the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Why is Bill Gates so villianized, but not Steve Jobs?


This comes from Works With U, a Ubuntu guide website (and blog of sorts, really) I read as I use the Ubuntu distribution of Linux as my PC's operating system.

I was always mystified by the strange coziness between Linux and Mac users.  Apple has seemed much more locked into proprietary design, not to mention Microsoft does not produce desktop computers.  The Zune is about the only thing I can think of that Redmond has specifically made as far as hardware.

Here's the quick and dirty as far as the association:

  1. OS X is derived from an open-source Linux kernel (according to the article, it's from U.C. Berkley, and was lifted by Jobs in the '80s, with no credit given).  I've found already that gave a Neighbor of mine something in common to talk about (kernel panic).
  2. WebKit, Safari's layout engine, was derived from Konqueror, the base browser for the K Desktop Environment (KDE).  I noticed Konqueror as an alternative browser fairly early, before Firefox made a big splash.
  3. Promotion of free software– I do hear about FOSS (free and open source software) projects from Mac users– XChat (for IRC), GIMP, etc.

But Steve Jobs does not seem to be interested in the free and open source concept.  Tozzi pointed out two examples: endorsement of Digital Rights Managment (DRM) on iTunes, and iPhone software restricted to a central repository at Apple.  So why does the Linux community at large disparage Bill Gates so strongly, but say nothing about Steve Jobs?  WIRED seems unafraid to suggest that Jobs may be evil, and from everything I've read concerning the history and operation of Apple, Jobs seems downright scary.  Steve Wozniak left for a reason, folks.

But here's the zinger at the end, and the crux of Tozzi's argument.

It’s also worth observing that, as the computing industry continues to move towards high-powered mobile devices, in which Apple is heavily invested, a more direct confrontation between Linux and the Mac world seems inevitable.  The days of ignorantly blissful coexistence may be numbered.

Indeed.  Apple's much better known for high-powered mobile devices– the iPod and the iPhone being the two that come to mind.  But Linux and mobile devices?  Sure.  Google's Android is probably the best known.  It's not a software/hardware combination (that wouldn't make sense on FOSS principles)– it's available currently on T-Mobile's G1 smartphone.  It should be noted that one of the criticisms of the iPhone is that mobile devices have used similar technology for some time.  Right now, most PDAs and smartphones run Windows Mobile; if enough manufacturers turn to Android, well, I would expect more of a response from Jobs compared to the tired sniffs of "oh, it's another Linux project" from Microsoft.

I agree with Tozzi that efforts are better spent making Linux and Linux applications a better and more attractive alternative.  I also think open source software stands very well in cross-platform applications– although some people might be tired of the "Linux can run on anything" mantra, software that's developed very often with Linux in mind has been designed to run very well on Windows and Mac systems.  I find it encouraging when people get excited about software that doesn't cost them a dime.  Being poor, well… that's what works for me.  Easier to spend some time on things than spend money I don't have.

But Steve Jobs seems about as evil as Bill Gates, easily, if not maybe more, if you believe in the FOSS philosophy:

  • Freedom to run the program, for any purpose
  • Freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs
  • Freedom to redistribute copies, either gratis or for a monetary fee
  • Freedom to change and improve the program and to redistribute modified versions of the program to the public, so others can benefit from your improvements

(according to the Free Software Foundation)


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Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

6 thoughts on “Why is Bill Gates so villianized, but not Steve Jobs?

  1. Taking the chance of being overthetop obvious and boring…Steve Jobs can get away with being an odious person (and hard-working, but so is Gates) on the strength of extraordinary personal charisma.And Apple is different from any producer of software or hardware in that its true product is the brilliant integration of hardware with software. Maybe the future leads to the ultimate separation of hardware from software, but Apple doesn't try to block that separation just because they are control freaks, or even just be because of the money (though clearly, that's important). That separation is the destruction of Apple's essential product.


  2. I think it's a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The day will come, before too long, that Apple will be seen as an even bigger threat to open computing than Microsoft.


  3. Oh, absolutely. When they know the hardware a device has, they have an easier time making sure the software drivers and such work properly. That's not an advantage Windows or Linux has– and some Linux users have reservations about using proprietary drivers to get hardware to work.I bought a used SB! Live sound card because I knew it was well supported and it would handle sound mixing through its own hardware (rather than wait for the current gen sound server to be properly supported). I know that's a choice I would unlikely make in WIndows or Mac.


  4. O!! Kernel panic! I had that!This is FASCINATING — I need to site and read it when I can really let it sink in….maybe I need to look more closely at LINUX.THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!


  5. Typo; sorry………"I need to sit and read it.."


  6. O!! Kernel panic! I had that!Yes, I remember. It's my understanding that some Mac users run Linux part-time, which would make sense if recent Mac OS versions are based on it.


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