Monday, September 17, 2007

iPods on Linux

Miguel seems to be quite perturbed that Apple would change existing iPods or new iPods in such a way as to make them not function with Linux.  As I understand it, they [Apple] are adding some type of hash generation to new and existing iPods (through a firmware upgrade) and to the latest build of the iTunes software.  Client software has to generate a matching hash before it can access the music library on the device.

Miguel calls this anti-competitive.  He's right.  He then calls it an unfair business practice.  He's wrong.  First, I seriously doubt this move by Apple has anything to do with Linux.  Apple simply cannot be worried about such a minority.  Second, let's agree that this has nothing to do with the iTunes license agreement since a user could easily purchase an iPod and plan to use it without ever installing iTunes or agreeing with their license.

Apple is free to make their iPods and their software as they see fit.  You may not like it and it may not be smart business on the part of Apple, but that's not the point.  Your only option is to either legally look for a workaround or use a different product.  It now seems that some clever hackers have discovered the hash algorithm and, once again, unlocked the iPods for use on non-iTunes clients (remember we stopped believing it's just about Linux).

Don't get me wrong.  I fully support use of the iPod on any client software you wish and hope someone out there is able to crack the hash every time it's changed.  I just needed to be the voice of reason here and remind everyone that this is not a legal matter or governmental matter.  There are lots of options out there for music players so this is a truly free market.  If the leader does something you don't like, just use a different product.

Maybe I should call my senator because my XBox media center software doesn't work with Vista (I don't remember agreeing to a license that forbid that)?

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