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.

  • gareth edwards

    Ok, so this chap is a LOT smarter than me but I have no problem saying that I think, whilst I understand his POV, I think he’s wrong.  A closed system isn’t, by default, onto a looser. It depends on the system and the competition. If the closed system is very good and offers all the right kind of things in it that a consumer wants then it will profit. If it is up against an open system that is a mess, full of holes and hard to manage then it will likely succeed against it.  It’s all about context, it’s not as simple as saying closed is doomed.  Look at all the closed systems we use every day, we don’t mind that they are not ‘open’ because they do the job well.

    Also, it’s an easy shot to make, but if his stance was 100% correct then we would all be using Linux and both Apple, Google and MS would be dust on the wind. It appears that this is not the case.

    And finally, the thing with the cable – puurleeease!  Buy one Apple product (iphone, ipod, ipad) and you only need one single cable (excepting where there was unfortunate slight differences in them some time back). Buy different kit from different manufacturers and it can be a thankless task using one cable, mini usb, micro usb, some sort of weird sony connector etc etc etc.

  • JJ

    Lockdown is better than open, it works
    Linux still have issues with connecting over wireless
    Microsoft constant pain, something will always go wrong
    Apple just works…

    am not trying to be a fanboy but this is the truth, been using mac for like 10 years
    almost no issues.
    Used Windows for 6 years, i had to face issues like each month

  • Sam Parmenter

    Its easy to say that as a techie and a programmer but the average user wants to feel safe, secure and in control. I have fixed so many windows machines that users had just abused for years and killed the whole thing. Imagine what they would have done to linux. The iphone is popular because its easy to use and they have built an entire ecosystem around it that covers every facet of support, teaching and easy of use. I think that the future will be somewhat more like the apple way of doing things.

    You buy an android or windows phone and want to learn about it? What do you do? Your android phone break mid-week, what do you do? People are loyal to apple because they appreciate the quality of product coupled with the great customer service.

    I have used android for 2 years and just got a 4s and its so much nicer. You could do a bit more on android but you had to pay for that flexibility with stability and easy of use.

  • John Teggatz

    I’ve never seen a Linux geek yet who passes up any chance to bad mouth Apple while promising yet another “Year of the Linux Desktop or some other empty proclamation.

  • AndreGSNE

    Just because he’s unrelated to apple and he criticizes apple,people just go blah blah he’s wrong and such,but imo,he’s right.when you don’t lockdown,you sure gain more customers PLUS the original customers.

  • AndreGSNE

    Just because he’s unrelated to apple and he criticizes apple,people just go blah blah he’s wrong and such,but imo,he’s right.when you don’t lockdown,you sure gain more customers PLUS the original customers.

  • renasboy

    Come on! You are stupid saying that!

    Apple makes the hardware and software, of course it has to work.

    Apple does not need to support with their software all the existing hardware in the world.

    Does that make any difference?

  • techgeek01

    My friend and I were talking about this the other day.

    Apple will eventually lock down the hardware and the software. (think iPad and iPhone)

    Average consumer?  They don’t care.  As long as it’s flashy, that what they care about.Professional user? This is where it hit’s hard. Locked down hardware and software WON’T work here. They essentially need the best computer, software.  They need the best tools.  Locking down the devices will not work for them.  Why?  Because they need x hardware choices and you don’t get them in a mac. (you have to buy them separately and put them in yourself if you want that it a mac)  Also, software wise, it has to meet all apple’s criteria.  If it dosen’t it won’t go. And that just won’t work for a $5000 software program.More Apple locks down their computers, more and more professionals will jump.  They need to have the hardware and software “openness”.  These devices are tools, not flashy devices to impress our neighbors.Meaning? Apple’s customers would be almost (if not) all consumers.  No professional users.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Probably a more of a bad thing than a good thing.  why?  What happens when another flashy product comes along? They’ll jump to that and that will (severely) hurt apple.Consumers?  They don’t care.  Professionals?  They care.  That’s why it will fail. Because of the professional users.  That’s why. 

  • Gerry Doire

    Do you leave the door on your home unlocked or your car unlocked or leave your bank card next to the the atm for the next time you visit, NOPE, SAME DEAL!

  • Alan

    It’s “ease of use” not easy…

  • Ed_Kel

    Two things – 

    “When it comes to Apple, which does not allow people to use a different cable to connect your iPhone to your computer,…..” – As my iPhone 4 is plugged into my computer right now with an Incase cable.

    “I’m an optimist: openness is successful in the long run, secure boot is another one of these passing fads,” – If this were true, then why has Google recently closed their source code?

    Typical words coming from the grandfather of the Android foundation: Linux. Just like the CEO of Google, I would take his words with a grain of salt.

  • AndreGSNE

    That’s not the same…what benefits do you get from leaving your car unlocked,whereas jailbreaking your apple devices give you a world of benefits.and anyway…alot of ideas that apple used were taken from the jailbreak community.

  • AndreGSNE

    yeah,i love my itouch,and it’s because i can jailbreak it.if i couldn’t,i wouldn’t have paid for it.

  • hurtle24

    “jailbreaking your apple devices give you a world of benefits”

    You mean pirated apps, malware and a more unstable device?

  • fourlions

    You wait until 2012, man.

    And it’s tablets, not desktops.

    Keep up ;)

  • fourlions

    Basically, you’re just going “blah blah blah he’s right”.

  • AndreGSNE

    Have you ever jailbroken?I have jailbreak for a year+ and there’s no shit malware and ONLY benefits.

  • AndreGSNE

    i mean,look at the comments below.i love apple products too man.

  • sam.rodgers

    And the ability to pirate software thereby jeopardising the livelihood of others?

  • fourlions

    It doesn’t matter whether he’s right of he’s wrong, is premise is completely wrong.

    Open and closed both work. 

    2012, the year of Linux on tablets!

  • AndreGSNE

    Well,open definitely works better.

  • hurtle24

    Oh Really, how about this?

  • Nikhilesh Joshi

    ICS is open sourced. Get your facts straight. 

  • fourlions

    Open works better?

    Please stop this.

  • apluralist

    Whistling past the graveyard. This dude took someone else’s OS (which was developed at a company that was sucking huge dollars out of the US economy), and made it into the open poster boy. Give him credit for git. Linux is a yawn at this point (2 decades out!!).

    Apple makes stuff that works, and it’s documented. The software world desperately needs better tools and frameworks. Apple is the last hope. 

    Open now means undocumented, unfinished junk 99% of the time, and then, after torturing their user base, turns out the stuff is not open anyway (e.g. Android). 

    Who are the suckers.. ?

  • Chrismac88

    Exactly, there is no benefit to leaving your door unlocked.   But you’re asking Apple to leave THEIR door unlocked.   Of course it’s a benefit to you, you get to take advantage of their openness, just like I could take advantage of yours if you left YOUR door open.

    And of course they’re not the same…..leaving your door unlocked is analogous to the OPEN system, while jailbreaking is analogous to the public walking through that door and taking advantage of the fool who left it unlocked.

  • Ludwik Puczy?owski

    Oh poor Linus, he doesn’t get, does he? Openness may be resulting in possibility to tweak and to run software on many devices, but when something is good for everything then it’s good for nothing. And result is crappy software. Think: Adobe’s flash, Windows working on plethora devices, and Google’s Android. I personally don’t give a **** for things are open, and choose things that work. 

  • Demonstr8r

    Android is (mostly) open sourced, Google didn’t release the code for Honeycomb to avoid embarrassment due to extremely sloppy code. I like open-source, in fact I benefit from it in many ways, but I don’t want Android on my phone because of the high volume of malware and a fragmented app market. There are several other reasons, but I’ll leave those out to avoid starting a flame war. You just can’t beat the experience of iOS especially having both the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 With iCloud. And no, I’m not an fanboy, I will switch the moment another option is significantly better, which won’t happen in the next 3-5 years.

  • Ludwik Puczy?owski

    Well, filmmakers chose FinalCut Pro to edit movies even if it was on the most locked system in the world, as some would say. Did it stop them from editing great movies? 
    If pro users want unlocked system, then they can go with it. Apple doesn’t care much.

  • Ed_Kel

    Honeycomb was not open sourced. Neither are the “finesse” codes like HTC Sense. My facts are straight – Douchebag.

  • Rwarner274

    I agree totally with you!.  I think poor Linus is confusing high standards and quality with “closed systems”.   How open do you want Apple to be without compromising its high standards and quality?

  • Ed_Kel

    The numbers don’t lie. Three phones (3GS, 4, 4S) bite the ass of a plethora (and I mean plethora) of phones that make up the Android market share.

    This guy IS wrong and his “geniusness” gave him the inability to understand that the majority of technology users couldn’t give 2 shits less about their access to source code. They want a company that makes great devices. Devices that are simple and clean. Again, the numbers don’t lie.

  • Howie Isaacks

    Linus Torvalds needs to shut up.  He spews all of this crap toward Apple as if he’s some kind of saint.  He’s not.  If customer’s choose to use Apple products, and accept their “closed” system, where’s the harm?  I’m computer savvy enough to switch everything to Linux, and still be very productive.  I just don’t want to.  I prefer Apple, and I have for over 25 years.  A “closed” system is not a bad thing.  I would say that because Linux has so many variants, it harms consumer choice in the same way that having so many variants of Windows does.  No one knows what the differences are.

  • minimalist1969

    ““Technologies that lock things down tend to lose in the end,””

    Wait, does Torvalds mean like the Xbox 360, the Wii and the PS3 (and more recently the ipod Touch, iPad and iPhone)?   Where is all the successful “open” gaming tech?   What other open technologies have actually “won” over their closed counterparts in the end?  Linux?  Not on your life.  Android?  It’s doing very well but so is iOS.

    It must be frustrating for tech ideologues like Torvalds and Stallman to see how little of the marketplace actually cares about the open v. closed debate and how often the closed solution comes out on top.  

  • takeo

    then it all ends?

  • Fafnrd35

    Keep waiting for your Great Pumpkin. Maybe one day, it will actually show up.

  • Enrico_Rizzo

    So I guess that is why Linux is so wildly popular then?

  • echo of the future

    Linus sounds so closed minded and naive, he seems to view closed as bad and open as good but in reality both approaches can be just as effective at producing great products, pushing innovation and driving competition. It’s not as black and white as he always seems to put it.

    Of course people want freedom and markets want freedom but there is a big difference between a tightly integrated solution and anti-competitive behaviour which Linus seems to suggest a closed system brings.The average consumer doesn’t care about these things, they simply want a product or solution that works for them. Right now there are plenty of alternatives to the iPad, iPhone, iTunes and iPod. In reality if consumers don’t like how Apple has integrated these products they can just buy someone else’s products and use one of many methods available to move their content over. It may cost you money and it may not be easy but it can be done and more importantly you have the freedom to do it.

    His view that these tightly integrated, so called closed systems will ultimately fail is just wishful thinking. The reality is Apple’s integrated solutions are dominant not because they lock you in but because they offer the best products and solutions compared to their competitors.

    If open source starts producing the same level of quality and innovative integrated solutions that Apple is currently offering then I have no doubt Apple won’t dominate as much as they currently are. That sort of healthy competition can only be good and benefit everyone.

  • renasboy

    Rob Willians!

  • Tim_Meessemen

    Yea it does. Android’s winning.

  • aramishero

    1 question… Example, did Android OS give Developer make money? that’s the question…

  • Charlie Steinmetz

    And this from Brazil, one of the most closed economies in the world.  They slap duties of hundreds of dollars on iPads to protect exactly what domestic industry???????????????

    My company does business with Brazilian state owned companies, (hows that for open by the way), and these guys are all requiring 30-50% domestic Brazilian content even though no companies exist in Brazil to do this, hence, like China, you have to transfer technology there if you want to win the contract.  And guess what, GE is right there signing up to transfer technology.

  • hurtle24

    Are you serious? winning what? Apple’s iOS devices make more money than all android manufacturers put together

  • Tim_Meessemen

    Marketshare. If your happy they’re milking you to such a degree then just lol@you.

  • Paul

    Think we are all missing the obvious thing here.  You bought the hardware so you should be able to do what ever the hell you want with it, not be dictated to by a company on what you can and can’t do.

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    Snoopy must have stolen Linus’ red blankie.  This man has an opinion just like anyone else and it certainly doesn’t make him right.  I don’t think consumers care one way or another when it comes to open or closed.  As long as they get what they want it doesn’t matter what color package it comes in.  If Android is the true representative of an open OS, I certainly don’t need it.  Apple’s closed OS is more than enough for me to enjoy.

  • Ed_Kel

    Why would you think Apple is milking us? They provide goods and services and us consumers choose to buy them. To refer to something as milking would imply that, for example, a plumber is taking his sweet time on a repair that you hired him for. Milking doesn’t apply to retailers which provide a good that people choose to buy.

  • hurtle24

    All of these android manufacturers only give numbers for devices that have shipped, not sold. And when it comes to activations, many android phones are not smart phones but feature phones. 

    Apple is the only company giving real numbers, maybe because they have nothing to hide?

  • Aaron

    Linux is a great operating system. I would definitely be an Ubuntu user if Mac OS wasn’t around. That being said, until someone starts herding the developers of Linux (as Shuttlesworth is trying to do), Linux is going to continue to be a disorganized mess, as it is today.

    Linus didn’t say Mac OS specifically, but all closed-source systems. I would have to believe he was attempting to rally against Windows.

    Having open systems is great for developers, but until those developers get focused on user interface, usability, and consistency, Linux will continue to be a distant third place.

  • echo of the future

    That’s absolutely true but at the same time companies need to protect the technologies and features that make them competitive in the market.

    A good example is Apple fixing loopholes and gaps in iOS to stop hackers messing with their OS. The cynical view is they are just trying to lock you in and stop you from doing what you want with the hardware but the reality is they are trying to protect their technology from potential misuse which could lead to their customers being affected.

    In fact there is nothing stopping you from constantly jail breaking your product or hacking together an interface to plug in your xBox controller. You can use your product the way you want but you can’t expect companies like Apple to support or cater for these activities or features for which the products were never originally designed for.

    If you don’t like the restrictive feature set that Apple products may come with you can always buy another product.

  • Hampus

    “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,”

    Ehm… You know, I’m free to use any cable I want, it helps if it has the correct connector though but there are third party cables. Same is true for my Galaxy Tab 7 and my Logitech mice, I can use any cable I want as long as the connector is the same…

  • Hampus

    No, that’s not THE question… It’s not even a proper sentance…

  • Nikhilesh Joshi

    Honeycomb is now part of ICS’s version history, Now I’m not ready to talk about HTC sence. Seriously google before you post.

  • hurtle24

    If you’re going to criticise someone’s grammar, it might be a good idea to spell the word “sentence” correctly, just a thought.

  • Nikhilesh Joshi

    yup, that is true. IOS has much of a polish, beauty and brand power than other operating systems. The only problem is its being vigorously protected by Apple. This good for a normal customer, but not for adventurists who love to tinker with the OS. It all boils down to what you want :) 

  • Nikhilesh Joshi

    Dude, you are talking about a guy’s product that is powering almost 90 % of the super computers in the world. :P

  • Tim_Meessemen

    All your points there were wrong, haha.

  • Niran Sabanathan

    I want my computer system to work, with minimum fuss and bother – Linux(too complicated – I  don’t really need to find all those drivers) and Windows(works like crap) do not meet this requirement. As for being open — as long as I can get my work done, that is as open a system as I want to get.

  • echo of the future

    I’m really talking about the guy’s point of view on supposedly closed and open systems.

    It’s true Linux powers a large majority of those servers but as an integrations engineer and software architect I can tell you that a significant portion of the software stack on those servers is made up of proprietary technologies, developed by private companies and not shared with the open source community.
    My point being while Linux powers many servers, a lot of those servers only provide the sort of performance and features thanks to proprietary technology governed by commercial licenses.You’re really talking about a different market to what I was referring to. In the server market open source has had an amazing success however when you look at the consumer market like desktops it’s struggled.Linus’s point of view that locked in systems will ultimately fail ignores many of the weaknesses that can come with an open system and many of the advantages that can come with a tightly integrated system.

    I think what were seeing from Apple, Google and to some extent Microsoft is that their combining both these approaches to create compelling products and solutions.Linus’s view just seems naive and misguided.

  • Mile L.

    Poor Linus, he’s been stuck at 1.1% forever since his OS software or Apps simply aren’t “consistent” from machine to machine, and that’s where Apple shines. He’s just bitter that’s all…

  • Mile L.

     Yes, and that’s why Apple gives you the most freedom of any platform. OSX is opensource so have at it… the hardware is all standard, so have at it. Closed source is like Windows where they don’t use “standards” like Apple always does.

  • Paul

    Biggest pile of crap I have ever heard! So have at it…

  • TheMetrix

    Can I get where are you pulling your numbers from, Mr. smartass?

    Seriously, you guys never fail to amaze me. So, if Apple has less shares/sales it means everyone is reporting false statistics of shipping and only Apple is reporting real sales statistics?

    Trust me man, Technological industry doesn’t work like this. Big companies are responsible to their share holders and they cannot lie to them. Apple also publishes shipped numbers, mostly fyi.

    Also, you’re again spewing bullshit by saying most Android phones activated are feature phones and not smartphones. Are you the Nostradamus of smartphones that you’re predicting this argument? If yes, then please provide some source.

    Further, the Galaxy SII sold over 10 million with 6 months without launching in the US, which is the biggest market. Samsung sold over 30 Million premium Galaxy S+S2 devices within 2 years.

  • TheMetrix

    When you get your head out of you butt, I’d advise you to check out the Server marketshare of operating system and then try to laugh. Linux powers more than half of world’s servers and Super computers. Ever wondered why Linux is put to use where people want to get real work done and is the driving force in super-computers?

    The fact that you are commenting here is either directly or indirectly helped by Linux, little man. Sure Linux might not have a large desktop base, but that’s because it was never a consumer oriented Kernel/OS nor was it intended to appeal to masses using PCs.

    If you didn’t know already, Android, which powers more than 50% of the smartphones of the world runs on Linux kernel, and so does Meego.

  • TheMetrix

    When you get your head out of your butt, I’d advise you research on why Linux powers the most servers of the world and runs on the most capable and powerful super-computers present. Linux was never a kernel/OS designed to appeal to masses, that’s why the desktop user-base is not very large. Ever wondered why distros like Red Hat and Mandriva are the top choices for Servers?

    Do a search about which OS powers the Top 500 super-computers of the world and then come to troll here. (Typing this on OS X Lion).

    The fact that you are commenting here is either directly or indirectly influenced by Linux. Also, if you’re still living under a rock, Android which powers >50% of smartphones of the world runs on Linux kernel and so does Meego. :)

  • AdamC

    Good luck you will need it when it becomes a brick.

  • dromiceiomimus

    HTC sence?

  • dromiceiomimus

    Argumentum ad populum.

  • Tim_Meessemen

    Ipsum flipsum dipsum.

  • iDaBoss

    at least it was more readable

  • iDaBoss

    but now it is

  • iDaBoss

    no not same deal

  • iDaBoss

    just here to watch the Apple circle-jerk

  • obamapacman

    Linux is surely “winning” the profitability and market share from everyone.

  • Emit Idy

    But you wont find many filmmakers using final cut pro X. I work in the film industry FCPX is the reason a lot of editors are switching to Avid. Apple decided to make FCP more user friendly so they turned it into iMovie. Now it is pretty unusable in many post-production workflows. WTF Apple?? There is one thing you have right: Apple doesn’t care.

  • Emit Idy

    If Apple truly cared about making great products that are easy to use then why do I have to use itunes to drag a song into my ipod or iphone AND why can I only do this from my home cpu??? If I could go anywhere and add media files to my iphone from any computer then my ipod/iphone would be much more useful and easy to use.

    Obviously Apple is doing this to encourage people to buy media on iTunes (and combat piracy) which gives them money as distributers. But I am a media producer, if I compose a song and record it at a studio why do I have to go home to add it to my apple portable media player?

    This is not an etherial philosophical question of the merits of open or closed, this is an example of some of the stupid decisions made by Apple that are anti-consumer. I don’t want for apple to change the way they do business or make products, I just want to put pressure on them so that they can make their awesome products even awesomer.

    In a way the Linux man is right, if apple were to open up the iphone and ipad in a few key ways, they could make the devices even more useful, popular, and easy to use. Sadly I doubt this will happen.

  • Commonman

    This guy’s been pissing and moaning about Apple ever since they migrated to the Intel chip. He’s like the guy wearing the sandwich board that says “The World Will End Tomorrow” yet he’s there every day.

  • AndreGSNE

    Well,i get it.If you’re a scared pussy,then stay closed.

  • CharliK

    “If I could go anywhere and add media files to my iphone from any computer “

    the recording labels don’t want that so they don’t give Apple a license that will allow such things. Yes it sucks but Apple doesn’t have the power to change it 

  • CharliK

    he’s talking about the iPhone end of things. Brazil has a law similar to the one in the EU that all cell phones must use the same connector. I think it might be mini USB in both places. 

    As I recall, in the EU giving folks a free adapter that was 30 pin to mini USB got Apple clear on their law. But in Brazil they won’t allow an adapter, they are strict that it has to be a mini USB connector on the device. 

  • anonymous1961

    I didn’t realize Linus Torvalds was still alive. Huh.

  • Dude

    You strike me as an average moronjock Apple fanboy who has never wrote a program in your entire life. You must still fancy sucking Steve Jobs dick. Grow up. Linux is for power users. 

  • minimalist1969

    There are lots of apps, some free, that allow you to drag and drop all sorts of files (including mp3s) to your phone.  “Files” is just one example.  They aren’t as polished and pretty as using the Apple designed Music app, but I guarantee you they still look a lot better than Torvalds’ beloved Linux solution.

  • tim71

    Awwww… what a nice can of worms always pops open, if pointing finger of opensource people towards “closed and locked down Apple” lands here – and especially from Linus itself.

    Quite many people just forget that OS X kernel is open source and many just do not even care to know, that creation of Linus lives in many “home appliances”, that often are not even regarded as computers – television set-top-boxes and receivers, bluray- and other media players, network appliances as routers or wireless AP’s.

    Linus has his creation in much more places beyond the computers and phones, but trolling ones do not care about this anyway :)

  • arthurreeder

    “Who are the suckers.. ?”
    People who pay 10% to 20% more for the same hardware?

  • YaMon

    It is this tweakability that makes Linux successful. 
    Although this is a downside in the consumer market, it allows unparalleled customisability and stability in demanding environments.
    This is the reason why it dominates in devices markets such as those for servers(60% share), supercomputers (90%) and also for smartphones, due to the fact that Android and MeeGo run on Linux Kernels.

  • YaMon

    Currently the setup is that, although I bought my iPhone Apple still has the keys to it.
    What we just need is the keys so that we can control access to it ourselves.
    We don’t need Apple to babysit in that regard.

  • YaMon

    Although I am strong proponent of open source I have to agree that jailbreaking is not the safest option.
    What jailbreking does is fully rip and breakdown the barred door of iOS privilge control.
    Although this grants us freedom, we are eventually left without a door, leading to security risks.
    What would be amazing is if the jailbreking community came up of a way to selectively bestow privileges in a way sudo or su does.

  • jscotta44

    Sounds like a very stupid law and a poster child candidate for why governments should stay out of markets – particularly consumer markets where national security is not at risk and where consumers have the choice to buy an alternative.

  • jscotta44

    Excellent! That means what…50 systems?

    Okay, enough of me being snarky. Powering a super-computer with Linux is great and pretty much a sweet spot for the OS – where extremely talented and trained developers and administrators can tweak and baby-sit a highly customized piece of hardware. However, grandma is not going to be running one anytime soon.

    But I tell you what, when Linux developers start building their own cars (starting with mining and refining the raw materials), I start supporting the everyone should build their own computer/OS.

  • jscotta44

    And it is the “tweakability” that gives carriers the open door to screw the poor consumers that purchase the Android power devices.

    I use Linux to power servers and it does a great job. However, we run Macs and iOS devices for our business people – far more productive and less hassle for the support team.

  • jscotta44

    Let me fix that for you – the suckers are the people that spend 50% more time screwing around with their tool rather than getting their real work/play done.

  • John

    as an old adage says, just follow the strings
    (…who is, nowadays, paying him…)
    Same thing, other way, just take a look at
    who is financing ‘the open source movement’ (linux included)…

    And take your conclusions…

  • Asd

    Plus all major websites run on Linux (google, yahoo, amazon), as do most stock exhange. Plus embedded devices and android. Linux has taken over already.

  • CharliK

    Actually it’s a very smart law. It keeps companies from using their own chargers etc and being able to charge a small fortune for them. 

    Where it gets stupid is when they pull moves like banning imports of items and don’t believe that people won’t smuggle them in anyway. There’s no way that any government is going to keep a hot item like the iPhone out of the country unless they are going to make it SOP to search all incoming luggage and take all iPhones (even the one you are using yourself). And that is very stupid if only for the massive negative PR. Especially for a country like Brazil which is apparently trying to get Foxconn to use its Brazilian factories for more highly popular items like everything Apple. You think that Cook is going to approve splitting up production if Brazil is pulling a stunt like bag searching for the iPhone. Probably not. 

  • onedb

    Who is financing the open source movement?  

  • reneemjones

    I hope he is right, but I fear he is not.  Corporations are slowly making progress in having their DRM dreams enacted as law.  As long as they carefully limit their attacks during this initial period, they will achieve total control before the technologically illiterate masses ever realize what they have lost.

    They have already convinced many people that they dont even have the rights that they *do* have.  I met a theater group that was afraid to perform a Shakespeare play because of the copyright notices in the printed plays.  Shakespeare never held any copyrights, but now the printing companies have convinced a generation of performers that they own Shakespeare!

  • reneemjones

    You know what?  None of my computers run Windows, but they all count as Windows computers and not Linux because the statistics are compiled based on sales … and it is virtually impossible to actually buy a computer without buying it with Windows preinstalled.  Even companies that install Linux and sell Linux laptops start with laptops shipped with Windows.

    Furthermore, what “apps” are you talking about?  You seem to be confusing the operating system with the applications that run on top of it.  As for consistency, Apple is pretty good, but I have Linux applications that are over a decade old that still run fine on modern computers … and as far as I can tell, Linux runs exactly the same and has exactly the same look and options on every machine I have ever seen.  Ya, there’s a lot of choice and options, but gnome looks like gnome, kde looks like kde, I have no clue what you are talking about and I suspect you don’t either.

  • reneemjones

    Windows was always a mess to install for me.  Linux always comes up running fine from the start — and I put it on *everything*.  In the last half decade at least, I have never seen an issue with “drivers” on Linux, but I have seen plenty with Windows.  Apple is just nasty.  I upgraded my DVD reader to a DVD writer on my iMac some years ago, only to find that Apple’s software won’t let me write DVDs with it.  Apple lock in, even worse than Windows.

    Anyway, that is why I put Linux on *everything*. I can always get my work done with it. Apple? Maybe, depending on what they think you should be allowed to do. Windows? More choice than Apple, maybe, but the base distribution has *nothing* and everything is so slow and buggy that I find I have to work at home sometimes just because I can’t get my work done with the Bill Gates Box at work.

  • reneemjones

    I sure wish they would have a law like that in the US.  The connector mess is just a way they try to lock you in and steal money from you.  That kind of behavior should be criminal and it should be stopped.

  • reneemjones

    I’ve got a Mac and I’ve got Linux and, for useability, Linux wins hands down.  I have no clue what you are talking about.

  • reneemjones

    “but at the same time companies need to protect the technologies and features that make them competitive in the market”

    No.  They don’t.

  • wakizaki

    What is the point of posting this kind of article in a site where, very obviously, most of the crowd don’t understand / comprehend it? Such a waste.

  • Eric Swinson

    Foxconn looked at building an iPad factory in brazil to get around that requirement and could not find enough Brazilian talent qualified to staff it.

  • Scott Johnson

    The big reason we aren’t seeing more Linux on tablets is that Apple’s suing the pants off any vendor who tries to sell one.  (You DO know, don’t you, that Android is based on Linux, right?)

  • nicho

    heh .. most do comprehend it, they just don’t agree with it or don’t care. For some, freedom from support hassles, trojans and other grot is worth more than freedom to run whatever you fancy. As for me, I have a foot in both camps so I get the best of both worlds

  • Dario_compagno

    You are turning the things upside-down. Th trick of Apple to is to make your computer consistent to the software :)

  • Guest


  • reneemjones

    I guess you like being told by Apple what you can and can not do?

  • James Katt

    Ha ha ha ha ha.  Yes. Linux has been successful on the desktop.
    Only proprietary software works has value enough that people pay for it.  Even Android had to make Linux valuable by adding proprietary Google software.

    Open + Free = Lack of Value.

    Open + Proprietary = Record Profits = Apple

  • Wise Guy

    Yes, I leave my home unlocked. I leave my car unlocked at home but usually lock it when I’m out. Normally my truck is unlocked but sometimes not.  I’ve never used an ATM.

  • Jon Jahren

    Ah, so that’s why every single other MP3-player/Phone can do it?

  • CharliK

    You’ll notice that 99.9% of those items don’t have a store owned and operated by the hardware manufacturer. So they have to be totally open or there would be no media on them at all. 

    Compared to Apple which is forced to make concessions to the labels or have nothing in their store. At least until they can get some leverage like the labels wanting to be the ones to set the prices rather than Apple setting them (which Apple agreed to but only if the labels dropped DRM)


    You mean slave labor, right?


    If they’re “locked in” then they don’t need competitive products and solutions. Imagine if I could only run an AMD video card in my computer with an AMD CPU. Let’s say I loved the CPU but liked the NVidia graphic card a little bit more. Well, since I love the CPU more than the NVidia card, I’m going to get the AMD computer and settle for the AMD graphics card. NVidia gets cheated out of a sale it otherwise would have had.

    That’s not good for the consumer. It’s an attempt to limit competition, which undermines how capitalism is supposed to work. Nothing ever works better by eliminating competition. Look around you at… well, life itself. Competition for survival has fostered the biodiversity we have. An organism that exists with no competition in its environment is usually driven to extinction if a foreign organism gets introduced or climate or other changes occur.


    Linux has achieved dominance in every market where *a pre-existing monopoly didn’t exist*. You know, the same reason Apple’s billions and marketing machine makes it used on only five times the number of desktops as Linux, which has no marketing at all. :-) Both OS-X and Linux would have a better share of the desktop market were it not for Microsoft’s past anti-competitive behavior, which I’m sure OS X fans would agree on. But when Linus includes examples of Apple anti-competitive behavior, suddenly to most that’s completely defensible and just making the best products possible. :-) The logical fallacy is called “begging the question”.


    You know the computer you’re using right now? IBM tried to use “Micro-Channel Architecture” (MCA) to lock it down and let them control what expansion boards you could use and crush clone makers. In the end, IBM exited the PC market.

    You’ve got USB, PCIe, AGP, SDHC, CD-RW, DVD-RW and flash drives vs. IOMega Zip Drives, HTML (with HTML5 already about to drive Adobe out of the mobile market). You’re awash in a sea of standards designed to foster competition. Yes, in almost every market without a pre-existing monopoly (and sometimes with), open solutions have won out in the end. What open solutions are XBoxes competing against? Your examples don’t even make sense.

    Linux is in your router, in your car, on the majority of people’s smartphones, on their servers, producing their movies, in point-of-sale systems in stores, powering over 90% of the top 500 supercomputers, powering Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter and 80% of major stock exchanges, keeping them safe (General Nick Justice, the Deputy Program Officer for the Army’s Program Executive Office:”…open source software is part of the integrated network fabric which connects and enables our command and
    control system to work effectively, as people’s lives depend on it….when we rolled into Baghdad, we did it using open source”)… almost no one in a developed country can go through the day without touching or being affected by something running Linux. To say “Not on your life” to the idea of Linux winning over closed counterparts is completely counterfactual and is your claim that the closed solution often comes out on top. There is no benefit to consumers from a closed solution or a non-open standard.


    Sigh. No one needs to “shut up”. Linus is free to express his opinion on closed vs. open standards at a conference he was invited to speak at. Shutting up people who disagree with you is part of that lockdown mentality he’s talking about. ;-)

    He didn’t “spew crap”. He cited Apple’s DRM and locking mechanisms as examples of closing/locking systems. They are. It’s a simple fact.

    > A “closed” system is not a bad thing.

    Sure it is. Anything closed prevents you from doing what you want with it and prevents other people from working with it. An open system allows this. How is it ever not a bad thing to not be able to do what you want with something? Thus, all else being equal, an open system would be preferable to a closed system just as *all else being equal* a cheaper product would be preferable to a more expensive one. It might not be a defining or necessary feature for some, but it’s certainly a preferable feature. Who ever wishes they had less freedom or that other people would control what they can do anymore than they ever wish the items they wanted to buy would cost more?

     > I would say that because Linux
    has so many variants, it harms consumer choice in the
    >same way that
    having so many variants of Windows does.  No one knows what the
    >differences are.

    How many variants of Windows are there? Three? Home premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Having options doesn’t “harm choice”. I don’t use Windows anymore but I know I can go to Microsoft’s website and check their webpage and learn exactly what additional I’m getting in the two higher-cost packages.

    Having more Linux distros to choose from means you can have what you want. Do you want a super-stable distro for use as a server? Do you want cutting-edge features? Maybe bleeding edge with a rolling-release distro? A minimal distro designed to boot from a flash drive and run on old hardware? A super-secure boot CD with every tool you can imagine for data security? A distro with lots of hand-holding for newbies? A distro that comes with almost nothing by default (not even a desktop) so you can really build what you want from practically scratch? There are all these choices and more.  Does Cheesecake Factory “harm comsumer choice” by having over 200 items on its menus? You couldn’t tell from its number of outlets.

    The alternative, say like the iPhone – one item and everyone has to take it or leave it – isn’t going to be the superior option for those whom the product doesn’t fit. That’s taking the “user” out of the user experience. This is probably also why Android has been able to gobble up so much market share and break the iOS smartphone monopoly in such a short period of time. Want a large phone, a small phone, a keyboard, two screens, two SIMs… there’s a phone for every taste.


    Do you really think that someone needs to lock you down and dictate what you can do to produce quality software or consumer products? How does freedom equate with compromising standards to you? Here’s a hint: it’s not Jobs’ or Ivy’s standards you should be concerned about… it should be YOUR standards. Things should work the way you want them to, not the way someone else wants them to. You’re the “user” in “user experience”.


    Linux Torvalds didn’t “take someone’s OS”; he wrote the first kernel himself to POSIX standards. Linux isn’t Unix.


    It’s not Apple’s phone. It’s YOUR phone.

     Your examples still make no sense. Here’s a better example: a car with the hood welded shut vs. one that the hood opens.


    Do you live in fear that unless Apple controls everything for you your phone will die, your computer will be hacked, etc? Where does that FUD come from?


    Android’s running the majority of the world’s smartphones now, isn’t it? It’s divided among different phones, but that doesn’t make it right to not lump them together when we’re comparing the OS. That’s like breaking down Cheerios, Honey-nut Cheerios, and all the other varieties of Cheerios and then claiming that Cheerios is far from being the most popular cereal.

    “They want a company that makes great devices. Devices that are simple and clean.”

    Where does this idea come from in your head that a company has to tell you what to do and how you can use your device for it to be simple or work? One has nothing to do with the other. If Apple released all the source code to OS X tomorrow that wouldn’t change OS X or change its development for the worse going forward.

  • tsairox

    I definitely am a huge fan of Linus Torvalds. I have been using Linux for 8 years now. In fact, my music and media sit on a Linux server I built 8 years ago. The thing is a tank! What I would like to know from everyone on this forum is what you do in connecting your peripherals. Do you buy only things that work with Linux or do you spend huge amounts of time reverse engineering drivers and so forth? I’m really curious. I really would love to use only Linux or Unix, but I find that there are just programs not designed for either platform. When you are submitting work to businesses and other people, it has to be in a compatible format for the masses without restricting the original work to a format these businesses can’t open. I know, it is one of the oldest debates. What are your thoughts? Anyone know which distro Linus uses?