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Free Software Group Seeks To Disrupt Apple Genius Bars

The Free Software Foundation, unhappy with Apple's restrictions on the iPhone, is urging members to overload the appointment schedule at the Genius Bars.

Paul McDougall

July 30, 2008

2 Min Read

A group that believes software should be free and contain no usage restrictions has launched a campaign to disrupt service at Genius Bar help desks in Apple stores because it believes the iPhone shackles users with too many limits.

The group, which calls itself the Free Software Foundation, is urging members to overload the appointment schedule at the Genius Bars and bombard workers with questions about the iPhone's license terms.

"Having lots of slots booked will get Apple's attention," the group states on its Web site. "Why not book more than one [appointment]?"

FSF says it's not happy with digital rights management technologies embedded in the iPhone that prevent users from playing unlicensed songs and other content. It also wants Steve Jobs to open up the device to free software.

"iPhone completely blocks free software. Developers must pay a tax to Apple, who becomes the sole authority over what can and can't be on everyone's phones," the FSF states on a Web site devoted to the campaign.

FSF says it wants its "DRM elimination crews" to question reps at the Genius Bars about those practices and other Apple license terms with which it takes issue. "Head over to your local Apple store at your designated time. Be sure to get a business card from your Genius first and then politely ask them the questions," the group instructs members.

FSF is no stranger to controversy. Its president, Richard Stallman, is a self-styled hippie who's been known to promote bizarre ideas about the computer industry and other topics. For instance, he urges people not to purchase Harry Potter books because the publisher refuses to allow copies to be read prior to their official launch date.

Stallman also wants a campaign launched that would urge the removal of password protections from Wi-Fi hubs and he refers to tech industry concepts such as piracy and intellectual property as "propaganda terms."

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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