[Humanist] 24.384 iPad apps by/for us

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Oct 5 22:10:08 CEST 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 384.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2010 05:19:03 +0100
        From: "Postles, David A. (Dr.)" <pot at leicester.ac.uk>
        Subject: iPad apps by/for us

Regardless of the rhetorical definition of being 'religious, strangely', there are practical as well as moral reasons for following OpenSource developments:

* US government adoption of OpenSource solutions: Forge.mil and Forge.gov ( as well as White House sponsorship of Drupal)
* BRIC countries adopting OpenSource (Linux) solutions - and also wider Linux sponsorship such as Turkish-government-sponsored Pardus Linux and Italian municipalities sponsoring Sabayon Linux.
* Critical mission use of Linux - 95% of the top 500 supercomputers
* NYSE and LSE use of Linux - again critical mission - the argument is moving from just economy/cost to quality and robustness
* LAMP servers as the backbone of the internet/web
* Recent Accenture report on intentions to adopt OpenSource by top international companies and the UK government
* HE has, IMHO, a moral responsibility to support OpenSource
* Development on the iOS platform presumably requires your users to buy into this exaggeratedly-expensive hardware/software (BTW, Apple's profits must seemingly have been bloated by the low cost of development at Foxconn which engaged in appalling working practices for its workforce, but without any corresponding benefit to the consumer as Apple must have maintained immense margins) - those margins are revealed even more by the $35-tablet developed in India from the HiVision $100-tablet (Android - and there is a deluge of Android tablets on the market or about to appear) - what penetration do you expect iPads to have beyond a minority of rich, western students?
* Balance of payments - it's analogous to importing expensive foreign cars through paying the premium on Apple products 
* What do iPad apps DO by comparison with, say, OpenSource QuantumGIS, Lyx, gretl, OpenOffice.org, and an endless list of OpenSource complex apps?
* What is the morality of taking BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution Unix) and webkit (KDE Linux Konqueror file manager/web browser) and developing proprietary software from them (OSX and Safari)?

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