Open Source: A developer’s perspective on consumer technology

Jamie writes on his blog:

The cracks started to appear in 2016 though. The ecosystem of professional apps weren’t really developing for iPad, and I found it limiting for anything other than web browsing or reading emails. It was still wonderful as a “thin client”, but that’s more an endorsement for the Linux servers as that’s where the feelings of efficiency and “flow” stemmed. I noticed I was dipping back to the now ancient MacBook Air quite often as there were still situations where the iPad was a compromise…
Instead, this issue has highlighted that I am responsible for what happens on my computers. As my trust in Apple has waned, I’ve found the closed-source, proprietary nature of these devices uncomfortable as I have little insight or control over something that I am responsible for.

(emphasis mine)

I have long been an advocate for open source and access. Even though I am using Windows 10, I am longing to completely remove (and eradicate) the scourge of proprietary software. The recent debates around Apple’s scanning for CSAM is fraught with danger (and I have deep distrust of their technology to operate the way it is intended), but this toe dipping into devices is a far overreach. Their words around privacy ring hollow.

Here’s something more:

In short, I don’t believe that if I were falsely accused because of data on my iPhone that Apple would have my back. Regardless of whether it was a malicious attempt at SWATing, innocuous false-positives or just an old fashioned bug; Apple’s stewardship of the App Store and interactions with developers and customers alike has demonstrated what their version of due process and accountability looks like and that is frankly terrifying when the stakes are this high.

Assume Apple gets into medical EMR quicksand. How likely do you think Apple will address issues if it affects its financial performance? They have held themselves beyond the scrutiny in consumer technology (and while not paying taxes owed to the US government). By what stretch of imagination will they hold themselves accountable for healthcare?

Technology is a tool- to achieve specific objectives. Consumer technology companies are only providing services but the agreement is loaded in their favor.

That’s why reproducible builds. technology stacks in open domain and proper auditing- they are ideal objectives. Let the service providers innovate on the service delivery and not compromise the core delivery of the product.

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