iPad is a “Huge Step Backward”

February 7, 2010

I was browsing this thread on Slashdot and came across a really interesting meme:

I bought an iPhone this year. This is one asset that is so important that I just want it to WORK. I don’t want to worry about viruses, or ongoing maintenance. This is my ONLY TELEPHONE LINE, and so I finally do approve of somebody keeping it locked down and pristine.

inviolet


The lockdown here is on two devices. You want a laptop or desktop you can do whatever you want with? There’s the macbook, imac and mac pro for that. Want an expandable handheld appliance with a limited (albeit ever-expanding) functionality that’ll have no hidden surprises? There’s your iPad and iPhone.

You may as well criticise arcade machine makers for vetting all the roms you can put in their hardware. Or any of the console makers for vetting what’s available for theirs. Or that kindle can’t do anything but display books. Experience has shown them all, time and time again that as soon as you open up a platform to anyone and everyone, quality and reliability take a hit, not to mention susceptibility to attack. It’s a specific product for a specific market and like the iPhone, will be hated by geeks everywhere, but loved by everyone else who want something that just works. Apple will likely do little to stop people jailbreaking these things, they’ll just make it difficult enough that only determined people do it.

CrazyBusError (emphasis mine)


First, the FSF needs to convince us average users need to have control. Why should average users have control over their computer? Isn’t this what got us the virus nightmare in Windows?

Azureflare

The idea that most people don’t want control over their computers, and that having them be locked down offers tangible benefits, is new to me. In particular, a locked down device obviates the need to perform "good houskeeping" sorts of system maintenance. Some commentators respond that you can have a good design that eliminates housekeeping without control, but by definition if a user has the potential to do whatever they want with a device, it’s just a matter of social engineering to turn their computer into a spambot.

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