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Cory Doctorow Make Free Volume 25
Cory Doctorow Make Free

When I was a grub, we traded in forbidden knowledge: “If you unscrew the receiver on a pay phone and short the screws on the back of the speaker by touching them to the chrome on the side of the phone, you get an open dial tone.”

Or: “Here is how you fold an origami crane.” Or: “Thus and so and thus and so, and now you’ve taken the motor out of your old tape recorder and attached it to your Meccano set.” Or: “If you POKE this address on your Commodore PET, you’ll shut the machine down.” The knowledge diffused slowly, and each newly discovered crumb was an excitement and cause for celebration.

Today, as a nearly senescent 39-year-old, I look back on that period with a kind of wonder and dismay. I knew ten interesting things I could do with the gadgets, devices, and materials around me, and I thought myself rich. I knew that the Whole Earth Catalog, the Amok catalog, Paladin Press, and other purveyors of big secrets could send me dozens of new interesting things in mere weeks.

Thinking on my collection of hacks in those dim, pre-internet days, I’m reminded of the book fanciers of the Middle Ages who might, in a lifetimes, amass five or ten books and think themselves well-read.

Because, of course, today I have millions of hacks and tips and tricks and ideas at my fingertips, thanks to the internet and the tools that run on top of it. When I invent or discover something, I immediately put it on the net. And when I find myself in a corner of the world that is not to my liking, I Google up some hack that someone else has put on the net and apply it or adapt it to my needs.

Making, in short, is not about making. Making is about sharing. The reason we can make so much today is because the basic knowledge, skills, and tools to make anything and do anything are already on the ground, forming a loam in which our inspiration can germinate.

Consider the iPad for a moment. It’s true that Apple’s iTunes Store has inspired hundreds of thousands of apps, but every one of those apps is contingent on Apple’s approval. If you want to make something for the iPad, you pay $99 to join the Developer Program, make it, then send it to Apple and pray. If Apple smiles on you, you can send your hack to the world. If Apple frowns on you, you cannot.

What’s more, Apple uses code signing to restrict which apps can run on the iPad (and iPhone): if your app isn’t blessed by Apple, iPads will refuse to run it. Not that it’s technically challenging to defeat this code signing, but doing so is illegal, thanks to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it a crime to circumvent a copyright-protection technology. So the only app store — or free repository — that can legally exist for Apple’s devices is the one that Apple runs for itself.

Some people say the iPad is a new kind of device: an appliance instead of a computer. But because Apple chose to add a thin veneer of DRM to the iPad, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act applies here, something that’s not true of any “appliance” you’ve ever seen. It’s as if Apple built a toaster that you can only use Apple’s bread in (or face a lawsuit), or a dishwasher that will only load Apple’s plates.

Apple fans will tell you that this doesn’t matter. Hackers can simply hack their iPads or shell out $99 to get the developer license. But without a means of distributing (and receiving) hacks from all parties, we’re back in the forbidden-knowledge Dark Ages — the poverty-stricken era in which a mere handful of ideas was counted as a fortune.

Cory Doctorow’s latest novel is Makers (Tor Books U.S., HarperVoyager U.K.). He lives in London and co-edits the website Boing Boing.

This column first appeared in MAKE Volume 23 (July 2010), on page 16.

From the pages of MAKE Volume 23:
201008191543
MAKE Volume 23, Gadgets
This special issue is devoted to machines that do delightful and surprising things. In it, we show you how to make a miniature electronic Whac-a-Mole arcade game, a tiny but mighty see-through audio amp, a magic mirror that contains an animated soothsayer, a self-balancing one-wheeled Gyrocar, and the Most Useless Machine (as seen on The Colbert Report!). Plus we go behind the scenes and show you how Intellectual Ventures made their incredible laser targeting mosquito zapper — yes, it’s real, and you wish you had one for your patio barbecue. All this and much, much more.

Goli Mohammadi

I’m senior editor at MAKE and have worked on MAKE magazine since the first issue. I’m a word nerd who particularly loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon as a whole. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for the ideal alpine lake or hunting for snow to feed my inner snowboard addict.

The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. The specific beat I cover is art, and I’m a huge proponent of STEAM (as opposed to STEM). After all, the first thing most of us ever made was art.

Contact me at goli (at) makermedia (dot) com.


Related

Comments

  1. tim says:

    I’m also 39.  I grew up with the same gadgets and magazines that Doctorow did.  But he is describing a world that simply isn’t happening.

    In the last car I owned – there wasn’t a single user serviceable part in it.  Even oil changes had to be done by a specialist.  But every morning I went out, turned it on, and it worked.  That is what most people want.  And yet it hasn’t killed off the car culture.  People still buy old and new cars and hack them to death. 

    The computer industry is evolving – its time Cory evolved with it.

    1. Tim Odell says:

      What car was that? There is no such car, just manuals and dealer service departments that might suggest that’s the case.

      Doctorow’s piece sounds a bit entitled. Don’t like how the iPad works? Buy an Android or Windows tablet and do with it as you wish. When someone makes a product that’s not to your liking, the proper answer is to vote with your consumer dollars (i.e. purchase elsewhere), not demand that Apple succumb to your esoteric needs. Or, as others suggest, toughen up and just get your hack on.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Voting with our dollars is fine, but sometimes it only goes so far. I don’t see why voting with our voices (or our *votes*) needs to be taken off the table from the start. 

        As for entitled, well I’ve got an Android handset sitting right here that’s locked down pretty hard. All I want to do is be “allowed” to run a different kernel on it. On the hardware that I bought and paid for. How is that entitled exactly?

      2. Anonymous says:

        Voting with our dollars is fine, but sometimes it only goes so far. I don’t see why voting with our voices (or our *votes*) needs to be taken off the table from the start. 

        As for entitled, well I’ve got an Android handset sitting right here that’s locked down pretty hard. All I want to do is be “allowed” to run a different kernel on it. On the hardware that I bought and paid for. How is that entitled exactly?

      3. Anonymous says:

        Voting with our dollars is fine, but sometimes it only goes so far. I don’t see why voting with our voices (or our *votes*) needs to be taken off the table from the start. 

        As for entitled, well I’ve got an Android handset sitting right here that’s locked down pretty hard. All I want to do is be “allowed” to run a different kernel on it. On the hardware that I bought and paid for. How is that entitled exactly?

    2. Anonymous says:

      The problem here isn’t the vast majority of users who just want stuff that works (or reflects the status they want to project, as the case may be…). It’s certainly the case that people who want to brew their own beer or take 555 timer circuits to strange new places are never going to be in majorities compared to the people that just want to quench their thirst or play a video game, and that’s fine.

      The problem is that lawmakers, at the behest of large incumbent rights holders, network operators and so forth, want to use Orwellian measures to take large bites out a lot of the implicit rights and capabilities that hobbyists and hackers have relied on to both make the most out of their own property, and to produce a lot of innovations that have rippled back into the tech industry itself. It’s a major threat to both makers and to a lot of robust innovation itself. (I doubt it’s entirely coincidental that these restrictions tend to make it harder for someone working in a garage to come up with yet another radical new idea that will threaten an incumbent industry.)

      And while it’s certainly true that most of the measures so far have been relatively non-Draconian and easily circumvented, both laws and technical restrictions are advancing rapidly. There’s no guarantee that that situation will last forever. Even if it does, there’s no reason we need to take these abuses lying down.

    3. Anonymous says:

      The problem here isn’t the vast majority of users who just want stuff that works (or reflects the status they want to project, as the case may be…). It’s certainly the case that people who want to brew their own beer or take 555 timer circuits to strange new places are never going to be in majorities compared to the people that just want to quench their thirst or play a video game, and that’s fine.

      The problem is that lawmakers, at the behest of large incumbent rights holders, network operators and so forth, want to use Orwellian measures to take large bites out a lot of the implicit rights and capabilities that hobbyists and hackers have relied on to both make the most out of their own property, and to produce a lot of innovations that have rippled back into the tech industry itself. It’s a major threat to both makers and to a lot of robust innovation itself. (I doubt it’s entirely coincidental that these restrictions tend to make it harder for someone working in a garage to come up with yet another radical new idea that will threaten an incumbent industry.)

      And while it’s certainly true that most of the measures so far have been relatively non-Draconian and easily circumvented, both laws and technical restrictions are advancing rapidly. There’s no guarantee that that situation will last forever. Even if it does, there’s no reason we need to take these abuses lying down.

      1. That’s not the point of this article. That’s your beef.  You guys want government to have control over our finances, our health care and the rest of our lives to the Nth degree, and you bitch about them passing BS laws to help the RIAA?    Hey, I’m all for getting the government out of my hair.  

        Why don’t you start by advocating that the constitution be enforced and the FBI, and %95 of the rest of the government be shut down?

        1. Anonymous says:

          Thats a whole lot of assumptions right there.  I for one want smaller government and prettier devices.  I love apple and hate taxes (mostly on both accounts).  I would still like to see less unnecessary impediments (mostly laws) against hacking stuff I bought.  

          You are not just making a straw man here, your having a fight with it besides.  

        2. Anonymous says:

          Thats a whole lot of assumptions right there.  I for one want smaller government and prettier devices.  I love apple and hate taxes (mostly on both accounts).  I would still like to see less unnecessary impediments (mostly laws) against hacking stuff I bought.  

          You are not just making a straw man here, your having a fight with it besides.  

        3. Anonymous says:

          Thats a whole lot of assumptions right there.  I for one want smaller government and prettier devices.  I love apple and hate taxes (mostly on both accounts).  I would still like to see less unnecessary impediments (mostly laws) against hacking stuff I bought.  

          You are not just making a straw man here, your having a fight with it besides.  

        4. Anonymous says:

          Thats a whole lot of assumptions right there.  I for one want smaller government and prettier devices.  I love apple and hate taxes (mostly on both accounts).  I would still like to see less unnecessary impediments (mostly laws) against hacking stuff I bought.  

          You are not just making a straw man here, your having a fight with it besides.  

    4. Anonymous says:

      The problem here isn’t the vast majority of users who just want stuff that works (or reflects the status they want to project, as the case may be…). It’s certainly the case that people who want to brew their own beer or take 555 timer circuits to strange new places are never going to be in majorities compared to the people that just want to quench their thirst or play a video game, and that’s fine.

      The problem is that lawmakers, at the behest of large incumbent rights holders, network operators and so forth, want to use Orwellian measures to take large bites out a lot of the implicit rights and capabilities that hobbyists and hackers have relied on to both make the most out of their own property, and to produce a lot of innovations that have rippled back into the tech industry itself. It’s a major threat to both makers and to a lot of robust innovation itself. (I doubt it’s entirely coincidental that these restrictions tend to make it harder for someone working in a garage to come up with yet another radical new idea that will threaten an incumbent industry.)

      And while it’s certainly true that most of the measures so far have been relatively non-Draconian and easily circumvented, both laws and technical restrictions are advancing rapidly. There’s no guarantee that that situation will last forever. Even if it does, there’s no reason we need to take these abuses lying down.

    5. Cris Noble says:

      That is a great example, if you want to put a new exhaust system on your Honda to make it run faster, you can. You can add tinted windows, you can even put an entirely different engine in. This is all perfectly legal. Someone can tell you how to replace you engine without fear of being arrested or sued by Honda. Someone can create aftermarket parts without asking Honda for permission.

      Most people don’t care about exhaust, they will just drive around all day in a reliable car and they will be happy as a peach.

      Honda has lost no money, hackers have improved their car to their own specs, new jobs were created making aftermarket upgrades, and most consumers never notice.

      Now apply that same logic to the PS3 hacking (I think apple has been explored enough in this thread). Someone tinkers with their very own legally bought gaming system because they wish it could do more. They tell others how they did it. They get arrested, SONY wants to eliminate all traces of the hack. Sony gets a bad rep with makers and hackers (very small portion of their consumers I am sure).

      Sony has lost money by finding and trying to prosecute the hackers, hackers still hack but now its under the table, Sony loses consumers and reputation, most people have no idea any of that just happened.

      Tell me, what does SONY really gain be putting a wall around their garden? What does HONDA lose by not?

      All this said, I am seriously considering buying a PS3 because I think it is cool (and I don’t believe in voting with my wallet because it doesn’t work). I have ownded a civic and never modded it.

      But why would anyone support laws which take away your right to take apart things that you have legally paid for and make them better?

  2. tim says:

    I’m also 39.  I grew up with the same gadgets and magazines that Doctorow did.  But he is describing a world that simply isn’t happening.

    In the last car I owned – there wasn’t a single user serviceable part in it.  Even oil changes had to be done by a specialist.  But every morning I went out, turned it on, and it worked.  That is what most people want.  And yet it hasn’t killed off the car culture.  People still buy old and new cars and hack them to death. 

    The computer industry is evolving – its time Cory evolved with it.

  3. The iPad isn’t as restrictive as many people say.  We’ve just become weak as makers, somehow we expect the same convenience in the distribution of our hacks as we do in the walled garden version of everything. 

    You can install any application you want on your iPad, WITHOUT JAILBREAKING IT, but no-one has capitalized on this.  You simply download XCode (which costs five bucks but thats the only expense) and then take any source code package compile it and install it to your iPad, iPod or iPhone.  It really is that easy, why no-one has setup source code exchanges is beyond me.

    You don’t have to purchase the $99 developer license unless you intend to distribute your application in the app store.

    1. TSSaloic says:

      What about developers not on OS X?

      1. They can use HTML5 CSS and javascript and distribute online. 

        Or are you saying Apple’s violating fundamental human rights by shipping its FREE development tools just on OS X?

        1. Anonymous says:

          I at least am saying that it’s 1) kind of absurd and annoying that Apple goes out of it’s way to make it difficult to hack or run alternative software and 2) alarming that, while jailbreaking and certain kinds of reverse engineering is currently legal, there’s no guarantee that those exemptions will last in the current political climate. (Though while I’m here: no, html and javascript are no replacement for native code.)

          Anyway, forget about precious, precious Apple for a minute. It’s a red herring. What is your actual objection to having solid legal guarantees for hackers and makers who want to fiddle with their OWN hardware? 

        2. Anonymous says:

          I at least am saying that it’s 1) kind of absurd and annoying that Apple goes out of it’s way to make it difficult to hack or run alternative software and 2) alarming that, while jailbreaking and certain kinds of reverse engineering is currently legal, there’s no guarantee that those exemptions will last in the current political climate. (Though while I’m here: no, html and javascript are no replacement for native code.)

          Anyway, forget about precious, precious Apple for a minute. It’s a red herring. What is your actual objection to having solid legal guarantees for hackers and makers who want to fiddle with their OWN hardware? 

        3. Anonymous says:

          I at least am saying that it’s 1) kind of absurd and annoying that Apple goes out of it’s way to make it difficult to hack or run alternative software and 2) alarming that, while jailbreaking and certain kinds of reverse engineering is currently legal, there’s no guarantee that those exemptions will last in the current political climate. (Though while I’m here: no, html and javascript are no replacement for native code.)

          Anyway, forget about precious, precious Apple for a minute. It’s a red herring. What is your actual objection to having solid legal guarantees for hackers and makers who want to fiddle with their OWN hardware? 

      2. They can use HTML5 CSS and javascript and distribute online. 

        Or are you saying Apple’s violating fundamental human rights by shipping its FREE development tools just on OS X?

    2. Tim Vaughan says:

      This isn’t true, at least on iPods and iPhones (pads may be different – don’t have one).  While you can certainly download the Xcode and the iOS SDK, write your app and run it on the simulator, you CANNOT run it on an actual device – no, not even the iPhone in your pocket – without forking over the $99 to join the developer program or jailbreaking the device.  This is one of the main reasons Cydia exists.

    3. Anonymous says:

      As
      Tim Vaughan remarked, this comment is factually mistaken.  All iOS
      devices require that programs be validly signed before they can be run. 
      In order to get a signing key, you must join Apple’s developer program,
      which costs $99 annually.

      – Brett Smith, FSF License Compliance Engineer

       

  4. This whole article doesn’t make much sense to me.  The wonder of childhood discovery is made clear, but then is compared to the Dark Ages.  The joy of having those few “secrets” is mocked compared to having everything handed to you on the internet.  Jail breaking an iPad is bemoaned as illegal, but that wasn’t much of an issue when bringing up making free calls from a pay phone.  Which is it?  

    The last paragraph really makes no sense, though.  Jail breaking an iPad cuts you off from all sources of information?  Huh?

    1. Cory has never heard of the internet, he thinks the only way to distribute information is the AppStore.

    2. Cory has never heard of the internet, he thinks the only way to distribute information is the AppStore.

      1. Rob says:

        So, without jailbreaking, exactly how do I install a native app from the internet?

      2. Rob says:

        So, without jailbreaking, exactly how do I install a native app from the internet?

  5. cyrozap says:

    “What’s more, Apple uses code signing to restrict which apps can run on the iPad (and iPhone): if your app isn’t blessed by Apple, iPads will refuse to run it. Not that it’s technically challenging to defeat this code signing, but doing so is illegal, thanks to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it a crime to circumvent a copyright-protection technology. So the only app store — or free repository — that can legally exist for Apple’s devices is the one that Apple runs for itself.”
    There are so many things that are wrong with this paragraph. Defeating the code signing is not illegal–you can sign your own apps and run them on any jailbroken iOS device perfectly legally. Jailbreaking IS legal (for now). Cydia (an app repository) is also legal. The DMCA only applies to those that pirate applications by getting them to run on devices without checking who’s account the app was bought on. THAT is circumventing the copy-protection technology put in place by Apple.

    I suggest you change it before more people start whining ;)

    1. TSSaloic says:

      This was written for the Make from July 2010 issue. The Library of Congress exemption was made on July 26, 2010. It was a grey area at best at the time of writing.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Its a grey area at best now; IIRC its still illegal to distribute tools that defeat code signing or root devices – so its not really acceptable as a common practice.  

      2. Anonymous says:

        Its a grey area at best now; IIRC its still illegal to distribute tools that defeat code signing or root devices – so its not really acceptable as a common practice.  

    2. TSSaloic says:

      This was written for the Make from July 2010 issue. The Library of Congress exemption was made on July 26, 2010. It was a grey area at best at the time of writing.

    3. TSSaloic says:

      This was written for the Make from July 2010 issue. The Library of Congress exemption was made on July 26, 2010. It was a grey area at best at the time of writing.

  6. Andy III says:

    We get it Mr. Doctorow, you dislike Apple. I don’t know how many of these rants I’ve seen over the years, but they’re numerous…and tedious.

    This argument is as old as computers and the people who have hated anything but Linux because you can’t ‘write your own device driver’. Shockingly, 99.9% of the population have no interest whatsoever in writing a device driver. 

    The same way they don’t want to mill their own fuel injector for their car. They want to drive it and maintain it on a basic level.

    The same way I don’t want to wind the copper wire for the motor inside my Bluray player. I, like most people, want to put the disc in and enjoy the movie/program. I’ll hack the things I’m interested in.

    But just like the iPad, if you desire such things, it is *possible* with a bit of effort. Not everything in the world needs to be completely open or need deep servicing. Like it or not, Apple’s ‘blessing’ of apps have led to fairly secure platform and reasonably uniform experience for all user levels…from children to the elderly. I’ve yet to read a story about significant malware or viruses for iOS devices, but have read plenty about Android devices. And sure, one can go on for hours about how to prevent them on any platform, but for what reason? To preserve the perceived openness that most of the population doesn’t even desire? 

    I’ll continue to use my iPad with my PDF books and magazines that slide right on the device, watch movies and TV I converted myself, and listen to my music that I ripped from my own CDs…content that Apple hasn’t had anything to do with stopping me from using. My newest iPad is not jailbroken.

  7. Andy III says:

    We get it Mr. Doctorow, you dislike Apple. I don’t know how many of these rants I’ve seen over the years, but they’re numerous…and tedious.

    This argument is as old as computers and the people who have hated anything but Linux because you can’t ‘write your own device driver’. Shockingly, 99.9% of the population have no interest whatsoever in writing a device driver. 

    The same way they don’t want to mill their own fuel injector for their car. They want to drive it and maintain it on a basic level.

    The same way I don’t want to wind the copper wire for the motor inside my Bluray player. I, like most people, want to put the disc in and enjoy the movie/program. I’ll hack the things I’m interested in.

    But just like the iPad, if you desire such things, it is *possible* with a bit of effort. Not everything in the world needs to be completely open or need deep servicing. Like it or not, Apple’s ‘blessing’ of apps have led to fairly secure platform and reasonably uniform experience for all user levels…from children to the elderly. I’ve yet to read a story about significant malware or viruses for iOS devices, but have read plenty about Android devices. And sure, one can go on for hours about how to prevent them on any platform, but for what reason? To preserve the perceived openness that most of the population doesn’t even desire? 

    I’ll continue to use my iPad with my PDF books and magazines that slide right on the device, watch movies and TV I converted myself, and listen to my music that I ripped from my own CDs…content that Apple hasn’t had anything to do with stopping me from using. My newest iPad is not jailbroken.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Like it or not, Apple’s ‘blessing’ of apps have led to fairly secure platform and reasonably uniform experience for all user levels…from children to the elderly. I’ve yet to read a story about significant malware or viruses for iOS devices, but have read plenty about Android devices.

      That has to do with Apple policing it’s app store rather more strictly (which has it’s upsides and downsides) but little or nothing to do with the kinds of os lockdowns or other intrusive measures (e.g., “purchased” books or media disappearing) that I think Cory is really objecting to here. It’s actually really easy to maintain a nice secure walled garden for granny without also creating a prison – it’s as simple as remembering to leave in a clearly labeled exit door for those who want one (or at least stop bricking them over when other people find them).

      Again, it’s true that the majority of consumers want safe, easy and reliable. But that’s a very thin excuse indeed for manufacturers to be declaring war on modders and hackers. If anything, those battles are *hurting* ordinary consumers by both pulling resources away from where they should be (user experience and actual security threats, for example) and of very questionable public good – they are often just attempts to clamp down on what are widely perceived as superior products (e.g., the cyanogenmod flavor Android, which is, AFAICT, widely viewed as both more powerful and more reliable than the manufacturers own dolled up offerings).

      1. John T. says:

        Believing that manufacturers have declared war on hackers & modders is fantastic, conceited self-flattery. That makers, modders and hackers go around whining “I can’t open my iPad without damaging it! Everyone should make things so they are easy for me to open so I can do my little hacks!” – is disgusting. I got news for you, the real world isn’t here (and shouldn’t be built for) just for your tinkering amusement. Grown-ups have real work to do and need real tools and don’t have the luxury of time for all this hobbyist bullshit.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Read the news. Just to take the example at hand: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

          Is that the reaction of a company that’s indifferent to jailbreaking? No. They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels. Hackers and jailbreakers – at least anyone who publishes their results – are very inconvenient to their business plan. They are stymied legally – for now – but they are certainly actively locking down everything else that they can.

          That’s not to single out Apple. Many Android handset makers are trying to play similar games (they driven by a terrible fear of becoming commodity hardware manufacturers – like PC mfrs. – although that would be an ideal outcome for consumers). And many other hardware manufacturers would also love to have more control – going back to cars, for example, what if Honda could decide that aftermarket engine parts violated some DMCA-alike law? You think they’d pass that over? Where does it stop?

          I get it. An attitude of “bring it on, we’ll hack it anyway, even if we’re outlaws” is definitely admirable. It might become a necessary attitude, and I’ll be right there with you.

          But it’s not really a replacement or an excuse not to have some political awareness as well.

        2. Anonymous says:

          Read the news. Just to take the example at hand: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

          Is that the reaction of a company that’s indifferent to jailbreaking? No. They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels. Hackers and jailbreakers – at least anyone who publishes their results – are very inconvenient to their business plan. They are stymied legally – for now – but they are certainly actively locking down everything else that they can.

          That’s not to single out Apple. Many Android handset makers are trying to play similar games (they driven by a terrible fear of becoming commodity hardware manufacturers – like PC mfrs. – although that would be an ideal outcome for consumers). And many other hardware manufacturers would also love to have more control – going back to cars, for example, what if Honda could decide that aftermarket engine parts violated some DMCA-alike law? You think they’d pass that over? Where does it stop?

          I get it. An attitude of “bring it on, we’ll hack it anyway, even if we’re outlaws” is definitely admirable. It might become a necessary attitude, and I’ll be right there with you.

          But it’s not really a replacement or an excuse not to have some political awareness as well.

        3. Anonymous says:

          Read the news. Just to take the example at hand: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

          Is that the reaction of a company that’s indifferent to jailbreaking? No. They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels. Hackers and jailbreakers – at least anyone who publishes their results – are very inconvenient to their business plan. They are stymied legally – for now – but they are certainly actively locking down everything else that they can.

          That’s not to single out Apple. Many Android handset makers are trying to play similar games (they driven by a terrible fear of becoming commodity hardware manufacturers – like PC mfrs. – although that would be an ideal outcome for consumers). And many other hardware manufacturers would also love to have more control – going back to cars, for example, what if Honda could decide that aftermarket engine parts violated some DMCA-alike law? You think they’d pass that over? Where does it stop?

          I get it. An attitude of “bring it on, we’ll hack it anyway, even if we’re outlaws” is definitely admirable. It might become a necessary attitude, and I’ll be right there with you.

          But it’s not really a replacement or an excuse not to have some political awareness as well.

        4. Anonymous says:

          Read the news. Just to take the example at hand: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

          Is that the reaction of a company that’s indifferent to jailbreaking? No. They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels. Hackers and jailbreakers – at least anyone who publishes their results – are very inconvenient to their business plan. They are stymied legally – for now – but they are certainly actively locking down everything else that they can.

          That’s not to single out Apple. Many Android handset makers are trying to play similar games (they driven by a terrible fear of becoming commodity hardware manufacturers – like PC mfrs. – although that would be an ideal outcome for consumers). And many other hardware manufacturers would also love to have more control – going back to cars, for example, what if Honda could decide that aftermarket engine parts violated some DMCA-alike law? You think they’d pass that over? Where does it stop?

          I get it. An attitude of “bring it on, we’ll hack it anyway, even if we’re outlaws” is definitely admirable. It might become a necessary attitude, and I’ll be right there with you.

          But it’s not really a replacement or an excuse not to have some political awareness as well.

          1. John T. says:

            “They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels.”
            The most concise response to this is, SO WHAT? The last time I checked, this still is America (you know, capitalist free enterprise, market economy, etc.) and has also been pointed out many times, you are free to take your business elsewhere. What dream world do you live in if you believe Apple or any other company has any obligation to give you the keys to their real or metaphorical stores and say, “here, hackers, take whatever you want.”? Where does this incredible, conceited sense of entitlement come from? “Locked down” and “monopoly”… how ridiculous.And whenever I read “political awareness” in this context, I smell a rat… a big, fat, leftist-collective-let’s all share everything-open source-what is yours is mine because I want everything I consume to be free socialist rat.

          2. Anonymous says:

            The DMCA (and whatever its successors might be) has nothing to do with free enterprise and everything to do with government capture.

            But obviously being aware of something political like that would be…gasp…leftist or something.

            Good luck with that.

          3. Anonymous says:

            The DMCA (and whatever its successors might be) has nothing to do with free enterprise and everything to do with government capture.

            But obviously being aware of something political like that would be…gasp…leftist or something.

            Good luck with that.

        5. Anonymous says:

          Read the news. Just to take the example at hand: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

          Is that the reaction of a company that’s indifferent to jailbreaking? No. They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels. Hackers and jailbreakers – at least anyone who publishes their results – are very inconvenient to their business plan. They are stymied legally – for now – but they are certainly actively locking down everything else that they can.

          That’s not to single out Apple. Many Android handset makers are trying to play similar games (they driven by a terrible fear of becoming commodity hardware manufacturers – like PC mfrs. – although that would be an ideal outcome for consumers). And many other hardware manufacturers would also love to have more control – going back to cars, for example, what if Honda could decide that aftermarket engine parts violated some DMCA-alike law? You think they’d pass that over? Where does it stop?

          I get it. An attitude of “bring it on, we’ll hack it anyway, even if we’re outlaws” is definitely admirable. It might become a necessary attitude, and I’ll be right there with you.

          But it’s not really a replacement or an excuse not to have some political awareness as well.

        6. Anonymous says:

          Read the news. Just to take the example at hand: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

          Is that the reaction of a company that’s indifferent to jailbreaking? No. They are willing and eager to take every step they legally can to lock down their monopoly on software distribution, and to make sure customers have no way to install apps on their own hardware except through approved channels. Hackers and jailbreakers – at least anyone who publishes their results – are very inconvenient to their business plan. They are stymied legally – for now – but they are certainly actively locking down everything else that they can.

          That’s not to single out Apple. Many Android handset makers are trying to play similar games (they driven by a terrible fear of becoming commodity hardware manufacturers – like PC mfrs. – although that would be an ideal outcome for consumers). And many other hardware manufacturers would also love to have more control – going back to cars, for example, what if Honda could decide that aftermarket engine parts violated some DMCA-alike law? You think they’d pass that over? Where does it stop?

          I get it. An attitude of “bring it on, we’ll hack it anyway, even if we’re outlaws” is definitely admirable. It might become a necessary attitude, and I’ll be right there with you.

          But it’s not really a replacement or an excuse not to have some political awareness as well.

      2. John T. says:

        Believing that manufacturers have declared war on hackers & modders is fantastic, conceited self-flattery. That makers, modders and hackers go around whining “I can’t open my iPad without damaging it! Everyone should make things so they are easy for me to open so I can do my little hacks!” – is disgusting. I got news for you, the real world isn’t here (and shouldn’t be built for) just for your tinkering amusement. Grown-ups have real work to do and need real tools and don’t have the luxury of time for all this hobbyist bullshit.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Like it or not, Apple’s ‘blessing’ of apps have led to fairly secure platform and reasonably uniform experience for all user levels…from children to the elderly. I’ve yet to read a story about significant malware or viruses for iOS devices, but have read plenty about Android devices.

      That has to do with Apple policing it’s app store rather more strictly (which has it’s upsides and downsides) but little or nothing to do with the kinds of os lockdowns or other intrusive measures (e.g., “purchased” books or media disappearing) that I think Cory is really objecting to here. It’s actually really easy to maintain a nice secure walled garden for granny without also creating a prison – it’s as simple as remembering to leave in a clearly labeled exit door for those who want one (or at least stop bricking them over when other people find them).

      Again, it’s true that the majority of consumers want safe, easy and reliable. But that’s a very thin excuse indeed for manufacturers to be declaring war on modders and hackers. If anything, those battles are *hurting* ordinary consumers by both pulling resources away from where they should be (user experience and actual security threats, for example) and of very questionable public good – they are often just attempts to clamp down on what are widely perceived as superior products (e.g., the cyanogenmod flavor Android, which is, AFAICT, widely viewed as both more powerful and more reliable than the manufacturers own dolled up offerings).

    3. Anonymous says:

      I’ll continue to use my iPad with my PDF books and magazines that slide right on the device, watch movies and TV I converted myself, and listen to my music that I ripped from my own CDs…content that Apple hasn’t had anything to do with stopping me from using.

      As for this. Well, I’m glad it’s working for you, but the way things are going, I think I would just say enjoy it while it lasts…

      1. FUD.   Apple is a more trustworthy company than any other in the tech space. Google?  Pretends to “do no evil” and then sells you out.  Facebook?  Offers private social networking, then exposes your data.

        Unlike other companies, when Apple makes a promise, it keeps it.  And Apple has been actively working towards getting rid of DRM.

        In fact, Apple has done more to get rid of DRM than Doctorow and the entire freetard movement ever has.

        Apple got DRM off of music.  MUSIC!   Jesus, what have you guys EVER done?

        1. Anonymous says:

          Those are all excellent reasons not to interpret this as some kind of silly vendetta against Apple specifically.

          Not really good reasons to just assume everything will turn out all right in the legislative sphere or elsewhere though.

        2. Derek Parks says:

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks. We get it! You’re an Apple fan girl. Chill, Apple was just an example. 

        3. Derek Parks says:

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks. We get it! You’re an Apple fan girl. Chill, Apple was just an example. 

        4. Derek Parks says:

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks. We get it! You’re an Apple fan girl. Chill, Apple was just an example. 

        5. Derek Parks says:

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks. We get it! You’re an Apple fan girl. Chill, Apple was just an example. 

        6. Derek Parks says:

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks. We get it! You’re an Apple fan girl. Chill, Apple was just an example. 

        7. Derek Parks says:

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks. We get it! You’re an Apple fan girl. Chill, Apple was just an example. 

      2. FUD.   Apple is a more trustworthy company than any other in the tech space. Google?  Pretends to “do no evil” and then sells you out.  Facebook?  Offers private social networking, then exposes your data.

        Unlike other companies, when Apple makes a promise, it keeps it.  And Apple has been actively working towards getting rid of DRM.

        In fact, Apple has done more to get rid of DRM than Doctorow and the entire freetard movement ever has.

        Apple got DRM off of music.  MUSIC!   Jesus, what have you guys EVER done?

    4. TSSaloic says:

      It’s likely not a disliking of Apple, but rather the things the do or in some cases are/were forced to do. For example placing DRM on music (Thankfully now gone), videos, books, and applications and the closed nature of iOS (Pre-Jailbreaking).

    5. TSSaloic says:

      It’s likely not a disliking of Apple, but rather the things the do or in some cases are/were forced to do. For example placing DRM on music (Thankfully now gone), videos, books, and applications and the closed nature of iOS (Pre-Jailbreaking).

      1. No, this is part of a campaign of hate towards apple, and it is nothing more than the modern version of “macs are for stupid people” BS we’ve been hearing for 20 years.

        The reason is, in reality, android is just as locked down.  But android “runs linux” and is advertised as being “open” and these freetards cant’ be honest enough to admit Apple’s OS is open sourced as well, while android runs proprietary software on top of its open OS just as apple does….. or that android is simply a ripoff of apple to begin with and thus not actually innovative at all. 

        The only difference between now and the 1990s is that Apple is very successful.  The opponents are just as much the trolls they always have been. 

        You want something different?  MAKE IT!  

        1. Anonymous says:

          This is much bigger than Apple. The ipad is only a convenient and popular example. Just look around, and think about all the things IP law run amok can do and destroy.

        2. Anonymous says:

          This is much bigger than Apple. The ipad is only a convenient and popular example. Just look around, and think about all the things IP law run amok can do and destroy.

        3. Anonymous says:

          This is much bigger than Apple. The ipad is only a convenient and popular example. Just look around, and think about all the things IP law run amok can do and destroy.

        4. Anonymous says:

          The reason is, in reality, android is just as locked down.

          You’ve said that before, and it’s just as false today.

        5. Anonymous says:

          The reason is, in reality, android is just as locked down.

          You’ve said that before, and it’s just as false today.

    6. TSSaloic says:

      It’s likely not a disliking of Apple, but rather the things the do or in some cases are/were forced to do. For example placing DRM on music (Thankfully now gone), videos, books, and applications and the closed nature of iOS (Pre-Jailbreaking).

  8. Horst JENS says:

    very good posting !

  9. Horst JENS says:

    very good posting !

  10. Horst JENS says:

    very good posting !

  11. Horst JENS says:

    very good posting !

  12. Horst JENS says:

    very good posting !

  13. Cory has been peddling this crap for years.  It is factually false.

    XCode + $99 to Apple + GitHUB = Run any App, distribute to who you want, no Apple control
    HTML5+CSS3 + Hosting = Run any App, distribute to who you want, no Apple control

    The only reason Apple requires you get their “blessing” for the AppStore is to keep out Malware, and legally questionable stuff. That’s it. 

    It is true that, the hacker culture (which is what makers were back in the day of soldering irons and Apple //e) has evolved…. but it has never been easier to be a hacker than it was then.  Then there were no IDEs and when IDEs came out they cost $600, now XCode is FREE.  Then tech conferences were very expensive, Now, Apple ships you WWDC in HD for FREE. 

    Apple has done more to support hacker culture–starting with full schematics in the manuals for the Apple //e all the way thru to free development tools today— than any other company.

    Frankly, I don’t see Cory doing a whole lot of hacking… and there’s not a whole lot that can’t be done for these devices using web tools.  Not to mention, Macs are completely unrestricted, and still get free tools.  But don’t talk about the Mac, cause, you know, its not a “walled garden”. 

    Yet, rather than making anything, Cory bitches and moans about them because they want to keep out malware.

    Cory, this makes you a a douchebag!

  14. Cory has been peddling this crap for years.  It is factually false.

    XCode + $99 to Apple + GitHUB = Run any App, distribute to who you want, no Apple control
    HTML5+CSS3 + Hosting = Run any App, distribute to who you want, no Apple control

    The only reason Apple requires you get their “blessing” for the AppStore is to keep out Malware, and legally questionable stuff. That’s it. 

    It is true that, the hacker culture (which is what makers were back in the day of soldering irons and Apple //e) has evolved…. but it has never been easier to be a hacker than it was then.  Then there were no IDEs and when IDEs came out they cost $600, now XCode is FREE.  Then tech conferences were very expensive, Now, Apple ships you WWDC in HD for FREE. 

    Apple has done more to support hacker culture–starting with full schematics in the manuals for the Apple //e all the way thru to free development tools today— than any other company.

    Frankly, I don’t see Cory doing a whole lot of hacking… and there’s not a whole lot that can’t be done for these devices using web tools.  Not to mention, Macs are completely unrestricted, and still get free tools.  But don’t talk about the Mac, cause, you know, its not a “walled garden”. 

    Yet, rather than making anything, Cory bitches and moans about them because they want to keep out malware.

    Cory, this makes you a a douchebag!

    1. Anonymous says:

      The developer tools are no longer free, they cost 5 dollars (which is not much, but it’s curious that they would would increase the price by infinity% to make 5 bucks, something else is going on there).  

      Apple is less hack friendly everyday, even if often for good reasons.
      It would be nice to find a middle ground, but that makes app distribution difficult.  That walled garden ensures piracy is not made easy for the honest folks.What would be ideal is a simpler to implement API for devices, and the ability to side load apps, with no implied warranty.  Or just stop being fussy about jail breaking.  

    2. Anonymous says:

      The developer tools are no longer free, they cost 5 dollars (which is not much, but it’s curious that they would would increase the price by infinity% to make 5 bucks, something else is going on there).  

      Apple is less hack friendly everyday, even if often for good reasons.
      It would be nice to find a middle ground, but that makes app distribution difficult.  That walled garden ensures piracy is not made easy for the honest folks.What would be ideal is a simpler to implement API for devices, and the ability to side load apps, with no implied warranty.  Or just stop being fussy about jail breaking.  

    3. Anonymous says:

      The developer tools are no longer free, they cost 5 dollars (which is not much, but it’s curious that they would would increase the price by infinity% to make 5 bucks, something else is going on there).  

      Apple is less hack friendly everyday, even if often for good reasons.
      It would be nice to find a middle ground, but that makes app distribution difficult.  That walled garden ensures piracy is not made easy for the honest folks.What would be ideal is a simpler to implement API for devices, and the ability to side load apps, with no implied warranty.  Or just stop being fussy about jail breaking.  

    4. Anonymous says:

      The developer tools are no longer free, they cost 5 dollars (which is not much, but it’s curious that they would would increase the price by infinity% to make 5 bucks, something else is going on there).  

      Apple is less hack friendly everyday, even if often for good reasons.
      It would be nice to find a middle ground, but that makes app distribution difficult.  That walled garden ensures piracy is not made easy for the honest folks.What would be ideal is a simpler to implement API for devices, and the ability to side load apps, with no implied warranty.  Or just stop being fussy about jail breaking.  

    5. Anonymous says:

      The developer tools are no longer free, they cost 5 dollars (which is not much, but it’s curious that they would would increase the price by infinity% to make 5 bucks, something else is going on there).  

      Apple is less hack friendly everyday, even if often for good reasons.
      It would be nice to find a middle ground, but that makes app distribution difficult.  That walled garden ensures piracy is not made easy for the honest folks.What would be ideal is a simpler to implement API for devices, and the ability to side load apps, with no implied warranty.  Or just stop being fussy about jail breaking.  

    6. Rob says:

      Legally questionable stuff? You mean like political cartoonists?

    7. >The only reason Apple requires you get their “blessing” for the AppStore is to keep out Malware, and legally questionable stuff. That’s it. 

      Wrong! Apple has rejected apps for reasons other than “malware and legally questionable stuff” countless times. Two examples: Apple rejected an app created by Google  (google latitude) because Apple felt it competed with a product they might launch, Apple rejected a health care about because they felt it was “too political”. This is not a comprehensive list, a simple google search will list hundreds of other cases.
      >HTML5+CSS3 + Hosting = Run any App, distribute to who you want, no Apple controlA webapp is clearly not the same as a iOS app. >XCode + $99 to Apple + GitHUB = Run any App, distribute to who you want, no Apple controlYou are right that programmers can spend 99 dollars, and recompile apps off of github (if those apps are available on github). Most users are unable to do this. 
      >Apple has done more to support hacker culture–starting with full schematics in the manuals for the Apple //e all the way thru to free development tools today— than any other company.

      For most of the history of apple they used propriety hardware and a closed source operating system (they still use a closed source operating system, but they have open sourced pieces of it). For example  Canonical (the company that makes ubuntu) has done much more for hacker culture than apple. Your claim is completely baseless. 

      >Not to mention, Macs are completely unrestricted, and still get free tools.  But don’t talk about the Mac, cause, you know, its not a “walled garden”. 

      Wrong! Darwin is sort of  open source, but osX is certainly not open source and apple has taken steps to make sure that can’t load osX on non-approved devices. They even sued a company that produced osX compatible hardware. To claim that Macs are completely unrestricted shows that you haven’t even made minor attempts to research your points and that you are making facts up as you go. 

      >Yet, rather than making anything, Cory bitches and moans about them because they want to keep out malware.
      So mind boggling wrong my brain hurts! Cory wrote a fair number of books and is extremely innovative in developing alternative publishing models. He co-founded the free software P2P company Opencola and worked for the EFF for four years, and oh yeah he wrote this column for Make. What have you done to help hacker culture?

  15. Anonymous says:

    I will address the first half of the article because all the iPad stuff is just a wild goose chase.

    One of my coworkers and I were having a discussion very similar to this.  It was his contention as well as cory’s that making/engineering was all about sharing.  I disagreed with him.  My hypothesis is that engineering at its heart is about taking a problem and finding a solution. Someone in their cave/basement making things to solve problems in their world is still engineering.   Sharing can be apart of everything we do so to say that Making is primarily about sharing is a little nonsensical to me.

  16. John T. says:

    The attitude of entitlement is this new generation of hackers or “makers” is insufferable, and Doctorow’s fussy, chip-on-his-shoulder, leftist/socialist screeds are getting especially tiresome.

  17. John T. says:

    The attitude of entitlement is this new generation of hackers or “makers” is insufferable, and Doctorow’s fussy, chip-on-his-shoulder, leftist/socialist screeds are getting especially tiresome.

    1. Rickety Rack says:

      “New”? You clearly have zero understanding of the hacker spirit, fool.

      1. John T. says:

        I should have said, the “current” generation of hackers… you know, the creeps under 30 who basically had the world handed to them on silver platter, who have no clue what it’s like to work with metaphorical stone knives and bearskins, and come to think of it, probably have no idea what a metaphor is or what a meta is for.

      2. John T. says:

        I should have said, the “current” generation of hackers… you know, the creeps under 30 who basically had the world handed to them on silver platter, who have no clue what it’s like to work with metaphorical stone knives and bearskins, and come to think of it, probably have no idea what a metaphor is or what a meta is for.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Well, I will say that this is not the most clearly written thing Doctorow has ever posted, but the attitude here in the comments is somewhat dispiriting even so.

    You’d think people visiting a website like this would be mostly enthusiastic about fighting back threats to our rights and the rights of fellow makers, but instead the impression I’m getting is that:

    - The existence of people that say mean things about Apple is a much bigger threat. (“And anyway Google is just as bad so neener.”)

    - Anyone who thinks that maybe laws can and should be geared toward the benefit of consumers and innovators – and that “rights” are things that aren’t necessarily only supposed to be created and enjoyed by incumbent corporations –  is being “entitled” and “whining”.

    It’s been enlightening.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Well, I will say that this is not the most clearly written thing Doctorow has ever posted, but the attitude here in the comments is somewhat dispiriting even so.

    You’d think people visiting a website like this would be mostly enthusiastic about fighting back threats to our rights and the rights of fellow makers, but instead the impression I’m getting is that:

    - The existence of people that say mean things about Apple is a much bigger threat. (“And anyway Google is just as bad so neener.”)

    - Anyone who thinks that maybe laws can and should be geared toward the benefit of consumers and innovators – and that “rights” are things that aren’t necessarily only supposed to be created and enjoyed by incumbent corporations –  is being “entitled” and “whining”.

    It’s been enlightening.

    1. John T. says:

      Just provide us with a comprehensive list of consumer goods we can purchase (or barter for at the commune) and use and still maintain perfect ideological purity so we all can live in collectivist harmony.

      Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand
      Baby, I’ll be there to share the land
      That they’d be givin’ away
      When we oughta live together
      We’re talkin’ bout together, now

      1. Anonymous says:

        I don’t care what you buy. Apple makes good stuff if you like that kind of thing.

        But you should also think about what kinds of laws you want made by your elected representatives, and whether they really benefit consumers and innovation, or tend to serve the narrower interests of a handful of corporations. Just because you like your iPad doesn’t mean you’re obligated to sign onto Apple’s agenda across the board. 

        While you’re at it, consider the possibility that there might be a few problems that can’t be solved just by voting with your dollars (for one thing, sometimes there’s no other place for your dollars to go). That’s doubly true if the problems in question are being actively created by special interests rewriting the rules – while consumers think they just have to suck it up because trying to change the rules (or just change them back) is “entitled” and “whining”.

        1. John T. says:

          “Just because you like your iPad doesn’t mean you’re obligated to sign onto Apple’s agenda across the board.”
          Oh yes it does, Jack… I took the blood oath, got the tattoo, drink the specially-prepared Kool-Aid and was issued the ceremonial sash and sword. On the flip side though, just because I buy Apple products – especially the iPad – doesn’t mean I’ve automatically condemned thousands of darling hackers and makers and just plain users into eternal technological slavery. Last year Doctorow absolutely FREAKED very publically about the iPad, hysterically over-reacting to the iPad as if it was Satan incarnate… well, the sky didn’t fall, Chicken Little.

          1. Anonymous says:

            Sure. And of course Doctorow having been wrong once about something must mean nothing ever will. Basic logic, that.

            What’s your point exactly?

          2. John T. says:

            What, then, was the point of posting this little opinion piece 11 months later, if some of the basic facts are wrong and its overall premise (predicting an overall chill effect the iPad would allegedly have on the entire tech universe) proved to be totally erroneous?

          3. John T. says:

            What, then, was the point of posting this little opinion piece 11 months later, if some of the basic facts are wrong and its overall premise (predicting an overall chill effect the iPad would allegedly have on the entire tech universe) proved to be totally erroneous?

          4. Anonymous says:

            I think you might be misapprehending the issue. It’s not about Apple. Just in cased you missed that: It’s not about Apple. They’re a handy example, but this isn’t just some little one off thing that Doctorow wrote about a while ago and should just drop now because the ipad didn’t actually destroy maker culture in an 11 month time span (you really think that’s what he was implying?). The issue is much broader and it’s ongoing.

          5. John T. says:

            Cory didn’t have to imply anything, he said it outright: “But without a means of distributing (and receiving) hacks from all parties, we’re back in the forbidden-knowledge Dark Ages.” But yes, wisely he did not give a date by when this would occur. Given the urgency with which he wrote, any reasonable person would have inferred that the Walled Garden Apocalypse should have occurred by now. But happily, that’s not the case…. millions of iPad users are happy, thousands of developers are writing popular & profitable apps – and I think that’s what really galls people like Doctorow.

            So, OK, you and Cory keep fretting and worrying for the rest of us; I have too much real work to do back on Earth than to waste time on this trivia. Broader and ongoing? Sounds like a vast corporate tech conspiracy! Hello, Alex Jones? They’re coming for my guns and my command line interface! Oh, the humanity!!!

          6. Anonymous says:

            That sounds like a good plan for you. It doesn’t sound like long term political activism is really your thing.

        2. John T. says:

          “Just because you like your iPad doesn’t mean you’re obligated to sign onto Apple’s agenda across the board.”
          Oh yes it does, Jack… I took the blood oath, got the tattoo, drink the specially-prepared Kool-Aid and was issued the ceremonial sash and sword. On the flip side though, just because I buy Apple products – especially the iPad – doesn’t mean I’ve automatically condemned thousands of darling hackers and makers and just plain users into eternal technological slavery. Last year Doctorow absolutely FREAKED very publically about the iPad, hysterically over-reacting to the iPad as if it was Satan incarnate… well, the sky didn’t fall, Chicken Little.

      2. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      3. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      4. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      5. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      6. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      7. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      8. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

      9. Anonymous says:

        And just for the record, I’m not the one telling anyone not to buy from Apple (or anyone else).
         
        That’d be the folks saying things like “you are free to take your business elsewhere.”

  24. Anonymous says:

    Well, I will say that this is not the most clearly written thing Doctorow has ever posted, but the attitude here in the comments is somewhat dispiriting even so.

    You’d think people visiting a website like this would be mostly enthusiastic about fighting back threats to our rights and the rights of fellow makers, but instead the impression I’m getting is that:

    - The existence of people that say mean things about Apple is a much bigger threat. (“And anyway Google is just as bad so neener.”)

    - Anyone who thinks that maybe laws can and should be geared toward the benefit of consumers and innovators – and that “rights” are things that aren’t necessarily only supposed to be created and enjoyed by incumbent corporations –  is being “entitled” and “whining”.

    It’s been enlightening.

  25. Snowfall says:

    Last night, Google stole my phone by blocking access until I signed the contract which gives them permission to block access permanently should they believe it is necessary.  I’m not a geek or a hacker, but handicapped and my phone is my means of contact to the outside world through voice and through using it as a modem.  Google has basically sold me a high dollar product without contract then forced me to sign a contract to keep it.  If I bought a TV or an appliance, this would not have happened.  What they did, prior to my agreement (which I did under duress), us equivalent to theft and fraud.

    1. Snowfall says:

      Google is a third party and has no right to block my phone and internet service.  I’m contacting EFF.

    2. Snowfall says:

      Google is a third party and has no right to block my phone and internet service.  I’m contacting EFF.

    3. Snowfall says:

      Google is a third party and has no right to block my phone and internet service.  I’m contacting EFF.

    4. Snowfall says:

      Google is a third party and has no right to block my phone and internet service.  I’m contacting EFF.

  26. Snowfall says:

    Last night, Google stole my phone by blocking access until I signed the contract which gives them permission to block access permanently should they believe it is necessary.  I’m not a geek or a hacker, but handicapped and my phone is my means of contact to the outside world through voice and through using it as a modem.  Google has basically sold me a high dollar product without contract then forced me to sign a contract to keep it.  If I bought a TV or an appliance, this would not have happened.  What they did, prior to my agreement (which I did under duress), us equivalent to theft and fraud.

  27. Derick D says:

      Man, lotta freedom haters around here.  Any barrier to modifying our hardware is bad.  What ever happened to the owners manifesto?
    http://makezine.com/04/ownyourown/

      Apple, Google, RIAA, etc are all organizations that are in the business of making money.  It is my understanding they are required by law to do whatever is in their power to do what is in their investors best interest.  As companies that deal in intellectual scarcity, 99.999% of the time this is at the expense of revealing information to the population at large.

      It is in our personal and cultural best interest to keep as many freedoms as possible and free as much information as possible.  We’re supposed to be fighting for it.  The so-called invisible hand is the comprimise between these two opposing forces.  Lapping up what corporations give us and wagging our tails like good little dogs is the worst thing we can do.  We need to continually demand more.  And not just more features and gizmos, but more freedom.

      Voting purely with your wallet is a horrible way to communicate dissatisfaction with something.  Buying an Android instead of an iPhone means Apple will have to guess as to why.  They will probably assume you want something that their focus groups have brought up or maybe Google’s advertising campaign is more successful for your age group.

      Perhaps a better way of getting what we want is by writing articles and posting them to the web.

      Peace.

    1. John T. says:

      With all due respect to Mr. Jalopy, the “owner’s manifesto” is not law nor binding in any way. A manufacturer has the right to “violate” any of the edicts set forth in that document, and does, for better or worth, expect the marketplace to decide. “Voting with your wallet” may not be the best way to determine anything, but the ultimate right – to choose NOT TO BUY ANYTHING – still rests with the consumer. Apple, Google and whatever isn’t putting a gun to anyone’s head… only peer pressure and individual, personal gadget lust is telling you that you MUST own this or that particular cell phone or computer. 

      And once you do sign on to be a participant in the online universe, you basically volunteer to allow a whole series of intermediaries filter what you see, hear and read… last in line is the device itself, and EVEN THEN, you still possess the right to shut it off – every device that sucks electricity from the grid or a battery has an on/off switch.

  28. Derick D says:

      Man, lotta freedom haters around here.  Any barrier to modifying our hardware is bad.  What ever happened to the owners manifesto?
    http://makezine.com/04/ownyourown/

      Apple, Google, RIAA, etc are all organizations that are in the business of making money.  It is my understanding they are required by law to do whatever is in their power to do what is in their investors best interest.  As companies that deal in intellectual scarcity, 99.999% of the time this is at the expense of revealing information to the population at large.

      It is in our personal and cultural best interest to keep as many freedoms as possible and free as much information as possible.  We’re supposed to be fighting for it.  The so-called invisible hand is the comprimise between these two opposing forces.  Lapping up what corporations give us and wagging our tails like good little dogs is the worst thing we can do.  We need to continually demand more.  And not just more features and gizmos, but more freedom.

      Voting purely with your wallet is a horrible way to communicate dissatisfaction with something.  Buying an Android instead of an iPhone means Apple will have to guess as to why.  They will probably assume you want something that their focus groups have brought up or maybe Google’s advertising campaign is more successful for your age group.

      Perhaps a better way of getting what we want is by writing articles and posting them to the web.

      Peace.

  29. Folding paper cranes, poking registers on the PET, and repurposing tape machine motors was “Forbidden” knowledge? forbidden by whom, exactly? 

    Some tools and toys are easier to hack than others, twas always thus. If hackable tools and toys are what you want, that’s what you should buy. That’s obviously what Cory wants, and that’s fine. But Cory needs to understand that things he doesn’t want can have a place in the world as well. 

    Cory’s argument here is logically identical to the homophobes who claim gay rights are a threat to straight marriages. Other People’s use and enjoyment closed platforms does not pose a threat to anybody who prefers open platforms, any more than their marriages can destroy your straight marriage or turn you gay. If you want open sourced tools, knock yourself out. The existence of closed platforms hasn’t put a dent in open platforms yet, and doesn’t seem plausibly poised to do so in the future. 

    The DMCA is, admittedly, a lousy law. Reposting an article this old without an update on the legal standing of jail-braking however, isn’t responsible. Cory’s assessment of the law might have been potentially true when he said it (though it hadn’t really been proven in court either way) but it is way off base now, an UPDATE note would be appropriate.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The ease with which things are hacked has a huge influence on what is and is not developed in the hacker community.

    Two years ago, I developed a simple video playing program that combined questions with playback of a video, pausing for the question and advancing on a correct answer.  That  app was in Qt/Phonon on top of OS-X.  Phonon has yet to advance to cleanly supporting that app on Windows or Linux.  I suspect a lot of the “gee whiz” multimedia stuff going on in the OS-X arena is there largely because it is easier to do there than on Windows / Linux / Android / Whatever.

    I think it is important to keep robust competition in the marketplace, with several strong players (no one entity approaching even 33% control) – the problem is: how do you stop collusion among the players?  Mostly, you can’t.  If the major players were really competing, you’d see a lot more advances coming out than you do.  Throwing “makers” into the mix at least keeps the big boys a little honest.  If somebody can do it in their garage, the big players can’t afford to ignore it for too long.

    Back on the conservative side of the coin, there are plenty of people who are happy with the way the world was when they were kids, and don’t want to see it change too much while they have anything to say about it.  I’d like to echo Cory’s Middle Ages analogy here – things changed plenty slowly then.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The ease with which things are hacked has a huge influence on what is and is not developed in the hacker community.

    Two years ago, I developed a simple video playing program that combined questions with playback of a video, pausing for the question and advancing on a correct answer.  That  app was in Qt/Phonon on top of OS-X.  Phonon has yet to advance to cleanly supporting that app on Windows or Linux.  I suspect a lot of the “gee whiz” multimedia stuff going on in the OS-X arena is there largely because it is easier to do there than on Windows / Linux / Android / Whatever.

    I think it is important to keep robust competition in the marketplace, with several strong players (no one entity approaching even 33% control) – the problem is: how do you stop collusion among the players?  Mostly, you can’t.  If the major players were really competing, you’d see a lot more advances coming out than you do.  Throwing “makers” into the mix at least keeps the big boys a little honest.  If somebody can do it in their garage, the big players can’t afford to ignore it for too long.

    Back on the conservative side of the coin, there are plenty of people who are happy with the way the world was when they were kids, and don’t want to see it change too much while they have anything to say about it.  I’d like to echo Cory’s Middle Ages analogy here – things changed plenty slowly then.

  32. ms767210 says:

    I have never owned an apple product and probably never will as long as they continue along this line.
    I remember wishing for the apple 2 back in the 80′s but made do with a commodore. But I am glad they made the ipad as it gave all the manufacturers a jolt to realise the importance of making a good tablet.
    They need to stick around but they would win a few more friends if they just loosened up a bit.