In 2003, Diomidis Spinellis in “Reflections on trusting trust revisited” concluded:
“Those of us who distrust the centralized control over our data and programs that TC platforms and operating systems may enforce can rest assured that the war for total control of computing devices cannot be won.”
Well it is the end of 2011 now and I think we are losing. The computer is being substituted by the tablet and the tablets are dominated by markets (Kindle, iTunes, Android, webstore, Opera, …). Yes you can jailbreak, but really how many do? Since almost every computer related trend seems to be a periodic phenomenon (just think of how many times you’ve seen the thin client vs fat client fashion come and go), we are now reliving the walled garden times. Centralized control is all over the commodity tablets and smartphones (is it really a phone or just a computer who by the way dials too?) “for our good”. The market owners do it “for the customer’s benefit”, not for the money. The developers like it for they push their products through a single channel. And most of the consumers like it for they cannot be bothered to search for applications elsewhere than the store.
Variety kills variety and we’re at the killing stage. We like having options, but we do not like many options and therefore we willfully assigned central control to the industry. It is a periodic phenomenon. We’ll reboot when the industry’s grip gets too tight. In the mean time we who distrust the centralized control over our data and programs are vastly outnumbered by the rest of the consumers.