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FSF's "Defective By Design" Targets Apple Genius Bars 838

mjasay writes "At OSCON this year, MySQL's Brian Aker made this bold statement: 'Microsoft is irrelevant ... We're more worried about Apple.' The Free Software Foundation appears to have caught the hint, and has turned its attention to all-things-Apple with a 'denial of service' attack on the Apple Genius Bars. The idea is to completely book all Genius Bars and then ask the 'geniuses,' over and over again, a few questions about Apple's proprietary ways (while, apparently, real customers with support issues are left to flounder). Lost in this anti-Apple fervor, however, is the Free Software Foundation's complete and conscious failure to protect the web. Richard Stallman has long felt that software that doesn't sit on his desktop doesn't affect his freedom, but isn't the opposite true? Why is the FSF focused on Apple when the bigger concern should be Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, and other web players, a point made by Tim O'Reilly recently at OSCON?" Defective by Design is just one of many FSF projects, remember; it hardly seems fair to say that the FSF has been ignoring the implications of software as a service.
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FSF's "Defective By Design" Targets Apple Genius Bars

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  • Mean-spirited? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SultanCemil ( 722533 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:44PM (#24350297)
    You know, this isn't cool - its just damn annoying to anyone who actually *needs* to use the genius bars. This will just cause the general public to hate the FSF.
    • Re:Mean-spirited? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pluvius ( 734915 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `3suivulp'> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:50PM (#24350345) Journal

      They don't already?

      Actually, no, they don't; they don't know who the FSF is. And they still won't after this stupid publicity stunt.


    • Re:Mean-spirited? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:06PM (#24350505)
      They might want to take a long and hard look at how well the RIAA campaign of "pissing off the people you are trying to convert" is working.
    • by antime ( 739998 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:23PM (#24350655)
      I propose we call up the FSF and ask for help getting HURD running.
    • Re:Mean-spirited? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:41PM (#24350829)
      I think this works very well to get the FSF's message across. Of course, this only holds true if the message is "The Free Software Foundation is a horde of trolls".

      That's just like PETA members standing in front of the local supermarket's deli counter, yelling and cussing at people who dare buy dead animal parts. It's going to make people remember them, but not in a positive way.
    • The FSF (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:55PM (#24350959)

      needs to learn that there is a difference between being a revolutionary and just being really annoying.

      One changes the world, the other just makes people hate you. They seem to be in the camp of people that think that as long as people hate you, you must be doing something right.

      • Re:The FSF (Score:5, Interesting)

        by encoderer ( 1060616 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:24PM (#24351859)

        I don't know.. I remember when they organized a "DOS Attack" by flooding Microsofts customer service lines to register complaints with their CSR's.

        That seemed to get the proverbial nod of approval from many in this community.

        • Re:The FSF (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @11:35PM (#24354479) Journal

          Well, let's see...

          * OSX' core (Darwin) is actually open source. The NT core (last I checked) is not.

          * There's a huge diff between (basically) racking up phone time w/ script-drones to register valid complaints from folks who were more often than not actual consumers of MSFT's products -- and crap-flooding real tech-support folks' time (as opposed to simple script-drones) by people who more often than not don't own a Mac.

          * Since when was Apple ever convicted (or even credibly accused) of abusive monopolistic practices?

          While it would be hella nice if Apple got around to open-sourcing Aqua and all, at least they've open-sourced the core of OSX, they publish all of their API's (and go way out of their way to help you through 'em if you get lost in there), and have actually been instrumental in helping to break the whole media DRM bullshit in the first place (as in, if Jobs' hadn't pushed for and got DRM-free music and video concessions from the RI/MPAA cartels, when do you all think that would've have actually had any hope of occurring?)

          And yeah, it sucks that they go out and sue the occasional company who installs OSX on a non-Apple box... yet they don't ever bother the hobbyists who do it in far larger numbers.

          I'm not trying to paint Apple as being in league with angels or anything, but on the relative evilness scale, they're pretty damned low compared to their competitors, y'know?


    • Re:Mean-spirited? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PocketPick ( 798123 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:50PM (#24351549)

      And do you know what is probably even less cool? The fact that the individuals who are trying to initiate this stunt probably have no intention of showing up at the genius bars themselves...

      I'd be curious to find out whether the author of this article (or any of it's backers at the FSF) actually intend on showing up, or if the plan merely involves their zealots who would rather disrupt an business rather than lend their time to something more productive like charity.

    • Re:Mean-spirited? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @07:21PM (#24352381)

      Actually, this is a demonstration that there really is no such thing as a free lunch. Sure, the software is free to use, but the cost of it is a bizarre ideological movement that pulls stunts like this, interfering with people's ability to actually get some use out of their computers.

      GNU/FSF were fun and useful about 15 years ago, when free software was generally about coders using and sharing each others code. Unfortunately, I think success has spoiled the movement. I'd rather just pay for my software and avoid all the political crap.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:48PM (#24350323) Homepage Journal
    by large segments of the population. Immature bullshit like this. You have a point, you can advertise it on your web site, but grow the fuck up. Doing shit like this will only turn people AWAY from your message.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:08PM (#24350513)

      The free software movement has never been very good at PR/communication. It's really a testament to the strength of the idea, that it has made the progress it has.

      No offense, but it is as though the whole movement has Aspergers syndrome, in the sense that they have zero intuitive understanding of how they will be perceived.

      • by bornwaysouth ( 1138751 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:46PM (#24351501) Homepage
        You seem to have implicitly invented a useful word (and derivatives).

        Adsperger (n): Someone who advertises or engages in publicity without any understanding of how the ads will be perceived.

        Adspergize (v, transitive.): To alienate a readership through poor understanding of their response.

        Adsperg (n): An advert that annoys the reader not from deliberate intent, but from an inability to understand the likely range of responses to the ad.

        To a lesser extent, we all act in a similar manner at times, being offensive in public. This post could well annoy people with Aspergers Syndrome. Well, I can be an insensitive clod at times, and do suspect I have a touch of AS.

        Oh well. "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn." Welcome to slashdot.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Hah, no. I have AS and I found your post funny as fuck. Certainly can imagine a few decent uses for "adsperger", where companies have grossly failed to comprehend who their market are and fucked up in that vein. McDonalds' advertising a burger with "I'd hit that" a while back springs to mind.

    • Advertising on their website has not worked. For years, it hasn't worked.

      Going from "no one notices" to "everyone hates you" can't be bad -- it's worth a shot, anyway.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:49PM (#24350333) Homepage Journal

    (1) Interfere with people who need tech support.

    (2) Piss off Apple customers and turn them away from F/OSS.

    (3) Absolutely no change in Apple policy.

    I'm glad to use F/OSS on my Mac, including a great deal of software produced under the FSF umbrella, and I have released software, developed on the Mac, under the GPL. The success of OS X has created a huge new market for those who develop on Unix-type systems. Braindead stunts like this really don't help.

    • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:59PM (#24350445)

      No kidding. This reminds me when those Truth ad people who go to some quiet neighborhood with a megaphone and make loud obnoxious asses of themselves in the middle of the night. Because one of the houses, supposedly, was owned by someone who made money from tobacco. Michael Moore uses this tactic all the time, also-- you can't talk to the CEO of the company, just harass their receptionist and security guys. Great thinking, there.

      • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:04PM (#24351081)
        The thing is... it works for Mike Moore. I know it sounds odd but for all the lack of tact and massive asshattery he puts on people still buy his shit hook, line and sinker.

        I think people's tolerance for being an asshole rises quickly when you do it in the name of the masses. People like Mike Moore because they think he's standing up for them because he puts on a very "common man" facade. And that's what really sucks about all of it. If it's bullshit when XYZ fucks around and annoys people it would be bullshit for anyone.
    • by kithrup ( 778358 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:14PM (#24350571)

      (3) Absolutely no change in Apple policy.

      I disagree -- it'll make it clearer to Apple executives that open source people are ungrateful jerks who should be ignored at least, and possibly actively campaigned against.

      I can find plenty of fault with Apple's open source policies... but they do have some, and they have made some pretty significant offerings. Yes, they could do more, and I'm sure there are plenty of Apple engineers who argue for that every day.

      And those arguments get a lot harder to make with stunts like this.

  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hansoloaf ( 668609 ) <hansoloaf.yahoo@com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:49PM (#24350337)
    Whatever happened to the concept of freedom of choice? Some may not like Apple or Microsoft but to act in a manner that denies others freedom to choose the product they want does not make sense.

    I would go through the education route - educate people why buying from Apple/Microsoft is bad. Also would teach about the differences of open and proprietary software etc.
    Best way to deal with the proprietary companies is by the bottom line of the companies not interfering with individual rights.
  • DoSing is OK now? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fex303 ( 557896 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:50PM (#24350343)

    Will the FSF complain when Apple releases a software update that makes every Apple machine hit the FSF servers every couple of minutes?

    I mean, if you're going to start a DDoS fight, don't complain when someone steps up and gives you the same treatment.

  • Brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:50PM (#24350353) Homepage Journal

    Waste the time of large numbers of people who have nothing to do with making decisions for Apple, and also the time of those people who actually need help with their Apple equipment.

    That'll win hearts and minds for sure.

  • I'm appalled that the FSF could resort to such negative tactics.

    They need to be setting a good example if they are to have any chance of convincing people of the importance of free software. This just plays straight into the hands of those that wish to paint free software advocates as over-idealistic zealots with no concern for practicality -- the exact opposite of what a group like the FSF should be doing.

  • IRL trolls FTL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snarfies ( 115214 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:52PM (#24350371) Homepage

    While trolling online can be entertaining, trolling IRL sucks. The guys working at these places are probably just trying to get by in this world - they have nothing to do with Apple's corporate decisions. They don't need this kind of harassment. And while they don't need that kind of harassment, the other people who are locked out of actually getting, you know, actual legitimate support REALLY won't appreciate this move - if anything, it'll make them hate the FSF.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )

      The guys working at these places are probably just trying to get by in this world - they have nothing to do with Apple's corporate decisions.

      That's a BS excuse, which is used all too often.

      Lawyers working for the RIAA/MPAA are just trying to pay their mortgages as well. That doesn't make them innocent bystanders. Ditto for lobbyists for the tobacco industry, oil companies, etc., etc.

      First, they're guilty in some small part, because they get paid by the company. Having an unimportant job doesn't clear you

  • by Calibax ( 151875 ) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:53PM (#24350381)

    In the past I've supported the FSF. This is not what I expect from such an organization.

    Denial of Service attacks (of any kind) should not be perpetrated by honorable people. Does this have the general support of the FSF? What the hell do they think they are playing at?

  • by SteveM ( 11242 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:54PM (#24350393)

    Want to make Apple irrelevant?

    It's fucking simple.

    Make something better. Something that users want to use more than Apple products.

    DOS attacks on genius bars is pretty infantile. And certainly won't endear the FSF to the people they are trying to reach.

    Maybe FSJ was right, they are freetards.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Daimanta ( 1140543 )

      "Want to make Apple irrelevant?

      It's fucking simple.

      Make something better. Something that users want to use more than Apple products. "

      1. Linux is better than Windows
      2. ?????
      3. No profit?!

      Hey, it doesn't work! Because the better things aren't always the most popular things. That's reality, tough shit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )

        There are many tasks (and segments of the population) for which Linux is not better than Windows. So you haven't hit condition one there, yet.

      • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:22PM (#24350647) Journal

        It doesn't work because #1 is false for most people.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Linux certainly is not better than Windows in the "users want to use it" department, as Linux is still substantially more difficult to use.

        For the things that Linux is better at, such as embedded systems, servers, number crunching, etc., Linux tends to do much better than Windows.

        In any case, spamming Apple users isn't the way to go. These people deserve the same punishment that e-mail spammers deserve: summary execution.

  • by codeonezero ( 540302 ) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:57PM (#24350419)

    Having previously worked at an Apple Store several years back (and even if I hadn't). I can tell you most people will probably get a "I'm sorry I can not answer that question. Please call corporate to get answers to your question."

    Unless Apple has noticed this and given an internal memo of detailed responses to give out, this is the response you will get even from a store manager or supervisor.

    Some geniuses may actually give you their own personal view on things but they wont represent Apple, nor will Apple necessarily stand behind said responses.

    The only benefit of this is perhaps making more Apple customers aware of what the issues are, if they happen to overhear the conversation.

    If you will be participating in this, I'd recommend staying polite. Being a stuck up customer trying to stick it to the man via a part-time, full-time non-corporate employee is not going to win you many friends or make people willing to listen to your cause.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 )

      The assholes doing this don't care about that. They think they will impress Apple by wasting time and money. They think they will influence Apple's customers and bring the customers to their side.

      Basically, the people doing this are self-righteous, arrogant, stupid assholes.

      And, unlike so many who support them, and some of those who oppose them, I am willing to stand behind my words because I am not a coward, anonymous or otherwise.

  • For the Nth time... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Saturday July 26, 2008 @03:59PM (#24350441) Journal

    Apple does NOT [gornall.net] (repeat that, NOT [gornall.net]) prevent people from developing open-source applications. The FSF's rant was just that, an uninformed screed directed at a company that doesn't play ball with the FSF's politics.

    Proof: Read the first link. I downloaded some source from the 'net, I compiled it, I modified it and compiled it again, then I installed it on my phone and it works just fine.

    I had an email exchange with the author of the FSF's rant, and pointed out his errors. I think he and I still disagree, but to not even acknowledge the possibility that FOSS s/w is just fine and peachy on the iphone is intellectually dishonest. Not that that will stop the crazies from apple-hating... [sigh]


    • by DeadChobi ( 740395 ) <DeadChobi.gmail@com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:14PM (#24350577)

      Crap like this stunt are what make it difficult to have any kind of serious discussion of the merits and drawbacks of using open source software without being branded a Luinix Zealot. Seriously, if you're going to advocate freedom you should at least understand what the word means. It shouldn't mean that everyone is required to produce and use exclusively modifiable software. It should mean that everyone has the right to choose the best software for their intended outcome.

      For example, there are Linux distributions which don't carry any kind of closed-source or proprietary software in their package managers. I respond to that by choosing not to use those distributions. I don't campaign vehemently against them and ignore other possibilities. Right now I'm on Windows because it works for me and what I want to accomplish. The FSF sounds like an organization which would desperately like me to not be free to choose Windows. I tried Ubuntu, and it just wasn't my thing.

      Can these zealots at least acknowledge that it's possible for more than one opinion to exist in the world?

  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:02PM (#24350469)

    Most of the /. crowd isn't really into free software, they just hate Microsoft. So it's funny watching the responses to this.

  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:10PM (#24350529)

    I'm getting really tired of people bashing apple as "locked down" with DRM.

    Last time I checked, it was the other guy who spent upwards of a decade re-engineering their entire os with the specific purpose of DRM, causing massive GFX and audio card driver instability and feature stripping which goes on to this day.. but back on topic here: apple isn't "locked down".

    Their kernel is OSS, they allow the development of third party "haxies" for their OS and official apps (see chax, synergy, etc), and their unix based system serves as a large "main-stream" market for many products which would otherwise have a much smaller user base.

    This is the reason why I use osx.. it combines the benefits of OSS with the benefits of proprietary, while retaining very few of the drawbacks.

  • by coolgeek ( 140561 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:16PM (#24350587) Homepage

    Genius: do you own an Apple Product?
    Moron: uh, um, no.
    Genius: Next!


    Genius: do you own an Apple Product?
    Moron: yes, here's my iPhone 3G. Why don't you guys support XYZ
    Genius: Use the source, put your app on the AppStore

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:18PM (#24350607) Journal

    A link [defectivebydesign.org] that I got in my email, to the full text of what the FSF is doing here.

    From TFA:

    Because this is the only way to get the entertainment industry to agree to allow its content to be distributed as openly as it has with Apple, and because Apple wants to make sure it makes money.

    From the link:

    Jobs is the largest individual shareholder at Disney, and he could insist that its films be DRM-free.

    From TFA:

    As to the third question, no one cares where you go. Get over it.

    Anyone who believes this, where are you right now? Boxers or briefs? How long is your penis / how big are your tits?

    If you feel uncomfortable sharing these details with me, keep in mind, you at least have some idea [slashdot.org] who I am. You have no idea who's tracking you at Apple or AT&T.

    What's the recourse if this douche is wrong?

    The fourth question? It's not a question. At least put a question mark at the end to pretend.

    That's only because you didn't read the whole question. Again, from the FSF:

    If Jobs really wants to see open formats, why doesn't the iPhone play Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora video and FLAC?

    Anyone who says "because it would cost money" is a moron. All of these formats have free implementations -- in fact, as far as I know, all of them have free, patent-free, royalty-free, and MIT license at worst, which means if iTunes is at all pluggable, it should take one engineer maybe two hours to add support for them, if that.

    I think this is kind of an extreme action, and I can't really support it. But then, maybe extreme actions are exactly what's needed. (And maybe that's just Dark Knight rubbing off on me.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nevali ( 942731 )

      Nothing takes âoeone engineer maybe two hoursâ to add support for. Software engineering in a professional environment just doesn't work that way.

      Moreover, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora and FLAC are uncharted waters: if anybody was going to decide that, actually, maybe one of them DOES infringe on a patent or two, who better to target than Apple? Go after the one with the deepest pockets. With MP3, MP4 and Apple's own CODECs, they know pretty much exactly where they stand.

      Perhaps they could dispatch Apple

    • Ogg and FLAC (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SteveM ( 11242 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:07PM (#24351109)

      Anyone who says "because it would cost money" is a moron. All of these formats have free implementations -- in fact, as far as I know, all of them have free, patent-free, royalty-free, and MIT license at worst, which means if iTunes is at all pluggable, it should take one engineer maybe two hours to add support for them, if that.

      The question you need to ask, is what does Apple gain by supporting these formats? That is, how many more iPods/iPhones will Apple sell if they add support for Ogg or FLAC?

      A very strong argument could be made that the incremental increase in iPod sales would be vanishingly small. (Both the iPod and the iPhone seem to be selling ok without them.)

      So Apple gets no real increase in sales while at the same time having to write and maintain the code to support them. And, call me a moron, but that does cost money.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm surprised that so many people here on Slashdot have vehement feelings about Ogg support in iTunes and on the iPod, but there is what seems like only one person working part time on the Ogg Quicktime component. Neither you SanityInAnarchy, nor anyone form FSF seems to be doing anything but bitching and whining. I thought that one of the mainstays of free software is "if you have an itch you have the ability to scratch it". Am I right?
  • by PocketPick ( 798123 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:24PM (#24350677)

    Microsoft "irrelevant"? Those are odd words for a company that still maintains a 90% operating system market share, an equivalent market share percentage for office and productivity software, and what was (till a few weeks ago) the top selling current-gen video game console in the United States.

    And that's not counting Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, their development platforms such as Visual Studio and a host of other profitable and well known product lines.

    I agree that some of their attempts at breaking into new markets (see Zune, Windows Mobile, Live) have been failures or mixed successes at best, but to regard MSFT as "irrelevant" because headlines about them are not plastering your favorite blogs seems to demonstrate a high disregard for the facts.

  • by pohl ( 872 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:26PM (#24350691) Homepage

    What a brilliantly-conceived suicidal PR campaign. I can't wait until clang/llvm reaches the point where Apple can kick the FSF's stagnant compiler to the curb. Cut that weed off at the roots.

  • PETA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fredmosby ( 545378 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:30PM (#24350735)
    It looks like the FSF saw the tactics of PETA and the ALF and somehow liked what they saw. What a bunch of geniuses.
  • by jamrock ( 863246 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:31PM (#24350749)
    I am genuinely flabbergasted by this idiotic tactic. If Apple were out to sink the free software movement, their PR machine could do it without breaking a sweat. Stunts like this would be like handing them the gun with which to shoot the fish in a barrel. Imagine if the FSF had tried some shit like this with Microsoft; Ballmer would be jizzing in his pants. I sincerely hope that the more mature supporters of free software will disavow this bullshit. If the FSF has any *any* hope of appealing to the public at large, they are going about it in the worst possible way, namely by coming across as childish and immature.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:34PM (#24350773)

    Seriously. I hereby challenge a representative of the FSF foundation to speak up and tell us if any of the money donated to them has gone to this 'project'. I've donated money to them in the past, but if they think trying to block Apple's customers from getting tech support is helping... well they can do it without my contributions from now on. I donate so that they can help out with lawsuits regarding consumer freedom, not so they can create frustration and suffering among people who just want somebody to diagnose a problem with their laptop.

    Congratulations guys. You'll be getting not a cent more from me until it is clear that the money won't be wasted on this kind of asshattery.

  • by plsuh ( 129598 ) <plsuh.goodeast@com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:49PM (#24350911) Homepage


    If you really care about the FSF, you would shut down this project NOW. IANAL, but I am a former anti-trust economist. It is one thing to conduct a protest (such as a picket line) against the policies or actions of a company; it is another thing entirely to interfere with the business of a company (see "illegal restraint of trade"). A court will come down *hard* on the FSF for sponsoring a DOS action on the Genius Bars. The FSF could be fined, enjoined against actions, or both. In addition, the staff of the FSF and individual participants can be fined or jailed. The money that it will cost to defend the FSF against the lawsuits could be better spent on more useful causes. While Apple's lawyers are not the Nazgul, they are not far off the mark either and Apple has shown itself to be willing and able to use them.

    Besides, even if consumers are turned off to Apple, where will they go? WinCE? Symbian? PalmOS? Zune?Are *any* of those better? Get real.

    For crying out loud folks, this is a true freetard idea at its worst -- an action against a company that alienates the intended audience, accomplishes nothing, and makes the protesters look like unreasonable, wild-eyed radicals.


  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @04:50PM (#24350921) Homepage Journal

    Hey, I have a great idea! Let's protest the fact that a computer company makes computers and software that doesn't fit our ideology by crowding their stores, pissing off a bunch of employees who are paid to answer tech support questions instead of discussing politics, and making customers who need support miserable. That attention will really help us make software free - they'll all quake in fear because of us!

    As much as I admire the goal of Free Software and like the tools produced under both Open Source and Free Software terms, that's just plain stupid. What a bunch of douches.

  • by Bender0x7D1 ( 536254 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:14PM (#24351181)

    All it takes is...

    FSF: "You have bad policies!!!"

    Apple: "Please leave the store."

    FSF: "No! You have bad policies!!!"

    [Apple guy calls security - they show up 3 minutes later]

    Security: "You are coming with us."

    FSF: "Fine. I'll leave."

    Security: "You don't have the freedom of that option. The police are on their way to arrest you for being a public nuisance."

    FSF: "Can I call my mom?"


  • A few responses (Score:3, Informative)

    by johnsu01 ( 759478 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:40PM (#24351447) Homepage

    It's absolutely right that people should be polite, and we emphasized that in the handout and instructions we wrote for this. Being a jerk to someone just showing up to work after a late night at the bar doesn't help anyone. And many of the Geniuses are probably at least sympathetic to us, and they probably think the Genius name is pretty funny too -- everyone has to make a living.

    Our goal is to communicate a message to Apple, and we use the communications channels that Apple has provided in order to do this. It's interesting that people criticize making life difficult for the employees when we are doing something that disagrees with Apple, but not of the pro-Apple crowd. What about the 500 people waiting outside to get in when the new store opened? I bet that "made life difficult" for the employees too. Besides, isn't a day full of conversations about DRM going to be a pretty easy day for the Geniuses? They don't have to debug anything, or deal with people who are furious about not knowing how to use their computer, or about some legitimate data loss :).

    Organizations and companies are set up to deflect and channel criticism. If we don't use the tools we have -- our voices, our dollars, and our ability to organize with others -- nothing will ever get changed. Organizing a concerted effort to deliver a direct message in a respectful but firm way seems like something consumers are supposed to do when they don't like what a big company is doing. I'm honestly interested to hear all the alternative suggestions out there for communicating this message to Apple. We can't just send letters to generic customer service addresses and wait quietly. We can't just stop buying Apple products but not say why. I think we're past that point -- Apple said they agreed with us a year and a half ago and yet now they are pushing more DRM than ever.

    As for taking time away from Apple customers who need tech support, that is indeed regrettable but it's also inevitable. Time is a zero-sum game and Apple only has so much of it. Any customer going to the store takes time away from another. The 500 people waiting outside the store stopped me from getting in to have the conversation I wanted to have too. The question is, who is responsible for this? If Apple stuck to what they said they were going to do about DRM, or if they spent a little more money on their support services and some executives took a slight pay cut, this wouldn't be an issue. Pointing the finger at people using the option as provided to ask salient questions about the way Apple technology functions of Apple employees tasked with answering these questions is not the right answer.

    So, yes -- we hope and expect that everyone will be polite, but firm. I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to other customers but in consolation I can offer the statement that if we succeed, there will be far fewer agonizing and annoying DRM-induced computer catastrophes for all of us to deal with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) *

      Jesus H Christ.

      I had thought this was just a splinter group deciding to go it alone. I had thought that sanity would prevail, and that the FSF would step in and say "Sorry, we made a mistake". I hadn't for one minute considered that the FSF would simply abandon the moral high ground and deliberately go out of their way to harass Apple's customers like this.

      But John Sullivan (Hi John!) is the manager of operations at the FSF. I now have to assume this is an official policy of the FSF, and an indicator of how

  • Targeting *apple*? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:47PM (#24351519) Homepage Journal

    Yes, Apple's imperfect, it shares the problems of any big software company (and they ARE a software company, they wouldn't be selling all those Macs if they were running Vista), but it's bent over backwards for the open source community... even when its openness made it a target, even when it's been attacked by extreme members of the community.

    The iPhone is a nice phone, but that's all it is. A nice phone. It's not the next big platform (look to Android or maybe OpenMoko for that). It's not an open source development platform, but neither are most cellphones.

    Ten points of hippie-cred, dudes, but this smells more of Altamont than Woodstock to me.

  • Some misinformation (Score:3, Informative)

    by dyfet ( 154716 ) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:19PM (#24351813) Homepage

    First, there is this statement that Richard Stallmen is "not interested" in freedom for users of remote web services. The truth is much simpler. For a long time, there was valid concern that the ability to effectively utilize existing law to sustain such a license was perhaps weaker than the use of copyleft in more direct and traditional linking and code reuse scenarios. However, this did not stop the FSF (and Richard) from producing and endorsing the GNU Affero General Public License, which does try to address this very issue:


    The broader question of the FSF this addresses is the use of direct action. Sometimes direct action campaigns can be ugly to some. I happen to personally believe strongly in direct action activism. Often direct action campaigns are NECESSARY because conditions offer no other alternative, whether we speak about what used to be political freedom in this "thing" called America, or we speak about traditional technical and social freedoms, all of which are under fundamental assault.

    Is this particular campaign a form of direct activism? If so, is it an effective one? These to me are the more important questions to consider.

Information is the inverse of entropy.