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XML Co-Founder Joins Google, Blasts iPhone 628

Posted by kdawson
from the sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-apple dept.
conner_bw writes "XML co-founder Tim Bray has taken the job of 'Developer Advocate' at Google. Don't other companies call that position 'Evangelist?' Because he sure doesn't mince words against the iPhone in his first sermon: 'It's a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord's pleasure and fear his anger.'"
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XML Co-Founder Joins Google, Blasts iPhone

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  • XML vs iPhone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:17PM (#31489958)

    XML vs. iPhone. I can't think of a better metaphor for "open but convoluted" vs. "closed but useable."

    • by JamesP (688957) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:24PM (#31490058)

      Comparing XML to the iPhone is like comparing a fighter jet with a celebrity cooking show on television.

      • by .tekrox (858002) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:41PM (#31490244)

        They both have the power to kill thousands, I don't see the big difference.

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:44PM (#31490270)

        Comparing XML to the iPhone is like comparing a fighter jet with a celebrity cooking show on television.

        I see no mention of cars in that comparison, so I have absolutely no clue what you're talking about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Steve, is that you?

      • Re:XML vs iPhone (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Requiem18th (742389) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:05PM (#31490964)

        Comparing XML to the iPhone is like comparing a fighter jet with a celebrity cooking show on television.

        No, comparing XML to the iPhone is like comparing fiberglass insulation to a Toyota car. One is a technique the other is a brand of hardware products.

        • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:09PM (#31491470)

          Try asbestos insulation. The poisonous effects aren't obvious at first, but it eventually infests and clogs the flow of important things, like oxygen or the data you actually care about.

          • Re:XML vs iPhone (Score:4, Informative)

            by Tycho (11893) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @12:03AM (#31492086)

            Try asbestos insulation.

            Head, desk. Desk, head. HEADDESK!

            95% (literally) of the asbestos ever used is of a type known as crysotile. Crysotile fibers are hollow and fibers shorter than 1.5 inches are quickly physically broken up in the lungs by the immune system and excreted. Fibers longer than 1.5 inches can get stuck in the bronchii and are carcinogenic. However, no processed crysotile with fibers that long are sold anymore. Only smaller fiber sizes are sold currently. On the other hand, the other types of asbestos are amphiboles and have a totally different fiber structure that is solid and that has ends that will flake off into microscopic pieces are are carcinogenic. It may be good to mention at this point that natural asbestos deposits are common and asbestos fibers of both types are probably something you inhale on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you live in the US and have vermiculite insulation in your home, and depending on the age tremolite asbestos, an amphibole, may be present. Surprisingly, asbestos is not like a toxic or radioactive substance and is safer if left alone, assuming it is in an enclosed space, like an attic, that is left undisturbed. Note, this changes is vermiculite insulation end up in your living room. When and if asbestos needs to be removed, hire trained professionals with the proper equipment.

            Also, fiberglass insulation isn't necessarily any better for your lungs than asbestos.

      • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:32PM (#31491182) Homepage

        He invented XML, how isn't he an expert on cellphone platforms....???

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          lol I ws thinking the same thing. Like a guy like this would have ever thought of a UI like the Iphone. Instead we'd be noodling through tons of awkard menu's but hey it would all be configurable with xml and xls. Can I pull my hair out now or later.

  • To be fair (Score:5, Informative)

    by JanneM (7445) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:17PM (#31489960) Homepage

    This is not a work-related "convenient opinion" of his. He's been critical of Apple's walled-garden approach to development for years, and an Android advocate since he got an Android phone in 2008 (see http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2008/12/18/Android-Diary [tbray.org] for his chronicles using and programming it).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bigstrat2003 (1058574) *
      Also, it's a completely legitimate sentiment (if rather over-dramatically stated). Most phone users don't care, which is how the iPhone manages to stay popular in the face of Apple's iron-fisted control, but it's still true.
      • Re:To be fair (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @01:01AM (#31492322) Homepage
        I think this is one of my favorite comments on this topic. iPhone detractors describe what they see as a problem. iPhone users say it's not a problem because they don't care. The detractors describe the situation accurately, but their judgement of it as a problem is contextual. If you don't care, it's not a problem.

        This isn't like global warming, where a relatively small group can fuck it up for everyone; if people didn't like the iPhone, they just wouldn't buy it. And it's great that there are other options out there.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PietjeJantje (917584)
          Come on people. This is the fundamental problem with the closed and controlled nature of the Apple products, which affect us all and not just individuals making individual choices:

          If these Apple products become very successful, the landscape changes. Others will follow. Let's say at some point a majority of devices will be closed media devices. Now people like Steve Jobs control the Net. For example, say you are a small company from Israel with the idea for the next killer app. You release the app and see
    • Re:To be fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hadlock (143607) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:30PM (#31490140) Homepage Journal

      Not only is it a walled garden, but everybody seems to forget that Apple is doing exactly what the slashdot community rallied against Microsoft for doing, i.e. the digital wallet, multiple music stores, music players (at least they opened it up to other vendors besides themselves), etc, all crying out that this would be bad for the consumer. Well, Apple has done exactly what Microsoft was doing 10 years ago, it's just that since it was Apple, it was ok (don't mod me down, I'm not trying to troll here). There's some traction in the tech media about Apple doing to developers what slashdotites claimed MS would do, but since Apple isn't the (or wasn't) 800 lb gorilla most people let it slide. Well now Apple owns the market segment (or at least a good portion of it) and ceding Poland to Apple is showing it's downside. Google's approach is definitely better, but right now the fact of the matter is that Apple's DRM system is just as bad as Mircosoft's has been in the past.

      • Re:To be fair (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GaryPatterson (852699) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:36PM (#31490180)

        everybody seems to forget that Apple is doing exactly what the slashdot community rallied against Microsoft for doing

        Yup, very few posts on /. critical of Apple lately. It's not at all the dominant meme when talking about smartphones.

        Seriously - do you actually read /. ? Half the posts in a thread about Apple are criticising it for exactly the things you mention, and the other half are defending it.

        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @03:54AM (#31492892) Journal

          Slashdot as a group is ALWAYS against what you are for.

          Slashdot is filled with hippies/gun nuts.

          Slashdot is filled with rabid republicans/demented democrats.

          Slashdot is filled with MS apologists/BSD freaks/Apple fanboys. They are all seen as silly by the enlightened linux users who are well above this kind of shameful name calling what are after all their fellow human beings even if they are obviously less evolved.

          Slashdot is filled with Trek nerds/People that hate Trek for being nerdy/Hate trek for not being nerdy enough.

          Slashdot is filled with virgins/people who lie about having had sex.

          Oh and the best way to make a claim that slashdot is against you? Claim you are going to be modded down for saying it. Then when you are modded up, don't change your mind.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wisty (1335733)

        I think it's a sign of my age. I never liked MS much. I liked google for a while. I almost trusted them. Then I switched to Apple - google seemed a little too eager for all my personal information.

        When you realize that they are all ruthless corporations out to make a buck of you, you have to admit that open source is the only non-evil option. It's not always the best option (and I'll use the best option even if it's evil, as long as there's a way to port my data), but it's the one I root for.

        I still use goo

      • Re:To be fair (Score:4, Insightful)

        by troll -1 (956834) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:37PM (#31491236)

        everybody seems to forget that Apple is doing exactly what the slashdot community rallied against Microsoft for doing

        Microsoft was sued by 20 State Attorneys General for violating antitrust laws. http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-238758.html [cnet.com]

        I don't think there's much of a comparison between Apple and Microsoft.

        • Microsoft was sued by 20 State Attorneys General for violating antitrust laws.

          I don't think there's much of a comparison between Apple and Microsoft.

          No! You don't get it! That's how deep the conspiracy goes! Either Apple has brainwashed state governments so they don't see that Apple's also violating the same antitrust laws, or fanbois have infiltrated those governments! There's no other possible explanation!

          Wake up sheeple and see the truth before it's too late and we have iGovernment!

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:17PM (#31489964)
    Just like the rest of us he can choose to buy, or not buy, an iPhone or any other Apple or non-Apple product.

    We're all adults here and if he doesn't like Apple's rules about software of the iPod/iPhone/iPad then he can choose not to get one. It's as simple as that.

    The government isn't requiring us all to get iProducts ... yet ;-)
    • by blueg3 (192743) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:18PM (#31490588)

      Not only can he vote with his wallet, but he's free to express his opinion to others who might vote with their wallets in the future. He's not forcing you or anyone else to do anything.

  • Lack of credibility (Score:4, Informative)

    by Danborg (62420) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:19PM (#31489976)

    Tim Bray bought his *first* smartphone in December 2008 and declared it the best he's ever owned:

    http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2008/12/ [tbray.org]...

    Maybe if he had tried 3 or 4 other phones and then settled on Android, his opinion would have weight.
    This guy had never owned a "fancy phone" until 15 months ago and now he's an expert? Seriously Google, is this the best you can do?

    • by hey! (33014) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:28PM (#31490106) Homepage Journal

      Er, if it were his *first* smartphone, how could it *not* be the best he'd ever owned?

    • Exactly! (Score:5, Funny)

      by schon (31600) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:31PM (#31490148)

      Exactly - it's just like that Richard Dawkins guy - he's always talking about religion, but he's an atheist! How can he possibly know anything about religion if he doesn't believe in god!??!?!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trb (8509)
      Tim Bray managed the Oxford English Dictionary project - that is, computerizing the OED, back in the 80's, before anyone blazed those trails - and did lots of other cool hacking over the years. You're saying he doesn't have credibility because he hasn't sampled enough smartphones?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Danborg (62420)
        Notice I said he had a lack of credibility, I didn't say he wasn't a bright guy in other fields. That's like saying, hey my Uncle Lou did some cool stuff with mainframes back in the day, and they had about the same amount of processing power as an iPhone, maybe Google should hire him! Read Tim's own words in his Android Diary [tbray.org].

        I've never actually had a "smart" or otherwise fancy phone before, so this is by far the nicest I've owned.

        What kind of technologist bought his first smartphone a little over a year ago? And declares his very first one, The Best! It makes me question his methodology for making decisions

        • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:29PM (#31490686)
          Read his statement a bit more closely. He obviously recognizes his lack of basis for comparison, his wording says so: "I've never actually had [a smartphone], SO this is by far the nicest". He may have used other smartphones (he doesn't really say), but his wording clearly is meant to convey that he's choosing his Android phone as "best I've owned" by default.
        • by feepness (543479)

          What kind of technologist bought his first smartphone a little over a year ago?

          Smartphone penetration has been growing slowly. I'm in a tech field. I got to play with friends G1s, iPhones, and BlackBerrys. They all had drawbacks I found unacceptable at the time. I did like the iPhone best except for Apple's walls, but I wasn't about to touch the thing until it could at least do MMS, which I'd had for years already.

          So I bought my very first smarthpone, an iPhone, in July 2009, about 9 months ago. It is indeed the best smartphone I have ever owned. It isn't, however, the best s

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by tbray (95102)

          I dunno, if it were a good rake I might sell it on Craigslist.

  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:26PM (#31490080) Homepage Journal

    Tim's critical of software patents, but his position is that there's just an implimentation problem - with good tweaking it could work. Kinda disappointing that he's not pushing for abolition. Surprising too given his experience in web dev and XML. Related info:

    swpat.org is a publicly-editable wiki - help in expanding this info would be very welcome and useful.

  • He's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:30PM (#31490128)

    With the iPhone and iPad, Apple has become the Big Brother it railed against in the Superbowl ad of 1984.

    As an owner of many Apple computers from the Apple ][ all the way to today, it's thoroughly depressing to have watched this happen. But I guess Apple's always been schizophrenic about opennness. One one hand you have Woz distributing schematics, the developer's signatures burnt into the Mac's first motherboard, embracing of open-sourced software & development tools, lack of copy protection on their OS, replacing drm music with watermarking, etc. But then you've got them suing Franklin & Pystar, suing HTC, their absurdly paternalistic App market, a closed-down iPad, etc. I guess there's always been a bit of hypocrisy and self-contradiction [youtube.com] with Apple.

    But when push comes to shove, I'm growing more convinced with the iPhone/iPad they really do see the future as being closed & proprietary. Google is the athlete running in swinging the hammer. And maybe it's Jobs' face on the big screen?

    I guess Apple II isn't forever.

    • Re:He's right. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:40PM (#31491252)

      But when push comes to shove, I'm growing more convinced with the iPhone/iPad they really do see the future as being closed & proprietary.

      Is that why they have developed the best mobile browser to date? Pushing HTML5 instead of Flash? Contributing to webkit?

      The future is going to continue to be dominated by the web. Apple provides a really good web platform in their products.

      You can write any web application you want, and get people on iPhone and iPad to use it. HTML5 has great support in Safari.

      You can write any full application you want for the Mac platform, using one of the best development environments in Xcode.

      You can write any application you want for the iPhone and iPad, as well, using the exact same environment. The only question is whether or not you're going to be able to distribute it in the App Store. Apple has decided to tightly control that marketplace. Some of their reasoning is valid -- security issues, quality control issues, etc. Some of it has to do with branding, things they don't want to be associated with. Some of it has to do with appealing to the widest audience. And yes, some of it has to do with business.

      What I would like to see Apple do, and I think they eventually will be forced by the marketplace to do this -- is to allow apps to be installed from sources outside the App Store. Google Android will push them to do this, if for no other reason than Apple can answer all critics.

      Invariably, Apple tends to solve criticisms eventually, before they erode mindshare.

      Consider the history of iPhone:

      - Criticism #1: What, no native apps, only web apps? Solved in OS 2.0.

      - Criticism #2: What, no copy and paste? Solved in OS 3.0.

      - Criticisms #3 and #4. Now Android is picking up steam. What are the primary advantages people name for Android? Multi-tasking and an open marketplace.

      Well, Apple is rumored to be addressing multi-tasking in OS 4.0. I'm not one of those people that berates them for not having it from the beginning, I think they tackled major problems that plagued earlier "smartphones," i.e. overly complex process management, and battery use issues. As hardware evolves, battery life is less of a problem, and I am confident Apple can solve user interface challenges.

      If they did address multi-tasking and application installation, what would all of you guys bitch about? Oh, right. AT&T.

      Disclaimer: I own stock in Apple and Google.

    • Reworking the line from Steve Ballmer. Everybody seems to be reminiscing about the days when this stuff was open, but it was open because that's what people wanted to buy! Steve Jobs could be a nasty guy like people pass him off (I don't know him, so I reserve judgement), but what he is good at is reading markets. He was good then, and he's good now. Steve Jobs doesn't care about openness more than closed-ness. The man wants a product that sells, he's a businessman to the core (and a damn good one at t
  • XML... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by onefriedrice (1171917) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:31PM (#31490144)
    Oh, so this is the guy who designed that bloated markup language. Yeah, I can't wait to not care any less what his opinion of a phone is.

    He's right, though...
    • Re:XML... (Score:5, Funny)

      by nebaz (453974) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:45PM (#31490276)

      XML is like violence. If it doesn't solve your problem, you aren't using it enough.

      • Re:XML... (Score:5, Funny)

        by ekhben (628371) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:53PM (#31490886)

        <?xml version="1.0"?>
        <reply xmlns="http://slashdot.org/xmlns/reply">
            <content xml:lang="enUS">True.</content>
            <content xml:lang="frFR">Vrai.</content>
            <content xml:lang="it">Vero.</content>
            <content xml:lang="hr">Istinto.</content>
        </reply>

    • Re:XML... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:13PM (#31491044) Journal

      Hint - Tim designed it as a markup language, you know - that's why it's right there in the name. For that sort of thing, it's pretty good (and keep in mind that "sorta looks like SGML" was a requirement, just as Java had to look "sorta like C++", to get existing developers to learn it).

      The fact that it has since been used not for markup, but as a general-purpose tree and even graph description language (configs, SOAP packets, etc) isn't his fault.

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:36PM (#31490182)
    But at least it's the same version of the walled garden for all purchasers/users:

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/android-version-confusion/ [wired.com]
  • by realinvalidname (529939) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:27PM (#31491158) Homepage

    just what the point of this hire is? Apple-bashing aside, is it just to put the shiny open-source face on Google? That didn't exactly save his previous employer [sun.com], who also hired him for apparent PR value and where he accomplished nothing of sufficient significance to merit inclusion on his Wikipedia bio [wikipedia.org].

    Perhaps if Apple is very, very lucky, Google will hire Jonathan Schwartz too.

  • by gig (78408) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @06:28AM (#31493504)

    All you need to ask yourself is why did he even say the word "iPhone" at all? He just got hired by Google. WTF has iPhone got to do with anything? Seriously, ask yourself that. None of the answers are good for Google.

    The misinformation was also very sad, since he is someone who has contributed mightily in the past. He should at least have the standards of a Gizmodo review. It was sad to see him say the Internet is locked down on iPhone when it is clearly not in any way locked down, nor is it proprietary like Microsoft or Adobe. It was also sad to see him say that iPhone has limited the conversation on the Internet when it's clearly drawn an even larger audience to the conversation, providing many people with the first Internet device that they could master, causing many people to discover text messaging or Twitter and so on for the first time. Not only that but these are the very first native app purchases and installs for many users. Also sad that he thinks the successful, popular, and malware-free iPhone App Store should change to be more like the fragmented, unpopular, malware-serving Android Market. And he clearly doesn't understand that App Store is not the only place to get iPhone apps, it is only 1 of 2 app platforms on iPhone ... App Store is entirely optional. The other platform is totally open, totally unmanaged, totally unmediated, uses open API's, and apps are installed from any arbitrary HTTP server. The alternative is there already if App Store is not for you. Why does it bother the Nerd Police so much that users on iPhone have their own choice of either managed or unmanaged apps? With all that has happened with Windows malware and botnets, why is it so important that *phone users* should be exposed to a native malware risk?

    But this is the guy who said he would never type on a virtual keyboard and how awful iPhone was for having that, how stupid the users were for not being able to type on the device (he imagined) until he got a G1 with a much worse virtual keyboard than iPhone and said it was OK, he could live with it. So it's actually not surprising to see him talking out of his ass rather than actually trying the gear, learning about it, finding out about it.

    Imagine if Google had hired a hardware chief instead, and announced they were making a "true Google phone" like so many have asked for. I think that would have been a much more interesting move, and they could have done it without saying "iPhone." Well, maybe not. Too bad.

  • by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @07:08AM (#31493674) Homepage Journal

    One reason Android beat out Openmoko was because Google was willing to make a platform that carriers could turn into a walled garden if they wanted to, while Openmoko was designed to NOT be locked down.

    Sure, technically Google isn't doing evil here. They're just enabling AT&T to do it.

  • by TaggartAleslayer (840739) on Tuesday March 16, 2010 @07:47AM (#31493922)

    Whether you are for Apple or for Google, you will eventually get tired of the conversation. So here is how to add some spice.

    "Well, I mean OS X and Android are both Unix derivitaves, so as long as we're supporting open source I'm all for it."

    Hilarity ensues on many levels.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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