DJ Walker-Morgan over on the Open H has a post up saying that the open source developer community should thank Apple for raising the competitive bar and in using some open source technology in its products. I say rubbish! Do the police thank the Mafia for making them work harder?
Walker-Morgan's fuzzy logic has it that Microsoft had lowered the bar so low (I love it, another Apple fan boy bashing Microsoft. Maybe they can do a commercial on that or something) that open source developers were "doing just enough" to beat Microsoft. It wasn't until Steve Jobs took all of his open source based know how and technology and fused it into Apple, that the open source community had to really try its best in order to do one better than Apple.
Utter nonsense! First of all, if Apple is using all of that open source technology, how is it that none of what they push down to us is open source? In my mind that makes Apple a parasite of open source. They have used the technology, are not making the resulting products open source and are contributing zero back to the community. Why is that any different with that and what the Mafia does? They both are just taking, not giving back and living off of the work of others.
Here is another issue. Whether Apple was open or not, there would still be competition to its products. It is pure capitalism at its finest. That some of that competition would be open source is a testament to the open source movement's success. But taking Walker-Morgan's reasoning, why wouldn't Apple's success push Microsoft, Blackberry or any other vendor to a higher level too? Are only open source models subject to the market laws of competition?
My next point is Mac OSX is not what is responsible for Apple's success. Apple made a smartphone that made it easy for people to use. It looked pretty, it worked and was and is a black box, locked up every which way from Sunday by Apple. They capitalized on the iPhone and come out with the iPad. Again the marketing and sheer prettiness are worthy of admiration. But is the technology rocket science or ground-breaking? No, I don't think so.
It remains to be seen whether the iPad will dominate the tablet or whatever you want to call that market. For all the hype it may turn out that the iPhone is not the big winner in the smartphone wars and in spite of all their success, the Macintosh computer has still never gone over 10% market share, compared to that other company up in Redmond.
All of that and they are probably less open source friendly than Microsoft ever was. If they were more open source, maybe we would have flash or other rich media on all of our smartphones right now. Maybe we would really see more not less competition in the app market. Maybe they wouldn't have a stranglehold on the music industry.
Mr. Walker-Morgan saying that Apple makes open source better is like saying the Mafia made the police better. It would be better if they didn't have to!