Consumer-control industry and their security damnation
As Apple's Steve Jobs is announcing that they suddenly "want native third-party applications on the iPhone", something its users have been yearning to have ever since they started buying these phones (even if it meant hacking them), Steve justifies their prior resistance to this kind of openness by security threats. As he says, they are "trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once â€” provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc."
Now it is time consider what does "open" here really means and what exactly are these security threats he talks about stemming from. "Open" here does not mean "Open Source" and certainly not "Free Software". It means simply letting developers other than Apple write software for iPhone, be it proprietary or Freedomware, just the way Microsoft allows others to write third party software for Windows (which ends up boosting its perceived value quite a bit - no good third party applications equals a not very desirable operating system). Of course, just as Apple fears viruses on iPhone, Microsoft has been and continues to be ridden by them on Windows.
Looks like they have a point doesn't it? Opening up a platform to third party access brings more security threats. What a good way to convince people that closed, proprietary and centralized is good for them. Give up your freedom a bit in the name of security. Where did we hear that before... Bushy, very bushy.
There are however people who know better. They know that there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. Openness, freedom and security, all in one. But how can it ever be possible?
Well, how can GNU/Linux, the fastest growing operating system on the planet, be possible? Anyone has problems cleaning up their GNU/Linux system from spyware and viruses? Anyone? Thought so. Looks like the wonder I was mentioning above is not only possible. It is reality.
So what does Apple have to learn from this? And more importantly what do we have to learn from this? In short, Apple and everyone else who hides their greedy ambitions behind a concern for people's security is simply "full of it". Translation; it is an old deception, a con, because your security is not exactly what they are after, at least not as much as that other goal - the real top priority. It really comes down to what has been proven as obvious so many times now, industries like the one Apple supports are not about empowering the user - it is about empowering the vendor, the corporation. More control for them amounts to more lock in and leverage for them over the users they conned into their web.
Apple "opening up" iPhone to third party software will solve neither the security problem nor the problem of a closed nature of the platform if most of this third party software remains proprietary and if it will have to adapt to certain Apple-specific rules to work on an iPhone, meaning that a program written for iPhone may not work on other phones. Security by obscurity has been proven ineffective and "opening up" to third party development while still dictating the conditions of this development is not even near "open". It is just another con leaving them plenty of room to build a controlled monopoly.
So it is obviously just a pile of hyped up trash. Nothing short of a completely liberated platform that runs Free Software and conforms to widely accepted standards should be accepted by the common "consumer" unless that "consumer" wants to stay a mere pitiful "consumer" that can be dragged around and manipulated by industry's wishes. When will a mere consumer wake up and take control of his/her own technology life?
By some ironic fortune, however, proprietary vendors like Apple and Microsoft will likely always suffer this damnation that their consumer-control inspired proprietary nature always brings with itself: security problems - exactly the thing they claim to prevent by being so control obsessed. You can stay damned with them or you can break free.
Many have already made their choice.