or ship a linux version of iTunes. Its the contention of myself and others that Apple is under no obligation to do so, and does nothing to stand in the way of anyone who wants to write their own. Its like saying that Microsoft is evil for not shipping a Mac version of IE or Zune, or a Linux version of Office.

    Also, Mike’s lying about being threatened for leaving the Mac. http://twitter.com/angrymacbastard/status/5754620870
    http://twitter.com/angrymacbastard/status/5754638896
    Of course, he’s lying about a whole bunch of shit here and doesn’t like being called out on it, so anyone who does so is automatically dismissed as an Apple fanboy.

  10. Mike Doyle, I beg to differ. Jonah has a nicely written response to nearly everything you said. Not only did he logically answer all of your complaints; he did it astoundingly well. The only thing you had to offer in response was a personal attack, consisting of the following;

    “So you can feel free to keep being Steve Jobs’ money slave. I’ll take my money, and my right to choose, elsewhere.”

    1. Money slave? That is an unjustified attack. he clearly pointed out, and answered everything for you. Name calling is not a show of defiance, or intellect. it only demonstrates your emotional ability to handle something like this.

    2. Apple never forced you to buy their products. Microsoft never forced you to buy their products. If you want to use linux, you can, on any x86 computer. There are many methods. First of all, you can create a partition for linux, and install linux that way. Of course, bootcamp does not naturally support linux, and requires hacking. I however, expect that anyone who knows how to operate linux should be able to follow simple internet instructions on how to use linux on a bootcamp setup.

    In addition, you can also use parallels and vmware to virtualize linux, without any hacking or code modification on your part.

    There is a conflict with what you have stated, regarding linux, and apple’s purported hate towards linux. If apple “hated” linux, why would apple, a company bent on utter control and dominance allow companies like vmware and fusion to run these operating systems.

    In addition, apple has made changes to their hardware for reasons other than “preventing linux users from installing linux on apple hardware”. Specifically, apple has made special changes to their internal hardware to prevent OSX from being installed on computers not made by apple. Having special hardware allows OSX to recognize an apple computer over a non-apple one.

    This may bring up another potential question; “Why does apple force OSX to run on their own hardware?”. It is unfortunate, and even I as a mac user will admit this. I believe that OSX is a superior operating system to windows 7 and linux, and I would absolutely enjoy using it on non-apple branded hardware. There are however, points to consider.

    1. Apple came from a technological age where computer makers also made their own operating systems. 3rd party OEMs did not come into being until microsoft in the late 80’s. Computer companies (such as apple and IBM) are following this business today.

    2. Apple wants to service their own computers. Having to service unknown hardware can be confusing to both the end user, and a service provider. By having exclusive hardware, it allows a company to service a computer quickly, efficiently, and with assurance.

    I am not attacking your choice, and neither would I want to shoot you in the head for this choice. It is your own choice, and noone has the right to threaten your life with something as silly as your differing opinion on what computers you use. Just realize however, that I am also threatened by many PC users about my choice of using macs, as are many other computer users about their choice of operating system or computer vendor. It is incredibly stupid, but stupid people will remain stupid, and we must ignore that.

    Just realize that despite all of these threats, noone forced you to use an apple computer, or to buy their expensive hardware. Buying a computer is not like smoking, you shouldn’t become an addict to a particular vendor. I use macs, but I also use windows. I have an iMac, but I also have an alienware m15x for gaming. Apple may prefer that you use mac computers, but they aren’t going to chase after you by choosing to use windows. You are free to do as you please, so please, do not claim that a company like apple is controlling you, because they are not.

  11. Mike, sorry, when did sarcasm equal emotionally charged? Anyway, I did point out quite a few things that haven’t been brought up and that you haven’t addressed. You said things like the Apple ecosystem is completely closed, and I brought up specific examples of how it isn’t, including helpful links. I pointed out that Apple does nothing to hold your data hostage. All of your PIM data in open the open file system using open standards. Your iTunes library is open and accessable to you or third party software.

    The App Store is closed, and that is a problem, potentially to Apple’s detriment. There is a lot of cool software that can’t exist on the platform right now, and that’s driving people away. But it’s not driving tons of people away yet. But unless Apple gets its act together, I’ll be taking a good long look at Android and WebOS when my contract’s up.

    You still haven’t explained exactly why its a bad thing for Apple to include useful software, but OK for Linux distros to do so. Or why its bad for Apple to build mice, keyboards or monitors. Its not like Apple forces you to use them. Is Dell wrong to include Dell mice? Should Microsoft not sell Microsoft-branded mice?

    I also just pointed out that it takes work to use Linux. I’ve been doing I for over a decade, so I know what I’m talking about. I also pointed out that, in your zeal to accuse Apple of being a closed proprietary vendor, you missed the many open source projects that Apple controls or contributes to. You also seem to have missed the minor detail that Microsoft isn’t exactly known for its friendliness to FOSS. And you missed the fact that cloud services, especially Google’s are neither free nor open. Just ask Richard Stallman.

    You rail again the iPhone for being closed and Android for being open, but the only difference between them is Apple’s terrible review process and refusal to allow side-loading and Android’s (limited, but better than the iPhone) ability to run background apps. If your primary need is to run Google Voice, then clearly an Android phone will always beat out an iPhone. But don’t make the mistake that you’re using open source or free apps. All of Google’s Android apps are just as closed and proprietary as Apple’s. Google even forced Cyanogen, the leading Android ROM hacker to stop distributing its apps with his ROMs.

    I’m not defending Apple or attacking Google or Linux. I’ve been using Apple since I was a kid (although not between 1999 to mid-2002. Apple was a real mess then, and so was its product line.). I’ve used every version of Windows since 95 and various Linux distros since 1997, including full time while I wasn’t using any Apple gear. This isn’t to impress people like you, but because I’m really into computers. Apple is in no way perfect, and I thought I was clear about that in my last post.

    I use a Mac because I like Apple’s laptops the best. I prefer OS X and Linux over Windows because I prefer the unix way of computing over the Windows way. I ran Vista since the beta until the Windows 7 beta because I like the new shiny. He’ll, I’ve used the same Kensington Turboball for the last 11 years (outlasting 4 PCs and 2 Macs) because its thatbgreat. I am hardly an Apple fanboy.

    Again, I could care less about what kit you’re using or planning to buy. I think that its a good thing that you’re trying something new, and that everyone should do it. I just pointed out that a bunch of what you said is bullshit and presented actual evidence to back my position up. I just think you’re a waffling new media douchebag desperate for attention. If you were really serious about switching, you should just buy a PC and be done with it. It’s not like they’re hard to find.

    You can call me a fanboy and ignore everything I’ve said, but that doesn’t chang the fact that I’ve been living in a hybrid ecosystem that includes Apple and non-Apple hardware and software for over two decades. And you’ve been living the fanboy life.

  12. Timothy, Paul has said nothing that a.) hasn’t already been said in the comment thread of this series; b.) I haven’t already responded to; and c.) isn’t entirely one sided–not to mention ironic.

    All Paul has done is write a highly emotionally charged (boy is he angry about the things I say about Apple) defense of Apple–as if Apple needs him to defend it–to tell me that I’m too emotionally involved with the OS. The sad part is none of these over-eager Mac fans get that that’s what they’re doing. Funny, too.

  13. I’m looking forward to Android PC’s. That may bring Linux numbers up high enough that the two monopolies (MS and Apple) decide it better to make money on a new market then try to kill the market. I do have 1st gen iphone that is near end of contract. I’ll be taking a close look at the Android phones… and I forsee a nook becoming my first ebook reader.

  14. I just wanted to chime in and say that while its great that you’re exploring alternatives to the platform that you’ve been using, I don’t really understand where a lot of your anger is coming from. In your earlier posts, you complained that Apple was exerting too much control by including a lot of Apple software, notably Safari, Mail, iCal and iTunes. And that that Safari includes an RSS reader. (FYI, Mail has one too.) Are you really arguing that Apple shouldn’t include useful functionality out of the box? That makes about as much sense as the people who argue that Microsoft shouldn’t include IE with Windows. As in, none at all. So you just discovered Firefox, DragThing, NNW and whatever else. These are not new apps that suddenly broke through Apple’s tyranny. (Well, Picassa’s new, but that’s just because Google didn’t port it to OS X until this year. Again, not Apple’s fault.)

    But that’s not because Apple didn’t want you to, otherwise this link wouldn’t make sense, would it? (BTW, that link is the #5 top download at apple.com/downloads.) Just because Apple doesn’t ship it, doesn’t mean they don’t want you to use it. Its not Apple’s fault that you didn’t discover Google’s apps until recently, or that both Mail.app and Mobile Mail have always supported IMAP. You know what’s even better than Google Calendar? Busy Cal. Check it out. It uses iCal’s open library database and easily syncs with Google.

    Oh wait, did I say open? Why yes I did. Your iCal data is open and easily exportable, your Address Book data is open and easily exportable, your Mail.app data is open, easily exportable and uses open standards and your iTunes library is in an open file structure, in /USER/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library. Any Mac app that uses Core Data stores its data using SQLite. Address Book even directly syncs to Google. Don’t like iTunes? Use Double Twist. To the guy who said that Apple basically stole BSD: a) the BSD license is not the GPL and has no sharealike requirements and b) Darwin, OS X’s kernel is not BSD. It takes a lot from BSD, but it is its own open source project. Yes, that’s right. Apple’s kernel is completely open sourced, as is Webkit. Go look at Safari’s Help>Acknowledgements sometime. Hmmm, looks like BSD license, and GPL v.2 license in there!

    As for that PC World article you linked to, please. The iPod/iTunes thing has been done to death. There are plenty of non iPod PMPs out there. Go buy one of those. BTW, the Zune uses the exact same business model as the iPod. iPhone and AT&T? Where are the howls of outrage that the Droid isn’t available on Sprint or that there’s no GSM version for AT&T? Carrier exclusivity is nothing new or unique to Apple. OS X and the Mac? That’s Apple’s business model. Apple is not Microsoft, Red Hat or Dell. Apple tried licensing the MacOS before, and it almost killed them. Oh and 10.6.2 didn’t kill Atom support, because Atom was never supported. Pushing unwanted software onto Windows users was bad behavior and was, frankly, inexcusable. But they must have figured that Windows users would never notice, since Microsoft does that all the time. And a patent? Tech companies apply and receive stupid patents all the time. Wake me up when that actually shows up in a real product.

    As for your phone, this is a tricky issue. There is clearly a difference of opinion at Apple. Clearly they want the iPhone to be both a pocket computer and an embedded device, but it can’t be both. The situation with the App Store is bad, without question. Something has to give. The question is whether or not it will before Android gets better than the iPhone. The Droid and Android 2.0 are good, but not good enough to make a dent in the iPhone. Yet.

    As for the legal stuff, you actually did commit at least one crime there. Seeing as how you used Pwnage instead of Blackra1n, you were a party to a violation of the DMCA on the Dev Team’s part and you violated copyright law when you downloaded that hacked .ipsw file from that Google link. Why do you think that the Dev Team doesn’t distribute those files? If you answered “Because that’s really fucking illegal and Apple would sue us and win?” then you’d be correct! Yes, you bought that iPhone and you can do whatever you like with it, but the OS is Apple’s and fucking with it is illegal under the DMCA and redistributing it is illegal under the Copyright Act.

    Before you protest, EULAs like Apple’s have been held up in court, and no, the Psystar case has no bearing here because Apple doesn’t distribute the iPhone OS independently of iPhone devices. And don’t tell me about the developer builds because I’m an iPhone dev and you’re not and I had to agree to all sorts of shit, including agreeing not to fuck with the OS. That includes reverse engineering, decompiling, digging out private APIs and the such. That’s not Apple tramping on my rights, by the way, that’s a contract that I read, and agreed to.

    And the baseband unlocking is another issue. Is it legal to hack the baseband? I don’t know, you tell me. Its a legal gray area, but not the slam dunk “its my right to do what I want with my stuff” that you think it is. If you want to run your own custom OS on the iPhone and still be legal? Then port Android. There’s no law (at least in the US) preventing you from doing that. The hardware does belong to you, but the software doesn’t. Don’t like it? Call your Congressman.

    Also, do you know where you got that .ipsw file from. I mean do you *really* know? Are you aware that jailbreaking involves finding a security hole in the OS, you know like a buffer overflow that can enable arbitrary code execution? How do you know that you don’t have a keylogger installed, just waiting for you to go to your bank’s website? And of course, the answer is, you don’t.

    I also jailbroke my 3GS so I could run GV Mobile, which is nice, but not OMFG nice. (Version 2 could change my mind, but since that’s not due until Christmas, I’m not going to hold my breath.) I used Blackra1n, which took about 30 seconds, much nicer than the hours of terminal voodoo the original jailbreak took, let me tell you! The difference is Blackra1n only installs itself and not anything else (a quick SSH session does wonders). The problem with jailbreaking is that it can render your phone highly unstable (my original required constant reboots until I got fed up enough to just rejail it) and removes code signing.

    Also, if you haven’t already, get a terminal emulator and change your passwords (both the root and mobile user account use alpine as their passwords). type ‘passwd’ and your new password then type ‘su’ then ‘alpine’ then ‘passwd’ and then your new password.

    And finally, don’t use iTunes to update your phone. This isn’t because Apple hates jailbreaking, its simply because jailbreaking is an unsupported hack. That means that Apple doesn’t support it, doesn’t test for it and doesn’t really think about it when they build new OS versions. The reason why you lose your jailbreak when you update is because the update overwrites the whole OS, but doesn’t touch the userland, kind of like how a major OS X update works. There is *never* any danger of bricking a jailbroken phone just from an update. The danger is when you update an unlocked phone, which is running custom baseband firmware. Again, its not because Apple hates you, its because you’re running an unsupported hack that may or may not be compatible with the upgraded firmware.

    Since you’ve been an Apple user for so long, I’m going to assume that you’ve never had to flash new firmware onto a motherboard. Before Apple, that was a really, really scary thing to do. In fact, other than iPods, iPhones, Macs, PS3s, PSPs and Xboxes, it still is. Apple made firmware updates easy and reliable. Once you step out of there, its both hard, scary and often unrecoverable. Try recovering a bricked PSP after a failed firmware hack. Trust me, its a hell of a lot harder than simply plugging it back into iTunes for a restore.

    This is already way too long, but I just want to say that I don’t really care what kind of computer or phone you use. I think that more people should experience as many platforms and ways of computing as possible. I just think you need to let go of the notion that Steve Jobs spends his days thinking about how to lock you into Apple’s ecosystem. You also need to not blame Apple for your failure to explore alternatives until now and to stop blaming Apple for things that are clearly not Apple’s fault.

    Steve Jobs is not your friend. Apple is not your buddy. Apple is a publicly traded, multinational, multibillion dollar corporation, which like all such entities, exists to make money. They happen to make the most money when they build high-quality hardware running unique, high-quality software that provides an excellent customer experience. The things that Apple gives away, its does so for its own advantage. Such advantages might help the open source community, or potential rivals like Google and Palm. Don’t forget that Google is exactly the same. You are not Google’s customer. You are a set of data points and a pair of eyeballs that Google sells to its real customers.

  15. Linux is a desktop OS because of the innumerable failings of Microsoft and Windows. If Microsoft weren’t so giant and evil and yet so incompetent at making operating systems for personal computers, hordes of open source developers wouldn’t have bothered to devote so much effort to reshaping a hackish server operating system into a desktop OS that was worth a damn.

    Apple, too, has always been Microsoft’s antagonist, for similar reasons, although more for cultural / aesthetic reasons. The Windows desktop was always just tacky and cobbled together compared to Macintosh. As corporate entities they both also battled in terms of CEOs and licenses and OEMs and patents and all the other capitalist and legal frameworks that the Linux community tries its to avoid on moral grounds.

    But Apple and the Linux community… never really enemies, sometimes friends of convenience. OS X is clearly standing on the shoulders of many open source technologies, and Apple’s corporate culture is so monarchical and secretive that nobody could really expect it to become some altruistic open source patron, but then again you wouldn’t expect them to adopt the soul-crushing tactics of Microsoft’s bad old days. The Gnome project became successful by emulating Apple’s design philosophies on the Linux desktop (hence the author’s distaste, I imagine.) Several Linux distros have historically supported the PowerPC platform, and hopefully will continue to do so even after Apple abandons it. I’m not up to date with the love/hate Konqueror/Safari relationship, but I know several *nix flavors are adopting Apple’s open source technologies like Grand Central Dispatch.

    To the point: Apple wouldn’t bother making iTunes for Linux, because there would be no profit in it. Not only the lack of blood feud that makes porting your technology to a competitor’s platform to try to lure away its users such a sporting challenge. No Linux user left in 2009 is going to encounter the iPod + iTunes experience and see it as some kind of artifact from a smarter, better world, the way Apple hopes the average Windows user would. A group of idiosyncratic, libertarian computer geeks that expect everything should come for free, and be Free to tinker with, does not represent an attractive pool of potential new consumers for Apple sleek but hermetically sealed products.

    Plenty of open source developers did start sporting Powerbooks as soon as OS X hit the streets, and I’m sure plenty of them have iPhones now too. But they’ve also got Macs and so presumably OS X and iTunes.

    On the other hand, people who regularly use Linux in this day and age, probably aren’t interested in a flashy store to pay for lossy digitized music, already have a carefully curated filesystem structure that they wouldn’t want some ham handed jukebox that thinks it knows better to come along and scramble up, and are happy with their existing music player daemon that can be controlled over SSH that plays Ogg files and doesn’t support any form of DRM except to strip it away. They aren’t buying iPhones and iPods, they have Thinkpads and Android phones and Archos MP3 players that they know will work with Linux before they buy them.

    It’s just such a clash of cultures that there porting iTunes to Linux would be largely an exercise in frustration for everyone involved. Linux music software supports basic iPod syncing well enough by now, that there’s no point in going much further. To be honest, when I switched from Linux to OS X, the utter domination that iTunes has over the Mac music player scene was one of the things that I found most irritating. I bet the author will find that leaving iTunes provides him as much anti-Apple satisfaction as the rest of his conversion experience. Just like every other religious convert, you have to burn your Black Sabbath records before you can start fresh.

    The thing is, after a while, you hear War Pigs on the radio, and you wonder if such a violent purge was really all that necessary.

  16. Jonah, thanks for letting me know about the erroneous link. It’s been fixed. Regarding the rest, you already hit the nail on the head in your final sentence. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Mac fans–and one thing that makes be embarrassed to have been one–it’s the closed-minded attitude that Apple’s is the only perspective or right way of doing things. So you can feel free to keep being Steve Jobs’ money slave. I’ll take my money, and my right to choose, elsewhere.

  17. Atrocious article, Doyle. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. Allow me to tear it apart.

    “This week I’ve been taking a closer look at Linux–and discovered yet another Apple tentacle wrapped around my right to choose my own OS: iTunes, and Apple’s ongoing refusal to port it to Linux.”

    Ludicrous. Apple’s “tentacle” is preventing you from choosing what OS you run? Sorry, but that’s utter garbage. Apple’s not forcing you to choose OS X. They’re not forcing you to choose Windows. You can run whatever OS you please. But if you want to use Apple’s superior phone and/or their superior music player, you buy a Mac or you use Windows. That’s the choice you have. If you want to run Apple’s superior iLife software, you buy a Mac. It’s Apple’s competitive advantage. It’s how they make money. They have better stuff, and if you want it, you buy their hardware. Why should they port software that they spent millions to develop for a minority platform and give it away for free? Because you somehow feel it’s somehow your Constitutional right to use Apple’s software on whatever machine you want? Seriously, what planet are you living on? If you want to use Linux, quit whining and go use Linux. And have fun with your open source joke of a media player and whatever atrocious Linux-compatible phone you can find.

    “Now, Linux is to Apple the way that Protestantism is to Catholicism: there’s little secretive mysticism, and lots of free choice.”

    Yep, lots of free choice, and most of it is garbage. Good luck finding a software/hardware combination as good as iPod/iTunes.

    “The Linux user forums suggest that Apple likes it this way. Linux is open source, its users prefer to control their own software and rights decisions. Even without DRM on iTunes Store music any longer, Apple could never hope to control how people chose to use a Linux port of the media player. Thus, no iTunes.”

    What moronic reasoning. Did you ever think that maybe the reason Apple doesn’t port its software to Linux is because they’re not in the business of throwing away money? Why should they port to Linux when nobody uses Linux and they’re not going to gain any money from it? Even setting aside the initial development cost, can you imagine the nightmarish support and maintenance costs for Apple when things inevitably go wrong (like almost everything does) on Linux? Sorry, but porting iTunes to Linux would be an absolutely boneheaded business decision. Good thing Steve Jobs is running the company and not you or the Linux user forums.

    “Apple deliberately altered the phone’s file structure to render it incompatible with Linux workarounds.”

    Laughable. So you were inside the Apple development team meetings where you heard them say they were going to “deliberately” break the “Linux workarounds” just because they’re control freaks? Did you maybe stop to think that actually they were making improvements to the software for their own reasons, and those improvements just happened to break those unsupported hacks? Oh, you didn’t think about that? Maybe you should have before you started spouting nonsense.

    “Think about that–Apple thumbing its nose at a community of millions of alternate OS users simply because it can’t control how they use their own computers.”

    Completely false. Apple’s not “thumbing its nose” at Linux users because they want to control how people use their computers. That’s outrageous. Apple is choosing not to develop software for two simple reasons:

    1) Apple won’t make any money by doing it.
    2) Apple won’t be able to provide a good user experience because software development on Linux is such a horrendous mess.

    Seriously, there is not a single piece of software on Linux that is better than equivalent software on Mac or Windows. It is simply not possible to write high quality software for the tangle of hacked together OS distros that is Linux. Apple is in the business of selling high quality software that actually works. It is not in the business of giving away shoddy free software to Linux hackers that sometimes works as long as you’re able to tweak the source code in the right away.

    “If I wanted to switch to Linux and keep my iPhone, I would either have to also keep a backup computer running Mac OS X to sync my phone (not an optimal option), delay my switch until Linux developers came up with another workaround…or simply migrate directly to Windows 7, where iTunes already exists.”

    You should have known when you bought the iPhone that it required Mac or Windows to work. Apple laid out its terms clearly when selling you its product. You accepted those terms. Yet now you somehow think it’s Apple’s responsibility to port its software to some other platform for free just because you are no longer using your Mac? Sorry, Apple is under no such obligation. Your iPhone and iTunes still works just fine with your Mac. Just because you no longer want to use it, doesn’t give you the right to demand Apple should somehow keep its products working with whatever garbage OS you decide to use next.

    “It’s amazing that a decision by Apple might force me directly into the Microsoft camp, bypassing the equally Microsoft-unfriendly, open-source community that, if Apple had any sense, would be seen as an ally in its competition with the Windows world rather than an afterthought.”

    Absurd. How is Apple forcing you to use Microsoft? It was your decision to dump your Mac. Apple isn’t forcing you to switch platforms. It was your choice. If you want to keep using your iPhone, then either go back to your Mac or use Windows. Apple isn’t forcing you to do anything.

    “I guess if you’re leaving the fold, Steve Jobs would rather you stay somewhere he and his company can keep tabs on you (and remotely brick your iPhone for being naughty, if desired.)”

    Absolute nonsense. You think Jobs is sitting around in his office with a big red kill switch, remotely wiping iPhones for the fun of it? What a complete joke. I’m dumbfounded by your ignorance.

    “This recent PC World article talks about Apple’s deliberate strategy of locking Mac users into proprietary software and hardware that make it difficult to migrate to another operating system if ever they decided to do so. After all, a highly captive user base means a guaranteed income stream from future iPod and MacBook purchases. The magazine’s top two Apple ‘gotchas’? iTunes and iPods/iPhones.”

    LOL! What PC World article? Your link goes to a Wikipedia page, fool.

    “Apple’s brand of one-way trip marketing sounds a lot like a cult to me. Or that scary fish from Finding Nemo where you’re attracted to the shining light, only to be devoured upon coming too close the the shadow-shrouded jaws. Perhaps even the bits and bytes version of a roach motel. Yes, I’m that over Cupertino at this point.”

    Oh good, I was waiting for the “cult” phrase to make its appearance. I guess because Apple customers prefer high quality software that actually works, that somehow that makes us cult members. Did you ever think that maybe the reason we buy Apple products is because they’re better than anything else out there? And maybe we don’t care about whether or not we can use our iPhones with the latest Gentoo distro, because Gentoo is utter trash and nobody in their right mind would want to use such a steaming pile on a daily basis?

    “Apple’s ongoing attempt to control the OS choice of former users by trying to steer them clear of Linux is mean-spirited.”

    Wow, it’s mean-spirited that Apple spends decades and millions of dollars developing software and computers that actually work well, and then they want to sell you those products instead of giving them away for free? You’re in the wrong country, buddy. It’s called capitalism.

    “all it does is stiffen my resolve to get the heck off this computing platform once and for all after a decade and a half of use.”

    Good, you’re free to leave. But don’t whine about how Apple is holding you back. I don’t see Steve Jobs holding a gun to your head. You can do whatever you want.

    I can’t wait for you to come back and flame me as being an Apple “fanboy” and “cultist” just because I’ve ripped your pathetic article to shreds.

  18. Something to keep in mind: It’s perfectly fine to write “closed-source” software to run on Linux. Skype comes to mind right away.

    So if Apple cared to, they could write their application for Linux without any loss of control more than they lose control by writing for Windows.

    The one and only reason that software houses don’t write for Linux is because they don’t want to. The “viral” GPL myth is just that. A myth.

    Just trying to keep things in perspective.

    Oh, and welcome to F/OSS. Enjoy the feeling of “elbow room”.

  19. Cah & Rufus, thanks, I haven’t installed Mandriva yet (in VirtualBox) but I’ve been thinking about it.

    Time To…and others, There is no free market with Apple. It’s a closed and controlled ecosystem. A truly free market is what Apple fears. I get that Linux has many distros. So what? I thought most Linux software works with most distros. The problem isn’t that Apple wouldn’t make money. The problem is Apple would never open its code to let the Linux community appropriately tinker to make sure iTunes worked across those distros. No?

    xx

  20. Interesting decision, wish you luck with Linux. I wouldn’t normally get into distribution vs. distribution, but you asked for a good KDE-oriented one.
    My suggestion would be Mandriva. It’s oriented towards KDE but also comes with Gnome and some of the lighter-weight, less well known desktops, and integrates the Gnome and KDE applications well. It also has a very nice centralized control center for dealing with hardware, software, connections and so on, making it easier than many to manage. Plus on the trivial side, its default look tends to be pretty blue rather than brown.

  21. Do you think that Apple folk are a bunch of programmers only here to satisfy your Linux whims?

    You stated it yourself. There are dozens of distros. Apple would then have to maintain that? For what, perhaps a few thousand customers maybe? Vs. Mac & Windows which covers literally tens of MILLIONS of customers and potential customers. It’s simple math.

    The general problem with Linux guys is that they don’t understand/recognize business needs very well. If it were profitable enough for Apple to spend development efforts putting iTunes on Linux, they would probably do it. But it isn’t.

    The free market allows you to decide. You knew upfront that iTunes only works on Mac/Windows (Apple has never claimed anything else). You went a bought an iPhone with that knowledge. You want Linux, that’s great. But don’t expect major software/hardware players to necessarily play along with your whims.

  22. You can use ifuse/libiphone to communicate with your newer iphone/ipod. If you must use iTunes, then you’d need to load a virtual Windows machine. I have always preferred iRiver to Apple for media players and Android over Apple for phones.

  23. Wine is the windows API for Linux it IS NOT vitalization as you said. While you can not run iTunes in Linux with WINE you can run it using vitalization.

    I recommend Virtualbox from Sun.

    Of course using a virtual machine requires you to have a copy of the OS and in the case of windows means the cost of it.

    I agree with others though use “free solutions” (no DRM, etc) and you don’t have problems with Linux. Heck I’d even avoid the ipod and iphone. 🙂

  24. I love my Ipod nano 1st gen.

    But only after I installed Rockbox (which is FOSS) on it. This whole “you gotta install Itunes to put music on this device” crap annoyed me enough to never buy an apple product again. With Rockbox I can just copy music onto my device. Also it plays videos, the “real” 1st gen nano can’t, and pretty much any codec out there.
    And guess what, shortly after Rockbox worked on Ipods, the next generation Ipods came out and the firmware was suddenly encrypted. Now theres no more freeloaders that can just copy their music onto their Ipod without going through Itunes.

    Btw theres some stuff that can be configured without the console in Linux, but theres a lot of different *DE’s out there. My theory why theres so many: “I wrote a because I can!” . KDE, gnome, xfce are the mors known . But theres stuff like e17, awesome, xmonad and a lot more. So in order to have your howto work on most peoples setup it really is easier to just explain what commands need to be typed in.

  25. I left Apple for Linux 3 1/2 years ago after using Macs for almost 20 years. I share a lot of your feelings.

    The only thing I really missed at first was iTunes.

    I have tried a gazillion Linux music players and iPod sync techniques but (for me) the best options I’ve found have been to:

    1) Install Rockbox on my iPod. Turns your iPod into a killer open source music player, and you can manage music by drag and drop. Does a lot of things an iPod can’t do. Works on iPods up to iPod video G5.5, and also on several other brands of MP3 players.

    2) Buy music from Amazon. They build a downloader for Linux and their selection and quality equals or beats iTunes’.

    Good luck on your journey!

  26. Anything outside of “have fun” and “get stuff done” is irrelevant. Both of those point to OSX and Linux.

    I use OSX for a few productivity enhancing paid apps. Open Source apps on OSX and Linux handle everything else. (Wine for a few apps that are win-only).

    As for the remark that “Apple ripped off *BSD,” PLEASE GET A CLUE. BSD was designed to be ripped off. It’s in the license terms if you actually READ them.

    If it weren’t for the overly generous BSD license terms, 90% of the internet would be running “windows networking” protocols and the other 10% would be running TCP/IP.

    Someone said that he wrote an operating system “for the fun of it” …. I forgot his name … I think it’s Linksys? … some nordic dude. Listen, nobody is forcing you to use anything (Nazi bosses excepted, and you know what to do with them). Just have fun and get your stuff done.

    If Linux didn’t run on every piece of spare hardware in the house, I’d run it on Virtual Box on the mac, but really, no need.

  27. wow. Robert needs to stay away from the Steve Jobs distortion field for at least a year. I too was a Mac user for several years. (What a load of cash I blew back when I was a poor student. *sigh*) Then I used windows for a while. Now, I’m a quite pleased Linux user for > 2 years. Every platform has it’s problem but I’d rather stay with Linux than go back to either MacOS or Windows. (BTW, I use Windows and a Macbook at work so I do keep up with latest developments.)

  28. Wow. A post that reflects almost exactly how I feel towards Apple. However, my beef is with Apple’s refusal to provide Quicktime for Linux; I’m not an iTunes user. But I’ve been with Linux long enough now that I no longer care for QT. Now I just wish websites would switch to html 5 so we can stop using Flash for videos. That would be heaven. 😉

  29. You complain about Apple’s drivers yet pay no attention to the many hardware vendors for Windows that close their drivers to everyone, too. I’m a FreeBSD user but ever try and getting Broadcom network cards to work there? Graphics drivers from ATI? Nvidia?

    Apple is doing quality control with hardware the same way Microsoft attempts to do quality control with software. You can’t complain to Microsoft when your Windows PC hardware fails.

  30. Mike, a linux distro with KDE done right IMO is Mandriva. Check out Mandriva 2010 – beautiful. Also, I have great expectations for the upcoming PCLinuxOS.

  31. But they don’t do that, and I for one can’t shake the feeling that it is because they just don’t want to support Linux users.
    — — —
    Linux users cannot be commercially supported. You know how much money it costs to run a support center ? Now throw in that no one is actually taking in any money from Linux.

    I love linux , but I have no illusions. It’s just me and the Linux forums if I need help. And nothing else.

  32. How to beat Vender Lock

    Main Computer : Windows ..whatever is stable at the moment. Never the latest version , at least one version back.

    Old cast off clunker : Linux (Ubuntu for me , a personal choice). As of Ubuntu 9.x they got samba working , which means you can just throw down a folder and share it among both computers and easy move files back and forth.

    Play your games on windows. Do the real stuff you don’t want to lose if your system crashes on Linux.

    It works amazingly well, though it does leave one question.

    Am I a windows user ? Or a Linux user ? Hmm…

  33. I have been working with computers for the last 15years. I have used all the operating system cores mentioned here. M$ from win 3.11 and I think I have touched every version put out from then on. in some way or another. in school (middle and high, 6-12th grade) I used Mac in various classes and projects. in the 11th and 12th grades I was a student with admin rights in my Cisco networking class and had my first exposure to Linux with various floppy distros, red hat 7.1, and eventually Slackware. even to this day not one os can keep me content for long. I on average re-format my computer and re-install an os or 3 about every 3-4 months. sometimes in the interim before a weekend overhaul I will test different Linuxes in a virtual environment before I make my choice. in the last yr my HP laptop has run winXP, vista, win7rc, Slackware, backtracks, and mac osX10.5.2.

    I say all this to say ” I would still buy a Mac.” simply because I like the exterior styling and a real power user can get in and unleash some of the BSD back-end and have an enjoyable experience with it. not to say I would not have a Linux boot option.

  34. I guess I’m spoiled.

    As a user of Linux/FOSS I have unlimited freedom. I despise any attempt to control my computing experience.

    I recently traded some extra hardware to friend in exchange for a iPod Touch. I must say what a pretty and virtually useless device it is. Why would anyone submit to such lock-in and control in exchange for owning a shiny little toy like this?

    No thanks!

    I’ll stick with being spoiled by Linux/FOSS.

  35. I don’t think you can reasonably blame apple for linux not having drivers for their hardware. I (happily) switched my notebook from windows to linux. I am a software professional and I ran nothing but linux on notebooks (which are my main desktop) since that switch. I used Toshiba, Dell, WinBook and HP and in all cases, the notebooks contained hardware for which linux had no drivers. I spent thousands of hours getting wifi cards, video cards, nics, etc.. to work and many components never worked. I hardly blame apple for that.

    It amuses me that you castigate apple, but consider for even a second moving to M$. Talk about out of the pan and into the fire. Apple has its quirks and unfortunate attitudes, but they pale in comparison to the downright evil (and often illegal) antics of M$.

  36. @Robert and others

    Try installing software on Windows and tell me how much worse it is than GNU/Linux. Everyone knocks GNU/Linux because many things do not work out of the box. Well the same is true for Windows as well. The only reason Apple has an edge here is because their software is made for their hardware.

    Anyhow, in order to get hardware installed on Windows you have to go out and get drivers and what not. At least in Linux a lot of my things work out of the box without me having to find drivers. Can you believe that you need a driver for a NIC card in windows but yet everyone I have ever tried in GNU/Linux has worked out of the box?

    So in terms of usability I would rank the top three in this order:
    1. Apple
    2. GNU/Linux
    3. Windows

    In terms of price I would rank them as follows:
    1. GNU/Linux
    2. Windows
    3. Apple

    In terms of privacy, security, and freedom I would rank them as follows:
    1. GNU/Linux
    2. Apple
    3. Windows

    So is it any wonder why I use Linux? The choice comes down to what your priorities are.

  37. @Robert

    Your explanation that Linux is to small and fragmented to support doesn’t hold. If Apple want’s to support their own customers that buy IPods/IPhones but choose to use Linux all they have to do is to put out a closed source but API documented library to managed those devices, and then just let the community do the rest.

    But they don’t do that, and I for one can’t shake the feeling that it is because they just don’t want to support Linux users.

  38. Three choices, none of them good.
    Three choices in this neighborhood.

    Choice one promised a free world
    but in reality control is unfurled.

    Choice two promises freedom
    but anarchy rules in its kingdom.

    Choice three gives an arrogant decision
    the only choice, in it’s vision.

    Three choices, now it is plain
    three choices, which one shall reign?

  39. First of all, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment here in this thread.

    CJ, I’m aiming for an Android phone. At the moment it’s simply a question of funds. But I will gladly break my AT&T contract to migrate over to perhaps a Verizon Droid, even if my Verizon contract costs me the same money in monthly fees.

    Jay, you are right. It isn’t just Apple doing it. I just find it maddening that they do it with such a disingenuous smile. What happened to the days when Apple actually expressed gratitude towards it customers instead of expecting gratitude from them?

    LNM, I didn’t like all the happy, dancing bells and whistles and needlessly deep navigation from the start menu in the latest Kubuntu. I know now that is a bad port of KDE. What would be a distro with a good port of KDE to consider?

  40. Your problem is easy enough to solve, dump your iPhone, I did. I refuse to use any product that makes me use a specific piece of software just to put media on my device. I have happily given to tech dollars to WinMo, BlackBerry, Symbian, and now Android simply because I can use those phones with any OS.

  41. What a great article! I couldn’t agree more with the author’s sentiments, but I would add one thing. To single out Apple as the sole perpetrator of such nefarious undertakings is naive at best. For me, it’s that they say one thing (We support open source) and do another (not porting iTunes to linux.) To Robert… Apple software developers could port iTunes to linux as source or any number of binaries for the major releases. Many ported applications start out in this very same way. Release a source tarball, the community gets hold of it and starts distributing binaries for their favorite linux distros. I dare say, porting iTunes to linux would have been far easier then porting to Windows which they didn’t think twice about.

    I am a user of all OS’s discussed in this post. I find good and bad with all of them. But here is the beauty of linux. If I don’t like something I can remove one and use another. They all play nicely with each other and don’t step on each other. Ever try to install WinXP on a system currently running linux so that it will dual boot? Don’t even bother. No, I believe that each of these companies (Microsoft, Apple et al) have their places, but for them to ever play the victim is just plain ludicrous. Be glad that linux, but more importantly the open-source community is out there. Without them, we would all be at the mercy of Microsoft and Apple.

  42. I learned the Apple lesson back in 1981 when they took the superior (to the Intel 8088) Motorola MC86000 chip and intentionally cut it in half to limit the possibilities for the users.
    Why not dual-boot Windows and Linux on the same computer, that way you can have the best of both worlds!

  43. Damn both Microsoft and Apple! I have an iPod Touch purchased during the summer of 2008. It is not jailbroken. I really enjoy this gadget BUT….

    I have a partition on my laptop whose one and only purpose is to dual boot into Windows XP. And the one and only purpose of Windows is to run iTunes. There is no Linux way, except perhaps with a Windows virtual machine, to keep the iPod Touch OS up to date without iTunes. This is my biggest annoyance with the Touch. It’s not the fault of GNU/Linux, it’s Apple’s lack of support for the platform.

    I keep some multimedia in the device and I have found ways of getting it there without iTunes and syncing. The Apple approved app ‘Air Sharing’, for example, can be used to transfer media from my Ubuntu desktop to the Touch. I like to read ebooks on the Touch and I don’t need iTunes for that either. For live music, if a WiFi connection is available, there are Apple approved Internet radio apps, for example, Pandora.

    In a year or so my first generation Touch will be obsolete. Do you think that I’ll upgrade to a newer model? I doubt it.

  44. @Mike Doyle
    Building a market is what every business is supposed to do. I don’t see what’s the problem with Apple building one. The iPod must be used with iTunes but you know it when you buy it. You can buy another player and manage it with a crap like Windows Media Player if you like.

    And Amazon had drm-free music when the labels realized Apple had too much power over them. So they gave an important advantage to a big iTunes store competitor to try to break Apple domination. (and, by the way, Apple domination on the labels comes only from their own incompetence. If they had been able to build their own store, Apple would have no grip on them)

    By the way, I’ve been using a Mac for less than a year. Before that, I used Linux as my main desktop. And I feel freer with a Mac than with Linux mostly because I don’t have to put up with all the crappy software used by Linux distro and their horrible management scheme. (try to install a soft that’s not in your distro repository yet for example).

    That being said I’m the first to admit that things are far from perfect in Apple-land. The softwares bundled with Mac OS X feel a bit limited sometimes and Apple is doing an horrible job at managing the App Store.

    But to me Mac are still by far the best compromise you can get.

  45. Robert, as Kathy Griffin might say to a priest, don’t use your kid-fucker bullshit with me, mother-fucker. Oh no. I was an Apple adherent for 15 years, most likely just like you. I’ve watched every strategic software and hardware move the company’s made since 1994, and they have all been nothing less than deliberate.

    There are no accidents with Apple. Making sure iPhones can’t be accessed in Linux after they once were? Making iTunes harder to run outside of Mac OS X and Windows, even with virtualization? Yeah, the Palm Pre’s on again off again syncing ability is accidental, too. And if Amazon managed no-DRM music, Apple could have, too.

    Give me a break. Apple does exactly what it wants to build and control a highly captive market, then smokes you into believing it’s for your own good. Of course, you can’t hear a word of this, because much like me until a few months ago, that Apple Kool-Aid IV is still too busy pumping sucker juice into your veins.

    You know what? Better you than me, dumb-ass. (I’d like some cream with that.)

  46. One more dumb anti-Apple article.
    Instead of looking for crazy conspirationnist theory, you should use your brain and try simple explanations first.

    Apple has no incentives to port iTunes to Linux because Linux has a very small market share in the desktop market. In addition, the small potential user base is divided between many distributions using different versions of the graphical libraries Apple could use to build iTunes.

    Thus the cost would be enormous and the benefits inexistent and Apple wont’t port iTunes to Linux.

    As for the DRm, they’re imposed by the labels, they’re not Apple’s choice.

  47. I share your story in so many ways. My computer always was dictated by what phone I had, or vice versa, or I always had one piece of software that kept me from moving to a complete system I was happy with. iTunes was that for a while… The DROID changed this… SINCE NOW IT HAS REPLACED MY IPOD. Now I am going [almost] completely Apple and Windows free! iTunes is not longer needed since the DROID supports any open source programs and I buy my music DRM free from Amazon Mp3. You can play and manage your media/music from your computer from a variety of different Linux-based players, such as Amarok, Songbird, Exaile, Banshee, RhythmBox, etc… I say “almost” b/c I am still trying to sync my work (Outlook Exchange) information to my Google without using Outlook, using something like Evolution instead. ALMOST FREE FROM VENDOR CONTROL!

  48. Actually, the whole reason Apple uses proprietary hardware (or slightly modified commodity hardware with just enough differences that they need special drivers), is the Hackintosh/OSX86 community. It’s all a ploy to keep people like me from installing and running OS X. My proof? Early MacIntels had used an internal Airport card that contained the Atheros chipset. My Acer laptop has an Atheros chipset internal wifi. But they’re *just* different enough that I need “tweaked” drivers (IO80211Family.kext if you’re curious) to recognize my wifi as an internal Airport card. So, I guess, in a way you can thank me and several hundreds (or more) like me for the hardware lockouts.

    Sorry.

  49. Mike, I made the Mac to Kubuntu switch a couple years ago and have been quite happy with it. I’ve got the recent 13″ MPB, and it’s annoying that many pieces of hardware don’t automatically work, but I’ve found that the online documentation generally gets everything sorted out . Having to do a number of things on the command line to fix these problems is not a good thing (although some linux zealots seem to disagree), but on the plus side, it’s an introduction to the inner workings of the operating system. That’s not something casual users should ever have to see, but you described yourself as a more savvy computer user, so you might like it.

    As for Kubuntu’s interface, can you say more about why you found it confusing? The number of things you can configure and having many ways to do the same thing initially caused me confusion, but now I see it as a good thing. If you simply ignore the choices, I think the confusion could be avoided — the problem is for people in the middle of the computer competence spectrum (advanced users see all the options and are happy, basic users don’t see the options and are too, but people in the middle see all the options but aren’t sure how to proceed).

    I had the DRM music problem too, so I stripped the DRM and started to use Amarok (it was some time ago, so I don’t remember exactly how I did it). I agree with GregE that Amarok is an excellent piece of software.

  50. GregE, not so forever. There are DRM-removers in the wild that would do the trick. Thanks for the suggestions about Linux media players. I agree, I am committed to taking myself out of the Apple ecosystem as thoroughly as possible.

  51. If you have purchased DRM infested songs from iTunes you are locked in forever. Otherwise Amarok can control all but the newest iPods. I recently plugged in a one year old Nano and it just appeared in the Amarok menus without configuration, and songs could be sent back and forth and it all worked. Amarok is a fantastic piece of music playing software. It is not iTunes and does not pretend to be, personally I much prefer it to any other computer music software. Linux also has Songbird, Exaile, Banshee, RhythmBox and a dozen more. Most can interface with an iPod or a Creative Zen or all those other music players that are not iPods.

    If you want to be free you have to move out of the Apple ecosystem and embrace the alternatives.

  52. I’m a recently reformed long-time Mac user (since Apple II+) as well, and I also remember the days of MacAddict covers shouting “Revolt! Resist! Conspire!” – fun times to be a Mac user, as there was always something exciting and user-centric just around the corner from Cupertino. Granted Jobs *did* save the company, but for whom? Not me.

    My eye-opening moment was when I found out my 2008 MacBook Pro was fully capable of the new fancy 3-finger trackpad gestures, but Apple was *choosing* to not activate them with a software update, leaving me to hack it myself, (and possibly void my warranty). THIS WAS MY COMPUTER!

    Windows was/is out of the question for me as I feel they’re equally guilty of crazy lock-in schemes, (one of which being anti-malware subscriptions), but also intentionally breaking cross-compatibility, with others’ software as well as their own, to force expensive upgrades on their users, (not to mention the usurious licence fees we pay for Outlook at my workplace..)

    Linux has done the trick for me. My MBP went through U/K-Buntu, Mint, SUSE, Arch (no kidding), Sabayon, and Gentoo (also no kidding), before settling on Crunchbang, and my new $400 custom-built firebreather is currently on Ubuntu. They work the way I want. They don’t restrict me.

    I also await the arrival of Moto Droid here in Canada with baited breath…

    But I guess the lesson for Apple is this – I was a LIFELONG Mac User. I wrote programs in Hypercard.. I had magazine subscriptions.. I made my own Kaleidoscope themes.. I’ve talked a dozen people into buying Macs.. And now they’ve driven me away. I don’t suppose they’ll miss me.

  53. “no single “official” version of the OS”

    Course there is … kernel.org. That IS the OS. Userpace is something different.:)

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