Why I won’t be buying a new Mac any time soon

Apple gave everyone a new shiny thing to talk about today and I will not be left out of the discussion! Apple’s refreshed MacBook Pro contains a new Intel chipset Core i5 and i7, codenamed Sandy Bridge. Sandy Bridge chainOne lovely “feature” of this new processor is the Intel Insider built in to every Core i chip. This feature unlocks HD content playback on your machine for a limited time. Intel denies that this is DRM, and rightly so. DRM has been a hated buzzword among consumers and Apple alike. (No customer ever asks for more restrictions.) What Intel Insider has is worse: trusted computing, and for the worst reason too. It seems Hollywood has asked our biggest processor manufacturer to protect their business model with a feature that prevents streaming video from being recorded. Doesn’t that sound kind of unhinged?

Trusted computing is a hardware solution to the problem of trust. It has some noble goals. Your computer today may be exploited in some invisible way, but a trusted computing platform would verify all the code through it’s own protected hardware before allowing any software to run at all. The only way around this is to saw away at a encryption chip epoxied onto your motherboard. So, no malware is a good thing, right? That sounds fine until the keys to the computer are taken out of your hands and given to Hollywood/Intel/Apple/anyone-else because you, a de-facto pirate, can’t be trusted. Just wait until your repressive authorities request control of your shiny MacBook from Apple, and Apple acquiesces.

Add to that the recent processor recall, and it’s a scary time to buy new Mac hardware. Isn’t there room enough in the smart consumer market for some Linux hardware that Just Works? Today I’m one step closer to kicking my addiction for sandblasted aluminum and high-strength alkali-aluminosilicate glass.

Of course, I got all my opinions from the story 0wnz0red written Cory Doctorow for Salon.

6 Replies to “Why I won’t be buying a new Mac any time soon”

  1. “some Linux hardware that Just Works?”

    I’d love to see that, too, but they haven’t been able to do it in the last 2 decades, so don’t hold your breath. A crippled processor kinda sucks, but a system that’s fundamentally broken, like the Linux desktop, isn’t going to get people to switch. Complain about Apple all you want, normal people are still going to buy them. Normal people are *not* going to hand-edit text files to change their hostname or get Photoshop to work.

  2. Apple has come pretty far downhill from days of the Apple ][, where they encouraged people to build their own board, expansions, and use anything they could. Hording a platform is a good short term way to squeeze a lot of value out of something.

    I’m curious to hear what problems with ‘linux that just work’ folks have had. For the last 2-3 years I’ve has a lot of Linux (ubuntu and Debian mostly) system that just work. I have Ubuntu ~4 machines, each of which was a 5 minute install with a 10.10 startup disk. From there installing software is a one-click process from the Package Manager window.

  3. It’s been my experience that Ubuntu is easier to use for those not in the know than iOS, OS X, AND Windows, by far. Two minutes of explanation, and people know it’s better. I’m bound for the present to OSX software, but I’m certainly not buying another Mac, now that the developers are forced to switch to Apple’s closed distribution platform or starve.

    I’ll post some blueprints on launchpad for what’s wrong with the interfaces of the applications I absolutely need (and you probably need them too), and hope some generous coder will implement them before my Macbook dies.

  4. Isn’t this more of an Intel problem than an Apple problem? Windows-centric PC users will have to deal with this as well.

  5. If the Hollywood guys are demanding Intel and other processor vendors put DRM-style solutions into the chips, why on earth do you think that a ‘Linux hardware’ solution would be any different? All this would mean is that your Hollywood movies would not play on your Linux hardware — hardly a ‘just works’ scenario.

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