Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Apple as cult

Speaking of land grabs, I have been delving into the way Apple handles other people's intellectual property, my interest sparked by reading about how once your e-book has been infected (as it were) with the Apple virus your rights are severely compromised. My friend Ron Colman asks (on his Likelihood of Confusion(R) blog) whether Apple is a Cult or mental thing?: and I also find Chris Barton in the New Zealand Herald asking whether Apple is becoming an evil empire. Richard Dreyfuss has made this recording of an Apple licence agreement, with "comically evil voices" - could recitals of software licences become a popular new genre? Best of all is this wonderful piece by the great Umberto Eco, The Holy War, in which (being 1994) Mac is pitted against DOS ... and he considers whether Apple is Catholic and DOS Protestant, the one offering a single route to salvation, whereas DOS (nowadays, read Windows - although I don't think that works nearly as well, and perhaps the Protestant tradition is now in the hands of Linux and the open source movement) allows more latitude for interpretation, and requires difficult decisions. Lovely.

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