Linus Torvalds: Locked Down Technologies Lose in the End



Sao Paulo, Brazil – Apple’s restrictive control measures and policies will ultimately fail, according to Linus Torvalds.

“Technologies that lock things down tend to lose in the end,” said Torvalds at the keynote of LinuxCon Brazil. (Cult of Mac is reporting from Sao Paulo; come to our Nov. 20 meetup for a chance to win a signed copy of the Brazilian edition of Leander Kahney’s “Inside Steve’s Brain.”)

It’s the kind of remark you’d expect from the namesake of the open source Linux kernel, but highlights the ongoing questions about Apple’s aggressive use of digital rights management and other locking measures in its innovative and creative products.

His comments resonated in Brazil, where the Cupertino company is in a standoff with the government over games ratings in the iTunes store.  (The result for Brazilians? Imagine life without Angry Birds.) After one meeting with officials, Apple has refused to discuss the matter further and media are calling it one of the “most closed companies in the world.”

“When it comes to Apple, which does not allow people to use a different cable to connect your iPhone to your computer, it is hard to believe that the company refuses to meet a Brazilian law,” said Davi Pires, a Deputy Director at the Brazilian Ministry of Justice.

Torvalds made the remark in answer to a question about Microsoft’s secure boot feature, saying the initiative – like Apple’s DRM – won’t last forever because “people want freedom and markets want freedom.”

“I’m an optimist: openness is successful in the long run, secure boot is another one of these passing fads,” Torvalds said.


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