A top software developer who cut his teeth hacking into the early Apples says that Jobs’ Mobs’ current attitude to people like him is killing off innovation.
Writing in his bog Mark Pilgrim warned that Apple’s current policy of obsessive control was preventing tinkering. He said that both Apple and him got where he was today by tinkering but now that was becoming a thing of the past.
He said that you don’t become a hacker by programming; you become a hacker by tinkering and it is the tinkering that provides that sense of wonder.
“You have to jump out of the system, tear down the safety gates, peel away the layers of abstraction that the computer provides for the vast majority of people who don’t want to know how it all works,” Pilgram said.
To do that you have to use the Copy ][+ sector editor to learn how the disk operating system boots, then modifying it so the computer makes a sound every time it reads a sector from the disk.
You have to displaying a graphical splash screen on startup before it lists the disk catalogue and takes you to that BASIC prompt.
He said that while you will be able to develop your own programs for the iPad, that really only works if you know what you are doing. He said that without the freedom to tinker many will not develop the skills necessary to product good code.
Pilgram said that while it was possible to “jailbreak” your iPhone, (re)gain root access, and run anything you like he didn’t want to live in a world where you have to break into your own computer before you can start tinkering.
He also didn’t want to live in a world where tinkering with your own computer is illegal.
“Apple seems they’re doing everything in their power to stop my kids from finding that sense of wonder. Apple has declared war on the tinkerers of the world. With every software update, the previous generation of “jailbreaks” stop working, and people have to find new ways to break into their own computers,” he moaned.
Pilgram said that there won’t ever be a MacsBug for the iPad. There won’t be a ResEdit, or a Copy ][+ sector editor, or an iPad Peeks & Pokes Chart. He thinks that will be a real loss. Maybe not to you, but to somebody who doesn’t even know it yet.