EOF - Prisons vs. Horizons

How do closed content distribution devices pose threats to the Net's future?

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


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Apple, Android and beyond

Doc Searls's picture

Well, Mike, this is what happens when one writes 800 words several months ago.

Since I wrote this I have acquired both an iPad and an Android phone. The short of my preliminary conclusions are, Points Taken. I also still stand by what I said about the roles of verticalizers and horizontalizers.

I think the problem for Android right now is the distance it stands from the rest of the Linux community, though I don't have a clear enough picture of that.

Since I wrote the piece, Symbian has been pushed down-market by Nokia while the company has joined forces with Intel on Meego , which is also Linux-based. I'm curious to know what you and other readers think of that.

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal

Prison or walled garden?

MikeFM's picture

I am a long time Linux user (~1995) and a strong supporter of open source but Android just isn't cutting it. Glossing over it's shortcomings will keep it from ever being as good as iOS. It lacks polish, lets device manufacturers and phone carriers distort the intended user-experience, usability is poor, and it's security doesn't keep users from harming themselves. The same things that have kept Linux from success on the desktop are what will keep Android from success.

You call the iPhone a prison but to most it's a walled garden that keeps out all the things they don't want. The Android experience is mixed at best and falls into the old problem of giving users to much rope to hang themselves with and poor security on the application level. It also forces users to deal with security issues to buy and use apps. This is fine for us geeks but for the average user it is a bad thing.

It's total BS that the iPad is mostly a consumption device. Many apps exist for making and editing various types of content. I write code and edit documents on it as well as using it to manage my servers. Anybody that wants to can pay a small fee and become a developer in which case they are free to write any type of app they want for their own use and usually can distribute those apps to others. If people want content creation apps then they'll get content creation apps. Since iOS is largely a Unix device and apps can mostly be written in C you can port most Linux apps to iOS with little effort.

It is the job of Apple and Amazon to make recommendations on what publishers charge but not to artificially limit what they can charge. It's consumers job to limit what publishers charge. If a product is overpriced then don't buy it. I have bought a couple books on iBooks but none over $7.99 (and that was just one, an Orson Scott Card book - a very established author). I personally think over $4.99 for a eBook is a rip off and won't often cross that barrier but I'd buy several books a week at a more reasonable price such as $2.99. Amazon could have a major advantage in this area for me if they could arrange to offer the eBook for a small extra fee ($.99?) for those that have already purchased the paper version.