Defective By Design on iPhone

Defective by design have just sent out a call to not buy the new iPhone. Lets pull it to bits:

The 5 real reasons to avoid iPhone 3G

* iPhone completely blocks free software. Developers must pay a tax to Apple, who becomes the sole authority over what can and can’t be on everyone’s phones.

The iPhone OS has been reverse engineered, by people who are not defeatists. There are literally millions of Jailbroken iPhones in circulation, all of them making and receiving phone calls and running free software, the source for which is available under the GPL. Instead of complaining about this brilliant hardware platform, perhaps Defective By Design should spend time developing or promoting the development of software for the iPhone so that they can realize their goals. Certainly, asking people not to buy an iPhone is not going to work in any meaningful way.

* iPhone endorses and supports Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology.

Once again, this is solved by writing software, not by complaining.

* iPhone exposes your whereabouts and provides ways for others to track you without your knowledge.

ALL cellular telephones do this. If this is the level of expertise that these people have then their movement is doomed.

* iPhone won’t play patent and DRM-free formats like Ogg Vorbis and Theora.

Then write a player for it. Even better; why don’t you port Videolan to iPhone and distribute it via Installer.APP? You would have access to millions of users in a very short amount of time, and you would not be exposing yourself to legal attack from Apple, because someone else is actively developing Installer.APP and its ecosystem; you would be interfacing with the iPhone community by that means and not directly. It could not be easier for you. The development tools are out there, the source for robust players to decode the formats you love is available, all it takes is the will to do it or to pay someone else to do it if it is that important.

There are alot of things that the iPhone cannot do, and you can solve any of them that you like, by writing some software.

* iPhone is not the only option. There are better alternatives on the horizon that respect your freedom, don’t spy on you, play free media formats, and let you use free software — like the FreeRunner (

A phone in the hand is better than two on the horizon. Especially if you want to make phone calls. And I would love to see how those ‘on the horizon’ phones connect to the GSM network without knowing where you and your phone are.

We can trade our freedom and our money to get something flashy on the surface, or we can spend a little more money, keep our freedom, and support a better kind of business. If we want businesses to be ethical, we have to reward the ones that are. By not enriching companies that want to take away our freedom and by rewarding those that respect us, we will be helping to bring about a better future.

OR we can use our imagination and expertise to fix the problems in products like the iPhone so that they work in the way that they want, give us the shiny phone we want, AND preserve our freedom. We can have our cake and eat it. This has been very successfully done by the people who have created the Jailbroken iPhone community. Really, you should understand this.

In solidarity,

John, Josh, Matt, and Peter

Calling for solidarity, demonstrations, boycotts are all fine, but in the end, it is the people who have an imagination that make a difference in the world. The Jailbreaking of the iPhone is a perfect example of how active people with skill and imagination can force change to happen. The only reason why Apple is allowing developers to write native software for the iPhone is the explosive and unprecedented success of Jailbreaking and Installer.APP. Everyone knows that 25% of all iPhones in circulation have been jailbroken. Because of their work, there are more telephones running free software than ever before, and this will continue with the new iPhone. Because of their work, the iPhone is now open to developers through the closed system, whereas before Apple wanted everyone to develop web apps that ran in Safari. Because of their work we now have a platform that will ensure that the iPhone is always open to developers of free software going forward.

At the end of the day, all the complaining in the world will not stop DRM. Only the writing of software will defeat it.

What we have to ask is this; what are you actually offering? You are not offering any solutions, you are not offering any new philosophy or any sort of strategy that will produce results, and you are completely ignoring the heroic work of the Jailbreakers and the millions of phones they have liberated as if it has not happened at all.

That is odd, to say the least.


We are the best.

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Posted in Bollocks, Geekn, Money, Music, Software, Someone Clever Said, Someone Stupid Said, The Facts
3 comments on “Defective By Design on iPhone
  1. […] years ago, the free software foundation ran a campaign called ‘defective by design‘ where they encouraged people to boycott Apple because it used DRM. You cannot play music on the […]

  2. […] years ago, the free software foundation ran a campaign called ‘defective by design‘ where they encouraged people to boycott Apple because it used DRM. You cannot play music on […]

  3. […] years ago, the free software foundation ran a campaign called ‘defective by design‘ where they encouraged people to boycott Apple because it used DRM. You cannot play music on […]

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