Official Forum for Programming in Objective-C (the iPhone Programming Language) - Stephen Kochan
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Author Topic: My email to Steve Jobs  (Read 6098 times)
skochan
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« on: May 13, 2010, 07:30:40 PM »

I couldn't resist writing an email to Steve Jobs based on Adobe's open letter, which I feel inaccurately represented Adone's claim that PostScript wa an open language standard and that they encouraged competition. (http://www.adobe.com/choice/openmarkets.html).   Stay tuned to see if I get a reply.
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Dear Steve,

First, let me say how much I've admired you and Apple since its inception.  I ran one of those so-called clone companies (there were not 72 legitimate clones, by the way).  What Warnock and Geschke neglected to mention in their open letter was that the specs for Type 1 fonts were not made 'open' for several years (only after being cracked).  Support for that font technology was a key component for developing a viable clone.  We ended up cracking the encryption ourselves.

Adobe did anything but foster or encourage competition.  Instead, they used bullying tactics to force us out of companies they did not want us to do business with (Xerox for one).  My company was later acquired by EFI, and Adobe was certainly not pleased with a clone PostScript in that company.

Anyway, I've written about 10 books, several Mac-specific.   Over the last 6 years I  have taught thousands of programmers how to program in Objective-C through my book, forum, and training.   As a former Bell Labs employee, I think it's a great extension to C (another language I've written about) and I'm happy to see its continued use for the development of Apple products.

Excuse the length of this email and thanks for all you've done to advance technology and creativity.

Cheers,


Stephen Kochan
Former President of Pipeline Associates and creator of the PowerPage PostScript-compatible Interpreter
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 11:01:44 AM by skochan » Logged
wkinser
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 06:51:24 AM »

Nice letter. I also saw your comment on Apple Insider 5/14 article. I've been following this whole mess, and I just don't see the logic here. I know you're busy, but if you're got the time, could you give me your thoughts on a few things? There seems to be very few rational responses to these questions.

Here are my questions:

1. Why are so many people (especially everyone at Adobe) conflating the two platforms in question - the browser (Safari) and native apps? It seems that so many otherwise intelligent people do this. I can see why Adobe might try this, but others not directly involved (Tim Bray, for example) are piling on to this meme. As much as this camp touts "open" systems (whatever that means in this context), when it comes to the browser, how can Apple be accused of anything other than supporting open standards? I realize that the "openness" of H.264 is questionable at the moment, but WebKit, HTML5, CSS3, etc., which Safari mobile is strongly supporting, is by any definition open standards. At the very lease, they're much more "open" than Flash's closed, proprietary platform.

2. Why do so many developers feel that they have a right to other, non-supported, languages and tools to develop for the iPhone OS? I'm not asking why they might want other tools, but why do they feel outrage at not being able to use other tools? It seems to me that every platform has some limitations, some more than others, but to demand that certain third-party tools be allowed seems ridiculous. Adobe's Brimelow went as far as to compare 3.3.1 to going into a store and being spat on. How inane is that? Have we lost our heads?

3. In general, I've noticed that developers have become more self-righteous and needy, and they've become more verbal about both. There are so many sanctimonious blog sermons about how they've been wronged. Has this always been the case, or is this something new? Or maybe the objective ones are too busy working, rather than tweeting or blogging.
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skochan
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 07:30:21 AM »

I couldn't agree with you more.  Apple is a business.  They are in business to make money.  They have no obligation to support software on their platform that they feel will degrade the user experience, impact battery life,  or reduce the time to market of new applications that will support new features of their OS or hardware.  

Look at the bind Google is in now with Android.  There are Android phones now that can't/won't be updated to newer releases of the OS.  New releases of the OS have to be ported to hardware by the phone manufacturers, thus creating delays or decisions not to offer updates at all.  Google was forced to release their own hardware so that they can get Android updates to market quicker.   They walked into the Microsoft trap.   Yes, Microsoft supported more hardware and had a more open architecture.  The result was (and still is) a crippled OS architecture that had to support too many devices with too many drivers, resulting in a bloated, unstable, and insecure system that Microsoft still can't walk away from or fundamentally change.

I think Apple came up with a terrific business model that has enabled anyone to develop apps for the iPhone and potentially make money.   In these tough economic times, I think that presents a wonderful opportunity for motivated developers and entrepreneurs (many of whom come to this forum to learn Objective-C).   Developers do have a choice after all; nobody is requiring that they develop apps for the iPhone.  The development tools are free (they don't have to be), and it has resulted in a win-win for Apple, the developers, and the users.  Of course, that doesn't mean it's easy to make a lot of money as  a developer, but the opportunity is there.

Adobe had the right to keep their PostScript Type 1 fonts proprietary and encrypted.  They had no obligation to support or foster competition, and I wasn't expecting them to do that.  My letter was just to make sure that the record was clear.

Cheers,

Steve Kochan
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 07:32:38 AM by skochan » Logged
wkinser
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 07:47:49 AM »

But that's exactly my point. I don't really blame Adobe for protecting their interests with PS T1 in the early days. (Aren't most successful businesses guilty of that to some degree? And how can you really blame them?) What I have a real issue with is that Adobe seems to have a revisionist (to borrow from you) attitude about that and many other things. They're either dishonest, or they've forgotten. In either case, it's both sad and inexcusable.

Do you have a blog? There are very few clear-headed blogs these days with objective, thoughtful, and independent ideas. Yours would be a great one, and you could tie in this forum for additional exposure. Too many people seem to echo and repeat others' opinions, instead of thinking for themselves and making their own decisions. Even if I don't agree with their decisions, I'm starved for some original and well-informed thoughts! Please start a blog, if you don't already have one!
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skochan
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 07:50:51 AM »

No, I don't have a blog.  Thanks for your encouragement though!   I'll give it some thought.

Cheers,

Steve
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ivanDub
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 04:13:24 AM »

It all goes to show you that there is NOTHING under the sun that is Beatle Proof

Steve Jobs in his younger days reminded me somewhat of John Lennon.

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