More Ubuntu-ing, less ranting about the iPad

The technorati over at HN are talking about Cory Doctrow’s rant on the iPad.  

Much of the sentiment that I hear opposing it seem to be in the vein of:

The point is, Cory Doctorow is in a small, small minority. The minority isn’t small because people don’t know what he’s saying — it’s small because they don’t care. He’s protesting the very philosophy that gives Apple products the quality that people who buy Apple products desire. And honestly, making the openness of Apple products your raison d’etre is a bit like getting furious about the mechanical details of your favorite brand of dishwasher. The answer is always the same: don’t like it? Don’t buy it.
 – Comment on HN

I think what Cory Doctrow is saying matters, but I don’t think it’s sufficient.

It might not matter much to most people in the world, at least not directly, if you assume most people are just consumers, not makers.  But it should matter to us as makers, and matter to those of us that want to cultivate and provide a place for future creatives.  Without a sandbox to tinker, you have less tinkerers.  

And in addition, we’ve seen that when you lower the bar, and invite “most people” to tinker, they will.  They’ll be rough around the edges, but they will, and some of the stuff they produce are some good shit.  How many writers and video producers would you never heard of if not for blogging and youtube?

What’s dangerous is not the iPad itself, but the perpetuating notion that people are just consumers.  The world can only suffer from less makers and tinkerers.  

I do agree that iPad is a fine machine.  And that Apple has presented their wares, and we have brought into their conditions.  To me, that means instead of railing against closed platforms like the iPad, open platforms really need to step up their game.  Open platforms need to take user experience and design into account, like what Ubuntu has done for linux.  

Open source/hardware are very good at building well known and well understood platforms, not new and innovative platforms.  

The best that open tablets can do is be very good and fast followers.  It’s not sufficient just to rant.


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