Skip to main content

Is Apple becoming another Microsoft?

You know what pissed off Linux/Unix folk about Microsoft and Windows? My best guess is that it wasn't Open-Source. Thus, their suggestions weren't taken into consideration as much as they should have. Microsoft was controlling its own software too much for its own good. Now Apple is doing the same thing. Let me explain with the example of iPods.

If we take a look at any iPod model before the iPod touch, we notice that (internally in the filesystem) it's pretty simple. You have your music files and your song/other stuff database. The database(s) were plain-text and their structure could be examined and mimicked. This allowed for syncronization with software other than Apple's iTunes.

Now welcome the iPod touch... No more simplicity. iPhone OS keeps its databases hashed. Yes, you can put music files on there with non-iTunes, but they won't show up in your lists. It's like the files are orphaned. The only program you can sync the iPod touch with is iTunes. Oh, and if you don't have Windows or Mac, you're out of luck. Booted into Linux/Unix/non-Mac/non-Windows? You have to reboot into Mac/WIndows to sync your iPod Touch. Very convenient, Apple, very convenient indeed.

OK, good thing the iPod Touch has a WiFi chip. Now you can install apps without a computer. Yes!!! But wait, what apps? Yeah, there's a gazillion apps in the App Store, but how did they get there? With Apple's approval. Apple doesn't like it, and the app doesn't make it to the App Store. To illustrate the point, an update to a Twitter application had a toplist of some kind. When Apple was looking over the program, it just so happened that the toplist contained the F-bomb in one of its terms (or site names, or whatever). Didn't stay in the toplist for long, though. Nevertheless, the update was rejected! It's not like the developer controls the toplist and purposely manipulated the rating system to put the F-bomb on the toplist.

Well, good thing the iPhone-Dev team exists. With their jailbreaking process, the 1st gen iPod touch was jailbroken easily and non-App Store apps could be installed. This opened up a whole slew of features and tweaks and other cool stuff. But then comes the 2nd gen iPod touch. Apple realized where the chain of trust in the boot process was broken and quickly patched it up in the hardware. Uh-oh for the jailbreakers. But finally, after months of work, the redsn0w in-RAM tethered jailbreak was released and people could jailbreak the 2nd gen iPod touch, but needed a PC to boot their iPod. Then, after another month/month-and-a-half, people came up with a jailbreak process that didn't need a PC to boot the iPod. That awesome. Excellent. Kudos to the hackers who worked on this project. But, looking at Apple's track record, that's bound to be patched up and 3rd gen iPod touch users will have an even harder time jailbreaking.

So, now the end-user is (perhaps nor completely) statisfied. But what about the developers? I myself have wanted to write an iPhone app, at least for just messing around. Good luck doing that without a Mac, though. So you want Mac, eh? You have to pay for both Apple hardware and Apple software. Pretty good deal for Apple. But the Linux/Unix code junkies who are used to everything being free and open source? Too bad. Apple wan't you to use the iPhone SDK, but only on its products.

I hope I have demonstrated how Apple could become another Microsoft. It's just becoming a control freak. It's trying to control almost all aspects of its products' use, from what the developers can use to what the end-users can install. The end-users far outnumber the developers, which is why we have jailbreaks, but no Windows/Linux/Unix iPhone SDK ports. I personally hope that Apple will open up its software and allow others to contribute to it and use it however they want. But that's unlikely to happen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Linux on XPS 15 9550/9560 with TB16 Dock [Update:3/29]

Finally got a laptop to replace my fat tower at work - Dell XPS 15 9560. I was allowed to choose which one I wanted and chose the XPS for its Linux support since Dell ships developer edition XPS's running Ubuntu so I figured Linux support would be better than other manufacturers. At first they got me the model with the 4K screen but my monitors are 2K and multi-dpi support in Linux is virtually non-existent and even hi-dpi support on its own is pretty terrible. So I got it exchanged for the model with the regular 1080p screen (which happened to also be the updated 9560 model), which works much better. I'm very glad to report that pretty much everything works, including the TB16 desktop dock, with just a bit of settings tweaking. This post is to help anybody considering getting this setup or looking for help getting things working. For now, I am running Kubuntu 16.04 with KDE Neon installed.

List of things I explicitly tested and work:
WiFi, BluetoothThunderbolt charging from T…

Listening for Window Resize events with Prototype

Recently, I came across an issue I had with full-screen (more specifically, full-viewport) canvas drawing. It all worked fine, except that the canvas dimensions must be specified in pixels, as opposed to percentages. This means you can't just set the canvas' width and height to "100%" and be done with it...

The dimensions were automatically set when the page loaded, but if the user resized the browser window after that, the canvas would stay the same size, and would be either too big or too small. Thus, the canvas must be resized every time the browser window is resized.

Prototype makes all of this easy. All that's necessary is to attach a listener to the onresize event of the window object, and then use document.viewport.getDimensions() to determine the new width and height.

Here's some sample code:

Event.observe(window, "resize", function() { var width = document.viewport.getWidth(); var height = document.viewport.getHeight(); var dims …

Drawing Dashed Lines on an HTML5 Canvas

The canvas element in HTML is great, but has one strange shortcoming: it cannot draw dashed lines (natively). However, dashed lines seem like a pretty common thing to draw, which only highlights the problem.

Looking around, I've noticed several solutions to this problem. Some use trig, and others use their own libraries that must be imported. So in the end, I decided to create my own method.

This code will add the function to all canvas elements, both those already on the page, and any that are dynamically added later.

Here is the code:
CanvasRenderingContext2D.prototype.dashedLine = function(x1, y1, x2, y2, dashLen) { if (dashLen == undefined) dashLen = 2; this.beginPath(); this.moveTo(x1, y1); var dX = x2 - x1; var dY = y2 - y1; var dashes = Math.floor(Math.sqrt(dX * dX + dY * dY) / dashLen); var dashX = dX / dashes; var dashY = dY / dashes; var q = 0; while (q++ < dashes) { x1 += dashX; y1 += dashY; this[q …