Open letter to Apple-consuming hackers

Dear hackers and Emacs users who consume Apple products,

Let me try to say that again a bit more eloquently…

You are supposed to be hackers. You are using Emacs, fer chrissakes. You are supposed to want development tools, to want them to be infinitely customisable, and to want to do those customisations yourself, because you’re supposed to be discerning, sophisticated, unsatisfied, skilled, playful, rebellious, individualistic, disobedient. You should be rocking out in Zion, celebrating your freedom and independence from the machines.

To use a trite and corny literary reference, this is your personal legend.

And yet, you bought Apple.

Apple is a control freak. It’s Emperor Palpatine with a graphic design makeover.

Cute Palpatine
Stylish Control Freak

It tells you what to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, and what to call it. It tells you to glorify clang over gcc due to technical measures and because a non-copyleft license is great for business (because their business requires being able to put shackles on you once in a while). It tells you it’s really the Unix that pleases your hacker insides, while at the same time doing things no other Unix does, locking you down with blithe disregard for your Unix rights. Apple throws around nice marketable names like POSIX and big cat names and iMonosyllable, and you love it. It tells you to think different, to be a Mac, not a PC, to use the world’s most advanced OS, to make it your iLife. And you’re cool with all of this.

Apple killed your inner hacker, and you’re happy with it, because keeping you deemed that keeping your inner hacker alive was too inconvenient. You satisfy yourself with a pale shadow of the hacker you once were.

I don’t get it. I’m frustrated, sad, angry that you have let this happen. You’re supposed to be the lifeblood of free software, and instead you’re using and defending McIntosh computers and devices.

I wish you could come back to being the playful rebel you once were. You’ve turned into the suits you’ve mocked in the past, and you’re happy about it.

Quite frankly, it’s starting to get lonely in Zion.

– Jordi G. H.

8 thoughts on “Open letter to Apple-consuming hackers

  1. LOL! This is my hacker friend, Jordi! My inner hacker stills the same way since i met Linux, Apple devices are far away from me, they don’t deserve our respect. Hehehe.

    “Talk is cheap, show me the code.” Linus Torvalds.

  2. Right now I’m writing code that will run for windows on my mac :). Using Java. Another favourite hate-on. :)

    And I use nano on all systems.

  3. Emacs is too new-fangled for me — I still like edt (that’s the original line editor, for people who never heard of it). Actually I really like my Apples. They run great — hand-in-hand with my Linux machines that have been hacked to impersonate Apple servers and Time Machine backup devices. I even have “share screen” working transparently between all Linux machines, Macintoshes and Windows running in a virtual machine.

    I’m not wedded to any particular OS, vendor or software. I always use whatever tool is most appropriate for the job. Programming tools? Linux. Multimedia software? Apple. Server software? Definitely Linux. Everything running smoothly on the same network? …priceless.

    1. What I don’t get is how can you shrug off all of this with a cliché like “right tool for the job”. That’s what makes me frustrated, sad, and angry. Why did you stop being rebellious?

  4. I didn’t drink Stallman’s Cool-Aid(TM) — or to put it another way, I don’t subscribe to his agenda any more than I subscribe to Apple’s agenda. I think for myself and I don’t rebel for the sake of rebellion.

    I hack for the sake of the elegant solution to an inelegant problem. Sometimes Apple’s products are the more elegant solution. Refusal to acknowledge that for the sake of a political viewpoint is not true to the spirit of real hacking.

    1. If you won’t listen to the facts because you think they’re an agenda merely because they’re hyperlinked from some person’s website, will you listen to John Steinbeck?

      “I have named the destroyers of nations: comfort, plenty, and security – out of which grow a bored and slothful cynicism, in which rebellion against the world as it is, and myself as I am, are submerged in listless self-satisfaction.”

      Your self-thinking, as you call it, has made you lazy. You know Apple is doing the wrong things, whether these things are linked to from Stallman’s website or not. But because it’s convenient to submerge yourself in listless self-satisfaction, you choose to ignore that Apple is doing the wrong thing.

  5. What Jordi says strikes me as self-evidently true. I also don’t really understand why anyone who calls himself or herself part of the Free Software community would use OS X. These days free Unix-like systems are perfectly usable and quite comparable to OS X from a user point of view. Perhaps their integration with laptops isn’t perfect, but it is getting better. I don’t see any compelling pragmatic reason to use OS X any longer (if there ever was one), and in doing so you are supporting a freedom-hating corporation.

    Having said that, the pop culture references to the Matrix and Star Wars (ugh) are redundant.

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