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Freedom for Developers. For users, not so much.

I think a lot of this is about developers wanting more control – but they forget that the people who matter are end users, not developers. And I really don’t see any practical advantage which breaking up monolithic app stores bring to end users.

I wrote a long time ago about how the “freedom” in open source software was freedom for developers, not end users, and I think a lot of this argument is the same. So many arguments about “freedom” in technology fail to focus on the consequences of that freedom for end users.

What developers don’t see is the unequal power relationship with users. In an open platform, it is the developers who have the power – power to install all kinds of shit on users machines. iOS 14 showed they had the power to track what users are doing without proper consent. Until Apple effectively stopped them doing it, 53 applications were accessing clipboard data without user consent. And yet, users are supposed to trust developers to do the right thing?

Ian Betteridge, Open app stores, open source

An interesting angle on the current debate. Part of the reason that we’re in this mess is because for the most part it’s been developers versus the App Stores, with the end users nowhere in the debate. The result has been App Store policies and procedures cobbled together and then kludged periodically.

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