Why closed, proprietary platforms are to be avoided... whenever possible!

Those who know me know I am very much against Apple's commercial behavior. With the iPod, they sell a closed, proprietary platform, which is bad enough, but they also completely control what you can put on it.

The following article explains what happened to an author who wrote a nice application, and, after some updates of it, saw it banned from the Apple Store.

 Apple basically has right of life or death on the software you write for their platform. Even if they don't really understand what it does (the article explains why this is the case)...

Of course, you can always jailbreak your phone (which I recommend anybody stuck with an iPhone do as soon as they can) but this voids guaranty, and some may not like it...

I chose a phone with a truly open platform : Symbian OS. Open Source. Easy to write code to. And anybody can install what they want on the phone. And it's stable! Ditch your closed phone platform. Get one that is desgined with 21st century principles!


I choose iPhone because I can't afford to waste time. It works elegantly 99% of the time, offers deeply rich app portfolio both open and closed source.

With your logic I assume you don't own a car - not aware of one without proprietary software? White goods, TV, laptop - all your chipsets open? In fact are your symbian handsets chips all open?

Freedom is the ability to choose both open AND closed systems. Like you do using Windows.

BTW they've allowed > 40,000 applications so far so obviously it is tightly locked down (with over 1 billion downloads)

What is the "open" Symbian number?

Posted by Tphone on May 12, 2009 at 06:10 PM CEST #


Actually, I'm SO glad you brought in the car analogy. If my Volvo was sold like an iPhone, I would have to have the glasses tainted by Volvo, I would only be able to buy tires and wheels from Volvo, I would only be able to buy fuel and oil at Volvo, and I would only be able to drive on roads approved by Volvo. Fortunately, this isn't the case. All cars in the industry are built to follow standards which let you replace parts directly and add things directly. Of course, like many complex devices (including your iPhone and my Nokia Symbian phone) I can't replace a CPU or a LCD display myself... and I have to have it serviced by Volvo for heavy things... but adding features to it (ski racks come to mind) can be done without having to go through Volvo. Same thing with my Symbian phone. I can download software for it from everywhere I want as long as it's written adhering to standards (J2ME or Symbian APIs). There is no overall tyrant having to morally approve what I do with it.

Having Apple store decide what application fits their image is just as if Volvo decided to forbid me to drive in country roads. While this may be illegal in some states / countries / counties... it may be legal in others. If I'm in a place where its legal (say, my private property), I'm very glad Volvo doesn't forbid me to drive on dirt roads there).

With the iPhone store, this is a totalitarian regime reproduced in a capitalist world. Consider the "99%" number you gave me... in a totalitarian country, 99% of the population live with what they are given. The problem is for the 1% who decide to do things that are in conflict with the image of that state (for example - criticize the regime)... these people get taken out of circulation (removed from iPhone store, in the Apple regime).

Worse... with Apple, in the case of the aforementioned blog entry, the author wrote an application which was sold through the store for some time, and then removed. Was it doing illegal things? No. It's an application that allows remote control of BitTorrent clients. It's not even itself a BitTorrent client (by the way BitTorrent is a protocol, not illegal in itself - it's what people do with the tools that may be - just like a car, not illegal, but using it to run over people is, in most countries). When Apple realized that having something even remotely linked to file sharing, they felt it wasn't good for their image (it certainly isn't illegal in itself) so they decided to remove it. Users who payed for the initial application are now left with something that can't be updated anymore (unless they void warranty and jailbreak their phone).

Sorry... not the world I live for. In fact, one I fight against.

I'm not sure what you mean about "open" symbian number. What I can tell you is that developing for the symbian platform, and then distributing your application doesn't require any kind of contractual agreement with anybody, nor any kind of "approval" or "validation" by anybody. You do it. You are free to do it. You are free to write any application you want. You are free to install any application you want.

Yes. Like my car. I can even decide to drive it into a lake and destroy it. If I'm going to do something illegal with it, it's my responsability, not Symbian's, not Nokia's. Why should Apple even TRY to claim that role for me?

Posted by Gilles on May 13, 2009 at 03:29 AM CEST #

Your article title: "Why closed, proprietary platforms are to be avoided... at all costs"

Yet you use windows according to mail headers of yours. I don't understand your logic. Apple closed... avoided at all costs but using windows fine?

Secondly Apple are just treating consumers and developers alike. "We've created this, these are our rules - wanna play?". So many consumers and developers have chosen to and the 37million and climbing devices show that on the whole its gone well for all 3 parties, consumers, devs, apple.

You are free to use whatever, as am I.

However to spout off "closed, proprietary platforms are to be avoided... at all costs" as a windows user - is plain stupid

Posted by Tphone on May 13, 2009 at 09:17 AM CEST #

On Windows, I use Firefox.
On OpenSolaris, I use Firefox.
On Ubuntu, I use Firefox.

Yes, I use some proprietary platforms... when no other choice (you chose the tools you need, you pick the best platform to run them - sometimes the only platform to run them).

But at least, with Windows, nobody (certainly not Microsoft) tells me what software I can or cannot run on it.

Posted by Gilles on May 13, 2009 at 09:24 AM CEST #

"closed, proprietary platforms are to be avoided... at all costs"

"Yes, I use some proprietary platforms... when no other choice"

Make up your mind "at all costs" - would your life cease without windows? I've lived for \*years\* without it - and I don't have a problem with proprietary. I go for sheer technical excellence and usability for the task in hand.

You pay your MSFT tax, I'll pay my Apple tax but lets not kid each other. If you are going to preach that proprietary should be avoided "at all costs" have the integrity to lead by example

Posted by Tphone on May 13, 2009 at 10:01 AM CEST #

OK! I agree with your last comment.

The title of this thread / post has now been changed. Instead of "at all costs" it is "whenever possible".

Posted by Gilles on May 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM CEST #

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