Let's imagine that today, Microsoft releases Windows 9 - and with it, a new system to distribute software.
"From now on, all your programs will be installable through the HyperStore. To fight the increasing threats posed by viruses and malware, this is now the only place to install software from. The HyperStore is a new service from Microsoft, following guidelines carefully designed to improve the PC end-user experience."
"Note for developers:
You can enroll in the Microsoft Developer Programs to become a Microsoft Developper and get access to the HyperStore, for only $99/year (single developer)[...]
To contribute to the continous effort to check software quality and host it on our platform, Microsoft's commission on your HyperStore sales is 30%.[...]
Applications should be written in Microsoft C#[...]
The SDK (required to run your application on the new Windows 8 managed stack) can be downloaded for free by registered users. Redistribution is not permitted.[...]
Compiling your application can be done using Microsoft Visual Studio 2011 (note: only supporting Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 WGA on Microsoft-certified hardware). An introductory version is available for registered users.[...]
Microsoft reserve the right to remove your competiting application from the Microsoft Hyperstore with a 10 working days notice.[...]
End-users can make up to 5 copies of your applications and no more. Footnote: That is, our Terms of Service are incompatible with the GNU GPL (version 2 and 3). VLC is an example of software banned from HyperStore."
Now, come on, you'll tell me, you're just an angry anti-Microsoft zealot, there's no way this could be happening.
And indeed, Microsoft certainly didn't; despite everything we can reproach this company, their Windows platform has always been open to any developer in the world.
Though we could make just some tiny, trivial changes:
This is not the future, this is just already happening. And when I see fellow hackers praising or porting free software to iPhone, I think that we have to stop and think: can you believe you just agreed to something worse, in matter of freedom and control of your computers, than Microsoft Windows?