Via my crazy network of friends – John Sullivan’s article, “Pot, meet kettle: a response to Steve Jobs’ letter on Flash.” John works for the FSF and is also one of my fellow kewlkidz (I totally just broke the first rule), and his thoughts can be seen here. (Incidentally, if you haven’t read Steve Jobs’ original post, you can do so here.)
My favorite snippet:
A free Web needs free software. You cannot have a free Web if your access to the software you use to engage the Web is limited to an arbitrary number of computers, or if you are not allowed to conduct business on the Web using the software, or if you are forbidden from asking someone to develop additional features you need.
Jobs has hit the nail on the head when describing the problems with Adobe, but not until after smashing his own thumb. Every criticism he makes of Adobe’s proprietary approach applies equally to Apple, and every benefit attributed to the App Store can be had without it being a mandatory proprietary arrangement. Apple can offer quality control and editorial selection over available free software, and encourage users to exclusively—but voluntarily—use their store. Instead, Apple chooses to enforce legal restrictions, the transgression of which is punishable by criminal law, on users who want to make changes to their own computers, like installing free, non-Apple, software.
Fortunately, the way out of the Adobe vs. Apple cage match is straightforward, and exists already: free software operating systems like GNU/Linux with free software Web browsers, supporting free media formats like Ogg Theora. To make things even better, we can continue urging Google to release their new media format, VP8, under a free license as well.
Kudos to John. Nice work. I really, and truly could not have said it better myself – this was, as always, totally eloquent.