Network World - When Steve Jobs passed away early last month, there was a remarkable outpouring of grief along with countless articles that sliced and diced the man, his history, his achievements, and his impact on the world. The majority of these articles were laudatory focusing as they did on his remarkable drive and demand for perfection and for what you might call his "uncompromising" management style.
The reality is that it will take a long time to objectively place Jobs' achievements in context ... that's simply how the art of history works.
Even so, while most of the commentary on Jobs was positive there were a few notable exceptions and one of these in particular stood out: The obituary written by Richard M. Stallman, software freedom activist, computer programmer, and iconoclast.
Stallman is the creator of the GNU Project without which Linux would not exist, founder of the Free Software Foundation, and, arguably, the man who single-handedly created the free software movement much to the enduring irritation of many big software vendors including Microsoft.
The L.A. Times described Stallman's commentary as a "eulogy" which was, according to most dictionaries, definitely not the case (Collins defines the word as "1. a formal speech or piece of writing praising a person or thing, esp a person who has recently died / 2. high praise or commendation" which, as we shall see, was not the case).
What Stallman wrote was "Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died ... we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing. / Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective."
In a follow-up, Stallman expanded his argument: "The important thing about Jobs is what he directed Apple to do to those who are still living: to make general-purpose computers with digital handcuffs more controlling and unjust than ever before ... Jobs saw how to make these computers stylish and smooth. That would normally be positive, but not in this case, since it has the paradoxical effect of making their controlling nature seem acceptable."
In various discussions with friends in the computer world I've been struck by how many of them share Stallman's sentiments although how the Stallman's comments are interpreted can be interesting (someone pointed out that Dave Winer contends "when Stallman says that Jobs made computers that put users in a tightly controlled box ('jail made cool'), he is being respectful" which I don't think was the case at all when it's followed by "designed to sever fools from their freedom").
- 5 Customers Deliver Virtual Desktops and Apps to Empower a Modern Workforce Learn how Citrix solutions helped 5 companies realize the full value of desktop virtualization through a project-by-project approach based on key business priorities.
- Mitigate Risk and Accelerate Time to Value Download this white paper to learn how your IT organization can accelerate business, introduce new services, and reach new markets, all while staying...
- Allay Risks in Application Rationalization and Modernization IT has to do it all: react quickly to market needs, introduce new services, capitalize on mobile, and comply with regulatory requirements, all...
- Delivering Application Data On-Demand Packaged app dev teams frequently operate with limited testing environments due to various constraints. By virtualizing the entire application stack, Delphix-powered teams can...
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt.
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Applications White Papers | Webcasts