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Thread: Apple Rolls Out WebKit2, But No Linux Love Yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Every example you give is duplication. None of it is innovation. I'm not defending patents at all but saying they stifle innovation is an oxymoron. Copying features and functions is not innovating, it's duplicating.
    What about when a patent is part of a standard, and you are required to duplicate functionality in order to meet the standard? H264 comes to mind. x264 wasn't "cut 'n pasted" from somewhere else, but because if provides patented functionality it can't be freely distributed.

    This is the major problem with patents IMHO. If x264 can't be freely distributed then something is being stifled. Isn't "creating efficient code to meet a standard" innovation?

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Every example you give is duplication. None of it is innovation. I'm not defending patents at all but saying they stifle innovation is an oxymoron. Copying features and functions is not innovating, it's duplicating.
    There were only so many ways to create a fire for the pre-historic humans. What if for every fire you made, or pottery you baked or iron they wrought our ancestors needed permission or pay taxes to some other group of people? Civilization would never have gotten of the ground.

    What about independently re-inventing the same thing, why should one have to pay royalties? You shouldn't, is the right answer.

    Ideas freely come to people and should be given away freely to all mankind. There is no such thing as stealing an idea. Duplication is good. Amelioration (improving upon) is better. The old greek idea of progress was something like imitation, emulation, amelioration.

    Patents are like putting fences around little pieces of land and forcing everyone who has to pass over it to reach the next place to pay up. Pretty soon, it is no longer economical to move anywhere, unless you are one of the big landlords, who make cross-agreements. The little people were unfree. That is feudalism, and it was a time of slavery. Only people living near coastlines or in big cities had some measure of freedom.

    Patent only hinder people to get to the next idea, if you pay them any heed. Patents are modern feudalism in the space of ideas. Apple, IBM, Sony, Microsoft and others are the feudal lords in idea-space.

    I think patents are unethical and immoral. Software, genetic and pharmaceutical patents are the worst of all.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apopas View Post
    Pfff Apple. Maybe the only thing I like in the computer culture of my country is the fact that Linux is considered a bigger player than Apple. Hmmm Apple is not considered a player at all...
    Ever been near a university lately? Apple is gaining marketshare at an alarming rate. Based on my experience at the NTUA, Macbooks are way past the 10% mark right now.

    I've yet to see anyone using Linux at the library, either (apart from myself). No wonder, I guess, considering the main PC lab is running on vanilla Debian/Gnome - which is a sure-fire way to turn people off from Linux forever.

    But we are getting off topic. Truth is, WebKit2 will gain Linux support sooner or later but you can bet that Apple won't be the one doing that. In fact, they'd like nothing better than see Linux die: it's their main (only) competitor in the "smartphone" segment and it is eroding their attempts at a walled, DRM-protected ad/music/video/ebook/app ecosystem.

    Unfortunately, Apple seems to be gaining ground right now...

    Quote Originally Posted by smitty3268
    I find it very difficult to feel any sympathy towards Adobe, they're a real bastard of a company in my book. But Apple has actually managed to do it for me.
    My feelings exactly! Much as I hate Adobe, Apple has scraped the bottom of the barrel with their new developer license. Banning high-level languages from the iPhone? This is like marketing dictating which programming language to use for your next major application, only worse (if you know what I mean).

    There's a very special place in hell reserved for those people.

    Q: How can you tell a native obj-c iPhone application from one written in C#/MonoTouch?
    A: The C# one doesn't leak memory.

    Great job, Apple, great job for alienating a significant part of your developer base. You are obviously thinking you have achieved critical mass to achieve lock-in to your inferior tools. Did you ever consider that those very developers might simply move on to Android and WinMo7?

    One of them just did.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Every example you give is duplication. None of it is innovation. I'm not defending patents at all but saying they stifle innovation is an oxymoron. Copying features and functions is not innovating, it's duplicating.
    I'm sorry I went a bit on a history rant there. To stay on-topic: the duplication was done by Apple. There is hardly any innovation by them. They often do make a better implementation of (long-)existing ideas: amelioration. But then they patent them, and that means they say they were first. They were not. They use their patents in order to try and stop HTC/Android/Google. If they are succesful (no chance, I think, but who knows what will happen), android will suffer: hindering progress.

    Linux already suffers because Apple's enforcing of some trivial font-related patents means that fonts under linux look less good than they could look. The code for font-hinting and other things is there, but often not compiled in out of fear for Apple. Tell me how that is not hindering innovation in Linux.

    Conversely, the development and deployment of linux in the server market has shaken out most of the old UNIX dinosaurs (HP, SUN, SGI) or forced them to be more agile and cheaper: open solaris, solaris on x86 hardware, opening up of sparc platform. Microsoft is forced to innovate in order to compete with linux. If patents can be used to make linux houses pay royalties, this means Microsoft will have to innovate less to compete.

    Patent do stifle innovation. Imitation is good. Amelioration is better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perpetualrabbit View Post
    Ideas freely come to people...
    Ah, there's your problem: that's not true at all. Big ideas come from weeks or months of concerted thinking effort, often by large groups of people. During these weeks and months, these thinking people occasionally need to eat. After all, if they can't eat, they'll probably decide to stop thinking, go out and find some lunch.

    It logically follows that someone needs to pay them money to do this thinking, or they starve to death, get cold, get wet, or otherwise have a pretty hard time. And for someone to ba able to pay them money, that someone has to make money from the stuff they're thinking about. Is this train of thought making sense?

    Surely, the world in which no ideas of any complexity are ever had is the world in which patents don't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfeather View Post
    Ah, there's your problem: that's not true at all. Big ideas come from weeks or months of concerted thinking effort, often by large groups of people. During these weeks and months, these thinking people occasionally need to eat. After all, if they can't eat, they'll probably decide to stop thinking, go out and find some lunch.
    The ironic part of it is though that the best ideas tend to come while you aren't trying to think of them. This leads to the illusion that you produce the most ideas if you do arbitrary non-related stuff all the time which obviously isn't true since having the ideas in the first place needs quite a bit of background knowledge on the subject.
    Also I kinda suspect you're mixing actually having the innovative idea with sparring the idea long enough with other people that you manage to get together a practical implementation of it. Having big ideas is easy, doing innovations is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfeather View Post
    Ah, there's your problem: that's not true at all. Big ideas come from weeks or months of concerted thinking effort, often by large groups of people. During these weeks and months, these thinking people occasionally need to eat. After all, if they can't eat, they'll probably decide to stop thinking, go out and find some lunch.

    It logically follows that someone needs to pay them money to do this thinking, or they starve to death, get cold, get wet, or otherwise have a pretty hard time. And for someone to ba able to pay them money, that someone has to make money from the stuff they're thinking about. Is this train of thought making sense?

    Surely, the world in which no ideas of any complexity are ever had is the world in which patents don't exist.
    Of course you are right that good ideas deserve reward. I'm not so sure about the "big ideas". You are talking more about the effort of working something out than about the original spark, which almost always is something simple. Usually based on other ideas that went before, but the new creative step is usually a simple one. And very often the idea comes not to just one person, but to many roughly at the same time. Because the time was ripe for it, or it "hung in the air". Look at the invention of book printing or special relativity, the ideas that went before were already there. Book printing was invented independantly in the west and in China. If not Einstein, then someone else would have come up with special/general relativity. And still other people would have found it too, not knowing that it already existed.

    That is one reason I think patents are nonsense. Another is that the reward for creative effort, or the harder work of working it out, actually make it useful, should not be an exclusive right. Inventors will have to organize their own rewards, by being first to market with something that works, have enough business sense or work with someone who has. The small time inventors will always be at a disadvantage against the big guys. With patents because the big guys will have all of them and have the money to litigate, and without patents because they can take an idea from a small inventor and make money off it. At least without patents the small guy can still make his product, maybe something better.

    Now about complexity. Why do you think that ideas of large complexity can only be had by groups of people? Complex things by definition are composed of many parts. And only single people have ideas, groups do not magically have distributed minds.

    Do you remember the scene in Space Oddisey 2001 were the proto-human picks up a bone to use as a tool, throws it in the air and then this rotating bone is replaced by a rotating spaceship in the next shot?

    It beautifully exemplifies that complex ideas are only complex because they are built upon miriads of other ideas, until you get to the first tool users, the first conscious thought.

    Complex ideas are always only about the next step. This next step does not deserve an exclusive right anymore than all the previous ones.

    That is my biggest reason I think patents are nonsense. Copyright law is more than protection enough against copycats. People who make something similar but better, like iPhone -> nexus one, well more power to them. There is no part at all in an iphone that is in itself innovative or original. The whole thing is more than the sum of its parts, which is what made the iphone innovative.
    But there are better phones now, so in this case Apple must either get out of the way or make an even better phone. Not get in the way of progress by litigating.

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    There are three issues I have with your reasoning. The first is that you are talking about patents in general terms without making any distinction between fields. The second is your point about the fact that knowledge builds up upon past concepts. The third is that I don't quite understand your concept of "ideas".

    Let's see. Imagine that somebody gets a patent for some chemical process of some sort, let's say to produce some product in an innovative way which offers better yields, avoids the use of some nasty reagents or whatever. The amount of work to do this is huge--certainly worth several years and usually involving at least one PhD or post-doc to do the actual hands-on stuff. The costs in tems of equipment, materials, lab space and grants/salaries are quite big. With this in mind, I don't think it would be fair to let the guys from the company next door implement this work without the original authors being rewarded for their effort. I'm all for University-business links, but not for the siphoning of public money into private hands, but I digress. Perhaps if you imagine an example where the authors of the patent belong to a start-up company you are more likely to agree with me. As I see it, the key point is that patents covering physical things are granted to extremely complex inventions that were only achieved by putting an enourmous amount of work and resources on them. A temporal monopoly for the exploitation of these inventions can actually be an incentive for their production. This is not the case of patenting "touchpad gestures", "one-click pay" or some other nonsense like that.

    Next, it's true, although irrelevant, that in order to get to the point where you can patent something, you are using massive amounts of accumulated knowledge. Of course, we all give for granted that we are "resting on the shoulders of giants". This doesn't make new inventions or discoveries any less valuable, ingenious or respect worthy, and again, depending on what they consist and the amount of work needed to produce them it may be on the general interest to grant some temporal protection to their authors. Sure, in the example above, the authors would be using anything from basic chemistry to quantum mechanics to produce their new process. I don't see why this obvious fact changes anything.

    Lastly, I don't get your notion of new "ideas" as something somebody can have while having a shower or cooking, as simple concepts that can be readily encapsulated in a couple of sentences and be shown to the world. While there may be something remotely resembling this, I can't think of any example. I believe, instead, that any new "idea" worth a patent is going to be fairly complex, and probably involving not just one "idea" or step, but several of them combined together to generate something valuable. The exception again, of course, being certain software patents, which are simply ridiculous. Perhaps this is just a question of language, I just don't see what is gained by making any distinction between the "original spark" or "idea" and the whole process involved in developing something new that can be commercially exploitable.

    Now, irrespective of how much work, time and money was needed to produce, say, a patentable biotech discovery, I do think that the profits of the likes of Monsanto are not above the general well-being of millions of people. If the absence or deliverate infringement of patents in this field means that a lot of private research will be never carried out, then the public is to fund it for the common good. This kind of objection is completely different to the ones against software patents, and putting them on the same level doesn't sound right to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yotambien View Post
    There are three issues I have with your reasoning. The first is that you are talking about patents in general terms without making any distinction between fields. The second is your point about the fact that knowledge builds up upon past concepts. The third is that I don't quite understand your concept of "ideas".

    Let's see. Imagine that somebody gets a patent for some chemical process of some sort, let's say to produce some product in an innovative way which offers better yields, avoids the use of some nasty reagents or whatever. The amount of work to do this is huge--certainly worth several years and usually involving at least one PhD or post-doc to do the actual hands-on stuff. The costs in tems of equipment, materials, lab space and grants/salaries are quite big. With this in mind, I don't think it would be fair to let the guys from the company next door implement this work without the original authors being rewarded for their effort. I'm all for University-business links, but not for the siphoning of public money into private hands, but I digress. Perhaps if you imagine an example where the authors of the patent belong to a start-up company you are more likely to agree with me. As I see it, the key point is that patents covering physical things are granted to extremely complex inventions that were only achieved by putting an enourmous amount of work and resources on them. A temporal monopoly for the exploitation of these inventions can actually be an incentive for their production. This is not the case of patenting "touchpad gestures", "one-click pay" or some other nonsense like that.

    Next, it's true, although irrelevant, that in order to get to the point where you can patent something, you are using massive amounts of accumulated knowledge. Of course, we all give for granted that we are "resting on the shoulders of giants". This doesn't make new inventions or discoveries any less valuable, ingenious or respect worthy, and again, depending on what they consist and the amount of work needed to produce them it may be on the general interest to grant some temporal protection to their authors. Sure, in the example above, the authors would be using anything from basic chemistry to quantum mechanics to produce their new process. I don't see why this obvious fact changes anything.

    Lastly, I don't get your notion of new "ideas" as something somebody can have while having a shower or cooking, as simple concepts that can be readily encapsulated in a couple of sentences and be shown to the world. While there may be something remotely resembling this, I can't think of any example. I believe, instead, that any new "idea" worth a patent is going to be fairly complex, and probably involving not just one "idea" or step, but several of them combined together to generate something valuable. The exception again, of course, being certain software patents, which are simply ridiculous. Perhaps this is just a question of language, I just don't see what is gained by making any distinction between the "original spark" or "idea" and the whole process involved in developing something new that can be commercially exploitable.

    Now, irrespective of how much work, time and money was needed to produce, say, a patentable biotech discovery, I do think that the profits of the likes of Monsanto are not above the general well-being of millions of people. If the absence or deliverate infringement of patents in this field means that a lot of private research will be never carried out, then the public is to fund it for the common good. This kind of objection is completely different to the ones against software patents, and putting them on the same level doesn't sound right to me.
    @first: I don't like patents in general, but yes patents are less nonsensical in your example than in the software world. There certainly is a scale. Also I agree that NOT having patent brings a lot of problems too. But I think they are smaller. People have lived and invented thing for thousands of years before patents existed. At the very least, because of the much quicker turnaround of technologies, patents should be much shorter. Also, once India, China and other emerging countries get more powerful, do you think they will bound themselves to largely American patents? China does not even respect copyright, I certainly don't think they will respect patents. In that respect I think interesting times are ahead for the WTO. So patents are also not very sensible in a global perpective, because you can only really enforce them by blocking products from countries that don't respect them, and that leads to trade wars.
    So if patents were abolished (not going to happen of course) things would be shaken up considerably but in the end I think inventions (also big complex ones) will still happen and people and companies will find ways to make money from them. Also, in retort to your example, I wonder how much public money going to university pharmaceutical departments and university hospitals ends up in private companies holding patents? How much of the research those companies claim is so expensive is actually done by universities? I suspect a lot. The whole patent business is a Gordian knot and I am very much for the simplest and radical solution: cut the knot, abolish patents. In the end, I think it will be for the best.

    Anyway, we seem to agree that trivial things should never be patentable and I would classify all of the things in Apples recent lawsuits as such. If you don't agree with that last point, do you think that if Apple looses this patent suit, will they still be able to make lots of money making i{Phones,Pods,Pads,Otherstuff}?

    @second: The fact that all ideas are based upon others does not invalidate a new idea, I completely agree. I mentioned it in this thread because the Apple apologists tend to attribute the whole mountain to Apple, not just the final rocks on top. So I think it needs saying regularly, to curb the boundless arrogance of the Apple followers. Although it may not be entirely relevant.

    But more generally, as someone who regularly reads texts on quantum mechanics and other advanced stuff, and tries to reads papers from time to time I think that the level of complexity and effort what is freely published in scientific papers and books greatly exceeds most patents. The world of science and technology is so advanced in general, and there are such mountains of free knowledge that I just don't see how you can really prove that a given patent is not prior art. Or why you are allowed to fence off a part of idea space while such large expanses of it are free. In practice, given the poor quality of patents granted by USPTO, it turns out that a big portion of them are in fact not valid, or would be if challenged. Which again
    prompts me to think that just abolishing them is the best way to solve the whole problem.

    @last: Anyone can learn to paint, or play music to some extent. It is not that difficult, and practice and hard work is all you need, and of course talented people will learn it much quicker. That however does not mean that anyone can be a good painter or an original musician.
    The creative spark is what makes a difference between a great song (say: Hello Earth by Kate Bush) and a collection of notes executed by a capable musician.
    I think inventions are like that, without the hard work and many false turns you have nothing, but you absolutely need that first idea. A lot of discoveries are also done by accident of course, but you still need to recognize it as such. Like the Bresenham algorithm for circles was found by accidently swapping two variables in the original algorithm.

    As a vaguely religiously inclined person I think that all ideas originate in the soul, or with God or whatever. They are not property at all. They may have a purpose, I like to think for the betterment of the world or mankind. But we invented nerve gas an bio weapons too, so before you say that conflicts with my idea of the "sparks of ideas" coming from God: I said that I'm only _vaguely_ religiously inclined and I belief in a God (or First Cause or whatever) who is neither good nor bad. It just Is, and evolution in nature and ideas that pop up in humans are both expressions of its ongoing creation. We have free will to do anything and in the current world I think that patents, like borders around countries, have outlived their usefulness.

  10. #50
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    Default I think you are missing a few points that would change your opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by TemplarGR View Post
    In the past i simply didn't care about Apple. It wasn't my choice, i prefered Linux for my work and Windows for some games and i never considered Apple products because i couldn't work effectively on them, since i am no designer, and i couldn't play on them except specific titles.
    I was a long time Linux user on the desktop. However I've seen the light in Mac OS/X. that mostly due to the fact that some things jut need a more commercial bent to work well.
    But i have began to hate this company and actively trying to harm it recently. My reasons are not about fanboism, my reasons are purely logical.
    Actually your reasons are full of emotion and a lack of facts.

    1) Apple is a purely marketing company. They have created a cult of followers who will not only buy anything on day 1 just because they have an apple logo, but will spam forums, blogs, IRC, IM web sites promoting these products to others.
    Actually I agree with you here there are a lot of idiots that will do as you describe above. I don't think I fall into that category, rather I got a MBP after a lot of knocks in the open source / Linux world.
    These people overlook Apple's disadvantages, rationalize lack of features, and justify paying premium price for lesser products. This hurts us as consumers. In many ways, which i will not explain now.
    Disadvantages? What platform doesn't have a few? Seriously; besides the only features that matter are the ones you use. What is worst than having features you don't need or are half bakes for the marketing department.

    As to consumers Apple doesn't hurt anybody at all, they are the ONLY practical commercial choice versus a Microsoft based product. It isn't like I don't want Linux to succeed but they aren't getting the adoption rate by the average consumer to be considered an even remote player on the desktop. So what is it that you want zero choice for the consumer?


    2) It is clear to me that Apple bribes certain "journalists" and certain people to post in forums/sites/blogs as "users". Of course this practice is not specific to Apple, many big companies do PR in this way. But Apple has crossed the line.
    Where is your evidence? Apple innovates and people go gaga, is this a surprise? Does Apple put a lot of effort into marketing and hype, they certainly do and frankly have little choice considering the size of MicroSoft. In any event before you put into print allegations such as these you really need sound proof.

    3) Apple is a closed ecosystem, unfriendly to developers like myself. And bad for the industry in general.
    Now you sound like a MicroSoft employee. Considering the effort Apple has put into tools like GCC, LLVM, CLang, Ruby and others they could hardly be considered a closed ecosystem. That is just development tools, ask your self who supports CUPS and other things your Linux distro depends upon. I don't expect Apple to give away the keys to the castle but they support far more open source software than you seem to want to give them credit for.

    In the context of WebKit they have done an excellent job of moving a stagnate project forward in a dramatic manner. Not only have they moved it forward they increased adoption across a wide number of platforms to the point that it is now being reincorporated into Linux distros. Of course they didn't write the patches for Linux as it isn't their OS, but fortunately there is enough Linux side interest that WebKit is tracking very well there.

    Besides what could be better for Linux than a web browser kit that is highly compliant with standards and deployed on a wide variety of platforms? WebKit on Linux greatly increases the likely hood that linux browsers and other tools will be compatible with the wide variety of platforms that have adopted WebKit.

    4)Apple only cares about flash and no substance.
    Actually Apple hates flash

    OK so Apple is aggressive and verbose with its marketing, this is no big deal as you need that noise when your nearest competitor has 92% of the market. But to say they have no substance is simply ignorant and discounts the continual innovation coming out of Apple.
    It may drive the design barrier but makes people ask for less tech. Sites like Arstechnica reviewed recently the iPad and they had the nerve to say that lack of multitasking is a relief and it makes their lives easier, only to celebrate a few days later for the upcoming addition of multitasking as a great evolution of Apple software...
    Funny but you seem to mis the number one issue with iPad that almost all the tech sites have also glossed over, that is the lack of RAM on the damn thing. The fact is iPad isn't a platform for multitasking at all. It might work in some contexts but it is not going to be pleasant on a machine that has far less that 130 MB available for user programs. When it comes to the iPad multitasking is the least of my worries.
    5) I am a tech guy, and tech is all i care.
    I actually kind of doubt the above, because if it where true your opinion would be drastically different.
    I am no fanboi of a company, but i want the best product to win every time, in order to create competition and improve the tech overall. Apple's efforts hinder that.
    You really need to explain that one as everybody is in hot pursuit of Apples iPad right now. HP emulated many of their laptops down to the last millimeter. Further MS copies key elements of their OS. Lastly Google had a spy on the board and launched Android to compete with what Apple was building. so what has Apple hindered here, indeed they have done just the opposite and created an environment that encourages innovation to compete with them.

    In the context of iPad it is the first product to the market place but Apple has done some things there that will leave them open to aggressive competition. It would be easy now for the likes of HP or Google to come out with a more featured balanced products. Well hardware wise it would be but Android is still a long ways from competing with the Iphone user interface.

    In any event I really would like ot know what twisted bit of logic lead to those last couple of sentences?

    Dave

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