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Have Walled Gardens Killed the Personal Computer? 848

Posted by timothy
from the not-the-one-I'm-using dept.
theodp writes "Harvard Law School Prof Jonathan Zittrain explains in The Personal Computer is Dead why you should be afraid — very afraid — of the snowballing replicability of the App Store Model. 'If we allow ourselves to be lulled into satisfaction with walled gardens,' warns Zittrain, 'we'll miss out on innovations to which the gardeners object, and we'll set ourselves up for censorship of code and content that was previously impossible. We need some angry nerds.' Searchblog's John Battelle, who's also solidly in the tear-down-this-walled-garden camp, adds: 'I'm not a nerd, quite, but I'm sure angry.'"
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Have Walled Gardens Killed the Personal Computer?

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  • Re:Last I checked... (Score:5, Informative)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @11:47AM (#38257108)

    There's Secure Boot for that.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @11:59AM (#38257196)

    Look at how many software walled gardens have failed: IBM, DEC, SGI, and AOL, to name a few. If Microsoft ever had a walled garden (more likely poorly fenced), it is failing. Apple's garden walls, no matter how thick or high they are built, will eventually fail.

    TFA is baseless paranoia and speculation.

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @11:59AM (#38257198)

    Root has never been enabled by default on any OS X that I've known of.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath (553296) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @12:00PM (#38257202)

    There will always be general use pc's for those who are willing and have to skills to handle them responsibly..

    And who gets them, and at what price? I refer you to the days of yore, when getting a development machine for a video game console cost a prohibitive amount of money. Even today, if you're not developing for the incredibly limited scope of "hey gaiz I ripped off another old 2D video game and put the clone on XBLive" games, you're going to have to shell out a pretty penny to MS to develop actual Xbox360 console titles. And you don't even want to KNOW what it costs to get a single dev unit for the PS3.

    I for one welcome this new era when tech support nightmares get reduced to a minimum..

    Except that the walled garden DOESN'T reduce tech support nightmares. What it really does is make it so that when someone really, really needs to get under the hood - be it the local sysadmin, or the home user - to fix something, they CAN'T and the only option, ever, is a factory wipe and your savegames/files/etc are toast. Don't believe me? Count up the number of people you know who have had to "factory reset" or replace a phone handset; that's the walled garden in action.

    What the walled garden does, is DRM. The ability for the manufacturer to engage in illegal collusion and extortion with the MafiAA and other content cartels to say "your content is only available for our device IF you pay us the extortion fee to register and IF you don't do anything that we or our MafiAA partners don't want you to do, like compete with their products."

    Here's an example: Apple killed Lexcycle's "Stanza" e-reader, which had USB syncing abilities and other features that had become very popular. Why? Because they have sweetheart deals with Barnes & Noble and Amazon to feature the Nook and Kindle apps instead.

  • by cyfer2000 (548592) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @12:17PM (#38257328) Journal
    really [apple.com]?
  • Re:Frameworks (Score:5, Informative)

    by osu-neko (2604) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @12:25PM (#38257390)
    Not really. I don't need to jailbreak my PC to run software created with a different framework, nor do I have trouble running different apps created with different frameworks at the same time.
  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @01:06PM (#38257778)

    Which is all well and good until you decide you want to watch a DVD or play a DRMed file for which the gardener didn't feel support was acceptable. Granted these days DVDs wouldn't likely be a problem, but in the past it definitely was an issue. And given Apple's history, I see no reason to assume that it's going to be restricted to niche applications that most people don't want or need either. It remains to be seen if that continues or if it spreads to other gardens, but there is precedence for it.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Graymalkin (13732) * on Sunday December 04, 2011 @01:15PM (#38257852)

    Wow Apple killed Stanza? You better tell that to my copy of Stanza for which I get regular updates. Better yet, maybe you should shut the fuck up if you're not going to fact check things you say.

    Several years ago Stanza had a problem because used an unsupported interface in order to load books onto it from the computer. Apple then added an API to allow apps to transfer files from iTunes. Stanza adopted this API and has since had no problems.

    Your conjecture about B&N and Kindle doesn't even fucking make sense since Apple has their own eBook store. You're just talking out of your ass. I suspect maybe you've suffered from some sort of severe head trauma recently. You should maybe head to the nearest hospital and get that checked out. You wouldn't want permanent brain damage to occur.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by caseih (160668) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @01:30PM (#38258004)

    Curious about this I just did a quick google search and confirmed that indeed, Stanza is not getting regular updates. Amazon said that the latest update from last month or so is the last one. Stanza is finished. And it already is broken on iOS 4.3. You can read about this on the forums. Stanza will keep working for iOS 5 for the foreseeable future, but it's certainly not being developed further. Instead Amazon is pushing the Kindle app.

  • by sFurbo (1361249) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @01:35PM (#38258040)
    Sure, if you have written all of it yourself. Most free software projects have more then one contributer. It is somewhere between a hassle and impossible to find all of them and get them to agree on a license change.
  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @02:35PM (#38258560)

    I'll be a complete computer snob here... iMac, iPod, iPad, iChat are all for people who are iChallenged.

    A Windows user calling the users of a genuine Unix system challenged? What an idiot.

    These people are not going to use Photoshop or code ever.

    Quite hard to explain all those designers and iOS developers using OSX then.

  • Re:Frameworks (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:31PM (#38260410)

    "That's idealistic. If you don't use the same framework as everyone else, you'll be working alone."

    Not necessarily. Tell that to David Heinemeier Hansson. He wrote his own, and now it is used regularly by hundreds of thousands.

    The point is that anybody CAN write a framework, if not necessarily a commercially successful one. But there is only room for one or a few successful proprietary app stores.

    "How many main web frameworks are there being used in business? Maybe a couple, what, drupal, joomla?"

    Uh... here are just some, in approximate order of popularity: Zend, CodeIgniter, Rails, Django, Symfony, Cyclone3, CakePHP, Yii, Spring, Google Web Toolkit, Struts, Flex, ASP.NET MVC, Seam, Cocoon, Flask, Wicket, Zope, Grails, Express, Tornado, Tapestry, Cappuccino, Horde, JSF, Play, Seagull, Sinatra, web.py, Lift, SproutCore, Cairngorm, Apache Click, Prado, Grok, SilverStripe Sapphire, ASP.NET, Catalyst, (fab), Vaadin, Kohana, Pylons, Camping, Compojure, Hemlock, web2py, WebGUI, CherryPy, ErlyWeb, Merb, RestfulX, Erlang Web.

    This is not a comprehensive list; there are quite a few more in common use.

    "Try and go to a programming shop and tell them you want to use some obscure framework."

    That's what I do for a living.

    "In both cases the model only supports a very small number of top dogs..."

    Um... no.

    "The only time this doesn't work this way is with companies that locate in the middle of nowhere so they can be the biggest fish in the sea."

    I disagree completely. Your premise is demonstrably wrong from the start.

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