The problem with the unadulterated idolization of Steve Jobs
In this guest post, Franky Branckaute shares his thoughts on the aftermath of Steve Jobs death, and his worry that we’re all missing the big picture.
We have experienced over the last days is that it is simple to forget the man who did more to the popularity of the computer or the man who made software available freely. I sadly expect that the day any of these two men pass away, many less people will care.
First of all, let me insist that I am a fan of Steve Jobs and have for several years been an avid user of Apple products. But for me personally the tide is turning again.
During Jobs’ career the visionary only had one main aim: manufacture great products and sell devices with a superior user experience. Those are two areas where the adopted and soon and his company have excelled at. Steve Jobs has made many computing tasks accessible, especially to the average person. But his computing came at a cost of a so-called “walled garden”, where Apple exerted strict control over what you can or can’t do with a device you bought with your own money.
It was also never part of Jobs’ approach to make the computer as ubiquitous as possible. That was the route taken by Bill Gates, a longtime competitor who nevertheless helped Jobs bring Apple back to profitability. Microsoft bought $150 million of non-voting Apple stock shortly Jobs returned to the company.
Microsoft has always been at the forefront of supporting development in poorer nations. More than anything, Bill Gates changed the IT landscape and did this because of his approach to computing, which ironically is what made Windows so vulnerable.
Bill Gates’ biggest plan was to bring the computer to every household in the world, not to create the BMW of computing. This can be found in every single aspect of Windows, and is indirectly also the reason why Windows has so many driver issues. Anyone can create their own driver. Compare this with the (arguably better) approach of Apple and Mac OSX.
Or how about the man who created free operating software, Linus Torvalds? Linux users know the contributions brought to the world by Torvalds and adore the creator, in almost the same way as Apple fans celebrate late Steve Jobs. Because of the open and free platforms and ecosystems he created, including Linux. He never believed in walled gardens. What Torvalds developed powers a large majority of internet servers, with free software. Apple Mac OS X itself is built using the core of another free and open source Unix distribution, BSD.
Last week was a sad week and I thank Steve Jobs for his role in my life, for opening my eyes when it comes to simplicity and minimalism. But I thank both Linus Torvald and Bill Gates even more for their role in the worldwide IT landscape.
I will never forget Steve Jobs and hope Gates and Torvald will live long and continue to prosper as two of the greatest contributors to the world in which barriers are ever more taken down and everyone is given the same platform, computing and the internet. I hope that when their last day comes, their role in history will be remembered even more than the worldwide mourning we experienced last week.
(All images from Wikipedia)
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.