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Jimmy Wales Declares App Store Models a Threat 334

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the heard-this-story-before dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wikipedia's chief says models such as the App Store on the iPad are not only a dangerous chokepoint to internet freedom, but that this is a real and immediate problem that's of more concern than the overblown what if's of the net neutrality debate."
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Jimmy Wales Declares App Store Models a Threat

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  • Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday January 13, 2011 @11:55AM (#34862580)

    I’m personally not a fan of the whole “app” thing. Feels like we are going backwards.

    You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

    OS integration and a few features like GPS and multi-touch are one justification, and there are certainly cases where it does make sense to have a specialized client vice a web app to view content from the web, however I think a lot of it has to do with money.

    You can’t sell a subscription to a website (unless you’ve got some really damn good content), but you can sell a little app that pulls data off your website and displays it in a different manner.

    We had a shitty but effective standard going here.. and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:04PM (#34862734) Homepage Journal

      We had a shitty but effective standard going here.. and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

      Give a little more time for HTML5 to become common, and you'll see whole sites popping up to provide web-delivered "Apps" which cache and remain local via HTML5. People are still getting a handle on it. There's loads of apps which are so simple they can be replaced in this way.

      Hopefully as HTML continues to add in features, more and more of the lame apps will disappear and be replaced. But apps offer persistence; you don't have to reload them every time you want to use them. Again, you can offer this through HTML5, but developers don't know or aren't interested (yet!) in replacing their apps with non-App versions because they like to get paid. Someone will eventually do it just for giggles, though. And many of the apps are already available on this basis, but usually not cached.

      You can’t sell a subscription to a website (unless you’ve got some really damn good content), but you can sell a little app that pulls data off your website and displays it in a different manner.

      And if it adds substantial value then it will be used. And if it doesn't then someone else will come along and offer a website that works without your app and eat your lunch.

      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:07PM (#34862810) Journal

        But apps offer persistence; you don't have to reload them every time you want to use them.

        One thing most apps also offer that the web browser doesn't is they work when you don't have internet access.

      • by AdamThor (995520)

        I don't think it's the apps though. It's the App Store. Got an iphone-droid-pad-ultra-X? Great! Visit the associated App Store and buy some apps! Oh, uh, no, as a matter of fact there isn't any other way to load a program onto the device. Apple / your carrier / whoever will always have a noose around it's neck. Nobody is going to eat their lunch b/c the device is locked down.

      • by awyeah (70462) *

        Lots of sites did the whole "app-in-browser" thing when the iPhone first came out, because you couldn't download applications to it. And a lot of them were pretty damn good because the browser lets you do things that really make them feel very close to applications running natively. They're a little laggy and don't have quite the same feel to them, but very close.

        This includes things nice GUI effects (things sliding around, the screen "flipping" to go to the settings page, etc).

        I'm hoping that the offlin

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moryath (553296) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:06PM (#34862788)

      "Specialized viewer mentality" has always been there.

      Sony loves it. They only put DVD players in the PS2 because they were part of the consortium that owned the patents. They put Blu-Ray in the PS3 because... they own the patents. They used their proprietary memory card tech in the PSP and PS3 because... you guess it... they own the patents. In the early days of MP3 players, they were trying to shove minidisc and ATRAC down everyone's throats because, guess what... THEY OWNED THE PATENTS.

      We now have Amazon Kindle Store, B&N Nook Store, etc because everyone wants to try to lock their customer into their devices. Want to switch to Kindle? Ok, but you can't take all the Nook books you bought with you (without cracking the DRM, being accused of "piracy", etc etc).

      Every corporation loves the idea of the specialized viewer because it locks the customer in to their store. Every consumer with a brain hates the idea, but has nowhere else to turn to except "piracy."

      • You also missed the PS1 using CDs because... they owned the patents.

        They put Blu-Ray in the PS3 because... they own the patents.

        They were part of a consortium in this one, too... they just happened to be the ringleader.

        As such, we all know they put Blu-Ray in the PS3 to help the format take off.

      • by DinDaddy (1168147)

        We now have Amazon Kindle Store, B&N Nook Store, etc because everyone wants to try to lock their customer into their devices.

        It seems pretty clear Amazona and BN want to sell you ebooks more than lock you into their devices, or they wouldn't offer reader apps for iOS and Android.

      • They used their proprietary memory card tech in the PSP and PS3 because

        PSP, PS1 and PS2, yes. PS3, no. The PS3 can use any USB storage device.

        The Xbox 360 limits you to a certain memory limit if you try plugging in a general storage device, and only works fully with MS approved peripherals.

        Don't think the Wii can really use external storage at all. Maybe for GameCube games.

        Every company tries to push their own stuff sure, but I think it's more important how easy they make it to also use other formats more than whether they include their own format or not. Having said that, I j

      • We now have Amazon Kindle Store, B&N Nook Store, etc because everyone wants to try to lock their customer into their devices.

        Nope, wrong. Nook books can be read in nook apps on a variety of platforms (PC, Android, iOS, etc.) Kindle likewise. The real product being sold here is the content, the dedicated stores and the devices that have the store integrated (though they can import content from other sources) are designed to encourage purchases from the stores. The stores do not exist to lock people into the devices, otherwise, they wouldn't provide access to the stores and content purchased from them on other devices.

        Oddly, having

    • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

      Most devices will allow (with permission) use of the GPS and other local features through the browser, which would add some horsepower to your thoughts. But the reason I like apps on my smartphones is I want to use the browser for browsing.

      The good news is there are some wonderful multi-platform tools like Appcelerator, Phonegap (this one pushes to the browser for now though), Rhomobile, DragonRad, that allow the developer to write once and compile many.

      You're right about the revenue model. Good for devel

      • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

        Ack, and forgot to add a device and a webapp (see Evernote for example) to me is the best of all worlds.

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

      On the other hand, since we're going this direction and the users like it, that means there is a widespread problem with the traditional way of thinking and marketing software.

      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:25PM (#34863180) Homepage Journal

        and I fear this whole “app” craze is going to put us back in the “dark ages”.

        On the other hand, since we're going this direction and the users like it, that means there is a widespread problem with the traditional way of thinking and marketing software.

        It's worth mentioning that Ubuntu offers an "App Store" sort of experience for Free and free software downloads through the Software Center, and that users cite the ease of software management in modern Linux distributions (which substantially predates Ubuntu) as one of the features that they find indispensable. It certainly beats the hell out of having update processes running on my machine from Oracle, DVDFab, Adobe, Microsoft, et cetera. To me, this is just the world cashing in on what the nerds figured out.

      • I don't really think so - I am treating this as shareware 2.0. We saw 15 years of diffusion when everyone had to do their own marketing, now the App Mall just does Marketing by Aggregation. Apple caught on to the power of curating. Sure they get a bit heavy handed, but Users Like This.

        I'd say the difference is in the legal framework. I never even heard of the DMCA until about 2005, and suddenly by about 2007 everyone started invoking it left and right.

        If we're talking about App content vs Web Content, I thi

    • by stoanhart (876182)

      The problem is simply that HTML isn't good enough yet.

      Two apps that I use in lieu of their mobile website equivalents are "Reddit is fun" and "XDA developers" on Android. The user experience is simply dramatically better than the web versions can create. Simply the ability to long-click/right-click on items to bring up a context menu, the ability to bring up a global context menu via the menu keys, the ability to search the current content via the search key, and the ability to more quickly and easily colla

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        There is no "yet". It will never be, because Javascript + HTML will never be as good as the tools available for developing on the native platform.

        It is madness that people think the whole world should standardize on a typeless scripting language and a klunky markup language for graphical layout, running on a VM that is always embedded in a window that allows the user to do things that will break your application.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:33PM (#34863336)

      I'm personally not a fan of the whole "app" thing. Feels like we are going backwards.

      You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

      I'd like to think that the whole app thing is a short-term phenomenon that will die out.

      Why the specialized apps versus web pages? I haven't taken a look at the traffic but I would suspect that it takes less bandwidth to populate the data in an app that's running natively on a handheld than it does to fill a web browser. You have to feed it not just the data but the design info on every page load. Reading message boards on an iphone is ok but highly interactive stuff like a facebook runs more smoothly with the app versus doing it in safari.

      I look back at the early webmail examples and they were dreadful. The early hotmail was an exercise in tedium and I asked why anybody would want to use that over a nice, native mail client. Fast-forward to today and something like gmail is a breeze to use and offline mail applications seem archaic in comparison. As another comparison, my very first experience with electronic banking involved a proprietary application installed from floppies that required dialup access to the main bank. And this was right at the cusp of the internet becoming big-time. It was a tremendous pain in the ass to use and proper internet banking with nothing more than a mainstream browser was a whole new world of practicality and convenience.

      I think there's plenty of room for apps that really need to be apps, things that are really programs. But stuff that should really just be a webpage should be done in web pages. I think it's just a matter of the technology maturing a little more. Early hotmail sucked, current gmail is great. In another five years we'll see people extolling the virtues of the next twist on html5 that will save us from the horror of the customized app store. And then someone will talk about the era of the thin-client finally being at hand.

      Of course, there's also the school of thought that says the app store concept is a way of putting the toothpaste back in the tube, trying to lock things down so corporations can go back to making money hand over claw. We'll see.

      • by Americano (920576)

        Here's what I've seen:

        For small devices, i.e., the iPhone, or an Android phone, I actually find I generally prefer the "app" version, because it generally makes better use of the screen space than the web pages for the services the app connects to.

        For something larger (e.g., iPad / Android tablet), the browser and screen size are good enough that I prefer the familiarity of the web interface to the single-purpose app.

        HTML5 may get there, and perhaps the web sites aren't really taking the time to develop web

    • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by anyGould (1295481) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:37PM (#34863412)

      I’m personally not a fan of the whole “app” thing. Feels like we are going backwards.

      And I was thinking we were finally moving forwards. One of the best features of Ubuntu in my mind is the repository system (which I would consider the prototypical "app store"). I need an application? Click the easy button on my desktop, get a nice sortable list of programs, click one, and it nicely installs. Unclick the box, it uninstalls.

      The one thing that iPod/Pad/Phone/Widgets are missing is the built-in ability to install outside the store - but jailbreaking has become so terribly trivial that it's hardly an obstacle anymore (i.e. if you really need to get an off-brand app onto your device, you're already savvy enough to know how.)

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ryvar (122400) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:46PM (#34863590) Homepage

      The basic issue at hand is that the majority of people don't have time for anything more than "it just works." What they want is appliance computing, and that's what App stores enable. This is the reason Apple has had so much success lately, and why they won't ever be loved by Slashdot. Personally, I'm happy to roll my own OpenBSD kernels for my media server and firewall at home, but when it comes to my phone I'll take Steve Jobs' walled garden. I don't have the time for anything else, and I really need my phone to "just work".

      True general-purpose computing exists on the desktop and will continue to do so - but the consequences of that model will be continued security issues far in excess of the walled garden's, compatibility issues due to a functionally infinite number of hardware configurations to support, and abandonment by any developers unwilling to tolerate piracy/off-label usage of their applications [some might say 'good riddance' to the latter, but there's an awful lot of money and talent in that pool that will be spent making the walled gardens more attractive].

      As far as the open source and freedom-to-code communities go, they can either approach this with ineffectual wailing and gnashing of teeth, or they can resolve to make this work for them. How? By building compelling services that are free-as-in-speech on general-purpose computers, and charging nominal fees for viewers targeting closed platforms, the proceeds from which are used to fund further development. I suspect we're about to witness a period of brutal natural selection in which the greater software ecosystem culls out those who refuse to embrace and leverage the new environment.

      We'll find out, either way.
      --Ryv

    • by timeOday (582209)

      You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

      I agree, but I am hopeful, because apps are almost certainly a transitory phase.

      There's been a lot of innovation in wireless handhelds in the last few years. There was a valid need to "break the mould" and explore new ways of doing things. Standardization comes later, once things settle

    • You had specialized viewers and clients for various data, then gradually the web became more mature and more and more data was simply put on a website. Now we are gradually going back to the specialized viewer mentality.

      The problem only really exists if there is exclusivity and that exclusivity is enforced. The problem in the beginning that these special viewers and clients were required to view various data. For example AOL client was required to get access to AOL's community. What users really wanted was the Internet not just AOL's version of it.

      Take wikipedia for example. You can use Wikiamo app to view wikipedia articles on the iPhone. However it is not required. You can use a web browser to view wikipedia. The

    • I agree with you Anrego. Soon though people will see with chrome os that you don't need 100 pointless apps to do the same things. 1 small linux kernel and chrome browser, and you can do all the same things without bogging down your memory storage with a bunch of junk, and still getting everything done (at least that's the goal). The way chrome is doing their web apps seems pretty smart to me (it feels more or less like a bookmark, but it does have offline capabilities). So don't give up all hope on computin
    • by McNihil (612243)

      Apple the new AO(HEL)L

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @11:56AM (#34862606) Homepage Journal

    But not like the one on Android, since you can still install apks from other sources, or use third party app stores.

    The only problem with app stores is when it is inordinately difficult to install software from another source. People have been buying stuff from non-recommended sources since time immemorial to upgrade anything and everything.

    • by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:00PM (#34862656)
      Mod parent up! It's all in the implementation. A central point is only a problem when it's the ONLY source, and there are no viable alternatives, like the iPhone App Store.
      • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:12PM (#34862928)
        Problem for who? I'm not trolling, but seriously ask yourself what exactly is the problem? Is it a problem for people are for the most part completely computer illiterate and just want to get a few games on their device? I don't think so. I've watched my mom and my stepfather try to figure out how to set up their iPhone and iPod with iTunes and it was a challenge for them. iTunes may be bloated and slow, but one thing it is is easy. There is no way they would be able to manage with an Android device. The iPhone app store is locked down. If that is a problem for you, then don't use it. I can assure you that it's not a problem for a large number of people.
        • by Microlith (54737)

          The iPhone app store is locked down. If that is a problem for you, then don't use it.

          If the App Store Only" mentality of locked down devices persists, eventually there won't be something else to choose so that we "don't [have to] use it."

      • Steve Jobs has no place in his company for allowing any external influence one upon anything related to design and user experience. Not even the user. This means he will control everything. Where you stand on the spectrum of freedom vs walled garden will determine whether you go all-in on Apple products or not.

        Wikipedia does not hold control of every detail this tightly. They encourage outsiders to influence everything about the site and it's content. Same thing with Android. You can do anything you want
        • by anyGould (1295481)

          Steve Jobs has no place in his company for allowing any external influence one upon anything related to design and user experience. Not even the user. This means he will control everything. Where you stand on the spectrum of freedom vs walled garden will determine whether you go all-in on Apple products or not.

          Well, I'll tell you why I'm using Apple products - they worked with the least amount of futzing. My wife went through a few mp3 players, and just the basic matter of moving songs to/from the device ranged from annoying to hellish - it was sad when it was easier to copy/paste the files directly to the drive than to navigate the half-baked interface that Sony was pushing a few years back.

          I plug in my iPod, it works. Yeah, iTunes isn't the sleekish program around - but it works. It keeps my files where they're

          • by murdocj (543661)
            I love my IPod Nano, I like my ITouch... but please do not cite the ease of moving stuff onto Idevices using ITunes as a "plus" for Apple. ITunes is arcane, slow and bug-ridden. At least one of my devices has gotten into a state where there is content on it that just can't be managed via ITunes. In comparison, my Window Mobile device had a horrible UI, but moving stuff onto it was a cinch... plug it in, drag and drop with Windows Explorer. It worked the same way everything else worked. Didn't have to r
    • Agree that easy unofficial sourcing of apps is important.

      That said, I think the rise of "apps" as a term for pay-to-play web page is still a problem. Nearly all the Apps out there are just web pages that do things on small screens and can access some system resources like the GPS. The whole paradigm is bullshit, even without the Apple nannys running the App Store(TM). I use the World Wide Web. I LIKE the World Wide Web. Quit fucking with it.

      My mother keeps asking me if her favorite websites are going to sta

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        That said, I think the rise of "apps" as a term for pay-to-play web page is still a problem.

        I guess I don't see what the problem is. You know where the app comes from. You can compare the experience of the site to reviews of the app before purchase.

        Nearly all the Apps out there are just web pages that do things on small screens and can access some system resources like the GPS.

        Well, what I want is an easier way to permit certain websites to access specific hardware on my devices, so that we don't need apps to do these things... but it doesn't exist. Well, there may be a plugin or something, but ideally it would be something I don't have to install... mostly so that I can develop apps that use the same functionality, and other

    • by Qwavel (733416)

      Actually, I believe that the Android app store would be acceptable even if you couldn't get apps from other sources.

      The Android app store is governed by a set of written rules, like a constitution. These rules are pretty much as you would expect: they give Google some legal protections and they allow Google to block apps that would objectively harm consumers, e.g. apps that break the law or that have malware. Google has never engaged in the sort of arbitrary blocking and abuse of power that Apple has.

      Some

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Sometimes people write about the Google Market as if were a wild west, without rules. In fact, it is like a constitutional democracy with written rules that limit the state's powers.

        That's still restrictive to the user. Every constitutional democracy places nonsensical restrictions on what the members can do sooner or later as a way of making money for the elite and/or self-perpetuating. These restrictions tend to follow you around the world, too. And the USA does not recognize any right to terminate your citizenship; like any abusive parent, it feels you owe it something for bringing you into the world, when in truth the opposite is true. Just as your parents owe you an upbringing in

    • But not like the one on Android, since you can still install apks from other sources, or use third party app stores.

      So here's the problem. People like app stores because they like having a single UI for getting applications. People like app stores because they are vetted and that makes people feel safe. In truth, app stores controlled by a single body can revoke rights to a signature and kill malware pretty much everywhere it was installed and that does bring real security. People like app stores because they like censorship. They like that "inappropriate apps" are not available to their kids or grandparents and they cer

    • by Zarhan (415465)

      A question about Android since you raised it - I myself have Nokia N900 (Maemo) and could immediately see that it's basically Debian. I could find alternate repository addresses and applications at maemo.org rather easily.

      Now, my girlfriend bought a Samsung Galaxy 551 (Android 2.2). Android marketplace is there, sure, but where exactly are all these other repositories for software? I mean, in Android marketplace even finding basic stuff (RSS newsreader comes to mind as one of first things I tried to find fo

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:00PM (#34862658) Homepage Journal
    Apple is a publicly traded company and as such here's what's important to them.....

    Making money for their stockholders.

    That means sucking you into a proprietary app system. That means sweatshops for iPods and doing things like heading down the dangerous path of closing off the Darwin source for development so that OSS geeks can't find a way to make OS X work on commodity boxes.

    Apple is going to do what is best in their corporate interest.
    Surprised? Don't be. It's business
    • by Desler (1608317) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:02PM (#34862704)

      That means sweatshops for iPods

      The same sweatshops making your beloved Android phones as well.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Tsk tsk. Google good, Apple bad. By the way you've been given a free (mandatory) trip to the /. re-education center.

        Apple pays Foxconn extra to pay their workers more so they don't commit suicide, so the conditions at Foxconn when working on Apple must be that much worse then when working on Google parts.

      • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

        He was responding to the mention of Apple products in the OPs description. Get over it.

    • news flash

      Google has shareholders too.

    • Those same sweatshops make almost every electronic device you use. They make your garbage disposal, your TV, the gizmos in you car, your clothes, light bulbs, etc, etc. Singling out Apple for being a public company that uses "sweatshops" is a non starter as an argument.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:00PM (#34864860)

      That means sweatshops for iPods...

      See, this right here is what pisses me off. Offhanded comments about sweatshops in relation to Apple. So Apple is one of the very few companies going out of their way to do something about sweatshops. They voluntarily audit and review humans rights practices at the third world plants they do business with, have standards of behavior, require changes at those plants, and openly publish their audits. This puts them right at the top of the list for responsible electronics manufacture. Moreover, Steve Jobs tried the experiment of all US manufacturing with Next, but people decided automated manufactured computers in the US were too expensive and he had to sell out to Apple and go back to asian manufacturing.

      So what pisses me off about your comment is that if people like you are spreading crap about one of the most responsible companies (presumably out of ignorance), what motivation do they have to continue with responsible practices? Seriously, if they get just as much shit as other companies doing business with the same factories, but who don't do audits or require changes or publish the audits, why should Apple do anything in that regard? The last time Apple published an audit, the press immediately jumped on it and reported on human rights abuses by Apple (not that Apple had discovered problems, ordered them fixed, and then told everyone) just that abuses were happening at "Apple" factories.

      Thanks ever so much for being part of the problem and spreading crap that will pressure companies to do less due diligence and be less open and proactive about sweatshop conditions.

  • vender lock-in and lock down is bad also people who make free apps should not have to pay $99 year just to have you app in the store.

    There needs to be more then just 1 app store and there needs to be a way to load apps with out the any store as well being able to code apps with out paying big fees and or having to buy a high cost dev kit.

    • "people who make free apps should not have to pay"

      Just because the app is free, doesn't mean that Apple has no costs associated with hosting the app on the download server, verifying the app doesn't have viruses/etc, and bandwidth to allow customers to download the app.

      Now, I'm no Apple fanboy - I own an Android phone, because I don't like the level of control that Apple exercises over their products after sale, but I also recognize that having a small annual fee for hosting the app is not unreasonable. On

  • by dr.newton (648217) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:04PM (#34862742) Homepage

    All those hours spent gazing fondly at your picture at the top of every Wikipedia page. Installing the Jimmy Wales extension for Chromium, so I could see you everywhere. Knowing that you were looking just at me...

    You have betrayed me, Jimmy, with your false generalization of software distribution systems. Words cannot express the anger and shame I feel.

    I want my $2.50 back.

    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      eh, hes probably just pissed off that app stores make it easier to not have to spend money on wikipedia donations and he doesn't like the competition.

  • Don't download just any app, don't change the OS, don't share your books or music with anyone, and NEVER develop unauthorized software or be ready to be remotely disabled!

    If you don't like it, buy something else!!!
    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Mean ol' Apple and their proprietary Apple Audio Codec. Having to have apps approved before not just ad-hoc distribution but during development as well is just plain evil. Or all in your head. Personally, I'm going with the latter.

    • by dzfoo (772245)

      You know how many times Apple has remotely removed or disabled apps when they removed them from the App Store? None.

      You'd think that with all the whining in Slashdot about apps being rejected or recanted from the App Store by Apple every day, they'd pay more attention.

            -dZ.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        So far it's Google 2 Apple 0 in the remotely removed apps game. I wonder why no anti-Apple people mention that. Google's winning. Why wouldn't they be trumpeting that?

  • I think we need a law establishing the clear difference between own vs. rent. Own = single payment (or limited set of payments) ahead of time, no need to return property, free right to mod, upgrade, download anything to it. No cancellation fees allowed. They can charge to ship out (and charge shipping to return if broken and being replaced). No signature required Rent = a set of equal payments (no set up/start up/initiation fee) each good for a specified amount of time, property must be returned WITH
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I think we need a law establishing the clear difference between own vs. rent. Own = single payment (or limited set of payments) ahead of time, no need to return property, free right to mod, upgrade, download anything to it. No cancellation fees allowed. They can charge to ship out (and charge shipping to return if broken and being replaced). No signature required Rent = a set of equal payments (no set up/start up/initiation fee) each good for a specified amount of time, property must be returned WITH ZERO SHIPPING COST (it is their property, they have to pay to ship it both ways - build it into the rent), zero rights to mod/upgrade/download anything.

      We could solve this with labeling requirements. I don't agree with the shipping cost thing, but the costs must be specified up front (or at least responsibility assigned.) I personally believe that the government should limit its influence on MOST markets to labeling requirements, though I am not in favor of reducing environmental restrictions. Unfortunately, the government uses its influence on labeling requirements to support evil as well as to do good. For example, they're permitting an artificial sweete

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      Think about the model you just proposed. Would you be foolish enough to invest all your money in such a business model? If you did, you'd be hamstringing yourself from the start. Your competition would annihilate you.

      Now, if you're talking about forcing your idea on other people, that's just the little totalitarian dictator that's in all of us talking.

      Think about models that engage human nature, not models that force and repress it into designated patterns.

  • As long as the browser works, I don't see how the app store model has any impact on "internet freedom".

    • by SirWhoopass (108232) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:39PM (#34863452)

      As long as the browser works, I don't see how the app store model has any impact on "internet freedom".

      Don't discount the impact of the masses. If all the kids and Grandma switch primarily to using apps on their phone, then it is not unreasonable to think the web would begin to stagnate and languish. Certainly people could continue to operate web sites, but the significance might be greatly diminished. Gopher [wikipedia.org] is still around.

      Back in the 1990s I remember that people used to cry that corporations wanted the internet to be "tv with a 'buy now' button". The app model seems to be much more in that direction.

  • by CyberLife (63954) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:23PM (#34863140)

    Seems like it's always the App Store which gets all the credit for being bad for society. Why don't we ever hear about the PlayStation Store, or the Xbox Marketplace, or the Wii's Shop Channel? These also sell screened, platform-specific software, some of which you cannot get any other way. Oh, but they're just games, right?

    • You'll hear the same arguments against other locked down systems from me, but then again, I am admittedly in a minority.
    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      actually i think those are not on peoples list because people that buy games are used to going through a bunch of shit to get to the start of the game. me being one of them. note: the last line is of course for those shit heads that are stupid enough think this post is meant to be flamebait.

  • Depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:31PM (#34863306) Journal
    "App Stores" are quite arguably a good thing. I know that I say a few words of thanks every time I type 'sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade' and everything automagically pulls from the repositories and does its thing. It absolutely curb-stomps the experience of a zillion separate updaters, obsolete library versions, and so forth.

    On the other hand, an implementation where my apt-sources are cryptographically signed, and the BIOS refuses to boot if the list has been modified, would be a dark day indeed. That, to my mind, is the actual threat.

    Although they haven't been called "app stores" in the past, package management systems kick ass, and are generally far superior in user experience to just grabbing random stuff off the internet and installing it. However, any entity who would restrict you exclusively to their own package management system fancies themselves your master and will soon be your rent-collecting landlord.
  • >>According to Wales — who was quick to stress he was speaking in a purely personal capacity — set-ups such as the iTunes App Store can act as a “chokepoint that is very dangerous.” He said such it was time to ask if the model was “a threat to a diverse and open ecosystem” and made the argument that “we own [a] device, and we should control it."

    In other words, he has a problem with the iTunes stores and Apple lockdown, versus the idea of monetizing and control

  • by MikeURL (890801)
    The app is just another thing that runs on a network. Apps are a great example of how an open NETWORK can encourage innovation. As long as anyone can make an distribute an app then it is net neutrality in action bringing us innovation and convenience.

    Net neutrality never meant "don't change anything ever" and I hate it when the old guard treat it that way.
  • ... provided that I also have the freedom to poke people in the eye over the Internet every time they download malware from $random_server_found_with_google and turn their PC into a DDoS client, spam MTA, pr0n/warez server ...

    So considering the amount of dumb people on the Internet, app stores for *them*, with at least some rudimentary control over the quality of provided apps, are a good thing. While a lot of malware/junk can be found on app stores as well, at least there is usually only 1 version of it
  • And why exactly should I care what Jimmy Wales thinks?

  • fortunately the iphone isn't the only game in town. if a google app is yours, 1) create key, 2) sign file, 3) load to machine, 4) install through manager. if it isn't yours you do steps 3 and 4. imho an app store, even apples, is a good thing. some people that want to look for applications that do what they want to do but are not able to do it themselves. if that was the only way someone could get an app on their device, yes, it would suck royally.

  • by Xoltri (1052470) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:58PM (#34865932)
    Facebook is starting to become a 'chokepoint for internet freedom' as well. What ever happened to just putting the information about your product on the internet? Now a lot of companies are putting their stuff on facebook.com/stupidproduct, and often times you can't get to the page unless you log into facebook. I don't have a facebook account so it cuts me off from seeing it. I doubt it will happen but it would suck if in the future you'd have to first log into facebook or it's future equivalent to access the new closed off version of the internet.

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