Watching the live streaming from Cupertino’s council debating the new Apple campus. Even the environmentalists are defending the massive pouring of concrete in the middle of orchards and farming land. Not sure if I should admire the democracy in action or laugh at these people saying silly things to defend Apple, a company that has deprived them of basic rights like the right to sell or give to your friends the books or music you rightfully bought.
If you’ve been following the European version of Apple vs Samsung saga, here is a piece of news from a person I trust, the tl;dr version:
Apple has LOST all claims wrt the european patent 2098948. The court thinks that the european patent 1964022 is worthless and will be thrown out in reexamination anyway as prior art has been shown by Samsung. The only thing that remains is the european patent 2059868. And the claims of that patent can be circumvented in trivial ways.
I installed Funambol on an iOS device to test it and all went well… until I tried to sync the pictures. I was greeted with the request to allow Funambol to access my location, request that I promptly denied. Why on the planet would Funambol want to know where I am? Smelling that Apple may have to do with this, I asked Funambol developers who confirmed that this is due to the nature of the ALAsset API from Apple. Apparently I’m not the only one to think that iOS ALAssetsLibrary is broken.
What is broken is not only the user experience, but also the bad habit that Apple is spreading: users should pay attention to the permissions they grant to apps and deny to run those that make unreasonable requests. Mobile phones are computers and everybody should keep in mind that apps have access to personal data stored on the phone. Everybody should check that apps have permission only to access the minimum necessary to operate. Are you installing an app to sync addressbook and pictures? The app should ask permission to read/write addressbook and pictures. Not to read location!
Apple doesn’t allow
another browser Firefox (apparently there are other browsers) on its iOS devices, so Firefox Mobile cannot run natively on iPhone/iPod/iPad. Enter Mozilla Home, the hack used by Mozilla Foundation to allow Mozilla desktop users to bring their data on their favorite mobile device.
The mockup of the upcoming version are awesome:
June 6th 2011 was a strange day. Facing the Pacific ocean Steve Jobs was describing his perfect plan to know which books you read, what magazines you buy, what music you listen, who you correspond with, who you love and who hates you. On the Atlantic ocean Eben Moglen, Lawrence Lessig were describing how that kind of technology is threatening the very foundation of our democracy. Moglen’s keynote starts with:
we have 4 forces doing anything they can to eliminate freedom on the net.
- governments deeply concerned about the possible loss of control that comes from the freedom to tell stories any way we want and escape the framing that power puts around things
- content owners who believe that their bits are sacred and the risk that those bits may be copied justifies controlling the net down to each endpoint and down to every eyeball and every eardrum
- data miners, the industry of the future, their job is to know what you want before you know it so that they can sell you to somebody. All that is required is to read your email, check every party that you go to, check the conversations you have with your friends. And they have arranged to make this possible.
- network operators that are transforming the end-to-end network (as described by Lessig) into the “everything must come to us” and “all your life are belong to us! aren’t you happy, people?”
platforms, devices that won’t allow you to take the ads out of the webpage or prevent you from sharing a song or prevent you from speaking your mind.
[…] We are losing the autonomy of personality. […] The net has turned against us.
Enter the Freedombox and take back the net as we know it. Watch the full video, it’s well worth it.
A normal day for an Apple customer:
my nine-year-old daughter, Flora, bought a new £39 iPod shuffle with her pocket money, and I treated myself to an iPhone 4. I connected the shuffle to our computer, but a message came up saying the iPod “cannot be used because it requires iTunes version 10.0 or later”. So I downloaded iTunes 10, but then another message popped up: “Open Failed … This package type requires Mac OS X 10.5.” It was the same story with the iPhone 4.
[… Apple support said] I could solve this by buying Leopard […] though it would cost £87.
When Microsoft does stuff like this the normal customers get very upset. Apple with its cult followers can do this and more evil stuff. Look at the comments on the original article Apple upgrades leave bitter taste on The Guardian to understand how lucky/good Apple has been at creating a cult for its brand.
Another app has to be removed from the Apple iTunes mobile App Store. This time, after GNU Go, it’s the iOS port of the popular free VLC Player because the terms of the GNU General Public License are incompatible with those of Apple’s store.
Difficult situation and I still think that the best way out is for FSF to sponsor a mobile app repository for free software applications. What would be better?