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Proprietary malware → Apple

Apple's Operating Systems Are Malware


Nonfree (proprietary) software is very often malware (designed to mistreat the user). Nonfree software is controlled by its developers, which puts them in a position of power over the users; that is the basic injustice. The developers and manufacturers often exercise that power to the detriment of the users they ought to serve.

This typically takes the form of malicious functionalities.


If you know of an example that ought to be in this page but isn't here, please write to <webmasters@gnu.org> to inform us. Please include the URL of a trustworthy reference or two to serve as specific substantiation.

Back Doors

Censorship

Apple mainly uses iOS, which is a typical jail, to impose censorship through the Apple Store. Please refer to the Apple Jails section for more information.

DRM

Digital restrictions management, or “DRM,” refers to functionalities designed to restrict what users can do with the data in their computers.

Incompatibility

In this section, we list characteristics of Apple programs that block or hinder users from switching to any alternative program—and, in particular, from switching to free software which can liberate the device the software runs on.

Insecurity

These bugs are/were not intentional, so unlike the rest of the file they do not count as malware. We mention them to refute the supposition that prestigious proprietary software doesn't have grave bugs.

Interference

Various proprietary programs often mess up the user's system. They are like sabotage, but they are not grave enough to qualify for the word “sabotage”. Nonetheless, they are nasty and wrong. This section describes examples of Apple committing interference.

Jails

Jails are systems that impose censorship on application programs.

  • Apple plans to require that all application software for MacOS be approved by Apple first.

    Offering a checking service as an option could be useful and would not be wrong. Requiring users to get Apple's approval is tyranny. Apple says the check will only look for malware (not counting the malware that is part of the operating system), but Apple could change that policy step by step. Or perhaps Apple will define malware to include any app that China does not like.

    For free software, this means users will need to get Apple's approval after compilation. This amounts to a system of surveilling the use of free programs.

  • iOS, the operating system of the Apple iThings, is the prototype of a jail. It was Apple that introduced the practice of designing general purpose computers with censorship of application programs.

    Here is an article about the code signing that the iThings use to lock up the user.

    Curiously, Apple is beginning to allow limited passage through the walls of the iThing jail: users can now install apps built from source code, provided the source code is written in Swift. Users cannot do this freely because they are required to identify themselves. Here are details. While this is a crack in the prison walls, it is not big enough to mean that the iThings are no longer jails.

Examples of censorship by Apple jails

Manipulation

Pressuring

Proprietary companies can take advantage of their customers by imposing arbitrary limits to their use of the software. This section reports examples of hard sell and other unjust commercial tactics by Apple.

Sabotage

These are situations in which Apple employs its power over users to directly intervene in ways that harm them or block their work.

Surveillance

Tyrants

Tyrants are systems that reject any operating system not “authorized” by the manufacturer.

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