Brother Mike Drinks the Kool Aid

My blogging brother Mike Dunford steps in to save poor old Apple Corporation from me and a few others who consider building corporate ads into an operating system to be evil.

He’s wrong, I’m right, but if you must go read his post and decide for yourself.

Comments

  1. #1 sailor
    October 26, 2009

    Greg,
    I am afraid I agree with Mike.
    Ads on an operating system are not in of themselves necessarily evil.
    If for example, I get a $900 computer for $500, because it contains ads, well that is an option I would not mind. Further I might even like some of those ads – they could be for laser printers ad things I might buy.
    If the ads are just used to enrich the company and not bring benefit to the user, well, there is choice in the computer world and there is open source software.

  2. #2 Wyatt
    October 26, 2009

    Sailor, what you describe, by definition, is evil incarnate.

  3. #3 Azkyroth
    October 26, 2009

    Given his singularly mindless knee-jerk defense of simplistic anti-file-sharing moralization back in the day, I can’t say I’m surprised.

  4. #4 Joel
    October 26, 2009

    Ok, I’ve read his post and given the fact he’s clearly insane and he’s not ready to allow anyone to comment on his insanity. He’s wrong.

  5. #5 mikespeir
    October 26, 2009

    Evil^3! Fortunately, we can rest assured that some third-party developer will create a utility that will rid us of the problem.

  6. #6 Rich Wilson
    October 26, 2009

    And X10 Spy Cameras! Can I please get ads for X10 Spy Cameras with my OS? Oh Goodie!

    Seriously, one can recognize the usefulness of advertising, and still think there are places it doesn’t belong. I see an ad for Disneyland on top of this very blog. Thanks, Disney, evil that you are, for helping to provide me with interesting daily reading from Greg. You show up in my OS and I’ll toss my OS as inherently flawed an insecure.

  7. #7 Gray Gaffer
    October 26, 2009

    So almost nobody here will continue to visit ScienceBlogs because of the advertising? It is, apparently by definition, “evil incarnate”?

    And yes, I will certainly move everything over to Linux should my bought and paid for license to OS X start popping up ads. Evil Incarnate iff (== if-and-only-if, not a typo) I get ads with paid products. But we are already accepting of ads as a tolerable revenue stream for user-free web sites. And I recall several useful programs (at work, no time to research them now) where the free version came with ads and you paid to turn them off. Somehow somewhere there has to be a revenue stream or things just will not happen. Not enough philanthropy to do everything, you know. Publicly traded corporations need a business model beyond “we’ll give it away”.

    Meanwhile the patent application does not, I believe, say anything about whether or not it will be shipped with paid for systems. Maybe this is a starting move towards allowing OS X on PC’s? Time will tell.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    October 26, 2009

    By the way, it has become apparent that I need to point something out. The story is about an OS with ads. My post is about the OS with ads. My commentary, and my use of the word “evil” (which apparently has become some sort of protected buzzword on Scienceblogs, I’m now realizing … but I didn’t get the memo on that so fuck it) is in reference to ads on an OS.

    An OS is different from a web site or a web browser or software that runs on an OS in very important ways. An OS should be fairly neutral and in the background, it’s functioning should be related only to its job as an OS … it is there to run software. Users can then make choices about what software to run. They can chose the Eudora with Ad Support or without (remember the old days?). They can chose to put an ad blocker on their web browser. And so on. Building ads into an OS guarantees that the removal of those ads (with some kind of ad blocking software) is problematic. I mean, seriously, you don’t build an OS in such a way that its functionality (as a thing without ads) requires fundamental tweeking at that level. And, you know damn well that the EULA will require that you don’t mess with the ads.

    This really is a Kool-Aid situation, I’m afraid. Truly.

  9. #9 Gray Gaffer
    October 27, 2009

    I still don’t see that they intend for the ads to be in the normal paid-for version.

    I’d have to read the patent application to see if they word it to require the ad-functions to be integrally intertwined with the kernel – which would be evil regardless of whether or not active with the paid version – but you might be conflating “OS” with “kernel”, in that the Operating System includes all the utilities, libraries, frameworks, and configuration support as well as the kernel. Yes, the kernel needs to be unencumbered. Is that where they’ve placed the adware support?

    But I really do not see why they would want to protect it with patents. Their OS’s are bound to their hardware, the hardware turnover rate is pretty high (MTTR ~ 3yrs) partly because of the OS evolution, and they are not competing for the lowest dollar cost on that hardware, so what is the appeal of a Mac OS with ads? They do not need to encourage users to upgrade, we do that already, and we are not quite as cost bound as commodity PC users who will not see these OS’s anyway. Unless Apple is also getting ready to officially release OS X for PCs? That free with ads I can see, with MS locked out from their alternative as “free’ in the same way, tho I would never bite.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    October 27, 2009

    Right… in or out of the kernel is important, but may be irrelevant. Right now, my file manager, my web browser, my command-interpreter (‘terminal screen’) and my text editor are my primary tools. They are not part of the system or the kernel. I can ad-block the web sites, and there are ads on sites, but there are not ads on any of these tools. The ads don’t need to be in the kernel to interfere with my work, and they will intefere especially if I’m a third world person with a tiny computer screen.

    I assume that if Apple gets this patent that they will allow everyone to use it for free, because they are trying to do good things, right? Has anyone at Apple come out with a statement to that effect yet? When can we expect it? Anybody know?

    Because if they don’t, they are evil. As charged.

  11. #11 Gray Gaffer
    October 27, 2009

    Talking about tiny screen, I do hope we will not be seeing this on iPhone or iPod Touches. I could live moving from OS X to Linux. I’m not sure there is a real alternative for how the iPhone has enthreaded my life yet. For all my complaints about 3G, its OS V3 answered many of them, and for my primary usages it is more than I expected. But that’s a different thread.

  12. #12 Drekab
    October 28, 2009

    I’m assuming this patent is to keep Google out of the OS business, but then I think all computer developmentss are reactions to google.
    Also: I still don’t see that they intend for the ads to be in the normal paid-for version.
    Why would Apple broadcast their business plans in a patent application???

  13. #13 Gray Gaffer
    October 28, 2009

    @12 Why would Apple broadcast their business plans in a patent application?

    Why make this fuss until we know what their business plans are once the patent is granted? I was not expecting to see the plans in the patent application. I was commenting I have not seen their plans anywhere yet. I can even see a future where they don’t use it at all, except as a back-door-closer against other OS vendors. Which is somewhat against the spirit of the patent system, but it is done anyway. Or does a patented idea have to show up in product or time-out like a registered trademark does?

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